The campaign to expose the harmful, violent, and destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

BEGINNING OF THE END: Is factory farming’s neck on the chopping block?

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It’s time for world leaders to decide. Will it be public health requirements that drive their agricultural policies, or the economic needs of factory-farming corporations?

CRISPIN ANDREWS: Criticism of factory farming has grown since the pandemic began, and not just because it’s cruel to keep thousands of animals in tiny confined spaces, without space to move or fresh air to breathe, pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive… Two out of every three of the 70 billion farm animals killed for food each year are farmed industrially in factory farms…

Professor Lars Angenent, an environ­mental scientist at the University of Tubingen, also points out unhygienic conditions for workers in slaughterhouses, the amount of fossil fuels, phosphorus and water used during the meat production process and the climate-damaging emissions it produces. “We are in a complex crisis with current food production,” he says… More recently, attention has turned to the role of intensive farming practices in the evolution, transmission and spread of infectious diseases…

In April, Virginijus Sinkevicius, EU commissioner for the environment, stated that there is strong evidence that the way meat is produced, and not just in China, played a role in the Covid-19 pandemic… Evangelos Mourkas, a biologist from the University of Bath, explains that the conditions in large-scale factory farms, with animals packed closely together, increase the likelihood of pathogens spreading through herds and flocks. “It’s no different from standing next to someone with Covid-19 for hours on end,” he says. “If they’ve got it, you’ll get it too”…

Over the last 30 years, there has been a major escalation of intensive animal farming practices. The world’s poultry population increased by 76 per cent in developing countries and 23 per cent in developed countries according to the World Health Organization. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports that in developing countries, per capita consumption of meat grew by about 50 per cent from the early 1970s to the early 1990s.

At the same time, we’ve seen the emergence of new infectious diseases that have subsequently passed over to humans. Swine flu has broken out several times over the last ten years, the most destructive episode being the 2009-10 pandemic, which killed around 284,000 people. Avian flu outbreaks have become more common since the late 1990s… Smallpox, salmonella, influenza, even bubonic plague, first passed over to humans living in close proximity to farm animals…

Professor Lars Angenent, an environ­mental scientist at the University of Tubingen,… believes that the agricultural model we have is simply not working. “Because of Covid-19, a government might say ‘OK, what we’re doing now is not so good’. The need for a change is obvious to a lot of people but Covid-19 is not the only problem”… The cost of the Covid-19 pandemic is a staggering… It’s time, now, for leaders around the world to decide. Will it be public health requirements that drive their agricultural policies, both in the immediate future and the long term? Or the economic needs of factory-farming corporations? SOURCE…

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