Factory farming is the ‘single most risky behavior’ for another pandemic, report reveals | Totally Vegan Buzz

Factory farming is the ‘single most risky behavior’ for another pandemic, report reveals

Image: 1968 / shutterstock.com

‘Each new factory farm increases the risk of the next virus spillover – along with the next zoonotic pandemic.

According to leading food awareness organization ProVeg International, intensive animal farming is the “most risky human behaviour in relation to pandemics.” 

In its Food & Pandemics Report, ProVeg explores the crucial connection between the current COVID19 crisis and the global animal-based food system.

The report, which has drawn support from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) states that three high risk human behaviours have encouraged zoonotic diseases and the ensuing pandemics: Destruction of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity, consuming wild animals as food, and farming animals as food.

Recipe for zoonotic pandemics

The report spotlights how our food choices have helped to create a recipe for zoonotic pandemics citing that 75% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonoses.

 It states: “Our appetite for meat, eggs, and dairy has brought us into ever-closer contact with both domesticated and wild animals by keeping ever more of them in increasingly confined spaces and invading ever more of their habitats.”

Factory farming is the ‘single most risky behavior’ for another pandemic
Image: Kharkhan Oleg / shutterstock.com

It explains that dealing with wild animals has brought on the Ebola and Marburg viruses, HIV, the West Nile virus, and the coronaviruses including  SARS, MERS and the ongoing COVID-19; while animals farmed for human consumption have led to diseases such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, the rotavirus, smallpox, and influenza A.

Despite the fact that COVID-19 did not originate in factory farms or slaughterhouses, it has inevitably found its way into them with its multiple impacts. The report explains that “the current pandemic has demonstrated the profound vulnerability and fragility of the animal-agriculture industry, as well as a host of serious ethical and economic implications for humans, animals, and the food system.

“Industrial animal agriculture is much like a large-scale petri dish, providing the perfect conditions for viruses to emerge, spread, and cross species barriers, each new factory farm increases the risk of the next virus spillover – along with the next zoonotic pandemic.”

 The report also touches upon the other implications driven by our animal-based food system in the form of climate change, which heightens the risk of future pandemics, and antimicrobial resistance, which worsens their impact.

Switch to a more plant-based approach

Warning that future pandemics will be deadlier and more frequent, the report stresses on the need to switch to a more plant-based approach, which not only minimizes the risk of future pandemics but also helps to resolve many of the other key challenges we face.

“Transforming the global food system by replacing animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives provides a multiproblem solution – preventing not only future pandemics but also helping to mitigate major parallel crises such as climate change, world hunger, and antibiotics resistance,” it concludes.

Share this story to let others know about the Food & Pandemics Report by ProVeg International.

Published by Totally Vegan Buzz Team

The Totally Vegan Buzz Team are a gang of extremely entertaining writers who also happen to be vegan. Together, they bring you all the vegan infotainment you need - trends, news, quizzes and more. Leave them a comment! They love it when you guys say hi...

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