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CONCERNS OVER CHINA’S MEASURES TO PREVENT ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

Why in news?

  • China recently started a process to classify a step to rein in animals and birds from illegal trading in wildlife.
  • China has drawn criticism from several quarters over its handling of wet animal markets after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
  • China on April 8, 2020, circulated a list of animals that could be traded legally, seeking comments from the public.
  • The Notification was drafted for “eliminating the bad habit of excessive eating of wildlife and effectively safeguarding the lives and health of the public.”

Details

  • The new catalogue included traditional livestock like pigs, cattle, sheep and goats, horses, donkeys, camels, rabbits and poultry.
  • It also included a category of special livestock of local, cultivated or introduced breeds.
  • The sika deer, red deer, reindeer, alpacas, guineafowls, ring-necked pheasants, partridges, mallard ducks, ostriches, rheas and emus were classified as special livestock.
  • Animals harvested for their fur — including minks, silver foxes, Arctic foxes and raccoon dogs — were also categorised as special livestock, with the caveat that they were not for consumption.

Criticisms

  • Experts, however, criticised China’s measures and said the measures were only broad strokes.
  • The government was silent on aquatic species, with the decisions only applying to terrestrial species.
  • While some species were categorised as special livestock, the exemptions were technically only for captive-bred populations.
  • Hunting and sale of wild populations of these species would not be allowed, but that depends on effective enforcement.
February 2023
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