China Drafts Law to Jail Eaters of Endangered Pandas, Monkeys

China has drafted a law under which people convicted of eating endangered animals face jail time as the country takes steps to halt illegal hunting, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chinese law currently bans hunting endangered species without clearly addressing the legality of buying or consuming their meat, Xinhua said yesterday, citing a proposed bill. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, submitted the bill for first reading this week, Xinhua reported.

Criminalizing buyers who eat or knowingly buy wild animal prey for consumption could “close the loophole” on illegal hunting, Xinhua reported. Offenders could face a jail term of three years to 10 years, depending on the degree of offense.

The Chinese government has designated 420 species of animals as rare or endangered, including giant pandas, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins, the report said. China is home to about 6,500 vertebrate species, or a 10th of the world’s total, Xinhua said.

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