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Communication

Trading Tactics: Time to Rethink the Global Trade in Wildlife

World Animal Protection, 222 Gray’s Inn Rd., London WC1X 8HB, UK
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Animals 2020, 10(12), 2456; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122456
Received: 30 October 2020 / Revised: 15 December 2020 / Accepted: 17 December 2020 / Published: 21 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pets, People and Policies)
The Covid-19 outbreak has brought about fresh and intensified scrutiny of the wildlife trade, which substantively involves commerce in exotic pets. In response, there have been calls for trade bans involving key components of the global commercial wildlife trade, and some major policy decisions involving trade bans have ensued. Yet, these actions have been criticised, largely based on concerns that they risk exacerbating poverty, undermining human rights, damaging conservation incentives, and otherwise harming sustainable development and conservation efforts. Instead, many critics propose improved regulation of the status quo, with the intention of nurturing a legal, sustainable, safe, humane, and equitable wildlife trade. Here, we provide a countering view that draws attention to: (1) why the risks presented by the wildlife trade (to animal welfare, biodiversity, public health, and financial security) are manifold, and cannot be treated with complacency; (2) why the goal of a legal, sustainable, safe, humane, and equitable wildlife trade is misleading and unachievable; and (3) why moving towards an end to the commercial trade in wildlife should be our ultimate and more ambitious goal. We hope to stimulate further discussion on this issue both within the sustainability research and policy domains, identifying a path towards consensus on how best to protect wildlife, people, and planet.
The Covid-19 outbreak has brought about fresh and intensified scrutiny of the wildlife trade, which substantively involves commerce in exotic pets. In response, major policy decisions involving trade bans have ensued, with calls for similar such action to be applied across the trade chain. Yet, these measures have been criticised, largely based on concerns that they risk exacerbating poverty, undermining human rights, damaging conservation incentives, and otherwise harming sustainable development and conservation efforts. Instead, many critics propose improved regulation of the status quo, with the intention of nurturing a legal, sustainable, safe, humane, and equitable wildlife trade. Herein, we provide a countering view that outlines how the risks presented by the wildlife trade are becoming increasingly recognised as being both manifold and severe; and raise concerns that the goal of a well-regulated wildlife trade is becoming increasingly exposed as a mirage. We conclude that while pursuing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (with their focus on poverty alleviation, food security, public health, and conservation) is enduringly vital, a flourishing wildlife trade is not. Given that the exploitation of wildlife, including for the pet trade, has been identified as one of the dominant drivers of biodiversity loss, emergence of zoonotic infectious disease, animal suffering, and financial instability, perpetuating the concept of utilising a regulated wildlife trade as the default approach to protect people and planet is in urgent need of re-evaluation. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; conservation; COVID-19; pandemics; wildlife trade animal welfare; conservation; COVID-19; pandemics; wildlife trade
MDPI and ACS Style

D’Cruze, N.; Green, J.; Elwin, A.; Schmidt-Burbach, J. Trading Tactics: Time to Rethink the Global Trade in Wildlife. Animals 2020, 10, 2456. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122456

AMA Style

D’Cruze N, Green J, Elwin A, Schmidt-Burbach J. Trading Tactics: Time to Rethink the Global Trade in Wildlife. Animals. 2020; 10(12):2456. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122456

Chicago/Turabian Style

D’Cruze, Neil, Jennah Green, Angie Elwin, and Jan Schmidt-Burbach. 2020. "Trading Tactics: Time to Rethink the Global Trade in Wildlife" Animals 10, no. 12: 2456. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122456

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