In today’s society, culture and customs vary immensely worldwide. These customs span from dress, to religious beliefs, to gender roles. Food and its ingredients are a major difference among cultures. Delicacies such as the cheeseburger are mouthwatering to most Americans, while utterly offensive to most in India, where cows are sacred. While we keep dogs as pets in America, some are horrified to find out that dog meat is common in places such as China. This shows how hard it would be to set baseline moral principles regarding eating meat from certain animals, because animals are valued differently worldwide.
Personally, I believe that all customs should be respected and honored. However some practices, such as shark fin soup, target animals who are becoming endangered. I believe that we have a moral obligation to protect animals who are endangered, and that this moral principle trumps cultural tradition. Meat can be substituted or supplemented easily. While this may not hold the same exact meaning as before, cultures can shift. Besides, if a culture’s culinary practices rely on an endangered animal, the practice would have to be shifted once the animal inevitably becomes extinct. Therefore, byproactively altering custom, a culture arrives at the same result they otherwise would have, all the while saving an animal species from extreme endangerment or extinction.