Take Action to Prevent Future Pandemics
Support a Pandemic Prevention Treaty
What: Support the World Health Organization, other UN bodies, and stakeholders in their efforts to secure a pandemic prevention treaty.
Why: To help prevent future pandemics and to reduce harm to people, animals, and the planet.
Between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, COVID-19 claimed almost six million human lives worldwide. During the same period, there were almost 300 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 222 countries and territories. Deadly hotspots have included farms and meatpacking plants—places where people are especially vulnerable.
The Root Causes
Although the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is still under investigation, a growing body of evidence confirms that ecosystem degradation, habitat loss and fragmentation, biodiversity loss, encroachment into wildlife habitats, the commercial trade in wild animals, and intensive animal farming increase the risk of emerging infectious disease outbreaks and other negative impacts on human and animal health. Around 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases in humans originate in animals.
Any effective approach to pandemic prevention must address the root causes of disease, in addition to disease surveillance, monitoring, control, and mitigation.
To prevent future pandemics, we must change the way we interact with animals and their habitats, and the ways we treat our fellow human beings.
Impacts on Vulnerable People
More than five million children have lost a parent or other primary caregiver to the pandemic, and COVID-19 mitigation measures resulted in the largest disruption in schooling in history.
Social, economic, and health disparities have deepened, and the pandemic has increased the risk for interpersonal violence, human trafficking, child labor, and forced marriage. It has also complicated public health concerns, such as communicable and noncommunicable disease risk, disaster preparedness and response, and forced migration.
Impacts on Animals
Like farmworkers and slaughterhouse workers, farmed animals were some of the first to feel the effects of the pandemic. For example, in Denmark mink farms, where there were concerns about COVID-19 transmission between minks and humans, 17 million minks were killed en masse.
Temporary slaughterhouse and laboratory closures in the US and elsewhere also led to the painful mass killing of animals, even as calls increased for more meat and more animal research.
And although wild animals benefitted early in the pandemic from shutdowns and decreases in human traffic, animals have had to contend with getting tangled up in disposable face masks and the risk of contracting COVID-19, and the trafficking of animals in the wild has continued.
Impacts on Healthcare
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the healthcare system and those who work in it. A shortage of beds, medical staff, and financial resources delayed childhood vaccinations, cancer treatment, surgeries, and obstetrical care. Healthcare workers are exhausted, burned out, and leaving their chosen fields.
Thank you for taking action and for being part of our mission to advance the rights, health, and wellbeing of people, animals, and the planet through a Just One Health approach.
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