Quigley, Upton Re-Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Shut Down Commercial Wildlife Markets Which Pose a Threat to Global Public Health
U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Fred Upton (R-MI), today re-introduced a bipartisan bill, the Preventing Future Pandemics Act, which would direct the State Department to work with international partners to shut down commercial wildlife markets, end the trade in live wildlife for human consumption and stop the associated wildlife trade, end the import, export and sale of live wildlife for human consumption in the United States, and phase out demand for wildlife as a food source. The bill, H.R. 8433 in the 116th Congress, was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of nearly 150 Representatives since its initial introduction in September 2020. A companion bill will be re-introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and John Cornyn (R-TX) later this month.
COVID-19 is just the latest in a long line of zoonotic epidemics, joining SARS, MERS, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, and many others as pathogens that initially emerged from wildlife, making the jump to people directly or indirectly through activities such as the butchering or eating of wildlife.
“For the sake of our health, our economy, and our livelihoods, preventing the next pandemic before it starts is perhaps the most important thing we must do. For that reason, Representative Upton and I re-introduced the Preventing Future Pandemics Act at the very first opportunity on the day the new congress is sworn in,” said Rep. Quigley. “We were thrilled with the robust, bipartisan support the bill received last year and we’re committed to building on that momentum to see this bill become law.”
The bill, which aims to break down the silos between conservation and public health, was endorsed last year by more than 100 organizations focused on global health, habitat preservation, conservation, animal welfare and illegal trafficking, including the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Humane Society, Global Financial Integrity, and the Consortium of Universities for Global Health.
Quigley and Upton’s, Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2021:
- Establishes the official foreign policy of the United States to work with state and non-state partners to shut down commercial wildlife markets, end the trade in terrestrial wildlife for human consumption, and build international coalitions to reduce the demand for wildlife as food, recognizing that there are still rural communities around the world that lack adequate alternative food sources.
- Gives the State Department a wide variety of tools, including economic and diplomatic penalties, to crack down on wildlife markets and the global wildlife trade for human consumption.
- Authorizes funding for USAID to work on reducing demand for consumption of wildlife from wildlife markets and support shifts to diversified alternative sources of food and protein in communities that rely upon the consumption of wildlife for food security while ensuring that existing wildlife habitat is not encroached upon or destroyed as part of this process.
- Prohibits the import, export and sale of live wildlife in the United States for purposes of human consumption as food or medicine.
- Authorizes the hiring and international deployment of 50 new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Attachés in an effort to disrupt illegal wildlife trafficking abroad.
The full text of the bill can be downloaded HERE.