Dossier Coronavirus and Animals
One year after the first infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were detected, the world population still fights against the COVID-19 pandemic from different professional perspectives. After the rise of this virus, despite some speculations assuming its cause is a human conspiracy, most of the scientific community assures that its origin is natural. Considering it as a zoonotic disease, studies examine the relationship between the disease, non-human animals and us. In this Dossier on Coronavirus and Animals some of these theories and multidisciplinary observations are raised; they seek to analyze to what extent humans are to blame for the origin of this pandemic, what is the role played by some human utilizations of animals and what legislations could stop and prevent in the future similar situations.
Marita Giménez-Candela, Director of the ICALP, underlines the need for a legal regulation that considers the role of the bees as protectors of biodiversity (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.558). Her editorial on the leading role of pollinating insects, which is key for preserving the planet and ecosystems, paves the way for the work presented by the General Directorate of Animal Rights (Spain) during the Webinar on Coronavirus and Animals (ICALP). Lead by its director Sergio García Torres, this institution works to ensure Animal welfare during the pandemic (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.547).
Written by great professionals, eleven articles are presented in this Dossier. Joan Amenós Álamo, professor of administrative law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, in “Pandemic and the flight from the masses. The new demand for accommodation in less dense environments in contact with vegetation and fauna” examines the increased demand for green and natural areas driven by the pandemic and the readjustment of the relations between an anthropic society and animals (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.533). Charlotte E. Blattner, researcher and professor at the University of Bern (Switzerland), continues in this line; in her article "From Zoonosis to Zoopolis" she offers a reflection on the establishment of an interspecies society between humans and domestic animals, and the recognition of wild animals as sovereigns (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.524). The professor of history of law and institutions and contemporary legal systems at the UAB, Josep Cañabate, analyzes the treatment of animal data from the perspective of data protection regulations in “Privacy and the data protection of animals? A necessary debate in times of the COVID-19 pandemic” (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.545). For his part, Riccardo Cardilli, professor of roman law at the Tor Vergata University in Rome (Italy), explains in " Covid-19 and Law: The Legal Science of the XXI Century in the Age of the 'Great Pandemic'" the concepts of pandemic and epidemic, reminding some historical moments such as the Antonine plague in the Roman Empire and the epidemic in Athens (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.529). Maureen O'Sullivan García, from the National University of Ireland (Galway), describes several European cases related to the legal treatment of veganism and vegetarianism. In "Vegetarian and vegan rights in Europe: chickening out or egging them on?" she focuses on the decision of a Court in the United Kingdom with the aim of demonstrating the error of the judge (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.517). The Professor of constitutional law at the UAB, Joan Lluís Pérez Francesch, points out the political focus and reflection on “Elements for a new political paradigm following the Covid-19 crisis. The ethics of care under debate” to develop an ethics of care respect for people, the environment and animal sentience after the coronavirus crisis (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.522). Following this political line, in "COVID-19 Shows the Needs for a Global Animal Law", Anne Peters, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg (Germany), addresses the negative consequences of the livestock and the abuse of animals for consumption. She points to the lack of legislations worldwide, placing the International Office of Epizootics (OIE) as a possible central axis (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.510). The zoonotic origin of the virus is developed by Martí Pumarola Batlle, professor of animal pathology at the UAB, in his article "Animal disease, zoonosis and 'One Health': what we veterinarians have learned throughout history". Historically, he covers some of the situations where veterinarians have collaborated with other professionals to stop the consequences of these diseases, focusing on the concept of “One Health” (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.520). From Brazil, professors Luciano Rocha Santana and Thiago Pires Oliveira propose in "Ethical Foundations of Public Policies for Animal Responsible Guardianship and the COVID-19 Pandemic" to extend to other sentient beings the concept of responsible guardianship related to responsible pet ownership (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.536). For his part, Justice Alberto Varona Jiménez presents the legal perspective on the abandonment of animals and the need for their de-objectification in " Animal abandonment in times of pandemic: constitutional, civil and criminal perspectives" (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.513). ICALP researcher Silvia Zanini reflects on the need to opt for an ecosystem approach capable of balancing biotic and abiotic components and on its influence on human well-being in “Covid-19 and the man-nature relationship: the balance violated. Reflections on managing the complexity of pandemics: from ecosystem protection to the precautionary principle ” (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.542).
