How the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts Animals

For communities across the world, 2020 has been a tumultuous season. The SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) spread from a couple of people in a Chinese wildlife market to over 72 million individuals at the end of the year. Yet we were not the pandemic’s just victims.

Animals suffered both by getting ill with the virus and by the socioeconomic impacts of the outbreak. The pandemic also highlighted the deadly costs of animal exploitation. Experts warn that we will need to fundamentally change our relationship with animals, especially wildlife and farm animals, to prevent future pandemics.

The pandemic and wildlife
The COVID-19 pandemic is thought to have originated at a wildlife market in Wuhan, China. The current pandemic is far from the only public health crisis traced back into wild animals. Back in 2003, SARS passed from civets to humans in a Chinese wildlife market. Ebola and HIV are believed to have been transmitted to people from bushmeat hunting.

The report cautioned that without significant modifications,” pandemics will emerge often, spread more quickly, kill more people, and affect the global market with much more devastating effect than ever before.”

Wild creatures available at markets are usually stored in crowded conditions and slaughtered on websites, which can cause the spread of bodily fluids like blood and feces. The newspaper was sent to authorities around the world, asking them to take action. In the USA, the HSUS is advocating for the passage of this Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2020, which would ban the import, export, and sale of particular live wildlife for human consumption.

The pandemic and animals raised for fur
Mink fur farms in the Netherlands, U.S., Denmark, France, Spain, Sweden, Lithuania, Greece, Poland, and Italy have experienced outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2. Countless mink died from the virus from the U.S. alone after infected mink were discovered on fur farms in Wisconsin, Utah, Michigan, and Oregon.

Veterinary professionals together with the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association noted that it is not surprising that even fur farms have experienced outbreaks of the virus. Very similar to forest markets, animals in fur farms tend to be housed in crowded conditions where they are subjected to bodily fluids. A Humane Society International/U. K. evaluation of a Finnish fur farm in 2019 found foxes and mink experiencing gaping wounds and eye infections and dead creatures lying in cages, sometimes being consumed by other animals. Inhumane living conditions can raise anxiety levels, consequently weakening the animals’ immune systems and making them susceptible to the virus.

The pandemic and animals used in research
Scientists working to understand the virus and examine vaccines utilize animals such as mice, ferrets, and primates as study subjects. Specifically, primates are utilized to check the effectiveness of vaccines because of their genetic similarity to humans. Researchers have used so many primates for COVID-19 research that labs claim they’re undergoing fighter shortages. But Lindsay Marshall, biomedical science advisor in the HSUS and Humane Society International, says that animal research has its limitations.

“These are animals, they have the illness differently than us, they recover differently than us and they are just different,” Marshall says. Most monkey species get just mildly ill from COVID-19 and do not suffer particular severe symptoms that many people do, which hampers researchers’ ability to comprehend how the disease impacts human bodies.

The pandemic and companion animals
During April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 in U.S. pets: 2 cats living in separate homes in New York, one of whom had an owner who had previously tested positive for the virus. In June, a dog tested positive after one of his owners had been ill with COVID-19.

Though other cats and dogs have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the number of confirmed cases is extremely low when compared with the number of pets in the U.S… There are still an estimated 89 million pet dogs and 94 million pet cats in the U.S., but only 49 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in cats and 35 confirmed cases in puppies. Veterinarians believe companion animals are not that susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, even though cats are believed to be at a higher risk than dogs. Even though there is a really small risk of transmission from humans to companion animals, there’s no proof that companion animals can transmit the virus to people. The CDC recommends COVID-19 patients avoid contact with their pets and have others care for their animals, if at all possible.

The pandemic and animals raised for food
As crazy animal meat gained increased scrutiny throughout the ordeal, people also started to rethink their ingestion of animals such as cows, cows, pigs, and fish. A May poll indicates that 52 percent of respondents believe the food industry should concentrate more on plant-based foods. Revenue of plant-based meats and kale have surged since the onset of the pandemic.

While SARS-CoV-2 has been tracked to wildlife, ago zoonotic disease outbreaks–such as avian influenza and swine flu–originated from farm animal surgeries. The United Nations report notes the growth and intensification of agriculture is one of the chief drivers of potential pandemic threat and livestock are one of the most probable reservoirs of pathogens that could cause a future pandemic.

Wild Life: The Most Dangerous in the World

Sharks may star in the bloodiest blockbusters–and sure, spiders tend to monopolize the phobia section –but when you get down to the reality, those are only two types of monsters one of the funniest to stem the planet. In fact, there are lots of ferocious beasts, both big and small, which are downright deadly. From actively contributing to significant loss of human life, to packaging enough venom to put unlucky travelers out of commission, then here are the 13 most dangerous animals in the world–and where to see them.

