The city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak has officially banned eating wild animals. A notice on the Wuhan municipal government’s website on Wednesday said that it is now prohibited to eat, hunt or breed wild animals, including terrestrial animals deemed as protected, as well as those that exist in the wild or are bred.
The new rules, to be in effect for five years, also bar the consumption of rare and endangered aquatic animals.
The new rules in Wuhan come days before the opening of China’s legislature this week as local governments signal they are on board with nationally announced policies. China’s wildlife industry – where animals are used for food and traditional Chinese medicine – has come under scrutiny after researchers said the virus may have come from the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan, where a small number of vendors sold wild animals.
In January, a temporary ban on the wildlife trade was put in place and in February, China’s top legislature promised to fast-track a permanent ban on the trade.