It’s no secret that Leonardo DiCaprio is passionate about environmental issues. In 1998, he founded the eponymous Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to help tackle some of the world’s biggest environmental problems. The Academy Award-winning actor has also produced a number of environment-focused documentaries and movies and encouraged others to speak out against climate change. But recently, he turned his attention to human health and ending the wildlife trade.
DiCaprio expressed his support for the Preventing Future Pandemics Act to his more than 46 million followers on Instagram.
The bipartisan bill—introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and John Cornyn (R-TX)—aims to shut down live animal markets. It also aims to stop the trade of certain wildlife for human consumption.
“If you care about preventing the next pandemic, please ask your Senator to co-sponsor Senate Bill S. 4749, the ‘Preventing Future Pandemics Act,’ introduced by @corybooker and @johncornyn,” DiCaprio wrote at the beginning of October. “So that we can reduce the risk of a pandemic like COVID happening again.”
What Is Senate Bill S. 4249, the ‘Preventing Future Pandemics Act’?
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is believed to be zoonotic. This means that, at some point, it jumped the species barrier from animals to humans. Experts are still unsure about where and when this happened exactly. But many believe the initial transmission occurred at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, in Wuhan, China. The market was a live animal and seafood market.
The new legislation would establish official foreign policy for the United States. It would enable the country to work with state and non-state partners to put an end to the wildlife trade and shut down commercial wildlife markets for good.
According to Booker’s website, it would also “build international coalitions to reduce the demand for wildlife as food, recognizing that there are still rural communities around the world that lack adequate alternative food sources.”
The New Jersey Senator said in a statement: “As we continue to fight to get the spread of COVID-19 under control here in the United States, we must also be working with our international partners to prevent another deadly pandemic from occurring; that means working urgently to shut down commercial wildlife markets and end the international trade in live wildlife.”
If you want to express your support for the bill to your Senator, you can find their information and contact details here. If you’re not sure what to say or write, find a pre-written letter by the Humane Society of the United States here.