THE ANSWER TO THIS ZOONOTIC QUESTION IS “A LOT.”

Here’s a word to add to your vocabulary, and of life-threatening significance:  “zoonotic,” as in animals passing deadly viruses to humans that result in worldwide pandemics. Think SARS, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, MERS, avian flues and oh, have you heard about COVID-19? Specifically, the COVID-19 crisis has produced an avalanche of employee rights and employer duties focused articles concerning medical leave, unemployment insurance, disability discrimination, health and safety laws for a safe work environment, and of course, massive federal legislation intended to help employees and employers financially through the crisis.

CHINA TO CHANGE WILDLIFE LAWS THAT WILL PRESENT UNDUE RISK OF VIRUS TRANSMISSION FROM ANIMALS TO HUMANS.

People eating wild animals are a superhighway for such viruses.  AIDS/HIV is thought to be the result of people eating wild monkeys.  The current suspect for HIV, other than the usual “God is bringing this upon us for our sins” is the Chinese traditional medicine practice of using wild animals [supposedly raised in captivity, and so not “wild” and allowed] such as bears, bamboo bats, civets, snakes, tigers, and pangolins.  Animal farming generally can be breeding grounds for zoonotic viruses, as we know from the avian flu source that originated in Chinese chicken farming operations.  But wildlife harvesting is another, well, “wild”-card in the virus deck.

What drives this wildlife harvesting?  Traditional Chinese medicine is big business.  How about a shot of “tan re jing?”  The main ingredient is bear bile taken from often sick bears with tubes inserted into their gall bladders.  Have you had your daily dose of bat feces, or your ground bat body parts used drunk as a “detox?”  How about a glass of tiger bone wine during dinner?  Or maybe deer musk and cow gallstone sprinkled on your spinach?  Sorry, I’m not making this up as to the ingredients.  While this may not be your first choice on the menu, these remedies turn deadly, and reach a neighborhood near you, as we see in the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Henan Province, where Wuhan is located, has a billion-dollar trade in wildlife farming where local farmers can earn high incomes for animal parts sold to the traditional medicine industry.  These farming operations are legal in China, at least for now, and even encouraged by the provincial governments.  How China reconsiders its current wildlife and conservation laws will decide the medical fate of people throughout the world.

[This article is derived from the work of Nicole Liu and Gaochao Zhang of the Los Angeles Times Bejing bureau.  I really can’t take any credit for this arcane kind of information gathering.  See: https://enewspaper.latimes.com/desktop/latimes/default.aspx?edid=e5c0a00a-0337-4b10-a5ca-7682bda945c8