Activists against wildlife crime express that Thailand can become a worldwide leader in assisting to stop pandemics by breaking down on poaching as well as ceasing to be a gateway for illegal wildlife trade.With the Covid-19 epidemic continuing to sweep the planet plus the World Health Organisation saying 75% of all of the emerging contagious diseases are zoonotic, Activists believe this could help prevent animal-to-human disease transmission, saying data show that almost all emerging diseases usually originate from wet marketplaces – where wild animals are caged and traded for food.
Against Wildlife Trade
In a press conference yesterday to launch the worldwide campaign “Endpandemics”, Steven Galster, the founder of non-profit group Freeland, which campaigns against animal as well as human trafficking, called upon the government to take more intrusive steps to ban the commercial trade of wild animals. Freeland started “Endpandemics” in April as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic exploded globally.
Galster says the country could return to its top place in the regional fight up against the illegal wildlife trade under the framework of the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network. He called Thailand’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak “exemplary, resulting in some of the lowest amounts of cases and deaths on the planet.”
However, he says, The illegal wildlife trade in Thailand has remained the door open for a brand new viral bomb to explode on its very own doorstep. He says strict actions needs to be taken by all stakeholders, especially law enforcement, to completely ban it .
He believes Thailand should put a halt to its wildlife trade and direct other nations by setting an example to look up to, the WHO’s “One Health” approach which involves protecting not merely people but also wild animals along with the ecosystem.
“A new vaccine will not work against a new outbreak strain. A real, sustainable vaccine will address the root causes of these outbreaks but there needs to be a new approach not merely for the protection of individuals but also of wildlife and natural ecosystem as well. Thailand can be that world leader by becoming the very first country on the planet to ban all commercial trade related to wild animals. “
Despite its efforts to stop wildlife crime, Thailand is well known as a regional hub for wildlife crime because of its geographic location as well as transport system linking it to surrounding nations. Loads of African ivory, rhino horn, pangolins, and their scales, snakes, tiger cubs, and all sorts of wildlife and wildlife products are seized at Thai airports every year. The ultimate destination of such items is generally China.
Lots of anti-wildlife trafficking experts say the Covid-19 epidemic has really helped to prevent the illegal wildlife trade; China has shut down its wildlife markets and banned the trade, with a few exceptions.
However the order to shut the markets is going to be eased once the outbreak fades away. Mr Galster said re-opening them will undoubtedly be dangerous to wildlife protection and rise the chances of disease transmission from animal-to-man such as Sars, Mers, birdflu and Covid-19.
Mr Galster also raised concerns in regards to the Chinese government’s policy to clean up and reorganise the wildlife market. He said it “is a huge mistake”.