The Cost of COVID-19 and a Millionaire Business Destroying Wildlife

The Cost of COVID-19 and a Millionaire Business Destroying Wildlife

World Animal Protection is carrying out a new campaign for the G20 to ban the trade in wildlife, a necessary path to save nature and humanity.

Today, there are no longer any doubts about the risks associated with wildlife trade and exploitation. COVID-19, one of the worst pandemics of animal origin that we have faced lately, has clearly shown us how these types of activities put our health, economies and biodiversity at risk.

But the real reason why wildlife exploitation is still not suspended is because companies make a profit of between 7 and 23 billion dollars a year, according to the health and well-being of both people and animals.

The commercialization of wildlife on an industrial scale is due to public demand for wild animals with the aim of using them as food in the traditional medicine, as exotic pets, for entertainment and as fashion accessories, what makes us extremely responsible as consumers; because if there were no consumption, this market would fall by itself.

And the seriousness of this situation has two effects: the creation of a hotbed of diseases that affect human beings and the extreme and unjustified suffering on the part of animals, stolen from their natural environment and separated from their families, which exposes them to stress and cruelty. To what end? Well entertain or fill the pockets of some entrepreneurs.

Governments must act now to save nature and humanity

Due to this harsh context, NGO World Animal Protection launched a campaign targeting G20 leaders to support a permanent wildlife trade ban to protect wildlife and prevent future zoonotic pandemics. For several years, it has been working with campaigns that seek to change social attitudes and modify industrial practices in order to stop the exploitation of wild animals, for example, the case of the pangolin, considered one of the possible transmitting species of COVID-19 .

From the work of the organization, let's see what are the main uses of wildlife on an industrial scale:

Traditional asian medicine

The demand for traditional medicine has devastating consequences for many species of wildlife traded around the world, such as bears that are poached and raised for their bile (you will find a full report here).

Various animals such as elephants, tigers, lions and bears, are stolen from their habitats to be used for medicinal purposes. Depending on the objective sought, they can be exterminated or transferred to farms where they live in terrible conditions behind bars in order to extract their bones and making wine or bile (in the case of bears) for unproven medical purposes.

Notably, these farms pose a risk to public health and many other wildlife species, which could be eradicated through a comprehensive wildlife trade ban.

So why hunt animals if you can create herbal medicines?

Well, here's the answer: traditional Asian medicine has an estimated value of $ 60 billion a year [1], and it is believed to account for almost 30 percent [2] of China's pharmaceutical revenue.

Exotic pets

Every year millions of wild animals are taken from their natural habitats and raised in cruel conditions in captivity to be traded as pets around the world. Snakes, parrots, iguanas, lizards, turtles, and even ottersare just a few of the wild species that suffer as pets around the world. It is estimated that there are currently 17.6 million of exotic pets only in the United States [3].

An interesting fact is that it has been found that most wild animals destined for the exotic pet trade do not reach their destination because they suffocate and die on the way, before reaching the markets or stores.

A report by World Animal Protection revealed the suffering of African gray parrots poaching. Some estimates indicate that 66% die before even starting international transit. [4]

Wild animals in the tourism industry

The growth of world tourism has fueled the trade of tens of thousands of wild animals for use in entertainment activities in which they are beaten, chained, mistreated and forced to develop behaviors unnatural for them. In Thailand for example, approximately 11 million people [5] they pay each year to watch the elephants perform tricks and, at least once in the last four years, 46 million people [6] they paid to see dolphins in one place.

It is also possible to find shows with monkeys and tigers, or to take walks with elephants, all of them extracted from their territories and forced to live with chains until they are no longer functional to the industry when they reach an older age.

There is a false belief that spending time swimming with a dolphin or taking a walk with an elephant is something that animals enjoy doing, just like we do. But there is nothing that you gave more than that human belief, because what many do not know is the true story behind those shows or walks.

The reality is that animals trapped in this cruel industry were often legally traded or bred in captivity, spending many hours a day in close proximity to humans (increasing the possibility of spreading zoonoses), forced to develop behaviors that nothing they have to do with its nature.

The answer to why these injustices happen is clear: the prices of elephants used for walks have skyrocketed To over $ 50,000 [7], and a single dolphin can generate between $ 400,000 and two million per year [8] for entertainment venues like SeaWorld.

Fashion accessories

Tiger rugs, necklaces with elephant teeth, crocodile or snake skin wallets, are some of the various products that are sold at the cost of the unjustified killing of animals.

Once again, humans choose to destroy nature for their own pleasure and economic benefit, when today more than ever, various known mechanisms to create sustainable and environmentally friendly accessories, without the need for any living being to lose their life or suffer it.

Join us to ask governments to take care of the lives of animals and ours

Steve McIvor, CEO of World Animal Protection says:

“Cruel multi-million dollar businesses have been exploiting wildlife on a global industrial scale and now we are all seeing the true cost of this situation. This pandemic is not just about wild animals sold for food. It is much bigger than that; it's about greed and the commodification of wild animals across the board.

If we learn anything from this situation, it is that we must leave wild animals where they belong: in nature.. If we do not buy exotic pets or traditional medicines that contain wild animal products and do not visit places with animals used in shows, we will be sending a clear message that the cruelty inflicted on wildlife can no longer be tolerated: by animals, by our health and for the planet.

“Some measures are being taken at the national level, but coordinated global action is necessary. We urgently need to persuade the G20 to take action to implement a global wildlife ban to protect us from future pandemics. "

COVID-19 is one of the worst animal-based pandemics we have faced in a century. However, it will not be the last unless trade in wild animals is urgently banned globally.

World Animal Protection has a strong track record of supporting local communities to dispense with income from cruelty to wildlife. It is urgent that we come together now to implement a comprehensive wildlife trade ban to eliminate future pandemic threats to our health and our economies.

Join us and call on world leaders to end the global wildlife trade.

Sign the petition here!



[3] Unpublished survey data, conducted by World Animal Protection and NorthStar Research Productions in the United States.


[5] Survey applied in Thailand, in 2018, to 2,500 tourists from 16 countries. ABN IMPACT conducted the survey commissioned by World Animal Protection.

[6] 2018 survey applied to 2,794 tourists who visited countries with important dolphin attractions in the last 4 years. FLOOD conducted the survey on behalf of World Animal Protection.

[7] World Animal Protection: Taken for a Ride - 2017 report

[8] World Animal Protection: Behind the Smile report

Source: World Animal Protection

Video: The XR Talk: Climate Crisis + Social Science for change. Extinction Rebellion Global (December 2021).