Zoonoses and disease outbreak

A very good read: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157591104405219&set=a.10150260348875219&type=3&theater

Some excerpts:

Following China’s official announcement linking the virus to Wuhan’s wildlife markets, social media was rife with comments such as “Why can’t they just be civilised and eat domestic farmed animals like the rest of us?”, “Serves them right for eating endangered animals instead of animals raised for food!”, and even “Eat more chicken and beef!”, as if eating farmed meat could miraculously inoculate humans against zoonotic diseases.

History has shown us repeatedly that not only does eating farmed meat not inoculate humans against diseases, but that intensive animal agriculture is a major driver of zoonosis and disease outbreaks.

If zoonotic diseases such as SARS, Ebola, West Nile Virus, Nipah Virus, Avian Influenza, and 2019-nCoV were merely transmitted to those who directly handle and consume wildlife, they would not have had the pandemic effects that they did. But wildlife diseases can and do afflict domestic animals, and cross species to humans with alarming rapidity. Farm animals frequently become intermediate or amplifier hosts for pathogens.

What can we do:

On a personal level, we can reduce and mitigate the risk of zoonotic diseases and infections by choosing a plant-based diet and limiting our exposure to wildlife, which should remain wild and protected against unnecessary human contact. At an institutional level, those with the political and economic leverage must reduce and mitigate the said risk by disallowing deforestation and expansion of agricultural activities into forested areas in order to minimise wildlife-to-domestic-animal and animal-to-human viral spillover, tightening biosecurity controls in farms and places that process or handle animal products, improving animal health and welfare standards, replacing factory farming systems with more humane and sustainable systems, setting restrictions and guidelines on the transportation of livestock and poultry, and removing barriers and creating incentives for the development, production, and consumption of plant-based foods and lab-grown meat to replace and eventually phase out conventionally-produced farmed meat.

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