The coronavirus identified in December 2019, dubbed COVID-19, is a virus that caused an international respiratory illness pandemic. To date (6/20/21) SARS-CoV-2 has contributed to millions of deaths, prompting the question: what causes widespread disease outbreaks? The Center for Disease Control finds that there is a similarity between the virus COVID-19 and a another virus strain from bats in wildlife markets.
The parallels between wildlife markets and factory farming are innumerable. In both contexts, animals are often confined to restrictive moving spaces in close proximity to one another. Both treat animals and animal flesh products as a food commodity. Both risk contamination of viruses which are transferable between animals and humans.
Food Production and Air Quality
Zoonotic diseases, such as avian influenza and swine flu (the so-called H1N1 virus) are diseases that are spread from animal hosts to humans; they are also examples which highlight the risks of widespread disease outbreak from food production sources. The industrialization of factory farming has dramatically improved animal breeding and animal food production. Therefore, billions of animals are now farmed each year to feed growing American populations. Animal farming could eventuate disease outbreaks which could be felt worldwide.
Growing populations in the United states, China, and the European Union will require more food to feed those swelling numbers. Cattle, pigs and chicken are routinely raped, bred and killed for food and textiles in many developed nations.
Sustainability in agriculture and food production impacts our air quality. Environmental outputs from agriculture farms include runoff into water ways and methane emissions from cattle, sheep and buffalo. Nutrients sprayed onto human grown crops and from farm animal waste affects the quality of water which houses aquatic plants, animals and bacteria.
Global Warming and Factory Farming
Increases in greenhouse gas levels drive Earth’s greenhouse effect and make for warming conditions. The heat from certain natural gases gas concentrations is caused by the greenhouse gas affect in heat-retaining molecules. Nitrous oxide used in fertilizer, methane from cattle flatulence and burps, water vapor from irrigation, carbon dioxide from transport and deforestation makes factory farming the dominant cause of Earth’s intensifying greenhouse gas effect.
The observable effects of a heating planet include shrinking glaciers, increased instances of drought, rises in flood frequency and more intense heatwaves, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Assuming that we trust international experts on climatology, weather and agriculture, then we must trust that the unsustainability of our food production industry threatens the climate conditions that impact human lives.