Small mammals (squirrels) are sold as pets at a market in Thailand. (Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals photo)

Small mammals (squirrels) are sold as pets at a market in Thailand. (Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals photo)

BC SPCA speaks out against the global wildlife trade

BC SPCA; Trade must be stopped in order to address the spread of zoonotic diseases

The BC SPCA is speaking out as part of a Canadian coalition, led by World Animal Protection, concerned about the global trading of wildlife.

The coalition says the trade must be stopped in order to address the spread of zoonotic diseases (disease transmitted from animals to humans), to help prevent future pandemics and to protect millions of wild animals worldwide from suffering.

The science is clear that zoonotic diseases from wildlife are a serious threat and account for at least 70 per cent of all new diseases.

Live wildlife markets have played a significant role in the current pandemic as well as the previous SARS epidemic, and are responsible for the poor treatment and exploitation of wild animals.

Live animal markets, in which many animals come into close proximity with each other and with people, provide the ideal conditions for a virus in one species to be transferred to another, including humans.

The crowded, unsanitary and stressful conditions for animals in live markets is unnatural and promotes the emergence and spread of infectious diseases.

Millions of wild animals are captured, bred and traded each year around the world for food, traditional medicine and as pets.

At every stage of the trade, zoonotic disease transfer is a risk not only to surrounding communities but also globally.

In July 2020, the BC SPCA joined a coalition of Canadian and international organizations, academics, conservationists and zoonotic disease experts to take action nationally.

We are calling on the Canadian government to bring this issue to the G20 Leader’s Summit in November 2020 and urge other countries to support the closure of live wildlife markets as well as end the international trade of wild animals and their products.

The coalition is also asking the Canadian government to address Canada’s contribution to the issue by curbing the import and domestic trade of wild animals and products.

The BC SPCA is urging Canadians to the following actions to curb the impact of the global wildlife trade to help prevent future pandemics and reduce animal suffering:

1. Learn more about the wildlife trade from World Animal Protection (worldanimalprotection.ca/take-action).

2. Sign the World Animal Protection petition to curb the wildlife trade (worldanimalprotection.ca/take-action).

3. Write to your Member of Parliament to voice your support for this coalition call to action. For details, visit spca.bc.ca/news/curbing-the-wildlife-trade.

Dr. Andrea Wallace, manager of wild animal welfare for the BC SPCA.

Letter to the Editor