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U.S. Conservation Group WildAid Joins Shark-Fin Protest at Hong Kong Disneyland

U.S. conservation group WildAid joins shark-fin protest at Hong Kong Disneyland The U.S.-based conservation group WildAid has joined a campaign against Hong Kong Disneyland's plan to sell shark fin soup on its banquet menu at the park's hotel, the organization said Friday.

A WildAid statement accused Disneyland of being "hypocritical" by serving shark fin while saying it cares about the environment.

"You can't have it both ways," WildAid spokesman Victor Wu said in the statement. "Either Disney should withdraw its pro-environment claims, or drop shark fin soup from Hong Kong Disneyland. Anything else is hypocritical."

Greenpeace and the Worldwide Fund for Nature have also urged the park not to serve shark fin when it opens Sept. 12.

Environmentalists say millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins, driving many species close to extinction. The fins are often hacked off and the fish are dumped back into the sea to die.

Hong Kong Disneyland has said it will serve shark fin soup at banquets only when the dish is requested.

Disney spokeswoman Esther Wong said Friday that the park is sticking with its decision to serve shark fin because it's part of the local Chinese culture. She said the need to respect cultures must be balanced with caring for the environment.

But Wu said, "Just because something has been customary in the past is not a justification for wiping out species."

The WildAid spokesman added that Disney "belittles the Chinese people by suggesting that we are not also environmentally conscious or concerned about shark declines."