Monday, 16 Jul, 2007 Offbeat

Chinese Deliver Live Rats to Restaurants


Central China, plagued with about two billion rats forced out by a flooded lake, trucks the live rodents to the south to be used in restaurant dishes. Some Guangdong Internet users have already offered rat recipes as a way to deal with the rat invasion problem. The idea to cook rat meat in restaurants was partially suggested by the lack of snakes, a popular dish in the south of China, and owls, traditionally used in Chinese medicine.

Some vendors asked the residents of a village in Hunan province, located near Dongting Lake, to sell them live rats, according to the Beijing News. Vendors offer 6 yuan for a kilo of live rats, but they keep silence as for where they are going to sell the rats. Villagers claim they could catch 150 kilos of live rats a night. As one of vendors from the capital of Guangdong province said, people are rich in the southern part of the country and enjoy eating exotic things, so his business develops really well.

There are restaurants in Guangdong promoting 'rat banquets'. The price for one kilo of rat meat is 136 yuan (that is $A20,7). Hunan local governments have been trying to stop the rats invasion. The rodents have already demolished about 1.6 million hectares of crops. They can also spread dangerous diseases, as reported by Chinese media centers. Some scientists have blamed Chinese Three Gorges Dam project and climatic changes for rodents invading dry land in Hunan.

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