China: Will revised law help prevent transmission of diseases from wildlife to people?
Zoonotic diseases have emerged around the world in recent decades, largely due to increased human-animal contact caused by population growth, land use changes, biodiversity loss and climate change
New Delhi: A revised Wildlife Protection Law is due to come into effect on May 1 in China. China had fast-tracked a temporary ban on the sale of wild animals for consumption in early 2020, soon after Covid-19 emerged.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, Some biologists and conservationists are concerned grey areas in the law could stimulate the illegal wildlife trade and increase the risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks.
Zoonotic diseases have emerged around the world in recent decades, largely due to increased human-animal contact caused by population growth, land use changes, biodiversity loss and climate change.
What does the revised law say?
The revised Wildlife Protection Law will prohibit the consumption, hunting, transport and sale of wild animals. However, some environmentalists say it is riddled with loopholes and will encourage the commercial breeding and use of wildlife.
Demand for wild animals in Asia, especially China, is hastening the extinction of many species, on top of posing a perennial health threat that authorities had failed to fully address.
The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society had earlier appealed for an end to wildlife markets everywhere, not just in China.
Zoonotic diseases, or those contracted by humans that originated in other species, account for a large share of human infectious illnesses. Not all of them come from the wildlife trade: Rabies is endemic across many species and one of the biggest causes of death in the developing world. But mixing species of wild animals increases the risk of diseases mutating and growing more virulent as they spread in unregulated markets, experts say.
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