China to ban live poultry in its markets

La Chine veut bannir la volaille vivante de ses marchés

BEIJING | China pledged Friday to phase out the slaughter and sale of live poultry food markets, a measure hailed by advocates of animal rights in the context of the pandemic of sars coronavirus.

This announcement was made as China is stepping up inspections on food markets and wholesale banned the sale and consumption of wild animals.

A market that sold live animals in the city of Wuhan, in the centre of the country, is believed to be the cradle of the epidemic Covid-19. And the recent reappearance of the virus in Beijing was attributed to a large wholesale market of agricultural in the chinese capital.

“China is going to restrict the trade and slaughter of live poultry, to encourage the mass slaughter of live poultry in locations subject to certain conditions and gradually close the live poultry markets,” said Chen Xu, an official of the national Administration of the regulation of markets, during a press conference.

Live poultry reared in cages are common on the wholesale agricultural markets and on the markets of fresh products, in the whole of China.

Poultry are traditionally slaughtered on the spot by the producers, or the buyers may choose to do at home, some thinking that this allows for maximum freshness.

Live seafood, amphibians, and other creatures are also often sold on the markets.

Scientists believe that the pathogen responsible for the pandemic of coronavirus has appeared in bats before spreading to the man through an animal that is still unknown.

Mr. Chen has urged local governments to ” strengthen the supervision of food safety on the wholesale markets in agriculture “, emphasizing that ” more than 70 % of the meat, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables are sold in the country.

His announcement has been welcomed by animal rights groups. “We are pleased to see that the live poultry markets are disappearing in China,” said Jason Baker, vice-president of PETA Asia, hoping that this policy would extend to ” all live animal markets in the country.”

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