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Public urged: To avoid Ebola, don’t keep exotic animals

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By By Evelyn Macairan | Philippine Star To lessen chances of getting infected by the Ebola Reston Virus, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) urged the public to refrain from keeping exotic animals as pets.

EbolaAshley Fruno of PETA on Friday said reports of an outbreak of Ebola Reston Virus in monkeys should warn the public to protect themselves by respecting the habitat of wild animals.

“The best way to stop the spread of illnesses from exotic pets, such as monkeys, snakes and birds, is to boycott the exotic-animal trade,” she said.

Fruno admitted that, “the threat of potentially deadly diseases carried by exotic animals that are kept as pets or in classrooms is very real.”

“The bottom line is that monkeys belong to the wild, not in cages nor chained,” she stressed.

She pointed out that a “staggering” 75 percent of emerging human illnesses worldwide are linked to wild animals and that 61 percent of all known human diseases are possibly zoonotic-related, referring to sickness that can be transmitted from animals to people, such as rabies, anthrax and plague.

Earlier, Agriculture Undersecretary for Livestock Jose Reaño advised the public, especially those who have pet monkeys at home, to avoid contact as a precautionary measure against the dreaded Ebola disease.

“Don’t keep monkeys as pets. If they are ill, surrender them to authorities so they could get the proper screening and treatment,” Reaño said.

He said the agriculture department is looking at bats as the possible source of the local Ebola virus as previous outbreaks, including the Ebola Zaire that is infectious to humans, have been traced to bats.

Government officials earlier assured the public that the Ebola Reston Virus strain found in some monkeys in the country does not have any harmful effect on humans.


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