China is not considered an animal-friendly country. One key reason is that people in South China has the custom of wildlife consumption. Chinadialogue features Walter Parham’s report “on the habit that locals just cannot kick – even after the SARS crisis.”
The destruction of south China’s wildlife habitats started about 1,000 years ago, and still continues today. This led to many animal extinctions and severe reductions in wildlife populations, and has been compounded by the use of wildlife for food and for ingredients in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
One might imagine that the pressure on wildlife would have decreased as levels of education and urban incomes have risen in the region. But the greatest reduction in wildlife consumption was actually in 2003, and came as a result of public fears about the risks of catching Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) from wild animals. In late 2004, the demand for civet cats decreased so much due to the fear of SARS that 141 farms released 4,000 of the animals into the wild….[Full Text]
[Image from Chinadialogue: A caged masked palm civet for sale in a Guangzhou wild-animal food market in 2006 ]