On Wednesday, World Animal Protection, a global animal welfare non-profit organization, fired off a letter to Camp Jordan Arena asking officials there to end its relationship with a national reptile expo company to help prevent the next possible pandemic.
In an open letter, the organization called on Adam Wilson, Parks and Recreation Director, to no longer host Repticon, the latest of which is scheduled to take place this weekend, Oct. 23-25. World Animal Protection has also reached out to local health officials in the area to put an end to the hosting of these events.
Ben Williamson, U.S. programs director, says: “It’s inconceivable that when many states are still seeing increases in the number of Covid-19 cases that the Camp Jordan Arena would consider playing host a second time to a live wild animal market. While Covid-19 is believed to have started many thousands of miles away in Wuhan, China, the conditions of live animals being confined together in close proximity to humans are remarkably similar to those we’ve investigated at U.S. reptile markets such as Repticon.
“Reptiles are known vectors of zoonotic diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention holds them responsible for salmonellosis outbreaks every year which hospitalize people. Households with children under five are specifically warned against keeping reptiles, yet worryingly, there are no age restrictions at these events. At a time when we’re observing the CDC’s advice over Covid-19, it seems crazy not to follow its guidance on avoiding contact with reptiles.
“No amount of hand-sanitizer or social distancing is going to make reptile expos completely safe for humans and animals. It’s time to cut its ties with this risky business once and for all.”
East Ridge City Manager Chris Dorsey said he had not seen any letter from the organization. He had no comment.