KAMPALA — Animal Rights activists have called upon world leaders to immediately end the global wildlife trade so as to safeguard the population from further future pandemics.
Speaking during the World Animal Protection Africa organised Webinar on Wednesday, the Wildlife Campaign Manager M/s Edith Kabesiime said the cruel trade has caused untold suffering to millions of animals every year and also put lives of people at the risk of pandemics like COVID-19
Kabesiime noted that the selling of wildlife is a widespread practice that has effects on global health. “This practice has led to the COVID-19 pandemic which has left scores of people jobless and struggling to survive. We have created a hotbed for ourselves,” said Kabesiime.
Speaking about the welfare of wildlife, Kabesiime observed that animals are at the center of cruelty due to the multibillion-dollar business that exploits them on an industrial scale.
“These animals are exploited to be eaten, sold, and used in medicine while they are kept as exotic pets used as photo crops,” she said in the one hour Webinar held between 11-12noon (EAT).
She said the way the animals are crammed into cages, and kept in poor health conditions and killed for their body parts is very cruel.
Kabesiime said the trade in exotic pets is a big business that is fueled by the increasing demand and huge profits.
“Animals are being stolen from their natural habitats or bred in inhumane conditions, like the African grey parrot and the captive Civets,” she said.
She said scientific research had indicated that Civets were the cause of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic that killed thousands in early 2000.
She called for the keeping of all animals in their natural habitats.
“Animals are sentimental beings capable of experiencing joy, sadness, and emotional bonds. Anyone who has been an elephant grieving over the loss of a herd member can agree with me,” she said.
She said global problems require a global solution. “When we leave animals in the wild, we create a world that is free of man-made animal suffering, and subsequently zoonotic threats are drastically reduced,” she said adding: ‘We can no longer afford to leave this chance. A Global Worldlife Trade Ban is the only way to end this cruelty and protection of animals.”