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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
China animal rights chef honoured
Civet in Tokyo's Ueno Zoo
Animals like civet cats are considered a delicacy
A cook in north-east China who was sacked 12 times for refusing to cook rare wild animals has been recognised for his contribution to conservation.

Zhang Xingguo was given the "green chef" award by the China Wildlife Conservation Association, who said he had set a good example to other chefs.

Rare animals are often eaten as a delicacy in China, and some Chinese officials have linked the spread of the respiratory disease Sars with the eating of civet cats.

But Mr Zhang, whose story was reported by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, refused to cook animals like hedgehogs and pangolins.

Last year, he even began visiting restaurants to try and persuade other chefs to stop cooking wild animals.


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