I remember my grandmother's tale of eating both shark fin soup and bird's nest soup when she visited Hong Kong in the mid 80s. Being of a generation that mostly didn't consider ecological impact, I'm sure she wasn't fazed by sampling the delicacies and wasn't aware of how the meals came to her table. Although neither sounds particularly appealing to me, bird's nest soup at one point was more ecologically friendly than shark fin soup which is the product of the slaughter of sharks, as nests were traditionally harvested after fledglings departed. However, with money always being a factor, farming of the bird nests has become a lucrative business. Birds build a nest, and it is then harvested before eggs are laid. The birds then build another nest to accommodate eggs, and many nests are now taken either before either the eggs can hatch or before fledglings can leave the nest which has led to a decline in the swiftlet population. Both kinds of soup can fetch up to $100 per bowl.
Paul Hilton / EPA
Activists from the Hong Kong Shark Foundation pose for three minutes at Time Square in Hong Kong, China, on Oct. 9. The Hong Kong Shark Foundation is calling for Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang to remove shark fin soup from all official government functions. Around 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins to satisfy Asian demand for the infamous luxury culinary dish.