The Chinese province of Hunan has moved to ban the trade and consumption of some exotic animals, according to NBC News.
Hunan province, which borders Wuhan, issued a statement Friday proposing legislation that would end the breeding and sale of wild animals, NBC News reported. Coronavirus is believed to have originated in Wuhan.
Among the animals on the list are porcupine, king cobra and barking deer.
The Hunan government has also reportedly proposed a program to compensate farmers who breed exotic animals to alleviate financial concerns that could incentivize them to sell their stock on the market.
The compensation scheme would aim to persuade breeders to rear other livestock or produce tea and herbal medicines. Authorities would evaluate farms and inventories and offer one-time payments for animals like the Civet cat, according to Daily Sabah. The Civet cat was believed to have carried SARS to humans in 2003.
Considered a delicacy in some parts of China, a Civet cat could go for 600 yuan, or $84.
The crackdown on exotic animal consumption and trade comes after international outcry from world leaders and animal rights activists, who have called on China to ban the practice due to health and safety reasons.
Scientists believe the novel coronavirus that has become a pandemic originated in bats and passed through another mammal — likely a pangolin, one of the most trafficked animals in the world — and then infected humans.
Epidemiologists have long recognized that the unsanitary conditions of many of the markets where exotic animals are sold create prime conditions for viruses to transmit from animals to humans. (RELATED: Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Calls On WHO To Take ‘Aggressive Action’ Against Wet Markets)