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‘First you eat meat, then meat eats you’: Covid-19 shows that what we’re doing to animals is killing us, too

Scientists estimate that animals carry more than 600,000 unknown viruses with the potential to jump to humans. About 2/3 of infectious diseases and almost all epidemics came from eating animals.

VIVECA MORRIS: The growing body of scientific research is clear: Diseases like COVID-19 are an expected consequence of how we’re choosing to treat animals and their habitats. By changing the nature and frequency of human-animal interactions, our actions — through the wildlife trade, deforestation, land conversion, industrial animal farming, the burning of fossil fuels, and more — propel the emergence and transmission of novel and known human infectious diseases… About two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases in humans — including COVID-19, SARS, MERS, Ebola, HIV, Zika, H1N1, cholera and almost all recent epidemics — came from animals. And 70% of those originated in wildlife…

Scientists suspect that COVID-19, like SARS, is caused by a coronavirus that jumped from bats to humans (perhaps via pangolins or another kind of animal) at a live animal market in Wuhan, China. In these markets, an ark’s worth of animals that rarely encounter one another in the wild are crammed together in stacked cages as they await sale and slaughter. “You have a bird pooping on a turtle that poops on a civet,” Dr. Christian Walzer of the Wildlife Conservation Society told The New York Times. “For getting new viruses to emerge, you couldn’t do it much better even if you tried”…

And then we have the bio-catastrophes that are modern factory farms. We pack most of the world’s livestock animals, for all or part of their lives, into crammed living conditions that are hotbeds for viral and bacterial pathogens, and then we lace their feed with the world’s most medically important antibiotics, creating perfect conditions for antibiotic-resistant pathogens to develop…

To date, we’ve operated under the fallacies that medicine and ecology can be understood independently and that the conditions that impact the animal kingdom are separate from those that impact humans. COVID-19 exposes these fallacies. Scientists estimate that animals carry more than 600,000 unknown viruses with the potential to jump to humans. How often these diseases have the opportunity to make the jump, and how prepared we are for them, is up to us.  SOURCE…

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