Overcoming the impact of COVID-19 on animal welfare: COVID-19 Thematic Platform on Animal Welfare
Starting from the first half of 2020, COVID-19 – caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus – spread through almost all countries in the world. Many countries introduced country-wide or regional lock-downs to reduce the spread of infection. While the lockdown measures varied slightly per country/region, almost all countries closed schools and non-essential shops, bars and restaurants. Only essential businesses and key workers were allowed to continue working and travelling whilst social activity outside the home ceased. At the time of writing, many countries are still fighting to contain SARS-CoV-2 virus, whilst trying to address the resulting economic challenge that has sent many countries spiralling into the worst economic crisis since World War Two.
The psychological toll on people due to the anxiety caused by the novel virus, and also by the harsh isolation and social distancing measures imposed to prevent the spread of the virus, will only be truly known years from now. However, mental health professionals and institutions are already ringing alarm bells.
The crisis caused by this pandemic does not only affect people. Animals are indirect victims of the pandemic too. COVID-19 has had, and will continue to have for some time into the future, an impact on the health and welfare of almost all animals, including companion animals, livestock, laboratory animals and wildlife.
The COVID-19 Thematic Platform on Animal Welfare was created in April 2020 to oversee and try to reduce the impact of this pandemic on animals.