China forbids eating wild animals amid fear that the practice led to an outbreak of coronavirus
- Beijing today adopted a proposal to ban the trade and eating of all wild animals
- Experts have linked the virus epidemic to the consumption of exotic species
- The measure aims at “protecting public health and ecological safety”
- The virus was probably from a Wuhan market that sold wild animals as food
China’s highest legislative committee adopted a proposal on Monday to ban all trade and consumption of wild animals, a practice that is considered responsible for the country’s deadly coronavirus outbreak.
The official news agency Xinhua said the proposal was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).
“It wants to completely ban the eating of wild animals and combat the illegal trade in wild animals,” it said.
Beijing began discussing a proposal today that will ban all trade and consumption of wild animals. In the file photo above, a man looks at caged civet cats in a natural market in Guangzhou on January 4, 2004. The feline creatures caused the SARS outbreak in 2003
Chinese health officials have said the virus probably originated from a market in the central city of Wuhan that sold wild animals for food. The disease has killed at least 2,619 people worldwide
The report added that the measure was aimed at “protecting public health and ecological safety.”
The Standing Committee is responsible for convening the 3,000 member NPC, but it has decided to postpone the annual session due to the health crisis.
Beijing still needs to review its law on the protection of wild animals, but the adoption of the proposal was “essential” and “urgent” to help the country win the war against the epidemic, wrote People’s Daily newspaper.
Chinese health officials have said the virus probably originated from a market in the central city of Wuhan that sold wild animals for food.
At the end of last month after the epidemic began to explode across the country, China ordered a temporary ban “until the national epidemic is over.”
The deadly Chinese coronavirus outbreak began at the Huanan Seafood Wholesales Market in Wuhan (photo), experts confirmed last month after testing samples collected there
Scientists from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said tests have shown that people have caught it from animals on the market where customers chose live animals that were slaughtered before them (photo shows reportedly skinned chickens on the market)
Experts have suggested that the disease may have originated in snakes, which are known carriers of coronaviruses (multiple reptiles on the market)
Image shows what looks like a beaver and a small deer caged at the Huanan market
A price list for one of the companies operating in the market showed “living tree bears,” which the Chinese is for “koala” (circled above)
The new coronavirus has killed 2,592 people in China, so far infected about 77,000 people and paralyzed the economy. It has spread to at least two dozen countries, infects 1,500 people and kills nearly 30.
It was not clear when a decision would be made on the proposed ban, which is likely to be skeptical.
Conservationists accuse China of tolerating a shadowy trade in exotic animals for food or use in traditional medicines whose efficacy is not confirmed by science.
Chinese police have detained a suspected smuggler (photo) after he caught him breaking out more than a dozen wild animals in a nature reserve
China has imposed a similar temporary ban after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in 2002 and 2003 and was also reduced to wild animal consumption.
But the wildlife trade continued quickly.
Health experts say it poses a significant and growing risk to public health by exposing people to dangerous animal-borne pathogens.
The exact source of the corona virus remains unconfirmed, with scientists speculating that it comes from bats, pangolines, or another mammal.
Scientists say that SARS probably originated in bats and later reached people via civets.
Civets, a feline creature, were among the dozens of species listed by one of the traders on the Wuhan market according to a price list that circulated on China’s Internet.
Other items were rats, snakes, giant salamanders and live wolf puppies.