The Asia for Animals Coalition and our individual member organisations have been campaigning for the end of the wildlife trade in Asia for many, many years now. During that time we have seen the emergence of the SARS disease crisis in Asia, Ebola in central Africa, and Avian Flu reaching Europe, all of which are commonly thought to have arisen from preparation and consumption of wild-caught wildlife products and the environments in which they are sold. The wet markets of Asia are notorious for their overall lack of hygiene standards, offering the perfect breeding ground for disease which then makes the leap to human infection.
image: Aaron Gokeski
Coronavirus is the latest in a string of diseases to point to this shared origin, and AfA believes that now is the time for world leaders to take this issue seriously and enforce tangible laws to reduce and eventually end demand for wildlife products. If they have failed to listen to pleas from animal welfare organisations, perhaps they will now start to pay attention to the links to the threat to human health.
Our member organisation Born Free Foundation have spearheaded this first letter, which we have addressed to the most senior decision makers of the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Environment Program and Office International Epizoologie (World Organisation for Animal Health). It is out hope that they will put pressure on world leaders to come together to address this issue in a meaningful and lasting way, saying:
“We … urge you to commit your organisations to working with Governments across the world, with the aim of ending the exploitation of wild animals for trade, closing markets that trade in live animals, and reducing the commercial demand for live animals for food and other purposes, including from specimens that have been bred in captivity. ”