The Australian Government has today welcomed the decision by the Vietnamese Government to immediately ban the trade in wildlife, wildlife products and the places where they are sold.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said Vietnam’s crackdown on the illegal wildlife trade and ban on the imports of wild animals dead or alive was a huge win for global public health. I was an outlier at the G20 Agriculture Ministers meeting in March calling for this action and I’m proud Vietnam has decided to lead the way.
“Vietnam is reducing the risk of future pandemics and showing the world how we can manage these markets into the future,” Minister Littleproud said.
“All nations have a responsibility to keep people safe from harm and regulating the production and sale of wild animals that carry diseases is a critical part of that.
“The Vietnamese Government should be congratulated for their leadership in taking this evidence-based approach to reducing the risk of animal to human diseases being spread.
“We call on more nations to follow Vietnam’s lead in reforming the trade in wildlife, particularly in wet wildlife markets where the risk of transmission is especially high.
“These markets can present a grave threat to human and animal health across the world, given the potential for zoonotic and pandemic pathogens to emerge.
“They pose significant threats to animal welfare, food safety, and wildlife biodiversity and conservation.”
Wildlife markets are defined as markets selling or slaughtering live terrestrial wildlife for human consumption or other purposes.
They are found globally and can have significant cultural and food security importance, particularly in developing nations.
“The COVID-19 virus is thought to have originated in one of these markets. SARS is also believed to have crossed from animals to humans in a similar way,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Australia will also continue to pursue global reforms on this issue where other opportunities exist, such as through the World Organisation for Animal Health, the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and also through regional and bilateral collaborations.”