We have to end the wildlife trade for good – reducing it doesn’t go far enough

The UN biodiversity chief has urged coutries to ban wildlife markets if the timing is right to avoid future pandemics: AP

The Independent is to be thanked and highly commended for campaigning to ban the so-called wet markets in China and the rest of the world. Many animal welfare campaigners have been trying for years to highlight the scandal of these hellholes, but it has taken a human pandemic to see almost universal condemnation materialise.

The suffering of the animals at these markets is indescribable. No claim of “tradition” can be used to justify such cruelty, or indifference to the pain and misery inflicted. I would therefore ask all campaigners speaking on this issue to please avoid calling for “stricter controls” or “fewer animals” there must be a complete eradication of the trade.

Similarly, the trade in animal parts that is denuding the world of its elephants, rhino, tigers, pangolins and others must be stamped out by the governments of countries involved. Rigorous removal of the market for these animals and their parts will put a stop to the poaching that is rife at present. It might just be in time to stop the extinction of such wonderful animals, and end the horrendous suffering of the creatures targeted.

The health of the planet, and all its inhabitants, would improve massively as a result.

Penny Little
Oxfordshire

How many items of PPE?

The health secretary tells us that 761 million items of PPE have already been distributed to front line health workers... impressive.

Does a box of disposal gloves count as 1 or 100?

Makes quite a difference.

John Whittle
Cumbria

Some healthcare worker advice

I say now to all healthcare workers, if you do not have the correct PPE, you should not treat your patients. When we cheer you, we are not cheering soldiers to the Somme. When we clap, we are not applauding lambs fattened for sacrifice. Morally, ethically and legally you have a primary duty of care to yourself; it is the duty of the government to provide PPE. The word “heroism” has been bandied around a lot of late, but it is something which needs to be shared by all, not just our NHS staff.

Daniel Emlyn-Jones
Oxford

Catastrophic leadership

“There have been failings in the provision of adequate resources for those people who are working hard to protect all of us from the viral pandemic. We are profoundly sorry that this has led to the deaths of our health professionals and the pain this is causing their families, friends and colleagues. Although this does not help them, I hope they – and the rest of NHS workers and the public in general – can derive some comfort from knowing that we are determined to learn from any shortcomings and take action immediately to make sure that we do not put people at further risk in the future. May I reiterate my heartfelt apology and thanks to all who have suffered on our behalf.”

Or words to that effect. We teach our children to take personal responsibility for their actions or inactions, own up to their mistakes, learn from them and try to put other people first. We do this through our belief that such behaviours underpin a civilised, moral and empathetic society. For the home secretary to say she is “sorry if people feel” is to signal that she is incapable of doing those things we expect of our children. These weasel words suggest that she is ducking responsibility and is prepared to blame others. As distressing as this is, it is the lack of a truly empathetic response that I find the most upsetting.

The level of leadership we were getting before the pandemic crisis was questionable. In the last four weeks, it has been shown to be catastrophically threadbare.

Graham Powell
Cirencester

We need to recognise that Matt Hancock, Priti Patel et al, do not seem to have been appointed to the cabinet for any other reason than their sycophancy to Boris Johnson, and their proven dedication to follow him blindly in whatever direction he takes.

Ian Wingfield
Hope Valley

The government is doing its best

I do not feel it is constructive to the nation or appropriate that you criticise, and encourage others to criticise too, our government who are doing their best for us in these unprecedented times. Everyone is entitled to their point of view. Of course, mine is that every day we listen to the coronavirus update and then read articles by the press that I believe twist and change the facts that we heard.

Paula Pierrepont
Address supplied

Read more

The UK government’s four stages of fighting coronavirus explained

What is the difference between Covid-19 and the common cold and flu?

Can face masks really protect you against coronavirus or flu?