|"Cramming millions of animals together in these abusive industries creates a perfect petri dish for pandemics, and unless we ban farming for fur ... we will continue to play Russian roulette with global public safety," warned Peter Li, China expert at Humane Society International. (Photo by=Reuters)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] China and its neighbors mustn't only crackdown on wildlife trade but also shut legal loopholes that allow disease-prone species to be farmed, experts said after an investigation team concluded that COVID-19 most likely originated in animals, Reuters reported.
On Tuesday (Mar 30), a published World Health Organization-led study revealed that it’s "likely to very likely" that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the global pandemic, was introduced to humans from bats via an intermediary species, with wildlife farming playing a crucial role. Tong Yigang, a Chinese animal disease expert involved in the joint study, said the findings vindicated Beijing's decision last year to ban trade in wildlife for human consumption. But the report also drew attention to the wildlife farms still allowed to operate legally, serving the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) industry and the fur trade - and creating more spillover risks.
China tested thousands of animal samples to trace the coronavirus's origins, but the study said more investigations were required. It also recommended surveys at mink and raccoon dog farms, which China still allows even though they are infection-prone. Regulatory gaps, lax enforcement, and transnational trafficking gangs have allowed the wildlife trade to continue, experts said. Including foreign traffickers also remaining in operation in Myanmar and Laos.