The wildlife trade is responsible for multiple spreads of disease, including the current coronavirus crisis. A food market in China is now the assumed origin of the coronavirus that is rapidly spreading around the globe.
But this isn’t just any food market, beaver and raccoon are sold at the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan province. These exotic meats could contain deadly bacteria and pathogens, like coronavirus. People purchase and eat meat they don’t realize is infected. Then they get infected, and the virus spreads.
And the wildlife trade is responsible for bringing these possibly infected meats to markets. The wild animal trade is technically illegal in China, but rules are rarely enforced. And it also opens loopholes for the illegal trade of species. Species that end up in markets around the country.
Many people in China believe that beavers, deer, rats and other wild animals hold the cure for cancer and other medical ailments. Chinese officials announced January 26 that they would stop the wildlife trade to help contain the virus.
Now with the outbreak of coronavirus, citizens are calling for wildlife trade enforcement. This is not the first outbreak linked to the wild animal trade. The SARS outbreak in 2002 was traced back to wild animals in Guangzhou.
Christian Walzer, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s health program, told the DailyMail of the connection between wildlife and the disease, “If these markets persist, and human consumption of illegal and unregulated wildlife persists, then the public will continue to face heightened risks from emerging new viruses, potentially more lethal and the source of future pandemic spread. These are perfect laboratories for creating opportunities for these viruses to emerge.”
Freeland is a group working to end human and wildlife trafficking. Their founder Steve Galster, posted on Facebook about the urgent need to end the wildlife trade. He said in the post, “The way to prevent further outbreaks of this coronavirus from killing more people is to stop the wildlife trade. China just banned the wildlife trade. Let’s keep that ban permanent.”
Watch Galster’s video below:
Sign the petition below to end the wildlife trade!
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