What the Coronavirus, the Film Contagion, and Infectious Diseases All Have in Common
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From VeganVine.com
February 2020

Each day we have an opportunity to resist violent and oppressive acts against other animals, but we continue to turn a blind eye to their suffering, choosing instead to make our bodies their graves while digging our own in the process....

“For years I said that Contagion is one of the scariest films ever made and now here we are,” tweeted actor and director Stephen Ford.

Image from 2011 thriller Contagion...

In the final scene of the 2011 thriller Contagion, we learn that the deadly virus that killed 2.5 million people in the United States and 26 million worldwide by day 26 had originated in a Chinese "meat market." The "chef," who had been handling the corpse of the infected pig, wipes the pig's blood and saliva on his apron and heads out of the kitchen to meet with Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow), a customer who requests a picture and to shake his hand. Beth becomes patient zero.

Two things came to mind when I initially heard about the Coronavirus, a zoonotic disease that is rapidly spreading across the globe and whose source has also been traced to a "meat market" in China where nonhuman animals were sold for human consumption. The first, was the movie Contagion, which relied heavily on science and was praised by experts for its authenticity. The second, was the inevitability of such an outbreak due in no small part to our insufferable and systematic exploitation and abuse of other animals.

In Beyond Humanism, Toward a New Animalism David Cantor wrote:

Humans’ various holocausts against nonhuman animals . . . brought limitless disaster upon human beings, who until relatively recently were ignorant of organisms invisible to the naked eye. Hundreds of infectious diseases that chickens, pigs, cows, rabbits, camels, sheep, goats, horses, dogs, and others had adapted to over millions of years wreaked havoc on humans who assumed they could enslave other animals with impunity. Supernatural explanations arose for smallpox, bubonic plague, influenza, and other scourges that in actuality were zoonotic.

In Animal Abuse: It's Why We Have Infectious Diseases Cantor went on to describe the root cause of much human suffering brought about by our animal-abuse policies, cultures, and practices. Here are just some of the more well-known zoonotic diseases he addressed:

AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome):
The best-documented and most likely theory holds that human beings acquired the HIV virus which causes AIDS from unnatural contact with chimpanzees — namely butchering them for their flesh ("bushmeat"), enslaving them as pets, or attracting them to settlements or crops, most likely starting in the late 19th or early 20th century.

Humans can catch anthrax via ingestion, inhalation, or cutaneous contact. This occurs from unnatural contact with nonhuman animals such as eating them, handling them, or touching their skin or wool. Infection is much more common among those who work in certain professions (i.e., those handling animal skins for the manufacture of shoes, coats, handbags, furniture, etc., chopping animal horns to make buttons, constructing brush bristles from animal hair, etc.).

The Common Cold:
Humans originally caught this airborne illness from enslaving horses for work, transportation, and companionship.

Humans' unnatural contact with fruit bats, monkeys, and other animals in western Africa through hunting and trapping — usually for the purposes of eating "bushmeat" — spread this terrifying, contagious infectious disease to humans.

Known casually as "the clap," gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted infection, is thought to have originated in unnatural dwellings that became early cities and towns. It initially "spilled over" into humans from cattle due to naturally herbivorous humans' unnatural enslavement of and direct contact with those animals.

Human beings catch various strains of influenza from enslaving pigs and birds to use for food and other purposes. Influenza epidemics have been historic events, more destructive than wars or terrorism, sometimes killing millions of human beings. As long as food policy includes the flesh of other animals, it will not be possible to eradicate influenza.

Humans who stray from their natural diet of leaves, fruits, berries, roots, legumes, flowers, and other edible plants commonly contract this bacterial infection when they eat animal flesh and soft cheeses derived from nonhuman milk.

Lyme disease:
Deer ticks — so named because the deer mouse, or white-footed mouse, is their most common carrier — is prevalent due to humans' reckless and unnatural land use, such as destruction of forests and suburban sprawl, which leaves humans vulnerable to the bites of an exploding tick population.

Human beings most likely originally contracted measles from enslaving dogs. Today, the measles still kill about one million humans per year.

Salmonellosis, one of the most common forms of food-poisoning among humans, results from ingesting animal flesh, milk, eggs, and fecal-contaminated water spilling over from animal-enslavement operations ("factory farms"). Symptoms often include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and fever. Over one million Americans are infected each year.

Humans ingest Shigella, an infectious disease-causing bacterium, through consumption of sea animals, eggs, or the undercooked flesh of chickens and cows. Symptoms include diarrhea (bloody), fever, and stomach cramps.

While the news media often reconciles our many infectious diseases as "natural" occurrences, there is nothing natural about their inception. In 1918, the Spanish influenza infected one-third of the world's human population and killed at least 50 million people (3 to 5 percent of the human population), making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Spanish flu sprung from an H1N1 avian (bird) virus first identified in military personnel in an overcrowded camp in France during WWI. Pigs were also confined to an area of the camp, and turkeys, chickens, and other captive birds were regularly brought in to the camp for "food" supplies. In 1999, virologist John Oxford led a British team of researchers who concluded that the Spanish flu virus harbored in the birds, mutated and then migrated to the pigs and humans.

Since the onset of the Coronavirus, those who have seen Contagion recognize the similarities, but where those similarities end and how many will die from the disease (not including the imprisoned monkeys who will be infected and tortured by the CDC in cruel experiments to find a vaccine), only time will tell.

“For years I said that Contagion is one of the scariest films ever made and now here we are,” tweeted actor and director Stephen Ford.

While Contagion may be a work of fiction, the likelihood of another global pandemic is all too real given the monstrous ways in which we breed, torture, and kill other animals on an industrial scale. Economic, social, and political influences continue to drive animal-abuse culture and policies, and we are only too happy to abide them for our own perverse pleasures, conveniences, and entertainment. Each day we have an opportunity to resist violent and oppressive acts against other animals, but we continue to turn a blind eye to their suffering, choosing instead to make our bodies their graves while digging our own in the process.

The Coronavirus has already begun to do its damage. The question remains, will we finally learn from it? Or, will we continue to reap what we sow?

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