Wuhan bans hunting, eating wild animals in response to coronavirus

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Wuhan, the Chinese city that is thought to be ground zero for the coronavirus outbreak, has banned hunting and eating wild animals as a response to the global pandemic and in hopes of preventing future outbreaks.

Wuhan’s local administration announced Wednesday that the consumption and hunting of all wild animals have been banned in the city of over 11 million people, CBS reported.

The administration declared Wuhan a “wildlife sanctuary,” only allowing hunting under the exception of government-sanctioned work such as “scientific research, population regulation, monitoring of epidemic diseases and other special circumstances,” the report added.

The city also said it would impose hefty restrictions on wild animal breeders, disallowing them to breed food for consumption, and even making a stance for a broader plan to eventually buy out exotic animal breeders.

Last month, the Chinese government imposed a national ban on breeding, trading and consuming wild animals.

On Friday, the Hunan province announced a new compensation plan to persuade livestock farmers to sell off their animals, with the neighboring Jiangxi province set to follow, CBS reported.

Hunan and Jiangxi provinces both border the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.

Animal rights group Humane Society International (HSI) said Hunan and Jiangxi are “major wildlife breeding provinces,” adding that similar measures were put in place following the SARS outbreak but did not halt the trade of wild animals in China.

HSI China policy specialist Peter Li told CBS that the Chinese government now appears more serious about stopping exotic animal trades.

“In the past 20 years, a lot of people have been telling the Chinese government to buy out certain wildlife breeding operations — for example, bear farming,” Li said.

“This is the first time that the Chinese government actually decided to do it, which opens a precedent … [for when] other production needs to be phased out.”

Tags China Hubei Hunting Jiangxi wild animals Wuhan

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