Angry at Delta for serving shark fin soup?

I saw this thread in the Delta forum today and have to say that I agree with the sentiments. With the recent press release about Delta’s inaugural flight to Shanghai you’d think most would be focusing on this new, historic route, but instead many FlyerTalk members are appalled by a very minor detail in the press release, bolded below.

Shanghai, China — They served Coca-Cola along with the “braised shark’s fin soup with cucumber and fish maw” Monday night at the welcoming celebration for Delta Air Lines‘ inaugural non-stop flight from Atlanta.

While I understand that it’s a delicacy in China, I really think it was a poor choice for Delta to make, especially considering that their clientele is largely American. The thread linked above does a good job of explaining the sentiments of some. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning those that eat shark fins, I understand it’s a cultural thing and there’s no way I could call myself a global citizen and condemn it, but I just think it was a bad business decision for Delta to make. They would have probably been better off serving some Chinese delicacy which isn’t quite as controversial among other cultures. As minor as it might be I think it’s something Delta will regret.


  1. The whole “it’s a cultural thing” argument is somewhat dubious. Cultures in the past did lots of things that we consider repulsive or simply inappropriate today. Would any carrier starting service to, say, Japan consider serving whale meat as a local delicacy?

  2. OK, let me rephrase it a bit. I think most of us can agree that the techniques used in slaughterhouses in the US are less than humane, but most in our society don’t have much of a problem with them or at least don’t act on their problem with them. Obviously shark fin soup is made in a much more cruel way, but ultimately both techniques are inhumane. For me to say “Damn them for their cruelty” when I eat meat would seem a bit hypocritical, especially since shark fin soup is believed to be quite the healer for certain problems.

  3. Well, there is certainly the aspect of animal cruelty, as well as the wastefulness of the practice — at least the slaughterhouses in the US pretty much use every bit of meat (and more) of the animals. But also the fact that modern industrial fishing methods have apparently lead to a significant reduction of shark population in our oceans. Sure, they are not cute and cuddly animals, but they (as all species) do play an important role in their eco system. Is it right to put the survival of a species at risk just because a certain culture has always considered it part of their diet (well, I am sure a hundred years ago, few Chinese ever ate shark fin soup)?

    Cultures change and develop. Hopefully for the better!

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