Breaking news: Chinese provinces announce plans to buy out wildlife breeders, end trade in wild animals for food

By on May 19, 2020 with 8 Comments

Four Chinese provinces will offer farmers a government buy-out or other financial help to stop breeding wild animals like civets and cobras for food. This move is part of a continuing crackdown by China and its individual provinces and cities on the nation’s rampant wildlife trade for food in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and it could be a promising blueprint for the rest of the nation for ending this inhumane trade.

China’s wildlife markets, where wild animals are sold and slaughtered on site, have been implicated in disease spread in the past and most recently in the ​ongoing coronavirus pandemic, increasing pressure on the country to end its wildlife trade. In plans published last Friday, the provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi announced they will compensate wildlife farmers to transition to alternative livelihoods, including growing fruit, vegetables, tea plants or herbs for traditional Chinese medicine. This week, two other provinces, Guangdong and Guangxi, promised similar plans, with details forthcoming.

The plans from Hunan and Jiangxi, unfortunately, also offer farmers a choice to switch to breeding other animals, like pigs and chickens. We urge the provinces to reconsider that aspect. China’s national dietary guidelines recommend a 50% reduction in meat consumption and Chinese diets have traditionally been plant-centered. A growing number of Chinese are also increasingly interested in plant-based options in their diets, and this is a great opportunity for farmers to focus on growing fruits and vegetables rather than animals.

Under its plan, Hunan province will offer farmers 120 yuan per kilogram of cobra, king rattle snake or rat snake; 75 yuan per kilogram of bamboo rat; 630 yuan per porcupine; 600 yuan per civet; and 378 yuan and 2,457 yuan per wild goose and Chinese muntjac deer respectively.

Helping animal farmers transition to humane livelihoods is a model that Humane Society International has already used with great success in South Korea as part of our work to end the dog meat trade there. To date, we have helped 16 dog farmers move to farming chilis, mushrooms or water parsley, and we have found, in most cases, that the farmers are only too eager to give up breeding dogs. Once we started doing this, farmers began seeking us out on their own, looking for a way out of what they realized was an inhumane trade with no future.

​We commend the Chinese authorities for staying the course on ending the trade in wildlife for food, and the four provinces for their practical approach to ending it, but we also urge the nation to ensure that the suffering is not transferred to other animals, like pigs and chickens. In February, China’s ​national legislature announced a ban on wildlife ​trade and consumption, although that ban still needs to be added to the country’s Wildlife Protection Law before it becomes permanent. In April, the Chinese government came out with a ​proposed white list, which is now pending approval, of animals for consumption. That list includes some wild animals, like sika deer, reindeer and guinea fowl, but not other animals who are now commonly bred and sold for food, like civets and cobra snakes. Also in April, two cities, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, announced bans on the consumption of wildlife as well as dog and cat meat.

We are concerned that the buy-out plans in the provinces do not include animals farmed for their fur, like mink, raccoon dogs and foxes. In fact, the white list proposed by China in April would reclassify these animals as “livestock,” ensuring that their suffering continues. Fur farms pose a high risk for disease, as I pointed out in a recent blog, because animals are crowded into close contact with each other’s respiratory secretions and excrement. For example, foxes and raccoon dogs kept in close confinement have been found to be infected with viral diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and mink on four European fur farms have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. China is the world’s largest producer of fur products and if it truly wants to end the threat of another pandemic, it cannot continue to ignore the fur industry and the havoc it wreaks on wildlife.

We also hope the four provinces will come up with humane plans for animals who are now on farms that they buy out. Three options have been proposed, including the release of animals into the wild, to industries like zoos, laboratory research and traditional medicine, and mass culling. But as Peter Li, our China policy specialist, points out, zoos and the traditional medicine industry in that country operate with little to no concern for animal welfare, and culling programs in China can frequently involve appalling methods, including live burial. This is simply not acceptable. Animal welfare is a growing concern for millions of Chinese, who are unhappy about their nation’s cavalier attitude in such matters. Moreover, with the pandemic claiming more than 300,000 human lives so far, the world is watching China and its wildlife trade closely. We expect even more provinces with wildlife breeding operations to adopt similar buyout plans in coming days, and we ask China’s national government to implement these reforms with full regard for animals’ well-being and dignity.

