Pandemics like the present are a consequence of our dealings with animals and the environment. If we do not change this, the next catastrophe will not be long in coming.
Imagine that while your country is practicing social distancing, tens of thousands of citizens are crowded together in gyms in a neighboring country.
Imagine that this neighboring country is also carrying out genetic and pharmaceutical interventions that help its citizens maintain productivity under such adverse conditions, but with the unfortunate side effect of destroying your immune system.
To finally accomplish this dystopian vision: Imagine that your neighbors had reduced the number of doctors tenfold at the same time.
Such measures would radically increase the number of deaths not only in your neighboring country, but also for you. Pathogens do not respect national borders. They are neither Spanish nor Chinese.
Pathogens also do not respect the boundaries between different species. Flu and corona viruses move fluently between human and animal populations, just as they move fluently between nations.
There is no separate animal and human health in pandemics – just as there is no Korean and French health.
Social Distancing only works if everyone practices it – including animals.
We actually know that
The meat we eat today comes mainly from genetically homogeneous, immunocompromised and permanently medicated animals, tens of which are housed in buildings or stacked cages – no matter how the meat is labeled in the end.
We know that.
And most of us would very much wish it was different. But there are many things in the world that we want – but unfortunately they are different.
But for most of us, the future of livestock farming is pretty low on their priority list, especially in the current situation. It is understandable that we are most concerned with ourself in such a situation.
The problem is that we are not particularly good egotists.
We do not yet know the entire history of the development of Covid-19, the strain of the coronavirus that threatens us today. But given the recent threat from influenza viruses such as H1N1 (swine flu) or H5N1 (avian flu) and pandemic viruses, there is no doubt that these viruses have emerged in large chicken and pig farms.
Genetic analysis has shown that critical components of H1N1 have emerged from a virus that circulates in North American pigs.
But it is the commercial poultry farms that appear to be the Silicon Valley of viral development.
Of 16 strains of novel influenza viruses currently classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC – an agency of the United States Department of Health) as “particularly worrying”, including H5N1, 11 are from H5 or H7 viruses.
In 2018, a group of scientists analyzed the 39 antigen shifts, also known as “conversion events,” which we know have played a key role in creating these particularly dangerous strains. Their results demonstrate that “all but two of these events have been reported in commercial poultry production plants.”
The abbreviation CDC stands for an authority in the USA, whose name is actually Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We are dropping prevention from the acronym because it already sounds innocent enough. But we also tend to dismiss serious discussions about prevention in favor of reactive strategies.
This is understandable – especially in the middle of a pandemic – but in a dangerous way irresponsible.
We are concerned with the production of face masks, but apparently we do not care about the companies that cause pandemics. The world is on fire and we are always reaching out for new extinguishers while the petrol soaks the tinder at our feet.
To reduce the risk of a pandemic for ourselves, our focus must be on animal health.
When it turned out that a number of people had become infected with the virus after visiting a wet market in Wuhan, where the virus was probably transmitted to humans by bats via an intermediate host, China closed 19,000 wildlife farms and banned wild meat from wet markets.
In the case of farm animals, however, the lack of public understanding has enabled unscrupulous corporations to steer politics in exactly the wrong direction.
Across the world, corporations have managed to implement policies that use public funds to promote industrial agriculture. A study suggests that the public is providing $ 1 million a minute in global agricultural subsidies, mostly used to support and expand the current broken model.
The same $ 1 million a minute that fosters industrial agriculture also increases the risk of pandemics.
The consequences of a mortality rate of one to two percent are omnipresent: half of the world lives under house arrest, one generation faces economic bankruptcy.
Are we able to imagine the impact of a 60 percent death rate?
Try to imagine that half of the people you knew who had the flu last year would now die. If you have children, how many of them had the flu in the last year? Force yourself to imagine these things, and then ask yourself: How much would it be worth sacrificing now to avoid that?
All of this leads to the most important question: What can we do?
The link between factory farming and increasing pandemic risk has been scientifically well documented, but the political will to contain this risk has been lacking in the past.
Now is the time to let this will arise.
It is very important that we talk about it, share our concerns with our friends, explain these problems to our children, think together about how we should eat differently.
Changing one of the most powerful industrial complexes in the world – factory farming – cannot be easy, but at this moment, with what is at stake, it may be possible for the first time in our lives.
And I mean…I read this article in the “Friday” newspaper and think it is very good. A very complex topic is presented in simple words.
I only disagree with the author on one point: “But for most of us, the future of animal husbandry is pretty low on their list of priorities, especially in the current situation. It is understandable that in such a situation we are most concerned about ourselves take care of yourself.”
We put the misery of animals and the dangers that come from factory farming, not only since yesterday at the end of the list of our interests.
We always did this on principle, and most don’t associate the pandemic with meat consumption.
Because they don’t want to see the reality, they deny it.
The meat eaters believe that this is a temporary problem, so they don’t worry about how to solve it.
And none of them thinks questioning a system that creates pandemics and dangers through factory farming.
Because this system thinks for them.
We can only protect ourselves against viruses and epidemics if this system no longer exists – the animal production system.
My best regards to all, Venus