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The Hill featured Haub Law Professor David N. Cassuto's co-authored piece "Torturing fewer animals will mean burying fewer people"

07/23/2020

The Hill featured Haub Law Professor David N. Cassuto's co-authored piece "Torturing fewer animals will mean burying fewer people"

COVID-19 has killed hundreds of thousands of people, devastated the global economy and left millions jobless, homeless and hopeless. Like COVID-19, 60 percent of viruses that infect humans and 75 percent of recent infectious diseases are “zoonotic,” meaning they originate in animals. 

We’ve dealt with zoonoses in the past — SARS, avian influenza, HIV, Ebola, West Nile, to name a few. COVID-19, also a zoonotic disease, was not unexpected. As scientists race to develop vaccines for each new zoonotic event, the rest of us might well ask why we keep enabling the spread of these diseases. Avoiding future pandemics is possible but it will require an unprecedented cooperative effort to remake and enforce international animal law.

Zoonotic diseases result from human interaction with animals confined in close, unsanitary conditions. It is fashionable to blame China’s live animal markets, but the reality is far more complex. Live markets are brutally cruel, facilitate trafficking in protected species and encourage unsustainable and unhealthy eating practices. They also form a vast, criminal enterprise built on the illegal trade, slaughter and suffering of wild and endangered animals. 

Read the full Hill article.