China intensifies crackdown on wildlife trade

EYEAFRICA TV: Mianyang City: China’s announcement of a new special bill to further crack down on illegal wildlife trade will further intensify the country’s nationwide campaign to curb all trading of wild animals.

In southwest China’s Sichuan Province, police have cracked down on dozens of wildlife-related criminal cases during the past two months. More than 400 kilograms of bodies and parts of wild animals captured from illegal traders were buried in the city of Bazhong, while some 200 hunting tools were destroyed on Wednesday.

Among those buried, gorals, boars, squirrels and muntjacs, many of which are under different levels of national protection.

“Next, we will further enhance the law and take stricter measures to effectively supervise our mountains, markets, domestication of animals and breeding farms,” said Xu Changjian, a police officer of the Tongjiang County Forest Public Security Bureau of Bazhong.

Official data shows that since the coronavirus outbreak, more than 90,000 wild animals and some 5,000 kilograms of various related products have been confiscated nationwide.

China’s Ministry of Public Security says it will further step up efforts to fight such illegal activities following the announcement of a special bill.

China’s top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, or NPC, recently rendered a decision, which completely prohibits illegal wildlife trade, and eliminates the consumption of wild animals, a practice believed to be related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Geng Funeng, an NPC deputy who had proposed banning wildlife consumption through legislation before the decision was finalized praised the bill for its comprehensiveness and the timing of its approval. However, he also pointed out that more follow-up work is needed to avoid a “one-size-fits-all” approach in enforcement.

“We have to make it clear which wildlife are prohibited from being traded. The habit of eating them out of curiosity is dangerous and has to be banned. But it’s another thing when it comes to other purposes like medical use. For thousands of years, we have domesticated many plants and animals to serve our health,” said Geng.

Geng’s concern is shared by others involved in the farming of wildlife with economic or medical value, such as sika deer and bamboo rats.

This issue is expected to be addressed in the amendment to the Wildlife Protection Law.

“The amendment of the Wildlife Protection Law will be a systematic project, because it involves biosecurity. Banning eating wild animals and changing bad eating habits are only parts of it,” said Wang Jianping, a professor at the Sichuan University.

Professor Wang said the new bill should be an important reference for the amendment to make the highly-anticipated law more complete and concrete and more operational.

Wang added that it’s time for the public to take this opportunity to reflect on their dietary habits, which should not just be healthy, but also legal.

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