Merlin’s op-ed, “A Viral Witch Hunt,” published in Issues in Science and Technology on March 27, 2020 illustrates how misguided focus on bats as speculated sources of scary diseases threatens an invaluable resource and leads to misdirection of public health resources.
It’s a call to action to improve our personal health as well as that of the natural world. To hold both scientists and news media accountable for reporting facts in perspective, instead of out-of-context speculation that leads to panic and irresponsible actions. And to stop the misappropriation of public health funding.
Despite the current focus on pandemics, responsible stewardship should be the dominant concern of our time.
Blaming bats or pangolins for the COVID-19 outbreak is pointless and pointing to bats as possible sources of long-ago pangolin infection is irrelevant. Those who rationalize frightening people with exaggerated disease claims as long as they extol values and warn against killing need to see the following examples in Indonesia, Peru, and China understanding that the majority of such instances go unreported.
- Covid-19: The Public Scapegoating Of Bats Needs To Stop By Sheema Abdul Aziz
- COVID-19 drives new threat to bats in China By Huabin Zhao
- Roosting with Bats: Among Nature’s Most Misunderstood Animals By Tigga Kingston
- Opinion: Far from Being our Enemies, Bats Need Protection now more than ever By Anne Fraenkel
- Good Intentions Can Still Leave a Bad Taste By Merlin Tuttle and Danielle Cordani
- Guidelines for communicating about bats to prevent persecution in the time of COVID-19 by Richard Rocha and Douglas MacFarlane