HWH Commentary: Scientists worldwide (according to news stories) keep saying that transmission between humans and non-human animals or vice versa is not possible, yet they trace the original transmission to bats. Bats are non-human animals.
Now they say that domestic animals cannot pass the virus onto humans, but they’re vaccinating domestic animals. Against whom? Who are they vaccinating them against? When humans get vaccinated it is most people’s understanding that the purpose is to keep the virus from spreading to other people.
“A recent coronavirus cluster in humans traced to a pet shop worker prompted checks on hundreds of animals in the Chinese-ruled territory, with 11 hamsters found infected, officials said.”
- At first glance one could say that either the the hamsters passed the virus onto the workers, or the workers passed the virus onto the hamsters. That human and non-human in the same location contracted the virus would lead anyone to conclude that the two were connected.
- That doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. It could be that the workers who contracted the disease did so from other workers or from friends and family outside of work. The hamsters could have just happened to have the same virus and been infected before they arrived at the pet shop.
- Or one of the hamsters could have been exposed to the virus before arriving and later infected the other hamsters at the shop.
It may have been a wiser choice to stop farming minks for fur. That being said, how did all these minks contract the virus? The virus had to jump at some point from another animal or another source. An animal doesn’t just start blooming the virus on it’s own. The original animal had to pick it up someplace. In the soil, the water, the food, something humans were disposing of, or some conditions that attracted the virus that made it airborne and isolated and warm and moist enough to keep the virus alive.
Stop eating animals, experimenting on animals, wearing animals.
The reason it appears that the virus doesn’t jump from one type animal to another is that animals are housed according to type. No one mingles cows with pigs and chickens in the same factory farms. Nor minks with foxes on the same farm. Or goats with lambs.
Herds are separated by animal type. It’s the herd in closed unsanitary environments that create the conditions for a virus to emerge, take hold and spread.
Inside or outside. Could happen in both environments.
January 18, 20229:11 AM EST Last Updated an hour ago China
Hong Kong to cull 2,000 hamsters after COVID-19 outbreak
- Hamsters to be put down after positive coronavirus tests
- Hong Kong tests hundreds of rodents, chinchillas and rabbits
- Territory follows China’s strict COVID-19 regime
- Infected hamsters came from Netherlands – TV
- Russia and Denmark also took action over animals in pandemic
HONG KONG, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Hong Kong warned people not to kiss pets and ordered a mass cull of hamsters on Tuesday, to the outrage of animal-lovers, after 11 of the rodents tested positive for COVID-19.
A recent coronavirus cluster in humans traced to a pet shop worker prompted checks on hundreds of animals in the Chinese-ruled territory, with 11 hamsters found infected, officials said.
Echoing the mainland’s zero-tolerance policy even as much of the world shifts to living with COVID, Hong Kong ordered 2,000 hamsters “humanely” put down, and imports and sales stopped.Report ad
Various pet shops were shuttered and disinfected around the city, while men in protective gear scoured the store at the heart of the cluster in the bustling Causeway Bay district.
The local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which runs veterinary clinics, urged a rethink.
“The SPCA is shocked and concerned over the recent government announcement on the handling of over 2,000 small animals, which did not take animal welfare and the human-animal bond into consideration,” it said.Report ad
Health Secretary Sophia Chan told a news conference authorities were acting out of caution even though there was no evidence domestic animals can infect humans.
“Pet owners should keep a good hygiene practice, including washing hands after touching the animals, handling their food or other items, and avoid kissing the animals,” Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department director Leung Siu-fai Leung also told reporters.Report ad
Hong Kong has also been testing rabbits and chinchillas but only the hamsters were positive. They were all imported from the Netherlands, according to local broadcaster RTHK.
Around the world, there have been coronavirus cases in dogs and cats too, though scientists say there is no evidence animals play a major role in human contagion.
Leung said the Hong Kong hamsters had to be put down as it was impossible to quarantine and observe each one. Buyers of hamsters after Dec. 22, 2021 should hand them to authorities for culling and not leave them on streets, he added.
A hotline for enquiries was being set up, while some 150 of the pet shop’s customers were going into quarantine, officials said.
Elsewhere, Denmark culled millions of mink in 2020 to curb COVID-19 mutations. And some Russian regions have inoculated animals against COVID-19 after Moscow said it had registered the world’s first vaccine for animals following tests with dogs, cats, foxes and mink. read more
Nikolaus Osterrieder, dean of the Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences at the City University of Hong Kong, said human-to-animal-to-human transmission chains are rare but do happen as with mink cases.
“It is obviously a drastic measure but one that is a consequence of zero Covid (rules),” he said of Hong Kong’s moves. “Hamsters are very susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and can produce large amounts of virus.”
Global welfare group World Animal Protection said the measures were premature. “Culling animals should always be a last resort and we encourage governments to explore other options, such as quarantine, first,” said research head Jan Schmidt-Burbach.
After three months without any local transmission, Hong Kong has seen dozens of new coronavirus cases in humans this year, triggering fresh curbs on flights and social life.
Thousands of people have been sent to a makeshift government quarantine facility. Most of the new cases are of the highly-contagious new Omicron variety, though the cluster traced to a pet shop worker was Delta.
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