COVID-19 shines light on animal welfare: World Animal Protection
According to the World Animal Protection, there are 50 billion animals globally on factory farms
TORONTO – COVID-19 has affected the economy on many levels, including the agricultural sector. While COVID-19 is hitting that industry hard, it is also shedding light on the impacts that the mass production of animals raised for food can have, says the World Animal Protection.
According to the charity, there are 50 billion animals globally on factory farms, which not only cause suffering to animals, but are increasingly implicated in heightened public health threats and disease risk to humans.
60% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning they originate from animals. While COVID-19 can be traced to wild animals, diseases such as swine flu and bird flu are believed to have emerged from farmed animals.
The charity emphasized in their statement that the agricultural industry will have to make difficult choices due to partial or complete plant closures and that could further affect animal welfare.
“While some in the industry are making efforts to deal with the new reality, such as the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s decision to reduce their flocks over the coming months to prevent farmers having to cull their flocks later, the bigger issue is the intensive agriculture system”, said Lynn Kavanagh, campaign manager for World Animal Protection Canada, in a prepared statement. “When there is a demand for cheap meat, that depends on thousands of animals being killed and processed daily, there is little room for the system to adjust to crisis situations, as we are seeing with COVID-19.”