Zoonoses - a ticking time bomb
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Dr Justine Butler, Viva! UK
May 2020

Emerging diseases originating in animals and their impact on humanity...



Zoonotic diseases are diseases that spread from animals to humans. They include familiar ones, such as the common cold, influenza (flu), polio, AIDS and measles and other lesser known ones such as SARS, MERS, Nipah virus and Ebola. Most recently, Covid-19 has joined this growing list, having jumped from bats or other wild animals, to humans, leading to a pandemic.

There are over 200 zoonotic diseases and 56 of them affect two-and-a-half billion people and cause nearly three million deaths every year. Zoonotic diseases are emerging with increasing frequency and three out of every four new ones come from animals.

Covid-19 has caused a huge number of deaths across the globe and resulted in a third of the planet on lockdown. It is probable that Covid-19 was caught from wild animals in a Chinese wet market. It has focussed the world’s attention on how our mistreatment of wild and farmed animals, has resulted in dire consequences for our health.

Of course, we’ve been here before! In 2003, the severe acute respiratory disease, SARS, jumped from bats to humans via civet cats that had been captured in the wild and brought to market. In 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), was again spread from bats but this time via the increasing number of farmed camels, some bred for racing.

Bird flu (avian influenza virus) captured the headlines in the late 1990s when it jumped from wild water birds to domestic poultry and then to humans, causing a number of deaths. Millions of bird were slaughtered but it was too late as the virus had already mutated and its many forms were travelling around the world in migratory birds, infecting domestic poultry, pigs and all manner of other animals, including humans. Hundreds have subsequently died.

Download this entire remarkable study (PDF)

Table of Contents:

  • Summary
  • Zoonotic diseases
  • Covid-19
  • SARS
  • MERS
  • Avian influenza – bird flu 9
  • Spanish flu
  • Asian flu
  • Hong Kong flu
  • Swine flu
  • H5N1
  • H7N9
  • H7N4
  • Nipah virus
  • Measles
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Conclusions

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