Wuhan Kids' Book Pulled Over Passage on Wild Animal Consumption

By Matthew Bossons, February 13, 2020

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Wuhan University Press has drawn flak online for publishing a children’s book that states masked palm civet meat is edible, according to Chinese media reports.

The book, which is titled Encyclopedia of Animals, additionally states that the animal’s fat is used in the production of cosmetics, and that its hair can be used to make gloves and brushes.

The publishing house, which is based in Wuhan, Hubei province, announced earlier this week that it had recalled all copies of the book from store shelves across the country. In its official statement, the company further noted that the matter is still under investigation.

See the full statement below (translation by Ryan Gandolfo/That’s): 

“Recently, some netizens have pointed out that one of our published works, Encyclopedia of Animals, contains an improper statement about civets. Our publishing company attaches great importance to this matter, and has informed national sales outlets to take the book off shelves. Meanwhile, other related matters are continuing to be investigated and dealt with. Thanks to the vast number of netizens and readers for bringing this to Wuhan University Press’ attention! We welcome you to continue to monitor and give feedback on our work!”

“Find the publisher and ask him if he is eating the [civet] cat,” wrote one Weibo user in response to the news. “Wuhan has no awareness of wildlife conservation,” posted another from Guangdong’s Zhuhai.

While civet meat is indeed edible and considered a delicacy in parts of South China, the trade in bushmeat is under justifiably increased scrutiny now, as China – and Hubei in particular – is amidst a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The virus, dubbed Covid-19 by the World Health Organization, is believed to have originated from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan – a wet market known to sell bamboo rats, snakes, foxes, badgers and more.

masked-palm-civet-asia.jpg
Image via Wikimedia

Civets were blamed for the SARS epidemic in 2003, although later research has linked bats to the outbreak. Interestingly, it is now believed that SARS jumped from humans to civets. 

Back in 2004, authorities rounded up and exterminated thousands of palm civets to limit the risk of future disease outbreaks.

For regular updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, click here.

[Cover image via @新京报评论/Weibo]

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