Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    3.
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘animal’ Category

Diplomat exposed Chinese tiger farm horrors

Posted by Author on August 26, 2011


AN AMERICAN diplomat posed as a Korean tourist to investigate a notorious tiger breeding centre in southern China, where he saw animals whipped, made to perform ”marriage processions” and reportedly sold to be used in traditional medicines.

As a result of the undercover visit to Xiongsen Tiger and Bear farm, the US government was notified of doubts about China’s conservation efforts, according to a diplomatic cable recently released by WikiLeaks.

The investigation was inspired by a flurry of foreign media reports in 2007 alleging the farm offered tiger meat in its restaurant and tiger bone wine in a shop. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in animal, China, Environment, News | Comments Off on Diplomat exposed Chinese tiger farm horrors

Massive dogs killed “cleanly” in southwest China by Authorities for fear of rabies

Posted by Author on August 17, 2010


Radio Free asia, Aug. 17, 2010 –

HONG KONG—Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan have ordered the mass extermination of dogs following a wave of recent bites and amid growing fears of rabies, official media and residents said.

Animal activists have slammed the move as unnecessarily cruel, as it sanctions the indiscriminate slaughter of thousands of animals without any tests to determine if they are infected with the virus.

Figures from the Jiangchuan county center for disease control and prevention show that there have been 1,600 cases of dogs biting humans so far this year, with 77 people bitten in the space of just two weeks earlier this month.

“Are the dogs that are biting these people in fact infected with rabies?” said Lu Di, founder of the nongovernment Small Animal Protection Society.

“Have they been tested? If not, then it’s very doubtful.”

She said authorities in Yunnan are no stranger to the mass slaughter of dogs, citing a similar cull of 50,000 dogs in Mouding in 2006, and a smaller one in Miluo county last year.

“Now they have started doing it in Jiangchuan,” Lu said.

Official guidelines

The government said that three out of six dogs killed recently and tested for the rabies virus were shown to be infected.

Calls to the Jiangchuan county government went unanswered Monday, while an official who answered the phone at the local center for disease control and prevention declined to comment.

“We have to get approval from the health department before we can accept telephone interviews,” he said.

Jiangchuan county is home to an estimated 20,000 dogs, and local media reports said around 3,000 had already been killed.

Official guidelines ban the killing of dogs using knives or cudgels, and dogs are to be killed “cleanly,” without bloodshed, local news reports said.

Photographs on news websites showed dogs being hanged from trees, dragged along behind motorcycles, and being chased by officials with nets and clubs.

People who had been bitten by stray dogs are eligible for a set amount of compensation in order to help with medical costs, the reports said.

A Jiangchuan resident said many people were happy to carry out the slaughter.

“Of course if one of your family has been bitten, people are going to want to kill the dog that did it,” the resident said. “But not all dogs are likely to bite people.”

“Some people support [the cull], but others are against it.”

One anonymous guest on a Yunnan news website identified as writing from Beijing commented wryly on the story: “So if you find one corrupt government official, does that mean you are going to shoot all the officials?”……(more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in animal, China, Health, Life, News, Social, SW China, World, Yunnan | Comments Off on Massive dogs killed “cleanly” in southwest China by Authorities for fear of rabies

China zoos in ‘barbaric’ animal abuse: report

Posted by Author on August 10, 2010


AFP, Aug. 10, 2010 –

HONG KONG — Chinese zoos and safari parks treat their animals “barbarically,” including abusing them to perform tricks and depriving them of proper food and shelter, an animal welfare group said.

Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation said its investigation of 13 Chinese zoos and safari parks between September 2009 and August 2010 uncovered evidence of animals being beaten with sticks and metal hooks as well as tigers and lions with their teeth and claws removed, causing chronic pain.

The group’s 28-page report documents “the barbaric treatment of animals and the poor living conditions they are forced to endure.”

“A large number of captive animal establishments in China provide animal performances as a form of entertainment for visitors. The techniques used to force such animals to perform tricks are cruel and abusive,” said the report released Monday.

“Showmen frequently engage in negative reinforcement, whipping and striking the animals repeatedly, forcing them to carry out tricks that go against their natural behaviour.”

The group said its probe also uncovered evidence of animals housed in “small, barren, concrete enclosures often in darkened rooms at the back of the performance areas away from the visitors.”

“The living conditions for performing animals fail to meet their basic welfare needs. Many of the animals have no visible access to water,” it said.

The report features photographs of bears being forced to “box” each other and ride motorcycles along a highwire, tigers prodded into jumping through flaming hoops, and elephants “performing uncomfortable and humiliating tricks such as standing on their heads, and spinning on one leg.”…...(More details from AFP)

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Life, News, World | Comments Off on China zoos in ‘barbaric’ animal abuse: report

China: Wild animals threatened by booming demand of food and medicine

Posted by Author on November 12, 2008


By Emma Graham-Harrison, Reuters, Tue Nov 11, 2008-

BEIJING (Reuters) – Wild animals are climbing back onto Chinese plates after the deadly SARS virus made some diners wary, and booming demand for traditional medicine is also threatening some plants, environmentalists said on Wednesday.

Nearly half of urbanites had consumed wildlife in the past 12 months, either as food or medicine, with rich and well educated Chinese most likely to tuck into a wild snake or turtle, a survey of urbanites in six cities found.

They enjoyed eating wildlife because they saw it as “unpolluted,” “special” and with extra nourishing and health powers, according to a study commissioned by Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

“This consumer demand is increasingly placing the natural environment — both in China and abroad — at risk through unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade,” the report said.

Around half of the southern Chinese markets checked by Traffic were also selling wildlife for the pot, mostly reptiles but some birds and mammals as well. Two species for sale are on an international list of 800 critically threatened animals……. (more details from Reuters)

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Food, Law, Life, News, People, Social, World | Comments Off on China: Wild animals threatened by booming demand of food and medicine

100,000 Migratory Birds Disappear in China Snow Storms, “no mass deaths” uncovered, Says Official

Posted by Author on February 18, 2008


AFP, Feb. 17, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — About 100,000 migratory birds disappeared in recent fierce snow storms in eastern China, state media reported Sunday.

About 95 percent of the world’s white cranes, half of the white-naped cranes and 60 percent of swan geese are believed to migrate to a nature reserve at Poyang Lake each year in Jiangxi province, Xinhua news agency said.

Poyang Lake is China’s biggest fresh water lake and an internationally significant wetland area.

Hundreds of workers at the reserve distributed grain, corn and vegetables but found only 40,000 birds, leaving about 100,000 unaccounted for, said Luo Shengjin, deputy director of the reserve.

