A report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) links 70% of human diseases to animal agriculture.
The “World Agriculture – Changing Disease Landscapes” report published in December 2013 explains how population growth, agricultural expansion, and the rise of globe-spanning food supply chains have dramatically altered how diseases emerge, jump species boundaries, and spread. [See 113-page PDF here.]
The report says seventy percent of the new diseases that have emerged in humans over recent decades are of animal origin and, in part, directly related to the human quest for more animal-sourced food.
Its goes on to explain how developing countries face a staggering burden of human, zoonotic and livestock diseases creating a major impediment to development and food safety. Recurrent epidemics in livestock affect food security, livelihoods, and national and local economies in poor and rich countries alike.
In the push to produce more food, humans have carved out vast swaths of agricultural land in previously wild areas – putting themselves and their animals into contact with wildlife-borne diseases.
The FAO advocates a “One Health” approach – looking at the interplay between environmental factors, animal health, and human health, adding that “livestock health is the weakest link in our global health chain. Disease must be addressed at its source – particularly in animals.”.
Meanwhile farms in the US consume about 80 percent of the antibiotics supply. Such frequent use has come at a price: Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are on the rise, with more than 2 million people in the US now contract drug-resistant infections annually.
From a vegan perspective, all of these problems can be avoided if we consigned animal agriculture to history, thus negating the need to convert more land from wild to agricultural, freeing developing countries from a destructive economy, avoiding the risk of more diseases jumping species from the wild animalqs through livestock to humans, as well as addressing the rise in the meat-linked “Western” diseases of cancer, heart-disease, atherosclerosis, obesity…
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