Jiangmen, a city in southern China. You can find all sort of wild animals in a market there, even more than in the zoo!
A U.S. animal foundation asked me to arrange an interview with a dog slaughterhouse in China for their documentary. After research, I took them to a market in Jiangmen. When we were there, it’s astonishing to see far more than we expected! This is not just a market for cats and dogs. Over a hundred different animals you can buy here, like crocodile, turtle, porcupine, snakes, deer, etc. They even slaughter the animal in front of you and you can take it home for your meals.
The crocodile stall owner told me the crocodiles are fed in a pool, not the wild. But I think most of the others are wild animals.
We interviewed a woman who has opened the stall selling cats and dogs over 10 years. She told us the cats and dogs are from local and other provinces. Sometimes, the pet owners may take their cats and dogs here and sell them to her. She can sell about 30 dogs and cats a day. Her daughter also helped her kill the cats and dogs.
The law of protecting companion animals and wild animals doesn’t seem applicable here. It’s a great concern if it’s safe to take these animals as food. However, people here just don’t care!
Many countries have the wild animals protection law. People are forbidden to hunt the wild animals. However, when there is demand, people would disregard the law for profit making. Apart from legal constraint, we know little if wild animals are edible in view of health concern. There is no quarantine for wild animals and they may have human transmittable diseases. We ever experienced SARS and it’s origin is from swinhoe. It is also known that people will contract leprosy if people eat armadillo. We can still found these cases in China and United States recently.
Urbanization has destroyed the natural environment and industrialization has polluted it. Wild animals are being highly affected. They lose their homes and their food are polluted by chemicals with carcinogens and with poison. Their health conditions could possibly endanger the humans, especially when people put them on the dining table.
OIPA China is leading an educational project in Chinese schools and universities, in order to raise awareness on animal issues and right. Read more about the project and support OIPA China: https://www.oipa.org/international/shelter-oipa-china/
Author: Simon KWOK Kam-fai, OIPA China