Earlier this month the Chinese National Health Commission recommended trial treatments for coronavirus (COVID-19) that included a product containing bear bile.
There is no better time for governments, corporates and people to unite to curb the use of wild animals for medicine, entertainment, food or to be kept as exotic pets
Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach, Global Head of Wildlife Research and Animal Welfare, World Animal Protection said:
“It’s extremely disappointing that the Chinese government is encouraging the use of bear bile to treat coronavirus. Wild animals being used as a source for traditional medicine is one of the cruellest abuses in the world, having the potential for severe public health consequences.
“It’s tragic and ironic that the recommended treatment for severe cases of COVID19 is suggesting the consumption of a wild animal product in response to a pandemic born from handling wild animals.
"Evidence has shown that exploiting wild animals so that we can eat them, keep them as pets, consume them as medicine, or use them for entertainment, has led to the COVID19 pandemic, and many other deadly diseases. Wildlife are thought to be the source of at least 70% of all zoonotic emerging infectious diseases.
“These animals endure a lifetime of suffering - confined to small cages, starved, distressed, and many will suffer horrific diseases in these conditions. Using wildlife in medicine is unnecessary and a risk to public health, especially as viable plant-based alternatives are available.”
In January of this year, China imposed a ban on the consumption of land-based wildlife as coronavirus is believed to have originated at wildlife markets in Wuhan, China. However the ban failed to protect wild animals used in the name of medicine, entertainment, scientific research or kept as exotic pets.
Wild animals belong in the wild. It’s now more critical than ever call for an end to the exploitation of wild animals and stop the global wildlife trade.
There is no better time for governments, corporates and people to unite to curb the use of wild animals for medicine, entertainment, food or to be kept as exotic pets.