Legal wildlife trade, the commerce of products from non-domesticated (wild) animals, or
as the Center for Disease Control called it, “disease transmission mechanisms that not
only cause human disease outbreaks but also threaten livestock, international trade,
rural livelihoods, native wildlife populations, and the health of ecosystems.”
Legal wildlife trade is still destructive and unsustainable, even if it is allowed under law.
Trade of wild species is the direct cause for transmission of disease. As seen under the
CDC’s laws and regulations, only bats, rodents, and non-human primates are closely
inspected, leaving room for the passage of pandemic-worthy animals to be traded
around the world.
People are taking action all around the World, and the CDC needs to enforce the
demands of the people and the Earth. The WHO says nations should end wildlife trade;
David Nabarro, on behalf of the World Health Organization says, “This is dangerous.
We have similar concerns about bushmeat. Really, be very, very careful when you’re
basically eating wild animal meat or killing wild animals. All these things are higher risk”
The European Union and Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora has regulations set in place to
constantly protect species and is working with CITIES (Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) to work with EU Member States
on these issues. Some regulations range from stricter domestic measures to protection
programs of native species. In terms of actual protection and action against wildlife
trade, the CDC has yet to show as much care as they should about these issues.
The CDC themselves says themselves that wildlife including masked palm civets, ferret
badgers, barking deer, wild boars, hedgehogs, foxes, squirrels, bamboo rats, gerbils,
various species of snakes, and endangered leopard cats, along with domestic dogs,
cats, and rabbits have all been on the frontlines of wildlife trade in legal markets, yet
their only biggest regulations on Animal Importation into the United States are for
African Rodents and Civets.
The United States is one of the world’s largest importers responsible for the trade of live
wild animals; reports saying there were over 1 billion individual animals imported during
2000-2004 alone. By taking a progressive approach, we can move forward and continue
to restrict wildlife trade that poses a threat to life on this planet. We often see illegal
wildlife trade as the only threat, yet we are still allowing millions of animals to come into
our borders without regulation. The CDC is said to be acting on zoonotic transmission of
disease, all without working towards regulations against what caused the problem in the
first place. When water is overflowing, we do not just grab a mop- we turn off the faucet.
The CDC must enforce stricter regulations and take action against wildlife trade, our
future depends on it.