This blog and most things I do online involve the art/photography world. But in my day job (and night time when I am on call 😉) I am a healthcare professional and someone who truly cares about the well being of humanity. I also do a podcast on the idea of Harming Less that should be continuing soon (stay tuned). So why am I writing this blog post? Why am I risking the potential backlash from people who aren’t ready to make a change for the better. It is because I care, but more than anything I want to encourage you to care. We need to take the instances and the causes of infections by contagions that crosses interspecies more seriously.
COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease (zoonosis is an infectious disease from non-human species transmitted to humans, another major example we might be aware of are Ebola). Whenever a parasite, bacteria or in this case a virus is able to infect a human the transition can be deadly, mostly because we are unprepared with treatments or vaccinations, but mostly because the new strains that sometimes cross over are sometimes considered supers-trains… super-strains because industrial agriculture is a high stress environment that promotes the mutations of these pathogens.
COVID-19 is not caused by factory farming, but it does seem to have been caused by bats (mostly thought so because it’s very similar to coronavirus present in bats). This virus could have been present in the previous host and mutated to the deadly form prior to jumping species, or it could have been non-pathogenic when it first jumped and then evolved to become deadly when it entered human population. Either way, the unsanitary conditions in either factory farms or wild animal markets are breeding grounds for pathogens that have enough stress to encourage them to mutate. This pathogen is already unleashed on our population, and what we need to do currently is find ways to minimize the spread of the pathogen amongst ourselves. We need to take it extremely serious and find a way through this together. Once we have made it through we need to find a way to have this not become the norm as it has been so far, we have had many zoonotic diseases becoming deadlier pathogens than our human immune system are prepared to handle. We need to seriously look at the way we raise and kill animals for consumption by humans. Or I feel we need to find a way to move past the unnecessary killing and consumption of animals (yes I am a vegan). We need to figure out that the exploitation and use of animals are causing us more harm than good.
I am not here to forcefully tell you that a plant based diet or lifestyle is the way forward, but one would/should come to the conclusion (if we are open-minded enough) that perhaps it is the safest way forward. The giant industrial animal agricultural complexes can’t continue without the rise of new deadly viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections becoming more prevalent and dangerous. Overuse of antibiotics in the animal population we humans consume are also making loads of antibiotics useless when bacterial pathogens enter our systems. Inability to fight off new pathogens or antibiotic resistance are going to be our undoing if we are not careful. We are painting ourselves in a corner we won’t be able to escape from without causing more damage.
This current crisis is another loud alarm going off trying to warn us to pay attention to the practices we are engaged in now. We need to find better ways to treat the world and all it’s occupants. COVID-19 won’t be the last if we don’t find ways to stop the current practices we are using now. Find ways to harm less.
Be kind to each other, be kind to yourself. Really… be especially kind to yourself.