Wuhan FINALLY bans eating wild animals for 5 years after coronavirus pandemic was linked to city's wet markets

According to officials, it is now illegal to conduct any wildlife-related breeding, transporting, trading, carrying, or mailing


                            Wuhan FINALLY bans eating wild animals for 5 years after coronavirus pandemic was linked to city's wet markets
(Getty Images)

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the novel coronavirus originated, has banned the eating of wild animals - a practice widely believed to have caused the outbreak. According to a notice released by the Wuhan government today, the new policy reportedly went into effect on May 13 and will remain in place for the next five years.

In January, experts in China said the deadly pathogen had most likely transferred onto humans from wild animals that were being sold at a wet market in the city. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which is believed to have spawned the pandemic, was shut down on January 1 in the wake of the crisis, the Daily Mail reported. The market reportedly offered a number of exotic items apart from seafood, including live wild animals such as crocodiles, giant salamanders, wolf puppies, foxes, rats, snakes, porcupines, pangolins, and some game meats.

According to official figures, the virus has caused 4,634 fatalities and infected 82,965 people in China. Meanwhile, more than 324,000 fatalities have been recorded globally, with nearly five million having contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Wuhan is the capital of the Chinese province of Hubei, which passed a law in March to ban the consumption of wild animals altogether. China's central government blocked all trade and consumption of wildlife with a temporary law in February. However, it did not specify if farm bred ones would be allowed for sale.

According to a government report from 2017, the country's overall wildlife trade is worth somewhere close to 520 billion yuan ($73 billion). The new directive in Wuhan comes after provinces across China promised financial aid or buyout schemes to help wildlife breeders venture into other trades.

That said, the regulation forbids the sale or consumption of wild animals on land as well as endangered and protected aquatic species. Furthermore, the law also prohibits the hunting of wild animals across Wuhan. For research purposes, staff at scientific and medical organizations are now required to obtain special hunting licenses. The document reportedly says that artificial breeding of wild animals and other nationally protected species is not allowed for human consumption.

The decree also prohibits wildlife trade, in that no individuals or organizations are allowed to produce, process, use, or conduct commercial operations with wildlife or wildlife products that are mentioned in the document. According to officials, it is now illegal to conduct any wildlife-related breeding, transporting, trading, carrying, or mailing. Citizens are not allowed to encourage or persuade others to eat or initiate illegal trading of wild animals by way of releasing advertisements, installing relevant hoardings, or even publishing wildlife-related recipes.

Meanwhile, researchers are required to undergo strict application procedures and quarantine inspections if they need to obtain wild animals for work purposes. Officials have also announced in a new, city-specific move that they will use the national social credit system to track and punish any violators of the said rules.

Those individuals or companies that are found to be breaking the decree will be accounted for in the nationwide surveillance system and face consequences accordingly. In order to prevent the trading of exotic species, there will also be an increase in inspections at markets, hotels, restaurants, and food-processing businesses.

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