May 6, 2011 6:08 PM by Associated Press (CM)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A California proposal to outlaw the title ingredient in shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy, has turned into a recipe for controversy in San Francisco, home to the nation's oldest Chinatown.
A bill moving through the state Legislature would ban the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins.
Supporters say shark finning is inhumane and a threat to the ocean ecosystem. But critics say the consumption of shark fins is a cherished part of Chinese culture.
In San Francisco, where the population is nearly one-third Asian, the debate has pulled in chefs, politicians and even Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who appears in anti-finning ads on city buses and billboards.
Shark fins may prove an unexpected ingredient in this year's mayoral race, which includes three prominent Asian Americans. Two have come out for the ban, while one opposes it.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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