Wildlife Conservation Society’s China program director, Aili Kang, spoke to Mongabay about an ongoing review of wildlife legislation in China in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which would permanently ban the consumption of wild animals. The current debate in China is not about whether there should be such a ban, which could come in as soon as two months, but what shape the ban should take, according to Kang. Businesses that breed wild species are pushing for these species to be excluded because they are raised in captivity and can be considered livestock. While conservationists are calling for the permanent ban to apply to all species, the public health risk from interacting with reptile and amphibian species is lower than from birds and animals, so there is still uncertainty about whether the former would be included. Over four months after the first cases of COVID-19 surfaced in China, the world remains in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 1.5 million confirmed cases and almost 89,000 deaths as of April 9. The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have originated in bats and jumped to humans, most likely at a wet market in China’s Hubei province […]

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