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Don’t blame governments - we are ourselves to blame.

(19 Posts)
MawB Sat 25-Apr-20 21:10:48

From The Guardian
The vast illegal wildlife trade and humanity’s excessive intrusion into nature is to blame for the coronavirus pandemic, according to a leading US scientist who says “this is not nature’s revenge, we did it to ourselves”

Scientists are discovering two to four new viruses are created every year as a result of human infringement on the natural world, and any one of those could turn into a pandemic, according to Thomas Lovejoy, who coined the term “biological diversity” in 1980 and is often referred to as the godfather of biodiversity.

This pandemic is the consequence of our persistent and excessive intrusion in nature and the vast illegal wildlife trade, and in particular, the wildlife markets, the wet markets, of south Asia and bush meat markets of Africa… It’s pretty obvious, it was just a matter of time before something like this was going to happen,” said Lovejoy, a senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation and professor of environment science at George Mason University

His comments were made to mark the release of a report by the Center for American Progress arguing that the US should step up efforts to combat the wildlife trade to help confront pandemics.

Wet markets are traditional markets selling live animals (farmed and wild) as well as fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, often in unhygienic conditions. They are found all over Africa and Asia, providing sustenance for hundreds of millions of people. The wet market in Wuhan believed to be the source of Covid-19 contained a number of wild animals, including foxes, rats, squirrels, wolf pups and salamanders.

Starblaze Sat 25-Apr-20 21:22:32

Battery farmed animals are the worst. Done all over the world. Not just wet markets in China.

EllanVannin Sat 25-Apr-20 22:18:19

Nature getting its own back !! It had to happen.

Granny23 Sat 25-Apr-20 22:30:28

Thought this might fit here:

MaizieD Sat 25-Apr-20 22:45:25

Humans have been eating meat for thousands of years. The moral dimension of meat eating is a very recent development.

I think it's going to be very hard to persuade people to abandon their traditional diets. This is not the first cross species disease we (humans) have encountered and past experience seems to have made little difference in altering eating habits.

The article's language of 'illegal wildlife trade' and distaste for wet markets are distinctly western, first world concepts and feelings which are not shared by huge numbers of the world population. Especially when, as it points out, they are providing sustenance for hundreds of millions of people.

What do you do about that?

Starblaze Sat 25-Apr-20 22:50:03

Yet we keep animals in spaces they cannot move in. In western countries. Steal calves from cows so we can harvest their milk. Breed dogs and cats for looks even though it deform them and they suffer. The way we treat all animals globally should change.

Daisymae Sat 25-Apr-20 22:51:08

It's the modern day scale of the slaughter and infringement into the wild that has created a perfect environment. The demand is extraordinary, coupled with globalisation. The slaughter was never on this scale and there was never such ease of spread. Something had to give. Again this has been known about since 1918, yet it was more convenient to turn a blind eye.

MaizieD Sun 26-Apr-20 07:49:43

While having some agreement with previous posters, what I was trying to point out is that it is not modern intensive animal husbandry that has caused the coronavirus problem. It is 'traditional' diets, different from those we are comfortable with in our 'western' way of life. Altering our diets isn't going to reduce the risk being discussed in the article.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 26-Apr-20 08:09:20

I agree maizie

The western distaste for the wild life meat market is borne out of the way we in fact deal with our meat consumption.

We are never present at the round up of the animals, their terror at the smell of blood and their death, whether bungled or not.

Consequently we feel distaste at the way millions of people feed themselves and their family.

But unless we tackle the world wide poverty and starvation, which will increase with global warming, this trade will continue with the risk of further pandemics.

But never let us think that the way we deal with our meat consumption leaves us free from such terrors.

Think BSE, even today a British citizen cannot give blood outside the U.K. Think of the way chickens have to be washed in chlorine because of the dreadful way in which they are reared.

But the biggest danger facing the entire world and which will make this virus seem like a picnic is the way we pump animals with anti-biotics - needed because of the way we intensively farm.

Once that genie is out of the bottle, even giving birth will become the huge danger it once was, and operations etc will be so dangerous.

So don’t run away with the idea that wet markets and the wild life trade poses the greatest threat to the world. It doesn’t.

The western world does.

