WWF Statement on revision of Wild Animals Protection Law in China

Posted on 25 February 2020

WWF is deeply saddened by the loss of lives from the Coronavirus outbreak and our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones, or who are sick.
WWF applauds the decision taken on Monday by China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress to ban the eating of wild animals and crack down on the illegal wildlife trade to safeguard people’s lives and health. We believe this is a timely, necessary and critical step leading up to the revision of the current Wild Animals Protection Law which will take a longer time. The measure is of great significance to promote ecological civilization and harmony between people and nature.

The current emergence and spread of the Coronavirus, as well as SARS, MERS and other similar outbreaks in recent history, underscores the need to take urgent action and raise awareness of the potential threats to human health posed by the illegal and unregulated wildlife trade.  

On January 26, the Chinese government declared a nationwide suspension on the trade and consumption of wild animals. We appreciate the action taken by China’s law enforcement agencies in recent weeks to close wildlife markets, and their efforts in recent years to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade. While closing wildlife markets could have a major impact, bans alone will not stop the illegal wildlife trade if demand persists. This public health crisis must serve as a wake-up call for the need to end unsustainable use of endangered animals and their parts, as exotic pets, for food consumption and for their perceived medicinal value.

WWF encourages the Chinese legislature to continue its efforts to revise the current Wild Animals Protection Law and we shall contribute to this process by providing our suggestions.

No culture or tradition is worth the extinction of an entire species", said Zhou Fei, Chief Programme Officer of WWF China. “The protection of wild populations of endangered species for their ecological value and biodiversity, should take precedence over their exploitation for food or perceived medicine. Their ecosystem values are much more than the value of their meat, tusks, bones, horns or scales.”