Preventing Another Pandemic: How Changing the Legal Paradigm Governing Intensive Animal Agriculture Will Reduce the Risk of Future Zoonoses

Kotzmann, Jane; Stonebridge, Morgan

The public health consequences tied to our relationships with animals are significant. The COVID-19 pandemic and previous instances of zo- onotic disease emergence and re-emergence have demonstrated that human relationships with animals can have a profound impact on our health. In the US, the most prevalent human-animal relationship is the one we have with the animals that we eat. This relationship is defined and facilitated by intensive animal agriculture, a practice at high risk of causing zoonotic disease emergence. This Article explores the current regulatory regime governing intensive animal agriculture and argues that it is deficient in the context of zoonotic disease. It argues that this deficiency is a result of the legal anthropocentrism that manifests in practices inherent to intensive animal agriculture and demonstrates that such an approach is unable to adequately manage the risk of future zoonoses. This Article argues for a regulatory approach that acknowl- edges the interdependence of humans, animals, and the environment. It proposes Wild Law as the most appropriate framework to address the risk of zoonotic disease and concludes that intensive animal agriculture would not be permitted under a Wild Law approach due to its inherent inability to operate within the context of an interdependent human-an- imal-environment relationship.


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Also Published In

Columbia Journal of Environmental Law
Columbia University Libraries

More About This Work

Published Here
December 7, 2022


pandemic, covid 19, zoonotic diseease, anthropocentrism, environmental regulation, wild law, human animal environment relationship