On World Health Day, in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic believed to have originated in a live wildlife market, more than 240 organisations from around the globe call upon the World Health Organisation to publicly and unequivocally state the proven link between these markets and serious threats to human health.
They further urge the WHO to recommend that governments worldwide permanently ban live wildlife markets and the use of wildlife in traditional medicine.
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Write to the Director General of the World Health Organisation
For the attention of the Director General of the World Health Organisation
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to prevent future zoonotic disease outbreaks, which have such devastating impacts on human health and the global economy, we urge you to:
- Recommend to governments worldwide that they institute a permanent ban on live wildlife markets, drawing an unequivocal link between these markets and their proven threats to human health.
- Recommend to governments that they address the potential risks to human health from the trade in wildlife, including collection from the wild, ranching, farming, transport, and trade through physical or online markets for any purpose, and act to close down or limit such trade in order to mitigate those risks.
- Unequivocally exclude the use of wildlife, including from captive bred specimens, in the WHO’s definition and endorsement of Traditional Medicine and revise WHO’s 2014-2023 Traditional Medicine Strategy accordingly to reflect this change.
- Assist governments and lead a coordinated response among the World Trade Organisation, OIE and other multilateral organisations worldwide in awareness-raising activities to clearly inform of the risks of wildlife trade to public health, social cohesion, economic stability, law and order, and individual health.
- Support and encourage initiatives that deliver alternative sources of protein to subsistence consumers of wild animals, in order to further reduce the risk to human health.
Thank you for your consideration.
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