Saturday, 06 June, 2020


Wuhan bans eating wild animals as virus drives a crackdown in China

Getty Images Provinces in China offer breeders money to quit wildlife trading
Kristine Garrett | 22 May, 2020, 02:29

The Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, the place the lethal coronavirus was first detected, has imposed a strict ban on wildlife trade.

The local administration in Wuhan, the city of about 11 million people in China's central Hubei province where cases of the new coronavirus were first recorded late past year, announced Wednesday that the eating of all wild animals was officially banned.

Wuhan has been facing criticism from worldwide leaders, mostly from the US, for the research on bat Coronaviruses on city laboratories from where the virus has allegedly escaped before infecting millions of people in the world. Wuhan did exempt government-sanctioned hunting for the purposes of scientific research, epidemic disease monitoring, and for regulating wildlife populations.

Authorities in Wuhan have announced a comprehensive ban on eating wild animals and the hunting and trading of wildlife, according to a statement by the city's municipal government.

Watch the CBS news video updating the wet market situation in Wuhan.

It should be noted that after the Coronavirus spread, China had already banned the sale of wild animals for food.

The announcement comes amid mounting pressure for China to put an end to its wildlife trade. Experts also say it's possible that another animal host⁠-such as a pangolin⁠-helped the virus make the leap to humans.

"Poorly treated animals are stressed, and stressed animals are more likely to harbour new diseases because their immune systems are compromised", University of Queensland Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics Professor Clive Phillips wrote for The Conversation. One doctor called the practice of wet markets as creating a "superhighway" for viruses to travel from animals to humans.

PETA spokeswoman Emily Rice said: "Another pandemic is inevitable if we fail to learn from this one, which is why PETA is calling on the World Health Organization to take action against these cruel and risky operations".

The emergence of a new China?

"The largest proportion of China's wildlife farming is the fur industry, worth 389 billion yuan ($55 billion) annually", the society said.

HSI China policy specialist Peter Li said, "In the past 20 years, a lot of people have been telling the Chinese government to buy out certain wildlife breeding operations - for example, bear farming", adding, "This is the first time that the Chinese government actually chose to do it, which opens a precedent".

"This is the first time that the Chinese government actually chose to do it, which opens a precedent".

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