Luo said no mass deaths had been uncovered and the birds could have migrated elsewhere. But the reserve was still concerned and was planning to employ helicopters to widen the search for the missing birds.

The worst weather in decades hit large areas of China last month, killing at least 107 people and causing more than 15 billion dollars in economic losses, according to official figures.

– Original report from AFP: Migratory birds disappear in China storms

Posted in animal, Bird, China, Climate, Environment, Health, Jiangxi, Lake, News, Poyang Lake, South China, World | Comments Off on 100,000 Migratory Birds Disappear in China Snow Storms, “no mass deaths” uncovered, Says Official

China: Wholesale Food Market Sells 10,000 Wild Animals Per Day

Posted by Author on November 15, 2007


By Lu Jianhui, Central News Agency, via the Epochtimes, Nov 12, 2007-

HONG KONG— Recently, eating exotic wild animals has gained popularity again in Guangdong Province in mainland China. Reports speculate that a local official is behind the open operation of an illegal food market in the Nanhai District of Foshan City. This food market openly sells astonishing numbers and breeds of animals such as small pandas, civet cat, sika deer and other exotic wild animals. The entire market is like a zoo.

According to the report by Hong Kong’s The Sun newspaper, the market, which is situated in a private housing complex near the Nanhai District, has a sign on the front door which reads “Wholesale Foods.” However, this “food market” is actually more like a zoo of wild animals.

According to the report, nearly over 100 vendors are selling wild animals as food. From an anonymous insider, this place was opened only two months ago and is privately owned. There are many security guards on site with iron batons in their hands. One man who claims to be the manager said that this place is operated by the nephew of a Guangzhou City government official, and that they are not afraid of being reported at all.

No Fear of Being Exposed

Just recently, the Guangdong Province authorities announced the prohibition of ingesting snake meat. However, the vendors of this market still sell pythons, cobras, and various other breeds of snakes and many other animals, including more than 20 types of birds, such as the first-rank protected animals, i.e. little egret, fishing cormorant, white-throated jay thrush, and melodious laughing thrush.

However, this market is reportedly privately owned, and has been in business for two months, with armed guards carrying metal batons standing guard. A person claiming to be the managing operator said that the nephew of a Guangzhou City official owns the food market, and so the vendors are not afraid of being exposed.

Other wild animals being sold for food include the civet cat (found to be the primary carrier of SARS), white fox (arctic fox), beaver, and the sika deer (an endangered species).

Some animals being sold in this food market have been appearing less often on the dinner table than others, such as small pandas. The pandas are sold for 80 yuan (about US $10) per jin (about 1.1 pound). Civet cats are sold for 75 yuan per jin and wild hogs for 65 yuan per jin.

Workers at the market said that restaurants are the main buyers. Their representatives come from Foshan City, Guangzhou City, Zhongshan city and other cities around the Pear River Delta. More than ten thousand wild animals are sold to these buyers each day, which makes for a considerable amount of business.

– Report from the Epochtimes: Illegal Food Market in China Literally a Wild Animal Zoo

Posted in animal, Business, China, Economy, Food, Guangdong, Law, Life, News, SE China, World | Comments Off on China: Wholesale Food Market Sells 10,000 Wild Animals Per Day

Barbecued Cats a Popular Delicacy in Northeast China City Changchun

Posted by Author on September 13, 2007


Central News Agency, Taiwan, Via the Epochtimes, Sep 11, 2007-

BBQ cats have become a popular delicacy in China’s northeast city of Changchun. Despite health warnings from the Animal Disease Control Center, many restaurants provide live cats for customers to choose from, and then cook them on the spot.

According to City Evening report, several cats were locked in a cage in front of a BBQ shop. A waiter showed the cats to a customer, which were then killed and cooked on the spot, fetching about RMB 100 yuan each (approximately US$13).

According to cat vendor Lao Zhou, people eat cats, but currently no one is in the business of raising cats for slaughter; cat vendors normally collect them from households, paying 20 to 30 yuan for each.

Aside from being served in restaurants, cats are also sold in the pigeon market on Taibei Ave, Changchun city. BBQ stalls are set up in close proximity to the cat stall. According to a chef that specializes in cooking cat meat, customers first pick out a cat from the market and then bring the slaughtered animal to him. He will cook the cat for a fee of about 10 yuan (approximately US$1.50).

According to the local Animal Health Supervision Institute, all animal or poultry products sold in markets or restaurants should be killed in a designated location that meets sanitation standards and passes the food safety inspections. Currently, there is no designated area for slaughtering cats because killing cats for sale is unlawful.

According to Mrs Li Xiuyun, Chief of the Changchun Animal Disease Control Center, people are misled by the myth that eating cats is beneficial to one’s health. On the contrary, cats can be infected with many types of parasites, which can be passed on to humans if they eat an infected animal.

– Report from the Epochtimes: Barbecued Cats a Popular Delicacy in Changchun

Posted in animal, Business, Changchun, China, Food, Health, Jilin, Life, NE China, News, World | 4 Comments »

Pets lovers saved over 800 cats in China with help of Internet

Posted by Author on July 11, 2007


By Benjamin Kang Lim, Jul 9, 2007-

BEIJING (Reuters) – The power of the Internet has saved more than 800 cats from being skinned and served up on Chinese dinner tables.

About 30 animal lovers rushed to a parking lot in Shanghai after reading an Internet posting sparked by animal rights activist Huo Puyang that said two trucks carrying cats in wooden boxes had been intercepted, Huo said on Monday.

Huo’s daughter-in-law had been looking for their missing pets and stumbled into the trucks, one of which sped away. The daughter-in-law called Huo, whose animal-loving friends then sent out an Internet alert last Friday.

The felines were on their way to the booming southern province of Guangdong, where some residents pride themselves as gourmets who will eat anything that flies, crawls or swims.

“It was a cruel sight … Pregnant cats and kittens were packed into the boxes,” Huo told Reuters.

“Many cats had died and smelled,” she said. “Some were trampled to death. Others bit each other.”

Huo also telephoned police, who took the driver and the truck to a police station.

Police said Huo had lacked evidence to prove the 42 boxes held stolen pets and told the animal lovers to buy the cats.

The driver demanded 14 yuan each.

After hours of haggling, the animal lovers paid more than 10,000 yuan ($1,300) for 840 cats.

“We have a difficult task. The cost of feeding them pales compared to medical fees, vaccines and sterilisation,” Huo said.

