UN Warns Of A Rise In Diseases Passed From Animals To Humans

UN pandemics animal

According to the UN the world is seeing a rise in diseases which are passed from animals to humans like the coronavirus

The United Nations ‘experts’are blaming the rise in diseases like Covid-19 on high demand for animal protein, unsustainable agricultural practices and climate change.

They are now urging governments to take active measures to protect the environment and curb climate change to prevent future pandemics.

Al Jazeera reports: In a new report (PDF) released on Monday, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) jointly identified seven trends responsible for such diseases, known as zoonotic.

These include rising demand for animal protein, extraction of natural resources and urbanisation, intensive and unsustainable farming, exploitation of wildlife, increased travel and transportation, food supply changes and climate change.

“The science is clear that if we keep exploiting wildlife and destroying our ecosystems, then we can expect to see a steady stream of these diseases jumping from animals to humans in the years ahead,” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said in a statement.

“We were warned that the current pandemic was not a matter of if but when. And it is a human failing that we predict, but we do not prepare,” she added.

“To prevent future outbreaks, we must become much more deliberate about protecting our natural environment.”

The new coronavirus, which is most likely to have originated in bats, has infected more than 11 million people and killed at least half a million people globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

But it is just one in a growing number of diseases – including Ebola, MERS, West Nile fever, Zika, SARS and Rift Valley fever – that have jumped from animal hosts into the human population in recent years, said the report.

About 60 percent of known infectious diseases in humans and 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, according to the UNEP, largely due to the increased interaction between humans, animals and the environment.

“While many in the world were surprised by COVID-19, those of us who work on animal disease were not. This was a highly predictable pandemic,” said Delia Randolph, ILRI veterinary epidemiologist and lead author of the report. 

Randolph described a “very clear trend” since the 1930s that showed that 75 percent of emerging human diseases stemmed from wildlife.