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Vietnam to crackdown on illegal wildlife trade amid Covid-19 fears

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Phuc on Monday, March 9, 2020 agreed to a plea by conservationists to implement steps to stop illegal wildlife trading in Vietnam over fears of the trade spreading disease, state media and an environmental NGO said.

Nguyen Phuc
Vietnamese Prime Minister, Nguyen Phuc

Though they are illegal, markets selling wildlife such as rare birds, pangolins, monkeys and tiger bones still operate in Vietnam.

Many scientists believe the new coronavirus was first transmitted to humans in a Chinese wet market in Wuhan where numerous live animals are slaughtered and sold.

According to local media, Phuc urged Vietnam’s Agriculture Ministry to quickly draft a directive and submit it for consideration no later than April 1.

The crackdown was a follow up to a letter sent to Vietnamese authorities by local NGO Pan Nature, which was signed by 14 environment NGOs asking for a complete ban on illegal markets and trading.

Animals Asia, one of the 14 NGOs to sign the letter, said they fully supported the ban.

According to Nguyen Thanh, Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Department Manager, although public health might be the main concern at this time, we think this much needed and timely decision is beneficial to both humans and animals.

“Keeping trading and consuming of wild animal products have been linked to a number of diseases and a risk of being attacked by animals.

“We do hope that the ban will help improve this situation,” he said. There have now been 30 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Vietnam.

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