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Hearing chews over wild animal ban in Guangdong
( 2003-07-09 07:03) (China Daily)

"Wild animals'' was the most frequently heard phrase Tuesday at the public hearing on the draft of the Guangdong Provincial Public Health Work Regulations.

Five articles in the draft are set to be discussed and revised giving consideration to extensive suggestions and advice from the representatives appearing at the hearing, from all walks of life in the province.

The major issue under discussion is the changing attitude toward the treatment of wild animals.

Whatever their views, speakers at Tuesday's hearing made at least one thing clear, that is, the revision of the current article is a must.

Article Seven of the draft states that citizens should maintain civilized and hygienic eating habits, banning the consumption of wild animals in order to cut the chain of disease transmission.

However, most of the delegates proposed a much more relaxed approach.

Zhang Yuanhao, director of the Guangzhou Public Hygine Office, said it would be better if the draft stressed that wild animals should not be eaten unless they are checked and quarantined.

Some, especially those engaged in animal breeding industry, suggested that the eating ban should only focus on nationally protected wild animals.

In another development, 22 academicians at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Tuesday jointly called on the authorities to strengthen management of wild animals.

A clearer legal definition should be made, they said, suggesting that animals should be put into three categories -- livestock, wild animals that can be bred and wild animals under strict protection.

Meanwhile, changes should be made to the present wild animals protection laws and regulations to improve the fight against any illegal slaughtering and sale of wild animals.

Relevant authorities should also issue a clear regulation to decide which kinds of wild animals are forbidden to be eaten, and to improve the quarantining of all animals.

Basic research work into wild animals should also be improved in order to better protect them, the scientists noted.

In Beijing, the Municipal Forestry Bureau yesterday issued a list of 1,800 species of wild animals which are forbidden to be eaten.

The list which has been put on the website of the Beijing Forestry Bureau -- www.bjfb.gov.cn -- even includes sparrow, a common bird which can often be seen in the city.

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