Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China: Failure to End the Slaughter of Migratory Birds

The migratory bird season has come in China; yet instead of searching for food in the warm lake areas, a large number of birds are being slaughtered for human consumption. Every year, according to Hunan province's local news, more than 150 tonnes of wild birds are caught in certain villages in Hunan.

This year the annual slaughter began in September. The problem was exposed in a documentary, The Slaughter of Migratory Bird in their Seasonal Journey (鳥之殤,千年鳥道上的大屠殺), which has been widely circulated online and has thus put pressure on the State Forestry Administration (SFA) to act. An emergency notice was issued on October 22, 2012, which urged the Hunan authorities to investigate and penalize the illegal killing and business exploitation of wild birds.

The documentary shows the particulars of the bird hunting business in Hunan province. The hunters can catch up to three tonnes of wild birds in just one night. The birds are then either sold in local markets or transported outside the province [zh]:

Unlike other Western countries, the habit of eating wild birds and animals in China has not changed with industrialization and modernization as civic activities such as environmental and animal rights advocacy are repressed. Instead, the development of modern hunting tools has resulted in the large-scale slaughtering of wild birds and the incorporation of wild birds into local restaurant cuisine.

To counter such food culture and market demand, both grassroots authorities and concerned citizens are urging people to stop consuming wild birds [zh]:

Say No to Wild Bird Consumption. A poster uploaded by Jiangning police online on Weibo.

Say No to Wild Bird Consumption. A poster uploaded by Jiangning police online on Weibo.

江宁公安在线:微倡议:最近,一些不法分子趁着候鸟前往温暖地区过冬,又干起了非法捕杀候鸟的勾当,在一些温暖的内陆湖区撒下天网、毒饵,大量珍稀候鸟遭捕杀。没有买卖,就没有杀害,警察蜀黍在此呼吁:【拒绝食用野生候鸟!遇到有人捕杀、贩卖国家保护的野生鸟类,请果断向当地林业公安及野生动物保护部门举报!】

Jiangning police online: Micro-advocacy: Recently some illegal hunters have become engaged in illegal hunting activities by setting up nets or laying down poison in warm lake areas, killing a large number of precious migratory birds. If there is no business, there will be no killing. The police are urging everyone to stop eating wild birds. Report any hunting and business activities related to the killing of wild birds to the police and forestry authorities.

御史在途:#让候鸟飞#今天赴一个朋友晚宴,餐桌上出现了一大份烤鸟肉,都是整只的。服务员说是新到的货,平时很难吃到。食者都说味道鲜美。显然,这些都是刚被屠杀的候鸟。我照例没动筷子,并说明理由表明立场。但我知道,要说服别的食客拒食野生鸟类和其他野生动物,不是件简单的事情。

History on the way: I was having dinner at a friend's place and there were barbecued birds on the dinner table. The hostess said they were seasonal. Everyone was saying that the birds tasted great. Obviously, the birds were slaughtered migratory birds. I did not wield my chopsticks to express my stance. I know it is very difficult to persuade others not to eat wild animals.

权静:坚决不吃!劝那些想吃的人,即便自私得考虑,也不应该吃。野生鸟类和家禽不一样,没有经过检疫流程,如果携带病毒,如禽流感之类,灾烹饪过程中如果没有完全杀死,非常非常不安全。

Quanjing: Never eat [wild birds]! Perhaps a more selfish reason can persuade you: wild birds do not have veterinary certificates, meaning they may be carrying viruses such as bird flu. It is very dangerous to eat wild birds.

天河少先队-徐健瑜:祖先早已驯化出最好味道的飞禽——鸡鸭鹅。吃野鸟的人请你们收起猎奇,放它们一条生路!生命平等!

Xu Jianyu: Our ancestors have already domesticated the best birds- chicken, duck and goose- for our consumption. Please give wildlife a chance to live. Please stop eating wild birds.

Despite the online call to arms, ordinary netizens are still talking about the pleasure of eating wild birds in social media:

疯狂桃妈:老爸得了两只野鸟,坐了三个小时车拿来给外孙吃。知道我经常头痛,买了四斤核桃,老两口一个负责剥开,一个负责炒,一块背过来!父母的爱,如此深厚,拿什么回报呢?

Crazy Mother Tao: Father has two wild birds. It took him three hours to deliver one to his grandchildren. He also knows that I sometimes have headaches and has bought me 2 kilos of walnuts. My love for my parents is so deep. How can I return their love?

小橙子乖:吃鸟了吃鸟了,野鸟确实比家鸟香

Little orange: Eat birds! Wild birds taste much better than domesticated birds.

It takes a long time to change food culture and the problem obviously lies with the law enforcement carried out by government authorities:

邓飞:#一广州网友来信#没有消费就没有猎杀。每年必吃野鸟的人说,广州流行吃的禾花雀,最大消费人群不是老百姓,而是广东各级政府官员,每到这个季节,各个处室都会外出吃鸟。也许保护候鸟正应该从政府内部着手。据他介绍,广东市场上的禾花雀并非广东境内捕获,而是在天津抓了空运过来!

Deng fei: #A letter from Guangzhou#. Without consumption, there will be no hunting. A regular wild bird consumer said that the main consumers of rice birds in Guangzhou are not ordinary citizens but government officials. When the season comes, all the government departments dine out and have bird feasts. The protection of wild birds should begin with the government. Most of the rice birds consumed in Guangzhou are not caught locally but are transported by air from Tianjin.

onlyyouli11:记得多年前焦点访谈就播过鄱阳湖地区随意捕杀野鸟的报道,一些迁徙到那里的稀有野鸟、天鹅等都成了有钱人及游客餐桌上的野珍馐美味,成了当地人致富的一条门路。它们随意被捕杀,巡湖员都是白拿工资的摆设。这个报道我记的很清楚,当时也是一样的心痛。几年过去了,这种是还在发生

onlyyouli11: Many years ago, similar reports about the slaughter of birds around the Poyang Lake district appeared on Central Television's feature programme. All precious migratory birds, including swans, have become expensive dishes served at dinner tables belonging to tourists and rich people. Such business is creating wealth. Wild birds are being slaughtered; the forestry officers are just there for decoration. I remember the report well as I was very sad to see all these things. After all these years, the situation remains the same.

  • leaf. Ya

    Is there a point to end the slaughter of wild birds?
    How can people justify their action of mass producing meat for consumption, which is in no way more morally correct than killing undomesticated animals.
    The cause this article supports is limited this way.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site