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June 02, 2020 - South China Morning Post

Industrial farming of livestock a ticking pathogen bomb, scientists say

Industrial farming of livestock a ticking pathogen bomb, scientists say
Industrial farming - cow slaughterCredit: AFTV

Industrial farming of livestock may offend the sensibilities of many people, with animals crushed into pens where they are barely able to stand up, among other distressing images. But some scientists warn such methods are also breeding grounds for mass production of new diseases.

Three years before the virus that causes Covid-19 started making people sick in China, another novel coronavirus began circulating in the southeast of the country. It was fatal, but its victims were 25,000 piglets, not humans.

That outbreak was swiftly followed in 2018 by a scourge on a much larger scale – the Ebola-like African swine fever , which does not infect humans but killed at least 100 million pigs as it raged across China. It threw the country’s pork industry into crisis and sent the price of China’s favourite meat soaring. The disease is still spreading in Asia.

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South China Morning Post

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