Recommendations on the Revision of the Comprehensive Prohibition of Commercial Artificial Breeding of Wild Animals (I)

I   Reasons for a comprehensive ban on commercial artificial breeding of wild animals


1. It helps to avoid institutional public health and safety risks more thoroughly


The so-called institutional public health and safety risk refers to the risk caused by institutional defects. New infectious diseases are more and more frequent all over the world, more than 70% of which come from animals, which makes animal epidemic prevention more important than ever before. The quarantine inspection of land animals includes two parts: the quarantine inspection of the producing area and the quarantine inspection of slaughtering. All kinds of animal laws and food safety laws should not conflict with animal epidemic prevention laws.


According to the Decision, if it is necessary to make non-edible use of wild animals due to special circumstances such as scientific research, medicine and exhibition, strict examination and approval and quarantine inspection shall be carried out in accordance with the relevant provisions of the state. However, quarantine inspection is never easy to work. In the Animal Epidemic Prevention Law, wild animals only have the requirements of origin quarantine inspection, and the wild animal protection law has designed the artificial breeding system, which can be called institutional risk. According to public information, the vast majority of wild animals cannot be quarantined even at the place of origin. It is more infeasible to formulate the slaughtering and quarantine regulations, first of all, because there are too many kinds of wild animals, it is impossible to formulate them one by one; second, because the slaughtering of wild animals is a minority rather than a public, there is no need to formulate them; the most important thing is that human beings have limited understanding of the virus carried by wild animals and its transmission mode, so they cannot formulate them. Pathogens do not consider and criticize whether the host animals are wild or artificially bred, edible, medicinal or fur.


In fact, SARS and COVID-19 are not infected by people after cooking and eating wild animals, because the virus is not resistant to high temperature. In most cases, human beings are infected with the virus carried by animals in the process of killing wild animals, while food, medicine, fur and so on are the necessary links of killing. Moreover, it is difficult to distinguish edible purposes from non-edible purposes. For example, civet cats can be used for food, medicine, and fur production. Fox meat, ferret meat, raccoon dog meat and other wild animal flesh from artificial farms for fur collection will be sent to meat factories or small workshops to be processed into sausage or ham, according to China Business Network Co., Ltd. (CBN). This meat without inspection and quarantine seriously affects public health and food safety. In addition, the institutional risk to be considered is that the food ban may stimulate the transformation of edible artificial culture to non-edible culture. At the same time, non-edible breeding cannot avoid poaching, wild species stealing and smuggling, and cannot block the ever-changing virus in nature. Even imposing quarantine inspection standards is fraught with risks. The COVID-19 epidemic outbreak in Wuhan is more subtle than the SARS virus in 2003. No one can predict how the next virus will mutate.


2. It is conducive to fundamentally safeguard the legislative purpose of the wildlife protection law.


The legislative purpose of the current wildlife protection law is “to protect wildlife, save precious and endangered wildlife, maintain biodiversity and ecological balance, and promote the construction of ecological civilization”, which does not include “utilization purpose”. The large-scale commercial utilization of wild animals in the past 30 years has not achieved the purpose of protecting the wild population as the original legislators wanted (that is, the so-called “breeding instead of protection”), and both edible and non-edible wild animals have caused a sharp decline in the number of wild species. For example, as a national key protected species of wild medicinal materials, the population number of wild black bears and brown bears in Changbai Mountain decreased by 93% and 38% respectively from the early 1980s to the end of 2010.


According to the 3rd national survey of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) resources, there are 1,581 kinds of animals with medicinal purposes, many of which need to be captured in the wild, and the cost of cultivation is also high. Chinese people believe in “animals as medicine” and more in the efficacy of precious wild animals. With the improvement of people’s consumption ability, domestic medicinal animal species are endangered one after another, and foreign wild animals have been poached and smuggled on a large scale. For example, in 2016, the British conservation group “lion rescue” pointed out that only about 30 wild tigers may be left in Vietnam because of the Chinese crazy belief in “animal in medicine”. The community of the shared future of mankind is under threat. Fur animals suffered the same experience.


Allowing non-edible artificial breeding is not in line with the legislative purpose of the wildlife protection law, but also provides a breakthrough for promoting and expanding the illegal management and utilization of wildlife. It is suggested that the subsequent revision of the wildlife protection law should adhere to its legislative purpose and strictly limit the use and artificial breeding of wildlife in the field of public welfare.


3. It is beneficial to really relieve the environmental pressure of the breeding industry and the fur industry.


In 2013, the “Huangpu River dead pig floating incident” highlighted long-neglected China’s livestock and poultry breeding pollution problem, and the Regulations on Prevention and Control of Livestock and Poultry Scale Breeding Pollution was also issued in the same year. A large number of aquaculture pollution is becoming a new environmental challenge in China, among which small and medium-sized farmers cause the most serious environmental pollution.


Most of the wild animal breeding enterprises, including fur and medicine, are individual investors, and their breeding pollution is very serious. According to the survey data of Zhejiang Province in 2016, the number of artificial breeding farms that stopped breeding reached 24.96% of the total number of enterprises in that year, mainly due to poor efficiency and environmental pollution. The pollution of fur production is more serious. A medical investigation found that the positive rate of respiratory symptoms in fur workers was significantly higher than that in the control group. Under the environmental protection policy, if the breeding of poultry and livestock for mass meat production is standardized and limited, then the pressure on environmental protection caused by the breeding of wild animals such as fur and other non-necessities should be released. This is in line with the trend of world environmental protection and animal conservation. For example, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sao Paulo, West Hollywood, India, New Zealand, and other cities and countries prohibit the import and sale of fur; Serbia, Luxembourg, Norway, Croatia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Japan, Austria, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and other countries all prohibit fur animal breeding directly or indirectly; Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, and Sweden also prohibit the cultivation of some fur animals.


China’s “Wildlife Protection Law” should be forward-looking and bold, otherwise, it will be difficult to curb the trend of continuous loss of species, ecological imbalance and pollution problem.

(To be continued.)



Original Chinese article:

By / Xue Tongtong Modified / Maggie



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