Factory Farming; hotbed of future contagions!

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       “Viral Storm: the dawn of a new Pandemic Age.”  written by Nathan Wolfe is a true wakeup call.

Little do many of us realise that our modern way of living with it’s emphasis on factory farming, constant long-distance travel and over-used antibiotics, is creating a powder keg of destruction for our future.

The new movie “Contagion” starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslett is actually loosely based on the research in Nathan’s book.  Modern life has certainly made us more, not less vulnerable to a global pandemic.

Wolfe recounts the story of the first “bird flu” in 2003. A young boy brings home a sick chicken and dies 11 days later, drowning in his own fluids, beginning a global pandemic of epic proportions. Transmission of animal to human microbes, is the source of most global pandemics.

Although in his role as “Director of Global Forecasting” Wolfe goes all over the world hunting possible contagions; however despite that he says factory farms are actually a closer, more dangerous threat.

Since 2000 global meat production has risen by 20%. Using massive doses of antibiotics diseases to livestock have lessened, but new, more deadly viruses have emerged such as bird-flu, foot and mouth, and mad cow disease. Worldwatch state that, “cramped filthy conditions, in factory farms contribute to antibiotic resistance, making it more difficult to treat human as well as animal diseases.” Terrifyingly 80% of all antibiotics used, in 2009 were administered to animals, leaving just 20% to humans.

Industrial killing farms for meat animals contain over one billion cattle, one billion pigs and shockingly 20 billion chickens at any one time. Is it really a surprise that these factory farms have been described, by experts in their fields as “incubators” for infectious agents that can easily move to human populations, causing a deadly pandemic at any given time.

Perhaps a pandemic of global proportions has to be the only way humans come to their senses and stop slaughtering sentient beings for food? If that is the case, then we as a sentient species are certainly not as intelligent and superior as we believe.

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