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.
Take Action to Prevent Future Pandemics
Tell Congress: Support the Preventing Future Pandemics Act
What: Urge your US Senators and Representative to Cosponsor and Support the Preventing Future Pandemics Act (S 37, HR 151).
How: Contact them here.
Why: To help prevent future zoonotic outbreaks and to reduce the exploitation of animals.
It’s impossible to count the times we’ve heard the word unprecedented to describe the events of the past two years. But the conditions that caused the COVID-19 pandemic have many precedents: Ebola, HIV/AIDS, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, and earlier SARS outbreaks all had similar origins.
These zoonotic diseases spread through unhealthy contact between humans and animals—usually through animal trafficking and other forms of exploitation.
Almost 75 percent of the world’s emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin.
The Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2021 aims to close wildlife markets and shut down wildlife trafficking across the globe. It leverages international cooperation to help all nations adopt these changes while restricting trade with those that don’t.
This important bill, like too many others in this era of Congressional gridlock, is stalled. You can let your elected officials know that you want them to act on this bill. It just takes two easy steps:
- Go to the action page, and enter your name and address below the message that will be sent to your federal legislator.
- Click the “Send Email” button, and the website will use your address to send your message directly to your Member of Congress. (You also have the option to make a phone call, and if you click on the “Make Phone Call” button, the website will provide you with the correct phone number to use.)
This bill has bipartisan support, yet it has idled for months in committee. So we need everyone to ask your US Representative and Senators to cosponsor and support the Preventing Future Pandemics Act.
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.
To stay updated on this and other campaigns to protect and uplift the most vulnerable, sign up for our newsletter below.