Now is the time to be Vegan?

COVID-19 are meat eaters to blame?

Alternative meat sales are skyrocketing due to problems with the ‘usual’ meat supply chain and worries of coronavirus originating through this supply is leaving people asking if veganism is the answer to coronavirus!

Did you hear about the guy who was SLAMMED by social media for claiming that COVID-19 only exists because we eat animals?

My own thoughts and feelings aside, I absolutely agree that being plant based is a more ‘eco’ way of living and absolutely can lead to a healthier lifestyle, it certainly did with me. But vegan or not your still at risk of illness, right?! So, what is the deal with this link between pandemics and eating meat? But I did say my beliefs aside! So, let us just look to the facts.

Firstly, back to the controversial claim by Earthling Ed, I believe this, and many things was put out to be controversial and just to start a conversation. This form of activism certainly has its place in the world, but I do not think it’s always the way to go, but this could become its own topic on its own.

This whole thing started because of the links with factory farms and zoonotic diseases. As you would expect there has been major investigations into the origins of coronavirus. From scientists we know that Sars-CoV-2 virus (a member of the coronavirus family that causes the respiratory illness Covid-19) is the product of natural evolution. And studies have also proved that this virus could not have been constructed in a lab or otherwise homemade, so there go any conspiracy theories.

If we go back to the origins of COVID-19 then yes like many diseases it seems like this came through an animal host too. And yes, whilst this has not actually been conclusive, but similarities have been found between this strain of coronavirus and the ones found to infect pangolins. But this news still doesn’t entitle Trump to blame the china eating bats or pangolins for this pandemic, after all exotic animals in Chinese market has been occurring for years!

So, what else is new?

Well the human population has expanded and with it a huge increase in demand for food and meat. China’s small-scale farmers have pushed out to once untouched ecosystems, areas where bats and their viruses do lurk. But everyone has their share of the blame for this the growing population, the increase in intensive farming all over the world have increased the number of zoonotic diseases, just think about Ebola and HIV!

And now think about the modern agricultural methods we use to try and meet the demand for meat, in other words factory farming. Intensive poultry operations have a clear link to increases in avian influenza viruses. And studies in 2015 proved that EU and America were the largest exporters of pigs were coincidentally the largest exporters of swine flu.

So many things about coronavirus are uncertain, including where it originated from. And whilst it may seem easy to blame the increase of zoonotic diseases coming out of China, I think it’s easier to find fault with factory farming. Which was caused by everyone of us. Since farming intensified there has been a whole heap of impacts and increase in disease is only one aspect.

Whilst comments by vegan activists like the one I mentioned earlier might have been slatered and called false. If you ask me they are neither wrong or right. I don’t believe that we will ever be an entirely vegan world. People have been eating meat to live for centuries, and their cultures are important to this world. But I believe it’s the sheer amount which is farmed and produced is the issue here.

I think this situation has shown how vulnerable we are to disease when in overcrowded and poor work environments. Issues which have been faced since the early 1980’s. If we want to be more resilient some of these practically ‘ancient’ ways of working need some drastic improvements, especially as we look towards a future with increased likelihood of situations such as this occurring more frequently, thanks to climate change – another reason why intensive, high polluting agricultural practices need to end.

Does being vegan defend against coronavirus? Well no. Me as a vegan is as much at risk as anyone else, which is why it’s important we follow government guidelines and focus on eating well, 100% you can experience health benefits with a plant-based diet. But for me it’s clear that the most important issue is factory farming. And it’s not all about turning the world vegan, but driving the culture that less is more, reducing demand on meat and dairy by eating a more plant-based diet and most importantly if you are going to eat it you should shop local.