From: Helen Luk, Associated Press
Published June 13, 2005 12:00 AM

Hong Kong Disneyland to Tell Customers about Environmental Harm of Shark Fin Soup

HONG KONG — Customers who want shark fin soup served at their banquets at Hong Kong Disneyland will be told about the harm done by the industry that supplies the fins, a Disney spokeswoman said Friday.

Disney will work with the Hong Kong environmental group Green Power to produce leaflets about the topic, said spokeswoman Irene Chan.

The pamphlets will be given to people booking banquet tables at the park, which opens Sept. 12, she said.

But Chan said the brochures will not be too graphic, and guests can decide "to read it or not."

Activists have been pressuring Disneyland to take shark fin soup off its menus. They say millions of sharks are killed each year for the traditional Asian delicacy, with fishermen often hacking off the fins and dumping the sharks back into the water where they face certain death.

But Disney has refused to remove the staple Hong Kong banquet dish from its menus.

"We feel that we need to give a choice to our guests," Chan said. "We believe this is important because we need to respect the culture, since most five-star hotels and restaurants are serving it (shark fin soup). But we want to ensure our guests have information to make an informed decision."

Chan also said Disney will use fins from "reliable and responsible suppliers" who kill the shark and use the entire fish.

She said the company wants to strike a balance between "environmental concerns and respect for the local culture."

Environmentalist Cheng Luk-ki of Green Power welcomed Disney's new measure. "It's better than putting shark fin soup on its menu and not discouraging customers from having the dish," Cheng said.

However, he said Disney should drop the dish altogether. He criticized the company for stressing its environmental concerns in its corporate policy, while serving food that he said damaged marine ecology.

"We think it's a bit hypocritical," he said. "It is not too serious about its policy."

The park is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co. and the Hong Kong government.

Source: Associated Press

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