Look Oregon Passes Law to Prevent Spread of Health Issues

PORTLAND, Ore.- Governor Kate Brown today signed a bill to help Oregon prevent the spread of zoonotic health problems related to the importation, trade and handling of wildlife. H.B. 4128 was passed with bipartisan support from the Oregon legislature.

“It’s so exciting to see how Oregon can make efforts to prevent future public health crises by boosting wildlife exploitation,” said Quinn Read, Oregon Policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The trade and the wildlife trade favor the increase in health problems that spread from animals to humans, and they are key factors in the extinction crisis.”


H.B. 4128 will help prevent the zoonotic transmission of health problems by prohibiting the importation of wild species classified as peril to health. This will help prevent future public health epidemics and economic disruptions by reducing the possibility of transmission of zoonotic health problems related to the importation, trade and handling of wildlife species. It will also strengthen the coordination of public bodies and improve prevention, surveillance and intervention plans.

Most of the worst and recent epidemics in recent decades, Ebola, avian influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome, are likely to spread from animals to humans, which is why they are called zoonotic health problems.

Zoonotic health problems are on the rise due to habitat loss, climate change and wildlife exploitation, including trade and transport. All these factors bring people closer to the animal world and create optimal conditions for the spread of the health problem.

New zoonotic agents pose a serious threat to public health, biodiversity and economic stability. The public health costs of wildlife health problems are enormous and tend to burden BIPOC communities disproportionately due to poor access to health care and structural discrimination.


Background

The United States is one of the world’s leading importers of wild animals, consuming about 20% of the world wildlife market. Every year, the United States imports about 225 million live animals and 883 million specimens. Live animal markets bring together wild animals, domestic animals and people who would otherwise not come into contact, which can spread the health problem between species and to humans.

H.B. 4128 contains four important provisions. First, in consultation with the Oregon Department of Health, the Oregon Police Department, the Oregon Department of agriculture, and the Oregon Department of Fish and wildlife, the office of legislative policy and research is to produce a report on the current framework for monitoring, preventing, and responding to environmental problems, and


Secondly, the Ministry of Fisheries and Wildlife must review and update the List of prohibited species that the Commission considers necessary to protect itself from significant risks to public health associated with zoonoses. The agency will also update the List of prohibited Species if the state health authorities emphasize that a wild species poses a significant risk to public health with regard to zoonoses.

Thirdly, wild animals cannot be kept and sold alive for human consumption, with the exception of animals used on the farm under state law.

Finally, the Ministry of Fisheries and Wildlife must take public health and zoonotic risks into account when adopting regulations governing the detention and capture of wild animals.

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