Speed Reading — Wildlife Trade - Level 3 — 100 wpm

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Conservation experts are saying that the trade in wildlife could be greatly cut after the coronavirus pandemic has finished. They say that the virus probably started at a market selling wild animals in China. The virus came from either a bat or an animal called a pangolin. It then crossed over to infect humans. The conservation group Humane Society International said: "The consumption of wild animals which can carry diseases that can cross the species barrier poses a real threat to human health." The Wildlife Conservation Society called for a ban of animal markets that trade in wildlife. It said: "Not only will this help to prevent the spread of disease, it will address one of the major drivers of species extinction."

A spokesman from the Zoological Society of London said animal markets could be "time bombs". He said the markets can provide perfect conditions for new viruses to start and grow. He added that if we treated animals like goods to buy and sell, we would be in trouble again in the future. Scientists say many new outbreaks of viruses start in animals. About 75 per cent of new infectious diseases come from animals. Recent examples include SARS, MERS and Ebola. Infections from animals cause millions of illnesses and deaths worldwide every year. An expert said the world must act soon, because, "realistically, it's just a matter of time before the next zoonotic disease risk emerges".

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