WWF Statement on revision of Wild Animals Protection Law in China
WWF is deeply saddened by the loss of lives from the Coronavirus outbreak and our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones, or who are sick.
WWF applauds the decision taken on February 25 by China’s top legislature the National People’s Congress to eliminate the bad habits of eating wild animals and crack down on the illegal trade in wild animals to safeguard people’s lives and health. We believe this is a timely, necessary and critical step that leads to the complete revision of current Wild Animals Protection Law which takes longer time. The measure is of great significance to promote ecological civilization and harmony between people and nature.
The current emergence and spread of the Coronavirus, as well as SARS, MERS and other similar outbreaks in recent history, underscores the need to take urgent action and raise awareness of the potential threats to human health posed by the illegal and unregulated wildlife trade.
On January 26, Chinese government declared a nationwide suspension on the trade and consumption of wild animals. We appreciate the action taken by China’s law enforcement agencies in recent weeks to close wildlife markets, and their efforts in recent years to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade. While closing wildlife markets could have a major impact, bans alone will not stop the illegal wildlife trade if demand persists. This public health crisis must serve as a wake-up call for the need to end unsustainable use of endangered animals and their parts, as exotic pets, for food consumption and for their perceived medicinal value.
WWF encourages the Chinese legislature to continue its efforts to revise current Wild Animals Protection Law and we shall contribute to this process by providing our suggestions. At WWF, we take wildlife conservation as an important part of ecological civilization. Endangered species can no longer be used, no matter for food or medicine, no matter they are effective or not, simply because they are endangered or on the verge of extinction.
“No culture or tradition is worth the extinction of an entire species. “ said Zhou Fei, Chief Programme Officer of WWF China. “Our key message is that wild populations of endangered species should be protected for its ecological value and biodiversity, not for resources to be utilized for food or medicine. Their ecosystem values are much more than the value of their meat, tusks, bones, horns or scales.”