Intense farming ‘must change’ if we are to avoid future pandemics, according to a new BBC documentary titled 2020: Coronavirus Special – Part 1.
The program looks at how the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak compares to previous pandemics and explores ‘the latest research from the frontline of the medical and scientific fightback’.
Coronavirus is thought to have originated from a wet market – where live animals are slaughtered and sold alongside dead ones – in Wuhan, China, towards the end of last year. Since then it has spread globally, killing more than 160,000 people around the world at the time of writing.
However, the documentary states that wildlife markets are ‘only part of the problem’, adding that nearly a third of all cases where viruses jump from animals to humans are thought to be caused by changes in land use and intensive farming.
‘Very good environment’
Veterinary pathologist Professor Andrew Cunningham, who specializes in wildlife diseases, said: “It’s not a coincidence that we talk bout avian influenza and swine influenza, those are the two species that are farmed intensively the most around the world.
“Thousands and thousands of animals packed in together and that’s a very good environment for a new virus to emerge from a mutation.”
You can watch the full episode here