Australian MP Mark Pearson has warned the majority of pandemics come from 'abusive interactions between humans and animals'.
The politician, who was the first Australian elected to parliament on the basis of animal protection, made the comments in an upcoming interview with Plant Based News.
'A global inquiry'
When asked whether the current coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis had the potential to change the public's perception of plant-based foods, Pearson said: "About 90 percent of pandemics come from abusive interactions between humans and animals.
"There's going to be a major global inquiry into coronavirus so clearly, our abusive interaction with wildlife and other animals is going to be squarely on the agenda.
"I think that some of the findings that come out of that inquiry, especially if they consider the treatment of animals in intensive farming, especially the use of antibiotic-like substances, is that while people are consuming these animals that are needed to be treated by a cluster of drugs to prevent sickness, there are a lot of good reasons to move away from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet."
'We have seen this happen before'
Pearson isn't the only person to link human interactions with animals with zoonotic diseases.
Professor Andrew Cunningham, an animal disease expert, recently said it's surprising there aren't more pandemics like the coronavirus - 'given the way we treat and commoditize animals'.
He told The Telegraph: "We have seen this happen before. Unless human behaviors and activities change, we are going to see it happen again. The frequency of occurrence of zoonotic spillover is increasing in recent decades. That is because of the way we interact with wildlife now.
"All these things have happened in the last 50 or 60 years. We are living in an entirely different world. We have created an entirely unnatural ecosystem for ourselves and that is leading to the increased chance of novel pathogen spillover from wildlife into people."