Zoonotic Disease Transmission Addressed in Stimulus Package

The American Rescue Plan Act, signed on March 11 in response to the COVID-19 crisis, contains funding to address public health risks resulting from the exploitation of animals. The law allocates $300 million to the US Department of Agriculture for monitoring animals susceptible to the virus, and AWI is advocating that a portion of those funds be used to collect data on US fur farms, an industry that operates with woefully little oversight or accountability. (See page 14.) The law provides $95 million to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for various purposes, including wildlife inspections, the care of rescued and confiscated wildlife, and early detection of wildlife disease outbreaks before they jump the species barrier. The State Department and the US Agency for International Development have been allocated $10 billion for global COVID response activities, and AWI is advocating that a portion of those funds be used to address inhumane and potentially dangerous practices such fur farming and the trade in live wildlife. 

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