WHO: Live animal exports could spread 'ghastly disease,' must stop

"I think it's getting to a stage where it can't be safe and it's not nice you see the suffering of animals."

A calf in a live animal transport (photo credit: ANIMALS NOW)
A calf in a live animal transport
(photo credit: ANIMALS NOW)
An epidemiologist from the World Health Organization warned that live animal exports could spread a "ghastly disease" and must be stopped in an interview with The Project on Sunday.
"A pandemic of some sort was inevitable," explained Prof. Marylouise McLaws, a member of the WHO Health Emergencies Program Experts Advisory Panel for Infection Prevention and Control Preparedness, Readiness and Response to COVID-19. "As soon as you push the natural environment further in and they've got nowhere else to go, humans and animals will mix, and not respectfully."
"I think it's getting to a stage where it can't be safe and it's not nice you see the suffering of animals," added McLaws, stressing that live animal trade has to stop.
Mclaws stated that she realized ending live animal exports "won't be liked" and admitted that she didn't think it would change until "maybe there's an outbreak of some ghastly disease in animals while they're being shipped to other countries."
Last year, an outbreak of tuberculosis was found in cows from Portugal that had been imported to Israel, according to Globes.
There are six proposals that are being brought to the Knesset plenum for a gradual end to the live transports by both coalition and opposition MKs. A proposal by Coalition Chairman Miki Zohar had been approved in an initial reading in the 20th Knesset but the legislative process ended after elections were called.
The proposals would have the transports end within three years. "The animals are imported from Australia and Europe, on lengthy sea voyages, which can take weeks," read the explanatory notes of the bill. "During the journey, the animals are kept in heavy density, wallowing in their feces and that of their fellows, and suffer from intense heat, bumps and other serious injuries. Many of them are sick and many do not survive." 
"Experts and professional bodies in Israel and around the world all share the position that the transport of live animals should be avoided as much as possible, the transport durations should be shortened as much as possible and live transports should be converted into the meat trade," continued the explanatory notes.
"The live shipping industry is interested in one thing - money. Any other consideration, animal welfare or public health simply does not interest them," said Animals Now, an Israeli non-profit aimed for animals rights. "The businessmen of this industry are packing together animals at an unimaginable density for days and weeks, wallowing in their own feces, so it is clear that the diseases will run wild. For the sake of animals, for the sake of our health, we must hurry up and promote legislation to stop live shipments already in the current Knesset."
Some 315,770 calves and lambs were imported into Israel in the first half of 2020, marking a drop of about 16% compared to the first half of 2019.