Our interference with animals has led to HIV, Ebola, SARS, MERS and now COVID-19. We have to put an end to factory farming if we are to avert another pandemic.
What do animals have to do with pandemics?
While the origins of Covid-19 are not yet completely established, one lesson we can all learn from this pandemic is that factory farms pose a real, serious threat to humankind. It might take five years, it might take 50, but cramming tens of thousands of animals into filthy, overcrowded conditions over and over again is clearly a breeding ground for a new virus which could be even more infectious than Covid-19, and even more deadly.
Ebola, SARS, MERS, swine flu, AIDS and other similar diseases spread from animals and are now responsible for the deaths of 2.2 million people every year. Three in every four new or emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning that they infect humans as a result of our interference with animals. Covid-19 could just be a taste of what’s to come from our next mismanagement of animals.
We didn’t need Covid-19 as a wake-up call - this is rather yet another urgent sign that we need to change our ways, a call we should have acted upon decades earlier.
What can I do about it?
We need to make it clear to our government that we will not stand for more factory farms to be built. Unbelievably, even today, councils are considering the erection of farms which would store hundreds of thousands of farmed animals, when all the evidence points towards the need for a plant-based diet, both for the health of our planet or for ourselves. Community is essential in putting a stop to this madness, and you can help make that clear right now with just a minute of your time.
One such proposal is in Lincolnshire for 300,000 chickens to be farmed in just five sheds. If you would like to voice your objection to yet another breeding ground for a future pandemic, please copy and paste the below objection to firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can help put a stop to factory farms.
Please, take a moment to send the below letter to email@example.com now. Thank you.
Mr M Niland, Case Officer, Planning Department, North Lincolnshire Council, Church Square House,
30-40 High Street, Scunthorpe, DN15 6NL
21 April 2020
Dear Mr Niland,
PLANNING APPLICATION PA/2020/416
PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT: Planning permission to erect five poultry buildings and associated works at land north of Piggery, Ermine Street, APPLEBY DN15 0AD
We are in the middle of a pandemic which has created an urgent need to reassess our way of living, and particularly of considering how we can limit the likelihood of pandemics such as COVID-19 as much as possible. You may have seen in a recent article by the Guardian that ‘factory farms are breeding grounds for pandemics’, and the erection of a 300,000 poultry unit is clearly a move in the wrong direction. I am writing to urge you to reject planning permission.
Three in every four new or emerging diseases come from our interaction with animals, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When we consider the devastation caused by Covid-19, a virus which has a relatively low mortality rate in comparison to other zoonotic diseases such as MERS or SARS, surely we do not want to pave the way for more zoonotic diseases to emerge which could be considerably more deadly, all for the sake of cheap chicken. Allowing the erection of the proposed factory farm would show a disregard for the wellbeing of your community with very little gain.
The proposal has already received numerous objections from locals who would also be seriously affected by the increase in pollution, both originating on the farm and through a huge increase in HGVs. The anger and anxiety surrounding the proposal has been voiced quite clearly, and will continue to be voiced.
As a council that has a low carbon vision, and as a council which should be putting the needs of its residents first, please use your power to put an end to this proposal, which would cause far more harm than good.
I attach references for your convenience.
The Guardian 21/4/20 ‘We have to wake up: factory farms are breeding grounds for pandemics.’ Available at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/20/factory-farms-pand...
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘Zoonotic Diseases.’ Available at https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/basics/zoonotic-diseases.html