Reading Time: 2 minutes Many have warned that factory farming creates a breeding ground for infectious disease 
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The authors behind a new doctor-backed white paper say they have tied ‘most if not all’ of the world’s major outbreaks of infectious diseases since 1900 to animal exploitation.

The paper, COVID-19 and Animal Exploitation: Preventing the Next Global Pandemic, was compiled by animal advocacy Surge and reviewed by Dr. Michael Greger – a leading plant-based doctor with a background in infectious disease. His new book, How to Survive a Pandemic, is available now* (it is not connected with Surge or the white paper).

The fully referenced 13-page document ‘establishes the basic principles of pandemics and zoonotic diseases before examining every major zoonoses since the turn of the 20th century – from 1918 flu (H1N1) and HIV, to ebola and SARS-CoV-2 – within the context of animal exploitation’.

‘A compelling case’

According to Surge, its paper – which was largely influenced by an episode of Winters’ podcast Disclosure, in which he interviewed Dr. Greger – presents a ‘compelling case’ for abolishing animal use, by unraveling intensive animal agriculture’s role in the transmission of infectious diseases – as well as its role in antibiotic resistance.

The next pandemic, the authors warn, could have ‘far greater consequences than even the current coronavirus lockdown’. They call on readers to share the paper with friends and family.

Reduce the risk of future pandemics

In a statement sent to Plant Based News, Ed Winters, co-director of Surge, said: “As we continue through the grip of this current COVID-19 pandemic, we must use this time to ensure that we do everything we can to reduce the risk of a future pandemic.

“As is proven by our white paper, going vegan and dismantling animal farming and the other industries of animal exploitation is the single biggest step that we can take to mitigate future pandemic risk.”

‘Unimaginable suffering’

He added that COVID-19 has caused ‘unimaginable suffering, pain, and anguish’- even though the deadliness of the outbreak ‘doesn’t even come close’ to many of the most pernicious zoonotic diseases.

Winters cited ‘strains of avian influenza that have mortality rates as high as 30 percent and 60 percent – far deadlier than the current pandemic.

He concluded: “In our current world, the discussion of pandemics is never a question of if, but instead when. We must act now, for if we don’t, there is no telling how dangerous the next pandemic could be.”

*How To Survive A Pandemic is available on Kindle and in audiobook format, and in paperback from August 20.

Klaus Mitchell

Klaus Mitchell launched Plant Based News in 2015 whilst studying an MSc in ‘Genetics of Human Disease’ at University College London. He has had a number of writing roles, including authoring an article published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition, which explored the effect of diet on various health markers. After founding the company in 2017 after joining forces with Robbie Lockie the year before, PBN now reaches over 70 million impressions each month across multiple platforms. More recently, he helped as script editor on Netflix documentary Seaspiracy and among his day to day management...