Animal Place has long warned the public about the dangers related to animal farming. It causes harm to nonhuman animals, our planet, and our health. We are now in the midst of a global pandemic caused by COVID-19 (Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2). We are seeing the catastrophic results that animal farming can have on our planet and society.
Individuals are grasping for more information. Where did COVID-19 originate? How can we prevent future pandemics? There are answers to many of these questions. You can help stop future pandemics that come from farming wild and domestic animals. Now is the time to make the connection between animal agriculture and deadly zoonotic diseases.
Dr Aysha Akhtar, a neurologist, public health specialist and a Commander in the US Public Health Service states “Three-fourths of emerging human infectious diseases come from animals. But it’s not the animals’ fault. If we want to prevent these diseases and save millions of people from untold suffering we have to face the inevitable and uncomfortable truth: the real culprit is how we choose to relate with and treat animals.”
The coronavirus is not the first pandemic the human race has battled that has ties to animal farming. In 1918 we saw horrific results from the “Spanish” Influenza where the acute illness was seen in 25-30 percent of the world’s population and caused death in an estimated 50 million people. Spanish Influenza was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. The SARS Coronavirus (Cov) epidemic of 2003 is thought to be an animal virus that spread to civet cats and then to humans. It infected 8,098 and killed 774 people. Another infectious disease that emerged from humans’ desire to eat meat was Ebola in 2014, which came from the direct exposure to Fruit Bats and the butchering of primates. Ebola killed over 13,000 people. HIV, the cause of AIDS in the human population can be traced back to a population of chimpanzees and likely jumped to humans through butchering and consuming their flesh. According to the World Health Organization, at the end of 2018, HIV had taken 32 million lives.
COVID-19 has impacted almost every country. We do not know how many will die, but as of April 2, 2020, it has infected over 1 million and killed nearly 53 thousand people.
Scientists believe that the coronavirus originated from a wet market (live animal market), in Wuhan, China. This market sold live and dead animals for human consumption. Some of the animals are killed and butchered onsite. Environments like these are filled with stressed and terrified animals, feces and urine, and the aftermath of those who were butchered. These filthy and overcrowded conditions are the perfect breeding ground for viruses like COVID-19.
How different is a wet market in Wuhan, China, compared to an industrial chicken farm in the United States? The similarities are frightening. 99% of animals raised in the US come from large-scale operations where stressed and terrified animals are crammed into small spaces often living in their own feces and other bodily fluids.
Calling for an end to wild animal markets is not enough. History has proven through other pandemics and COVID-19 that there is a direct link between eating animals and global pandemics. It is time to make a change. To prevent pandemics like coronavirus we must end the demand for animal flesh. For a healthy and kinder world, we must go vegan.