On April 7, World Health Day, 241 organizations signed a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) urging the organization to endorse a permanent ban on wildlife markets and the use of wildlife in traditional medicine, according to an emailed statement from World Animal Protection.
The letter comes at a time when much of the world is shut down due to a pandemic that started in an exotic animal market. According to World Animal Protection, the letter said, “While a robust global response is critical in detecting, treating and reducing transmission [of COVID-19], it is equally necessary to take vital measures to prevent similar emerging infectious diseases developing into pandemics with the associated threats to human life, and social and economic well-being.”
According to an email from Animal Rights Organization Born Free, the letter urges the WHO to:
- “Recommend to governments worldwide that they institute a permanent ban on live wildlife markets, drawing an unequivocal link between these markets and their proven threats to human health.
- Recommend to governments that they address the potential risks to human health from the trade in wildlife – including collection from the wild, ranching, farming, transport, and trade through physical or online markets for any purpose – and act to close down or limit such trade in order to mitigate those risks.
- Unequivocally exclude the use of wildlife, including from captive-bred specimens, in the WHO’s definition and endorsement of Traditional Medicine and revise WHO’s 2014-2023 Traditional Medicine Strategy accordingly to reflect this change.
- Assist governments and lead a coordinated response among the World Trade Organisation, OIE and other multilateral organizations worldwide in awareness-raising activities to clearly inform of the risks of wildlife trade to public health, social cohesion, economic stability, law and order, and individual health.
- Support and encourage initiatives that deliver alternative sources of protein to subsistence consumers of wild animals, in order to further reduce the risk to human health.”
Dr. Mark Jones, Head of Policy at Born Free, said in an emailed statement, “Markets selling live wild animals are found in many countries. However, rapidly growing human populations, increased access to even the most remote wildlife areas through changes in land use and infrastructure development, greater disposable income, increasing urbanisation, and the changing nature of demand, has resulted in the rapid expansion and commercialisation of such markets, increasing the risks to human and animal health.”
241 organizations from around the globe signed the letter, including Humane Society International, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Center for Biological Diversity, Zoological Society of London, The Jane Goodall Institute – Nepal, and Action for Elephants.
Animal Wellness Action reported over email that Senators Cory Booker and Lindsey Graham also signed onto the letter! “We applaud Sens. Cory Booker and Lindsey Graham, and Reps. Michael McCaul and Mike Quigley for their leadership in bringing Members of Congress together to call for a global ban of the disgusting and infectious wet markets that have plagued the planet for far too long,” said Animal Wellness Action in an emailed statement.
China has reportedly re-opened many exotic animal markets like those that are the presumed source of the coronavirus pandemic. The country issued a temporary ban on the sale of wildlife but has yet to set laws to protect wild animals and fully ban the markets.
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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Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:
- How Coronavirus and the Wildlife Trade are Linked
- Jane Goodall’s Talks about Coronavirus and the Treatment of Wild Animals
- United States Now Has Most Coronavirus Cases in the World
- Coronavirus Update: How Emerging Diseases are Linked to Factory Farms
- Coronavirus Update: Death Toll Surpasses SARS
- The Difference Between COVID-19 and the Flu
- Coronavirus Update: Quarantined Patients Given Turtles for Dinner In Spite of
- Coronavirus Update: Your Pets are Not in Danger
- China Acts on Coronavirus and Temporarily Bans Wildlife Trade
- Coronavirus Update: World Global Emissions Have Dropped
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