Urmstongran Sun 26-Apr-20 08:33:23

It is unpleasant to think of some of the practices in the wet markets in Asia and the consumption of bush meat in Africa. But these people don’t have access to fridges and freezers, live in poverty and the safest practice for them to be able to eat protein is to buy a live animal, take it home and kill it when it’s needed.

Perhaps regulations could be tightened? Separate off different species from one another. Mind you these countries are so vast it would be nigh on impossible to police.

BlueSky Sun 26-Apr-20 08:46:33

Agree Urmstongran even as a vegetarian I understand that not everybody is in a position to practise selective eating like us in the West. But are we sure that's how the virus spread? I don't think we'll ever know.

trisher Sun 26-Apr-20 09:32:54

Whitewavemark2 well said! I was thinking about "mad cow disease" and thinking how quickly it has been forgotten. It is so much easier to blame other systems and cultures.

Davidhs Sun 26-Apr-20 10:26:09

Let’s not confuse the farming of animals for meat in controlled conditions that is highly unlikely to cause disease risk. The emotive lies that animal rights activists spread about meat production are simply lies, no more.

Bush meat and so called animal medicines is what causes the risk. In Africa where your family is starving you will catch and eat whatever you can and not worry about the risk and to be honest most of us would do the same. Eating animal because it’s a custom is not justifiable, sharkskin soup, bats, pangolins. Because we travel so easily any disease can spread very quickly.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 26-Apr-20 10:31:08

And the antibiotic issue david?

Davidhs Sun 26-Apr-20 11:33:37

Antibiotics are used when prescribed by a vet, in the UK they are not used as growth promoters. If an animal has pneumonia the vet will treat it with antibiotics, then there is a long withdrawl period before the animal can be sold. Every vet treatment is recorded and audited. If antibiotics residues are found that is a serious issue and a major investigation is started, that is likely to cost thousands of pounds, so nobody breaks the rules.

If it’s a supermarket supply contract the inspector checks every aspect of the farm, including financial performance, if you are not performing to their benchmark they will delist you.

On a less serious note

What is the difference between a supermarket buyer and a terrorist.

You can negotiate with a terrorist !

Davidhs Sun 26-Apr-20 12:02:04

Africa and many other countries, it is customary to slaughter and eat meat quickly because there is no refrigeration. It is legal in the U.K. to slaughter animals for your own consumption, wild game is one example, also domestic livestock which these days is mostly ethnic communities.

Mad Cow Disease proved to be a very small risk to humans, it was caused by lowering the temperature on offal processing and spread when meat and bone meal was fed to cattle.

We are going to get these sporadic disease outbreaks and pandemics, you cannot protect against something you don’t know exists, AIDS is a good example, at first it was thought to be armageddon for us, now it has been brought under control, and the global population is still growing.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 26-Apr-20 13:00:11

It isn’t a question of human consumption of antibiotics.

A paper was produced in 2015 commissioned by the NHS calling for dramatic reduction of antibiotics in farming because of the enormous and existential danger of a superbug resistance.

Intensive farming such as we see in America and Europe poses a high danger.

70% of antibiotics used in animals are also used in humans.

Excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics is prevelent in animal husbandry, and is used in healthy animals who are farmed intensively.

There is a proven link between antibiotic use in farmed animals and human resistance.

Some last resort antibiotics useful for humans are being used in farmed animals and there are no replacements currently underway.

Indeed my daughter a genetic engineer and microbiologist can testify to this working in this field.

Global economic system has shown just how easy a pandemic can spread, the same is true of antibiotic resistance.

The U.K. is as vulnerable as any country in the world especially as it is now keen to negotiate trade deals throughout the world.

Davidhs Sun 26-Apr-20 16:17:41

I can’t say there is no link between animal use and resistance in humans, what I am sure of is that the drugs of last resort are not used in animals. There is no reason to use the reserved antibiotics in farm animals because the economic value is limited, the most valuable being £1000 or so in most cases. Whereas you cannot put a value on a human life.

There have been big changes in the way antibiotics have been prescribed in the last 10 yrs, doctors are very careful how drugs are used as are vets. It’s probably correct that 70% of antibiotics are used in human and animal treatment, with the 30% reserved. Of course antibiotics are only effective against bacteria, nowadays it is viruses that seem to cause the most problems.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 26-Apr-20 16:21:33

david that isn’t what the report said. Of course they may have been talking about the USA as they are used extensively there, and of course what happens in the USA or anywhere will affect the entire world.