Wildlife trade ban as COVID-19 outbreak intensifies

China has banned the trade and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

A temporary ban on trade in wildlife announced in January was expected to continue until the epidemic was brought under control. However, with the spread of the disease caused by the virus, known as COVID-19, showing no signs of abating, a more comprehensive ban was passed on Feb. 24 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), which exercises legislative power in the country.
Key points:
  1. China’s legislative committee has passed a comprehensive ban on not just trade but consumption of wildlife, in response to growing indications that the COVID-19 outbreak stemmed from a coronavirus found in wildlife sold for consumption.
  2. The ban extends not just to endangered species that are recognized under CITES and Chinese wildlife laws, but all wild animals that are traded for human consumption.
  3. The step lays the groundwork for a possible permanent ban on wildlife trade in a country that is a major destination for wildlife contraband.
  4. Conservationists say they believe such a move by China could be a big boost in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade, but also called for better enforcement of current laws.
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