On Monday, (24 February), the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, announced the ban of all illegal trading involving wildlife animals and eliminating the consumption of wild animals to protect public health at large.
The NPC explained wildlife is “of important ecological, scientific and social value” and therefore is under state protection. This decision covers all wildlife including those that are bred or reared in captivity.
This decision also prohibits the hunting, trading and transportation of terrestrial wild animals which grow and breed in the wild, and are captured with the intention to be consumed. Therefore all activities in the consumption chain of wildlife by people is now deemed unlawful and as such a severely punishable act.
Those who choose to flout the law on the protection of wildlife will be slapped with heavier penalties, based on existing laws and regulations.
This decision strictly spells out the use of wild animals for non-edible purposes, including scientific research, medical use and display, which is subject to strict examination, approval and quarantine inspection procedures in accordance with relevant regulations.
The decision takes effect on the day of its promulgation and it requires China’s government machinery at all levels to strengthen their supervision and inspection.
All relevant authorities would thereby strictly investigate and punish those who are found in violations of this decision and relevant laws and regulations.
A spokesperson for China’s top legislature’s Legislative Affairs Commission, Zang Tiewei explained that the COVID-19 outbreak, has exposed the hidden dangers in the consumption of wild animals that threatens public health.
Mr Zang added that China’s legislature will speed up reviewing the draft biosecurity law and start amending the laws on the protection of wildlife and the animal epidemic prevention law this year.