China offers money to farmers who stop breeding exotic animals
The Chinese government has offered remuneration to farmers for quitting the husbandry of exotic animals such as porcupines and rattlesnakes, a trade which has been linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Farmers are being encouraged to raise other livestock or perhaps enter the business of herbal medicine.
Farmers in Hunan province are being offered £9 per kilogram of bamboo rat and £14 per kilogram of cobra. The civet cat, the supposed origin of the Sars epidemic, is being valued at £70. A similar programme has been launched in Jiangxi province where the exotic animal trade has flourished in recent years.
China has come under international pressure to suppress the wildlife trade at wet markets. The coronavirus is generally considered to have been transmitted from a bat to a human before infecting 4.8 million worldwide.
The sale and purchase of exotic animals for human consumption was outlawed in China in late February in order to combat the transmission of diseases from animals to humans. The above developments may help to uphold this ban. Yet it is still feared that exotic animals may continue to be bought and sold for such purposes as fur and medicinal uses.