Donkeys and dogs, snakes and guinea pigs

By Pauline D. Loh ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-12 08:13:49

No matter how exotic the tastes, it is perfectly understandable if meat is properly farmed and raised with conscience. National broadcaster CCTV's agriculture channel often features exemplary entrepreneurs breeding snakes, guinea pigs, emus and peacocks for the market.

But when the farmer will not eat what he produces, when profit wins over conscience, we are in serious trouble, because that's when China's infamous "food scandals" will surface.

Examples include fruit orchard owners who spray their trees with so much pesticide that it kills entire hives of bees from a neighboring farm, pigs raised on steroids for muscles (aka "lean" meat) which warp their figures into grotesque shapes, or farmed fish dosed with "growth enhancers" that send residual hormone levels through the roof.

The chain continues downstream to restaurateurs who must question their sources and verify that meat and vegetables they use meet the highest safety standards. In a city with almost 300,000 restaurants on the average and more opening every day, the desire to cut costs and up profits is fearfully natural.

So why worry about dogs or donkeys when there is so much more to be afraid of? It's no longer about squeamishness of unfamiliar foods, but a real concern about food safety, civic responsibility, or the sad lack of.

Related: Delivering door-to-door

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