Yesterday, The National People’s Congress Standing Committee in China declared an immediate and “comprehensive” ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals, as it is suspected to be responsible for the devastating coronavirus epidemic that has already claimed the lives of more than 2,700 people.
The decision stipulates that the illegal consumption and trade of wildlife will be “severely punished,” as will hunting, trading or transporting wild animals for the purpose of consumption.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) as of this morning, China has reported a staggering 77,362 cases of the coronavirus.
CNN further reported that outside of China, Europe’s largest outbreak is in Italy, where more than 280 people have been infected. Iran has reported at least 95 cases and South Korea now has more than 970 cases.
As previously reported by WAN, China recently issued a “temporary” ban on the wildlife trade in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms; prompting pleas to make the ban permanent.
The announcement came amid rising speculation that the deadly coronavirus arose within a market in the City of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. The cramped, highly unsanitary, cruel conditions under which wild animals are illegally traded and sold for human consumption is known to create the ideal conditions for viruses to mutate into particularly virulent forms, with the potential to cross the species barrier to humans, sometimes with fatal consequences.
Experts with the World Health Organization first believed that the new coronavirus came from the consumption of bats, but it is now suspected that the consumption of critically endangered pangolins may be the source.
The viruses behind Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are also thought to have originated from the consumption of bats. Though both viruses are thought to have circulated from civet cats and camels before being transmitted to humans.
The World Health Organization has made it clear that there is no evidence that dogs or cats can be infected with the coronavirus. Due to false rumors, some Chinese residents have begun killing their pets, mistakenly believing that they can contract the virus from them.
WAN applauds the Chinese government for implementing a life-saving permanent ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals. There must now be a permanent worldwide ban enacted on the wildlife trade and dog and cat meat trade.