Many of you will have met our fantastic vet Dr Jenny.
What some of you may not know, is that Dr Jenny wrote a paper 3 years ago, which discussed future pandemics being attributed to the Far East wild meat trade:
Or click the icon to read her paper as a PDF
Never before has animal welfare been so important.
If global welfare standards and ethical standards aren't controlled, then:
habitats get destroyed,
wild animals are kept in inhumane meat markets,
and novel diseases emerge which threaten the life of every human on the planet.
Don't Blame the Bats
As many of you are aware, COVID-19 possibly originated in bats in China.
However the bats are not to blame.
Human destruction of habitats - including bat habitats, means the disease potentially moved from bat populations to human populations.
How this happened is a source of discussion, but theories include:
Just as you would be a bit stressed if someone destroyed your home; bat habitat destruction causes them stress, and stress, (we know that stress reduces immune system function in humans), also reduces the bats immune system function. This in turn causes bat infections to increase, and viruses to spread.
Combine this with the wild animal meat trade, where live, stressed, diseased animals are caged in extremely close proximity to each other, and you have the recipe for a pandemic.
Disease outbreaks that in the past would have remained in their geographical location, can now spread across the globe, in a day, via plane travel.
The COVID-19 crisis is I fear, the first of many, we must stop habitat destruction and attempt to slow climate change, as these two factors lead to unpredictable novel disease emergence.
We must also stop wild animal meat markets: more information here from The Guardian
WildAid is an international charity campaigning to improve animal welfare (and therefore reduce risk of future pandemics)