At the hearing of the public opinions for the legislation of the "Patriotic Health Regulations of Guangdong Province (Draft)" held days ago, 22 speakers from all walks of life had a heated debate on the article "not to eat wild animals".
As learnt, those who are against the legislation of banning the eating of wild animals have come to become an overriding opinion. Their main reasons are: the contents of the article are very loose with a wide coverage and so it is not quite practical; It will greatly affect the interests of the wild-game raisers and also not cater to the development of the people's diet habit and so on.
The rampancy of the SARS has made people to have a deep rethinking over the excessive consumption of the wild animals and they've felt an acute pain about "diseases enter by the mouth". In regard with this, Many people think beforehand that the prohibition will get a unanimous support. However contrary to the expectation it has roused a heated debate. It is really something unexpected to be landed in a dilemma as such.
After going over in detail a lot of media reports and having made a serious analysis the author of the article came to realize why it would cause so strong an opposition, the reasons are perhaps the followings.
First of all, whether or not the SARS virus comes directly from the wild animals has so far no scientific, authoritative definition. Secondly, the article "not to eat wild animals" is too loose, too wide a coverage and too difficult to define and to be acted upon. Thirdly, no definite measures have been worked out for the punishment of those in violation of the regulations. Going against the law without being held responsible for it, this is obviously not a complete legislation and so the authoritativeness and solemnity of the law will suffer greatly. Fourthly, the clause has directly affected the benefit of the wild-animal raisers, exerting a pressure on the employment in society. The last point is what the author guess, i.e. the Cantonese are a great eater of wild games. Once the regulation is enforced it means to stop the relish for a number of wild-games-eaters, hence the strong objection.
The author is of opinion that Guangdong taking the lead in banning the eating of wild animals should be advocated and supported. However, this is a social problem of great complexity having things to do with people's dining conception and habits. It has also cut into the benefits of the masses of people who make their livelihood by raising the wild animals. Moreover, the expression wild animal may have a conception at random, which is not easy to grasp. Therefore, it's no good to make a legislation in haste and need to be fully, meticulously studied and well prepared before being put into action.
For the moment, the matter of great urgency is to do much publicity about the banning of eating wild animals, making people to understand reasonably the harmonious relationship between human beings and animals. For to ban the eating of wild animals is not only for protecting the health and safety of the people but also for preserving the diversification of the living beings on the earth, thereby making it more vivacious and full of vitality.
The prerequisite for banning on the eating of wild animals is first of all to have a scientific and particular definition. What kinds of wild animals are under the protection of the law? What kinds are permitted for being raised? And what kinds can be reasonably used or even brought onto the dining table? The department concerned should map out in detail a list as quickly as possible so that it can be put into practice conveniently. Aside from all those said above a regulation must be forcibly executed as to what sorts of wild animals can be brought into the market for sale and how they are going to be quarantined?
(People's Daily July 23, 2003)