• China banned the consumption of land-based wild animals due to Covid-19 and late last week, Vietnam followed suit.
• However, wild animals used for non-edible purposes, such as exotic pets and traditional medicine are so far not included in ban.
The World Animal Protection has called for a ban on the global wildlife trade terming it a ticking time bomb for infectious and deadly diseases.
“Wild animals, poached from their natural habitat or bred in captivity, are typically placed in cramped cages under dirty conditions, creating a lethal hotbed of disease. This also causes them enormous suffering,” WAP said in a report.
The report released on Tuesday indicated that China banned the consumption of land-based wild animals due to Covid-19 before Vietnam followed suit last week.
“While this is a great first step, other wild animals used for non-edible purposes, such as exotic pets and traditional medicine are so far not included,” the report says.
WAP Africa campaigns manager Edith Kabesiime said with the coronavirus outbreak, Africa is starting to realise that the economic and human costs of an outbreak due to the demand for an exotic animal are a price not worth paying.
The international trade of African Ball pythons is an important source of economic income for some local communities, but when the snakes are all gone, the money will be too, she said.
She said 99 per cent of all ball python global exports originate from just Togo, Benin and Ghana.
Tens of millions of exotic pets are thought to be in homes around the world - with reptiles amounting to 51 per cent of about nine million exotic pets in US homes alone.
“A permanent ban on all wildlife trade is the only proper solution – protecting wild animals in the wild, eliminating animal suffering in captivity will also help to prevent major health epidemics. The recent outbreak of coronavirus, and regular outbreaks of salmonella infections highlight how proximity between stressed and injured wildlife and humans can be a dangerous cocktail,” Kabesiime said.
She added, "Action is needed to end the exotic pet trade, not only for animal welfare and biodiversity, but also to protect human health.”
Edited by R. Wamochie