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Guangzhou to compensate civet cat traders
Updated: 2004-05-31 15:18

Raisers and traders of civet cats will get compensation from the city government in Guangzhou, capital of southern China's Guangdong Province, for their losses from the mass culling of the animals to contain the SARS outbreak this spring.

"We have finished the registry of compensation to those who had their wild animals like civet cats slaughtered this spring," a spokesman for Guangzhou Municipal Wildlife Protection Management Office said.

The total compensation of about 256,800 yuan (US$31,000) will mainly go to the wildlife market traders and restaurants with legal permits to run the wildlife business, according to the spokesman.

Wild animals like civet cats were suspected to be linked to the infectious disease of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on the Chinese mainland as a report in January by the Guangdong Provincial Center for Diseases Control and Prevention showed civet cats have a similar genetic structure with the coronavirus of the province's suspected SARS case.

Though some Chinese scientists argued that the SARS coronavirus might also originate from animals like rats, Guangdong launched a special campaign this spring to kill all civet cats raised for meat in the province to eliminate a possible source of SARS disease.

All wildlife markets in Guangdong were ordered to close with some 10,000 civet cats in wildlife markets estimated to have been culled during the campaign.

According to the province's emergency rules on slaughtered wild animals amid the SARS outbreak, traders and raisers will be compensated 100 to 250 yuan (US$12 to US$30) for each civet cat raised or owned legally by restaurants and farmers.

The SARS epidemic, which had emerged in Guangdong Province in late 2002, spread to Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere in China from late spring and ensuing summer in 2003.

China reported only a few SARS cases this year and its last SARS patient was discharged from Beijing-based Ditan Hospital, ending the latest small-scale outbreak of the deadly disease.

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