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Wild meat to remain on Guangdong dinner table
( 2004-01-08 17:24) (Chinadaily.com.cn)

Guangdong Province will not ban the consumption of wildlife despite the controversy over the possible link between the spread of SARS and civet cats, China Youth Daily reports.

A Chinese health worker inspects confiscated civet cats at a train station in Guangzhou. Local authorities are searching wild animal markets and train stations in Guangdong Province as they were given a Saturday deadline to kill about 10,000 civets to eliminate a possible source of the disease. [Reuters]
Officials say that Clause No. 7, abandoning the consumption of wildlife, from the Guangdong Patriotic Sanitation Work Regulations passed on July 25, 2003, will not be revised with the ongoing slaughter of 10,000 civet cats to avoid another SARS outbreak in South China's Guangdong Province.

The clause stipulates that all citizens will form civilized and sanitary eating habits, abandon eating wild game and not consume the meat of animals that are State-protected, prone to transmit diseases, or not checked by quarantine authorities.

So why won't the clause be revised?

At present, civet cats are still among the edible animals on the list from the State Forestry Ministry. However, this does not contradict the regulations, according to Wang Xudong, an official from the Guangdong Provincial Congress.

While the meat of domesticated wildlife, such as deer and partridges, is safe to eat, some non-domesticated wild animals have been linked with unknown viruses. In the post-SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) period, all province market stalls trading wildlife have been vacated, game restaurants have changed their names and most Cantonese residents don't enjoy exotic cuisine anymore. However, there are some who aren't overly concerned, Wang says.

According to Wang, Clause No. 7 aims at advising people not to eat wildlife. When passed, it will have its relative "solemnity" and "stability" because "don'ts cannot be turned into dos in a day."

Furthermore, the clause does not suggest citizens cannot eat wild animals: It calls on citizens to "abandon" some of their eating habits in the hope that they can form healthy eating habits.

" If the Law on the Protection of Wildlife stipulates that eating wildlife will be prohibited, we will definitely revise our regulations," adds Wang.

By Song Hongmei

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