China on Friday vowed to regularly phase out the slaughter and sale of live poultry at food markets, in a transfer welcomed by animal rights activists amid the Corona Virus pandemic.
The announcement got here as China stepped up inspections of wholesale food markets and outlawed the sale and consumption of wildlife, after a current COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing was traced again to a serious agricultural wholesale market.
The virus is believed to have emerged at a market that offered live animals within the central metropolis of Wuhan late final yr.
“China will limit the commerce and slaughter of live poultry, encourage the mass slaughter of live poultry in locations with sure situations and regularly shut live poultry markets,” stated Chen Xu, an official at the State Administration of Market Regulation, at a press briefing.
Live poultry stored in cages is a typical sight in agricultural wholesale food markets and “moist markets” – smaller-scale contemporary food markets – throughout China.
The poultry is historically butchered on the spot by stallholders, or patrons can choose to slaughter the live animal at dwelling.
Some Chinese individuals historically consider that this enables for optimum freshness. Live seafood, amphibians and different creatures are additionally generally offered at moist markets.
Scientists consider the pathogen originated in bats earlier than leaping to people by means of a yet-unknown animal middleman.
Chen urged native governments throughout China to “strengthen supervision of food security at agricultural wholesale markets” and “examine hidden security dangers”, taking the Beijing Xinfadi market virus hotspot for example.
“It is known that greater than 70% of meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and greens enter the market by means of wholesale agricultural markets,” he stated.
There are greater than 4,100 wholesale markets nationwide, a commerce ministry official informed the briefing.
The announcement was welcomed by animal rights teams.
“We are joyful to see that live-poultry markets are on their manner out in China,” stated Jason Baker, senior vice chairman of PETA Asia.
“PETA hopes the State Administration of Market Supervision and Administration continues to stretch their wings and ban all live-animal markets nationwide.”