UPDATE 1/25/21: Senate Bill 37, the Senate version of Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2021, was reintroduced and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Also, the House version was assigned a number, HR151.
UPDATE 1/4/21: After being introduced last session and not passing, this bill is back in 2021 from Representatives Mike Quigley and Fred Upton.
Read the new bill at https://quigley.house.gov/sites/quigley.house.gov/files/QUIGLE_064_xml.pdf.
Preventing Future Pandemics Act
This Act has been introduced in both the House and Senate. The Act is reported to “address the public health risks posed by wildlife markets, and for other purposes.”
Stakeholders and advocacy groups representing affected members, including USARK, have been working to educate Congress about issues revolving around zoonoses (diseases or infections that are naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans) and animals. While animal rights groups flagrantly called for blanket bans on everything associated with animals, including pets, our side worked to educate rather than practice scare tactics.
The Act defines wildlife market. A wildlife market is a commercial market that sells or slaughters terrestrial, including avian, wildlife for human consumption as food or medicine, whether the animals originated in the wild or in a captive environment, and delivers a product in communities where alternative nutritional or protein sources are available. It does not include markets in areas where no other practical alternative sources of protein or meat exist, such as wildlife markets in rural areas on which indigenous people rely to feed themselves and their families. Human consumption is also defined and shall include all consumption as food or medicine except consumption that is incidental to lawful hunting activity.
The Act would ban the import, export, and sale of live wildlife for human consumption, and the State Department would be directed to work with other nations to similarly outlaw the practice elsewhere.
Alternative bills and language had (and have as some drafts are still floating around Congress) harsh implications for herpetoculture but this bill has been directed at its intended target thanks to rational education efforts from stakeholder parties.