She called for donations and for other animal lovers to adopt the cats, which were initially being cared for at her shelter.

SMALL VICTORY

Huo’s expensive act was another small victory of sorts in Chinese citizens’ efforts to harness Internet and cell phone technologies to mobilise around often long-stifled grievances.

A slavery saga at brick kilns in the northern province of Shanxi came to light partly as a result of an Internet campaign conducted by the fathers of missing children.

The Maglev train project between Shanghai and nearby Hangzhou was put under review after petitions by thousands of residents.

Construction of a chemical plant in the southeastern port city of Xiamen was shelved after thousands of protesters received cell phone text messages that warned the plant would be the equivalent of an “atomic bomb” and threaten seaside environment.

Internet censorship is common in China, where the government employs an elaborate system of filters and tens of thousands of human monitors to survey its 140 million Internet users’ surfing habits, surgically clipping sensitive content.

– original report from Reuters: China Internet surfers save more than 800 cats

Posted in Activist, animal, China, East China, Economy, Guangdong, Incident, Internet, Internet User, Law, Life, News, People, SE China, shanghai, Social | Comments Off on Pets lovers saved over 800 cats in China with help of Internet

Illegal Bear Trade in Canada Fueled by China’s Bear Farms

Posted by Author on June 13, 2007


press release, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), June 12, 2007-

TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE–(CCNMatthews – June 12, 2007) – Products containing bear bile are being illegally imported and sold in Canada, according to a new report by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Investigations by WSPA show that bear farms in China are a primary source, and WSPA has teamed up with Environment Canada’s Wildlife Enforcement Directorate to test detection kits that will help to stem this illegal bear trade.

Cage to Consumer, a new WSPA report being released today, summarizes findings from the undercover investigations conducted in 2006. The report shows that Traditional Asian Medicine shops in eight countries – Canada, USA, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand – offered bear bile and bear gall products for sale and that most of these products originated from China’s bear farms.

“WSPA’s investigations confirm what we suspected” says Peter Davies, Director General of WSPA. “These results show that bear farms are giving rise to illegal trade as well as being inherently cruel. In light of this evidence we urge the Chinese Government to reconsider its position on bear farming and instigate a phase-out of the bear farming industry in China.”

As part of its on-going campaign to end the cruel practice of farming bears, WSPA developed a unique kit to detect bear proteins in products. The bear detection kits are being field-tested over a six to twelve-month period by Environment Canada’s Wildlife Enforcement Directorate and will help identify and stamp out the illegal trade in bear products.

“WSPA developed the detection kits to protect bears and help combat the multi-billion dollar illegal trade in wildlife” says Pat Tohill, WSPA Canada Programs Manager. “It’s estimated that wildlife trade ranks behind arms and drug trafficking, and trade in bear products directly causes suffering to bears and threatens wild bears in Canada and abroad.”

The kits fall into a wider effort to stem wildlife trafficking recently launched by the Canadian government. In May 2007, Environment Minister John Baird announced that Canada would join the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT), a US-led international alliance of government and non-government organizations. The government says $22 million will be used to hire about additional 100 enforcement officers to crack down on wildlife trafficking and poaching.

WSPA released the Cage to Consumer report today at the 14th Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference in The Hague
where international delegates are meeting on trade in endangered species. WSPA released the report at the CITES convention to highlight the importance of CITES regulations to protect bears and other endangered species.

Bear bile and bear gall have long been used by consumers of Traditional Asian Medicine. Since the 1980s bile has been extracted from live bears kept on bear farms to create such products. Today, at least 12,000 bears in China, Korea and Vietnam are kept in appalling conditions, in cages no bigger than a telephone booth turned on its side, while subjected to painful bile extraction procedures. The extraction of bile is unnecessary as there are many effective alternatives that can be used in place of bear bile.

WSPA’s campaign to end bear farming, which is supported by the Calvin Ayre Foundation, will continue until the inherently cruel practice of bear farming is brought to an end. To find out more visit bearbile.org.

For further information: For interviews, information, contact:
Michelle Cliffe, Marketing and Public Relations Advisor
416 369 0044 x111
cliffe@wspa.ca

Patrick Tohill, Program Manager, Canada
416 369 0044
416 898 9448
tohill@wspa.ca

original report from marketwire.com

Posted in animal, Asia, Canada, China, Economy, Environment, Law, News, Trade, World | Comments Off on Illegal Bear Trade in Canada Fueled by China’s Bear Farms

China Farm Selling Tiger Meat, Confirmed by DNA Test

Posted by Author on June 12, 2007


Press Release, International Tiger Coalition, June 12, 2007, published on earthtimes.org –

tigerTHE HAGUE, Netherlands, June 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On the eve of a discussion here by world leaders on illegal trade in tiger products, the CITES governing body announced that it has asked the Chinese government to investigate one of its tiger farms implicated for illegally selling tiger meat.

The International Tiger Coalition welcomed the news and also urged China to investigate reports of other illegal trade by commercial tiger farms, which have been pressuring Chinese officials to allow them to trade tiger parts legally. The issue will be discussed tomorrow by the 171 countries attending the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The coalition was reacting to the formal presentation Tuesday by John Sellar, senior enforcement officer for CITES. Sellar visited the tiger farm in question, Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village in Guilin, China, last month. He told the CITES meeting that he was concerned about allegations by NGOs and the media that illegal trade is already taking place in tiger parts from such farms.

The DNA analysis was done by an independent Chinese institution for ITN investigative journalists who visited the Guilin tiger farm undercover and were offered tiger meat at the farm’s restaurant. The farm’s owner called the analysis fraudulent and is suing ITN for its report, but Sellar obtained a copy of the DNA analysis and told the CITES body today that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s world-renowned National Forensics Laboratory had reviewed the test and agrees that the DNA test “appears to be valid.”

“We expect the issue to generate significant debate over whether China should continue allowing unlimited breeding by private owners, who then claim financial pressure and push to reopen trade to pay for their operations,” said Steven Broad, executive director of TRAFFIC International.

Investors in commercial tiger farms in China are pressuring their government to lift its successful 14-year ban on domestic tiger trade. International Tiger Coalition

CONTACT: Jan Vertefeuille, WWF, +31-6-26529338 or
Judy Mills, STF, +31-6-55933423

report from earthtimes.org

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Law, News, Trade, World | Comments Off on China Farm Selling Tiger Meat, Confirmed by DNA Test

Pig Disease “Blue Ear” Spreads to 22 Provinces in China

Posted by Author on June 11, 2007


Pig disease “Blue Ear” is blamed by China for most of the pig deaths last year, and it’s spreading to 22 provinces and regions in the country (there are 32 provinces/districts in China), which killed up to one million pigs last year, and has caused the rising prices of pork.

