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China was breeding huge rats to eat before they were banned due to coronavirus. Called “bamboo rats,” the Chinese believe that eating bamboo rat meat makes them prettier and can detoxify their bodies.

Until recently, bamboo rats were a celebrated food in China. Farmers had about 25 million of the rats before the government banned them because of the coronavirus pandemic. Much larger than normal rats, the rats could grow up to 17 inches long.

Dr. Zhong Nanshan, China’s lead epidemiologist, said in January that the coronavirus epidemic might be linked to the consumption of bamboo rats or badgers. China banned all trade and wildlife consumption temporarily in February as the coronavirus pandemic increased.

“Usually, live bamboo rats would be delivered directly to restaurants and food stalls dealing exotic food,’ Dr. Peter Li, China Policy Specialist at Humane Society International told MailOnline, “A small percentage of the bamboo rats, no more than 10 per cent, would be displayed and slaughtered at the wildlife wet markets in Guangdong and Guangxi.”

Dr. Li and other conservation experts have urged China to permanently ban the wildlife trade, “China has thousands of wild animal breeding facilities that are facing closure or transition because of the government’s recent policy change from supporting wildlife breeding to phasing it out, and no doubt millions of animals are going to be impacted. The policy change is welcome and necessary but animal welfare must not be sacrificed in an effort to implement the change, ” he said.

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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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