Yes, I’m an “extremist”.

I never saw the relevance in consuming sharks’ fins. It doesn’t make any sense. If the aim is to show that you’re so well-off, you could afford to indulge in anything you fancy, there are countless alternatives (e.g. fly every single guest to Paris for the wedding, book the Istana for your wedding ceremony, etc.). Many ways to show-off that power and wealth, really.

At the end of it, a wedding’s a wedding. To celebrate the union of two with beloved friends and family. Do it any other way, and it’d be equally meaningful. Do you really need all that abalone, sharks’ fins and senseless delicacies (that really don’t taste much at all on their own and are only good after heavily-doused with sauces and broth) to make the celebration whole?

I’m an “extremist” when it comes to animal rights. No, I’m not vegetarian, and regrettably so. Someday when I give up my love of chicken and fish, I’ll be one. Even if that day doesn’t come, I pride myself for not indulging in the following “luxurious”, “auspicious” delicacies.

And for those of you who do, shame on you. And I mean every single dripping ounce of contempt, detest, disrespect and disdain there could ever be in that phrase. Shame on you.

Yes, I’m just extreme like that.

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Sharks Fin Soup
The SPCA has previously written to the press to highlight the inherent cruelty to animals involved in the production of shark’s fin soup. Other animal welfare groups have also highlighted the immense suffering of sharks caught for the shark’s fin soup trade. Captured live sharks have their fins hacked off and are thrown back into the sea to bleed and drown to death. Finless and bleeding, they may also be devoured by other marine life.

Some environmentalists say tens of millions of sharks are killed every year. This voracious demand for fins has led to some shark populations declining by as much as 90 per cent in the past decade. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, some 18 species of sharks are already listed as endangered. At current alarming rates of finning, some may become extinct within the next decade.

Singapore International Airlines and Thai Airways International stopped serving shark’s fin on their flights in 2001. More recently, in June 2005, Hong Kong’s new Disneyland scrapped sharks fin soup from its wedding banquet menu after international pressure from shark conservationists.

Unfortunately, the consumption of sharks fin continues on a large scale. China’s booming economy is boosting demand for the ‘delicacy’. In Singapore, sharks fin soup remains a staple of most Chinese wedding dinner banquets. It has even been spotted for sale at hawker centers and wet markets.

Shark’s fin off the menu at Fairmont Hotel
From January 2009, the Fairmont Hotel Singapore has ceased to serve and offer shark’s fin soup to its diners at Szechuan Court and guests at Raffles City Convention Centre. The hotel aims to educate consumers on the cruelty involved in the production of shark’s fin soup, whilst offering alternative dishes to customers.

Fairmont’s Regional Vice-President for Asia and General Manager for Fairmont Singapore, Ian Wilson said “As we take shark’s fin out of our menus, we are doing our little share in slowing down the further depletion of this endangered rulers of the deep blue sea. The power of each of our guest’s culinary choice and the alternative selection that we provide can make a difference in the battle to save the planet’s highly- fragile food chain.”

SPCA was invited by the Fairmont Hotel Singapore to collaborate on its specially-designed brochure, “Make our Culinary Choice a Responsible Choice” by providing the write-up on the cruelty involved in the shark’s fin trade. It is hoped that other hotels and restaurants will follow after this commendable initiative by Fairmont Hotel Singapore.

Foie gras
Foie gras is a delicacy often promoted in gourmet restaurants. What is hidden from menus is the fact that the animals involved in its production, such as geese and ducks, suffer immense cruelty. A report by the World Society for the Protection of Animals in June 2000 describes the process: “The birds are commonly fed using a pneumatic pump forced down the throat, which injects up to half a kilo of maize and fat in a couple of seconds. This is repeated two or three times per day for up to three weeks, so that by the time it is slaughtered, a bird’s liver will have swelled to between six and ten times its natural size. Many ducks and geese die prematurely from cardiac and renal failure, and liver haemorrhage.”

Foie gras continues to be served in many restaurants in Singapore, a trend that does not seem to be diminishing. While previously a delicacy mostly served in French restaurants, it is now appearing on menus in other continental restaurants (and even in Chinese and Japanese cuisine).

For more information on the cruelty inflicted on animals in the production of foie gras, visit the following sites to know more:
http://www.nofoiegras.org/
http://www.rspca.org.uk/
http://www.hsus.org/farm/camp/ffa/
or catch a video of the production of foie gras here.

Senseless delicacies

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