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COA minister misquoted by media

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Legislative Yuan records prove that Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) did not say that people can have eggplants instead of rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival during an interpellation on Monday.

According to local media, during an interpellation on Monday, Kuomintang lawmaker Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) said that the prices for rice dumpling ingredients kept rising, and asked what people will have to eat for the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival.

Chen reportedly said that for those who cannot afford rice dumplings, they can choose to purchase eggplants instead to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival.

The reports triggered massive criticisms of Chen for making such statements.

However, based on the clip of the interpellation that was posted on the Legislative Yuan's official website, Chen did not tell people to buy eggplants instead of rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival.

The footage shows that Chen did mention rice dumplings and eggplants as both being Dragon Boat Festival foods.

Huang asked Chen if it is normal for the price of pork to increase by 14.8 percent, and Chen answered that the price for pork was raised by 68 percent in other countries.

The clip showed that Chen said that there are still many foods that people can choose to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival with, such as vegetables.

Chen explained on Monday after the interpellation that he never asked people to choose eggplants instead of rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival. He said that he only intended to remind everyone that there are many fresh vegetables and fruits for people to choose from during the upcoming festival.

Chen refused to make comments yesterday regarding the Dragon Boat Festival remarks during an event.

Ellen DeGeneres Writes to COA about Rabies Test on Dog

Famous talk show host Ellen DeGeneres recently joined the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and published a statement to urge the COA to not use beagle puppies in rabies experiments.

DeGeneres said that as a long-time advocate for the welfare of animals, she would like to join the many physicians, scientists and veterinarians who have encouraged the Taiwanese government to avoid experimenting on live animals in its efforts to combat the rabies virus in Taiwan.

The COA said that they will use mice and ferret badgers to do the rabies experiences before the experts evaluate if it is necessary to use beagles for rabies experiments.

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