Global pandemic highlights importance of World Zoonoses Day

The Hon David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
  • 6 July 2020 is World Zoonoses Day, recognising the achievements of Louis Pasteur in administering the first rabies vaccination on 6 July 1885
  • COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the tragic consequences of some zoonotic diseases
  • Australia supports coordinated global action and targeted support for countries to mitigate the pandemic risks posed by wildlife wet markets
  • World Zoonoses Day celebrated on 6th July raises awareness of those diseases that can spread from animals to people, which make up a large percentage of all existing and newly identified infectious diseases around the world.

    Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud said as seen with COVID-19, some zoonotic diseases pose a serious threat to humanity.

    “This pandemic is a stark reminder of the massive and tragic consequences that can be brought about by zoonotic diseases,” Minister Littleproud said.

    “The Australian Government recognises fundamental changes are needed at the global level to prevent another pandemic of zoonotic origins.

    “That is why we are calling for a concerted global effort to reduce high-risk human-wildlife interactions, such as those occurring at wildlife wet markets.

    “Australia supports coordinated global action and targeted support for countries to mitigate the pandemic risks posed by wildlife wet markets, including a phasing out of such markets where risks cannot be sufficiently managed.

    “In April this year I sought the support of the Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for global reforms to wildlife trade underpinned by a scientific review.

    “I commend the OIE for the leadership and concrete action they have shown to develop a new global program of work aimed at reducing the risk of zoonotic disease spill-over events associated with human use of wildlife.

    “I am proud to announce, today on World Zoonoses Day, that the Australian Government has provided seed funding to the OIE to drive this important program of work.

    “The Australian Government will also continue to pursue global reforms on this issue where other opportunities exist, such as through the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

    “It is pleasing to see the strong support from countries with the adoption of the Resolution on the Response to COVID-19 by the World Health Assembly.

    “We now stand ready to work with the international community to take these commitments of the World Health Assembly forward and will work with WHO and other Member States to shape the review process.

    “It will take a global effort to reduce these risks, and central to this is understanding more about how this current event originated and evolved into the global pandemic we’re dealing with now.

    “I hope the investigation and policy changes will have very tangible impact on lowering the risks posed to human health by zoonotic diseases.”

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