Reading Time: 2 minutes 'The report provides a stark warning about the devastating public health risks of exploiting wild animals' Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the wildlife trade and fur farming as ‘areas of interest’ in its latest report on the origin of COVID-19.

The Animal and Environmental Studies section of the document states that the possible pathways of emergence considered to be ‘likely to very likely’ was introduction via an intermediary host. 

Fur farming and wildlife trade

A specific recommendation in the report calls for ‘surveys for SARSr-CoVs in farmed wildlife or livestock that have potential to be infected’. This includes species bred for food such as ferret-badgers and civets. As well animals such as mink bred for fur.

Non-profit the Humane Society International (HSI) says the report shows that fur farming and wildlife trading ‘must be banned’. It branded the practices a ‘petri dish for the next global pandemic’.

‘A stark and sobering warning’

Dr. Peter Li is the China policy expert at HSI. In a statement sent to PBN, he said: “The WHO report provides a stark and sobering warning about the devastating public health risks of exploiting wild animals in unsanitary, overcrowded and inhumane factory farm systems be that bamboo rats and badgers for human consumption, pangolins for traditional medicine, or raccoon dogs and mink for fur fashion. 

“Cramming millions of animals together in these abusive industries creates a perfect petri dish for pandemics.

“Unless we ban farming for fur and the wildlife trade… We’ll continue to play Russian roulette with global public safety.”

COVID-19 Origin

Moreover, Claire Bass is the director of HSI UK. She added: “We hope the WHO report and leaders’ treaty will spur countries including the UK to commit to ending industries that disregard animal welfare and jeopardize human health, including fur farming. 

“One of the most tangible actions we can take is to stop providing markets for these products. A UK fur sales ban would send a strong message that we won’t bankroll abusive and dangerous animal industries overseas. 

“If we focus too much on treating the symptoms rather than the cause… We’ll be forever gambling with public health and world economies.”

Claire Bass, Director of HSI UK

“We urge the UK to ensure the treaty focuses squarely on prevention, preparedness and response to pandemics are clearly important.

“But if we focus too much on treating the symptoms rather than the cause… We’ll be forever gambling with public health and world economies.”

You can read the WHO’s report on the origin of COVID-19 here 

Liam Giliver

Liam is the former Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. He has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Attitude Magazine, and more. He is also the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.