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Does Factory Farming cause or amplify pandemics? Show more Show less

It's generally believe that covid19 started at a wet market in China, and exposure to wildlife is generally accepted to be a reservoir for viral pathogen that can cause pandemics, but less clear is whether Factory Farming can cause or amplify pandemics.

Factory Farms cause or amplify pandemics. Show more Show less

(1 of 2 Positions)

Factory bred animals are more likely to be carriers of contagious pathogens that amplify pandemics

Factory farming poses one of the major threats to the world in terms of unknowingly spreading dangerous and deadly diseases through its process of breeding, slaughtering and selling of animals. With more than half the world’s population being meat lovers, this farming is less of a capitalistic saving than a ticking time bomb threatening global devastation.
(1 of 1 Argument)

Context

The Argument

Diseases spread from animals, birds and insects to humans almost every day. Malaria, rabies, and yellow fever; these diseases prove that human beings aren’t as insulated as we thought. While some of them are common and easily treatable, the same cannot be said for the diseases that cross the animal-human boundary. Pathogens like the infamous influenza - H1N1 aka Swine flu, and most recently the Coronavirus, do not differentiate among species but attack one and all alike. This "equality" makes it difficult to prevent the development of a disease into an epidemic and consequently a pandemic. Factory farming, or as its also known, intensive animal farming refers to the practice of rearing animals - poultry, pigs and cattle - using methods that maximize production and minimize costs. Initially considered as effective, it essentially crams a huge number of animals into an exceedingly small space, allowing for the rampant spread of any communicable diseases. When humans consume these animals, they more often than not also consume the pathogen, providing access to the disease to spread even further. While the idea of epidemics and pandemics emerging from factory farming may seem a little far-fetched, recent history shows that it is in fact true. Swine Flu and Bird Flu emerged from pig and chicken farms respectively.[1] Annually, millions of animals are bred through such farming techniques and sold in meat markets.[2] With such staggering numbers, detailed care and inspection of each animal is impossible, which endangers countless lives. Studies have shown that a lack of space, manure and large amounts of ammonia results in the animals falling sick.[3] A 2014 survey depicted about 80% of pigs being ill with pneumonia at the time of their slaughter.[4] Is it then any surprise that factory farming sites turn into the breeding ground for deadly viruses that effectively bring the world onto its knees?

Counter arguments

Factory farming, when done right, keeps in mind all the biosecurity requirements for keeping people safe. This is beneficial to the economy and resources available to mankind. In developed countries, this technique is favored because of the high-tech equipment and care taken of the livestock being rared. The entire chain of human resources linked to factory farming, from farmers to the head of the corporations, is aware and mindful of the delicate balance required to ensure safe practice of mass production of animals. The problem arises with the developing nations who focus on increasing profit without a second thought to the health risks unsafe practices give rise to. Would it be fair to accuse the entire industry for the fault of some who are in the pursuit of nothing but wealth? Completely shutting down factory farming would cause a global shortage of food, not just affecting the human population, but food corporations and ultimately the economy.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Factory farming crams a large number of animals in an extremely small space allowing for the easy spread of viruses. [P2] It is not possible to check each and every animal that is sent out for human consumption for diseases.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] When the proper sanitary precautions are taken, this is of little consequence. [Rejecting P2] When the biosecurity requirements are followed to the letter, this is of no concern.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/20/factory-farms-pandemic-risk-covid-animal-human-health
  2. https://petpedia.co/factory-farming-statistics/
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/04/factory-farming-destructive-wasteful-cruel-says-philip-lymbery-farmageddon-author
  4. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/facts-about-the-lives-of-factory-farmed-animals/
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 15:25 UTC