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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Asian American Group Sues to Stop State Ban of Shark Fin Soup

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 10:00 AM

No more shark fin soup for you!
  • No more shark fin soup for you!

The Chinese community is hoping a federal judge can force California to stop being a bunch of Soup Nazis.

The Asian American Rights Committee of California filed a lawsuit in San Francisco this week, claiming the state's move to ban the sale of shark fins -- which is used to make the gelatinous Chinese delicacy shark fin soup -- is unconstitutional.

The group claims that Assembly Bills 376 and 853, authored by Assemblyman Paul

Fong, violate the Constitution's interstate

commerce clause and constitute an unlawful taking of private property, according to the claim.

"Shark fin soup is an Asian cultural delicacy with origins in the

Ming Dynasty. It is a ceremonial centerpiece of traditional Chinese

banquets, as well as celebrations of weddings and birthdays of one's

elders," the committee says in its federal complaint.

Starting July 1, 2013, it will be illegal to own or sell shark fins in California. Anyone caught doing so could face up to six months in prison and a fine of $1,000. The legislature passed the controversial law in attempt to put an end to shark finning, a practice that includes cutting off a shark's fin and tossing the animal back into the ocean, where it dies a slow death.


a judicial declaration that the Shark Fin Ban violates the United

States Constitution, AARCCA's members face potential criminal sanctions

for ongoing business activities that they have legitimately pursued for

as many as 35 years, in which they have invested substantially, and on

which the vast majority of their income depends," the complaint states.

The group noted that a significant number of the shark fins that its members

possess, sells, trades, and distributes cross state lines as domestic

imports or exports from outside of the United States.


outlawing the acquisition, possession or sale of shark fins in

California, the Shark Fin Ban not only burdens but entirely eliminates

this interstate trade."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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