Friday, January 22, 2010

Hooray For Yao Ming!

I've told you guys before about the horrors of killing sharks for their fins. The fins are used to make shark fin soup which sells for almost $100 a bowl and is an asian delicacy. Almost 100 million sharks are killed each year becuase of demand for this soup and as a result, many shark species are now threatened with extinction. The demand for this soup is on the rise and a well known sports superstar has stepped in to put a stop to the killing.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the practice of shark finning, it works like this: sharks are pulled from the water, their fins are sliced off and the sharks are then thrown back into the water to die a slow death. Isn't that one of the cruelest things you've ever heard? Sharks are very long lived species and killing them in their prime means populations cannot be sustained. Sharks are also apex predators, which means they are at the top of the food chain and the entire food chain depends on them. They are also keystone species, which means that their presence contributes to the diversity of the life in their ecosystem and their absence (extinction) would lead to the extinction of other animal species. The bottom line is we need sharks. They keep everything in the oceans in balance. Without them, ocean ecosystems collapse.

Yao Ming, a basketball player for the Houston Rockets, is from China and is using his celebrity to influence the citizens of China into giving up their taste for shark fin soup. Last year he got involved with the conservation group WildAid, which is partnering with the group Shark Savers, to get the message out about the horrors of shark fin soup. The "Buy a Billboard" campaign is a year old and the results so have have been great.

For $100, anyone can purchase a bus stop billboard featuring Yao Ming urging people to say no to shark fin soup. Each billboard is in place for one year and the message is proving very effective. According to the website, WildAid had billboards in Beijing for 3 months last year and a survey showed that 19% of Beijiners remember seeing the billboards and 82% of those people said they would stop or reduce their consumption of shark fin soup. Hooray! There's hope for sharks!

WildAid is also running the following commercial on stations throughout China. Yao is very determined to educate the public about shark fin soup as is evident when he told reporters "We have a species that need our attention and protection. They are endangered by excessive hunting by humans and deprived of habitats due to human greed." You tell 'em Yao!

I'm hoping other celebrities will get involved with the campaign and do PSA's or put their faces on billboards. Yao is big in China but so are lots of other celebrities. And what about putting some billboards here in the U.S.? There's a very large (and growing) asian population in the states and shark fin soup is sold in most major cities. How about putting a billboard in Times Square? Or maybe on the Las Vegas Strip? We need to get the message out and do it quick. Time is ticking.

If you would like to buy a billboard, donate to the cause, or just get additional information about the campaign, please visit Shark Savers. This grassroots organization is doing all it can do to ensure that sharks remain in our oceans and not on our plates. If you cannot afford to or don't want to donate the entire $100 toward a billboard, please email me and Mom will pay for the remainder of your billboard. Mom has also committed to match each billboard you purchase with her own billboard purchase (up to 10 billboards).

Please get the message out about shark fin soup. Even if you don't purchase a billboard you still have your voice. Your message can and will be heard loud and clear as you tell the world to stop eating shark fin soup.


Archie and Melissa said...

hi stubby!
oh what a great post! there are so many wonderful projects going on around us that i know i would not know about if it were not for you and your mom!

have a wonderful weekend!

m & e

Anonymous said...

This is a great topic! It isn't just china either, Japan is very bad for killing sharks for the fins.
There was a movie that just came out a few months ago, the adds made it look like a creepy deep sea movie but it turned out it was a domcumentary about this guy trying to take down the shark killing.

Ahh crap, i just found it and it was about Dolphins. Well either way, they are both bad!! Its called The COve if you are interested lol

Kelly said...


I love seeing celebs step up and use their fame for a good cause! Shark finning makes me literally ill. I hope the message continues to spread and this practice is put to rest soon!!!!


PS Stubby, oh my goodness, your birthday poem for me was the sweetest thing EVER! Thank you SO much for writing that!!!!! xoxo

dw said...

