World Animal Protection has expressed dismay that the wildlife trade was not discussed at the recent G20 Leaders’ Summit, despite the G20 Agriculture Ministers recently calling for measures to prevent zoonotic diseases, including addressing the risks of the wildlife trade.

A ban on the commercial wildlife trade is needed to prevent future pandemics, given wild animals are the likely source of Covid-19 and most emerging infectious zoonotic diseases.

The Leaders’ Declaration did acknowledge the importance of “safeguarding our planet and building a more environmentally sustainable and inclusive future for all people”, and encourages more sustainable practices in tourism, which “safeguard the planet”. But it is vital that a global wildlife trade ban is addressed by the G20 in its meetings next year to avoid future pandemics.

World Animal Protection is calling on the Australian Government to build on the good work it did this year by advocating for steps towards a ban on the wildlife trade amongst fellow G20 leaders in 2021.

Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, Ben Pearson said that, “while we acknowledge the good work that the Australian Government did this year in G20 meetings to prevent further zoonotic diseases, we are disappointed to see that the issue of wildlife trade was not raised by any party – including Australia. We urge the Government to work towards commitments on a wildlife trade ban in the lead up to and during next year’s G20 Summit in Italy.”

Ahead of the Leaders’ Summit, World Animal Protection called on the G20 to make a collective commitment to end the inter-country trade in wild animals and wild animal products, and to ask for global institutions and bodies to put in place mechanisms to develop, facilitate and implement this ban.

World Animal Protection launched their #EndWildlifeTrade campaign, which saw petition signatures from over 1 million people around the world – including nearly 39,000 in Australia – as well as support from world-leading wildlife experts including Dame Jane Goodall.