SHANGHAI — As China’s parliament prepares new laws to ban the trade and consumption of wildlife, local action plans published this week suggest the country’s fur trade and lucrative traditional medicine sectors will continue as usual. After identifying exotic animals traded in a Wuhan market as the most likely source of COVID-19, Beijing imposed a temporary ban on the wildlife trade in late January. Parliament followed up in February with a resolution promising to enshrine a permanent ban in law. Though legislative changes are expected to be discussed at the national session of parliament starting on Friday, regions are already taking action to implement the February ruling. Hunan and Jiangxi, both major wildlife breeding provinces, promised this week to release captive animals into the wild wherever possible, and will pay hunters and breeders to switch to other professions. But they left the fur trade untouched, and included loopholes allowing traders to stay in business if their products are used for science or medicine. That means the practices that lead to cross-species virus transmission could continue, said Peter Li, China policy specialist with Humane Society International, an animal rights group. “There is nothing to stop farmers continuing business as usual but… Read full this story
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