How Vegan & Vegetarianism Lifestyle Can Help Against Future Viruses Like Covid-19

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The fear of Coronavirus has taken the world to think of a alternative food lifestyle which can exclude meat,as meat in all forms of animals have been the reason for inventing most viruses that have threatened mankind for many generations.

While there could be many reasons for this mood shift, the current COVID-19 pandemic is believed to have further pushed the agenda among people who don’t wish to see another disease outbreak from live-animal markets or crowded farms and slaughterhouses. As animal and dairy production is also a major contributor to climate change and increased carbon footprint, youngsters and women take the lead in the change to a guilt free,cruelty free and a virus free vegan lifestyle.

To be free from the crisis of Corona epidemic and other viruses, the eyes of the entire world are now viewing vegetarianism as a alternate lifestyle.The world’s trust in vegan and vegetarian lifestyle is fast increasing. Amidst the havoc of the Coronavirus, the voices of change in food for a healthy life are being heard all over the world. The attitude towards meat is also changing. The world has become careful about the bad consequences of taking meat. It seems that the prevalence of vegetarianism will increase rapidly.

The Coronavirus pandemic ,has changed thousands of people to adopt vegan and vegetarianism lifestyle and there will a unprecedented growth for vegetarian food in future, as the trend for people to adopt vegetarianism have started increasing after the effects of Coronavirus.

According to a survey conducted by the global research company Ipsos, before the Corona epidemic, 63 per cent of Indians were adopting vegetarianism instead of non-vegetarian food in their food; in the US one and a half million people became vegetarian. Ten-and-a-half per cent of the population of the Netherlands were vegetarian ten years ago, while currently five per cent of the people there are vegetarian. According to the well-known Gallup poll, three thousand people were becoming vegetarian every week in England. As Coronavirus spread everywhere, millions of people are thinking of turning to vegan and vegetarianism lifestyle.

The shortness of life due to increasing diseases and viruses have forced humans to adopt vegetarianism.The truth of the coronavirus proves that vegetarianism is a more protected,advanced and a safer lifestyle for a healthier life. Not only intellectuals but common people too have started considering vegetarian life system as more modern, progressive and scientific and they feel proud to call themselves vegetarian. Coronavirus has further reinforced their faith in vegan and vegetarian lifestyle.

The Asian Flu in 1956 killed between one and four million people worldwide. SARS in 2002 infected 8,098 and killed 774 in seventeen counties. H7N9 emerged ten years later to strike at least 1,223 people and kill four out of every ten of them. Now, the more infectious COVID-19 has sickened more than 48 Million people across the globe, resulting in 1.23 Millions deaths worldwide.

At the heart of it all is the wet markets of few countries, where exotic animals are sold for food.Livestock meant form meat consumption are the reasons for epidemics and pandemics all over the world.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, questions have been raised about the virus’s origin. Experts believe the novel coronavirus stemmed from wild animal meat sold at a wet market in Wuhan, China.

There’s lots of livestock farming, particularly poultry and pigs, with limited sanitation and lax oversight. Farmers often bring their livestock to “wet markets” where they can come into contact with all sorts of exotic animals. The various birds, mammals, and reptiles host viruses that can jump species and rapidly mutate, even potentially infecting humans. Experts are pretty sure this is precisely what happened with the present COVID-19, which is why, on January 30th, China issued a temporary ban on the trade of wild animals.

“The public’s taste for freshly killed meat, and the conditions at meat markets, create ample opportunity for humans to come in contact with these new mutations.”

Throughout history, many pandemics have spread to humans from animals – these are called zoonotic diseases. The Spanish Flu of 1918 is believed to be linked to infected livestock, including pigs, chickens, and ducks. The flu pandemic of 1957, known as the Asian flu, is believed to have origins in wild ducks or poultry. In 1968, another flu pandemic began in Hong Kong. It was the first known outbreak of H3N2, linked to turkey and swine farms.

There has also been the Swine Flu outbreak (H1N1). It is believed to have mutated from the Spanish Flu. The SARS outbreak was linked to horseshoe bats, with civet cats sold in wild animal markets as a probable carrier.

