South Africa's Proposed "Breed to Slaughter" Rule Could Be Disastrous

In late February, the South African government proposed to add 90 species to the existing list of animals deemed acceptable to regulate under the Meat Safety Act. Prior to the change, the act allowed the commercial slaughter of 30 different species of wildlife for consumption. The list includes giraffe, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, and “all other species of animals not mentioned above, including birds, fish and reptiles that may be slaughtered as food for human and animal consumption”.

Part of the reason the act is being amended is to regulate the slaughter of captive bred lions, whose bones are often exported to Asian markets. 

"The purpose of the Meat Safety Act is to provide measures to promote meat safety and the safety of animal products for human and animal consumption. The effect of the proposed amendment is to make the whole act applicable to any animal to be slaughtered," QuartzAfrica states.

If this act is passed, then it might accidentally open up the possibility of mass consumption of wildlife, which will then lead to issues of conservation. Some of these species are already on the edge of endangerment, so this act seems counterproductive. The demand for bushmeat through legitimizing the consumption of wildlife will undo lots or progress to protect these animals.

Not to mention the cause for concern of COVID-19. The virus initially spread from a bat to a human when it was consumed, and many countries are cracking down on the consumption of wild animals. Limiting which animals are consumed, aside from the basics like chicken and livestock, will greatly decrease the risk of COVID-19. 

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