Governor Andrew Cuomo officially signed off on a law banning the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in the state of New York, to the great relief of environmentalists who say up to 73 million sharks are used to make shark fin soup each year.
Legislation for the ban passed unanimously in both chambers in May. Critics have argued that the dish is an integral part of traditional Chinese culture, but the Chinese government itself last year announced the soup would no longer be served at official state banquets, so...so much for that!
Shark fins are often obtained through the process of "finning," which involves slicing off the animal's fin and then tossing it back into the water, leaving it to bleed to death or drown. For this reason, paired with dwindling shark populations, environmental advocates are thrilled by the ban.
“New York will no longer be a haven for the cruel and unsustainable trade in shark fins," Patrick Kwan, director of grassroots organizing for the Humane Society, said in a statement. "The Empire State has long taken action to protect other threatened and endangered species such as tigers and elephants, now we’re taking action to protect sharks and help end the cruelty of shark finning worldwide.”