Public Health Experts Cry for Help Stopping Future Pandemics

“To create A global pandemic build factory farms.”

~Michael Greger author of Bird Flu a Virus in the Hatching

Public health experts have been warning us for decades that Intensive animal agriculture is the origin of most of our communicable diseases and that we need to change the food system fast.

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The 300-pound gorilla that no one is talking about is that the main cause of all contagious diseases is domesticating animals for agriculture.

The frequency of outbreaks has increased over the last 20 years. The World Health Organization finds that 75 percent of all emerging pathogens over the last decade have been zoonotic in origin. Zoonotic means that they originated in other non-human species.

We never hear of a human being catching Dutch Elm disease or aphids. Plants are not the problem. Most of our infectious diseases originally come from an animal host and jump to humans in a more lethal form because of antigenic shift.

An antigenic shift can happen when a virus jumps species and suddenly becomes more lethal in a new species that has no antibodies for the new virus. So a virus that gives bats the sniffles, could make pigs moderately ill and then jump to humans and become even more severe.

Most of our contagious diseases come from livestock and not just a few rare cases of viruses like Covid-19. There is speculation that the Covid pandemic came from an exotic wildlife wet market in China though nothing has been proven yet.

Most governments and health care strategists downplay the fact that zoonotic transfer has been the root cause for most of our contagious diseases and 61 percent of all human diseases over the last 10 thousand years.

Influenza from birds, Measles from cattle, Smallpox transferred from camels, typhoid from pigs, Spanish flu in 1918 probably spread from ducks to chickens and then humans, just to name a few.

“The conditions that triggered the emergence of COVID-19 exist in plain sight on factory farms. Shouldn’t governments take action before the emergence of another, possibly deadlier, epidemic, rather than after?” ~Sentient Media

Covid-19 might just be a dress rehearsal for something worse

Focus on a vaccine may just be a band-aid when the root cause of many diseases is staring us in the face from our plates

Covid-19 has been devastating for families who have lost loved ones and for the worldwide economy, and we don’t even know what the total damage is yet.

But luckily covid-19 is a fairly mild virus with a relatively low mortality rate and contagion level compared with some of the other novel viruses that have emerged in the last 20 years.

Replace Covid-19 with the Ebola virusNipah virus, or some other novel virus strain with a higher contagion rate, and mortality rate and death rates would be much worse.

Yes, the Coronavirus epidemic shut down has been devastating…

But Covid-19 might be just a dress rehearsal for future outbreaks that could be much worse according to scientists and health care experts in the field of contagious disease.

“Three-fourths of human infectious diseases come from animals.”

~ Aysha Akhtar M.D., PhD.

How Intensive Animal Agriculture Produces Epidemics in Human Populations

Outbreaks of dangerous novel viruses similar to covid-19 but much more lethal have erupted from factory farms, meatpacking plants, and feedlots and not just from rare and exotic wet markets.

Why are novel viruses so much more prevalent in the last 40 years?

In 1961 global meat production increased dramatically. Humans now consume 44 pounds more meat each year than they did 60 years ago.

In the 1950s more than 50 percent of Americans made a living on small-scale family farms. only 1% of the US population is farmers. The rest of food production is done by vertical conglomerates known as “integrators”.

In the 1990s dangerous novel viruses that jumped species became more common when intensive animal feed operations reached a tipping point.

Public health experts call for a predominantly plant-based diet

  • Reduce the risk of epidemics
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease diabetes and obesity
  • Reduce the compromised immunity that causes higher mortality

During the Covid-19 pandemic countries that have the highest rates of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes have had the highest mortality rates.

Diabetics, people with heart disease, and those who are overweight are dying at much higher rates than other people. Even people with asthma have lower mortality rates than obese people.

Meat and dairy may compromise the microbiome, our main producer of immunity.

Is the answer to ending pandemics on your plate?

A Focus on Vaccines and medical preparedness alone misses a lot of important factors that contributed to the pandemic.

But individuals can make a difference by choosing to support plant-based foods rather than factory farms.

Will we be prepared for a highly contagious virus with a higher mortality rate next time?

Vaccines and medications take time to be developed and produced for specific strains of viruses. Is it even possible to prepare for more virulent strains each year or will we always be playing catch up endlessly in an ever more depleted economy?

The expense alone will make it prohibitive to give the vaccines and medications to the entire population of the planet. A safer bet is to create an environment with a healthy environment and healthy people.

If we focus on fighting the latest virus with vaccines and medications instead of treating the cause It will be like playing whack-a-mole with new viral strains popping up faster than we can hit them.

We may need to stop consuming so many animal products and limit factory farming to building healthier immune systems for all humans.

There are myriad other environmental issues that need to be addressed to make the planet safe for life again but limiting or replacing factory farming would be a  great start.

Dr. Sailesh Rao, an expert on Climate change says the end goal should be limiting factory farming to Confined Plant Feeding Operations (CPFO).

“When humans kill 1-3 trillion animals annually to dine on their bodies and secretions, viruses are bound to jump from the victim species to the consuming species. This is how biology works.”

~Dr. Sailesh Rao PhD

How you can help reduce the risk of future novel virus outbreaks

Cut down on meat fish poultry and dairy and eat a plant-based diet. Avoid supporting meat and dairy conglomerates. Instead supporting alternatives like plant-based and lab-based meats.

Resources for eating plant-based

Important small steps that leverage big results

Ways to grow food at home

According to Zach Bush MD, the best way to make sure you have control of your immune system is to keep your microbiome healthy. Growing some of your own food can help.

What’s Next?

Want to learn more about how to eat a healthy plant-based diet? Check out my FAQ page and the Whole Foods Plant-Based Primer.

 

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