Breaking news: China bans wildlife trade due to coronavirus outbreak
We welcome this important decision which will keep people safe and protect millions of animals from unnecessary suffering
Kate Nustedt, our global wildlife director, said: “We commend China’s decision to impose a nationwide ban on wildlife trade in response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This ban will prevent the terrible suffering endured by millions upon millions of wild animals across the country.
Crucially, it will also put a stop to the horrific conditions that serve as such a lethal hotbed of disease. We hope that this courageous step is made permanent and extended to all wildlife imports and exports, to help prevent any future crises of this nature.
Wild animals belong in the wild. This wildlife trade ban by China will help keep them there.”
Protecting wild animals and people
Laboratory tests will be required to confirm the exact source of the coronavirus. However, irrespective of the species involved - be it amphibian, bird, mammal or reptile - it is human wildlife trade activity and the underlying animal suffering associated with it, that is ultimately responsible for this outbreak.
This outbreak is potentially suspected to have been transferred from snakes to humans. Captive reptiles are well-documented as carriers of pathogens, such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses, that can be transferred to humans.
Snakes that are sold at markets, like those reported in the city of Wuhan, have suffered horrendous conditions before they get there. They’ve either been captured in the wild, stuffed together in bags or small cages for transportation to the market, or intensively bred in ranches and farms where they are kept in overcrowded containers.
Either way, these conditions are incubators for the transmission of disease and the evolution of more virulent pathogens.