It's Over! Common Sense Prevails!
On Friday, 24 June 2005, Disney executives backed down. The "official" reason is that Disney says they could not
find a "sustainable" source for shark fins - however, Disney executives clearly felt the pressure from the thousands of
emails, letters, and phone calls it was receiving as well as the escalating calls for a boycott.
And to everyone who supported this effort, know this: Thank You, from all of us. You did it. You made a difference.
(CloserToFree.org will now be re-engineered to provide further information about ocean conservancy issues. Please check back in August 2005.)
The Disney Situation
In May 2005, Disney announced that shark fin soup will be available for business dinners, special events, and weddings at Hong Kong Disneyland,
which is scheduled to open in September 2005. Many organizations have formally requested Disney to remove this item from the menu, but
Disney has refused. The Disney publicity machine has this to say:
"Hong Kong Disneyland takes environmental stewardship very seriously but we are equally sensitive to the local cultures. It is customary for
Chinese restaurants and 5-star hotels to serve shark fin soup in Hong Kong as the dish is considered as an integral part of Chinese banquets."
(Esther Wong, Public Relations Manager. Quote also attributed to Irene Chan.)
Let's be realistic - If the bean counters at Disney thought they would lose money selling apples, then apples wouldn't be on the menu no
matter how "culturally important" apples are. In reality, Disney is simply hiding behind the cultural practices of another nation to offer a
profitable menu item to the wealthy elite. This simple truth cannot be denied since selling shark fin soup clearly violates Disney's own
corporate and environmental policies. Unfortunately, this situation has not gained much publicity in the American media (yet).
This issue affects shark populations globally, not just sharks found in the waters near Hong Kong. In the last 15 years alone,
shark populations in the North West Atlantic have declined between 60-90 percent depending on the species. In June 2005,
CloserToFree.org started a simple letter-writing campaign that we hope will convince Disney executives that participating in the
shark fin trade is not a wise corporate decision.
Disney Corporate Policy
Disney's corporate policy currently reads as follows:
From inception, The Walt Disney Company has been dedicated to protecting our environment through conservation. Walt Disney himself
spoke of the inherent importance of such a mindset years ago:
The methods used to obtain shark fin soup are incredibly wasteful and are contributing to a global population drop in numerous shark species.
Apparently, Disney has decided to abandon its own policies (and the explicit wishes of its sole founder) in exchange for a little extra cash.
"Conservation … is a science whose principles are written in the oldest code in the world, the laws of nature. The natural resources
of our vast continent are not inexhaustible. But if we will use our riches wisely, if we will protect our wildlife and preserve our
lakes and streams, these things will last us for generations to come." (Walt Disney)
Our objective is to create a pressure campaign (based on simple logic) that will generate so much negative publicity Disney must
directly address the situation in the American media. Although we applaud Disney for respecting other cultures globally, there is
no excuse for Disney to participate in - and profit from - this shameful practice.
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What You Can Do
Like Congress, Disney executives know that one letter represents the opinions of 1000 people. Disney execs desperately want to
avoid negative publicity (particularly in the US and among US children) and they will definitely take notice of the letters you send.
To assist in this effort, simply follow these steps:
Three seconds of your day and one stamp can stop a corporation from exploiting an entire ecosystem.
- Print out this Form Letter.
- Sign your name at the bottom.
- Mail it to this address:
Mr. Robert Iger and Michael Eisner
Chief Executive Officer
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4873
- Help us spread the word by forwarding the email you received (or this website address) to your friends and
professional contacts who can help us gain additional media attention.
If you are a scuba diver who has enjoyed the beauty of the ocean, you are honor-bound to protect it from corporate greed.
For more information, please read the overview about Shark Fin Soup and a summary of
Shark Population Declines.