Wildlife Trade Is ‘Key Risk Factor’ Behind Global Spread Of Disease, Study Finds.

Wildlife Trade Increases The Risk Of Next Global Pandemic, Study Finds

The wildlife trade could cause future disease outbreaks Credit: Adobe.

WAV Comment – we see and hear a lot about the causes; the real problem is that nobody has got the balls to take the case in hand and do something positive about it. Roll on more studies, inactive world governments; lots more deaths and ……………… ignorance of the causes !

Wildlife Trade Is ‘Key Risk Factor’ Behind Global Spread Of Disease, Study Finds

New research found that the wildlife trade is increasing the risk of another global pandemic

A new study looked at the wildlife trade’s impact on the transmission of viruses. Researchers warned that the wildlife trade could increase the risk of zoonotic outbreaks, including those with global ‘pandemic potential’.

A zoonosis is an infectious disease transmitted between animals and humans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some diseases can begin as a zoonosis but develop into human-only strains – one example is HIV.

The analysis, which was led by The Nature Conservancy, was published in the journal Current Biology. The Nature Conservancy teamed up with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) in India to conduct the study.

Researchers studied 226 viruses known to cause zoonotic diseases across more than 800 mammal species. They categorized the animals into three groups: traded mammals, non-traded mammals, and domesticated mammals.Researchers found that one-quarter of mammal species in the wildlife trade host 75 percent of the known zoonotic viruses. Compared to domesticated and non-traded species, commonly traded mammals had a ‘much higher’ risk of transmission.

Preventing the next pandemic

Lead author Dr Shivaprakash Nagaraju is a Senior Scientist for The Nature Conservancy in India. He said: “From our findings, it is conceivable that wildlife trade (legal and illegal) is the key risk factor driving the global spread of zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases.”

The international wildlife trade leads to more than one billion direct and indirect interactions between wildlife, domesticated animals, and humans, he added.

Dr Nagaraju said he hopes the research will guide global health experts on where to ‘concentrate their efforts to prevent the next global pandemic’.

Dr Joe Kiesecker is the co-author of the study and a Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy. He said: “If we want to stop the next pandemic before it starts, our findings indicate that we should, among other measures, focus our efforts on keeping rodents, bats, primates, ungulates, and carnivores out of wildlife trade.”

Other pandemic concerns

Humans interfering with animals has sparked concerns about disease outbreak before.

A January poll found that roughly 85 percent of Brits support an ‘urgent’ ban on factoring farming, due to concerns about COVID-19. The following month, reports found that the H5N8 strain of bird flu had infected humans for the first time.

And in June, 67 infectious disease experts wrote a letter urging for the end of fur farming.

“The intensive breeding conditions typical on fur farms – animals unnaturally crowded together, poor hygiene, stress, injuries and low genetic diversity – are ideal for the creation and spread of novel pathogens,” the letter reads.

“To risk jeopardising our ability to control and end this or future global coronavirus pandemics, for the sake of fur fashion production, would seem imprudent. 

“We therefore support the call by [Humane Society International] for a permanent global end to the breeding, keeping and killing of animals for the purposes of fur production, and the sale of fur.”

Wildlife Trade Is ‘Key Risk Factor’ Behind Global Spread Of Disease, Study Finds | Plant Based News

Boris Johnson Urged ‘To Lead World Leaders’ Towards Global Fur Farming Ban To Avoid Future Pandemics

67 infectious disease experts have written to the UK Prime Minister – highlighting how fur farms are ideal for the creation and spread of novel pathogens

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being urged to lead world leaders towards a global ban on fur farming. 

67 infectious disease experts have written to the politician ahead of the G7 summit.

The event brings together the heads of governments from a slew of wealthy democracies such as Canada and the US. It will be hosted in Cornwall, England, at the end of this week. 

Global fur farming ban

The letter comes from virologists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, veterinarians, and animal behaviorists from 16 countries. Moreover, it is coordinated by animal protection NGO Humane Society International (HSI).

“It’s clear fur farms have the potential to act as reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2…” reads the letter.

“The intensive breeding conditions typical on fur farms – animals unnaturally crowded together, poor hygiene, stress, injuries and low genetic diversity – are ideal for the creation and spread of novel pathogens. 

“Severe animal welfare deficiencies are inherent to factory fur farming. The trade creates the potential for the many tens of millions of animals on fur farms to act as immediate, intermediate, or amplifier hosts for viral pathogens. 

“To risk jeopardising our ability to control and end this or future global coronavirus pandemics, for the sake of fur fashion production, would seem imprudent. “We therefore support the call by HSI for a permanent global end to the breeding, keeping and killing of animals for the purposes of fur production, and the sale of fur.”

COVID-19 outbreaks

The letter follows more than 400 outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 on mink farms across Europe, the USA, and Canada. 

Some governments, such as the Netherlands and Hungary, have taken decisive action to stop mink fur farming in their jurisdictions.

Moreover, 14 countries globally have banned fur farming completely. However, species susceptible to COVID-19 are still being reared for their fur across the world.

‘A stark warning to governments’

Claire Bass is the executive director of HSI UK. In a statement sent to PBN, she said: “Virologists, veterinarians and disease experts from around the world have provided a stark warning to governments about the public health risks of exploiting wild animals in unsanitary, overcrowded and inhumane fur factory farms, simply for the sake of frivolous fashion. 

“Not only is fur farming inherently cruel to animals. But, the potential for zoonotic disease spread, and for mink fur farms, in particular, to act as reservoirs for coronaviruses is another compelling reason for governments to shut down the fur industry for good.

“We can no longer ignore that fur farms make for a perfect petri dish for pandemics. 

Bass then concluded: “As the first country in the world to ban fur farming two decades ago… The UK is in a unique position to urge world leaders to take decisive action with a global ban.”

Read the full letter here

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