I like Yao, so it's also nice to see he's supporting a worthwhile cause. One thing, however....those many of the billboards in China, just like the big boards in Time Square, are lit up. I swear Shanghai uses enough energy to light their billboards that they could power all of Chicago! Isn't there a less-electric way of getting the message across? As always, thanks for keeping us up to date on these important issues! Oh, and tomorrow I go meet the puggie!! Squeeeeee! I'm excited and I know it'll be hard to wait another week to go get her to bring home, but I want to have everything properly ready for her. :)

THE PUGLET said...

Hey Stubbs!

Thanks for putting me on your alert list. Now I know about the bad things people are doing to sharks. The slow-death part made my human especially sad.

What the???

I wish I had money to buy a billboard in SF's Chinatown. I bet if more people knew about the slow-death part, the soup wouldn't taste good.

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! There are soooo many projects going on around the globe. It's somewhat overwhelming at times to think of the problems out there but I like to focus on solutions to those problems.

Have a great weekend!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Lex! You are so right that it's not just China where this is happening. It's happening all over the world primarily to feed the asian market.

I've heard of the movie "The Cove" but I haven't seen it yet. I've seen many documentaries on tv similiar to it and I'm glad it's finally garnering a wider audience. It's a cruel, serious issue and hopefully people will start to take actions against it.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Pearly Poo! Shark finning makes me ill too. I can't even believe that there's people out there that could do that to sharks.

So many celebs step up and use their fame to support causes. Everyone has a voice and can make a difference. It takes a village, right?

Stubby xoxo

Pee-s: I'm so glad you loved your poem. It came from my heart.

Stubby said...

Hi dw! I agree with you on the energy usage of the billboards. Since these billboards are at bus stops, I'm hoping they use less energy (because they are smaller). There really is a better way to power them and that would be solar power. They do that with stop signs here and I'm sure it would work for bus stops.

I'm so excited that you get to meet your puggie tomorrow. Take lots of pictures and post them as soon as you get home. I can't wait to meet both of you on Valentine's Day.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! I'm so glad you got the alert. Thanks for suggesting it because I had no idea it was even available.

There are so many bad things that humans do to animals but there are also lots of good things. The point is to be aware of the issues and to educate others.

Buying a billboard in Chinatown is a great idea. I wonder if a similar program could be created in SF. I hope that if people knew about the slow death part they would stop eating the soup. I'm sure it doesn't even taste good.

Stubby xoxo

Hank said...

Well, good fer that Yao Ming fella!

I never even heard o' shark finnin' but that's just down right mean. An' the soup don't sound too tasty, either!

Smushie Ranch said...

Hey Stubby,

Tell your mom thanks a bunch for such an awesome post. To tell the truth, our mom isn't a huge fan of sharks because there's always Great Whites just off our coast so she won't go surfing anymore. But she does respect them and admire them for their beauty, she just doesn't wants to swim with 'em.

We're hoping stuff like Yao's ad and Shark Savers are successful in changing people mind about shark fin soup.

Stella, Gunther and Betty

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Hi Stubby
Thank you again for alerting us to whats is going on.
That is sooo sad about that slow shark death.
Geeze- poor little animals !
I am also happy to see celebrities get involved .

Pugelicious said...

Good on him. I feel the same about the whale slaughtering. I admire anyone who used their fame to do something worthwhile like this. I wish him every success.

Stubby said...

Hi Hank! It is so mean what they do to those poor sharks. I'll eat just about anything but I would never eat shark fin soup - yuk! Give me some Popeyes any day!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Stella, Gunther & Betty! That's so cool that you have great white sharks just outside your door. Respect is all anyone can ask for with animals. For some reason people don't like sharks and Mom says it has something to do with a movie that came out in the 70's.

Mom and Dad swam with sharks in South America and loved it. They are so crazy!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! You are just like me - we both love all the creatures of the ocean. I'm so glad that celebrities are getting involved in animal causes and I'm hoping that people start to stand up and take notice.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Debbie! I'm with you - celebrities using their celebrity to do good is a great idea. I hope people start to change their ways because of what they learn from the campaign. Go Yao!

Stubby xoxo