May 25, 2010

Beijing Fengtai Supermarket Sells 2-meter Long Live Crocodile

At the supermarket. Photo by Yang Tianxiao (杨天啸) from Beijing Times

Translation: 北京超市出售活鳄鱼和鲨鱼 市民称太残忍 by Beijing Times

Two days ago, Yonghui Supermarket on North Zhenguosi Street in Fengtai District (丰台区镇国寺北街永辉超市草桥店) opened for business. On display in its fresh meat section was a crocodile around 2 meters long. As parts of the reptile were reserved and sold throughout the day, the practice stirred up debate among Beijing residents.

Mrs. Zhang said that when she visited the new supermarket, she saw a 2 meters long crocodile, with its mouth tied shut and four limbs held immobile. An explanatory note next to it explained the nutritional benefits and as well as a few methods of preparation. A large crowd had gathered around the area. Mrs Zhang exclaimed: "This is so cruel. Crocodile is one of China's protected species. Why is it on sale publicly?"

Last night at 9PM, the reporter found said crocodile. The shark beside it has already been butchered. On-lookers doubting the authenticity of the reptile tried to touch it. The sales people pointed to the rising and falling stomach, saying: "It is alive."

Mr. Huang, manager of the fresh meat department, said that the crocodile was booked on the first day. It will be slaughtered this Sunday and sold off by part. "Both the croc and the shark were bred on farms. They are not wild."

In 2003, the State Forestry Administration lifted bans on the commercial domestication and breeding of 54 animal species. Crocodiles were also on the list, but business units must first obtain licenses for commercial operations related to wild animals and associated products.

When the reporter asked to see permits for selling crocodiles, manager Liu who is in charge of reception told him that the crocodile and shark were purchased from the farmer's market. The sellers provided health records as well as licenses. "We can buy and openly sell as long as the suppliers possess relevant certificates. Supermarkets do not have to show any permits."

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