CBCGDF’s EPIL Case: the 3 Defendants were Sentenced to 1.59 million in Compensation
2022/5/16 16:18:00 本站

Earthworms are annelids in nature, and they can often be seen in moist, loose, organic-rich soil. In recent years, various signs show that the survival status of earthworms is not optimistic. The reason is that the disordered development of the electric earthworm industry has led to the increasingly rampant behavior of hunting earthworm.

Due to the medicinal and edible value of earthworms, as well as being widely used in fish bait, the price of earthworm in the market has risen. The large market demand has also spawned the earthworm farming industry, which can obtain economic benefits through large-scale farming of earthworms. However, this method has high investment and long cycle, and some unscrupulous traders make huge profits by hunting earthworms in the wild. This kind of opportunistic method has low investment and short cycle. It only needs to buy an electric trapping device, and it can capture dozens of catties of earthworms through simple operation. This hunting method not only destroys the living environment of wild earthworms, but also causes fundamental damage to the soil ecosystem.

Earthworms are known as "ecosystem engineers," influencing the structure and function of land-based ecosystems. They burrow into the soil, ingest more than 30 times its own weight in soil, accelerate the decomposition of organic matter, and rapidly mix large amounts of litter into the soil layer below, increasing the release of plant nutrients. From the perspective of ecosystem and biodiversity conservation, large-scale and destructive electric earthworm trapping should be banned. Many scholars, volunteers and environmentalists in the field of wildlife conservation have also voiced their voices, calling for the conservation of wild earthworms. However, the appeal for the prohibition of electric trapping of earthworms has been in a state of "unreliable" for a long time, because earthworms are not in the "List of National Key Protected Wild Animals" and "List of Terrestrial Wild Animals of Important Ecological, Scientific and Social Value".

Although earthworms are not protected animals, the extreme and extinct hunting of such creatures at the key position of the ecological chain must still bear the legal consequences.


In 2016, a media in Hainan printed the words "Save earthworms" on the front page, calling for the conservation of wild earthworms. At that time, the electric trapping of earthworms had already formed a complete industrial chain of capture-acquisition-drying-sinotransport. Prohibition of electric trapping of earthworms has been in a state of "no law to follow" for a long time. According to incomplete statistics, in the Yantang area of Hainan alone, earthworm dealers can purchase several thousand tons of dried earthworms a year.

In 2020, CBCGDF filed an environment public interest lawsuit (EPIL) against three companies selling electric earthworm devices, the first of its kind in China. The first-instance judgment of the Intermediate Court of Zhuhai City, Guangdong Province held that earthworms are wild animals with an important position in the soil ecosystem, and the means of human economic use of them must be within a reasonable range. The three companies appealed to the High Court of Guangdong Province. On February 17, 2022, the Guangdong Provincial High Court rejected the appeal of the three companies and upheld the first-instance judgment.

Original Chinese Article: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/dQdqcY8_twy6qbPAV_OS_A

Translator: Daisy

Editor: Samantha

Contact the editors: v10@cbcgdf.org;  +8617319454776



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