China cracks down on poaching monkeys for dinner

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 29, 2012
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A wild monkey is captured by a poacher in Zixi County, Jiangxi Province. [File photo]

Police in east China have arrested two men and closed down restaurants in a crack down on those poaching wild animals, especially endangered monkeys, and plating them as delicacies.

The crackdown followed media reports that restaurants in hilly Zixi County, Jiangxi Province, were selling meat from the macaque, an endangered short-tail monkey.

The monkeys were killed illegally on local mountains, sold to farmers' markets, and gruesomely slaughtered and served in several restaurants, according to the reports. Monkey meat can sell for 560 yuan (88 U.S. dollars) per kilogram, while monkey brain can fetch 1,600 yuan per kg.

The identities of the two men taken into police custody were not disclosed. Officials said more arrests may be made as the investigation continues. Four local officials, including the county's forestry bureau chief, have been sacked.

"We insist that no poaching cases happen again," said Yan Gangjun, head of the Jiangxi provincial forestry bureau, adding that a province-wide "severe crackdown" has been launched.

Farmers' markets, hotels and restaurants will be thoroughly inspected to prevent the trade of wild animals, he said.

Previous media reports reveal that bamboo rats and hog badgers have also been poached to be served as delicacies in Zixi restaurants.

People in some parts of China maintain the centuries-old tradition of eating exotic wildlife as a delicacy. But the tradition have taken a downturn in recent years over people's fears of contracting diseases such as SARS and an increasing awareness of animal rights and welfare issues.

Screengrabs and footage from the media reports drew tears and fury from many Chinese netizens, who have demanded efforts to completely stamp out the poaching and killing of wild animals.

"Please help these animals! I curse all the killers (of the monkeys) to hell!" one microblogger wrote.

According to the Chinese Criminal Law, those who illegally catch or kill endangered species of wildlife can be sentenced to no less than ten years in prison in serious cases.

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