Wuhan Bans Wild Animal Consumption

Eloise Marshall
May 22, 2020

"Rebranding fur-bearing wildlife as livestock doesn't alter the fact that there are insurmountable challenges to keeping these species in commercial captive breeding environments, and that their welfare needs simply can't be met", said Dr Teresa Telecky, HSI's vice president of wildlife in response to China discounting other industries involving wild animals.

Wuhan has been facing criticism from global 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.

The city also declared Wuhan "a wildlife sanctuary".

Environmentalists pointed out that due to enhancing punishment against the consumption of wild animals' meat it will be possible to conserve animals such as pangolins which are facing the threat of extinction.

On Wednesday, authorities in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in Hubei and the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, announced eating wild animals would be banned, according to CBS News.

New restrictions were also introduced by the city regarding the breeding of wild animals.

The city also places a restriction on artificial and farm breeding of such animals.

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Measures implemented to ban the consumption and trade of wild animals were made by Beijing following the SARS outbreak, though they never actually stopped the trade.

Jiangxi province has also released similar plans. A kilogram of rat snake or cobra is worth about $16 (R282).

"Between 3 January and 3 February, China updated the United States 30 times on the epidemic situation and its response measures", the statement read.

A civet cat - the animal believed to have carried Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to humans in another coronavirus outbreak almost two decades ago - would fetch 600 yuan. Hunan and Jiangxi provinces border Hubei province.

This is part of a national plan and animal rights activists say it is a first for Chinese authorities.

Peter Li, Humane Society International's China policy specialist, said in a statement: "Wuhan's ban on wildlife consumption is extremely welcome as a clear recognition that the public health risk of zoonotic disease spread via the wildlife trade must be taken very seriously if we are to avoid another pandemic".

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