More than 200 organizations from across the world, including World Animal Protection, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International and Wild Aid, have issued a letter urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to permanently close live wildlife markets and the use of wildlife in traditional medicine.
The letter highlights that, with the suspected COVID-19 link to a wildlife market in China, the WHO must take action to protect human life from future pandemics.
“We’re calling on WHO to unequivocally state the proven link between these markets and the severe threats they pose to human health,” said Gilbert Sape from World Animal Protection.
The facts are sobering: Sixty percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning they originate from animals, and 70% of these are believed to originate in wild animals.
At wildlife markets, scientists note that the unhygienic conditions and the close proximity between humans and animals, provide the perfect opportunity for pathogens to spread. Furthermore, this risk is exacerbated by the large numbers of different species of animals that are often kept close to one another, which heightens stress and weakens immune system function.Read the full letter written to World Health Organization.