If we are to reduce the likelihood of future pandemics like COVID19, the U.S. government has a critical role to play. WCS' Chris Walzer and John Cavelli write for Scientific American on the importance of coordinated federal action and a One Health approach to reduce the threat of future pathogen spillover, in particular from the high risk trade in live and fresh wildlife for human consumption:
We Need Federal Action to Prevent the Next Pandemic
WCS wholly supports the recently introduced Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2020 which would take important steps to prevent future pandemics of zoonotic origin. This act prohibits the import into, export from, or sale within the United States of live wildlife for human consumption. It would call upon the State Department to work internationally to secure similar market closures by other countries, and encourage international agencies to close commercial wildlife markets. Exceptions would be made for Indigenous Peoples in remote communities who are dependent on wildlife consumption for food security or cultural identities. The Act would also call on the U.S. Agency for International Development to support communities that rely on wildlife as a food source to develop safer and sustainable alternative animal and plant sourced foods.
You can add your support and tell your legislators here: Protect Wildlife, Protect Us
“Ending the commercial international trade in live and fresh terrestrial wildlife and commercial wildlife markets for human consumption is not only good for conservation—it is critical for the health, safety, and economic future of our planet. If we protect wildlife, we protect ourselves.”
Photo copyright: WCS