The public is being urged to go vegan in a bid to prevent future pandemic crises like the coronavirus.
The coronavirus is believed to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Since then it has spread worldwide killing almost 230,000 people globally.
'Risk of future pandemics'
An open letter released today, signed by a host of experts, scientists, and campaigners, highlights the link between animal use and the transmission of diseases, saying some three in four of new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals, mainly from wildlife trade and factory farming.
Illnesses including SARS, bird flu, swine flu, Ebola, and AIDS originated in animals. Diseases that spread from animals to humans are known as zoonotic diseases.
The letter warns that taken together, 56 zoonotic diseases are responsible for an estimated 2.5 billion cases of human illness and 2.7 million deaths a year - and that 'humanity will always be at risk to future pandemics while factory farms and wildlife markets continue'.
"Across the globe animals are kept in horrific conditions in factory farms and wildlife markets. These settings provide a fertile environment for the transmission of viruses between different species and humans” the letter reads.
"Ending the exploitation of animals is one of the biggest actions humankind can take to protect itself against future pandemics."
Three in four campaign
The letter has been signed by leading scientific experts including Professor Andrew Knight, director at the Centre for Animal Welfare and Public Health Professional, and GP Dr. Josh Cullimore.
It is also signed by the UK’s top barrister Michael Mansfield QC, and environmental expert and leading journalist George Monbiot.
They are joined by campaigners Elisa Allen, Director, PETA, and Bella Lack, ambassador, Born Free Foundation, Vicky Bond, managing director of The Humane League UK, and Dominic Dyer, author and animal welfare campaigner.
The letter was coordinated by vegan charity Viva! which today launches campaign 3 in 4 in a bid to highlight the link between the abuse of animals and human infections.
'Stop the disease at source'
"The longer we continue to exploit and abuse animals for our own needless consumption, the more at risk we will be to pandemics like Covid-19 in the future," Juliet Gellatley, Viva! founder, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
"Calls for tighter controls at airports, banning unregulated movement of animals, and limiting human-animal contact will give us little protection if we continue to provide the perfect environments for these diseases to thrive. The most logical and best form of protection is to go vegan and stop the disease at source."