Details can be found from VOA’s report on 11 June 2007 (Monday) : Hog Disease Spreads in China

Related:
–   China’s Latest Crisis: Millions of Pigs Killed by Virus, Pork Prices Doubled, May 30, 2007

Posted in animal, China, disaster, Economy, Food, News, Pig epidemic, Social | Comments Off on Pig Disease “Blue Ear” Spreads to 22 Provinces in China

China’s Latest Crisis: Millions of Pigs Killed by Virus, Pork Prices Doubled

Posted by Author on June 1, 2007


Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, May 30, 2007-

BEIJING: A mystery virus that is killing millions of pigs in southern China is responsible for soaring pork prices that have the senior leadership worried about inflation and social unrest.

The Premier, Wen Jiabao, took the unusual step of visiting supermarkets and pig farms in Shaanxi province at the weekend to show the central Government’s concern about the price of one of China’s staple foods and its most affordable source of protein.

At the weekend, shoppers lined up for more than a kilometre at a Guangzhou supermarket to buy pork on special for 15.8 yuan ($2.50) a kilogram.

Prices that have been as low as 9 yuan a kilogram have soared to 28 yuan. In Beijing, prices have doubled since March.

The Agriculture Ministry said the wholesale price of pork had soared by 71.3 per cent since April, pushed up by rising prices for pig feed (such as corn) and the epidemic of “blue ear” disease – officially called porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome – along with existing foot-and-mouth disease.

Statistics on pig deaths are difficult to obtain but an industry official told London’s Financial Times that he had heard up to 20 million of China’s 500 million pigs had been wiped out by blue ear disease.

The government in Guangdong has announced it will offer subsidies to the poor to help them cope with the rising prices and at least one province has already asked the central government to use the Central Meat Reserve to meet the shortfall, a move that the Commerce Ministry confirmed was being considered.

Imports of relatively cheap South American pork are restricted and pork from the US and European is expensive.

Mr Wen assured shoppers during his supermarket visit that the Government was doing all it could to ensure an affordable supply of pork. Economists said pork prices could push the annual inflation rate to above 4 per cent. Mary-Anne Toy

original report from Sydney Morning Herald

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Food, Health, Life, News, Pig epidemic, Pork, SE China, Social | Comments Off on China’s Latest Crisis: Millions of Pigs Killed by Virus, Pork Prices Doubled

China Bananas, Instant Noodles and Health Scare

Posted by Author on May 25, 2007


By Clifford Coonan in Beijing, the Independent, UK, 25 May 2007-

The word on the streets of China’s cities is that bananas from the southern island of Hainan can cause Sars. And that Magician brand instant noodles poisons you because they use oil extracted from human corpses provided by funeral homes.

China is in the grip of a food safety scare, and although it has generated a number of bizarre rumours circulating in frantic text messages, the issue poses a serious potential threat to international trade.

Late last year, Hong Kong government chemists detected in salted duck eggs the Sudan II industrial dye, which was fed to the birds to make the yolk in their eggs extraordinarily red, a colour Chinese consumers see as a sign of high quality.

The Chinese government has pledged to get to the bottom of the scandal – and introducing standardised practices when it comes to food safety has become a major issue.

In Beijing, the city authorities have also announced plans to better monitor food products entering the capital after several food safety scandals emerged. Such is the mood there that some people are now saying that bad food, rather than lobbying about controversial issues such as Tibet, could be the main risk to the Olympic Games in the city next year.

Billions of pounds worth of counterfeit and substandard goods, from snack bars to fake liquor and medicines, to face creams, are produced every year in China.

Counterfeiting often extends to branded foods and you have to read the labels carefully in shops to make sure that you are getting the right food. Alcoholic drinks are particularly prone to copying and it is important to check to see if your beer or your breakfast cereal is the real thing.

China revealed in 2004, in one of its most highly publicised health scandals, that 13 babies had died from malnutrition in the eastern province of Anhui after being fed fake baby milk powder. But the problem is going global, spreading way beyond China’s borders.

Chinese-made food products which are exported are being examined for toxins after safety breaches involving poisons in dog food and toothpaste, following reports of tainted products arriving in the Dominican Republic and Panama.

The Dominican Republic authorities said they had removed 10,000 tubes of the Chinese toothpaste brands Excel and Mr Cool from shelves after learning they contained diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze and brake fluid. ( …… more details from the Independent)

Related:
Toothpaste Scare : Products From China, BBC News, 24 May 2007

Posted in animal, Asia, China, Economy, Food, Hainan, Health, Life, medical, News, pollution, USA, World | Comments Off on China Bananas, Instant Noodles and Health Scare

Why U.S. Doesn’t Stop Tainted Food From China

Posted by Author on May 22, 2007


By Rick Weiss, Washington Post, on The San Jose Mercury News, 05/20/2007-

WASHINGTON – Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical. Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria. Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

These were among the 107 food imports from China the Food and Drug Administration detained at U.S. ports just last month, agency documents reveal, along with more than 1,000 shipments of tainted Chinese dietary supplements, toxic Chinese cosmetics and counterfeit Chinese medicines.

For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught – many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry.

Now the confluence of two events – the highly publicized contamination of U.S. chicken, pork and fish with tainted Chinese pet food ingredients and this week’s resumption of high-level economic and trade talks with China – has activists and members of Congress demanding the United States tell China it is fed up.

Dead pets and melamine-tainted food notwithstanding, change will prove difficult, policy experts say, in large part because U.S. companies have become so dependent on the Chinese economy that tighter rules on imports stand to harm the U.S. economy, too.

“So many U.S. companies are directly or indirectly involved in China now, the commercial interest of the United States these days has become to allow imports to come in as quickly and smoothly as possible,” said Robert B. Cassidy, a former assistant U.S. trade representative for China and now director of international trade and services for Kelley Drye Collier Shannon, a Washington law firm.

`Kowtowing to China’

As a result, the United States finds itself “kowtowing to China,” Cassidy said, even as that country keeps sending American consumers adulterated and mislabeled foods.

It’s not just about cheap imports, added Carol Tucker Foreman, a former assistant secretary of agriculture now at the Consumer Federation of America.

“Our farmers and food processors have drooled for years to be able to sell their food to that massive market,” Foreman said. “The Chinese counterfeit. They have a serious piracy problem. But we put up with it because we want to sell to them.”

