Meng and Fortenberry Introduce Global Wildlife Trade Biosecurity Act

Nov 23, 2020
Press Release
Legislation would help prevent future deadly infectious disease outbreaks
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (NY-06) and Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)—both Members of the powerful House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations that has oversight of State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. foreign policy programs and policies—introduced the Global Wildlife Trade Biosecurity Act which would help combat future deadly virus outbreaks through new U.S. foreign policy programs and policies.
 
The Act would:
 
  • Establish a Global Zoonotic Disease Task Force charged with overseeing the Federal government’s response to worldwide infectious disease outbreaks;
  • Establish an integrated zoonotic diseases program within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to prevent spillover events, epidemics, and pandemics;
  • Require the Administrator of USAID to develop a multisectoral strategy for food security, global health, biodiversity to help reduce demand for wildlife for human consumption; and,
  • Establish a Conservation Corps at USAID comprised of volunteers to implement the multisectoral strategy by delivering technical and strategic assistance to in-country leaders.
 
“I am honored to work with my colleague Congressman Jeff Fortenberry to introduce the Global Wildlife Trade Biosecurity Act that would help combat the spread of future deadly infectious diseases,” said Congresswoman Meng. “We live in an interconnected world where the actions of those in faraway places can have consequences here in the United States. From the novel coronavirus to SARS to the Ebola virus these infectious diseases can bring immense physical and economic harm to the world. Our foreign policy must prioritize investments in programs and people around the world that help communities transition away from the live and fresh wildlife trade, while also filling the gaps of the nutritional needs of those who rely on fresh and live wildlife. This is smart policy and cements U.S. leadership in global health and security. I look forward to our bill becoming law.”
 
“As we fight past the COVID-19 pandemic, a further policy consideration is the transmission of disease in wildlife markets. Our Global Wildlife Trade Biosecurity Act will help prevent virus outbreaks," said Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
 
“The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) commends Congresswoman Grace Meng (D–NY) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) for introducing the Global Wildlife Trade Biosecurity Act that works toward ending the live wildlife trade for human consumption,” said John F. Calvelli, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Banning the trade in live wildlife for human consumption is the first step to bring our planet back on the road to good health. This legislation is the prescription to do just that.”