From Here to China, People Are Still Eating Rare Animals—but Why?

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From Here to China, People Are Still Eating Rare Animals—but Why?

Deeply entrenched cultural practices and the allure of the illicit keep threatened species on the menu.

A chef holds the head of an endangered bluefin tuna after cutting its meat at a sushi restaurant in Tokyo on Jan. 5, 2012. (Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

April 29, 2014

To prepare one of the most notorious dishes in French cuisine, you start by locking a small, live songbird in a darkened box with a large amount of millet. Closed away from the light, the bird eats constantly, fattening its spindly body in a matter of days. After being gorged, the bird is drowned in a shot of Armagnac, plucked of its feathers, and roasted whole—guts and all. Served straight from the oven, diners eat the ortolan, a type of bunting, with a napkin tented over their…

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