Brantford Council has passed a bylaw which bans the sale of shark fins or related products in the city. Now, I approve of such a ban because I agree that cutting off an intelligent animal's fins and then tossing it back into the ocean is absolutely barbaric and reprehensible (especially considering it's for something that is considered a rich delicacy rather than a food staple). I question, the idea that Brantford being the first community to implement the ban is historic or even something that will encourage other communities to follow through. I don't think this is the first step towards a worldwide ban of the product or the definitive end of this brutal act. After all, "shark finning" is already banned in this country, but it is still prevalent throughout the country (proven by the fact you can still order shark fin soup in almost any authentic Chinese restaurant in Toronto -- showing there is easy access to the fins even if the country doesn't allow the act).
I appreciate the symbolic gesture done by Brantford council, but it really is nothing more than that. First of all, we don't live anywhere near sharks and so the massacre is not directly related to anyone in this community. I understand that the gesture was to try to stop the sales of shark fin soup, which would then stop the actual act (since it is obviously being done because there is money to be had). The problem is, Brantford is not really a community that embraces the whole concept of shark fin soup to begin with. I'd argue that most people that live here didn't even know such a thing existed and definitely even fewer ever had it before. I'm pretty sure that it isn't even on the menu in any Chinese restaurants in this city. So obviously, the act doesn't really inconvenient Brantford in anyway. I'm sure similar cities with small Asian populations will have no problem taking up the same gesture (or if you prefer, easily enforceable bylaw). The bigger results have to come from the cities like Vancouver and Toronto, where shark fin soup is consumed at weddings and other major event (sadly, I must concede it was served at my wedding -- something I still regret to this day).
I hate to say this, but I can't see Toronto or Vancouver, let alone major cities throughout Asia, adopting a similar bylaw any time soon. I can see politicians condemning it, but I don't see them actively enforcing anything. They may agree it is animal cruelty, but be afraid of upset a rather large demographic. Or more importantly, lose out on possible big business from that demographic.
I could be wrong. I will be very happy to be proven wrong. At this stage, I just don't see any major city (with a large Asian population) passing such a bylaw any time soon. I definitely don't see Brantford's motion as any type of real victory, other than one city making their stance on the act very clear. It'd be nice if this causes a chain reaction, and I'll hold off declaring any of it historic until a city where shark fin soup is consumed actually passes a bylaw against its sale.