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To the United Nations and G20 Leaders,
Urgently stop the international wildlife trade by banning both the export and import of wild animals as well as the farming and use of wild animal products for any domestic or medicinal purpose.
The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the harsh reality of wildlife markets in China and around the globe. Yet those markets represent just a tiny slice of the international trade in wild animals.
In China alone, wildlife trade is worth more than $73 billion and employs more than one million people. The value of the illegal global trade is estimated by the UN to be around $23 billion.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation estimates that 60% of all viruses that infect humans come from animals. This phenomenon is termed ‘zoonosis’. WHO says that 75% of new infections and diseases in the past decade are zoonotic.
We know that to stop these new diseases from emerging, we must put a stop to the international trade in wild animals, a trade that spans most continents and is highly lucrative.
There’s no doubt this wildlife trade is immoral. We already know about the issues around conservation and the ongoing destruction of habitat that takes place to make capturing these animals easier. We know about the gross instances of neglect and the inhumane treatment of these animals as they’re shipped across the globe in close quarters by untrained and uncaring criminals. And now, on the back of a new coronavirus, we know of the huge risk that the trade poses to human health.
That’s why we must act now to stop the illegal and immoral trade in wildlife that is happening, even in the midst of a pandemic, right across the globe. We demand that G20 leaders, along with the United Nations intervene at the highest level to put a stop to both exports and imports that exploit wild animals, causing irreparable damage to sensitive ecosystems as well as public health.