The following article appeared on December 5, 2020, in the rather conservative newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.
It’s still well-written, and it gets to the heart of the relationship between factory farming and pandemics.
“Animal welfare is a topic that hardly anyone thinks about in the midst of the corona pandemic. The challenge of tackling the crisis is so great that all other problems fade away.
However, the corona crisis might not have mattered at all, humanity would have treated nature and other living things more respectfully.
“Humanity is waging war against nature. This is suicidal. Nature is always striking back with full force and rage,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the first week of December at a United Nations meeting.
To underscore this, 150 animal protection organizations, together with primate researcher Jane Goodall, have now released a statement calling for a different approach to animals to prevent future pandemics.
“It is a shock to realize that we are to blame,” Goodall wrote in a foreword, “because of our disrespect for nature and for animals.”
The pathogen of swine flu has also arisen in mass animal husbandry
Warnings that pathogens are more likely to infect humans and can cause epidemics or even pandemics have already been enough: HI viruses, for example, originate from chimpanzees and gorillas, and also the pathogens of Ebola and Sars are examples of such zoonoses.
“We have created situations in which it is relatively easy for a virus or other pathogen to jump from one species to another,” Goodall writes.
The statement of the animal protectors mentions various areas in which the handling of animals had to change in order to reduce the risk of such transfers in the future.
One of these is the trade with wild animals.
Bats – offered here on a Laotian market – were the origin of the SARS epidemic in 2002. (© Neil Banas
At animal markets, such as the one where the possible Sars-CoV-2 has been passed on to humans, the conditions are “terribly cruel and mostly very unhygienic”, Goodall writes. After an often long journey without food and water, various animal species would be crammed into a cage – along with their pathogens.
“They are stressed and often ill. Those who are sold as pets then bring their pathogens directly into people’s homes.”
According to the statement, mass animal husbandry in the intensive landscape is not the only torment for the animals, but also a danger to human health.
Pigs, cattle, and chickens for mass rearing are bred in such a way that they bring in as much income as possible; On the other hand, health and resistance to pathogens are hardly considered.
These susceptible and stressed animals are then also kept in a room. Ideal conditions for viruses, “to become contagious and lethal, or even to infect humans”, write the animal protectors.
As real as this danger is, the swine flu has emerged, which originated in mass animal husbandry and triggered a pandemic in 2009.
Between 151,000 and 575,000 people are estimated to have died worldwide as a result.
As a consequence, animal rights activists are demanding, among other things, to change human nutrition and to meet the need for proteins in the future more strongly through plant than through animal foods.
According to a recent report by the United Nations Environment Program, meat production has increased by 260 percent in the past 50 years, that of milk by 90 percent, and that of eggs even by more than 340 percent”.
And I mean…The factory farming in Germany with up to 80,000 pigs in a single farm and the constant demand of the consumer for his cheap schnitzel have created an agricultural mafia that feeds on completely nonsensical subsidies and cheap labor.
Apart from that, the meat we eat today comes mainly from genetically homogeneous, immunocompromised, and permanently treated animals that are housed in tens of thousands in buildings or in cages stacked on top of one another – regardless of how the meat is labeled.
We know that.
Yet the future of animal husbandry is likely to be quite low on our priority list for most of us, and the animal suffering that goes with it is insignificant, especially in the current situation where most are preoccupied with themselves.
The problem is, we’re especially good idiots.
The consequences of a mortality rate of one to two percent are omnipresent: half the world lives under house arrest, children do not go to school, hospitals no longer have life-saving devices, we are facing the financial depression of a generation. We are practically at the limit.
And yet nobody is talking about the abolition of factory farming
We know how to address the biggest risk factor for pandemics. We know how to protect ourselves and the next generations.
Pandemics like this one are, among other things, the result of our criminal treatment of animals and the environment.
Humanity will not perish from a virus, but from a lack of personal responsibility and compassion!
My best regards to all, Venus