Governing Wildlife Practices in China's Post-Covid Food Systems

Project: PhD

Project Details


China is actively portraying itself as a global conservation leader, with the aspirational goal of building an "ecological civilization" –– a competing paradigm with sustainable development that emphasizes the harmonious co-existence of humans and nature. However, China’s wildlife food trade has long been under fire for its negative impacts on global biodiversity, despite its role in local poverty alleviation. COVID-19 has heightened worldwide concerns over increased human-wild animal interfaces and prompted China to enact substantial regulatory changes in breeding, domestication, and utilization of wild animals. Meanwhile, on the ground, these new regulations face significant resistance from farmers, traders, and consumers, as well as continuous scrutiny from environmental groups. China’s wildlife practices are experiencing unprecedented realignments, highlighting ongoing tensions between food, health, and the environment. By extending practice theories to an underexamined yet globally significant food sector, this study will use comparative case studies to showcase how the edible use of amphibians and reptiles are being reconfigured by authoritarian state controls, evolving market demands, and conservation politics. In doing so, it will advance our understanding of how changes in wildlife practices may shape sustainable transitions and how the worldwide phenomena of eating wild animals may evolve under the influence of China, a rising yet contested new leader in biodiversity conservation.
Effective start/end date1/03/22 → …


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