China has proposed a law seeking a total ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals to improve health safety amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, legislators at Shenzhen has introduced a draft regulation to ban the eating of cats and dogs to implement a "total ban" on the consumption of wild animals. The new regulations were published by the standing committee of the Shenzhen People’s Congress, the city legislature, on Tuesday.
Many environmentalists, residents and social media users in China have joined international conservation groups demanding a permanent ban.
Meanwhile, coronavirus shows a declining trend in China which reported 29 new fatalities, taking the death toll to 2,744 while the confirmed cases increased to 78,497, officials said on Thursday. Zhang Tiewei, a spokesman for the top legislature’s Legislative Affairs Commission, "There has been a growing concern among people over the consumption of wild animals and the hidden dangers it brings to public health security since the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak." Coronavirus Outbreak: China 'Comprehensively Bans' Wildlife Trade Over COVID-19.
Scientists suspect that the new coronavirus has passed to humans from animals although it has not been proven. Some of the earlier infects were found in people who had exposure to wildlife market in Hubei's provincial capital Wuhan. Bats, snakes, civets and other wild animals were sold here.
According to South China Morning Post, a government-sponsored report published by the Chinese Academy of Engineering found that China's wildlife trade and consumption industry is valued at US$74 billion and employs more than 14 million people. More than half of those employees work in the fur and leather industry, estimated to be valued at US$55 billion, while the other half work in breeding farms or processing plants. China's Coronavirus Outbreak: How Long Can the Deadly Virus Linger On Metal, Glass and Plastic Surfaces and Infect People?.
Zhang said it was urgent and necessary for "critical moment for epidemic prevention and control". The decision, made by the National People’s Congress states that the illegal consumption and trade of wildlife will be "severely punished" just like hunting, trading or transporting wild animals for the purpose of consumption. Meanwhile, the use of wild animals for non-edible purposes like scientific research, medical use and display, will be subject to strict examination, approval and quarantine inspection.