Intensive animal farming is the “single most risky human behaviour” for pandemics, says a major new report which draws support from inside the United Nations Environment Programme…
The Food & Pandemics Report , produced by ProVeg International, identifies the eating and farming of animals as the single most risky human behaviour in relation to pandemics, and calls for urgent changes to the global food system in order to prevent future outbreaks. The report has drawn support from inside the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Diseases that were transferred from animals to humans include bird flu and swine flu
The report finds that our dietary choices and the global food system are the key drivers of zoonoses (diseases such as COVID-19, which are transmitted from non-human animals to humans) in three clear and mutually reinforcing ways:
- Through the destruction of animals’ natural habitats and loss of biodiversity, driven largely by animal agriculture
- Through the use of wild animals as food
- Through the use of farmed animals as food in intensified animal agriculture
About 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature
H1N1 Swine Flu, which killed between 151,700 and 575,400 worldwide during its 2009 pandemic, or Avian Influenza like H5N1, more commonly known as Bird Flu are both zoonotic diseases. These pandemics started with a jump from pigs and chicken to humans.
There is a growing consensus among NGOs, academic institutions, and the scientific community that the global food system needs to change if we are to prevent future pandemics.
Consumers are able to influence this through their purchasing choices
You don’t have to become vegan overnight. Start small. Start by having one vegetarian meal per week. Explore new flavours and ingredients. You might find that you really enjoy them!
There are also a number of very tasty meat ‘alternatives’ that have been developed. The Beyond Meat Burger is a plant-based ‘beef’ burger, that has a taste and texture so similar to meat that consumers aren’t able to tell it apart from the real thing. These are available at Woolworths in South Africa.
In South Africa, we have our own proudly South African company that is at the forefront of this movement for plant-based meat alternatives. The Fry Family Food Co., better known as Fry’s. They sell some of the tastiest meat-replacement products on the market, including their world leading Chicken-Style Nuggets and Burgers.
Make changes in 2020
The pandemic has forced many of us to rethink the way we live. Why not consider your impact on the environment, and how you can take control over the future of pandemics by changing your food choices?
Try these tasty vegetarian and vegan recipes in the weeks ahead:
Vegetarian Bobotie recipe
Meat Free Kharhai Chicken recipe
Fry’s meat free veggie mince vetkoek
Easy Vegetarian Fry Up recipe
Green Veggie Bowl recipe
Chickpea & Potato Curry recipe
Tasty meat substitutes that pack a protein punch + RECIPES