The Menu Is No Place For Shark Fins Or Bird Nests

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The Chinese Government has issued a ban ruling out the serving of dishes containing shark fins, bird nests and other wild animal products at official reception dinners.

The ban is part of a sweeping government crackdown on corruption, excessive spending and extravagance. It was announced by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council.

Every year, over 100 million sharks are killed for their fins. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, a decision to ban shark fin soup from official banquets during a nationwide government austerity campaign in February 2013 led to shark fin orders declining by 70 per cent during the week-long Spring Festival in China.

“Obviously, the Chinese government is powerful and if it takes the lead on wildlife conservation, there will be a significant decline in demand and supply for wildlife products in China,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

“Unfortunately, China is always considered as one of the world’s largest markets for the wildlife trade, and is thus largely responsible for the rapid decline of endangered species.”

Gabriel said that China is stepping up its efforts to achieve ‘ecological civilization’: “China’s soft power could be built by shutting down wildlife markets, increasing penalties for wildlife crime and condemning wildlife consumption. We hope a wider ban of this kind will be applied to other endangered wildlife products from luxury gifting and collections as well.”

Every year, tens of thousands of elephants are slaughtered to meet the demand for ivory. In just four years (2007-2011), rhino poaching has multiplied by 30 times in South Africa, while in Asia tiger populations have dropped from 100,000 individuals to about 3,000 in the past century.