The following statement and analysis were issued today by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) regarding a decision of the 24th February 2020, 16th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress, on “Comprehensively Prohibiting the Illegal Trade of Wild Animals, Eliminating the Bad Habits of Wild Animal Consumption, and Protecting the Health and Safety of the People.”

WCS Statement:

“WCS welcomes this critical and positive step that reflects the central government’s commitment for not only solving the COVID-19 outbreak but in preventing future risks through legislative reform and improved enforcement and management.

“There is no such risk-free trade and consumption of any wild mammals and birds whether they are wild-caught or farmed. WCS believes that only by prohibiting the live trade in all wild birds and mammals can the risk of future viral emergences be prevented, and thus other forms of trade should also be included in this ban.

“In addition, this creates a potential loophole for traffickers who may exploit the non-food exemptions to sell or trade live wildlife, creating additional challenges to law enforcement officers.” 

WCS Analysis of the Decision:

The WCS analysis is developed based on the full text of the decision and the public interpretation from the members of the working group supporting the Standing Committee. 

The Decision prohibits the hunting, trade, transportation, and consumption of all terrestrial wild animals whether captive-bred or wild caught, where the end purpose is to eat. The interpretation of the Decisions from the Standing Committee clarified exemptions for fish and other aquatic wild animals not protected in the Wild Animal Conservation Law or other laws/regulations (such as aquatic wild animal regulation), as well as livestock and poultry.

The Committee has not banned the trade of wildlife for non-food uses (e.g. medicine, TCM, fur, zoo, pets, or biomedical research), yet calls for strict approvals and the quarantine of wild animals for non-food uses. 

The Committee called for the amendment of the Wild Animal Conservation Law and the Animal Epidemic Prevention Law which is when this policy can become permanent. In addition, the committee agreed to speed up the review process of the new law on biosafety and to conduct a comprehensive review on all relevant legislation, including the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, and draft any needed changes to improve public health and the country’s emergency response and management system.



Video and Q&A on Why Live Animal Markets Trading in Wildlife Need to be Permanently Banned: HERE.

WCS Statement: WCS: Chinese ban on the sale of wildlife in markets, restaurants and over e-commerce needs to be permanent

WCS Statement: WCS Calls for Closing Live Animal Markets that Trade in Wildlife in Wake of Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak

WCS Statement:

Additional Background: Global leaders in wildlife and human health issued 10 principles – The Berlin Principles – with an urgent call to governments, academia, and civil society that all sectors need to break down barriers to ensure a united effort to prevent the emergence or resurgence of diseases that threaten humans, wildlife, and livestock.