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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May, 2003, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
China bans eating wild animals
Civet in Tokyo's Ueno Zoo
The civet is considered a delicacy in China
China's southern province of Guangdong is reported to have banned the eating of wild animals like civet cats, after scientists said last week that the Sars virus could have jumped from the animals to humans.

The ferret-like animal is considered a delicacy in China, but it was included in a ban against the consumption, trading and husbandry of wild animals, official media said.

Beijing has also ordered controls on civets, according to the Beijing Daily.

The city's only civet farm was closed and its 242 animals put under observation for signs of Sars, while the nine civets at the Beijing Zoo were quarantined, according to the paper.

An official from Guangdong's agriculture department said other provinces in the country would likely adopt similar measures, as China seeks to control the spread of Sars, which has killed more than 300 of the country's citizens.

"Each area in China is taking its own measures," he was quoted as saying.

The Beijing Times said that monkeys, snakes, and bats had also been targeted in Guangdong, which is believed to be where the global Sars outbreak originated.


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