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The CDC reports that three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in humans come from animals, and the recent pandemic virus threats from influenza viruses such as H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (bird flu) evolved on chicken and pig factory farms.
Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media
Author Jonathan Safran Foer, a Farm Forward Board member, joined Farm Forward’s founder Dr. Aaron Gross in writing an op-ed for The Guardian on the pandemic risk posed by factory farming. “Influenza and coronaviruses move fluidly between human and animal populations,” they wrote, “just as they move fluidly between nations. When it comes to pandemics, there is not animal health and human health – not any more than there is Korean health and French health.”
Farmed animals today are overwhelmingly genetically uniform, immunocompromised, and crammed together by the tens of thousands—a perfect petri dish for creating pandemics. (To ensure that sick animals grow quickly and stay alive until slaughter, they are routinely fed antibiotics, contributing to the growing antibiotic resistance public health crisis in human beings.) Learn more about the pandemic risks posed by factory farming.
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Our relationship with animals—and especially the intensive confinement of chickens, turkeys, and ducks on cramped, filthy factory farms—is increasing the risk of deadly global pandemics. It’s not a question of how we make ourselves safer. We know. The only question is will we?