Even produce can be affected by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Several e. Coli outbreaks in lettuce were linked to infected livestock feces used as manure or found in water run-off.

What can we do? As long as humans continue to eat meat, we run the risk of coming into contact with new zoonotic diseases. Dr. Michael Greger alludes to this in his book “2006 Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching.” A shift away from animal agriculture and wild animal meat toward a new, plant-based food system could help create a safer, healthier, and kinder world.

The meat and dairy industries, especially those that sell live animals directly to consumers, are breeding grounds for deadly diseases and illnesses. Cows, chickens, pigs, birds, and others are crammed into small buildings and cells, bringing together thousands of animals in very tight spaces. If one animal is sick, the rest of the population is immediately at risk.

Such disregard for these creatures’ health and wellbeing is both abusive to animals and dangerous to humans. From dirty air and water to the overuse of antibiotics, the meat and dairy industries are perpetuating the spread of bacterial infections, especially antibiotic-resistant strains, viruses, and other zoonotic diseases.

With the recent COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, the world is starting to realize the dangers of animal agriculture, and it’s about time. Fortunately, changing the way we treat animals can help avoid these pandemics in the future.

Here are a few epidemics that were generated in this world due to greed for meat from livestock and exotic meats from wet markets –

1. COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

While the jury is still out on which animal is ultimately responsible for COVID-19’s jump to humans,scientists and other experts are confident the virus originated in bats and spread to humans through a Chinese wet market.

At these wet markets, animals, both alive and dead, and people are put into close proximity, creating an ideal environment for viruses and other diseases to spread from host to host.

“Poorly-regulated, live-animal markets mixed with illegal wildlife trade,” the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement, “offer a unique opportunity for viruses to spillover from wildlife hosts into the human population.”

Fortunately, China and other Asian countries are starting to crack down on wildlife trading. Proposals to ban the dog and cat meat trade are being considered, China has outlawed eating wildlife, and Vietnam might permanently ban their wildlife meat trade. Hopefully, this pandemic shows the importance of animal welfare for both animals and humans.

2. H1N1 (SWINE FLU)

Before the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the last time the World Health Organization declared a pandemic was for the swine influenza. H1N1, which is the term given to the variant virus that eventually jumped from pigs to humans, was first discovered in April 2009. By April 2010, the CDC estimated that anywhere from 151,000 to 575,000 people died globally as a result of the H1N1 pandemic.

Swine flu likely originated due to frequent contact between farm workers and pigs combined with unsanitary factory-farming conditions and a lack of concern for animal welfare. Unfortunately, once the genie is let out of the bottle, there isn’t much we can do to put it back. To this day, H1N1 circulates as a seasonal flu virus.

A H7N9 Flu

The first case of A H7N9 avian influenza (bird flu) was reported in Shanghai, China from where it spread to other regions. Later, it was confirmed that the virus jumped from chickens at a wet poultry market to humans by a study in the medical journal The Lancet.

SARS

The origin of the virus was traced to palm civets sold as exotic meat in southern Chinese food markets. SARS expert Jeremy Farrar noted, “There is no effective treatment and no vaccine. It was only contained the last time because it was possible to quarantine people while they were still infectious. Now we have a chance to create vaccines and treatments.”

The Wuhan Coronavirus is related to the SARS-CoV-1 and has been termed the SARS-CoV-2.

H5N1 Bird Flu

Also called avian influenza, bird flu can jump from chickens and other poultry livestock to humans. Though never as severe as swine flu, avian influenza A viruses H5, H7, and H9 have infected people, with the H5N1 and H7N9 strains being the most common.

Since 2013, at least 1,500 people fell victim to H7N9 and over 600 died as a result of their illnesses. While these statistics pale in comparison to both the COVID-19 and H1N1 pandemics, they do show how increased exposure to sick birds is a dangerous game to play. With over 9 billion chickens slaughtered every year in the United States alone, the opportunity for zoonotic spillover is concerning.

The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus was first detected in China in geese in 1996 during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong and has since been detected in poultry and wild birds in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Most human infections with avian influenza viruses, including HPAI Asian H5N1 viruses, have occurred after prolonged and close contact with infected birds.

