*NEWS*A CALL FOR NEW WILDLIFE TRADE RULES

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*NEWS*A CALL FOR NEW WILDLIFE TRADE RULES

 user 2005-10-31 at 9:46:00 am Views: 85
  • #14436

    Call for new wildlife trade rules
    Current
    regulations are inadequate to stop imports of pets and livestock from
    spreading lethal diseases, say international scientists.
    A new global body is needed to regulate wildlife trade in light of threats such as Sars and bird flu, they say.
    The call comes from the scientific steering committee of the non governmental organisation, Diversitas.
    The panel will discuss the matter at an open science conference to be held in Mexico on November 9-12.
    Dr
    Peter Daszak, a member of the scientific steering committee of the
    Paris-based group, said there needed to be better analysis of animal
    species being moved around the world.
    While some species such as
    parrots are subject to quarantine regulations, this is not the case for
    other animals, such as reptiles and amphibians, he said.
    “It is
    clear that the trade in wildlife is a huge source of disease
    emergence,” he told the BBC News website. “Nobody is out there
    monitoring these things.”
    Economic costs
    Dr Daszak, executive
    director of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine at the Wildife
    Trust, New York, said that techniques are available to screen animals
    for emerging viruses.
    Although it would not be practical to screen
    all wildlife imports and exports, random tests on a selected number of
    shipments would give a global picture of how diseases might be being
    spread around the world, he explained.
    “We need to move proactively and deal with the threat before diseases emerge,” he said.
    As
    well as the cost to human health, Diversitas, the international
    programme of biodiversity science, funded by Unesco, will also consider
    the economic impact of emerging infectious diseases, such as Sars and
    bird flu.
    Dr Daszak, part of the scientific team that connected
    Asian bats in China with Sars, says the virus, which took 700 lives,
    cost over $50 billion to the global economy in 2003, emerging from a
    trade in wildlife for food.
    “The economic impact of bird flu is likely to exceed this, especially if we get person-to-person transmission,” he said.
    “It
    is likely to cost us many hundreds of millions of dollars under current
    estimates, and will be incredibly costly in terms of loss of human
    life.”