China kills 10 000 civet cats in “patriotic” campaign against SARS
A cull of thousands of civet cats, badgers, racoons, dogs, and cockroaches has been started in response to China's first new case of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in six months.
The infected man, from the city of Guangzhou, in the southern province of Guangdong, has made a full recovery. He had caught a similar strain of SARS to one found in civet cats but said that he had never eaten nor even seen the animals. In Guangdong, civets--weasel-like members of the mongoose family--are an expensive delicacy.
“We will kill all the civet cats in Guangdong markets, which number about 10 000,” said Feng Liuxiang, an official at Guangdong's health bureau.
The World Health Organization does not consider this single case to be a public health emergency and has criticised the cull. Although scientists think the coronavirus responsible for SARS may transgress species, the link to civets is not proved.