Press Releases

New Rep. Katie Porter Legislation Helps Prevent Disease Transmission from Animals to Humans

Bill builds on hearing chaired by Congresswoman that uncovered shortcomings in how the U.S. monitors wildlife diseases

WASHINGTON—New legislation by Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) would equip governments, tribes, and local organizations with more tools to monitor and prevent wildlife diseases. The Wildlife Disease Surveillance for Pandemic Prevention Act would also improve coordination among institutions and strengthen oversight of wildlife imports.

“Disease transmission from animals to humans has become a major threat to our public health and our economy,” said Porter. “My bill takes a proactive approach to wildlife diseases and enables authorities to stop emerging pathogens before Americans are at risk. Early and robust monitoring allows us to respond in the quickest, most effective, and most cost-efficient way.”

According to the CDC, three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. In addition, wildlife diseases can endanger the U.S. food supply and economy. The ongoing, record-breaking outbreak of avian flu has infected at least 99 species of wild birds in 48 states and caused the death of over 50 million farmed and domesticated birds since January 2022.

As Chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Porter led a hearing in which witnesses testified that state and tribal wildlife disease programs lacked the funds, infrastructure, and critical staff, such as wildlife veterinarians, to effectively monitor and respond to wildlife disease.