Jan 30, 2023
Food Blogger Who Cooked and Ate Great White Shark Is Fined $18,500
(Bloomberg) -- A food blogger in China was fined 125,000 yuan ($18,500) by authorities after she posted a video showing her illegally buying and eating a great white shark, a clip that prompted a backlash online.
The woman broke China’s wildlife protection laws when she purchased the animal in April last year and later consumed it, officials in Nanchong, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, said in a statement over the weekend. Officials identified the woman only as Jin, and she goes by Tizi in her videos.
Jin paid 7,700 yuan on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Taobao shopping site for the animal, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified as a vulnerable species whose population has declined sharply.
In July 2022, the woman posted videos on the social media sites Douyin and Kuaishou showing her picking up the roughly 2 meter (6.6 foot) shark from a shop, posing with it, and cooking and eating the animal. The clip went viral in China, with many people complaining about cruelty to animals.
Authorities in Nanchong began investigating the influencer in August. DNA tests from tissue remnants confirmed it was a white shark, which is protected under Chinese law. Two other individuals involved in catching and selling the animal were also arrested.
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China imposed a total ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals in February 2020 to curb activities that scientists say may have caused the deadly coronavirus to jump from animals to humans.
China officially clamped down on shark fin soup a decade ago, but consuming certain exotic, wild animals or their parts remains popular due to often unproven claims they provide health benefits. The nation revised its wildlife protection laws recently to boost penalties for poaching, and banned practices like hunting and consuming most wildlife from May.
Still, some wildlife campaigners say the effort doesn’t go far enough to outlaw activities like captive breeding.
--With assistance from Tao Zhang.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.