Poison threat over Toronto shark fin use

By Terry Davidson ,Toronto Sun,
01. December 2011

TORONTO – Toronto police are investigating a slanderous letter from a supposed animal rights group threatening to poison food in Chinese markets and restaurants.

The letter, which makes reference to both Toronto’s newly-passed shark fin ban and the Chinese community’s use of shark fin in food, was received by an official at the Toronto Chinese Business Association on Tuesday.

Sent by the Animal Liberation of USA/Canada, the letter is rife with racial slurs, refers to Chinese people as “barbarians” and “animal killers,” and claims that members of the liberation are “in your Chinatowns spreading rat poison on meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.”

It also said a “head office” in the U.S. will be supplying the organization with e-coli bacteria.

There was no return address with the letter, said TCBA executive director Barbara Chiu, who received the letter on Tuesday and promptly delivered it to Toronto police, where it was forwarded it to the Hate Crimes Unit.

Chiu also said the TCBA has received hundreds of hateful emails since the passing of the ban, but nothing as threatening as the letter.

Toronto city council passed the ban in October. When it comes into effect in September, it will outlaw the selling or use of shark fin products, including the selling of fin-based dishes – such as shark fin soup – in restaurants.

Shark fin is considered a delicacy in Chinese culture, and the ban has drawn the ire of many in the community.

A spokesman for a pro-shark fin community group formed shortly after the ban was passed lays blame for the letter at the feet of city council. The passing of the ban, he said, has given racists and hate mongers an “excuse” to spread vitriol.

“There are lots of people out there ready to hate, or that have a certain prejudice against certain communities,” said Justin Poy, spokesman for the Fair and Responsible Governance Alliance (FRGA). “The bylaw that was passed…(served as) the reason and the cause to send this letter .”

Poy also said it was out of Toronto council’s jurisdiction to pass the ban in the first place. Such regulations, Poy said, should be handled by the Federal government.

“It’s a sad day for the Chinese community,” said FRGA’s Kai Tao of the letter. He advised the community to be “cautious,” but not become overly alarmed. “This is not about shark fin, this is about a community being hurt (by this letter).”

Shark fin bans have also been passed in municipalities such as Pickering, Oakville, Mississauga. Brantford, and, most recently, London.

Source: The Toronto Sun

Letter (below) from Facebook site of Althia Raj.


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