In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated the world, public health has become an important focus, requiring us to re-examine the ways in which we interact with the world, including the food we eat. Our next pandemic could come from the animal products on our plates due to the nature of our global, industrialized factory farming system.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three out of every four emerging infectious diseases in humans come from animals. Zoonotic diseases, the type of disease spread from animals to humans, can come from a variety of hosts, including wild animals like bats, or even animals we eat and interact with, like pigs and birds. The way we farm has changed a lot in the last 50 years and because of factors like overcrowding, poor nutrition, and inadequate waste disposal. The animals we farm are a breeding ground for disease, which can then be passed to humans.
My goal is to shed light upon the unsanitary and unethical practices that now dominate our farming system, while encouraging people to be critical of how and where they get their food. Reducing our consumption of animal products, incorporating more plant-based foods into our diets, and advocating for more regulation of factory farming can lead to healthier and more sustainable food production, and might mitigate our next big public health threat.