Wuhan Bans on the Hunting, Breeding and Human Consumption of Wild Animals

Wuhan, center of coronavirus pandemic, bans eating wild animals

Wuhan, center of coronavirus pandemic, bans eating wild animals

Wuhan did exempt government-sanctioned hunting for the purposes of scientific research, epidemic disease monitoring, and for regulating wildlife populations.

Wuhan also imposed controls on the breeding of wild animals, making clear that from now on no wild animal can be reared as food. This is the first time that such a national plan has been pledged by the Chinese authorities in an attempt to curb exotic animal breeding.

Measures implemented to ban the consumption and trade of wild animals were made by Beijing following the SARS outbreak, though they never actually stopped the trade.

Wuhan is located in Hubei province, very close to Hunan and Jangxi, where regional governments are offering to compensate wildlife breeders to switch to plant-based farming.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is widely believed to have passed from bats to people.

According to the publication, neighbouring Jiangxi province also announced a strategy to support the farmers in disposing of animals and simultaneously provide them with financial aid.

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There are over 2,300 licensed breeders in the province according to state-run Jiangxi Daily newspaper. The buyouts have so far been presented in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces.

"Online trading platforms, commercial markets, agricultural markets and restaurants, as well as transport and logistics companies shall not supply venues or services for wildlife consumption", the city government said on its website on Thursday.

Bear bile is sourced from captive breeding facilities, which were also exempt from the January ban, though the practice has been branded cruel by animal welfare groups.

HSI China policy specialist Peter Li told AFP that similar plans should be rolled out across the country. However, he cautioned that Hunan's proposals leave room for farmers to continue breeding exotic creatures as long as the animals are not sent to food markets. The announcement also included a total ban on wildlife trade, and provisions against the hunting of wild animals.

This is part of a national plan and animal rights activists say it is a first for Chinese authorities.

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