Yao Ming and Branson agree

Yao Ming and Branson agree

20 September, 2011
Say No to Shark Fin
WildAid China anti-shark fin campaign brings in the big boys

International conservation organisation WildAid and Chinese basketball star and WildAid Ambassador, Yao Ming have joined forces with British entrepreneur, Richard Branson and his non profit foundation Virgin Unite, in a global campaign to save sharks.

Branson and Ming both filmed public service announcements in support of WildAid’s shark campaign, drawing attention to the increasing demand for shark fin soup and the devastating effect this demand is having on global shark populations. The messages will broadcast across national and international media via WildAid’s pro-bono media network, beginning today.

Every year, the fins of up to 73 million sharks are harvested and sold, mostly for shark fin soup. In a cruel and wasteful practice called ‘finning’ sharks are caught and their fins are cut off. The rest of the shark can be thrown back into the sea, dead or dying. Around 95% of the shark is wasted. The ongoing and increasing demand for shark fin is holding many species on the brink of extinction, further threatening marine ecosystems the world over.

Ming and Branson will today launch the campaign with WildAid and meet with representatives of government, media, NGO’s and business to engage their support to prevent the extinction of shark populations and even entire species, asking Chinese consumers to take a pledge at the WildAid website www.wildaidchina.org/sayno to stop eating shark fin soup.

Yao Ming committed to stop eating shark fin soup in 2006 after learning of the cruel and wasteful practice of ‘finning’ and the threat of extinction facing many shark populations, as a result of demand for their fins. He has been an Ambassador for WildAid’s shark campaign ever since saying “I urge business leaders to lead the way, taking urgent action, including ending the consumption of shark fin soup at business events, to combat the current uncontrolled decline in shark populations and species. Unless we act now we will witness the extinction of many shark species’.

Sir Richard Branson, working with Virgin Unite, the Virgin Group’s non-profit foundation is backing the shark conservation campaign after swimming with the great whale sharks during their annual migration through the Gulf of Mexico. Sir Richard said “I simply cannot imagine a world without sharks – we must not let this happen. These important creatures have swum in the world’s oceans for some 400 million years and play a critical role in ecosystem stability, yet mankind could wipe them out in a single generation. We have to act now”.

URBN Hotel, China’s first carbon neutral hotel, does not serve shark fin soup and supports WildAid’s campaign. Chef David Laris says, “We are proud to host WildAid, Yao Ming and Richard Branson on this momentous occasion and pledge to never serve shark fin soup in our restaurant and hotel. I take the pledge personally, to never eat shark fin soup and urge other hotels and restaurants to show leadership and also commit to stop serving shark fin soup.”

By: Ecozine Staff


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