Are sparrows, frogs, tortoises and snakes wild animals that
should be spared from your dinner table? Only 57.5 percent of
Shanghainese said "Yes", and 83 percent admitted having eaten
A recent survey in the eastern commercial hub showed its
citizens knew little about wildlife and its protection, and nearly
a half of teenagers had never even heard of the country's
15-year-old law on the protection of wild animals.
The survey was carried out by the Public Health Institute of the
Shanghai No. 2 Medical Sciences University, following health
experts' assumption that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS),which
broke out in China in the spring, could have originated in
Of the 400 Shanghainese surveyed, 60 percent said they would
never eat a wild animal, while 22.5 percent said they would remain
avid epicureans and 17.5 percent were uncertain.
Only 1.9 percent of the 240 respondents who swore to stay away
from wildlife dishes admitted that it was because "animals are
friends to human beings and should be well protected", while the
absolute majority were putting down their chopsticks for fear of
catching diseases or breaking the law.
Of the 22.5 percent of affirmed wildlife eaters, 30.2 percent
said wild animals were "nutritious and delicious", 60.4 percent
were eager to try new tastes and 9.4 percent were just following
High earners were eating more wild animals, as the survey found
nearly 100 percent of those with a monthly income of over 5,000
yuan (US$600) admitted having eaten wild animals, as against the
77.63 percent of those earning less than 1,000 yuan (US$120).
Although there was no direct evidence that the SARS virus came
from wild animals, the genetic identities of the corona virus
detected in the wild were very similar to what had been found to
On April 29, the Chinese State Forestry Administration and the
State Administration for Industry and Commerce announced jointly a
ban on the hunting and sale of wildlife and called for all-round
monitoring and control of wildlife breeding and training
The China Wildlife Conservation Association also wrote a letter
appealing to the public to stop eating wild animals.
(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2003)