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Vietnam has banned the country’s wildlife trade as part of efforts to curb the risk of future pandemics.

The directive bans imports of live wild animals and wildlife products and eliminates wildlife markets, including online sites. It also calls for tougher action against people involved in illegal hunting and trading of wild animals. However, the directive does not include animals involved in medicinal use or wild animals being kept as pets according to Nguyen Van Thai, director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife.

Still, the closure of the country’s wildlife trade is significant as Vietnam is one of Asia’s biggest consumers of wildlife products. The wildlife market in Vietnam often includes rhino horns, elephant ivory, and pangolins, which are suspected to be one of the sources of the novel coronavirus.

Scientists have warned that wildlife markets can be hotbeds for zoonotic diseases, which are passed between animals and humans. In February, China issued a temporary ban on the farming and consumption of wild animals and “wet markets” that sell live and dead animals for human consumption. However, Chinese wet markets have since reopened.

Back in April Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called for a global closure of the wildlife markets, arguing that the current pandemic is a “direct result” of places like wet markets.

“It boggles my mind how when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we don’t just shut it down,” he said.

Read more about how coronavirus and the wildlife trade are linked and the role of factory farms in the spread of deadly diseases. Sign this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

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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