Published: Tuesday April 29, 2014 MYT 4:30:00 PM
Updated: Monday May 12, 2014 MYT 7:24:45 PM

'You can't eat that!' China bans eating of protected animals

You can feed them, just don't eat them: Caretakers feeding black bear cubs at a zoo in Kunming, Yunnan province, China. – Reuters

You can feed them, just don't eat them: Caretakers feeding black bear cubs at a zoo in Kunming, Yunnan province, China. – Reuters

China will jail people who eat rare animals for 10 years or more under a new interpretation of the criminal law as the government seeks to close a legal loophole and better protect the natural environment.

China lists 420 species as rare or endangered, including the panda, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins, some or all of which are threatened by illegal hunting, environmental destruction and the consumption of animal parts, including for supposedly medicinal reasons.

Outlawed: In China, some people believe eating pangolin foetus is beneficial for breastfeeding mothers. The claim, however, like so much lore surrounding the eating of exotic animals, has no scientific basis. Sadly, due to the rising demand for its meat, the pangolin is now on the verge of total extinction.

Consumption of rare animals has risen as the country has become richer, with some people believing spending thousands of yuan on eating them gives a certain social cache.

“Eating rare wild animals is not only bad social conduct but also a main reason why illegal hunting has not been stopped despite repeated crackdowns,” Lang Sheng, deputy head of parliament’s Legislative Affairs Commission said, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on April 24.

The new interpretation “clears up ambiguities about buyers of prey of illegal hunting”, the report added.

Knowingly buying any wild animals killed by illegal hunting will now be considered a crime, with a maximum penalty of three years in jail, Xinhua said. 

“In fact, buyers are a major motivator of large-scale illegal hunting,” Lang said. – Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Features, China, Law, Animal, wildlife, legislation, eating, food, ban, exotic, species, bear, pangolin, panda, monkey


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