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New Rules to Save Rare Animals From Dining Table

A monetary penalty will be introduced to stop locals from eating endangered animals. The new rule, to be introduced in May, is part of the Guangdong Regulations on Protecting Wild Animals, which was passed on Friday by legislators in south China’s Guangdong Province.

The rule makes it a legal responsibility to protect endangered animals. Fines of 1,000 yuan (US$120) to 10,000 yuan (US$1,200) will be imposed on those found guilty of eating the meat of state-protected wild animals with the knowledge that the meat was illegally processed.

“Diners often defend themselves as being innocent and not involved in the killing or trafficking of animals. But in fact, their appetite is the prime contributor to the destruction of wildlife,” said Lu Zhiguang, a legislator in the Standing Committee of the Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress.

In addition to the restrictions on diners, the new regulations also set clear rules on the protection, hunting, breeding and killing of wildlife.

Lu said the regulations will provide an effective legal weapon in the campaign to keep endangered wild animals off dinner tables.

A province famous for its meat dishes, Guangdong has attracted attention from animal protection organizations and associations.

Statistics show that restaurants in Guangdong use 20 tons of snakes and 20,000 birds every day.

With its own wildlife dwindling, animals are being illegally caught and transported to Guangdong from the neighbouring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and provinces of Hainan, Hunan, Jiangxi and Fujian.

In a five-day special inspection campaign launched by the relevant authorities last December in the province, 317 cases involving the killing and trafficking of state-protected wild animals were discovered.

(China Daily 04/03/2001)

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