Local residents have a chance to weigh in as Shenzhen’s lawmaking body is seeking public opinion on a draft regulation to completely outlaw wild animal consumption following the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement posted on its official website Tuesday, the Standing Committee of the Shenzhen Municipal’s People Congress, the city’s legislature, said the move aims to eliminate people’s die-hard habits of wildlife consumption, safeguard biological and ecological safety, and effectively prevent major public health risks.
All individuals who wish to comment on the new regulation can do so by March 5. Opinions can be expressed via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax or letters.
The draft bans the consumption of all terrestrial animals living in the wild, no matter whether they are on the country’s protection list or not. The consumption of domesticated and bred wild animals is also banned, given that the current supervision system for domesticated and bred wild animals is not sufficiently sound, coupled with a lack of qualified quarantine tools and standards to ensure food safety.
Regarding popularly consumed domesticated and bred animals such as snakes, insects, birds and turtles, the draft also excludes them from the edible list for safety reasons.
Additionally, cats, dogs and animals used for research are regarded as illegal to consume.
The draft also defines a “white list” that includes two categories of edible animals, namely livestock and poultry, such as pig, cattle, goat, sheep, donkey, rabbit, chicken, duck, geese, pigeon, and aquatic species not barred from consumption in laws.
Animal derivatives, such as honey, bird’s nests and Chinese forest frogs, are interpreted as legal for consumption.
Consumers of nonprotected wildlife will be fined between 1,000 yuan (US$142) and 2,000 yuan. Organizers of the banquets will be fined between 5,000 and 10,000 yuan.
The fine for consumers of protected wild animals at public eateries is from 2,000 to 20,000 yuan each and for organizers from 10,000 to 50,000 yuan.
Penalties will also be imposed on people running wildlife businesses. In such cases fines will range from 20,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan and licenses will be revoked.
Research has suggested that 78 percent of novel contagious diseases among humans are related to wild animals or originate from them.
A survey by Shenzhen news portal, www.sznews.com, yesterday showed that nearly 95 percent of people agreed eating of animals living in the wild should be prohibited. Another 29.3 percent voted against the eating of bred wildlife such as turtles, snakes, birds and insects, 73 percent against animals and related products used for research, and 70 percent against pets.
Some netizens on China’s twitter-like Weibo commented that they support this move, thinking it is worth spreading across the country, while others thought it sounds like a “one size fits all” solution, especially when it comes to the ban on eating softshell turtles, which have been used for food and medicine for hundreds of years in China.