“Why are we fighting Corona without discussing the cause? “

Governments worldwide are taking drastic measures to reduce the spread of the #coronavirus to counter it. Meanwhile, there is a clear way to address the source of many of these types of infectious diseases, says Armanda Govers. Namely: stop eating animals.

In China, after the outbreak of the coronavirus, it is forbidden to trade and eat wild species any longer. Presumably the source of the corona outbreak was on the Wuhan market, a fish market where other wild animals — dead and alive — were sold and slaughtered for consumption. The outbreak was reminiscent of the 2003 SARS epidemic, which also originated in a market where wild animals were slaughtered and traded. Many of the wild species are bred in China for consumption, just like chickens, pigs and cows. Around twenty thousand wild animal farms have already been closed.

In order to prevent this kind of pandemics in the future, we need to thoroughly review our relationship with animals

A good and logical step. We also see more broadly that governments and health authorities are on the edge to contain further dissemination. However, there is still no ban on the consumption of (wild) animals worldwide. The approach to the source of infectious diseases of this kind does not go further than that — for both wild meat (bushmeat) and bred animals — slaughter must be carried out in a hygienic manner and meat must always be well cooked, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) states. But in order to prevent this kind of pandemics in the future, we need to thoroughly revise our relationship with animals. Especially now that the number of animal diseases (transmitted to humans) is 'increasing unprecedented, 'as warns the World Food Organisation (FAO).

Our food system is largely based on livestock farming: in the Netherlands alone there are 30,000 farms that keep animals. All those millions of animals are a transmission of viruses that can be dangerous to humans. The consequences of new infections that could lead to a pandemic are now seen in the coronavirus.
Virologists warn that the world is increasingly at risk of pandemics, partly as a result of growing livestock. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) states that about two-thirds of the causative agents of infectious diseases come from animals. Infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonoses. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that three out of four new or emerging infectious diseases are zoonoses. For example, Ebola, SARS, MERS, swine flu and HIV are zoonoses, and were presumably transmitted to humans as a result of consumption of bats, civet cats, camels, pigs and chimpanzees respectively.Most zoonoses are transmitted as a result of consumption
This transfer can be carried out by human-animal contact such as stroking, biting or scratching, but most zoonoses are transmitted as a result of consumption. As a result, poachers, but also breeders, caregivers and slaughterers have intensive contact with animals, and body fluids from animals infected with a virus or bacteria can infect humans. Infection can also occur through eating raw contaminated meat, dairy or eggs, as is the case with salmonella, campylobacter, ESBL and hepatitis E. Sometimes zoonoses are transmitted by air, as in Q fever happened by goats.

Previous pandemics
A ban, as introduced in China, is still a great taboo when it comes to chickens, pigs, goats or cows. While it is quite possible that four previous pandemics have been transmitted to humans by domestic poultry and pigs:

The Spanish flu claimed 20 to 100 million lives in 1918 and 1919. This virus was presumably transmitted from poultry to humans and pigs. From infection of this virus, many young people died. At the time, however, the authorities were hardly familiar with viruses and too few measures were taken to contain the disease.
In 1957 and 1958, the Asian flu claimed more than a million human lives. This virus was a cross of bird and human flu viruses.
In 1968, Hong Kong flu claimed a million lives. Also this virus was a cross of bird and human flu viruses.
Swine flu (originally known as swine flu) broke out in 2009 and claimed between 151,700 and 576,400 human lives. Of these, 80 percent were younger than 65 years. This virus was a cross of swine, bird and human flu viruses.

Swine flu and Hong Kong flu are still circulating as seasonal flu. This makes the outbreak of new infectious diseases communicable between humans extra problematic: you can't just get rid of them. The ongoing HIV pandemic is another - harrowing - example of this. 32 million people have died since the outbreak in 1981.
Avian flu and swine fever

At present, avian influenza and swine fever are circulating (not to be confused with swine flu). In China, an estimated 150 million pigs were 'destroyed' last year to stop the spread of plague under the pig population. This led to horrible suffering: the animals were buried and burned alive. Swine fever is not transmitted to humans because the virus is unable to attach to human cells.The avian influenza virus H5N1 has a mortality rate of 60 percent in humansThe avian flu is transmitted to humans in certain forms. This happens sporadically, but has already cost hundreds of human lives. In these cases, people were infected by the slaughter or preparation of infected chickens or other poultry. It becomes really dangerous when a bird flu virus spreads from human to human. In the last 23 years this has occurred eight times (also in the Netherlands, where a fatal victim fell). These outbreaks were limited because the virus did not spread “successfully”. However, it can happen that a bird flu virus mutates in such a way that it spreads successfully from human to human. In that case, a further pandemic may develop. And depending on the type of virus, that could be much more serious than the current coronapandemic. The avian influenza virus H5N1 has a mortality rate of 60 percent in humans. By comparison, the mortality rate of the current coronavirus is currently around 3 percent.
This is the time for change

How is it that we are prepared to sacrifice so much so that we can continue to eat animals? We are putting our planet, our health and, last but not least, our humanity at risk. We are committing violence against animals on a massive scale, and this does not go unpunished: the risks of dealing with animals are great. Apart from epidemics and pandemics, I have not talked about antimicrobial resistance, which, according to WHO, will result in 10 million deaths per year from 2050. , but a consequence of this is that bacteria can become resistant. And then we're even further away from home.

The question that is not being asked is whether we should reconsider all animal consumption. In the Netherlands alone, we slaughter 650 million animals a year. The phasing-out of livestock is still unnegotiable for Dutch politics. Since the peasant protests (in connection with the nitrogen crisis), the biggest parties, CDA and VVD, have been saying that no animal is going off the herd. And despite the nearly 100 deaths of Q-fever and 500 people who have suffered chronic fever, goat farmers are allowed to continue to expand in the Netherlands. Since the Q-fever outbreak in 2009 and 2010, the number of goats has even tripled. Let's learn from the current pandemic and decide to take the animal out of the food chains — before it's too lateIt is high time to review this: can we not produce our food in future without having to breed and slaughter animals? There are already so many fantastic meat, fish, egg and dairy substitutes available. The breeding technology also develops rapidly, which allows us to grow everything based on only the stem cells: not only meat, but also fat, collagen, leather, dairy, fish and egg. This significantly reduces the risk of zoonotic outbreaks and antimicrobial resistance.

No animal suffering means absolutely much less human suffering. Let's learn from the current pandemic and decide to take the animal out of the food chains — before it's too late.

No matter how they are packed, animals should not be eaten. It's the most basic level of decency we can show them.