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July 31, 2009

Chef Alice Waters Vows No Use of Shark Fins in Food

Humane Society International

Alice Waters, the renowned chef, restaurateur and author, has signed Humane Society International's No Shark Fin pledge, committing never to consume or serve shark fin soup or any product containing shark fin. HSI is the global arm of The Humane Society of the United States.

Ms. Waters is the founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., the vice president of Slow Food International and a leader in promoting the use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients.

There are an increasing number of domestic and international bans on shark finning. The United States banned shark finning in 2000 but implemented a complicated enforcement system. The Shark Conservation Act of 2009, introduced by House Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee Chairwoman Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam, would resolve the enforcement problems by requiring that sharks are landed with fins attached. The bill has been passed by the House and awaits action in the Senate.

"Not long ago I learned that every year tens of millions of sharks, their fins brutally sliced off, are thrown back into the ocean to die, and that many shark species are now seriously threatened," Ms. Waters says. "I support Humane Society International's efforts to end this unsustainable practice, and I encourage other chefs and culinary industry leaders to do the same."

Concerned about the shocking decline of shark populations throughout the world, a number of chefs have developed faux shark fin dishes to satisfy consumer demand without the attending ecological devastation.

"We are grateful to Alice Waters for lending her important voice to our efforts to end shark finning," said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The HSUS, who approached Ms. Waters. "We urge culinary experts, policy makers and consumers to join Alice in speaking out to protect sharks."

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Humane Society International and its affiliate organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. HSI is creating a better future for animals and people through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at hsi.org.

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