China: Wuhan bans citizens from eating wildlife meat for five years

The Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic originated has banned the consumption of wild animals- while offering cash incentives for farmers to quit breeding exotic creatures according to a report

"Wuhan becomes the fourth city in mainland China to show such leadership, but we now need cities and countries across the world to step up to the plate and shut down the unsafe wildlife trade".

The city also banned the vast majority of wild animal hunting and declared itself "a wildlife sanctuary", reports CBS News.

Environmentalists pointed out that due to enhancing punishment against the consumption of wild animals' meat it will be possible to conserve animals such as pangolins which are facing the threat of extinction.

The city of Wuhan has banned eating wild animals and cash is being offered to farmers to stop them from breeding exotic animals, according to CBS News.

The notice also says illegal wildlife trading is "comprehensively prohibited" and there will be strengthening of "the supervision and inspection of wild animals".

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Wildlife farmers in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces are set to be compensated for switching to growing fruits, vegetables, tea plants or herbs. Hunan and Jiangxi are "major wildlife breeding provinces", said animal rights group Humane Society International (HSI).

Measures implemented to ban the consumption and trade of wild animals were made by Beijing following the SARS outbreak, though they never actually stopped the trade.

Authorities will evaluate farms and inventories and offer a one-off payment of 120 yuan ($16) per kilogram of rat snake, king ratsnake and cobra, while a kilogram of bamboo rat will fetch 75 yuan. Covid-19 is widely theorised to have originated in bats, which could also be a source for SARS and Ebola, according to Reuters. Hunan and Jiangxi provinces border Hubei province. City officials have announced plans for Wuhan to participate in a similar program.

As China's parliament prepares new laws to ban the trade and consumption of wildlife, local action plans published this week suggest the country's fur trade and lucrative traditional medicine sectors will continue as usual.

"In the past 20 years, a lot of people have been telling the Chinese government to buy out certain wildlife breeding operations - for example bear farming", he said.

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