I have spent 23 years fighting “animal rights” extremists who want to radically restrict what we are allowed to eat. As a Christian, I take the Bible’s enforcement of Christian liberty in Acts 10:9-16 and 1 Timothy 4:1-5 very seriously. Because of this, I immediately and reflexively resisted all calls to restrict and/or ban so-called “wet markets” in China where wild animals (including bats, wild cats and Pangolins, which look like armadillos) are sold and eaten.
However, is there a role for government to prohibit eating certain animals, if consuming those animals is proven to be tied to viral or bacterial outbreaks that threaten human life? The old libertarian saying is that you can swing your fist until you touch my nose, but if your dietary practices are causing a global pandemic and potentially hundreds of thousands of deaths, then you do not have the right to eat whatever you please. Even as a philosophical libertarian, I see a role for the state to ban consuming certain wildlife in order to protect public health.
I do not think such bans are contrary to the passages in the Bible giving us liberty in what we eat. The civil magistrate is given authority in Romans 13 to protect human life, especially since humans are made in the image of God. Plus, the the Sixth Commandment precludes the “liberty” o unleash a global pandemic by consuming wild animals and causing hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths.
(Of course, as has been well-documented, even with the “wet markets” spreading the disease to humans, the reason we have a global pandemic is the demonic genocidal Communist government of China lied about the disease, suppressed information about the disease, and silenced people warning about the disease.)
One thing that we should expect is for China to crack down on the “wet markets” and ensure sanitary conditions. The global economy cannot continue to endure worldwide pandemics because the Communist government refuses to step in and protect public health from pandemics brought about by humans consuming bats, civet cats and Pangolins.
If China refuses to do this, the federal government needs to take radical action against China, including banning American corporations from operating factories there. If China could not produce the iPhone or clothing, that would be a powerful economic incentive to protect public health even in the face of a superstitious backlash.