Under the “Wildlife Ban”, Can the Poor Households Who Depend on Farming Wild Animals for a Living Find New Jobs?
2020/3/19 23:06:00 本站

As the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has included artificially-bred terrestrial wild animals into the scope of a total ban on consumption, the domestication and breeding industry that already has more than 14 million employees is facing the possibility of being banned on a large scale: forestry and grassland departments across the country have systematically inspected more than 153,000 places for domestication and breeding, and have seized more than 39,000 wild animals.


At the same time, in recent years, some poor areas have used domestication and breeding of wild animals as poverty alleviation industries, and some farmers and practitioners are even poor households in poor areas. In this regard, some people have questioned whether those formerly legitimate farmers, especially the poor households who used farming and breeding wild animals as their sole source of income, could find new bowls and smoothly lift themselves out of poverty.


Poverty alleviation variables for domestication and breeding farmers


These days, Ran Jingcheng, the director of the Guizhou Wildlife and Forest Plant Management Station, walked into farmers’ houses and saw their restless eyes, feeling very complicated.


The industry of domestication and breeding of wild animals has played a positive role in driving farmers to increase income and become rich in some regions. In Guizhou Province, where Ran Jingcheng is located, there are 1,871 terrestrial wild animals artificial breeding farmers, and nearly 1,200 belong to family breeding. They have tasted the sweetness from the industry, and many farmers have already embarked on the road of getting rid of poverty and becoming rich. There are also 6,103 poor households who have set up files to participate in the artificial wildlife breeding industry, hoping to get rid of poverty through this approach.


In recent years, in order to encourage the development of the industry, the state has also introduced policies including tax reductions and exemptions, simplified procedures, and financial incentives. It has also issued guidance documents to accelerate development, such as the Central Government Document No. 1 in 2018, which has been fully deployed and implemented in the revitalization strategy in rural areas, industries such as accelerating domestication and appreciation of wildlife have been proposed.


Compared with other poverty alleviation projects, the domestication and breeding wild animals has high returns and quick outcomes. Several poor households in Fenggang County visited by Ran Jingcheng borrowed four sika deers from a sika deer farm. "Every sika deer can take antler twice a year, which can increase income by about 10,000 yuan. If they grow crop, the annual income may be only a few hundred yuan. " In this way, the poverty alleviation standard of 4,000 yuan per capita per year can be achieved in less than one year.


For ordinary people, on the one hand, the labor force required by the industry is low. Among the 20 breeding households interviewed by Ran Jingcheng, one third of them are 50 to 60 years old, in addition to the young people who responded to the state's call to return to start a business. On the other hand, the cost is low, and the benefits are high. Ran Jingcheng, who has raised bamboo rats, said: "Some rural production waste can be used as feed, and a bamboo rat sells for two or three hundred yuan, and the breeding benefit is more than double the chicken raising."


After the "wildlife ban" was introduced, all the animals in the inventory of artificial breeding, "cannot be eaten, sold, killed, or released." In order to reduce the cost of breeding, some breeders give animals less feed. There are animals that cannot be hungry, such as snakes. When they are hungry, they will become manic, and if they are manic, they will kill each other. If they can withstand starvation, such as frogs, half of one catty frog reduced to two liang.


Ran Jingcheng explained that farmers have fallen into the dilemma of the more they invest, the more they lose money, the difficulties of the animals’ starvation and the causing of eco-disasters with releasing them. "Some of these poor households have only started farming in the past two years, while carrying a loan, it has not produced any benefits. "


Facing the situation of farmers, Ran Jincheng was very anxious, "Can first take a sum of money from the poverty alleviation funds or the agricultural and forestry development funds to help?"


Can domestication and breeding farmers find new bowls?


In fact, the highest legislature has taken this into account. The Commission of Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee pointed out that “there may be some economic losses to some farmers raising animals. The relevant local people ’s governments should support, guide, and help affected farmers to adjust and change their production and operation activities. To give them some compensation according to the conditions. "


In an interview with the media, Ma Yong, the Deputy Secretary-General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) suggested that artificial breeding of wild animals be invested in eco-friendly industries. He said: "The development of the industry will definitely bring positive contributions to employment and economic benefits, however, it is necessary to comprehensively evaluate the proportional relationship between these benefits and social costs, just as environmental pollution caused by industrial development can contribute GDP to economic development. but it may take several times or even ten times or hundreds of times the economic investment to repair and restore the ecological environment damaged by pollution, so its contribution has been negative. "


Therefore, he suggested that the transition to livestock, poultry breeding, scientific research, and medicinal industries can also encourage the development of eco-agricultural economy, pollution-free agricultural products, and eco-tourism.


In the field of livestock and poultry breeding, Dr. Zhou Jinfeng, the Serectary-General of CBCGDF suggested that farmers with some experience in animal breeding could be pushed to switch to the traditional livestock breeding in China for the restorative breeding of local breeds.


He pointed out that the State Department of Agriculture and the National Livestock Station had conducted surveys for six years, and finally concluded that a general trend was that some local breeds were disappearing. This is not only a problem in China, but also a global problem.


"For example, the domestically raised pigs are mostly American white pigs, while many domestic pig breeds in China have nearly 90 species, but these germplasm resources are rapidly decreasing. The farming breeds are becoming more and more monotonous. The ability to resist disease is declining, which will cause the entire population to face significant risks once a major epidemic occurs.” Dr. Zhou said that the outbreak of African swine fever in 2018 is a typical case.


Combining these realities, Dr. Zhou believes that this transformation can not only effectively solve the predicament of the industry transformation, but also be conducive to the rapid recovery of agricultural biodiversity in China, enhance the ability to resist risks against major epidemics, and is of great significance to enrich the "vegetable baskets" of the people and ensure ecological security.


"In rural areas, some have developed wild animal breeding and sales as a characteristic industry. This is true, but it is not a pillar industry." Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council's Poverty Alleviation Office, offered a "reassurance" that if farmers were given a variety of forms of help and alternative industries, generally speaking, it will not have much impact on poverty alleviation, especially it will not have a great impact on the completion of tasks.


Dr. Zhou also believes that although the farming breeding industry will indeed face pain, the transformation will also be a process with longer cycles, more difficulties, and more pressure. "But this industry not only has great safety risks, but also has a great impact on the wildlife resources pose a great threat and it is not a sustainable green industry. The transformation of the domestication and breeding industry of wild animals will help to achieve the sustainable development of China's biodiversity conservation and wildlife resources, and then form a coordinated development of ecological environment protection and poverty alleviation. "


Ran Jingcheng, who plans to survey 1,000 farmers by the end of March, still can't help worrying that young people can raise chickens, pigs, etc., and can go out to work, but what about the many elderly people?


(Photo credit: 农村致富网)


(Photo credit: scio.gov.cn)

Original Chinese article:


By / Maggie