IFAW Applauds Beijing’s Ban of Wildlife from Menu

Monday, 21 July, 2003
Beijing, China
The Beijing Forestry Bureau (BFB) announced on July 11 an immediate ban that prohibits wildlife to be eaten within the municipality of Beijing. This is in reaction to scientific proof linking wildlife eating with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which has killed over 800 people worldwide. Conservation and animal welfare organizations including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org) applaud the ban and call for the update of China’s wildlife protection law.
The municipal order bans the eating and serving of more than 1800 species of wildlife in restaurants and street stands. The prohibition list includes key protected species such as snakes, civet cats, pangolins and turtles as well as those that are not on the country’s wildlife protection law, including sparrows, mynahs, green peacock and hedge pigs.

The public will soon be able to find this information on the home page of the BFB (www.bjfb.gov.cn)

All species named in the banning order are strictly forbidden to eat regardless if it is from the wild or captive bred. Inspection teams made up of BFB security forces from both national and municipal levels, intend to start immediate inspections to stop wildlife trade and consumption. Those that reveal illegal consumption of wildlife in restaurants will be rewarded. Sources in the BFB told IFAW that so far, 37 out of 58 wildlife restaurants have been shut down and the rest will have their wildlife trade licenses revoked.

Wang Minzhong, Wildlife Protection office Chief of BFB said today, “The objective of the ban is to protect the health of the public and to prevent the spread of disease from wildlife to human. It is high time that we do something to promote a healthy and civilized culinary culture and give up the bad traditions of wildlife consumption. The decisions made by the Beijing Forestry Bureau will further enhance people's awareness of environment protection, contribute to spiritual civilization and create a modern and civilized image of Beijing.”

“The decision is a significant move towards enhancement of China’s animal protection efforts,” said Dr. Zhang Li, IFAW China Country Director. “IFAW experts have been working closely with the Beijing Forestry Bureau to provide scientific information regarding public health and wildlife protection. We are happy to see the resolution and determination of the BFB in establishing this prohibition. We also encourage a complete update of the Wildlife Protection Law and increase public awareness efforts nationwide to ensure the wildlife trade ban in the capital is successfully carried out.”

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