Celebrities sign our open letter to the Prime Minister
High profile supporters including Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench have signed our open letter calling on Boris Johnson to urge global leaders at upcoming G20 meeting to end the global wildlife trade.
"We urge the PM to back a global wildlife trade ban to protect billions of animals, our health and the global environment" - Sonul Badiani-Hamment, UK external affairs adviser at World Animal Protection
The letter, which can be viewed here, argues that wild animals are being taken from the wild or farmed in cruel conditions to meet the consumer demand for exotic pets, traditional Chinese medicine and tourism.
COVID-19 link with wildlife trade
The global wildlife trade is a primary cause of the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases like Covid-19, SARS, Ebola and MERS which are all believed to have passed from wildlife to humans and are a severe risk to world health.
The letter has been sent on behalf of World Animal Protection and the Campaign to End Wildlife Trade (CEWT) which includes 24 leading animal protection and wildlife conservation groups.
A seized pangolin at the Natural Resources Conservation Center Riau, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
Celebrities join us in our call to end the global wildlife trade
The letter has also been co-signed by Sue Perkins, Evanna Lynch, Alesha Dixon, Alison Steadman, Liz Bonnin, Simon Reeve, Mark Carwardine, Ben Goldsmith, Peter Tatchell, Vanessa-Mae, Gillian Burke, Gordon Buchanan, Leona Lewis, Paul O Grady and Michaela Strachan.
Television presenter and author Simon Reeve said, "This global pandemic has had a devastating impact on all our lives and tackling the source of the problem must be a priority.
“Ending the exploitation of wildlife for use in the exotic pet, traditional medicine and entertainment industries will take us one huge step closer to safeguarding our health and the future of the natural world."
Let’s tackle the cause of the virus
Sonul Badiani-Hamment from World Animal Protection, said, “To build back stronger we need to tackle the causes of the virus, avoid the inaction following previous epidemics and work together with countries around the world to end the wildlife trade and help prevent future zoonotic outbreaks.
“COVID-19 will be at the top of the agenda at the G20 meeting of global leaders in November and we urge the PM to back a global wildlife trade ban to protect billions of animals, our health and the global environment.”
Civet babies at a market in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photographer Reference: Aaron Gekoski
86% of Brits would back a ban
CEWT research found that 86% of Brits would support Boris Johnson calling for a ban, a quarter would feel safer if wildlife trade was banned (26%), 18% are more concerned about the trade since lockdown and over half (51%) were unaware of the scale of the legal trade of protected wild animals into the UK.
Whilst the exploitative global wildlife trade is estimated to be worth US $7-23 billion a year, it is economically eclipsed by the estimated cost to the global economy following the COVID-19 pandemic of between US $1-2.7 trillion.
Wildlife for sale
Millions of wild animals including snakes, parrots, iguanas, lizards, tortoises, and even otters are captured each year for the exotic pet trade. Wild animals are farmed for Traditional Asian Medicine such as bear bile which has been recommended by the Chinese Government to treat symptoms for COVID-19.
The UK currently imports thousands of protected wild animals, including tortoises, pythons and monitor lizards, captured from the wild and legally imported into the UK each year, according to the group.
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World Animal Protection is calling on the UK government to champion a global wildlife trade ban and end the import and export of wild animals into the UK at the G20 meeting of leaders in November.