Saltwater Crocodile
Florida’s alligators could be scary, but they have nothing on their cousin, the fearsome crocodile, that is more short-tempered, easily provoked, and competitive toward anything that crosses its path. Of all of the species on the Earth, the largest–and most dangerous–is that the saltwater crocodile. These ferocious killers can grow up to 23 feet in length, weigh over a ton, and are proven to kill hundreds every year, together with crocodiles as a whole responsible for more human fatalities annually than sharks. If that’s not enough to scare you, place it in perspective: Individuals chomp to a well-done beef at around 200 psi, a mere five percent of their potency of a saltie’s jaw.

Black Mamba
Though species like the boomslang or even the king cobra are harmful thanks to their respective poisons, the black mamba is especially deadly due to its speed. The species (which may grow up to 14 feet ) is the quickest of all snakes, slithering at speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour, which makes escaping one in remote areas that much more difficult. Thankfully, black mambas usually only hit when threatened–but if they do, they’ll bite repeatedly, providing enough venom (a blend of neuro- and cardiotoxins) in one bite to kill ten people. And if a person does not receive the correlative antivenom within 20 minutes, the bites are nearly 100% fatal.

Pufferfish, also called blowfish, is situated in tropical waters around the world. Although they’re the second most toxic vertebrate on the planet (following the golden arrow dart frog), they are arguably more harmful as their neurotoxin (called tetrodotoxin) is located from the fish’s skin, muscle tissue, liver, kidneys, and gonads, all of which must be prevented when preparing the creature for human consumption. Indeed, while wild experiences are definitely dangerous, the risk of passing from a pufferfish raises when eating it in countries like Japan, where it is regarded as a delicacy known as fugu and can only be prepared by trained, accredited chefs–then, accidental deaths from ingestion happen several times each year. The tetrodotoxin is left up to 1,200 times more poisonous than that of cyanide, and can lead to deadening of the lips and tongue, dizziness, vomiting, arrhythmia, difficulty breathing, and muscle paralysis, and, if left untreated, death.

Indian Saw-Scaled Viper
Whilst plenty of snake species bunch enough venom to bring down a human, not all of them take the multifaceted way of the Indian saw-scaled viper, which is why they are among the top contributors to snakebite instances. Sometimes known as the modest Indian viper or just the saw-scaled viper, these reptiles reside in some of the most populated areas of the range that they occupy, which extends well beyond India. They remain inconspicuous by utilizing their natural camouflage to blend into desert surroundings. Because they are generally active at night, it’s best to listen for their defensive sizzling sound; this comes from a behavior called stridulation, where the snake kinds coil and rubs its scales together. Despite the caution, saw-scaled vipers are extremely aggressive, with over twice a deadly dose into every bite. (Luckily, there’s a powerful antivenom.)

Box Jellyfish
Often found floating (or gradually moving at rates close to five miles per hour) from Indo-Pacific waters, these transparent, nearly invisible invertebrates are¬†considered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the most venomous marine animal. Their namesake cubic frames comprise up to 15 tentacles at the corners, with every growing up to 10 feet long, all lined with tens of thousands of stinging cells–called nematocysts–that contain toxins that simultaneously attack the heart, nervous system, and skin tissues. Even though antivenoms do exist, the venom is so overwhelming and potent that lots of human victims, of the hundreds of reported deadly encounters every year their namesake cubic frames, comprise up to 15 tentacles at the corners, with every growing up to 10 feet long, all lined with tens of thousands of stinging cells–called nematocysts–that contain toxins that simultaneously attack the heart, nervous system, and skin tissues. Even though antivenoms do exist, the venom is so overwhelming and potent that lots of human victims, of the hundreds of reported deadly encounters every year. Even if you’re lucky enough to make it to the hospital and get the antidote, survivors can at times experience considerable pain for weeks then, and keep nasty scars in the animal’s tentacles.

Golden Poison Dart Frog
The poison dart is a big, diverse collection of brightly colored frogs, of which only a handful of species are particularly dangerous to people. Its poison, known as batrachotoxin, is so powerful that there is enough in 1 frog to kill ten grown men, with only two micrograms–roughly the amount which would fit onto the head of a pin–needed to kill one individual. Small wonder that the indigenous Ember√° individuals have laced the tips of their blow darts employed for hunting with the frog’s poison for centuries. Sadly, deforestation has got the frog on several endangered lists, however even if you do have a rare sighting if trekking, don’t go reaching for it.