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2 CHINA PROVINCES CRACKING DOWN ON SNAKE AND FROG KILLING

SHARE 2 CHINA PROVINCES CRACKING DOWN ON SNAKE AND FROG KILLING

Wild snakes and frogs in China soon will be free to creep and crawl at will thanks to newly proposed edicts preventing the animals "wanton killing" and sale.

Authorities in two southern provinces have called for strict measures to combat a plague of illegal trafficking in frogs and snakes by local peasants with an eye for gourmet tastes, the state-run Legal Daily newspaper reported Monday.More than 3 tons of wild frogs and toads and 1.5 tons of snakes were confiscated by Shanghai authorities in the month of May alone, according to the newspaper.

Frog and snake meat are considered delicacies in China, but demand has apparently outstripped supply, resulting in "wanton killing and trafficking" by industrious hunters.

One trafficker, a Shanghai factory worker identified only as Mr. Ye, made a profit by buying wild frogs from peasants in neighboring Zhejiang province for 4 yuan per kilogram (42 cents per pound) and reselling them in Shanghai at a 150 percent markup.