Thursday, 14 May 2009

Chinese Sheep Addicted to Tobacco (2001)

Some Sheep in Xi'an just Crave a Good Butt

In some areas of the township of Duqu, in Xi'an's Chang'an County, the number of what local farmers refer to as sheep "addicts" has experienced a dramatic jump. Discarded cigarette butts, which mix in with meadow grass, are ingested by sheep, and over time, some of the sheep develop an appetite for tobacco. As a result, the local townspeople have begun to appeal for an emphasis on the need for truly 'green' meadows.
According to an article in the Xi'an Evening News, reporter Xiao Haibo witnessed the following odd phenomenon at a pasture on the outskirts of Duqu township's Yangwan village: several sheep fighting over cigarette butts tossed by tourists out of passing buses. In Zhupo, another nearby village, one ewe belonging to an elderly man named Zhang has apparently sunk even deeper into the pit of addiction. Every time old Zhang lights up, she presses near him in anticipation of the 'sweet grass'. Although local shepherds try to prevent their flocks from eating the cigarette butts, they have been vexed by the increase in the number of butts littering the rural landscape over the last few years, especially along roadsides where the butt scourge is even more pervasive. A farmer living next to a river in the village said that the paper wrappings of butts come off when it rains, leaving threads of tobacco to float away in the accumulated puddles of water with the result that the sheep quite likely end up eating tobacco as they forage for grass. While the verdict is still out on what kind of threat this may pose to the sheep, it serves as a reminder that open fields and meadows also need to be managed in an environmentally-sound manner.

(Source: Dayang Net)

Translated by D. Christopher Harry