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Whether it’s superbugs potentially being created on factory farms, pandemics, or demand for meat contributing to emissions, it’s time to understand that how we treat animals impacts our health.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria — called “superbugs” — are emerging on farms from antibiotic overuse. Those superbugs are entering our food chain and our environment, and when passed to people, make us less able to fight infections.
Intensive animal agriculture has grown to such a scale that the impacts have never been more obvious. Eating less meat and dairy is one of the most meaning things that we can do as individuals to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
Keeping large numbers of genetically uniform animals in overcrowded, confined conditions can lead to the emergence and spread of viruses with the potential to infect humans. In 2020 the UN reported that agricultural intensification has been responsible for over 50% of infectious diseases from animals since 1940.
Close contact between captive wild animals and people is a dangerous cocktail. Zoonotic infections can emerge and be spread at every stage of the wildlife trade. This should be of critical concern, as almost 75% of emerging infectious diseases affecting human health originate in wildlife – SARS, Ebola, and now COVID-19.