OUR STORY THIS week about Chinese poachers killing more than 100 birds including 20 oriental white storks with the poison carbofuran at a nature reserve in China, throws up all sorts of interesting questions, not just on a bird front, but on the way the world is beginning to tilt.
For most of the 20th century one of the largest, most populous and industrious of peoples on the planet have been isolated from the rest of the world. With a deeply rich culture and a history of emigration that embraced building railways across North America to trail-blazing foreign cuisine in the UK, the Chinese are a people keen to see the world. Or so it seems. With a liberalised economy (but certainly not polity), which is growing exponentially, we are all rapidly becoming more and more aware of the might of this nation of more than a billion people. Many of our products are now made in China.
Although, Rob Harvey told me a funny story about a group of Chinese businessmen who came to the UK to buy disinfectant. Rob’s mate, who made disinfectant, was a bit non-plussed and he said to the businessmen: “Surely you can buy disinfectant in China at a fraction of the price?” The businessmen said yes, while that was true, the problem was they couldn’t wholeheartedly trust the Chinese makers of disinfectant. So maybe one area of British manufacturing does have a future!
On Cage & Aviary Birds we do an increasing number of stories about China, as foreign media take a greater interest in this remarkable country and the freedom to report is increased. As an editorial staff the problem we face is illustrating these stories with photographs. There is a mix of technological sophistication and cultural lack of sophistication in the rural areas, where often what we might loosely call “bird crimes” occur. For the story this week we managed to make contact with a British birder living in Beijing and a website called China Dialogue that purely carries news on China. The website kindly allowed us to use their photo. No doubt this will be one of an increasing number of stories we’ll do about China.
And in the meantime, for all those making the exciting journey to go and experience this vast and fascinating country, given the nature of our story this week, we might rightly recommend that you eschew the delights of any wild bird meat offered in restaurants. We’re far from being experts, so we’re not entirely sure what effect second-hand carbofuran has on human beings. But odds on, it’s not a positive one.
Hasta la vista...