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COW HERDS: WHO and UN leaders condemned for ignoring root-cause of Covid pandemic

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Governments must act by banning the exotic-animal trade and all factory farms, and until that happens, each of us must take personal responsibility by refusing to prop up these dangerous industries and going vegan.

CHARLIE DUFFIELD: Upon the first anniversary of the World Health Organisation declaring Covid-19 a pandemic, a leading animal-welfare organisation has accused governments of “not addressing the actual issues around animal abuse” which lead to zoonotic pandemics.

In an open letter, addressed to the WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), animal charity Four Paws demanded that risky practices be “urgently phased out”, with a ban on fur farms, live animal markets, and the dog, cat meat, and wildlife trade. It also urged that there is greater acknowledgement of the need to eat less meat – a key driver of the climate crisis and habitat loss – and a crackdown on risks created by factory farming.

The letter said that “pharmaceutical responses are not the sole and long-term solution”, and said it was “deeply concerning” that despite WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking a year ago on infection-prevention, the way humans treat animals has not been factored into the pandemic response alongside the development of vaccinations.

Josef Pfabigan, President of Four Paws wrote: “The settings in which a huge proportion of animals globally are raised, traded, transported and slaughtered – cramped and overcrowded environments, poor hygiene, myriad origins, and conditions suppressing immune systems and encouraging pathogen excretion and uptake – create an ideal situation for the exchange, genetic modification and emergence of new pathogens”…

According to both the WHO and a UN environment report last year, 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases originate in animals, and Four Paws is warning of “ticking time bombs all over the world” from practices where pathogens may emerge and spread…

In response to the letter, the non-profit organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) raised similar concerns. Speaking to i, PETA’s Director Elisa Allen said: “PETA wrote to the WHO last year to emphasise that treating animals with disrespect and regarding them as ours for the taking will come back to bite us again, just as it has with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Animal markets and factory farms – including those that cage animals for their feathers and fur – are breeding grounds for diseases that mutate and spread to the human population. And if we continue to pillage the natural world and kill the other animals in it, we also exacerbate the climate crisis”…

The letter states the pressure to produce more, and cheaper animal products, leads to increasing numbers of animals being kept in poor-welfare environments, while the resulting land change fuels climate change and biodiversity loss.

Mr Pfabigan wrote: “Multiple zoonotic diseases have been definitively linked to the dog and cat meat trade including cholera. In addition, the dog and cat meat trade itself fulfills many of the conditions for pathogen emergence and spread.”

Ms Allen added: “Governments must act by banning the exotic-animal trade and all factory farms, and until that happens, each of us must take personal responsibility by refusing to prop up these dangerous industries and going vegan”.  SOURCE…

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