Conservative MP Sir David Amess has called for the global wildlife trade to be banned and for the G20 leaders to take decisive action to prevent future zoonotic pandemics.
Speaking ahead of the G20 meeting in Saudi Arabia, which will focus on co-ordinating a global response to the Covid pandemic, Sir David warned the leaders that the “cruel, unsustainable” global trade of wild animals “puts our health and the world economy at risk”.
“The income generated from the commercial wildlife trade doesn’t compare to the economic costs of loss of biodiversity and zoonotic diseases, as we are currently experiencing with Covid-19, and therefore ending the global wildlife trade is an investment in the future,” said the Catholic MP for Southend West.
Sir David warned that the global wildlife trade has many negative impacts on ecosystems and on health.
“It massively decreases biodiversity, it causes harm to the animals which we share this planet with and it increases the risk of future pandemics and zoonotic diseases,” he said.
Sir David, a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, explained that the second biggest direct threat to species’ survival, after habitat destruction, is wildlife trade.
He warned that the global wildlife trade can cause animals to become endangered and even extinct.
“Tigers, rhinoceroses and elephants have suffered particularly hard from the sale of their skin, bones and tusks,” he said.
“The loss of biodiversity causes serious issues for the complex web of life,” he added.
“You cannot simply remove a large number of plants or animals from environments and not expect there to be serious consequences that affect the whole ecosystem.”
Picture: An Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus). (yongkiet)