240 organizations: ‘limit the global wildlife trade’

April 7th was World Health Day 2020. This year, there was an extra emphasis on this day as the world is engaged in an unprecedented battle against a new infectious coronavirus. That is the reason why 240 organizations, including AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection, are calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to limit global wildlife trade.

Initiated by World Animal Protection, the animal welfare organizations are launching an urgent appeal because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The new coronavirus has spread to humans from a wild animal, most likely traded on a market in Wuhan. In the open letter, the organizations ask the WHO to publicly acknowledge the proven link between wildlife trade and the coronavirus outbreak, and call for a global ban on wildlife markets. The organizations also demand special attention for the use of wild animals for (traditional) medicines. Ironically, China recently advised using bear bile injections against the corona virus.

‘For years, animal welfare organizations like AAP have been alerting about the significant but often underestimated public health risks of uncontrolled wildlife trade. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, authorities worldwide can no longer ignore this message,’ says AAP CEO David van Gennep.

Over 240 organizations worldwide signed the open letter to the WHO, including AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection, Humane Society International, Born Free and Wild Aid.

Link between wildlife trade and COVID-19
According to the organizations, it is time to acknowledge the link between wildlife trade and the outbreak of diseases such as COVID-19. Wild animals are crammed together in small cages under the most cruel and unsanitary conditions. They cannot show natural behavior, are stressed and get sick or injured. It has been proven that in such situations animals spread more germs and that they can also spread them to humans. As many as 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases come from animals (a zoonosis) and 70 percent of these come from wild animals. The corona crisis once again makes it clear that human and animal health are inextricably linked.