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Speciesism

October 22, 2020 - Vox

USA: Factory farms are an ideal breeding ground for the next pandemic

USA: Factory farms are an ideal breeding ground for the next pandemic
Pigs enslaved in cruel conditions on factory farmCredit: WAP

One researcher says we are “playing Russian roulette.” We’ve seen the devastating effects of a pandemic firsthand: the loss of human life, the economic toll, and the impact on everything from mental health to children’s education.

Which is why, as Covid-19 spread, people looked for a way to prevent future outbreaks. In the US, people started to call for the closure of “wet markets” overseas. Some research suggested that the many different species living closely together in these markets might have allowed the virus to mutate and jump to humans.

But Martha Nelson, who studies viruses at the National Institutes of Health, says that if we’re really serious about preventing a future pandemic, we also need to look closer to home.

“I think it’s really easy to think that pandemics come from other places,” she explains, “I think it’s really easy to think that they’re foreign invaders coming from other people who were doing things in a bad way. And I certainly would never underplay the importance of wet markets and all the opportunities for novel pathogens to emerge there. But I think it’s sometimes hard to see things in your own backyard.”

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