SHENZHEN: Many wild meat lovers in the country, along with those catering to their special tastes, might feel the repercussions of the Covid-19 outbreak soon as legislators try to shorten their menus.
Since the top legislature vowed to put an end to wildlife consumption on Feb 24, many legislators have started soliciting public opinion on what animals should be pardoned.
Lawmakers in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, where wild meat has been a traditional delicacy, are among the first in the nation working to transform the top legislature’s decision into a workable list of animals that can be consumed.
They will continue seeking public opinions until tomorrow.
Shenzhen’s draft Bill exempts farmed pigs, cattle, sheep, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons and some aquatic animals from the ban.
The list might be adjusted after the consultation.
Conversely, pets such as cats and dogs as well as animals used for scientific research are banned from consumption, according to the draft.
At issue are soft-shell turtles, snakes, birds, frogs and insects, which are artificially bred in large numbers across the country but have not been placed on Shenzhen’s list, as the lawmakers allege that the current food supervision and quarantine system is not developed enough to ensure these animals are safe to eat.
Liu Shuguang, head of the legislative affairs commission of Shenzhen people’s congress, said that their investigation shows there was no wild animal breeding industry for food purposes in Shenzhen. Further, the market share in catering and trading is very small, therefore the ban is not inappropriate.
But some are not buying that claim. Chen Xiaoshi, former head of the Guangdong soft-shell turtle farming industry association, told China Business Network that the turtle has been managed as an aquatic animal, which falls under economic aquatic products that are not under protection.
Chen also said Hanshou county of Hunan province was praised by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 1978 after local farmers succeeded in artificially breeding the turtles, which led to them being officially recognised as a local specialty.
Statistics show the output of softshell turtles in the country was 300,000 metric tons last year-valued at nearly 100 billion yuan (RM60bil)-and led to the creation of more than two million jobs. -- China Daily/ANN
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