WATCH: Richard Branson and Yao Ming Call for Shark Fin Soup Ban in China
The two, along with Virgin Unite and WildAid, are calling for a ban of shark fin soup, a dish popular in Asia. Shark fins are obtained by first catching the sharks, cutting off their fins and throwing them back into the water while still alive. Approximately 73 million sharks are killed each year, a number that is far from sustainable. The practice is continuously opposed by both conservation and animal rights/welfare organizations.
According to The Telegraph, Branson says “The world is getting wealthier. In China in particular people are getting more affluent. And they can now afford to buy shark fin soup. So it is a major problem. And therefore, there is a major battle to try to reverse that trend.” The article also states mentions that 95% of shark fins are consumed in China, where they sell for about two-thousand yuan (over $300 USD) per kilo.
Ming admits having eaten shark fin soup in the past before becoming aware of its toll on sharks and the oceans. According to Virgin, he says “The shark fin soup doesn’t even have any flavor, but more important if you take all the sharks out of the ocean you destroy the ecosystem.” He has teamed up with WildAid in China for sharks before, with a billboard campaign against shark fin soup. Branson has also worked with WildAid, recently swimming with sharks to raise awareness about shark finning.
Check out their video message below!