China should ban trade in wildlife permanently

In Summary

• The new coronavirus is believed to come from a bat or a snake in a Wuhan animal market

• The SARS virus in 2002 crossed into humans from a civet cat sold in a Chinese market and the MERS virus in the Middle East came from a camel 

China has temporarily banned all sales of wildlife meat after the outbreak of a new coronavirus. The new virus crossed into humans from either a bat or snake sold in a wildlife market in Wuhan.

China has hundreds of wildlife markets that sell live and dead rats, ostriches, baby crocodiles, hedgehogs, turtles, marmots and many other species.

The SARS virus outbreak in 2002 spread to humans from civet cats sold in Chinese food markets. In the Middle East, the MERS virus spread from camels to humans.

Chinese culture considers many wild animals to be culinary delicacies or useful for traditional medicine.

But China has not banned this dangerous trade despite repeated warnings that it could cause another global coronavirus pandemic.

The wildlife trade is not just a health danger, it also discredits China internationally. Sharks, pangolins, rhinos and other animals are being hunted to extinction in Africa and elsewhere.

The Chinese government says it will lift the national ban on the sale of wild animals once the Wuhan virus outbreak is contained. This is not good enough. It should make the ban permanent. Otherwise, China is endangering the whole world.

Quote of the day: "You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible."

Anton Chekhov
The Russian playwright was born on January 29, 1860.