National Governments worldwide
Join health professionals, conservation organizations, celebrities, and others in a global movement to call on our world’s governments to permanently end the commercial trade and sale in markets of wild terrestrial animals for consumption, worldwide. Together we are urging the world’s governments to recognize that this is among the most important decisions that the global community can make to prevent future pandemics and global disruption. Every voice counts.
National Governments worldwide
From: [Your Name]
Dear Governments of the World,
I/we recognize that the global health implications of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and the urgency to prevent future pandemics, warrant the permanent end to the commercial trade and sale of terrestrial wild animals (particularly birds and mammals) for consumption. Reports have shown that 71% of all emerging infectious diseases in the past several decades have originated from wild animals, with the rest from livestock/domestic animals. As animals move along the wildlife supply chain, from capture site to market, the prevalence and diversity of pathogens rises, increasing the risk of transmission to humans along the trade chain. The occurrence of major outbreaks is increasing in frequency, so urgent action to address this problem is needed.
I/we recognize the global economic implications of zoonotic disease outbreaks, which over the past 50 years have caused hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses, with significant damage to economies on a global scale. It is already clear that the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to sickness and death, has caused widespread severe economic turmoil and damage to many businesses and individuals around the world, costing trillions of dollars, increasing inequality, and differentially impacting the impoverished. In addition, this COVID-19 pandemic has, and will continue to, impact the poorest communities the most, thus further exacerbating inequalities and setting back sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Indigenous Peoples and the poor with little access to health care services are particularly vulnerable.
I/we recognize the global security implications of zoonotic disease outbreaks, and that the commercial trade in terrestrial wild animals for consumption creates enhanced conditions for the evolution of novel zoonotic pathogens through practices that bring together stressed, injured, and sick animals representing a variety of species from many different places into one area. It is critical to close this trade that creates ideal environments for the emergence of novel pathogens. We must act to prevent another such pandemic through the cessation of the commercial trade of terrestrial wild animals for consumption.
I/we recognize that the global biodiversity implications of the massive commercial trade in terrestrial wild animals for consumption across the world threatens the survival of thousands of species and is compounded by the destruction of habitat and ecosystems on a global scale. It is clear that the current scale and scope of this commercial trade in wild animals is not only threatening the diversity of life on Earth, but also the health of societies and individual humans. It is time to end this commercial trade and protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity as a critical investment in the future health of ourselves and our planet. It is time for a new paradigm.
I/we, therefore call for the permanent end to the commercial trade and sale in markets where terrestrial wild animals are sold for consumption.
I/we urge all national governments to recognize that this is among the most important decisions that the world community can make today to prevent future zoonotic disease pandemics and global disruption. With this recognition we call on all national governments to:
1. Enact suitable legislation to permanently end commercial trade and sale of terrestrial wild animals for consumption;
2. Empower relevant agencies to adequately enforce such legislation;
3. Develop ethical and equitable transition measures for those whose livelihoods are impacted across the trade chain.
I/we stress that our declaration fully respects the rights of Indigenous Peoples over their lands and resources and does not pertain to subsistence hunting by Indigenous Peoples and local communities for household consumption and/or cultural identity. In other cases where people are eating wildlife only because they have no alternatives then it is recognized that efforts should be made to ensure access to sustainably produced domestic plant or animal foods, which can provide them with a reliable and sanitary source of high-quality food and reduce the risk of exposure to novel zoonotic pathogens.
I/we recognize that many livelihoods are currently dependent on the commercial trade of terrestrial wild animals for consumption around the globe. The people involved in these activities need help to transition to new opportunities. This is especially true regarding the trade of wildlife for consumption that has caused immense negative impacts, including widescale death and disease, as well as severe damage or collapse of most industries and economies around the world.