Citywide ban on live poultry trade extended

Wang Yong
Shanghai is to extend its prohibition of the live poultry trade beyond the end of next month.
Wang Yong

Shanghai will extend its temporary ban on the trade of live poultry beyond the end of next month, local authorities announced yesterday. Trade was stopped on January 25.

In yesterday’s announcement, the city's commission of commerce made it clear that the ban will continue after May 1, with any resumption pending until future notice.

In more detail, trade is suspended at the city’s designated wholesale and retail markets. Live poultry from outside Shanghai cannot be sold in the city, but must be sent to a slaughterhouse first.

At the same time, the commission said there should be a sufficient supply of frozen poultry to meet the regular need and suggested citizens buy freshly frozen products.

In announcing the extended ban, the commission did not specifically link it to the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, but it was a move well taken. We can never be too cautious. China has passed the first peak of the epidemic, but continued vigilance is key to ultimate success.

As Princeton University professor of bioethics Peter Singer pointed out earlier this month, keeping different animals in prolonged proximity with one another and with people creates an unhealthy environment that probably leads to the mutation of viruses, as they switch from non-human host to non-human host.

Although the novel coronavirus has been linked to wild animals, it remains to be seen what the intermediate non-human host is. By minimizing the risk of viral mutation and contagion, we will leave nothing to chance.

So, please dial the following phone numbers to report any case you may find that violates the extended ban: 12315, 12331, 12319 and 12316. The city’s market watchdogs will answer.

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