Carrie Symonds backs petition calling for worldwide ban on ‘wet markets’

Boris Johnson’s pregnant fiancee tweeted that she had signed the End the Trade petition and urged others to add their names. Ms Symonds said the coronavirus crisis was "a chance to start doing things better".

The animal rights campaigner said: “Have signed this petition calling for an end to the global wildlife trade once and for all. Please do consider doing the same.

“This crisis gives us the chance to start doing things better. Let this be one of those things.”

The coronavirus outbreak is widely thought to have started at a “wet market”, where live and dead animals are sold for eating, in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

It is believed to have made the jump from animals - possibly bats - to humans.

The petition, which has already been signed more than 28,000 times, calls for governments around the world to permanently end the trade in wild animals for consumption.

It says: "Together we are urging the world's governments to recognise that this is among the most important decisions that the global community can make to prevent future pandemics and global disruption.

"The emergence of novel pathogens from wild animals leading to another such pandemic must be prevented through the cessation of the commercial trade of terrestrial wild animals and closure of markets for consumption."

READ MORE: Illegal wildlife trade worth £16bn booms as smugglers move online

The petition comes after more than 200 wildlife groups signed an open letter earlier this month calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to recommend wildlife markets are shut down to prevent future pandemics.

Previous global epidemics including severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Ebola have also been linked to viruses that spread from animals to people.

The letter was co-ordinated by wildlife charity Born Free and its Lion Coalition partners, and backed by organisations including the Bat Conservation Trust, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Dr Mark Jones, head of policy at Born Free, said: "We need to dig deep and reset our fundamental relationship with the natural world, rethink our place in it and treat our planet and all its inhabitants with a great deal more respect, for its sake and for ours.

"Once COVID-19 is hopefully behind us, returning to business as usual cannot be an option."

There have been 2.46 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide and 169,863 people have died.

In the UK, 124,743 people have tested positive for the virus and the death toll is 16,509.

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