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How Ending Wildlife Trade Can Prevent Pandemics

Over the past 40 years, the most devastating pandemics have all come from animal origin but nobody seems to talk about reforming wildlife trade….until now.

Toby Prin via Pixabay

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council released an action plan detailing steps to end wildlife trade in the US. The plan includes four categories of actions that they believe should be implemented by Congress and federal agencies.

  • Lead a global crackdown on wildlife trade;
  • Strengthen U.S. conservation laws to fight wildlife trade;
  • Invest $10 billion in U.S. and global capacity to stop wildlife trade, while helping communities transition to alternative livelihoods; and
  • Resume the U.S. position as a global leader in international wildlife conservation.

A Global Problem

According to WAN, worldwide there are 224 Million live animals traded each year. The United States is a major contributor to this and can even be a hotspot for illegal animal trade. When ending wildlife trade is made a priority in the US, many other countries will follow suit.

Conservation organizations have always opposed wildlife trade because it is a major threat to biodiversity, but now its also a health threat.

Approximately one-quarter of human deaths worldwide are caused by infectious diseases. Of those, 60% are considered zoonotic — meaning they jump from other animals to people — and more than 70% originate with wildlife.

End Wildlife Trade Action Plan
Long-tailed pangolin (M. tetradactyla) by Brett Hartl / Center for Biological Diversity.

Hope For The Future

As a global community, we can prevent future pandemics such as HIV, SARS, and COVID-19, but we have to act. Ending wildlife trade could be the best way to keep the public and our wildlife safe. Take action by contacting Congress to express your support for the action plan! The Center for Biological Diversity provides an online tool to help you contact Congress.

Click here to learn how robotic sea-life can end animal captivity in aquariums.

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