Mark Dawes, 18 March 2021, Tags:
The effects of Covid-19 have been devastating – and continue to be - causing an estimated 2.64m deaths worldwide, shutting down countries and pushing healthcare services to unprecedented limits. Covid-19 originated in the animal markets of China and is yet another zoonotic – came from animals - disease as are SARS, MERS, bird flu, Ebola and AIDS among others.
In fact, three quarters of the world’s new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals, largely due to the wildlife trade and factory farming. Taken together, 56 zoonotic diseases are responsible for an estimated 2.5 billion cases of human illness and 2.7 million deaths a year.
Worryingly, new viruses are appearing with increasing frequency as we encroach on wildlife and expand factory farming and new pandemics have the potential to be far more severe than Covid-19. There is the threat of a more highly pathogenic bird flu, antibiotic-resistant bugs due to the overuse of antibiotics in factory farms among others.
The vaccines have helped in the fight against Covid-19 but if we are to stop future pandemics we need to take action. We need to end factory farming, stop the decimation of the natural world and its inhabitants and end the trade in wildlife. And we can all take action by reducing our consumption of meat and dairy and better still, going vegan.