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Rats returned to the tables of Chinese

July 17 2007
03:08

Rat meat back in the menu of restaurants and eateries in Guangdong Province in southern China. According to Chinese newspapers in the provincial capital of Guangzhou city late at night from the neighboring province of Hunan trucks come with the rats, which then sell "on the poultry market.

During the SARS epidemic that began in southern China in 2003, authorities banned the trade in many wild animals, fearing that people can catch the deadly disease from infected meat.

Originating in Guangdong, SARS quickly spread around the world and has infected a total of more than 8,000 people, 800 of whom died, including 349 in China. Although scientists have never agreed on whether or not this disease spread by certain species of animals, the Chinese merchants still do not allow selling of wild animals.

Now, because of flooding, nearly 2 billion rats in Hunan province were left without their burrows, but local authorities deny reports that the rodents appeared again on sale. One government official said on Sunday newspaper Beijing Times, that a live rat to catch too difficult and not very profitable, since the meat in it is still a little bit.

However, in southern China, rat meat is revered for the traditional delicacy, and some believe that this meat Bole nutritious than pork or chicken. In the retail rat is 40 to 50 yuan (5,2 - 6,5 dollars) to buy them, reportedly, can be in several cities in Guangdong.

Some restaurants advertise in the province "rat banquets", where guests per kilogram of rat meat pay 136 yuan. However, the owners of these establishments do not admit that the raw materials to them comes from Hunan.

The authorities of the province are taking tough measures against rats, but anything with them can not do: Rodents destroyed is already 1.6 million hectares of cultivated land. Their distribution, according to experts, contribute not only to floods but also the reduction of owls and snakes, which are in southern China also are eaten, as well as the giant Three Gorges Dam, "and climate change, reports BBC.

Last week, Chinese media reported that residents of neighboring Guangdong Province of Hunan offers recipes from the rat: eating rodents, according to these people - a good means to combat their spread.

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