Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak on Wildlife

Health authorities around the world are now bracing to deal with the growing threat of the latest coronavirus zoonosis. But there are already silver linings beginning to appear on this particular dark cloud. The Chinese government very recently (and very quickly) passed a new nationwide law banning the consumption of meat from all wild animals (whether imported or grown domestically). It is still unclear how this law will be implemented but the reported 20,000 farms inside China raising wild animals to serve the demand for “wild” meat are very anxious.

Photo by: REST-Maria Diekmann Pangolin meat is a delicacy in China however, it was considered to be a source of the latest coronavirus outbreak.

In addition. Shenzhen, a Chinese industrial hub just across from Hong Kong, has just proposed adding to the wild meat ban an additional prohibition on the consumption of dog and cat meat! The Shenzhen proposal states as a reason for this additional proposed ban that dogs and cats are now family members of many Shenzhen households. It is true that pet-keeping has exploded in China over the last few years. Euromonitor reports that the pet (dogs and cats) population in China has risen from 88.1million in 2014 to 188.5 million in 2019 (a 16% year-over-year increase) and, in 2019, the Chinese were projected to spend almost $29 billion on their pets. It should be noted that the dog and cat meat market is only a small fraction of current pet expenditures.

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