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Coons, colleagues urge closures of live wildlife markets in China, elsewhere to stop future pandemics

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware; Richard Burr, R-North Carolina; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island; Tom Udall, D-New Mexico; and Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate International Conservation Caucus, sent a letter April 7 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to work with U.S. international partners to prevent and mitigate future outbreaks of zoonotic disease by closing wildlife markets that sell live animals for human consumption.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three out of four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals, including several recent viral outbreaks,” wrote the senators. “SARS, HIV, Ebola, MERS and H5N1 influenza all started in animals before spreading to humans. Poorly regulated markets where live animals and wildlife parts and products are sold provide significant opportunities for the human-animal interactions that lead to disease transmission… We encourage the Department, in collaboration with our international partners and with other relevant U.S. government agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Agency for International Development, to work to close down unregulated wildlife markets that pose a threat to public health, combat the broader trade in illegal wildlife and wildlife products and strengthen food safety and security around the world.”

The full letter is available at bit.ly/3e5vMH9.