Craze for sparrow-blood libido

(No.3, Vol.2 Mar 2012 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

In the central province of Nghe An, there has been a craze for hunting sparrows because drinking their blood raw and eating their flesh cooked have been thought to promote sexual strength and health.
Farmers have neglected their farms for the hunt.
Unheard-of numbers of sparrow-hunters with guns have appeared in the rural district of Yen Thanh in Nghe An.
On provincial road No 538, a dozen hunters can be found shooting at birds.
They bring liquor and razor blades, cut throats, mix blood with liquor and drink the potion.
Hunter Nguyen B said, ‘We’ve heard that the blood and flesh of a sparrow is better than that of a tiger. It can improve men’s and women’s sexual ability, so we go hunting for the bird.’
Nguyen B says it is more difficult to shoot sparrows during the day, which yields 40 sparrows. Hunters go around before sunset to see where the birds gather for the night. Using lights they can shoot 200 to 500.
‘Previously, we ate what we caught but now many people want to buy them, so we can sell the birds for VND 5,000 to VND 7,000 each. Each night, we make as much as one million dongs [$47.50].’
A man named Chau, in Village 6 of Quynh Xuan Commune, in the province’s Quynh Luu District, said people from his village went to other provinces like Ha Tinh, Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh to trap sparrows.
A bird is used as a decoy and a device produces sparrow sounds. A flock of sparrows descends. The hunter pulls a string and two nets fall over the birds.
‘One pull like that may catch five to ten birds, and sometimes I catch a whole flock of sixty to seventy. Now, we don’t need to take the caught birds to the market to sell. People, mostly government workers, come to our house to buy the birds,’ Chau said.
Not only people in Yen Thanh and Quynh Luu Districts but people in the other districts of Nghe An Province are using every possible means to get sparrows to sell.
Nguyen Bang, a traditional-medicine physician in Yen Thanh District, breathed a sigh of disappointment and said, ‘The sparrow has little medicinal quality. I’ve been a physician for more than 60 years and have never seen anyone use the sparrow as cure for any disease.’
‘The sparrow eats a lot of insects. With large numbers of sparrows being caught and killed now, grasshoppers and locusts will develop in great numbers and destroy the crops, destroying the ecological balance. It is hard to predict how bad the destruction will be.’n

By Tien Dung, in August, 2011, in Nghe An Province
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