Many have greeted China’s lampdown on wild animal hunting and consumption with enthusiasm. A similar response to the capture and consumption of wild meat occurred during the Ebola outbreak, which originated in an animal-human interaction and raged in West Africa from 2014 to 2016. At that time, some even suggested the disease was good for wildlife because people would not be eating wild animals as a result.
However, the solution to the problem of zoonoses must be more nuanced than outright global bans.
Where no other protein is available, eating wild meat is a necessity, but it should be banned where there are alternatives and where profiteering from wildlife is the motive. The interrelationship between wild meat consumption, food security and poverty alleviation must be explored simultaneously when making decisions without relying on an outdated colonial discourse of conservation that favors wildlife over people.
Rural and Indigenous communities who harvest wild meat sustainably as a source of dietary protein already face growing competition from deforestation, biodiversity loss, legal and illegal trade. We should not add to these increased risks of malnutrition or hunger.
"wildmeat" "zoonoses" "local communities" "trade ban"