Ending the trade in wild and exotic animals: a One Health and One Welfare approach to the prevention of zoonoses

On 4 October from 11 to 12:30, Italy time, World Animal Protection and LAV held an event on the trade of wild animals (exotic and not), focusing on risks and solutions in a One Health perspective.  

The Italian situation

Amongst several distinguished guests from the scientific world, the first panel discussed the Italian situation, especially Law 53, which provides for an explicit ban on trade, possession and breeding of wild and exotic animals. In this session, moderated by Steve McIvor, CEO of WAP, have spoken LAV President Gianluca Felicetti, Senator Loredana De Petris (author of the amendment that incorporated the ban into the Law) and Ugo Santucci (from the General Directorate of Animal Health of the Italian Ministry of Health).

The international dimension

In the second panel, the debate focused on the international dimension, in particular, with respect to the G20 countries, and on the fact that a ban on trade is the only way to avoid the destruction of habitats, the suffering of animals and, above all, the risk of zoonosis spread and threats to public health, especially in the light of lessons learned from the SARS-COV2 pandemic. 

Among the panelists there were Simona Seravesi, a social scientist, expert and advisor to the Italian Prime Minister on Global Health, Kelly Dent, Global Director of External Engagement, World Animal Protection, and Nicoletta Dentico - from the Italian Observatory on Global Health. 
Prof. Warwick, in quality of scientific advisor of the event, detailed the risks, background and the uncontrollability and impacts of the exotic animal markets, stressing that a global ban on trade is the only choice we have.

Conclusions

All the speakers agreed with this urgency and Dr Santucci stated that the Ministry of Health, in charge of drafting the implementing decree of Law 53, is at work, completing the process that will lead to the implementation of the law.

Lastly, Jane Goodall brought the conversation back to a universal level, pointing out at the need and urgency of respect for the environment and every living being, having been scientifically demonstrated that they are sentient and unique beings. Goodall concluded by complimenting the work that LAV and the political world are doing in Italy, and at a global level, she expressed her wish that other countries would follow the Italian example, and also that Italy would have the courage to issue a courageous implementation decree, that today represents an obligated and only-rational choice. 

Watch the the event here.

To know more about the LAV Campaign "Italian Wet Markets" and take action by asking legislators for an immediate stop to trade, possession and reproduction of wild and exotic animals, visit the dedicated page.