A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Feb 15, 2011

Race Saving, not Racism - Does Removing Cruelty Destroy Culture?

It is beyond disappointing that the race card is used to avoid facing conflict, making difficult policy decisions and to applying critical thinking skills.

The preparation of shark fin soup requires a shark fin which is obtained through the practice of shark finning. Shark finning involves catching the sharks, cutting off their fins, and releasing them alive back into the water to suffer a slow painful drowning death. This year President Obama signed The Shark Conservation Act of 2010 which bans the practices and closes a loophole that allowed it in the Pacific Ocean. It further requires that boats in United States waters keep the entire shark carcass intact. Besides the cruelty issue there is an environmental need for this legislation. First, shark populations are dangerously dwindling and in danger of extinction. Second, as scavenger fish, sharks are responsible for and essential to maintaining a thriving and clean ocean. As goes the shark, so goes other marine life.

A state bill, AB 376, introduced by Assembly-persons Fong and Huffman, would prohibit the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins in California. The immediate response was to again characterize this as an attack on the Asian culture. (Los Angeles Times http://lat.ms/fxFkNW) At each hearing on the issue of imports of non-native frogs and turtles, accusations of racism were raised by the live animal market supporters. Enough already. I would hope that a dialogue on the subject could occur without the very divisive use of race and personal persecution as a strategy for victory. Unfortunately, it often works, as in the case of the turtles and frogs, and is then repeated as a winning strategy.  Of course, winning with the race card rather than on the merits feels like a loss to me.

Being mindful and respectful of our planet and its inhabitants is not a racist position but a race saving one.

No comments:

Post a Comment