In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (University of Oxford) have released a position statement, outlining their recommendations on the best way to manage wildlife trade going forward. While this position is one of many on the issue, the balanced and sensible statement is one which the CIC wished to share.
“We express concern at the dominant discourse which focusses solely on the links between zoonosis emergence and wildlife trade and caution against a blanket approach to wildlife trade regulation.”
Many animal welfare and conservation organisations are calling for a total ban on wildlife trade and consumption to reduce the risk of future zoonotic pandemics. Such a ban would also prohibit the trade of trophies, including cases requiring CITES import and export permits, which up until now has been entirely legal.
While the trade of some species and their parts may pose a threat to public health, it is argued that a blanket ban would not be the best solution, as it does not take into consideration the needs of “wildlife, ecosystems and human well-being.”
The Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade put forward a more nuanced, scientific approach, one where we re-balance our relationship with nature while protecting wildlife and people at the same time.
Their recommendations include:
- Preventing illegal and unsustainable use of wildlife.
- Supporting well-regulated sustainable wildlife trade.
- Limitation of ecosystem destruction.
- Improvement of industrial agriculture management.
The CIC is in full support of these recommendations. We do recognise that change is needed, however, it is imperative that we take a holistic approach and take into consideration all of the science that is available.
If you are interested in hearing more on COVID-19, please look out for an article in the upcoming edition of the CIC Magazine, where we will further explore the impact of COVID-19 on wildlife and people.
For immediate further reading on COVID-19, we would recommend the following: