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A doctor has warned that there is ‘urgent need to reduce meat consumption globally for both human and planetary health’.

Dr. Shireen Kassam, founder of non-profit organization Plant Based Health Professionals UK and consultant hematologist, says that industrial-scale factory farms ‘provide the perfect conditions for the generation of novel infections with epidemic and pandemic potential’.

She added that more than 90 percent of the meat we consume is produced theses types of facilities. And the health issues don’t end there; antibiotic use on these factory farms is contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistance.

Post antibiotic era

“Intensive farming of animals necessitates the widespread use of antibiotics, which has contributed to a dramatic rise in the number of antibiotic-resistant infections affecting humans,” Dr. Kassam said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.

“We have now entered an era where it is not uncommon for doctors to find themselves treating patients with bacterial infections for which there are no effective antibiotics.”

Public health

According to Dr. Kassam, the current coronavirus pandemic is showing how important improving public health is, as almost 90 percent of people who have died from the infection in the UK have at least one underlying health condition.

Minimizing the potential for underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes is therefore crucial. As fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans help reduce inflammation in the body and promote a healthy immune system, diet could play a significant role.

She said: “We have known for decades that a healthy plant-based diet, which minimizes or eliminates meat, is associated with some of the lowest rates of chronic disease and a longer and healthier life.”

No Meat May

Dr. Kassam has partnered with No Meat May this year. The organization, which provides free support to those who sign a meat-free or plant-based pledge, believes the current pandemic may have played a part in this year’s record-breaking number of sign-ups.

Around 33,000 people have signed-up this year – a huge leap from 2019’s 10,000 participants, with No Meat May’s co-founder Ryan Alexander saying it is difficult to gauge the ‘COVID-19 effect’ but believes it is clear that people are drawing the connection between intensive factory farms and public health concerns.

“[This] has been demonstrated by the record number of sign-ups to this year’s campaign,” he said.

You can find out more about No Meat May here