The Wildlife Conservation Society commends the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other organizations for bringing more awareness and science to zoonoses issues in the report, “Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission.” The report is on target to emphasize that the science is clear that the more we destroy nature, the more likely the world will experience zoonotic disease outbreaks. We welcome the report’s ten recommendations to help prevent future outbreaks but they are not sufficient if we are truly to prevent another COVID-like pandemic. Based on science, even bolder action is needed, specifically the closure of commercial wildlife markets (particularly birds and mammals) for human consumption, and an end to associated commercial wildlife trade. It can’t be business as usual as the world’s governments take actions to prevent future pandemics. A new paradigm is needed.
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