Wuhan, center of coronavirus pandemic, bans eating wild animals

Katie Ramirez
May 22, 2020

The Chinese government is also paying farmers cash to not raise exotic animals for consumption. This move comes amid mounting pressure on China to crack down on illegal trade of wildlife.

The city in China's Hubei Province, Wuhan, which has been the center of the Coronavirus crisis has finally put a ban on eating wild animals.

Published on the city government's official website on Wednesday, the new regulations totally ban the consumption of all terrestrial wild animals, rare and endangered aquatic wildlife that are under special state protection and other wildlife, and other wildlife that are protected by provincial or national laws.

China has said that they will impose severe punishment against hunting of wild animals and selling of meat of these wild animals.

Meanwhile, the city's officials have assured that the local administration would buy wild animals and play its part to mitigate the effect. "This is the first time that the Chinese government actually chose to do it, which opens a precedent..." The trade that caused the pandemic and has killed more than 320,000 people worldwide.

Diseases such SARS, Ebola, and even HIV originated in animals, but the true origin of the Covid-19 pandemic is still under investigation.

China’s illicit wildlife trade persists
Image Sony Herdiana

© Provided by CBS News A civet cat stall is closed at a wildlife market in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, January 5, 2004.

The city also places a restriction on artificial and farm breeding of such animals.

Jiangxi province has also released similar plans. The buyouts have so far been presented in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces.

"Wuhan becomes the fourth city in mainland China to show such leadership, but we now need cities and countries across the world to step up to the plate and shut down the risky wildlife trade". The animal rights group said that in 2018, breeding revenues reached 10 billion yuan.

"Chinese farmers not only have an opportunity to leave a trade that poses a direct threat to human health - something that can no longer be tolerated in light of COVID - but also to transition to more humane and sustainable livelihoods such as growing plant foods popular in Chinese cuisine", Li explained. Farmers will still be able to work with wild animals for traditional Chinese medicine, the fur industry, or entertainment purposes. After the SARS outbreak, Beijing implemented measures to ban trade and consumption of wild animals but it could not fully stop the trade.

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