U.S. agricultural exports to China have grown to more than $5 billion a year – a fraction of last year’s $232 billion U.S. trade deficit with China but a number that has enormous growth potential, given the Chinese economy’s 10 percent growth rate and its billion-plus consumers.

Trading with the largely unregulated Chinese marketplace has its risks, of course, as evidenced by the many lawsuits that U.S. pet food companies now face from angry consumers who say their pets were poisoned by tainted Chinese ingredients. Until recently, however, many companies and even the federal government reckoned that, on average, those risks were worth taking.

But after the pet food scandal, some are recalculating.

China’s less-than-stellar behavior as a food exporter is revealed in stomach-turning detail in FDA “refusal reports” filed by U.S. inspectors: Juices and fruits rejected as “filthy.” Prunes tinted with chemical dyes not approved for human consumption. Frozen breaded shrimp preserved with nitrofuran, an antibacterial that can cause cancer. Swordfish rejected as “poisonous.”

In the first four months of 2007, FDA inspectors – who are able to check out less than 1 percent of regulated imports – refused 298 food shipments from China. By contrast, 56 shipments from Canada were rejected, even though Canada exports about $10 billion in FDA-regulated food and agricultural products to the United States – compared with about $2 billion from China.

Smuggled meat

Deception by Chinese exporters is not limited to plant products. Some of their most egregiously unfit exports are smuggled in.

Under Agriculture Department rules, countries cannot export meat and poultry products to the United States unless the USDA certifies that the slaughterhouses and processing plants have food-safety systems equivalent to those here. Much to its frustration, China is not certified to sell any meat to the United States because it has not met that requirement.

But that has not stopped Chinese meat exporters. In the past year, USDA teams have seized hundreds of thousands of pounds of prohibited poultry products from China and other Asian countries, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced in March. Some were shipped in crates labeled “dried lily flower,” “prune slices” and “vegetables,” according to news reports. It is unclear how much of the illegal meat slipped in undetected.

Despite those violations, the Chinese government is on track to get permission to legally export its chickens to the United States – a prospect that has raised concern not only because of fears of bacteria such as salmonella but also because Chinese chickens, if not properly processed, could be a source of avian flu, which public-health authorities fear may be poised to trigger a human pandemic.

Last year, under high-level pressure from China, the USDA passed a rule allowing China to export to the United States chickens that were grown and slaughtered in North America and then processed in China – a rule that quickly passed through multiple levels of review and was approved the day before Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Washington last April.

Now the rule that China really wants, allowing it to export its own birds to the United States, is in the works, said Richard Raymond, USDA’s undersecretary for food safety. Reports in China have repeatedly hinted that only if China gets its way on chicken exports to the United States will Beijing lift its four-year-old ban on importing U.S. beef. Raymond denies any link.

Raymond said permission for China to sell poultry to the United States is moving ahead because recent USDA audits found China’s poultry slaughterhouses to be equivalent to those here.

Tony Corbo, a lobbyist for Food and Water Watch, a Washington advocacy group, said that finding – which is not subject to outside review – is unbelievable, given repeated findings of unsanitary conditions at China’s chicken slaughterhouses. Corbo said he has seen some of those audits. “Everyone who has seen them was grossed out,” he said.

Major change needed

John C. Bailar III, a University of Chicago professor emeritus who chaired a 2003 National Academies committee that recommended major changes in the U.S. food safety system – which have gone largely unheeded – said he has become increasingly concerned that corporations and the federal government seem willing to put the interests of business “above the public welfare.”

“This nation has – and has had for decades – a pressing need for a wholly dedicated food safety agency, one that is independent and not concerned with other matters to bring together and extend the bits of food safety activities now scattered over more than a dozen agencies,” he said in an e-mail.

original article on The Mercury News

Posted in animal, China, Company, Economy, Food, Health, Life, Made in China, medical, News, Pet food, Politics, pollution, products, Social, Tainted Products, Trade, USA, World | 1 Comment »

China A Top Violator of US Food Standards: reports

Posted by Author on May 22, 2007


france24.com, 20/05/2007-

China is a top violator of US food safety standards, with US authorities last month rejecting 257 Chinese food shipments — far more than from any other country, US media reported Sunday.

The Chicago Tribune reported that at least 137 food shipments were rejected as “filthy” after testing positive for salmonella, or for containing banned ingredients.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the US Food and Drug Administration last month seized more than 1,000 shipments of tainted dietary supplements, toxic cosmetics and counterfeit medicines from China.

The Tribune meanwhile, wrote that a good portion of the rejected Chinese shipments each month includes fish and seafood like catfish, shrimp, mahi-mahi, tilapia, eel and yellow fin tuna.

Other Chinese imports that failed inspection include herbal teas, bean curd, candy, dried apples, dried peaches and peanut milk, while non-food rejects included catheters and lip gloss.

The burgeoning food import scandal has been spotlighted because of the recent highly publicized contamination of dog and cat food from China suspected of leaving thousands of pets dead.

The pet food was found to have been tainted with the chemical melamine, a substance used in fertilizers and plastics, which found its way into wheat gluten exported from China for the US pet food and animal feed markets.

China, which exports about two billion dollars each year in food products, not only is a cheap supplier of a growing number of important food products, but for some key foodstuffs it is virtually the sole purveyor.

For instance, the Post reported that China now controls 80 percent of the world’s production of ascorbic acid, for example, a valuable preservative that is ubiquitous in processed foods.

Meanwhile, the daily wrote, US companies have become so dependent on the Chinese exports that they may be reluctant to reduce the flow of goods.

“The commercial interest of the United States these days has become to allow imports to come in as quickly and smoothly as possible,” Robert Cassidy, a former assistant US trade representative for China told the Post.

The daily also reported that US agriculture officials also have seized hundreds of thousands of pounds of prohibited poultry products from China and other Asian countries over the past year, including some shipped in crates labeled “dried lily flower,” and “prune slices.”

original report

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Food, Health, Life, Made in China, medical, News, Pet food, Politics, pollution, products, Social, Tainted Products, Trade, USA, World | Comments Off on China A Top Violator of US Food Standards: reports

Banned Antibiotics Found In Catfish Imported From China

Posted by Author on May 22, 2007


By Stephen J. Hedges, Washington Bureau, on The Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2007-

WASHINGTON — As federal regulators scrambled last month to contain a pet food contamination outbreak, officials in some Southern states had a different concern: Noticing that catfish imports from China had skyrocketed, they began testing the imported fish.

