On a recent visit to Vietnam, Donald Trump sunk his big white teeth into an unfortunate victim. He was eating shark fin soup – an Asian delicacy responsible for the huge decline in sharks around the world, which is wreaking havoc on the delicate balance of our oceans.
Shark fin soup is eaten mainly in Asia as a lavish status symbol. While the dish might have some cultural significance, its environmental effects cannot be ignored – it’s thought that over 70 million sharks are killed each year just for their fins.
While many might prefer our seas to be shark-free, lots of sharks make for a healthy ocean, as they control the abundance of species further down the food chain. And if you think they’re scary, man-eating monsters, remember – you’re more likely to be killed by champagne corks, vending machines, a hot dog, and cows.
With everything from climate change to plastics ruining the world’s waters, raising awareness of shark conservation is more important than ever – especially when the President of the United States doesn’t seem overly concerned.
In response to someone saying they wouldn’t eat at a restaurant where shark fin soup was on the menu, Trump tweeted: “Sharks are last on my list – other than perhaps the losers and haters of the world!” He also once served the dish at his failed Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City.
The process of “finning” – removing a shark’s fins whilst it is alive and tossing it back into the water – is controversial due to its cruelty, and incredibly unsustainable as it uses only a tiny portion of a shark’s body. Unsurprisingly, then, Trump's meal of shark fin soup caused quite a stir.