n a move that many have been calling for, China has finally, permanently banned the trade and consumption of certain types of wild animals.
The hunting, trading, and transportation for the purpose of consumption of terrestrial wild animals that naturally grow and breed in the wild is “completely prohibited,” the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress decided on Monday.
Consumption of such wildlife is also “thoroughly prohibited” and offenders will be “severely punished,” the committee said.
Over the years, China has placed a number of restrictions on wildlife trade. However, these rules have always been criticized for being full of holes and poorly enforced.
A temporary ban went into effect at the start of the Covid-19 virus outbreak, much like the one during the SARS epidemic more than a decade earlier.
While the ban went away after the SARS scare subsided, netizens have called on the government to make this one permanent.
Both Covid-19 and SARS are believed to have originated in China’s loosely regulated and unhygienic wild animal markets where multiple species are kept in the same space, providing fertile ground for dangerous viruses to jump from one species to another, mutating along the way and eventually finding a human host.
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where this latest coronavirus outbreak is thought to have began boasted a wide variety of live wildlife on sale for consumption, including dogs, snakes, turtles, rabbits, monkeys, civets, giant salamanders, and wolf pups.
While it’s not clear which of these animals was the source of the virus, China’s National Health Commission now suspects that it may have gone from bats to pangolins to humans.