yes, asians eat turtles and frogs

Last month, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted a ban on the importation of live turtles and frogs for sale as food. Cool if you don't dig on eating turtles or frogs, but Asian American politicians and merchants say the policy unfairly targets Chinese businesses while ignoring the pet shop industry: Ban on live turtle, frog sales assailed.

Commission adopted the ban to prevent people from releasing nonnative species into the state's sensitive habitats. But opponents point out that merchants -- who sell fish and other seafood as well as turtles and frogs for people to eat -- are already barred from selling the animals alive:
On Tuesday, six Asian American state legislators, including Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and Sen. Leland Yee, both Democrats from San Francisco, sent a letter to the commission asking it to reconsider the policy.

A "disturbing" part of the policy, they wrote, is that it "appears to disproportionately target Asian American owned businesses," - businesses, they note, that are largely owned and managed by first-generation immigrants.

Ma said frog legs, turtle soup and other dishes are popular at both Chinese restaurants and homes. But the immigrant community is not as politically savvy as other groups, she said.

"These minority markets have had this practice for hundreds of years, and all of a sudden the commission comes up with this policy - I understand the nonnative species concern, but they don't ban the importation of fish and frogs at pet stores," she said. "There's no ban on importing crabs, oysters and lobsters, and clearly you can buy those live and release them into the ocean ... I think they just want to pick on the weakest link."
What's up with the double standard? Sure, turtle soup or frogs legs might not be your thing, but there are plenty of people who do find these dishes delicious. And if the concern is that nonnative species will be released into California's habitats, then why is there no ban on oysters, crabs or lobsters? There appears to be a lack of logic written into this policy.

After hearing from the merchants at a meeting last week, the Commission promised that it would reconsider the new policy at a future meeting. But the commission will likely also hear from animal welfare advocates, who for years have pushed for an outright ban on importing frogs and turtles for any reason.

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