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The Connection Between Deadly Pandemics and Our Diets

From Frank Dixon, T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
July 2022

We should not place humanity at severe risk by continuing industrial chicken operations that intensively confine birds in their own waste. We should not play chicken with industrial chicken.

caged Hens
Industrial Chicken 'farm'...

Industrial animal food production, especially chicken, places humanity at severe risk of a deadly pandemic. H5N1 influenza, for example, almost certainly evolved in industrial poultry operations in China in the 1990s, and now it is circulating in wild bird populations around the world. H5N1 is 60 percent lethal to humans. It is more than ten times as lethal as the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed 700,000 people in the US, and 50 million worldwide. The mortality rate of COVID-19, by comparison, is about one percent.

Many experts warn that H5N1 is only a few mutations away from pandemic form (i.e., easily transmissible between humans). If this occurs, more than one billion people could die. It would shut down society for years, if not longer, and be the worst disaster to ever hit humanity.

The good news is H5N1 does not have to mutate into pandemic form. It is within our control to prevent this catastrophe, so long as we eliminate the risks. That means eliminating or substantially modifying industrial animal agriculture operations. Because it is in those facilities where H5N1 is most likely to evolve into pandemic form.

This situation perfectly illustrates the harmful nature of current economic and political systems. These systems unintentionally compel businesses to degrade the environment and society. They require companies to prioritize shareholders’ returns over the well-being and survival of humanity. In the Global System Change books, I provide a whole system approach for evolving human systems and society into sustainable forms, with a strong emphasis on the corporate and financial sectors.

The fourth volume of the series, Sustainable Food Production and Diet, extensively discusses the many problems caused by industrial animal and crop production. The book describes how switching to a whole food, plant-based diet is usually the single most powerful action that individuals can take to improve their health, extend their lives, lose weight, protect the environment, relieve global hunger, reduce animal cruelty, and prevent severe pandemics.


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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.