Like avian viruses, the H5N1 has great pandemic potential. If the virus mutates to a form which can efficiently cause human-to-human transmission, then widespread devastation can be expected. Since emerging out of China, the virus has been reported from various other countries. Six countries are considered by the CDC to be endemic for Asian HPAI H5N1 virus in poultry (Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam).

4. METHICILLIN-RESISTANT STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS (MRSA)

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is not a virus like the novel coronavirus, swine flu, or bird flu. Rather, it’s a bacterial infection – a staph infection to be more specific. Staphylococcus aureus is a dangerous bacteria that can cause pneumonia, heart valve infections, and bone infections, though it is typically treated with methicillin. Unfortunately, likely due to a severe overuse of antibiotics, Staphylococcus aureus became resistant to methicillin, and MRSA was born.

How is all of this related to the meat and dairy industry? The FDA currently allows farmers to administer antibiotics to their livestock as a “disease prevention” tactic, leaving meat- and dairy-consuming humans to massively and unknowingly overuse these important drugs.

“To keep these miracle drugs working when sick people and animals need them,” Interim Director of Food and Agriculture at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Lena Brook, said, “[the] FDA must end the widespread practice of using these drugs for so-called ‘disease prevention’ and set clear targets for antibiotics reduction in [the meat and dairy industries].”

If we don’t drastically change our current food system, a U.N report estimates that over 10 million people per year will die from drug-resistant infections by 2050. The easiest way to ensure you’re not ingesting unnecessary antibiotics is to adopt a plant-based diet.

5. SALMONELLA

Salmonella is the most frequently reported foodborne bacterial infection in the United States. It’s typically transmitted from contaminated animal meat, eggs, or dairy and infects the intestinal tract. If it happens to move beyond the intestinal tract, salmonella is deadly, though most typically recover within 48 to 72 hours.

Unfortunately, like MRSA, salmonella is starting to develop immunities to certain antibiotics, which makes treating severe cases much more difficult for health professionals. As more animals are forced to live in closer proximity to others, factory farms ignore animal welfare standards, and environmental protections aren’t awarded to those that live near these facilities, salmonella outbreaks could increase in frequency.

Humans may contract viruses by eating meat from infected animals, consuming contaminated water, or coming into contact with infected feces or blood.[2] Infected individuals can also spread meat viruses to others. Some viruses spread in ways similar to the flu; others require contact with the feces or blood of an infected person.

Meat Consumption and Viruses: The Animal-Human Connection

Viruses in meat have been linked to several past outbreaks of human illness; others are still being studied for their potential short- and long-term effects.

Flu viruses

Strains of both swine flu (H1N1) and bird flu (H5N1 and H7N9) can cause respiratory infections in humans. Symptoms are similar to those of regular flu, although some cases can be severe.

Bird flu — naturally found in populations of aquatic birds — can infect domesticated poultry birds. The H5N1 strain first came to the public’s attention in 1997 when an outbreak surfaced in Chinese poultry farms, and infections are still occuring in flocks around the world. The virus has a 60% mortality rate but doesn’t spread easily between humans.

Swine flu likely originated in a factory farm in North Carolina and infected almost 61 million people between 2009 and 2010. Almost 12,500 people in the US died, and the CDC places the global death toll somewhere between 151,700 and 575,400 people. However, now that immunity is more common, the virus is considered a normal seasonal flu strain.

Hepatitis

Shellfish and pork have been cited as potential carriers of hepatitis A and hepatitis E, respectively. Both infections affect the liver and can cause fever, joint pain, abdominal pain, jaundice, and digestive distress.

Eating a plant-based diet largely eliminates the risk of contracting viruses commonly found in meat.

Infected feces is the most common way for hepatitis to spread, although the infection can also be contracted from drinking contaminated water or eating shellfish harvested from a contaminated water source. Most people recover from the illness, but hepatitis E may become chronic in rare cases.

