China to outlaw eating of protected animal species

BEIJING Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:34pm EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will jail people who eat rare animals for 10 years or more under a new interpretation of the criminal law, state media reported, as the government seeks to close a legal loophole and better protect the natural environment.

China lists 420 species as rare or endangered, including the panda, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins, some or all of which are threatened by illegal hunting, environmental destruction and the consumption of animal parts, including for supposedly medicinal reasons.

Consumption of rare animals has risen as the country has become richer, with some people believing spending thousands of yuan on eating them gives a certain social cache.

"Eating rare wild animals is not only bad social conduct but also a main reason why illegal hunting has not been stopped despite repeated crackdowns," Lang Sheng, deputy head of parliament's Legislative Affairs Commission said, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Thursday.

The new interpretation "clears up ambiguities about buyers of prey of illegal hunting", the report added.

Knowingly buying any wild animals killed by illegal hunting will now be considered a crime, with a maximum penalty of three years in jail, Xinhua said.

"In fact, buyers are a major motivator of large-scale illegal hunting," Lang said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Stephen Coates)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
JamVee wrote:
It’s about time that China backed up it’s useless rhetoric with some tangible actions.

Poachers, all over the world are murdering magnificent creatures just so some superstitious and misguided Chinese can eat their liver or horns . . . Are they so uneducated (or just plain stupid) that they don’t understand the harm they are doing?

And, why is the media too timid (read frightened) to say what I’ve just said about the Chinese. As a people and a country, THEY DESERVE to be publicly embarrassed by their own shocking lack of education about such things. How can a country with a space program still think that eating ground up Rhino horn will give them a bigger erection? Someone should send them a supply of Viagra.

Apr 26, 2014 10:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
Buyers are a “major motivator”?????

How so, “a major motivator”? They are the ONLY motivator!

One must only “follow the money” to pin-point the culprit. Take the $$ out of the Poaching, and you will take the poacher out too.

Apr 26, 2014 11:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
Jail just one or two rich and famous Chinese consumers, and make a huge dent in the trade. Then, jail a few very RICH shop owners and thousands will quit selling it too!

Despite the hew and cry about fairness, taking a few and using them to make high profile examples works extremely well.

Apr 26, 2014 12:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Photo

California's historic drought

With reservoirs at record lows, California is in the midst of the worst drought in decades.  Slideshow