05 June 2008

Double Standard? but who's the one with it?

It was reported that the Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS) would not be having shark's fin soup on it's menu but revealed that high rollers at the resort may still get it prepared for them.

A few readers of TODAY have express their displeasure for what appears to be double standards. While they applaud the RWS effort, they also questioned why would they still serve it if requested by high rollers.

Their main concern was that shark's fin are harvested in a cruel way in which the fins are cut off the shark's body before the sharks are thrown back into the sea to die a slow and painful death.
Firstly, there were already reports that such method of harvesting may not be true and even suggested that the video which purportedly showed the harvesting method was alledgedly filmed purposely to discourage the buying of fins. The article further questioned why would the fisherman discard the shark's body just like that after much effort in capturing the shark and they would also stand to profit from the sale of the shark's body as well.

Secondly, how different is the cruelty in killing a shark than the slaughtering of say a cow? If people are really compassionate as they claim to be, shouldn't they then advocate that beef or all sorts of meat be off the menu as well? Let's not also forget that A kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home. (This is among the conclusions of a study by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan, and colleagues, which has assessed the effects of beef production on global warming, water acidification and eutrophication, and energy consumption. The team looked at calf production, focusing on animal management and the effects of producing and transporting feed. By combining this information with data from their earlier studies on the impact of beef fattening systems, the researchers were able to calculate the total environmental load of a portion of beef.

Their analysis showed that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide. It also releases fertilising compounds equivalent to 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 megajoules of energy (Animal Science Journal, DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00457.x).)

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