Wildlife trade under scrutiny as COVID-19 continues to spread

Confined mink in a Canadian fur farm.

The Fur-Bearers count themselves among the growing number of NGOs calling for an end to wildlife trade abroad and at home as the world manages the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is believed to have originated in a so-called ‘wet market’ in Wuhan, China. Wet markets are typically open-air places where live and dead animals are sold for their meat. These markets are found around the world, not just in Asia. It is believed that the virus moved from exploited animals to humans like viruses that have come before and infected or killed many people, such as MERS-CoV (dromedary camels), SARS-CoV (civet cats), H1N1 (pigs), H5N1 (birds) and Ebola (possibly primates).

Wet markets are only one way that distressed animals are forced together and then exposed to people. Others include factory farming for food and commodities such as fur.

Non-government Organizations (NGOs) around the world are calling out individual and systemic issues with the exploitation of animals and the role they play in contributing to virus or disease spread. The Fur-Bearers is supportive of an end to wildlife trade internationally as well as in Canada. We also hope for a critical look at how prepared individual businesses and governments are for the possibility of a viral outbreak stemming from local exploitation. This would include the exotic pet trade, as outlined World Animal Protection.

A recent survey by Research Co. indicates that 68% of Canadians want to see governments around the world implement bans on wet markets; this includes 75% of British Columbians and 73% of Ontarians.

The Fur-Bearers will continue to bring relevant information to supporters as it becomes available during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please stay safe and in isolation as possible: we’re all in this together.

Photo: crowded mink in cages and open air sheds at a Canadian fur farm.


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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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