Science calls for wildlife to be protected from human animal diseases
2022/10/10 Agirre Ruiz de Arkaute, Aitziber - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria
Science magazine dedicated its October 8 editorial to the catastrophe livestock diseases can cause in wild animals. In fact, last summer, marine birds in Europe, Africa and North America have endured the highest rate of all time, as a result of the destruction of their breeding colonies by the avian influenza virus.
Scientists continue to warn about the problems that new viruses and diseases produced in industrial livestock farms can cause in wild birds. They transmit many diseases and many species are damaged. In this case, HPAI was created in 1996, in China, when the common LPAI virus mutated in industrial farms, and in 2005 spread to wildlife. Since 2021, it has remained constant throughout the year in European wild sea birds, and this year it has spread especially among marine birds of reproductive age in France, Norway, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Canada.
They remember that the source of the problem is the huge populations of animals growing in industrial nurseries. Every year, 36 billion birds, 953 million pigs and 1.6 billion cows grow. These immense animal populations, connected through trade, behave like a global reservoir of infectious diseases, in danger of transformation and expansion into wildlife. Aware of gravity, scientists point out that States must take responsibility for protecting wildlife from anthropogenic diseases.
It is that the Member States view livestock diseases as a mere economic problem and, in any case, as a problem that can compromise human health. But they do not take into account the catastrophe that can affect wildlife and biodiversity. They call for concrete action: reducing the size of industrial crops and reducing animal density, limiting transport between crops and minimal relation of livestock to related wild species. They recall that states must be carried out by law.