Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Law Library of Congress Report on Regulation of Wild Animal Wet Markets

 The Law Library of Congress has published a comparative law report on the Regulation of the Sale of Wild Animals and Their Meat in Markets:

This report, prepared by staff at the Law Library of Congress, examines the regulation of 'wet markets' at which wild animals, or the meat of such animals, can be purchased for human consumption. It covers 28 jurisdictions around the world, with a particular focus on sanitary requirements for such markets and the legality or otherwise of trading in wild animals or wild meat (also referred to as 'bushmeat'). The term 'wet market' can be taken to generally refer to 'a partially open commercial complex with vending stalls organized in rows; they often have slippery floors and narrow aisles along which independent vendors primarily sell wet items such as meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and fruits.' Such markets may or may not sell live animals and do not necessarily include wildlife or the meat or other products derived from wild animals.

Wet markets and other types of local or traditional food markets exist in countries around the world and are an important source of food as well as supporting the livelihoods of many people. However, they have also been identified as potential or likely sources of outbreaks of zoonoses (diseases or infections that are transmissible from animals to humans), including most recently in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recently published study on the effect of a wet market on COVID-19 transmission dynamics in China explained that
[e]vidence suggests that the novel coronavirus likely jumped from a primary reservoir (e.g. horseshoe bats) to an intermediary reservoir, possibly generating an outbreak among wild animals in at least one wet market in Wuhan, China (By Jon CohenJan, 2020, Li et al., 2020). The virus first infected multiple individuals working at, or visiting, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market at an early stage, initiating multiple chains of transmission that ensured sustained transmission in the human population (Yang et al., 2020). While details of the origin of the outbreak remain uncertain, significant evidence strongly links the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan with the early spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among humans (Li et al., 2020).
In April 2020, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a media briefing on COVID-19 that the WHO is working with United Nations bodies to develop new guidance on the safe operation of wet markets. He stated that the 'WHO’s position is that when these markets are allowed to reopen it should only be on the condition that they conform to stringent food safety and hygiene standards.' The director general also emphasized that governments must 'vigorously enforce bans on the sale and trade of wildlife for food'."

The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2 and a half million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

Over the years, it has published dozens of comparative law reports which are a treasure trove for legal research on a huge variety of issues.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:04 pm


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