Thousands subscribe to watch illegal live 'shows'
China on Saturday vowed to crack down on live webcasts that show the hunting and killing of State-protected animals, saying that it violates the law.
It is illegal to live broadcast the hunting of State-protected animals or animals with high economic and scientific research value, Wang Lifen, a publicity department official of China's State Forestry Administration (SFA), told the Global Times on Sunday.
The SFA will join with other government departments such as the Cyberspace Administration of China to regulate these live Web shows, Wang said.
The SFA said Saturday night on Sina Weibo that the hunting of State-protected animals, and live webcasts of them being hunted without hunting licenses should be cracked down on.
It also said that advertisements for the tools of purchasing, selling and using wild animals as well as wild animal products are also forbidden.
Chinese live streaming websites and apps, such as huya.com and douyu.com, have broadcast the hunting and killing of animals of high economic and scientific research value, including bamboo partridges and bamboo rats, The Beijing News reported Saturday.
The tools used by these broadcasters, such as electronic trap devices and leg traps are forbidden by the Wildlife Protection Law, said the report.
In these live webcasts, rats were prodded with branches to attack each other until they bled, and some birds were snared in traps until their heads were torn apart by other beasts, said The Beijing News. Despite the cruelty, these programs received some 400,000 subscriptions on average, and each program attracted more than 100,000 viewers.
A volunteer surnamed Shen from a Beijing-based animal protection NGO told the Global Times that such live broadcasts have existed for a long time.
“I saw webcasts of hunting of turtledoves, wild boars and even owls, which are under second-class State protection, last year,” Shen said.
Shen noted that the broadcasters claimed that they would free the animals and get a license after being told they were breaking the law.
While some platforms like douyu.com told The Beijing News that they only allow those with hunting licenses to broadcast on their platform, huya.com responded that it is fine to air hunting of non-protected animals as long as there is no maltreatment involved.
According to the Wildlife Protection Law and Criminal Law, those who hunt wild animals without a license shall be given an administrative punishment which include fines or confiscation of the kills.
In August 2016, two people from Yichun, East China's Jiangxi Province continued to air broadcasts of the hunting and killing of wild animals despite being punished by local police, reported the Nandu Daily.
It reported that the live show earned them around 100,000 yuan (,077) in just one month.