Asian American Group Sues to Stop State Ban of Shark Fin Soup
|No more shark fin soup for you!|
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.
"Absent 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.
"By 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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