Top Foreign Affairs Republican states China must do more to control animal markets

Yvonne O'Halloran

Republican Mike McCaul- the top Republican on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs says that China must do more with its markets to prevent the outbreak of diseases like the coronavirus and believes that China’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak was “one of the worst cover up’s in human history”. In his letter to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday-(head of the World Health Organisation) he writes that he believes the coronavirus pandemic was due to the sale and trade of exotic animals and that China should be doing more to prevent the continued trade of exotic animals.

He wrote: “While I welcomed the announcement last month that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has permanently banned the trade and consumption of non-aquatic wild animals, I share the concerns of many in the conservation community this ban does not go far enough” He goes onto say: “The policy does not ban the trade of wild animals for fur, medicine, or research, and I believe that these loopholes may be exploited to illegally sell or trade these animals.”

McCaul criticised China for promoting traditional Chinese medicines to respond to the coronavirus, an action which could further the trafficking of wildlife. Experts have suspected coronavirus and previous outbreaks like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) can be linked back to wet markets. While markets like China’s exist in other countries, he said the wildlife sold at the markets in China are particularly problematic.

While the animal host that facilitated the transfer of COVID-19 from bats to humans has not yet been identified, pangolins, which are traded in this market, are suspected. The wet market in Wuhan, as well as others throughout China, bring an array of animals and humans in close contact with each other, and facilitated the spread of the disease to humans,” he wrote.

McCaul argued that Chinese officials were “attempting to obfuscate” the origins of the virus and called on the World Health Organization to reprimand those responsible for the lack of cooperation in providing necessary information to prevent future pandemics. In a recent interview with Axios last week McCaul stated “I just don’t think they can get away with it this time,” McCaul continued, saying “unsanitary practices” in China are to blame and calling on the World Health Organization should hold the communist country responsible. “They are the cause of a global pandemic.”

 

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