China bans wild animal consumption and farming

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Flickr / Michael O'Connell-Davidson

Sally-Emma Calandroni, Managing Editor

In the midst of this new global COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government has placed a restriction on the consumption and farming of wild animals due to the notion that it began with the consumption of bats.

China has made it known that it understands that it needs to bring the wildlife trade under control if it is to prevent yet another outbreak. After the 2002 SARS pandemic research concluded that it also began in China due to similar circumstances. China has taken no preventative measures to restrict the possibility of it happening again, and so it happened again.

It was in 2003 that China had banned the trade of civets- a creature similar to a mongoose- was banned; not only that but they were culled off in large numbers. This was due to the understanding that consuming them was the likely cause of the SARS outbreak.

These markets located all over China include the sales of live bats, raccoons, civets, and other species, which are proven to carry many viruses that are a threat to humans. In Wuhan, where the Coronavirus is suspected to have originated, the market there provides many options to buy wild animals, all crammed in small cages. Allegedly they even have them slaughtered on the spot.

An issue that arises is the connection between the trade of wildlife and the cultural roots they have in China. They are used traditionally for medicine, clothing, and so on. Public health experts feel that the ban is a very important first step to changing the cultural normative of consuming potentially fatal wildlife.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote a paper in 2006 explaining how researching SARS revealed a connection between the disease and virus-infested bats.

“The data obtained so far strongly suggest that bats (horseshoe bats in particular) are most likely the reservoir host of SARS-CoV,” cited by the study.