What they found surprised them — two banned antibiotics.

The discovery pointed to a deep flaw in the nation’s food safety system, as the Chinese catfish had already entered the U.S. legally and were on their way to grocery stores and restaurants. “We continue to find it in the food shipments coming into Alabama,” said Ron Sparks, Alabama’s agriculture commissioner.

“And if it’s coming into Alabama, it’s coming in everywhere else.”

The discovery enabled Alabama and Mississippi to put “stop sale” orders on the catfish, tying up more than 700,000 pounds of fish in Alabama alone. But without these last-minute tests, the fish would have been eaten by any number of consumers, despite the presence of the banned antibiotics.

No country highlights the gaps in America’s food import system — with just 0.9 percent of shipments inspected upon arrival in the U.S. in fiscal year 2006 — as much as China, a rapidly industrializing, mass-exporting country whose food safety controls lag those of Western nations.

In April alone, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration turned back 257 Chinese import shipments, far more than from any other country, FDA records show. At least 137 of them involved food rejected for reasons like “filthy,” “salmonella,” or because it contained banned ingredients. A good portion of the rejected Chinese shipments each month includes fish and seafood, such as catfish, shrimp, mahi-mahi, tilapia, eel and yellowfin tuna.

Other Chinese imports that did not get past inspectors included herbal teas, bean curd, candy, dried apples, dried peaches and peanut milk. Non-food items included everything from catheters to lip gloss.

While U.S. inspectors pay more attention to high-risk countries like China, critics say the added scrutiny falls far short of what is needed. (…… more details from The Chicago Tribune)

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China Confirms Bird Flu Outbreak – 11,000 Poultry Died

Posted by Author on May 21, 2007


BBC News, 19 May 2007-

China has confirmed a new outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus in the central province of Hunan, state media has reported.

More than 11,000 poultry died of the virus in Shijiping village near Yiyang city, the Agriculture Ministry said.

Some 53,000 birds have since been culled and officials say that the outbreak is now under control.

China’s last reported case was in March, when chickens died at a poultry market near the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

There were no reports of human infection in the latest outbreak.

A total of 15 people have died in China from the H5N1 virus and millions of birds have been culled.

Officials are working to vaccinate billions of domestic poultry by the end of May in preparation for the northward migration of wild birds in the summer, Xinhua news agency has said.

Since the H5N1 virus emerged in South East Asia in late 2003, it has claimed more than 180 lives around the world. Indonesia has been hardest hit, with more than 70 deaths.

Scientists fear the virus could mutate to a form which could be easily passed from human to human, triggering a pandemic and potentially putting millions of lives at risk.

original report

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U.S. Hits China’s Melamine Claims on Pet Food

Posted by Author on May 20, 2007


By Steve Hirsch, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, May 18, 2007-

The Bush administration yesterday disputed Chinese assertions that it had been given a clean bill of health by U.S. inspectors following a rash of pet deaths caused by the use of tainted Chinese wheat gluten in pet food.

China claimed earlier this week that checks on exporters had turned up no sign of the chemical melamine after Chinese officials accompanied Food and Drug Administration inspectors on visits to two companies blamed for the pet food contamination.

At the same time, China urged Washington not to take further action against Chinese food producers.

However, FDA Assistant Commissioner David Acheson yesterday said the issue has not been resolved.

The U.S. government has issued an import alert on Chinese vegetable protein concentrate, holding shipments at the border until they are determined to be safe.

Mr. Acheson said the agency maintains that import alert while it continues to look for melamine and similar compounds in vegetable protein concentrates.

“We’re going to continue to do that until we’re satisfied that this is under control,” he said.

“Clearly, our continued import alert would indicate that we have continuing concerns with imports of vegetable protein concentrates from China,” he said.

Moreover, he said, there could be food-safety problems elsewhere in China, which is one reason for the FDA to maintain its import alert.

Under the alert, he said, “any vegetable protein concentrate coming in from China is not going to be imported until we have assurance that it’s negative.”

So far, he said, 46 shipments of Chinese vegetable protein products have been detained in the U.S.

Meanwhile, domestic efforts focus on U.S. manufacturers that have received vegetable protein concentrates from China. Mr. Acheson said the government has collected 63 samples for testing for melamine from companies in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

Of that total, he said, 37 tested negative, 23 are pending and three could not be tested.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not return a call requesting comment yesterday.

original report

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Mystery Disease Kills Pigs in Southern China: press

Posted by Author on May 6, 2007


Reuters,  May 7, 2007-

HONG KONG (Reuters) – A mysterious disease has killed thousands of pigs in China’s southern Guangdong province and authorities have disinfected affected farms, markets and abattoirs, several Hong Kong newspapers reported on Monday.

The outbreak began around early April in Silao town, where the animals stopped eating, developed high fevers and started hemorrhaging under their skin.

The disease has since spread to nearby towns, they reported. Its cause is unknown.

Beijing-backed Ta Kung Pao quoted officials in nearby Yunfu city confirming that more than 300 pigs had died in Silao town.

Some of the carcasses were hurled into rivers and that may have been responsible for the spread of the disease to surrounding areas, other newspapers reported, with some estimating total losses at more than 3,000 animals.

Faced with heavy financial losses, some farmers have hastily sold sick pigs at reduced prices, the Apple Daily reported.

Although the cause of the disease is unknown, experts ruled out the possibility of people contracting the disease.

original report from Reuters

Posted in animal, China, Guangdong, Health, medical, News, SE China | 1 Comment »

China Wheat Gluten Banned by U.S. for Chemical Contaminate

Posted by Author on April 2, 2007


The hottest news in these 2 days is contaminated wheat gluten has been found in U.S. which is imported from China that has been blamed for caused at least 16 deaths of pets.

Now it’s still unsure whether the contaminated wheat gluten had entered the human food supply or not, but the Food and Drug Administration were testing all wheat gluten imported from China.

Almost all the medias are covering this incident, and you can find out more details from this New York Times’s report: Pet Food Contained Chemical Found in Plastic, F.D.A. Says

Food safety is a long time concern of people in China. Read the following post in Jan. this year to find out the situation in China: China: People Concerned About Food Safety, Environmental Quality

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Environment, Food, Health, Incident, Law, Life, medical, News, pollution, Social, Trade, USA, World | Comments Off on China Wheat Gluten Banned by U.S. for Chemical Contaminate

Humane Society Condemns the Slaughter of Dogs in China

Posted by Author on March 9, 2007


Press release, The Humane Society of the United States, March 7, 2007-

WASHINGTON – The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International has condemned plans to kill dogs in the southwestern Chinese municipality of Chongqing, where a case of human rabies resulted in death last month. According to a health official, three cases of human rabies have been reported in the municipality’s Wanzhou district during the last year after nine years of no reported cases.

