Vegan diet can help prevent pandemics like COVID-19, 300 UK doctors say – Totally Vegan Buzz
Vegan diet can help prevent pandemics like COVID-19, 300 UK doctors say
Image: Halfpoint and Davizro Photography / shutterstock.com

‘All of the recent major disease outbreaks have been caused by tampering with animals’

300 leading doctors of the UK have joined hands with No Meat May, a campaign that urges people to go meatless for 31 days to improve health, end factory farming and save the planet.

Last week, physicians and members of the non-profit organization Plant Based Health Professionals UK founded by Dr. Shireen Kassam and Dr. Gemma Newman popularly known as the Plant Powered Doctor joined the campaign to urge people to stop eating meat calling factory farming a ‘ticking time bomb’.

The novel coronavirus, which has claimed more than 316,703 lives so far is popularly believed to have spawned in a Chinese wet market in Wuhan selling live and dead animals in unhygienic and infested conditions.

SARS, MERS, Avian flu and Swine flu are some other examples of zoonotic infections that have resulted from humans exploiting the animal kingdom.

“Some politicians and commentators blame China. They do not mention that all of the recent major disease outbreaks have been caused by tampering with animals, or that our chicken salad and pepperoni pizza could be the next big health risk,” said Dr Newman in a statement.

“Zoonotic diseases like these infect 2.5 billion people each year.”

‘Ticking time bomb’

Along with tampering the animal kingdom, Dr Newman also highlighted that the rampant use of antibiotics on farm animals could soon lead to the next widespread epidemic citing a UN report, which suggests an extra 10 million people may die by 2050 due to antibiotic resistance.

“Antibiotic resistance would end the age of medical progress, returning us to a time when minor injuries and routine operations could be fatal,” she said.

“The inconvenient truth is that factory farms put a strain on animal health, which means we treat them with antibiotics and small doses end up in your meal.

“Our industrial scale poultry farms are like a ticking time bomb.”

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For a long time I have been concerned that multi-resistant bacteria will cause the next widespread epidemic. Antibiotic resistance would end the age of medical progress, returning us to a time when minor injuries and routine operations could be fatal. Why do I bring this up now? A UN report suggests an extra 10 million people may die by 2050 as a result of antibiotic resistance. We can add viral pandemics to these figures too. This current crisis shows us that we are not prepared for the future we are creating. We have heard the reports that Covid-19 came from a live animal market in Wuhan. Some politicians and commentators blame China. They do not mention that all of the recent major disease outbreaks have been caused by tampering with animals, or that our chicken salad and pepperoni pizza could be the next big health risk. Spanish flu came from poultry, swine flu from pigs, avian flu from birds … We’ve also seen SARS-CoV (civets), MERS-CoV (camels), and HKU1 (mice). Zoonotic diseases like these infect 2.5 billion people each year. The inconvenient truth is that factory farms put a strain on animal health, which means we treat them with antibiotics and small doses end up in your meal. Pigs are packed together in their own excrement. Chickens are in crowded cages leading to salmonella and E. coli spreading. Giving cows other cow carcasses to eat led to BSE. Not to mention the link between cows and TB. Our industrial scale poultry farms are like a ticking time bomb. This pandemic has brought us a visceral sense of what that can mean for humans. This pandemic also shows us how connected we are. What one person does affects another. The same applies to the food choices we make too, and now this is more clear than ever before. I don’t know when this pandemic will end, or how many lives will be lost. But one thing I do know. I can guarantee that lentils will not spark a viral pandemic anytime soon. Many of us are sitting at home wondering what we can do to help this situation. Taking some time to reflect on what we eat, limiting the meat we put in our supermarket trolley and shifting to a more plant based diet will help us shift towards a safer future

A post shared by Dr Gemma Newman (@plantpowerdoctor) on

Shireen Kassam, MD, echoed Dr Newman’s concerns adding: “More than 90 percent of the meat we consume is produced in industrial scale factory farms, which provide the perfect conditions for the generation of novel infections with epidemic and pandemic potential

“In addition, intensive farming of animals necessitates the widespread use of antibiotics, which has contributed to a dramatic rise in the number of antibiotic-resistant infections affecting humans. We have now entered an era where it is not uncommon for doctors to find themselves treating patients with bacterial infections for which there are no effective antibiotics.”

 The No Meat May Campaign

Launched in 2013 by Ryan Alexander & Guy James Whitworth, the campaign is now a global movement that challenges people to eliminate meat from their diets for 31 days.

This year, more than 33,000 participants have pledged to ditch meat for May, which the organizers believe is largely due to meat’s health implications and in light of the current viral pandemic.

“79% of this year’s recruits are motivated to cut out meat or animal products to improve their health, and reduce their risk of chronic diseases,” wrote the charity on Instagram.

“And 37% cited concerns with possible links between the meat industry and public health.”

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We surveyed this year's No Meat May recruits to find out what has motivated our record number of sign ups for this May. Not surprisingly 'all that fab food' is right up there, as is wanting to see an end to the horrendous cruelty of factory farming ?, and concerns with protecting our forests, oceans and climate from further destruction. . But the number one reason people signed up this year was health! 79% of this years recruits are motivated to cut out meat or animal products to improve their health, and reduce their risk of chronic diseases. . And 37% cited concerns with possible links between the meat industry and public health. Cramming animals together in markets and subjecting them to intensive farming practices creates a breeding ground for disease. Add the looming threat of antibiotic resistance and it's a bit of a no brainer. There's never been a better time to act… with #3in4 of all emerging infectious diseases coming from animals and the world in lockdown due to the worst pandemic we have seen in generations. If we continue to encroach on wildlife and expand factory farming, the threat of more pandemics increases. . Its not too late to sign up for No Meat May.. do something good for your health, and join a supportive global community pushing to End Factory Farming. . . . . . . #NoMeatMay #revolutionstartshere #endfactoryfarming #savetheplanet #ImproveYourHealth #FeedTheWorld #questionwhatyourebeingfed #wholefood #plantbased #wholefoodplantbased #eatmoreplants #crueltyfree #vegansofsydney #vegansofig #vegansofmelbourne #animalwelfare #ethicalvegan #veganisim #veganblogger #eatplants #plantpowered #someonenotsomething #vegancommunity #veganfortheanimals #dairy #dairyfree #animallover #stopfactoryfarming

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“It’s hard to say what the COVID-19 effect is,” said Alexander.

“But it’s clear that people are drawing the connection between intensive factory farms and public health concerns.”

Shift towards a safer future

Supporting the campaign, Dr Newman added: “I don’t know when this pandemic will end, or how many lives will be lost. But one thing I do know. I can guarantee that lentils will not spark a viral pandemic anytime soon.

“Many of us are sitting at home wondering what we can do to help this situation. Taking some time to reflect on what we eat, limiting the meat we put in our supermarket trolley and shifting to a more plant-based diet will help us shift towards a safer future.”

 Share this story to support the No Meat May campaign.

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