China Temporarily Bans Wildlife Trade And Plans Law Amendments In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic

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China Temporarily Bans Wildlife Trade And Plans Law Amendments In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic

The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus CoVid19 in China as a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)." Ongoing research on the spread of the virus to humans has suggested that it is likely for the pandemic to have originated in Wuhan's sea market, which also sells wild animal meat from dead or alive animals. Many experts have identified exposure to the animals as a probable source of the virus outbreak. It is the second time in twenty years, after the outbreak of SARS, that the health risks of consuming wild animals are highlighted.


This is an issue not only present in China but other countries as well. Many epidemics like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrom, Avian Influenza, SARS, and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy are also thought to have been originating from the consumption of wild animals around the globe.


In an attempt to fight the spread of coronavirus and other wild animal related viruses, China announced temporarily suspending the trade of wild animals and, at the same time, declaring all activities involving wildlife illegal. Upon the announcement of the ban on the wildlife trade was made to the public, China's police force starting shutting down wildlife trade-related markets across the country. Markets selling wildlife animals were forced to shut within hours of the announcement. The animals that sold for human consumption included civet cats, turtles, badgers, peacocks, pangolin, and deer. Illegal trade or consumption, as well as hunting and transportation of wild animals intended for eating, will be punished severely.


At first glance, the new measures regarding consumption and trade of wildlife species that China enforced might seem encouraging. However, we need to remember that those measures are not permanent and will end once amendments to the Wildlife Protection Law are made. Although it is hoped that the relevant changes to the Wildlife Protection Law will address the following key issues: 1. Which species should be intended for consumption and which not, 2. The conditions that should be met regarding public health and safety prior to animal trade, 3. Biological safety, 4. Coordinating the mechanisms of internal agencies, 5. Monitoring and implementation, 5. Transparency of information.


The National Forestry and Grasslands Administration, an agency that affects China's amendments in the Wildlife Protection Law, has provided a policy review and proposed a list of suggestions on the management and epidemic control of wildlife.


China appears to be taking advantage of this opportunity to review and improve on the current wildlife and control policy, illustrating the country's attempt to ban wildlife food consumption. This also stands as an excellent chance to alter the common mindset that exists among the Chinese society regarding wildlife and to enhance positive attitudes toward a fair and safe treatment of the animals. This is also something that needed to be done sooner rather than later to reverse the biodiversity decline. The US 2019 Global Assessment report highlights that, because of direct exploitation of species and habitat changes, a million species are threatened to extinction within a decade.


If we are to live together instead of dying together, we ought to secure a safe and biodiverse planet in which future generations can flourish, and to do that; we must begin with these changes.

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Thinking Humanity: China Temporarily Bans Wildlife Trade And Plans Law Amendments In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic
China Temporarily Bans Wildlife Trade And Plans Law Amendments In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic
The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus CoVid19 in China as a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Ongoing research on the spread of the virus to humans has suggested that it is likely for the pandemic to have originated in Wuhan's sea market, which also sells wild animal meat from dead or alive animals. Many experts have identified exposure to those animals as a probable source of the virus outbreak.
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