13 July 2022 – To highlight World Zoonoses Day, global animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS have teamed up with leading actors Brian Cox CBE and Thuso Mbedu to underline the essential need to put animal welfare front and centre when it comes to trying to prevent the next pandemic.
Cox and Mbedu have both contributed to a new FOUR PAWS video which calls for a paradigm shift in how humankind treats animals in the future to prevent the next pandemic. This can only be done by prioritizing health for all humans, animals and the environment as a priority and establishing key prevention measures on a national and global level through intragovernmental organisations.
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Brian Cox CBE is a Scottish actor famous for his Shakespearian portrayals on the stage and now for his Emmy Award winning performance in the TV sensation “Succession”.
"What if it happened again? None of us want to live through another pandemic. But without tackling the root causes of these diseases, another pandemic is sadly inevitable,” says Brian Cox in the FOUR PAWS video.
"For years scientists have shown us the link between cruelty to animals, encroachment on wild habitats and pandemic risks.
It is time for a one health approach that ensures animal welfare, not cruelty, because if they suffer, we suffer. Let's prevent the new pandemic together."
said Brian Cox CBE, award-winning actor
Thuso Mbedu is a South African born actress who was nominated for two International Emmys for her breakout role in the TV show “Is'Thunzi”, she was the first South African actress to lead an US television series in Barry Jenkins award winning “The Underground Railroad”, and next up she stars opposite Viola Davis in Sony’s action epic “The Woman King.”
"This is a crucial campaign. The way we treat animals and nature needs to change. Because if they suffer, we have seen clearly that we suffer too. Governments need to listen to experts and tackle the root causes of most pandemics by improving animal welfare standards. Only together we can prevent the next pandemic.”
said actor Thuso Mbedu
Last December, at a special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) there was an agreement to develop and put in place an international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. This agreement is now being negotiated between World Health Organisation (WHO) Member States with FOUR PAWS advocating that a 'One Health' approach and strategy that highlights the interconnectedness between the welfare of humans, animals and nature needs to be implemented within the instrument.
The successful adoption of a 'One Health' approach will require fundamental shifts in our production and consumption patterns and our economic systems. This is needed as scientific studies show that 75 per cent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonoses, meaning they are of animal origin. Such spillovers happen because of the way humans treat animals and interfere with nature.
In October of last year, FOUR PAWS published a Future Study on Pandemic Prevention which produced stark and worrying results. International experts from disciplines such as virology, human and veterinary medicine and climate research who participated in the study, predict a worrying picture for the future: zoonoses are a clear symptom of the serious crisis between humans, animals and the environment and the extent to which animal suffering contributes to disease outbreaks, with dramatic consequences on health, society, and the economy has been highly underestimated.
Martin Bauer, Head of Ambassador Relations at FOUR PAWS, said, “It is a huge honour to have the support and backing of revered actors and experts on such an important and vital campaign. At FOUR PAWS we cannot thank them enough for lending their time and talent in helping raise awareness on key animal welfare issues.”
Brazil, Egypt, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, and Thailand comprise the bureau of WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body will hold its next meeting by the week of July 18th 2022, to discuss progress on a working draft. It will then deliver a progress report to the 76th World Health Assembly in 2023, with the aim to adopt the instrument by 2024.
The One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) defined a One Health approach as “an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. It recognizes that the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and inter-dependent.”
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.
Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au