‘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.
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Intensive animal farming is the single most risky human behaviour for pandemics. We have just released our Food & Pandemics report, which explores the crucial connection between the current #COVID19 crisis and the global animal-based food system. 🌎 Read and share the report now, to raise awareness. Find the link in our bio. 🔗 . . . #proveg #maketheconnection #preventpandemics #healthyeating #healthyeatinghabits #plantbasednutrition #foodsystems #foodproduction #prohealth #proanimals #proenvironment #protecttheearth
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.”
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.
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