As the world slows down to help flatten the curve in order to order to halt the spread of the Coronavirus, which leads to the disease known as COVID-19, analysts and talking heads are positing how the world moves forward once this crisis is over. One thing that is not being talked about, on a large scale, however, is how likely it is that another pandemic can happen. How, you ask? By another zoonotic transmission between the animals that humans consume. While it is one thing to point the finger at the wet markets in China that have been identified of the source of this outbreak, realizing that another outbreak could be brewing is not unrealistic.
There has been a long history of viruses borne from human interactions with animals, including, H1N1, swine flu, and now COVID-19. Similarly, outbreaks of salmonella and e. coli have been tied to consumption of animal products in the past. In the Chinese city of Wuhan, the origin of this latest version of the Coronavirus has been linked to so-called “wet markets,” where all manners of wild animals are bought and sold for human consumption.
- CAFOs may cause health effects to their neighbors from pollution damage to the air, land and water.
- Over 168 gases are emitted from CAFO waste, including hazardous chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane.
- Hydrogen sulfide poisoning can cause irreversible brain damage, dizziness, headache, nausea, sore throats, sinusitis, burning eyes, and other illnesses.
- When phosphorus and nitrogen are over-applied to fields, the nutrients can move through the soil into field tiles to surface water, or through soil to groundwater and drinking water.
- Elevated levels of nitrates in drinking water can cause “blue baby syndrome,” a potentially fatal blood disorder.
It’s clear that it is time for us to reconsider our treatment of and commodification of animals, if not only for the protection of the animals, but also for the protection of the human race and the elimination of future pandemics that could lead to more quarantine-like situations and the collapse of economic and health systems across the world.