Kate Nustedt, our global wildlife director, said: “We commend China’s decision to impose a nationwide ban on wildlife trade in response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This ban will prevent the terrible suffering endured by millions upon millions of wild animals across the country.
Crucially, it will also put a stop to the horrific conditions that serve as such a lethal hotbed of disease. We hope that this courageous step is made permanent and extended to all wildlife imports and exports, to help prevent any future crises of this nature.
Wild animals belong in the wild. This wildlife trade ban by China will help keep them there.”
Protecting wild animals and people
The deadly coronavirus is believed to be the result of the transmission of the virus from snakes to humans. Captive reptiles are well-documented as carriers of pathogens, such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses, that can be transferred to humans.
Snakes that are sold at markets, like those reported in Wuhan province, have suffered horrendous conditions before they get there. They’ve either been captured in the wild, stuffed together in bags or small cages for transportation to the market, or intensively bred in ranches and farms where they are kept in overcrowded containers.
Either way, these conditions are incubators for the transmission of disease and the evolution of more virulent pathogens.