Chinese legislature banned trading, buying, and consuming wild animals as a precaution to prevent the zoonotic diseases which are released by them this Monday.
According to the research experts this kind of a coronavirus has never hit mankind before. By now, the coronavirus has killed more than 2,700 people and experts say that the virus was transmitted to humans by wild animals such as civets, pigs, or pangolins. The infected people were first noticed at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market situated in Wuhan, China.
A legislative spokesman, Zhang Tiewei stated:
“There has been a growing concern among people over the consumption of wild animals and the hidden dangers it brings to public health security since the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.”
He also said that this important decision was made at a “critical moment for epidemic prevention and control.”
China banned consuming, buying and trading wild animals.
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was sealed on the 1st of January by the officials. And also the authorities have banned the selling of live animals at all markets in the city.
Soon after taking these steps, Chinese authorities also banned trading, buying, and transporting wild animals in local markets, online markets as well as the restaurants temporarily. All the farms which participated in breeding the wild animals in China were locked down and quarantined immediately. Xinhua News recently said that all these markets will be closed until the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
However according to the experts, much of the wildlife trade across China was already illegal and prohibited. This issue has started with the regulation of China’s Wildlife Protection Law that only bans the hunting and selling of the endangered species found in the country. Thus, this law doesn’t protect animals as a whole. People in China practiced this due to legal loopholes and lax enforcement due to the online purchase of exotic wild animals and inconsistencies in species’ names.
The Chinese Communist Party is now ready to detain the markets which were continuing the illegal acts so far. They trade across the country as a response to the coronavirus outbreak to get to know about the “shortcomings”.
Yet, it’s not obvious which animals are on the list of protected species. The China’s People’s Daily reported that the list consists of wild animals who are protected by the law already and other terrestrial animals who have ecological, scientific and social values. However, the law doesn’t apply to aquatic animals, poultry and livestock.
Sealing down a multibillion-dollar industry
According to the reports of Nature, 1 million people are engaged in the industry of China’s wild-meat making. The total value costs about $7.1 million. And also a report by the Chinese Academy of Engineering says that the value of the bigger wild-life industry is approximately $74 billion.
Zhao-Min Zhou, a wildlife-policy researcher in China, says: “A total ban on trading wild animals would criminalize a substantial proportion of the Chinese population, and be untenable.”
He also said that sealing of all animal markets will make the traders to purchase on the black market.
Chinese authorities have sealed 20,000 farms which were raising ostriches, porcupines, cats, and geese soon after the virus outbreak started.
According to the opinions of many experts these measures are beneficial to stop the spreading of the coronavirus.
Li Zhang who works as a conservation biologist at Beijing Normal University said:
“The government has signaled that it wants to take immediate action to prevent any future outbreaks of diseases that spread from animals to humans.”
He made it apparent for us that consumption and trading of wildlife will increase the health risk of the general public while directing a threat to the animal lives.
This is a result of the close association of both shoppers and vendors to the living as well as dead animals in the wet markets. Therefore, these sellers have a high risk of getting exposed to zoonotic diseases.
“For cultural reasons in the region, people want to see the specific animals they’re buying be slaughtered in front of them, so they know they’re receiving the products they paid for,”, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Chicago Emily Langdon, said in her article. “That means there’s a lot of skinning of dead animals in front of shoppers and, as a result, aerosolizing of all sorts of things.”
Animals are the carriers of 75% of the upcoming infectious diseases
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that three-quarters of the upcoming infectious diseases are from animals. Don’t misunderstand that all the animals are infectious. Bats are the most popular animals who transmit a significantly higher proportion of zoonotic viruses. Bat’s poop are the most common ways of spreading the zoonotic viruses. The animals who consume the feces of the bats can also become the carriers soon after the consumption.
According to genetic evidence, the new coronavirus is also detected as an infection which originated in bats and then transferred to other animals. This virus was then caught by the ones in the wet markets and spreaded as viral. Hope you’ve heard of another virus infection which originated from the bats. That was known as SARS. The infection was transferred to civets through bats. And then to people at the wet markets. This particular SARS coronavirus too was found in a Chinese wildlife market in between the years 2002-2003. Over 8000 people were infected by the virus outbreak. Finally, it ended up taking the lives of about 774 people.
By the way, the experts are still unable to say which animal transmitted the new coronavirus to humans from the bats. They have suggested several names of the suspected animals such as pigs, pangolins, civets, and snakes. People in China, Vietnam and some parts of West Africa roast and eat the pangolins. And also the scales of the pangolins are used as medicine in China.
The National Geographic magazine reveals that the most trafficked nonhuman creatures for the year 2013 were the pangolins. Fortunately, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species declared them illegal after 3 years, in 2016.
According to what experts said, selling and consuming the pangolins in China were already illegal under their Wildlife Protection Law.