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A Real Natural Disaster: How COVID-19 and Vaccines Are Hitting Animals

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: November 15, 2021
Beautiful deer graze in Japan. SARS-CoV-2 is hitting wild and captive animal populations while a Pfizer-linked company is racing to distribute animal vaccines.
Deer graze next to a pagoda on May 18, 2021 in Itsukushima, Japan. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been found in the U.S. deer population, pet cats and dogs, and zoo-hosted large cats, among others. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), SARS-CoV-2, is an entity that, more-likely-than-not, was created as a result of gain of function research conducted in Chinese Communist Party facilities and partially sponsored by U.S. funding. For all the damage the resulting pandemic has done to the human race, the novel coronavirus’s zoonotic attribute is beginning to manifest sharply in the animal population. 

In one example, a new pre-print study published on Nov. 6 by U.S. and UK researchers tested 283 retropharyngeal lymph node samples from 151 wild and 132 captive white tail deer in Iowa, finding 94 positive PCR tests, amounting to a 33.2 percent infection rate. 

Genome sequencing of the samples found 12 different lineages of SARS-CoV-2, 75 percent of which were clustered into the B 1.2 and B 1.311 strains, which are different from the Delta variant.

The paper also found, “The geographic distribution and nesting of clusters of deer and human lineages strongly suggest multiple zooanthroponotic [human-to-animal] spillover events and deer-to-deer transmission.”

The samples studied are quite old, taken between September of 2020 and January of 2021, “A period that coincided with the regular deer hunting season in Iowa.”

Researchers noted, “Coinciding with the major peak of infection in humans in Iowa, the positivity rate in deer rapidly increased.”

A separate July study, which is also still in pre-print status, had slightly more current data, comparing deer serum samples collected from 2011 to 2020 against “samples collected in 2021” taken from Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

That paper found that 40 percent of 2021’s deer samples contained SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, indicating previous infection.

The Nov. 6 study notes that because SARS-CoV-2 uses the “angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptor to enter cells,” and that “ACE-2 receptors are well conserved across vertebrate species including humans,” many animal species are facing the same risk of pandemic infection that human society does.

Zoos and vaccines

Unfortunately, wild deer aren’t the only victims of gain of function research. On Nov. 12, Lincoln’s Children’s Zoo in Nebraska announced on Facebook that three snow leopards, Ranney, Everest, and Makalu, who called the facility home “passed away due to complications of COVID-19.”

The Zoo also quietly noted that a pair of Sumatran tigers, Axl, and Kumar, fortunately recovered from their infection. 

The same day, Associated Press reported that two hyenas at the Denver Zoo tested positive for the virus, but noted the cases were only caught amid a throng of testing that resulted “after several lions at the facility became ill.”

Eleven lions and two tigers joined the hyenas on the Zoo’s COVID sick list. The hyenas, who are in their 20s, are reportedly “experiencing mild symptoms, including slight lethargy, some nasal discharge and an occasional cough.”

Nov. 12 was a landmark day for the novel coronavirus in its efforts to infect and sicken living beings. The same day, two African lions, two snow leopards, two jaguars, an Amur tiger, and a puma at the St. Louis Zoo were all diagnosed with COVID, also according to AP.

In the St. Louis case, the article noted the animals fell ill after being given the first injection of a COVID-19 vaccine series, “Officials suspect the animals became infected after they received their first dose of an animal-specific version of the COVID-19 vaccine but before they received their second dose.”

The article also stated that “All staff members are required to be vaccinated and to wear masks indoors and around potentially at-risk animals.”

Vaccination of zoo animals has been a hot trend. The same day, NBC affiliate TMJ4 reported that the Milwaukee County Zoo would begin distributing an injection “similar to the Pfizer vaccine that humans have been getting for the better part of a year now” that had been “donated by the animal health company Zoetis.”

The trend has been ongoing. As far back as July, The American Spectator reported that U.S. zoos have been administering Zoetis’s injection to animals. 

An August article by website MiBiz notes that Zoetis is “a former Pfizer subsidiary that was spun off into an independent company.”

In October, Robert Malone, a scientist who played a major role in the development of the Messenger RNA technology used in today’s breed of novel gene therapy COVID vaccines, argued that the vaccinated have are actually become “super spreaders” as a result of a combination of the injections’ ability to mask symptoms of infection and inability to prevent either infection or transmission. 

“If you consider the scientific fact that vaccinated people have less symptoms than the unvaccinated, but can still easily spread disease, consider your fellow vaccinated worker, whose unvaccinated son brought the disease home and gave it to him,” said Malone on The Hidden Gateway podcast. 

“He might not have any symptoms…but he’ll definitely be producing the virus. And he’s going to say, hey, I can go to work today. But he’s going to be spreading the virus like crazy.”

Inhumane treatment

While the CDC notes on its Animals and COVID-19 webpage, updated Oct. 5, that “the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people is considered to be low,” the opposite may not be true. 

UK-based The Independent reported on Nov. 11 that a pet dog contracted the disease from an owner, but was only discovered because the animal was “undergoing treatment for another unrelated condition.”

While the instance was the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, a July article by the same outlet cited a study that found 20 percent of cats and dogs tested either registered a positive PCR test or tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

On Nov. 13, the U.S. branch of The Sun tabloid reported that CCP officials in mainland China had begun slaughtering the pets of individuals tagged with a positive PCR test under the communist regime’s “zero-tolerance” COVID policy.

The article cited Chinese social media reports where a Chengdu resident said her cats were killed after she was placed in a government run quarantine camp, and a September instance where “community workers” killed three cats owned by a Harbin woman after “she, and later they, tested positive.”

On Nov. 13, authorities in China’s Jiangxi Province confirmed — after great public uproar — that epidemic control staff had beaten a woman’s pet Corgi to death with a crowbar. The news got out as the woman, surnamed Fu, was in quarantine watching the small dog’s killing via a security camera link. Fu, who tested negative for the virus, posted the video online where it stirred outrage.

In August, Australian officials of a shire 750 kilometers northwest of Sydney shot 16 impounded dogs simply to prevent a pre-arranged professional rescue team from attending the site.

The local government told the Sydney Morning Herald the massacre was in the name of “protect[ing] its employees and community, including vulnerable Aboriginal populations, from the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

Perhaps the most egregious case of animal slaughter in the name of COVID, however, was in November of 2020 when Denmark executed no less than 17 million mink under government mandate after outbreaks were found at more than 200 farms.

All animals were ordered killed, whether healthy or infected.

A December of 2020 article by NBC noted the aftermath brought problems of its own, “Since the mass slaughter, hundreds of mink carcasses have emerged from their graves.”

“Buried in shallow pits and trenches in Western Denmark, the dead minks were pushed out of the ground by gas emitted from their decomposing bodies, leading to more outrage and concern.”