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(TH) Shark fin

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  • Dr John Wedderburn
    eateries sue green group for lost trade Agence France-Presse http://www.hk-imail.com/inews/public/article_v.cfm?articleid=28616&intcatid= 3 BANGKOK: Shark fin
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2001
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      eateries sue green group for lost trade
      Agence France-Presse

      http://www.hk-imail.com/inews/public/article_v.cfm?articleid=28616&intcatid=
      3

      BANGKOK: Shark fin soup restaurants in Bangkok's Chinatown yesterday filed a
      103 million baht (HK$17.51 million) law suit against conservation group
      WildAid over its high-profile campaign against the costly dish.
      The group of 15 restaurateurs said their trade had dropped by up to half
      since the activists launched an advertising campaign two months ago claiming
      that shark fins contain poisonous mercury.
      ``The campaign has not only spoiled our decades-old reputation but also our
      sales,'' said Chinatown Food Producers Group chairman Adul Laohapol, adding
      that sales of canned shark fin soup had also fallen.
      ``The plaintiff has been damaged because overseas supermarkets returned
      products, fearing the shark fin was laced with mercury as the group
      claimed,'' court papers said.
      Mr Adul said the suit also targeted advertising agency JWalter Thompson,
      which devised the shock advertisements that included pictures of a bowl of
      soup with human ears floating on the surface.
      ``If shark fin traders do not take any action it will cause them billions of
      baht in damages in the future,'' Mr Adul said, adding that any proceeds from
      the court case would be donated to Thailand's tourism authority.
      WildAid has argued that the trade in shark fins will damage Thailand's
      valuable tourism industry by wiping out the species of sharks that scuba
      divers come from all around the world to see.
      It also said that the way the fins are harvested - by slicing the cartilage
      off the body and dumping the animal in the sea to die - is cruel, and that
      the dish has no health benefits, as its proponents claim.
      WildAid director Steven Galster yesterday vowed not to call off the
      campaign, despite the legal action and ``vague threats'' from shark fin
      traders which have prompted him to hire security for the group's offices.
      ``WildAid stands behind its campaign to raise public awareness about the
      realities associated with the trade in sharks fins, and will not back down
      from legal or other types of threats,'' he said.
      ``We told and showed the public the truth. We remain committed to working
      co-operatively with shark fin merchants in order to find a solution that
      benefits sharks, the oceans, and Thailand.''
      Mr Galster said the campaign had been stepped up after initial efforts to
      engage the support of shark fin merchants were rejected, with the traders
      dismissing WildAid's action as ``toothless''.
      ``We are happy about our progress, but still desire a co-operative approach
      with shark fin merchants on how to resolve this problem,'' he said.
      1 September 2001 / 02:01 AM
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