Health

U.S. Animal Industries Pose Disease Risks to People, Report Says

The authors analyzed 36 US animal markets, including dog breeding, hunting and trapping, livestock auctions, backyard poultry farming, and petting zoos. To assess how much risk each industry poses, we conducted expert interviews and reviewed scientific papers, public data, government regulations, and more. For each industry, we considered 10 factors, including the number of animals involved, pathogens animals are known to carry, human interactions, and relevant biosecurity practices and regulations.

“We have discovered a lot of things that are surprising to us,” Dr. Jamison said, starting with the staggering number of animals in commercial use in the United States. The country produces more than 10 billion terrestrial animals for food each year, including more pigs and poultry that can harbor and transmit influenza than almost any other country, Linder said. said Mr. The company is also one of the world’s leading importers of both livestock and wild animals, according to the report. (More than 220 million live wild animals are imported annually.)

But the regulatory landscape is “inconsistent and full of holes,” Linder said. She said inspections on wildlife imports have been spotty, and even when they do, they focus on enforcing conservation regulations rather than disease. No federal agency has claimed jurisdiction over the mink farms that have become COVID-19 hotspots, and some states were unaware of how many of these farms were within their borders prior to the pandemic, the authors said. points out.

The findings highlight the need for more regulation and better public education, Dr. Kuchipudi said. Many Americans may not even know that some of these industries and practices exist, but “risks can affect us all,” he said.

According to the authors, the report is only a starting point and key information remains unknown, including basic data on the size and location of some livestock industries. (People who work in some of these industries did not answer the authors’ questions, Linder said.) The next step is to fill some of these data gaps and provide more detailed It is said that the evaluation is to be carried out.

“These threats are everywhere, whether we turn on the lights and face them or just stay safe in the dark,” Linder said.

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