Global outbreaks of zoonotic diseases — like COVID-19, a novel coronavirus disease — are on the rise. Zoonotic diseases are the cause of most epidemics and pandemics, including the deadliest, and they need only a human-animal interaction to arise. Given the increasing incursion of human beings into wildlife habitat around the world and the growing demand for meat and other animal products, it’s not a question of “if” there will be another zoonotic-derived pandemic but “when.” Therefore, even as governments mobilize to limit the staggering impact of COVID-19, it is imperative that they also take urgent action to prevent the next pandemic.
COVID-19 Policy Recommendations
Pandemics have not only been predicted, they are also preventable. While the country continues to fight COVID-19, we must also prepare for — with the intention to prevent — the next pandemic. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is developing a series of papers, each outlining policy strategies calibrated to reduce specific zoonotic risks.
This paper seeks to outline policies and reforms to wild animal exhibition and captivity to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the inherent risk of zoonotic disease exacerbated by proximity, stress, and other conditions to which many animals are subjected.
This paper seeks to outline policies and reforms to prevent the proliferation of zoonotic disease, like COVID-19, in order to protect public health and animals by reducing the threats posed by factory farming conditions.
This paper seeks to identify the root causes of zoonotic disease and to offer solutions that will mitigate pandemic risk by reimagining the human-animal interactions that have contributed to the current crisis and are presently laying the groundwork for the next.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has made financial assistance available to law schools that have been forced to cancel Animal Law courses and law students that have been financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis.