The coronavirus pandemic has been absolutely devastating. Its infected over four million people and killed over 304,000 persons around the world. Even those who have not gotten sick are infected in different ways: we all have to try to practice social distancing and millions have lost their jobs. Life as we know it has changed, and it’s all because of a zoonotic disease that is the result of humans’ mistreatment of animals.
COVID-19 is not the first deadly infectious disease to be transmitted to humans via animals. There was also “ebola, the Zika virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), avian flu, and swine flu.” All these deadly diseases have one thing in common: they are zoonotic, which means they originated in animals. In fact, 75 percent of new infectious diseases come from wild and domesticated animals.
One thing is clear and that’s that the way humans are treating animals needs to end. Unfortunately, there are still many human activities putting us at risk of more pandemic such as the smuggling of illegal bushmeat, wildlife and wet markets, and even worse the illegal wildlife trade.
That’s why the Humane Society organizations have released a report that outlines an 11-point plan aiming to end animal suffering and prevent more diseases like COVID-19. There is a full report, but here are the 11 main points:
- Wildlife markets have been the origin of multiple disease outbreaks. Shut them down permanently around the world.
- To protect people from zoonoses, end the trade of live wild animals.
- Ban close encounters with wild animals and their use in traveling shows to limit the potential of disease transmission.
- End fur farming and the fur trade.
- Intensive confinement of farm animals provides a harbor for pathogens. Move to better systems.
- The global food industry should shift its focus to plant-based proteins.
- Fund alternatives to animal testing to speed up treatment and vaccines.
- End the sale of dogs from puppy mills, a frequent disease vector.
- End the dog and cat meat trade.
- Effectively manage street dog populations, the main vector of rabies transmission to humans.
- Pass and enforce stronger laws on cockfighting.
The full report contains more information about what organizations can do to take these steps as well as evidence that supports the points and why they’re important.
If you’d like to take immediate action now, sign this petition calling for a ban on all wildlife markets in light of coronavirus.
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