This article appeared in China Daily http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hkedition/2010-09/08/content_11271336.htmWhale of a horror story
By Simon Parry (HK Edition)
Updated: 2010-09-08 07:37
"A three-minute video filming of the killing of a whale shark on a Philippine beach has started changing the palate and taste of Hong Kong. Simon Parry reports.
It is a pathetic, heart-rending sight. A bloodied whale shark lies motionless on a beach in the Philippines after suffering a painful death and a gaggle of fishermen and tourists stroll casually around its crumpled corpse.
The shark was captured by hunters who hacked its fins and then dumped it back in the sea to die. For the fishermen, who towed it to shore to give it a mercifully quicker death, it was all too common a sight in the waters of the Pacific Ocean where impoverished fishing communities value sharks for their fins.
This death was different, however.
A group of tourists from Hong Kong, who were witness to the horror scene and captured the act of cruelty on their video cameras, have lent a loud voice to the campaign against the culture of shark's fin consumption.
The three-minute footage has become an Internet fodder for activists, joined in by tens of thousands on YouTube and other sites. A hugely popular campaign has been launched on Facebook calling for cutting gift money for Hong Kong couples who serve shark's fin at their wedding banquets.
Some 19,000 people have signed up for the Chinese-language Facebook page titled Say No to Shark's Fin Soup.
For those Hong Kong tourists, who filmed the whale shark's painful death, as well as the countless Facebook campaigners, the message is the same: "I'll never eat shark's fin again."
Now, six months after the video started circulating, there are signs of a sea-change in people's opinion about the shark's fin trade in Hong Kong, which according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), accounts for half the global business. An estimated 73 million sharks are slaughtered a year. "
If you haven't seen that video of the whale shark dying on the beach of Anilao, watch it here... Warning: Very sad...
The shark's horrible death stirred many HK people into action.