Media Release 23 April 2020
- Australia has called on international experts to scrutinise wildlife wet markets.
- Concerns for biosecurity and health risks from Australia at G20 Agriculture Ministers virtual meeting.
- Need for governments to acknowledge the risks and take action to protect human health and agricultural industries.
At the virtual G20 meeting of Agricultural Ministers, Australia has called for international experts to scrutinise wildlife wet markets.
These markets are a source of biosecurity and human health risks and they need to be scientifically investigated so the world can have some confidence in their integrity.
Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, said we need to acknowledge the risks were for both human and animal health.
“We must learn from COVID-19 on how we better manage and mitigate both human and animal biosecurity risks and to ignore wildlife wet markets in that assessment would be wrong,” Minister Littleproud said.
“There are risks with wildlife wet markets and they could be as big a risk to our agricultural industries as they can be to public health so we have to understand them better.
“The G20 of Agriculture Ministers have a responsibility to lead the way and draw on global experts and engage international organisations to rationally and methodically look at the many significant risks of wildlife wet markets.
“Our people should have confidence that the food they eat is safe. We owe it to our domestic population and our international markets.”
Australia also pressed G20 counties to accelerate trade negotiations, not just on tariffs but technical trade barriers that were an impediment to food supply chains.
Minister Littleproud said while there wasn’t a shortage of food globally, international supply chains are being further stressed by technical trade barriers that was hindering the supply efforts.