China’s Wildlife Meat Ban In The Wake Of Coronavirus Outbreak May Not Work

by GoNews Desk 1 month ago Views 460
China’s wildlife meat ban in the wake of Coronavir
By Navin Singh Khadka/thethirdpole.net

Conservation campaigners have said China’s ban of trade in wild animal meat cannot be effectively implemented as it still allows trade in wildlife products for use in Chinese medicines, clothing and ornaments.

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They have warned that these exemptions are loopholes that will pave way for the buying and selling wild animals’ meat – just as it did in the past.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress announced a ban in the last week of February after suspicions that wildlife sold at a meat market in Wuhan was the source of the current Coronavirus outbreak.

China’s top legislature has also initiated a process to revise the country’s Wildlife Protection Law.

“Bear bile to treat Coronavirus patients”

Just last month an agency that investigates wildlife trade reported that the Chinese government had said an injection that contains bear bile should be used to treat patients with serious cases of COVID-19 patients.

Tan Re Qing injections are among the recommended treatments for ‘severe’ and ‘critical’ cases of coronavirus in the COVID-19 Diagnosis and Treatment Plan of the National Health Commission [of China], published on 4 March, according to the London-based Environment Investigation Agency.

The website of the Chinese health agency does show the name of the injection which has “fel ursi”, or bear bile, on the ingredients list.

“Aside from the irony of promoting a wildlife product for treatment of a disease which originated in wildlife, promotion of the use of threatened wildlife in medicine is hugely irresponsible in an era of unprecedented biodiversity loss,” said Aron White a wildlife campaigner and China specialist at EIA.

Bear bile farming

Conservationists say there are nearly 30,000 bears in Chinese breeding farms.

They are kept in small cages and their bile is extracted from their gallbladders using various techniques which all cause severe pain and infection. Experts say in some cases a metal tube is forced through the same wound repeatedly during each bile-milking session.

This results in many of the bears dying from infections or other complications, and those who survive live in agony.

While bear farming for bile is allowed for use in traditional Chinese medicine under the ban, wildlife campaigners have reported that illegal traders also sell other body parts.

Protected animals like pangolins and leopards are also allowed to be traded under the ban, so their body parts can be used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Belief in traditional medicine

“Although the medicinal benefits of many wildlife products have not been proven scientifically, the belief in the system is strong,” said Terry Townshend a China-based wildlife conservation consultant and founder of Birding Beijing.

“For example, I know of a very well-educated family who have two children, one has had fertility issues and the other works in wildlife conservation.”

“Despite being strongly aware of the lack of scientific evidence, the sibling with fertility issues has used pangolin scales ‘as a last resort’ as they had tried everything else.”

Because of the demand of traditional medicine across Asia, the pangolin is almost extinct in China and is now the most trafficked animal in the world.

For full story, go to thethirdpole.net

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