The Global Executive Director of Compassion in World Farming, Philip Lymbery, contributes to this Dossier on Coronavirus and animals with " Covid-19: How Industrial Animal Agriculture Fuels Pandemics", where he relates intensive farming and the origin of diseases that cause global crises (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.514). With the aim of discussing the results of a previous study on the effects of COVID-19 on people, their dogs and cats, the authors Jaume Fatjó, Elena García, Patricia Darder, Juan Argüelles and Jonathan Bowen present “The bond with dogs and cats during the COVID-19 pandemic state of alarm in Spain” (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.544). For his part, Juan Pablo Meneses, Director of the Portable University and the UAB Master of Journalism, criticizes in “Non-fiction literature, animals and pandemic. The case of the book 'The life of a cow'” the generalization and consideration of animals as data in the media when stalking about them in crisis like this. He discusses how non-fiction literature can contribute to this problem (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.527). With an ethical perspective, Brenda Yesenia Olalde Vázquez, a Master in Constitutional Procedural Law at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, explains that human beings had to adapt their relationship with non-human animals in “Covid-19 and animals: an opportunity for the abolition of speciesist slavery?” (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.525). To avoid future zoonotic pandemics, the PhD candidate in Animal Law at the UAB, Martina Pluda, proposes to address the animal trade, the fur industry and livestock in “End the Lockdown for Animals – Reflecting and Campaigning on Three Key Arenas of Human-Animal Interaction Linked to Zoonotic Diseases" (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.543). As Senior Policy Advisor at Compassion in World Farming (UK), Peter Stevenson ensures that non-compliance with animal welfare standards in Europe is legally addressed and sets out the consequences for human health in “Turning the Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy into a far-reaching reform of EU agriculture” (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.521).
To conclude this Dossier on Coronavirus and Animals, a series of documents, comments and annexes originating from different jurisdictions are presented. The Founder and the Legal Director of Fundación Vegetarianos Hoy (Chile), María Ignacia Uribe Rojas and Cristian Apiolaza Acevedo respectively, focus on the fur industry and its responsibility as possible sources of transmission of zoonoses in “Covid-19, fashion and public policy: the dangers of confining wild animals for the fur industry” (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.526). A work is also added on current policies regarding the situation of certain animals during pandemics, such as pets, zoos or aquariums, thanks to the contribution of “Introduction to the current policies in Mexico for non-human animals in the face of pandemics” by attorney Elizabeth Montero Romero (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.531). This possible relation of the pandemic to wild animals and their food consumption in China is addressed by Li-hong Gao and Su Da in "Proposed Amendments to the Wildlife Protection Law of the People's Republic of China" about a legislative change in the country (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.539). The Researcher and Professor of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of the UMSNH, Rosa María De la Torre Torres, writes a comment to the sentence n. 163/2018 of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (Mexico) in “Animal welfare as a constitutional limit to cultural expression in Mexico. Comments on the sentence 163/2018 of The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation” (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.523). To conclude this Dossier and following the line marked by the invited editor, Iván Fructuoso González, lawyer at the Administrative Office of the Courts, a chronicle on the Webinar "Coronavirus and Animals" organized by ICALP between June 22 and June 15 July this year is presented (https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/da.534).
Without further ado, we editors would like to thank all the people who made this publication possible, highlighting the work of each of the authors of this dossier and of the people in charge of reviewing and editing. Their work is absolutely essential to guarantee the quality standards we are committed to improve in each publication. Finally, it is worth highlighting the skills and knowledge of the Advisory Board and the Editorial Board, as well as of each member of the Editorial Team (Raffaela Cersosimo, Melanie Montenegro Pérez, Javier Rosagro, Oliver Wookey, Krizia Said Castagno and the layout editor Andrés Montilla) led by the Founder and Editor-in-Chief, professor Marita Giménez-Candela.