Wuhan, the city in China where the first cases of the novel coronavirus were reported late last year, has banned the eating of wild animals and is paying farmers to stop breeding exotic animals.
It’s part of a crackdown following the quick spread of the highly contagious respiratory virus, which has been linked to China‘s illegal wildlife trade.
The city also banned virtually all hunting of wild animals within its limits, declaring Wuhan “a wildlife sanctuary,” with the exception of government-sanctioned hunting for “scientific research, population regulation, monitoring of epidemic diseases and other special circumstances”.
Wuhan also imposed strict new controls on the breeding of all wild animals, making it clear that none could be reared as food. City officials said the local administration would take part in the wider national scheme to buy wild animal breeders out.
The national plan is the first time Chinese authorities have pledged to buy out breeders in an attempt to curb exotic animal breeding, animal rights activists say.
The global trade in wild animals is worth approximately £60 million with 14 million people associated with it. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is widely believed to have passed from bats to people, possibly via another species, before spreading worldwide.
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