Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - China imposes wildlife trade ban



China imposes wildlife trade ban

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Chinese chef and his staff hand over a deer they saved from the cooking pot at a restaurant in Xian, in northern China’s Shaanxi province. AFP

China imposes wildlife trade ban

China on Monday declared an immediate and “comprehensive” ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals, a practice believed responsible for the deadly Covid-19 outbreak.

The country’s top legislative committee approved a proposal “prohibiting the illegal wildlife trade, abolishing the bad habit of overconsumption of wildlife, and effectively protecting the lives and health of the people,” state television reported.

Previous temporary bans have been put in place, including after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) virus killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in 2002-03 and was also traced to wild animal consumption.

However, that prohibition was short-lived, and conservationists have long accused China of tolerating a cruel trade in wild animals as exotic menu items or for use in traditional medicines whose efficacy is not confirmed by science.

The decision was made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), which oversees the country’s legislature.

The Covid-19 epidemic had highlighted “the prominent problem of excessive consumption of wild animals, and the huge hidden dangers to public health and safety,” said the report by China Central Television (CCTV).

Chinese health officials have said the virus likely emerged from a market in the central city of Wuhan that sold wild animals as food.

Covid-19 has killed 2,592 people in China, infected some 77,000 others and paralysed the national economy.

It has also infected people in at least two dozen other countries, killing nearly 30, and its rapid global spread has raised fears of a full-blown pandemic.

The committee also on Monday decided to postpone this year’s NPC session – scheduled to begin in early March – which will delay any legal revisions on wildlife trade.

As a result, the Standing Committee issued a full ban immediately until final legislation can be passed, CCTV said.

There already are laws in place against the wildlife trade, but conservationists say they are full of loopholes regarding many species, and that enforcement is episodic or just plain lax.

After the epidemic began exploding across the country, China late last month ordered a temporary ban “until the national epidemic situation is over”.

But conservationists and virologists said a temporary ban was not enough, calling for a permanent prohibition with tough enforcement.

Health experts warn that transporting, slaughtering and consuming wild species poses a significant and growing public health risk by exposing humans to dangerous animal-borne pathogens.

Conservationists say China is the single biggest country driving consumption of many threatened species, and that animals are routinely subjected to horrible conditions and cruel treatment.

The exact source of the coronavirus remains unconfirmed, with scientists variously speculating it originated in bats, pangolins, or some other mammal.

Scientists say Sars likely originated in bats, later reaching humans via civets.

According to a price list that circulated on China’s internet, one of the merchants at the Wuhan market at the virus epicentre sold a vast menagerie of animals including civets, rats, snakes, giant salamanders and live wolf pups.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with