Could Banning Wildlife Markets and Wildlife Trade Stop the Next Pandemic?

Could Banning Wildlife Markets and Wildlife Trade Stop the Next Pandemic?

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Over the years, wildlife sale became more popular and widely demanded across the world.
When we first think of wildlife markets and those poor animals in unhygienic cages, we automatically think of diseases and viruses. But zoonotic diseases are not news since they are responsible for 2.5 billion cases of human illnesses and deaths every year around the world. The reason why these diseases are starting to become common is the expansion of exploitation of animals and their habitats.


Researchers have been talking and warning us about the seriousness of zoonotic viruses from (mostly) Asia’s wildlife trade for years.

PHOTO CREDIT: Voice of America website 

Chinese consumers see rare animal meat as luxury which serves as a symbol of power and wealth. So since the demand of rare meats grew, so did the illegal ways of getting them. Smuggling and illegal markets started to grow, looking for profit. 


Supply and demand grew so much, which only made it easier for certain diseases to develop. 
Even though we all think of coronavirus which was carried from Wuhan across the whole world, there was also a case in history of the bubonic plague bacteria that spread across Europe. The bubonic plague was the infection of
the lymphatic system, caused by Yersinia pestis bacteria which spreads via infected animals like squirrels or hares, which was passed to humans who are bitten or scratched.

PHOTO CREDIT: Arief Budi Kusuma/shutterstock.com

CONDITIONS OF MARKETS 
Even though coronavirus made the world close all the possible markets, shopping centers and shops, there are still markets in filthy conditions in China and southeast Asia which sell live animals in terrible and unhygienic conditions. 
When you walk through these markets, you will see blood-soaked floors and a lot of tools laying around so they can kill animal in the spot. Those types of conditions not only hurt animals, but as we can see, people as well, and the
whole world in that matter.


WHAT NOW?
China instituted a temporary ban on selling wildlife animals in February, and also banned the trade with their biggest partners. When the coronavirus appeared, the authorities closed the markets across the country.
And now, at the beginning of April 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture said that the dog meat trade could be banned, but the decision has not been made yet. We will keep you posted on new development.

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