Coronavirus news: China’s wildlife trade ban must be permanent, charities warn

Humane Society International UK said the ban must be “strongly implemented and enforced” and urged for a worldwide crackdown. It comes after the coronavirus outbreak was linked to a widlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Wendy Higgins of HSI UK said: “We welcome China’s ban on the consumption of wild animals as food as it will save hundreds of thousands of animals each year from cruel treatment in this trade, assuming the ban is strongly implemented and enforced.

“But we need to go further. The ban needs to be permanent and it needs to be comprehensive.

“We also need to see change sweep beyond China because the capture and consumption of wild animals is a global problem that causes immense suffering for hundreds of thousands of animals every year, including endangered wildlife species being traded to the brink of extinction.

“As we are seeing with coronavirus, this trade can also spawn global health crises so we need to see live animal markets close across the globe.“

Kate Nustedt, global wildlife director at World Animal Protection, added that “wild animals belong in the wild”.

She 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.”

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The first coronavirus cases have been linked to a wet market selling both dead and live animals in Wuhan.

It is thought that the virus jumped from animals to humans.

Wildlife markets are widespread across China and a number of other Asian countries.

Animals are crammed into cages side by side in filthy conditions and butchered on site.

Beijing has moved to ban the trade and consumption of wildlife following the outbreak.

But China previously announced a similar ban during the outbreak of Sars in 2002.

It comes as COVID-19 has infected hundreds of thousands of people around the world since the outbreak started in December 2019.

The UK has been put on lockdown to combat the spread of the virus.

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