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China Offers Cash To Wildlife Trade At Center Of Covid-19 Outbreak

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China Offers Cash To Wildlife Trade At Center Of Covid-19 Outbreak | Samui Times
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Along with banning the sale of wild animals for food after being blamed as the cause behind Covid-19’s outbreak, China is now offering cash as an incentive to exotic breeders to give up their trade.

It is no doubt that China has been pressured to crack down on the illegal wildlife trade with authorities pledging monetary offers to buy out the breeders.

Currently the buyout rate stands at 120 yuan ($16) per kilogramme of cobra, king rattlesnake or rat snake, while a kilogramme of bamboo rat will fetch 75 yuan.

Two central provinces have outlined these details to help farmers make the transition to alternative ways of earning an income.

Hunan on Friday announced the scheme to sway breeders into raising other types of livestock, tea and herbal medicines.

The novel coronavirus which was first reported in Wuhan, a central Chinese city, is largely believed to have passed from bats to people.

A civet cat, which many say passed Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to humans, is worth 600 yuan.

Neighbouring Jiangxi province has also drafted plans to help farmers financially leave the trade.

The state-run Jiangxi Daily newspaper reported last week that the province has more than 2,300 licensed breeders, mostly rearing wild animals for food.

The newspaper reports that the animals are worth about 1.6 billion yuan ($225 million).

Both Jiangxi and Hunan border Hubei, the province where the coronavirus started in December.

Animal rights group Humane Society International (HSI) said Hunan and Jiangxi are “major wildlife breeding provinces”, with Jiangxi seeing a rapid expansion of the trade over the last decade.

Revenues from breeding reached 10 billion yuan in 2018, it said.

HSI China policy specialist Peter Li told AFP that similar packages should be rolled out across the country.

But he cautioned that Hunan’s proposals leave room for farmers to continue breeding exotic creatures as long as the animals are not sent to food markets.

He noted that the trade still remains legal for other purposes including research and traditional medicine.

The province’s plan also does not cover the many wild animals bred for fur or entertainment.

Li said Chinese authorities are nevertheless moving in the right direction.

“In the past 20 years, a lot of people have been telling the Chinese government to buy out certain wildlife breeding operations, for example bear farming,” he said.

“This is the first time that the Chinese government actually decided to do it, which opens a precedent… (for when) other production needs to be phased out.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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