Owners have until March 16 to have their pets destroyed before police implement a killing campaign of all dogs, even those already vaccinated by their owners.

“Rabies is a serious matter, but local, provincial, and national government officials in China must recognize that vaccination campaigns are the most effective way to ensure public safety now and in the future,” said Andrew Rowan, Ph.D., chief executive officer of HSI. “Killing animals indiscriminately like this is unnecessary and inexcusable, especially if they’re already vaccinated.”

Pointing to successes in other areas of the world where rabies is common, HSI maintains that a campaign to raise the percentage of vaccinated animals is the best way for Chinese authorities to address the perceived threat of rabies.

The dog eradication programs have been the subject of numerous open protests within China. “The culling campaigns are in direct conflict with the emergence of a pet-keeping culture in China,” Rowan added. “Solutions are needed that respect the increasing importance of the human-animal bond in a growing number of Chinese households.”

During the past year, HSI has led U.S.-based protests against the mass killing of dogs, written letters to Chinese officials, staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy in Washington and agreed to cosponsor a conference on rabies in China later this year. A separate conference on companion animal care in China is scheduled for November.

Facts

  • The World Health Organization has stated that indiscriminate mass killing is not a means of effective animal control and supports vaccination programs for rabies prevention.
  • HSI is working in India, Nepal, and Indonesia to develop humane animal control programs that include sterilization and rabies vaccination.
  • Pet ownership is on the rise in China, with an estimated 150 million pet dogs.

Timeline

  • July 2006: First reports of a mass killing of 50,000 dogs in Yunnan Province, China.
  • August 2, 2006: HSUS/HSI executives write to Chinese ambassador to protest culling.
  • August 6, 2006: HSUS/HSI executives writes to Chinese ambassador with offer of $100,000 and expert counsel to launch vaccination program in Shandong Province, where another cull is announced.
  • August 10, 2006: HSUS/HSI demonstrate in front of Chinese Embassy, DC.
  • November 2006: Beijing implements “one dog” policy to “combat rabies,” affecting all households with two or more dogs and any dog more than 35 centimeters.
  • November 15, 2006: HSUS/HSI sends letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez to urge his intervention during his China visit on misguided one-dog policy.
  • December 2006: Chinese President Hu Jintao halts national crackdown on dogs due to international protest.
  • January 2007: U.S. House of Representatives Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) call on China to reform dog cull policies.

original report from Humane Society International

Posted in animal, China, City resident, Environment, Health, Law, News, People, rabies, Social, SW China, World | 1 Comment »

Dogs and Cats Skinned Alive for Their Fur in China

Posted by Author on February 24, 2007


By Gary Feuerberg, Epoch Times Washington, D.C. Staff, Feb 21, 2007-

China has become the world’s largest exporter of fur garments in just a few years. Many of the international fur traders, manufacturers, and fashion designers have shifted their business to China, where they can exploit China’s cheap labor and the absence of restrictive animal welfare regulations.

China’s new ascendance in the fur market—fur trade production and retail—comes with a heavy price for the fur-bearing animals. China apparently has no laws in place to regulate the confinement and slaughter of the raccoon dogs, foxes, minks, rabbits, and even dogs and cats, whose fur is responsible for a highly profitable industry. While conditions of fur farms in the West have been subjected to criticism by animal rights groups, Chinese fur farms and slaughter methods have been alleged to be far more shocking and brutal.

China’s fur industry has developed across numerous fur farms over the last 12 years. China’s farms number as many as 10,000, where 90% of the skins come from farms with fewer than 50 females, according to the China Leather Industry Association, cited in a report published by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP), Care for the Wild, and East International, (henceforth, called the “SAP report”) in January 2005 and updated last month.

Fur farms tend to be concentrated in China’s North East. Fur farms in Shandong province hold the highest number of animals, followed by Heilongjiang province and then Jilin province. Hebei province acts as the hub for the marketing of fur. At the Shangcun Market in Hebei province, 35 million fur skins are traded each year, which accounts for over 60% of China’s pelt trade. The above information is taken from Chinese industry sources cited in the SAP report.

It was in the Shangcun Market that a 14-minute video was secretly produced in February 2005 by the Swiss Animal Protection SAP which shows the skinning of raccoon dogs, foxes and other animals that are still alive and even struggling (see http://www.animal-protection.net. WARNING: Images may be disturbing to some viewers).

An investigative reporter from the Beijing News observed conditions at the Shangcun Market two months after the video was on the Internet and the report appeared in the online version, April 5, 2005. A spokesperson from the county’s Communist Party Committee propaganda department was quoted as saying that the live skinning took place seven or eight years ago but could not happen now. However, the reporter for the Beijing News confirmed that skinning alive of most animals at this largest of fur markets in China was still going on even after it had been exposed earlier.

Slaughtering the Fur Animals in China

The animals are immobilized by being stunned with repeated blows to the head, or by being slammed on the ground. The animals are injured and may convulse, tremble or attempt to crawl away, says the SAP report—this is also shown repeatedly in the video. The skinning may begin while the animal is conscious or regaining consciousness.

“Desperate and writhing in agony, animals conscious during these procedures hopelessly try to defend themselves even to the point where all the skin had been forced off …breathing, heart beat…and eyelid movements were evident for 5 to 10 minutes,” describes the SAP report of the video and photos.

The International Fur Trade Federation (ITIF), of which China is a member, deplored the SAP report, arguing that it made sweeping generalizations about the conditions in all of China. “It is wrong to portray all fur farming as the same in China,” said the IFTF. Some fur farms are run to western standards, said the ITIF. Conditions will improve for animal welfare in China when fur farmers come to realize that the quality of the pelts improve by employing western standards of animal welfare, and that through education, the situation will correct itself—this is the gist of the ITIF’s response.

Fur Trim in Fashion

The fur garments are most commonly sold in the U.S., Europe or Japan as fur-trim on coats, gloves, purses, toys, trinkets, and even furniture. By mixing fur with silk, wool, suede and leather, and employing new manufacturing processes, such as shearing and knitting, and new fashionable colors, fur has attained a new novelty and versatility, according to sources cited in a Care for the Wild International (CWI) report.

