World Animal Protection applauds China’s wildlife trade ban

With the aim of containing the spread of Corona virus, the World Animal Protection Africa office applauds China’s decision to impose a wildlife trade ban effective from this Monday.

“We commend China’s decision to impose a nationwide ban on wildlife trade in response to the deadly corona virus outbreak,” said Edith Kabesiime, Wildlife Campaign Manager (Africa).

“This ban will prevent the terrible suffering endured by millions of wild animals exported from Africa to Chinese markets. 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,” he said.

Laboratory tests will be required to confirm the exact source of the corona virus. “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,” said World Animal Protection in its statement.

This outbreak is potentially suspected to have been transferred from snakes to humans. Snakes are often sold for meat consumption in China, and there is a growing demand for snakes as pets in many cities. Captive reptiles are well-documented as carriers of pathogens, such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses, that can be transferred to humans.

World Animal Protection warns that the atrocious conditions of wild animals captured for sale as pets, is an epidemic in waiting. Snakes sold at markets like that reported in Wuhan province, China, and in many other markets across the world, 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.

“Our hearts go out to everyone in China and across the world who has been affected by the corona virus, and who is living in fear of it. There are very simple steps that we can all take to prevent any future outbreaks. Stop buying any wild animals, dead or alive, whether it’s a snake, bird or any other wild species. Wild animals belong in the wild. Life as a pet for a wild animal is the cruellest thing for them and it could lead to serious disease outbreaks like the one we’re seeing in Wuhan,” said World Animal Protection in its statement.