Wuhan Bans Hunting and Eating Wild Animals Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic originated has banned the consumption of wild animals- while offering cash incentives for farmers to quit breeding exotic creatures according to a report

Wuhan's ban is just one of several measures across China to curb wildlife trade, including a temporary post-outbreak ban nationwide, and legislation against eating dogs.

Wuhan has been facing criticism from global leaders, mostly from the USA, for the research on bat Coronaviruses on city laboratories from where the virus has allegedly escaped before infecting millions of people in the world.

To mitigate the ban's effect on the farmers who breed wildlife animals, the authorities in Wuhan are providing them with cash, CBS reported.

The only exception for hunting would be for "scientific research, population regulation, monitoring of epidemic diseases and other special circumstances", the report said.

Following a months-long lockdown to limit the spread of the virus, Wuhan merchants began reopening their wet market stalls last month.

"It is prohibited to artificially breed terrestrial wild animals and rare and endangered aquatic wild animals under national key protection for the objective of eating", a notice on the Wuhan government website reads.

It should be noted that after the Coronavirus spread, China had already banned the sale of wild animals for food.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is widely believed to have passed from bats to people, possibly via another species, before spreading worldwide. Wildlife in China is still being used for making alternate medicines and research and experts have said that only a complete ban on wildlife trade can prevent another virus outbreak. This includes animals such as snakes and lizards.

PETA spokeswoman Emily Rice said: "Another pandemic is inevitable if we fail to learn from this one, which is why PETA is calling on the World Health Organization to take action against these cruel and unsafe operations".

"The largest proportion of China's wildlife farming is the fur industry, worth 389 billion yuan ($55 billion) annually", the society said.

HSI China policy specialist Peter Li told AFP that similar plans to those now in place in Wuhan should be rolled out across the country.

"This is the first time that the Chinese government actually chose to do it, which opens a precedent (for when) other production needs to be phased out".

Trade in the products of these animals is also banned, wild animal breeding will be strictly monitored, and hunting is nearly totally prohibited inside city limits with Wuhan declaring itself a "wildlife sanctuary".

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