03 February 2020

Blood Lions Statement:

Following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, China, on 31st December 2019, the Chinese Government issued a temporary ban on all trade in wild animals until the “national epidemic” has ended. This came after the virus was reportedly linked to a live animal market in Wuhan City, where both domestic and wild animals are sold.

According to WildAid, all sectors of government, academia, media and members of the public are now urgently calling for the ban on wildlife markets and trade to be made permanent. “Protecting wildlife is protecting ourselves” and “no trading, no killing” have been some of the sentiments expressed and others even question captive breeding programmes.

“China needs to choose between the narrow interests of wildlife businesses and the national interest of public health”, said Professor Peter J Li in an op-ed in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.

Blood Lions welcomes these calls to make the ban on wildlife markets and trade permanent and wishes to emphasise the dangers of zoonosis linked our national captive lion breeding industry.

As Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is prevalent in wild and captive lions, there is a real and substantial risk of zoonosis in the lion bone trade. Not only for people in South East Asia directly involved in the consumption of lion bones products, but also for workers at the breeding farms in South Africa. The risk of contracting Bovine TB by, for example, South African lion abattoir workers is very real.

This has not been the first time that infectious diseases have been linked to animals in recent years. Other have included the Ebola virus disease, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), H7N9 Bird Flu, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

For more information on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and advice on how to protect from infection, visit the World Health Organisation website.