Following the growing coronavirus pandemic, Vietnam’s prime minister is reportedly considering a ban on its wildlife trade, right after conservation organizations appealed to stop all illegal wildlife trade and consumption in the country.
Vietnam Prime Minister Urged By Open Letter To Ban Wildlife Trade
Recently, an open letter made by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and nine other wildlife conservation organizations appealed to Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to immediately put an end on the country’s illegal wildlife trade and consumption since it puts the people and Vietnam’s natural wildlife at risk amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.
The open letter was reportedly released February 2020.
“In order to ensure national safety, economic security and the health of the public and Vietnam’s precious ecosystems, we request the Vietnamese government to take strong and sustainable actions to halt all illegal wildlife trade and consumption in Vietnam,” the letter read, emphasizing that it’s crucial since COVID-19 was transmitted to people via close contact with animals because the virus is known to be zoonotic.
Starting back in December 2019, the virus is believed to have come from meat at a seafood market in the Chinese province of Wuhan, after a man contracted it and unknowingly spread it to other people. And while there is no definitive animal that could have transmitted the virus, fingers are being pointed at the critically endangered pangolin, snakes and, of course, bats. Interestingly, it was also a bat that transmitted the SARS virus decades ago, which is a close relative of the new coronavirus. The MERS virus is also linked to wild animals.
“Limiting interaction between wildlife and humans through strong enforcement against illegal wildlife trade and wildlife markets is the most effective approach to mitigating future risk associated with transmission of disease between animals and humans,” the letter stated.
Additionally, the letter also proposed other measures such as removing all transactions of illegal wildlife products on e-commerce platforms, banning restaurants that sell illegal wildlife meat, develop better laws on protecting and raising wildlife and enforcing stricter punishments on anyone who commits a crime against them.
The organizations involved are hoping that the prime minister will follow through appropriately.