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N. Sivasothi,
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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Mon 10 May 2004

Green chef of China

Category : internet

'Zhang Xingguo, a cook in north-east China was sacked 12 times in the past eight years for refusing to cook rare wild animals. He was awarded the "green chef" award by the China Wildlife Conservation Association last week.'

China Radio International has the intriguing and somewhat poetic story of Zhang Xingguo. Here are excerpts:

'He nursed a turtle dove with broken wings to recovery when he was 8 years old. The recovered bird, returned to nest permanently nearby and in four years, became a family of several dozen. The birds would joyfully perch on his arms and shoulders.'

'When he returned to his home town as a master chef in 1995, he discovered the "chirping of birds was heard no more and the fish had almost disappeared from the rivers". Wildlife dining had become extremely popular.' These days civet cats, raccoons, badgers, weasels, baby deer, cats and dogs are culinary staples in China.'

'Zhang decided not to cook wildlife dishes and began struggling for a living. He was even beaten up by one restaurant manager.

On 22 December 2003, over a hundred local chefs headed by Zhang signed their names on a declaration in Calabash Island City (Huludao), Liaoning Province, vowing not to cook wildlife throughout their career as a chef. Sars had by now added to to their cause.'

'At a ceremony in Beijing this week, the China Wildlife Conservation Association launched a campaign to win the signatures of over 1 million chefs against cooking wild animals by 2008.'

Other sources: ABC news online (AFP), ABC Nature News

Posted at 10:35AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news