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Why you should be advocating for change


Recently, researchers have found yet another flu virus with ‘pandemic potential’ in China. While it does not pose a real threat to us currently, it could easily adapt to infect humans and be easily transmissible. This infection was found in people who worked in abattoirs (slaughterhouses) and the swine industry in China. The researchers theorize that one of the causes for the creation of this virus is the unhygienic conditions of the swine industry and the animals’ improper handling.

A global pandemic is only one of the catastrophic possibilities if the meat industry continues sans any checks and regulations.

To begin with, let us see how the meat industry affects our environment as a whole.

1. The Meat industry and the environment:

This could come as a surprise to many, but meat is considered one of the prime factors contributing to the current extinction crisis we are undergoing. Large amounts of water and land consumed, egregious amounts of fossil fuel burned, and the methane and waste produced are vital reasons for this. According to a study published in the journal Science, avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce negative environmental impact on our planet, this is the most comprehensive analysis till date about the damage farming does to the planet.

The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union, and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

The new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. The scientists also found that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.”

2. The Meat industry and your health:

The conditions in which the animals are kept are usually unhygienic – overcrowded cages, cramped, no space to defecate, or even breathe. As a result of this, there is a considerable spread of diseases like E. Coli. These diseases afflict everyone who buys the meat. Shocking hygiene failings have been discovered in some of the US’s biggest meat plants!

There are several diseases that have afflicted mankind severely over the years: SARS, human version of mad cow disease variant called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Bird Flu, Swine Flu are all diseases that spread due to the consumption of tainted meat. Several other diseases, like Ebola and Nipah virus, are proven to originate from meat marketplaces. Scientists are now investigating the origins of COVID-19, the deadly virus that has taken hundreds and thousands of lives. It points to the unhygienic seafood “wet markets” having unhealthy practices (that also housed ‘exotic’ animals such as bats and snakes) in Wuhan, as a possible source.

3. The Meat industry and animal rights:

Many animal rights activists have gone undercover, to work at several big corporations who claimed to have ethically-sourced meat. The truth was far from it. In reality, hundreds and thousands of animals are locked in dark barns, cooped up together with constricted movement, stuck in pools of blood and feces, breeding sites for hosts of innumerable diseases.

This sounds like everyone’s worst nightmare. Pointing out the fact that these animals have emotions and can feel pain and fear just like us, it is completely inhumane to do this to any sentient being. Though 94% of today’s Americans agree that their meat should be ethically-sourced, devoid of cruelty, the sad truth is that there are very few corporations that truly ensure healthy practices.

In the US alone, 528 million acres of land are devoted to animal production, and 500 million tons of factory-farm waste is produced every year. This is a colossal waste of time, and resources.


As you can see, the unhygienic practices of the meat industry aren’t just an animal rights issue, it is a subject that affects humanity as a whole. To prevent a host of issues, (from accelerating climate change and bringing us closer to the brink of mass extinction, to creating another global pandemic), it is in our best interests to make sure that the inhumane practices of the meat industry are abolished.

Authored by: Sanjana Shankar

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