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Why a Global Pandemic is Closely Tied to Animal Agriculture

Written by David van Beveren | August 16, 2020

It is no secret that humans inherently have a tendency to overeat meat and animal products in their entirety. Whether someone is  only occasionally contributing to the industry or supporting it deeply, the fact still remains that all this contributes to animal agriculture as a whole, that continues to be the hot topic for the root causes of diseases, pollution and our planet’s overall declining condition today. So how is this issue engaged in the matter of a pandemic such as the current one then? 

First off, the root cause of many infectious diseases encountered in humans in the last decade are known to have animal origin (these viruses are also known as zoonotic). Quite frankly, it isn’t even necessary to jump to the few serious recent incidents of zoonotic diseases, (such as COVID-19)  to understand the sheer effect that consuming animals has on our health, just look at H1N1 (swine flu), salmonella, e-coli infections, psittacosis etc. 

Therefore it should be of no surprise that an average person’s lifestyle choices could be very closely related to a bigger problem, that of an even stronger virus taking over globally at any possible time. Furthermore, it has also been shown that systems like the one of industrial livestock production are one of the leading causes of other global concerns such as:  less soil degradation, water pollution, and deforestation. 

Many of us seem to come to the conclusion that “foreign” places should be held responsible for the spread of pandemics. However few of us seem to forget that in every single slaughterhouse, animals are packed together in small spaces and they coexist under horrible and filthy conditions. Surely it should be obvious that such handling of livestock is a breeding ground for contamination and infection.

On the same topic of meat industry measures, we are often met with the case of antibiotic resistance which when overused poses a huge pandemic risk as it helps strengthen and mutate bacteria. Antibiotics, as we know, are often  used for the treatment of crops, animals and humans, therefore the meat and animal products which the population tends to consume are also heavily pumped with the same chemical compounds. 

Lastly, animals aren’t the only ones mistreated and in danger of spreading certain viruses to the world. The conditions for human workers in an average slaughterhouse are sadly, equally as devastating.

It has continuously been reported that the positions these people are assigned inside each meat processing plant, force them to stand so close to each other that it makes safety practices such as social distancing impossible to follow. A grand example of this phenomenon already worsening an existing pandemic is the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the Gütersloh meat factory in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. 

So what can we as a society do, to control the spread of such chaotic diseases? We must prevent the meat industry from thriving and diminish animal agriculture once and for all, and of course all this begins on our plate and the companies we put our money into due to our lifestyle practices. In light of this recent pandemic, maybe you’ll drop the red meat and poultry and switch to some delicious cruelty free Seitan, or a nice tofu wrap, perhaps you will make an extra step and start buying cruelty free cosmetics too!

As crucial as it is to modify our lives to not support such mistreatment, it is also necessary to spread the word regarding information such as this article or similar, this helps to urge more people into deliberating about the world as a whole and the threats it’s often  faced with. 

More pandemics mean more global suffering, extinction and corruption, that will inevitably happen if we refuse to change our ways and listen to reason. Veganism helps everyone, it benefits animals, the environment and human individuals. Start with baby steps and remember that these are steps to push us all towards a brighter future!

Take the first step by signing up for our free 30 day vegan challenge!

About the Author
David van Beveren

David van Beveren is founder and team leader of Vegan Hacktivists. In 2019, he founded the animal rights tech organization to promote vegan activism and to address gaps in data and technology in the vegan movement.