In February China’s top legislature announced new, stronger measures on trade in wild animal species in order to reduce the risk of unregulated wildlife trade to human health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) welcomed this step, but at the time, called for this to be extended to trade in all products from protected species, not just those for consumption as food. Excluding captive breeding and trade for medicinal and ornamental purposes means that a number of species threatened by trade, including tigers, leopards, rhinos and pangolins – the world’s most trafficked mammal, will slip through the cracks.

As part of its campaign to ensure the strengthening of the law, FFI has signed a letter alongside 31 other wildlife organisations urging Chinese lawmakers to also prohibit commercial breeding and trade in wild species threatened by trade for any purpose. We believe, as the letter says, that such a move would better reflect the precautionary approach enshrined in China’s February measures and help to lessen the risk of breeding and trade of wild animals in China posing a threat to biodiversity and human health. Chinese lawmakers have a unique opportunity to protect nature and boost planetary health – we urge that they take it.