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Ricky Gervais joined other celebrities in writing an open letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to stop the exotic pet and wildlife trade. The open letter was sent on behalf of World Animal Protection and the Campaign to End Wildlife Trade.

24 NGOs signed the letter including World Animal Protection, Compassion in World Farming, Four Paws UK, and Cruelty Free International. Numerous celebrities also signed the letter including Leona Lewis, Evanna Lynch, and Dame Judi Dench.

Pointing to the current coronavirus pandemic, the letter said, “the demand for wild animals and wild animal products is a primary cause of the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases and a severe risk to world health.” Thousands of protected animals are imported into the UK every month.

The letter referenced the cost of the pandemic, as well as the environmental damage animal trade incurs. “With your global leadership, we must ensure a zoonotic pandemic like this never occurs again. Therefore, we are calling on you to lead the G20 to end the international trade in wild animals and wild animal products, asking global institutions and bodies to put in place mechanisms to develop, facilitate and implement this ban,” the letter said.

Ahead of the G20 Summit, and the global instance of this pandemic, the letter called for leaders, “to champion a global wildlife trade ban, not only to end the senseless cruelty inflicted on billions of animals caught up in this cruel system but, to protect fragile ecosystems, the health of your citizens and the global environment we live in.”

Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

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