Categories
Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.

8 Comments

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Carlos Quero Valdés says:

    Como bien se menciona en el comercio de la artículo, esto podría ser un plan prometedor, pero tratándose de China haya que estar muy atentos para saber cómo continúa, si es que existe una voluntad real de este cambio cultural tan importante, si llegará a todo el país, lo cual es imprescindible, si se le dará un destino compasivo a los animales rescatados y si, finalmente, el maltrato y la crueldad hacia perros y gatos, y hacia todos los animales que sufren los horrores en las granjas peleteras terminará realmente, roguemos para que así sea….

  2. Barbara Nugent says:

    Step by step. But it will take s few generations for the appetite for wild meat to go away. I hope China will maintain the discipline necessary to obliterate these markets forever.

  3. Carole Jackson says:

    THE WILDLIFE TRADE IN CHINA HAS TO BE BANNED FOR THE GOOD OF CHINAS HEALTH & THE GOOD OF WORLD HEALTH & THE PROTECTION OF ANIMALS WILD & DOMESTIC LIKE DOGS & CATS, NO ANIMAL SHOULD SUFFER IN THE WILDLIFE TRADE FOR FOOD & FOR FUR, ANIMALS SKINNED FOR FUR SUFFER AS MUCH IF NOT MORE & THE FUR INDUSTRY IF YOU CAN CALL IT AN INDUSTRY IS EVIL & CRUEL & CAN CAUSE ANOTHER PANDEMIC JUST AS THE WILDLIFE TRADE FOR FOOD, PLEASE BAN ALL ANIMAL SUFFERING INCLUDING FUR, THE WORLD IS WATCHING CHINA & WE THE WORLD IS HOPPING CHINA WILL DO THE RIGHT THING & PROTECT ALL ANIMALS FROM THE CRUEL TRADE FOR FOOD OR FUR.

  4. Maureen Jackson says:

    THE WILDLIFE TRADE IN CHINA HAS TO BE BANNED FOR THE GOOD OF CHINAS HEALTH & THE GOOD OF WORLD HEALTH & THE PROTECTION OF ANIMALS WILD & DOMESTIC LIKE DOGS & CATS, NO ANIMAL SHOULD SUFFER IN THE WILDLIFE TRADE FOR FOOD & FOR FUR, ANIMALS SKINNED FOR FUR SUFFER AS MUCH & THE FUR INDUSTRY IF YOU CAN CALL IT AN INDUSTRY IS EVIL & CRUEL & CAN CAUSE ANOTHER PANDEMIC JUST AS THE WILDLIFE TRADE FOR FOOD, PLEASE BAN ALL ANIMAL SUFFERING INCLUDING FOR FUR, THE WORLD IS WATCHING CHINA & WE THE WORLD IS HOPPING CHINA WILL DO THE RIGHT THING & PROTECT ALL ANIMALS FROM THE CRUEL TRADE OF WILDLIFE FOR FOOD & FUR.

  5. Fred Domer says:

    There are 20,000 Asiatic black bears in tiny cages tortured daily and 6000 tigers waiting to be slaughtered (electrocuted). All in the name of Chinese fake medicine that uses wildlife. China’s goal is to turn every wildlife species they can into a factory farmed animal. Thousands of lions and hundreds of leopards are killed in South Africa for more fake medicine.
    Wildlife products pour across the borders from Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam into China for fake medicine China does business in most countries around the world giving Chinese easy access to endangered wildlife for fake medicine.

  6. Raewyn Bibby says:

    Totally agree with the above. The world must move forward by respecting and caring about all living beings. This is important for the health of our planet and all living creatures, including humans. Humans have the mandated responsibility of being guardians, not destroyers

  7. Tessa Hayward says:

    Seeing is believing. I will be suprised if China follows this through but I live in hope

  8. Valerie Shiels says:

    I do hope China is sincere about ending the wildlife trade and also end the cat and dog meat trade. Also the trade in bear bile fake medicine and all the other forms of animal abuse it is practising.

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.

Top