years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Animals Asia position paper on sale of live turtles for food in Tesco’s China stores
August 2007: Tesco-owned stores across China currently sell live animals for food, including live softshell turtles. This is despite the fact that human consumption has been a major factor leading to two-fifths of the world’s tortoises and freshwater turtles and three-quarters of Asian species now being threatened with extinction.
Even though there is CITES legislation restricting trade in turtle species, many protected species find their way onto the Chinese market. The sale of turtles at Tesco stores in China endorses this trade in turtles for food, and therefore Tesco must accept some responsibility for the escalating demise of turtles globally.
Tesco claims that turtles sold in stores are farmed, yet millions of turtles are caught from the wild each year to supply turtle farms, conditions on these farms and during transport are highly unsatisfactory, with over-crowding severely affecting animal welfare. Animals are often stored in ice or in nets, which is also totally inappropriate for these animals. In addition, turtles sold live to consumers endure further stress and suffering being transported inappropriately before being butchered for the dinner table.
Tesco argues that it would be wrong to impose Western values on other countries, yet we know from over 20 years’ experience of working in China that millions of Chinese people are horrified by the treatment of animals in their country and Chinese animal welfare groups are joining together to call for the implementation of animal welfare legislation countrywide.
From information supplied by Care for the Wild International, the softshell turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, is the only species Tesco currently sells. This species is listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Endangered species as a direct result of harvesting for food. Care for the Wild International also has serious concerns about the welfare of these animals.
Barbara Maas, Director, Care for the Wild International said “amphibians and reptiles have all the neurological components for pain perception and respond behaviorally to pain, so the animals experience terrible pain when their shell, limbs and entrails are cut away, but they are left alive for hours. Tesco told us that it has commissioned research into the stunning of turtles with the Chinese Institute of Science and Technology. But our research has found dozens of scientific publications that demonstrate that turtles cannot be killed humanely for food”.
With very little legal protection for animals across China, the scale of suffering is unimaginable. We call upon Tesco to stop selling live turtles for human consumption in all stores.
Tesco is Europe's top retailer and the third largest retailer in the world. It bought a 50 per cent stake in Hymall, a leading grocery brand under the Taiwan-based Ting Hsin International Group, in 2004, and increased its stake to 90 per cent in December 2006. The company has 45 Hymall stores in China, all of which will change their signs to “Hymall Tesco”.