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Letters

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 January, 2010, 12:00am

Businesses must stop bidding for endangered bluefin tuna

I wonder if any of your readers would ever consider bidding for a Siberian tiger as a promotion, or eat a polar bear or Asian elephant steak, just because the animals' numbers are declining.

Bluefin tuna shares a similar endangered status as these animals. The only difference is that it is still legal to trade and devour species of tuna before the world decides on an international ban on trading it in March.

Sadly, January is the time to bid for bluefin tuna in Tokyo's Tsukiji market.

We know some restaurants in Hong Kong may make bids and bring the fish back here for high-profile promotions.

WWF urges readers to play no part in such bidding activities. Bluefin tuna conservation is a hot topic globally. Using bluefin tuna as a promotional gimmick may result in negative publicity for a business.

There is concern over farmed and wild-caught bluefin tuna because the farmed juveniles are still taken from the wild.

Businesses with a conscience and which embrace corporate social responsibility do not need governments to stop them from exploiting endangered wildlife. For them it is not a question of whether or not consumption is legal or outlawed.

In a modern society like Hong Kong, we can be the model for sustainable consumption by simply saying 'no' to species that are in deep trouble.

With support from some leaders in the catering industry and more than 3,000 people who have supported our stand on bluefin tuna, WWF calls on restaurants to stop bidding for bluefin tuna in Japan's Tsukiji market.

Give these magnificent fish a chance to survive. Less consumption means a better chance of survival. What we are asking for is a slight change in business practices towards sustainability with a conscience.

Hong Kong people might have known little about the bluefish tuna's endangered status before its introduction to the local market, but they can no longer claim ignorance.

Guillermo Moreno, head of marine programme, WWF-Hong Kong

The dark side of organised religion

Your readers were treated to a 'moral' message on tolerance for 2010 from the Catholic Church in Hong Kong ('Church leaders urge city to be more tolerant', December 24).

It may sound very nice unless, of course, you are gay or if you happen to be a woman - then tolerance would not be the word you would use to describe the Catholic Church. The church's prejudice towards one's sexual persuasion and gender is not the whole reason for my feelings of hostility.

Two reports from Ireland, by Mr Justice Sean Ryan and Judge Yvonne Murphy, have finally shed light on acts of child abuse within the Catholic Church's schools and orphanages. These were abuses on such an inconceivable scale that it beggars belief. Their reports highlighted the efforts the church, in cahoots with the authorities, made to cover up these disgusting crimes.

Society has afforded religion automatic respect for far too long. How tragic the consequences can be for this ill-considered respect for all things religious - that religion is necessary for morality.

It has been taboo to criticise it and, because of that, thousands of children had their formative years turned into a nightmare, where they were flogged, punched, humiliated, semi-starved, degraded and raped.

Chris Wilson, Lantau

John Paul and Pius will be worthy saints

I commend the Vatican for its decrees regarding Pope John Paul II and Pope Pius XII ('Two former pontiffs move closer to sainthood', December 20). John Paul was a man of deep faith and a model witness to the life of Christ. His many writings and tireless, world-wide pilgrimages of faith were a source of strength, encouragement, confidence, optimism and enlightenment not only to Catholics but to all men of goodwill.

Pius also possessed 'heroic virtue'. Despite efforts to cast a dark shadow over his good character it is an irrefutable fact that Pius and the Catholic Church saved more Jews in Europe during the second world war than any other party, with the exception of the Allied army.

He often acted secretly, because, he foresaw that only in this way could he avoid the worst and save the greatest possible number of Jews. In 1946 Isaac Herzog, chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, wrote to Pius thanking him for helping Jews during the Holocaust.

Paul Kokoski, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Pet shops are an absolute disgrace

I read with interest the heartwarming story about Rosina Arquati's work ('Pets have their thoughts and feelings too, says woman who 'talks to the animals'', December 20). I was also interested by the article in Postmagazine ('Keeping pets is a lifetime of responsibility that requires effort and money', December 20).

Ironically, I was in a part of Hong Kong that weekend where there was a whole street full of small pet shops. They were crammed with kittens and puppies. There were some large dogs in cages so small they could not stand up. The animals had inadequate access to water and proper hygiene.

This kind of cruel, inhumane, and sad treatment of these animals needs to be stopped.

This situation is also feeding Hong Kong's problem of abandoned animals and adoption problems arising due to the traumatised history of these animals. They may also be presenting health risks to humans given the disease-breeding conditions they are kept in.

These abused pet store animals have a lot to say, but no one is listening. The South China Morning Post can bring much-needed attention to this scandal and contribute to the public understanding necessary for the solutions.

Sharon Hom, Mid-Levels

Our selfish attitudes damage the planet

I recently went to see the disaster film 2012, in which the world was under threat, and it evoked strong feelings. I saw it as a wake-up call.

I wonder how many of us think about what we can do to help the environment.

How many Hong Kong people actually recycle paper or categorise their refuse, separating, for example, the waste paper from plastic bottles.

We all have an obligation to protect our planet.

Unfortunately, so many people are materialistic and want to buy and own things of value. In such a materialistic society, we take too much for granted.

We all know that air-conditioners contribute to global warming. But how many people adjust the temperatures so they are not so cold, and do less damage - or switch them off when they do not need them?

Surely, we can all put up with warm temperatures for a short while, during the summer.

I also believe that property developers must act responsibly, and yet they only focus on making their businesses as lucrative as possible.

Some of them build skyscrapers which are designed in such a way that they make the air quality in Hong Kong worse.

This is not an environmentally friendly attitude to take.

Inevitably we must all pay the price of damaging our earth, and we need to act promptly if we want to save it.

Catherine Sam, Ho Man Tin

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