Wuhan's municipal government has banned eating wild animals and all illegal hunting and trading of wildlife, according to local reports. Both moves were applauded globally by doctors and researchers who believe that the current pandemic is the result of the virus jumping from bats to another animal species in the wet market and then to humans since this novel coronavirus shares 96 percent of its genetic sequence with one found in bats.
Officials noted that the local administration is planning to buy out wild animal breeders.
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Wuhan also imposed controls on the breeding of wild animals, making clear that from now on no wild animal can be reared as food.
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"Poorly treated animals are stressed, and stressed animals are more likely to harbour new diseases because their immune systems are compromised", University of Queensland Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics Professor Clive Phillips wrote for The Conversation. Some of the first cases were linked to a seafood market in Wuhan.
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The regulation stipulated that wild animals and their products that are banned from consumption include all terrestrial wildlife - wildlife animals that are on the national and Hubei provincial preservation lists, as well as animals that naturally grow and reproduce in the wild environment and artificially bred and propagated wild animals. The initial rollout covers 14 species of farmed wildlife and offers farmers subsidies for each species, such as $88 per porcupine; $84 per civet cat; $17 per kilogram of cobra, king rattle, or rat snakes; $10 per kilogram of bamboo rat; $53 per wild goose; and $346 per Chinese muntjac deer.
HSI China policy specialist Peter Li told AFP that similar plans to those now in place in Wuhan should be rolled out across the country.
"It is prohibited to artificially breed terrestrial wild animals and rare and endangered aquatic wild animals under national key protection for the goal of eating", the notice says. "This is the first time that the Chinese government actually chose to do it, which opens a precedent..."
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