Vietnam is considering a ban on the wildlife trade after conservation organisations appealed to Vietnam's Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, to stop all illegal wildlife trade and consumption in the country following the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of last night (Mar. 25), Vietnam confirmed 134 cases of Covid-19.
Open letter urged Prime Minister to take action to stop illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam
In an open letter from WWF and nine other conservation organisations, conservationists appealed to the Prime Minister of Vietnam in Feb. 2020 to put an end to illegal wildlife trade and consumption in Vietnam:
"In order to ensure national safety, economic security and the health of the public and Vietnam’s precious ecosystems, we request the Vietnamese government to take strong and sustainable actions to halt all illegal wildlife trade and consumption in Vietnam."
The letter emphasised that Covid-19 was transmitted "via close contact between humans and wildlife as part of ongoing illegal wildlife trade".
"Limiting interaction between wildlife and humans through strong enforcement against illegal wildlife trade and wildlife markets is the most effective approach to mitigating future risk associated with transmission of disease between animals and humans," the letter stated.
The letter also highlighted that previous outbreaks, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), were linked to wild animals.
The letter also proposed the following measures to clamp down on wildlife trade in Vietnam:
- Identify and ban restaurants selling illegal wildlife for meat
- Censor and remove all transactions and advertising of illegal wildlife products on all e-commerce platforms, social media, and online newspapers
- Develop more stringent laws on raising wildlife in captivity for trade and consumption
- Stricter enforcement and punishment of wildlife crimes
- Educate Vietnamese people on the risks of wildlife consumption to public security and to individual health
- Ensure cross ministerial collaboration to enact the above points
Nguyen responds to letter from conservationists & government to consider ban on wildlife trade
Earlier this month, VN Express reported that Vietnam's Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to draft a directive to ban activities related to the illegal wildlife trade and to submit it to the government by Apr. 1.
According to a Trinh Le Nguyen, the director of non-profit nature group Pan Nature, who was quoted by VN Express, the government's actions would allow Vietnam to show that it can be a "regional leader" in combating illegal wildlife trade:
"We expect that with this response of the Prime Minister, enforcement agencies will demonstrate their commitment to eradicate illegal wildlife trade and consumption in our country completely."
This news comes after China decided to address the consumption and trade of wildlife in Feb. 2020, in an effort to safeguard the country's public health after Covid-19 broke out from the city of Wuhan.
Top photos by Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals