The Preventing Future Pandemics Act was just reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to address the spillover of emerging infectious diseases from wildlife to humans.
As previously reported by WAN, the bill, which was first introduced in the House in September of 2020 by Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Fred Upton (R-MI), aimed to prohibit the import, export, and interstate trade of live wildlife for the purpose of human consumption. The bill also allocates $35 million for the implementation of this ban and calls on the State Department to pursue live wildlife market closures abroad through international coalitions and other diplomatic measures. This will include special consideration for indigenous peoples in communities that are dependent on wildlife consumption for food security.
“There is no question that, without decisive action, our unbridled exploitation of nature will continue to have devastating consequences for human health. The Preventing Future Pandemics Act helps address the root causes of zoonotic disease transmission by positioning the United States as a leader in reducing wildlife trade and the consumption of wild species,” said Cathy Liss, President of Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), in a statement.
The legislation also allocates $150 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hire, train, and deploy at least 50 new law enforcement officers in countries where there is a flourishing illegal trade in at-risk species. Additionally, the United States Agency for International Development would receive $300 million to increase its efforts to promote global health, biodiversity, and combat wildlife trafficking.
“For the sake of our health, our economy, and our livelihoods, preventing the next pandemic before it starts is perhaps the most important thing we must do. For that reason, Representative Upton and I reintroduced the Preventing Future Pandemics Act at the very first opportunity on the day the new Congress was sworn in,” stated Quigley, who noted that the bill previously received robust, bipartisan support.
In the past 40 years, the worst pandemics and epidemics have all originated from the trade and consumption of animals amid the destruction of their habitats. A significant portion of this multi-billion-dollar industry is unregulated.
The United States is one of the world’s top importers of wildlife, responsible for an estimated 20% of the global wildlife market. While only a segment of this trade involves trafficking live wildlife for the purpose of human consumption, this sector must be eliminated to protect human safety and animal welfare.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg