Editor’s Note: Dr. Zhou Jinfeng, Secretary General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), received an interview by YiMagazine, sharing views and suggestions on the amendments of Wild Animal Protection Law and public health risks triggered by illegal wildlife trade under the novel coronavirus outbreak.
He says, amendments of Wild Animal Protection Law should be centered with biodiversity conservation. He analyses the current e-commerce platforms and cyber illegal wildlife trade, and suggests relevant departments to attach importance to probe into illegal trade online, to establish “China National Biology and Science Ethics Committee”, strengthening to combat illegal behaviors and advancing communication with public for the improvement of biodiversity conservation.
Applications of animal taming and breeding should be reviewed and approved by the national Biology and Science Ethics Committee, with a procedure of public participation and information disclosure.
Original Topic: Why the national regulation of forbidding eating wildlife is decision rather that law? Here is the explanation from experts.
The 16th Meeting of the 13th session of the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress (NPC) held today (Feb. 24th) adopted the Decision on Banning Illegal Wildlife Trade, Abolishing the Practice of Eating Wildlife, and Securing Public Health Security.
The Decision clarifies the system of banning eating wildlife comprehensively. Any violations shall receive heavier punishment in comparison with existing regulation.
Chang Jiwen, Deputy Director of the Resources and Environment Policy Research Institute of the Development Research Center of the State Council, says that the Decision adopted by the Standing Committee of the NPC who shows the responsibility of national legislature. The Decision can facilitate to develop the environmental-friendly dieting habit which is responsible for the nation and the society, thus further to advance the transformation of wildlife captive-breeding enterprises.
He says, the Decision reflects the rule of law of risk prevention and scientific governance. Although the novel pneumonia outbreak has not been fully confirmed to be triggered by illegal wildlife trade and over consumption of wildlife, it can be concluded that wild animal is the original host of the coronavirus according to the current scientific research.
Chang says, this is a wise decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress to issues an emergent decision given that it usually takes more than half a year for legislation.
Chang expresses that the Decision aims to comprehensively regulate every link and clarify punishment or applicable regulation on illegal acts. According to Chang Jiwen, it is necessary to stipulate administrative, civil and criminal responsibilities with the Wild Animal Protection Law. Departments need to develop the liability system, and carry out evaluation of law enforcement so as to advance supervision and enforcement in accordance with the law, and avoid procrastination and evasion of responsibility.
Sun Quanhui, Scientist of World Animal Protection, affirms that the Decision is an encouraging progress as completely forbids eating wildlife by enlarging the scope of
It takes time for law amendments, and the Decision arrived at the 16th meeting of the Standing Committee offsets the shortage of the existing laws. As the epidemic spreads out, the suggestion of banning eating wildlife has won overwhelming support. The new regulation conforms to the public opinion, facilitates the law enforcement as well as lays a foundation for the amendment of Wild Animal Protection Law.
Sun says, endangered fish species and aquatic wildlife should be protected even though they are not included into the Decision. He suggests the amendment of Wild Animal Protection Law should take this issue into consideration. At the same time, measures for conserving wildlife which are used for medical use and exhibition should be formulated. Moreover, any behaviors that tame wildlife for entertainment performance, health care, or keep wild animals as pets would not only bring them injure and ill-treatment, but also pose threat to public heathy. Relevant departments should further improve legislation and guide enterprises to transform.
Zhou Jinfeng, Secretary General of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), says the amendments of Wild Animal Protection Law should aim to conserve biodiversity. Official departments should intensify efforts at inspecting and supervising e-commerce platforms to combat illegal wildlife trading. He advises to establish the National Biology and Science Ethics Committee, and encourage broader public participation of people and social organizations. Applications of animal taming and breeding should be reviewed and approved by the proposed Committee, with a procedure of public participation and information disclosure.
Liu Yidan, volunteers of Let Birds Fly, expresses that to prohibit eating wildlife and end the consumption demand is the only way to curb wildlife poaching and secure public health. A large number of first-line cases have proven that wild species cannot be immune from illegal poaching under the umbrella of captive-breeding. The Decision draws an end to the wildlife meat market consumed by a fraction of people which wastes considerable resources for supervisor to identify the source, to the whitewash of illegal poaching, thus greatly reduce the cost of combating illegal wildlife trade.