Cancer

Infections from viruses and other pathogens may be at the root of up to 20% of human cancer cases. Although many of these connections are still being investigated, research has uncovered several links:

  • As many as 37% of breast cancer cases in the US may be related to bovine leukemia virus exposure. The virus is present in 100% of the country’s large factory farm dairy operations.
  • Bovine polyomavirus may play a role in the development of colon, lung, and breast cancer.
  • Viruses in chicken have been associated with human cancers and may also influence atherosclerotic plaque formation.

Unlike bacterial pathogens, viruses in meat may survive cooking; rare meat poses a higher risk. Some viruses can also be found in eggs and milk in addition to muscle and organ meats.

Viruses and Plant-Based Diets

What about plant viruses? Some animals and insects do show evidence of antibodies to viral pathogens that attack and infect plants, and traces of the viruses can appear in human feces. However, only one plant virus — the pepper mild mottle virus, or PMMoV — was ever suspected of causing symptoms in people.To truly cause an infection, a plant virus would have to enter human cells to replicate.

You can contract some meat viruses, such as hepatitis A, from eating unwashed produce that came into contact with contaminated water or feces.Washing produce before consumption minimizes this risk.

A balanced diet consisting of fruits, flowers, vegetables, different types of pulses, seeds and milk products etc..( Any diet that is free of meat ) that does not produce any toxic elements in the food and helps humans to be in a bettter position to fight any type of viruses. The main reason for this is that when an animal is killed it becomes a dead substance. This does not apply with vegetables. If a vegetable is cut in half and buried in the ground, then it will be produced again as a vegetable tree. Because it is a living substance. But this cannot be said for a sheep, lamb or a rooster.

Therefore, to get better control of any new epidemics, it is absolutely necessary that in terms of health, we should remain completely vegan or vegetarian. Nature produces plenty of vegetarian produce from different sources.So why are humans taking the risk of causing worldwide diseases, epidemics and pandemics by eating carnivores contrary to their nature?

Mark Rowlands, professor of philosophy at Miami University and author of books such as ‘Philosopher and the Wolf’ and ‘Animals Like Us’, has warned the world through his research on consciousness and animal rights that carnivorous coronavirus may bring worse consequences than the epidemic will. People need to understand how much they have lost in their lives by eating meat. It is not only increasing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and obesity, but is also causing many environmental problems, which is felt worldwide. Due to the carnivores, forests are being cut in a big way and a great crisis is being created for the earth. A carnivore produces vindictive traits that make a person cruel and violent, reducing his body’s immunity and making him prone to ailments like coronavirus, blood pressure and heart disease, making his breathing and sweat double. He is prone to deformities like anger, desire and pleasure.

How to Avoid Viruses from Meat When You Live in a Household With Others Who Eat Meat –

Eating a plant-based diet largely eliminates the risk of contracting viruses commonly found in meat. However, if you’re still making the transition or you live in a household with others who eat animal products, consider taking these precautions:

  • Maintain separate preparation areas and utensils for meat and produce.
  • Clean meat preparation areas thoroughly with a diluted bleach solution.
  • Wear disposable gloves when touching any surface or utensil used for meat.

To prevent illness from contaminated produce:

  • Inspect food for mold and rotten spots before purchasing.
  • Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables prior to consumption.

Exercising common sense at the grocery store and in the kitchen should protect you from the majority of food-borne viruses. Choose whole, unprocessed plant foods as often as possible to reduce the possibility of virus exposure.

Today, the coronavirus pandemic is the biggest problem in the world; clouds of infection of covid-19 is overflowing all around. If they can be reduced, the only way is by propelling human nature towards moderation and vegetarianism. In the last few years, a large number of vegetarians have increased in western countries since new research has proved that vegetarianism is safer. Not only this, people have also come to understand that carnivores not only cause diseases, but also the fundamental principle of meat eating opposes the concept of healthy life, peace, environment, agriculture, morality and human values.

Vegetarianism is the most important thing against new epidemics and pandemics. People are taking pride in declaring themselves as vegetarians and the old and outdated ideology of western philosophies, which once used to consider meat eating as the most suitable, has started to turn towards vegetarianism. This should be called as a good sign in favour of vegetarianism and in the right path to a epidemic and pandemic free world.

We must start working toward a cruelty-free food system. Our lives, and the lives of billions of animals around the world, depend on it.

References

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