The Hidden Risks of Animal Industries in the U.S.

The Hidden Risks of Animal Industries in the U.S.

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The United States is home to a vast array of animal industries, including industrial agriculture, fur farming, and the exotic pet trade.

Animal industries in the U.S. pose a significant risk of creating infectious disease outbreaks in humans, according to a report by experts at Harvard and New York University.

Zoonotic diseases, which spread from animals to humans, account for 60% of all known infectious diseases and 75% of new and emerging ones, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report analyzed 36 animal markets in the United States, including dog breeding, hunting and trapping, livestock auctions, backyard chicken farming, and petting zoos.

The regulatory landscape is "inconsistent and full of holes," according to the report's lead author, Ann Linder.

There are at least 130 live bird markets in the northeastern United States alone, and roughly 25 million birds pass through them every year.

Inspections of wildlife imports are spotty, and even when they do occur, they focus on enforcing conservation regulations rather than on disease, according to the report.

The authors concluded that the nation "has no comprehensive strategy" to mitigate the risks posed by these animal industries.

Many Americans may not even realize that some of these industries and practices exist, said Dr. Suresh Kuchipudi, an expert on zoonotic disease at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.

The risks posed by animal industries in the US are staggering, highlighting the need for better regulation and public education.

The time for action is now. The report calls for a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the risks posed by these practices.