“Overall, fur was displayed in greater numbers than in previous years, coming in all colors, shapes and sizes,” commented a CNN report on fur’s popularity on runways during New York’s Fashion Week in February 2005. However, consumers may not have noticed the large increase of fur use in fashion today, because fur-trim is much less conspicuous than the expensive full-length fur coats worn in the past, added that most people would be too embarrassed to wear those today.

U.S. fur sales in 2003 were $1.8 billion, according to the Fur Information Council of America, cited by CWI. “China has become the leading fur garment exporter to the USA, accounting for 40% of total US imports in 2004—the equivalent of $7.9 million,” according to the SAP report. However, exact import statistics are difficult to obtain because fur trimmings are not specifically declared to customs, says the SAP report.

Protests Staged in Washington and 35 Cities Worldwide

The Anti-Fur Society of Washington, D.C.—a member of the International Anti-Fur Coalition—disapproves of the cramped wire cages that leave almost no room for the animal to move about. In these cramped quarters, the animals show signs of extreme anxiety and pathological behaviors, according to a report by CWI. The Anti-Fur Society of Washington, D.C. especially objects to the slaughter methods, including the skinning of the animals alive, “which makes China’s fur industry the most barbaric in the world,” says their press release. Their membership find these practices highly disturbing and horrifying.

The group is also appalled at the frequent use of domestic dog and cat fur. Although against U.S. law, a loophole in customs law and mislabeling permits their use in the U.S., they say. Fur items priced at less than US$150 are not checked by Customs for truthful labeling upon entry. The group contends that unsuspecting customers are purchasing items with dog and cat fur. They claim that even Burlington Coat Factory, Macy’s, JC Penny, Nordstrom, Saks and Barneys are selling dog fur as the fur from another species or even labeled as “faux fur.”

A UK-based charity, Care for the Wild International (CWI), reported that on Nov 20, 2006, the E.U. banned imports of pelts of dogs and cats. The CWI stated that 5,400 dogs and cats are slaughtered every day in China. “Chinese suppliers offered us entire sheets made of dozens and dozens of cat skins—all in matching color patterns of tabby, ginger, black and white or tabby and white,” says Dr Barbara Maas, CWI’s Chief Executive.

To protest China’s alleged inhumane methods for fur industry animals, members of the Anti-Fur Society of Washington, D.C. on February 13 carried a symbolic casket across the Taft Memorial Bridge, followed by a funeral for the animal victims of the Chinese fur trade in front of the Chinese Embassy at 2300 Connecticut Ave. This demonstration at the Chinese Embassy was one of many that occurred on the same day in over 35 cities worldwide.

The documentary of the gruesome slaughter methods in the Shangcun Market made by the Swiss Animal Protection is often mentioned by the protesters as graphic proof of the barbarity of China’s fur industry.

In Switzerland and several European countries, fur farming has been banned due to considerations for the humane treatment of animals. “In their lives and their unspeakable deaths, these animals have been denied the simplest acts of kindness,” writes the investigator of the SAP report on conditions of the Chinese fur farms.

The World Fur Industry

Global fur sales in 2005 totaled to $12.8 billion, which was a 9.1% increase from 2004, according to the International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF). In 1999, sales were only 8.2 billion and have been rising steadily every year for the last six years.

To get some idea of China’s relative place in the industry, in world trade mink production, China takes up 22.4% of the total, which places it behind first place Denmark with 30.3% of the mink production in 2005. Sandy Parker estimates 10 million mink pelts produced in China in 2006, up 25% from 2005. Also, China has become the world’s leading exporter of fox and raccoon dog pelts, according to the Sandy Parker Report.

original report from the Epoch Times

Posted in animal, China, Economy, Law, Life, News, Report, Social, Trade, World | 89 Comments »

China’s Rare River Dolphin Now Extinct After 20 million years

Posted by Author on December 14, 2006


Staff and agencies, Thursday December 14, 2006, Guardian Unlimited

It lived in the Yangtze river for millions of years and was revered by the Chinese as the “goddess” of the mighty river. But now scientists believe that the baiji, a white, freshwater dolphin, is extinct.

A painstaking six-week hunt on the Yangtze for any remaining signs of the baiji ended yesterday with the news scientists had been dreading: there don’t appear to be any remaining.

“The baiji is functionally extinct. We might have missed one or two animals but it won’t survive in the wild,” said August Pfluger, a Swiss naturalist involved in the expedition. “We are all incredibly sad.”

Also known as the Chinese river dolphin, the baiji is the first large aquatic mammal to be declared extinction since the Caribbean monk seal was killed off by hunting and over-fishing half a century ago.

The marine scientists from the baiji.org foundation launched their hunt with some limited optimism six weeks ago, aware that the dolphin was in desperate peril but hopeful they would sight some of the pale, nearly blind creatures.

But as the Guardian’s Jonathan Watts detailed last month even halfway through the expedition the signs were looking gloomy.

The dolphin, which dates back 20 million years, has been pushed to extinction by the severe degradation of its habitat. Increasingly noisy shipping traffic on the Yangtze affected the dolphins’ sonar, while severe pollution and over-fishing diminished food supplies.

The completion of the massive Three Gorges dam project upriver also did not help, worsening the decline of the smaller fish on which the baiji fed and shrinking the sand bars around which they once played

Around 400 baiji were believed to be living in the Yangtze in the early 1980s, when China was just launching the free market reforms that have transformed its economy. The last fully-fledged search, in 1997, yielded 13 confirmed sightings, and a fisherman claimed to have seen a baiji in 2004.

The closest most modern Chinese people got to the creature was Qi Qi, a female baiji found in the river in 1980, who lived in an aquarium until her death in 2002.

The chances of a miraculous return from presumed extinction seem extremely remote, given that the team of 30 scientists from five countries searched a 1,000-mile stretch of the Yangtze over the six weeks. At least 20 to 25 baiji would now be needed to give the species a chance to survive, they say.

The disappearance of the “goddess of the Yangtze” is a sobering reminder to the Chinese government about the extent to which the country’s economic transformation is affecting the environment.

According to Mr Pfluger, China’s Agriculture Ministry had hoped the baiji would end up being another giant panda, an animal brought back from the brink of extinction in a highly marketable effort that bolstered the country’s image.

Almost equally under threat is Yangtze finless porpoise, whose numbers have fallen to below 400, the expedition found.

“The situation of the finless porpoise is just like that of the baiji 20 years ago,” the baiji.org expedition group said in a statement. “Their numbers are declining at an alarming rate. If we do not act soon they will become a second baiji.”

Posted in animal, China, Environment, News, pollution, River | 5 Comments »