Traditions and Beliefs versus Science
With regard to the current health crisis, we need to address the issue of wildlife smuggling. There is a clear link between wildlife smuggling and infectious diseases. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) recalled that on 24 February this year the Chinese government issued a piece of legislation entitled « Prohibiting the illegal trade of wild animal consumption, and protecting the health and safety of the population ». The term zoonotic is used to refer to a disease that can spread from animals to humans. Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases caused by a variety of pathogenic agents including bacteria, viruses and prions (Re.Science Direct). Outbreaks of human diseases of zoonotic origin in recent decades such as Ebola or SARS have raised public awareness about the impact of such infections. Eating wild animals such as civets, rats and snakes remains a part of traditional Chinese cuisine, especially in rural areas. Moreover, cultural beliefs around the curative powers of bear bile and pangolin scales which are employed in traditional Chinese medicine are still rooted in the general population. At the same time Zoonotic diseases appear to be on the rise worldwide. Science must be regarded as a common good.