The coronavirus outbreak has brought to light the need to ban wildlife markets more than ever. It’s become an urgent issue as it’s no longer just inhumane and threatening wild animals, but it’s also an obvious threat to public health. Well, two provinces in China are offering a government buy-out to farmers to cut out wildlife trade and consumption at the root of the issue.
Farmers in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces are now provided an exit strategy with alternate livelihoods such as growing vegetables, tea plants, or herbs for traditional Chinese medicine.
Humane Society International told One Green Planet: “On February 24th, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress banned wild animal consumption for food, and wildlife campaigners at Humane Society International hope that the province-sponsored buy-out plans will help to ensure the ban is a success.”
Dr Peter Li, Humane Society International’s China policy specialist told us: “By subsidising wildlife breeders to transition to alternative livelihoods, these provinces are demonstrating global leadership on this issue, which other provinces and countries must now follow. Chinese farmers not only have an opportunity to leave a trade that poses a direct threat to human health – something that can no longer be tolerated in light of COVID – but also to transition to more humane and sustainable livelihoods such as growing plant foods popular in Chinese cuisine.”
Incentivizing farmers with an alternate strategy is an effective way to enforce the ban. These types of exit strategies have also proven to be successful with Humane Society International’s program that helps dog meat farmers change their profession.
Hopefully other provinces and countries will follow suit and give these farmers more reason to leave behind these dangerous, unhealthy, and inhumane practices.
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