Virus shows why abuse of nature must stop
(Text of CCA's article in Catholic Universe follows)
The Covid-19 pandemic was caused by the “human abuse of the natural world and the misuse and abuse of animals”, Catholic Concern for Animals (CCA) has said, and highlights why mankind as a species needs to do more to protect the natural environment.
The animal welfare group’s comments come as China has placed a temporary ban on the consumption of wild animals, following reports that the coronavirus originated in a so-called ‘wet market’ in Wuhan, China.
The concerns have also led to the United Nations’ biodiversity chief calling for a global ban on wildlife markets in an effort to prevent the outbreak of future pandemics. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said that the practice of buying and selling wild animals in markets can pose a threat to human health, as well as to endangered species.
“We know over the last 60 years the majority of the new zoonotic diseases have emerged as the result of human activities... pushing wild animals into closer contact with humans and increasing the risk of transmission,” she said. “Therefore we need to ensure that wet markets are well regulated, clean and not linked to the illegal trade of wild animals.”
She acknowledged that many rural communities around the globe depend on wildlife trade for “for economic and food security reasons”.
CCA said that its work over the next few months will be ‘dominated and influenced’ by the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘which has spread from its origins in the natural world to the human population by the misuse and abuse of the animal creation’.
The group noted that Covid-19 has ‘huge similarities’ with previous coronavirus outbreaks, such as SARS, and ‘there is some evidence that the virus may have been transmitted via bats, which are also thought to have transmitted the Ebola virus in West Africa’.
‘What appears to be absolutely clear is that human abuse of the natural world and the misuse and abuse of animals have created the current pandemic,’ said CCA. ‘Humans are responsible for this crisis by disrespecting and abusing God’s non-human animal creation.’