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October 25, 2012

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Eatery faces investigation after butchering a donkey

A RESTAURANT is being investigated after it butchered a donkey outside its premises in downtown Yangpu District, the Shanghai Food Safety Office said yesterday.

Officials said it is illegal to butcher livestock privately. Animals butchered for human consumption must be killed at a licensed butchery in order to prevent infectious diseases.

"We will stop the restaurant from doing this if the practice is confirmed," said Gu Zhenhua, a food safety office spokesman.

People living near Old Lady Home restaurant, which is across the street from a primary school, on Zhengtong Road called police on Tuesday morning after witnessing a bloody scene. Police warned the eatery to stop but it plans to continue selling donkey meat dishes.

Shanghai Daily reporters yesterday found that three donkeys were still outside the restaurant. One was tied to a tree and two were in a cage on a nearby truck.

The store set up a big banner that reads: "We are serving donkey meat now." Other banners promoted donkey meat as healthy, especially in soups during the winter.

In China, there is a saying: "In heaven there is dragon meat, on earth there is donkey meat" to indicate its health benefits. Donkey meat has long been eaten in China, especially in the north.

Old Lady Home started serving donkey meat on Tuesday and the first donkey was butchered on the street that morning.

The slaughter scared students of the primary school on the opposite side of the street.

"I heard the donkeys screaming around 10am yesterday. It was horrible," Xu Feifan, 11, a student at Liuyi Primary School, said yesterday. "I saw a donkey's head hanging in front of the restaurant after class and the ground was splattered with blood. I was really afraid and uncomfortable."

The restaurant didn't stop the slaughter until residents called the police around 11am, said Zhu Chen, the school's gatekeeper.

"I felt sick about it," Zhu added. "Livestock should be killed in a slaughterhouse. What if the donkeys escaped and attacked pedestrians?"

An Old lady Home employee said yesterday they will stop killing donkeys on the street.

"We still have some meat from the donkey killed yesterday," said the person, who asked not to be named. "As for the other donkeys, I have no idea where to kill them now."


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