COVID-19 Triggering U.S. Senate Conversation On Spread Of Zoonotic Diseases

Jul 27, 2020

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso is the chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Credit barrasso.senate.gov

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on reducing the spread of zoonotic diseases on July 22. A zoonotic disease is one that spreads from animals into humans.

During the hearing, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso named China as the biggest offender in allowing trade of illegal wildlife trade, which can spread diseases like COVID-19.

"Illegal wildlife trafficking, unregulated wildlife trade and poor sanitary practices increase the risk of diseases spreading from animals to humans. China is the prime bad actor in facilitating the spread of such diseases and must be held accountable," said Barrasso.

Daniel Ashe, the President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums also called for stronger action.

"Our current crisis was predictable and preventable. And unless we learn from it and take stronger steps to understand and reduce related risks in trade, the same will be true in the next pandemic and the next," said Ashe.

Other experts agreed in their testimonies, stating that the United States needs to take more steps to prevent the spread of disease during wildlife trade.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Ivy Engel, at iengel@uwyo.edu.