Beware: Factory farms are ground zero for future pandemics

Beware: Factory farms are ground zero for future pandemics
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(NaturalHealth365) Industrialized factory farms produce about 99 percent of America’s meat.  But, these centralized food production facilities present many modern day health problems … as you’ll soon see.

For example, at these farms animals by the thousands are cramped together snout to snout or beak to beak in football-field sized sheds. There’s little fresh air and sunlight.

The conditions are unsanitary, assembly-line like, and the ammonia from decomposing waste burns the animals’ lungs, further stressing their already crippled immune systems.  Combine all of these factors and industrialized factory farms are ground zero environments for future pandemics.

Livestock health is the weakest link in the global health chain

For decades, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been warning that industrialized farming practices increase the risk of emerging infectious diseases.  The truth is: influenza and coronaviruses can move fluidly between animal and human populations, and no quarantine or lockdown can change that.

Recent pandemic and virus threats such as H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (bird flu) evolved on chicken and pig factory farms.  H1N1 originated in the late 1990s on factory farms in North Carolina, before mutating and popping up again on factory farms in Mexico, and eventually leading to the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.

In its first year of circulation, in 2009, the H1N1 flu killed between 151,700-575,400 people worldwide. While the full history of the emergence of COVID-19 remains unknown, there’s no ambiguity when it comes to the fact that industrialized factory farms are breeding grounds for viruses and future pandemics.

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Factory farms are as dangerous as “wet markets”

While it’s easy to point fingers at “wet markets,” the next zoonotic pandemic could easily arise from factory farms. In fact, the unscrupulous corporations that promote factory farming seem to understand just how dangerous the farming conditions are, as antibiotics are routinely used on animals at factory farms to prevent the spread of disease.

Roughly 70 percent of the “medically important” antibiotics in the U.S. are sold for animal agriculture. To make matters worse the overuse of antibiotics have led to widespread antibiotic resistance and superbugs, making once curable infections and diseases resistant to treatment, all of which fuels a perfect storm of pandemic possibility.

Commercial chicken farms have proven particularly dangerous. It’s on factory chicken farms that scientists have most frequently found viruses that have mutated from a form found only in animals to a form that’s harmful to humans.

Acknowledge the link between animal and human health

No doubt, corporate agriculture is a broken system that puts us at risk of future pandemics.  History and research have shown that zoonotic viruses can easily spill over to humans from animals and that factory farms act as amplifiers for that spillover.

The big question: what can we do?

We can go organic, support local, family farms, or simply avoid animal products altogether.  Bottom line: we can eat differently (while improving our health) and still enjoy our food.

In addition, we can support advocacy organizations that oppose factory farming. Most importantly, we can be aware of the dangers of industrial factory farming, and then do our part to contribute to the change we want to see in this world.

Sources for this article include:

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