The reason why I thought of this topic is the ongoing pandemic and the occasion of World Zoonoses day. So how many of us are meat lovers out here ? Common raise your hand, no one would be probably watching you and neither is it a thing to judge someone !!
Meat consumption is not the concern for which I am writing this topic. Rather the way in which meat is harvested on a commercial level is. And mind you, I am not asking about changing your years of food habits. No it doesn’t work that easy. But what I am going to walk you through is the way in which the meat farming is something which can actually lead us to our own grave or pyre. Consuming unhealthy meat might be similar to consuming expired meds.
Do you risk yourself that much is the question !
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Importance of Zoonoses Day
Coming back to the Zoonoses day which triggered this topic. So the 6th of July 1885 was the day when French biologist Louis Pasteur administered the first vaccine against rabies. A disease that is fatal and is zoonotic which means caused by animals. The observation of this day is very important as far as our interaction with the animal kingdom is concerned. Infections that spread from animals are a big matter of concern and when it comes to the current Coronavirus pandemic, it is believed to have jumped to humans from animals. We are losing a lot of lives and yet when it comes to the cause, we try to keep silent.
On this particular day, lets understand at least some part of what makes meat a source of our diseases or the pandemics to be precise. Lets understand how is meat a big factor to the rise of pandemics and how can we help ourselves.
Also Read: Why Mother Nature is so important to us ?
History of diseases that have come from animals
If we have to talk about the history of such diseases that have come from the animal kingdom, we do not have to go back. We are actually living the COVID-19 pandemic that is believed to have originated from bats. But is it the only one ?
We have the Ebola, MERS, West Nile fever, Rift Valley fever and the list goes on. To the orthodox, this may sound as god’s wrath on mankind. But to those who know why these diseases are on rise, it is an ideal gift of the human karma.
Many people have died thanks to these diseases and yet most of us would never have even heard the word Zoonoses in their lifetime. That is the current state of awareness and it needs to be corrected soon. Who knows too much of zoonotic diseases may finally fulfil the cruel sci-fi dream of zombie apocalypse, triggered by some unknown little germ that jumps from some animal to humans.
Also read: Are we the designers of our own ending ?
Why is this on the rise ?
To understand why such things are happening, we need to understand some basics first. First is that animal kingdom needs their own space just as we do. Too much of an encroachment into their space and they start visiting our space. We should remember one thing that humans have a very weak immune system compared to animals. Animals can eat anything off the floor, or lying in dust. The pathogens do not impact them, but if they carry these while the visit us, it can be a bad news for us.
And that’s not all. The other thing is commercialization of meat. Back in the days when meat consumption was proportionate or when people had their own sources of meat, it was a comparatively healthy source. But if we just look at the way the poultry is farmed or for that matter any other food animal, it can be very difficult to even eat well even if it looks great. How can we guarantee no pathogens grow in those poultry racks which have hundreds or thousands of birds, breathing each others exhalation and excretion very closely.
How do you even keep a track of how many of them are sick until they die ? How do we as consumers understand the type of food they were given, or the care that was taken to ensure the meat is not just heavy in weight but healthy too. I am not saying their would be malpractices happening, but what if the meat you bought was of a bird that died by some unknown cause. Will the commercial unit be ethical enough to dispose off the creature or will they still serve it in beautiful platters. All this due to the increasing demand of meat and an expanded commercialization of the industry, the tracking of animals at an individual level is not something which we can be very sure off.
What can we do ?
We have to take each of the steps around us with just a bit more of caution. Democracies should realize that healthcare and sustainable policies are more important than subsidized goods. What good is the additional money in your pockets if such pandemics keep wiping it out anyways. Meat habits are something we have in our hands. Too much of meat consumption as a society would mean too much commercialization and a rise in such pandemics. It is important to make sure we understand the source of the meat we are consuming, if it was a healthy creature or just sold off for increased margins. If you still wish to consume meat, try to make it in moderation and find trust worthy sources for the same.
Also read: Breathing life into the healthcare ecosystem
Following good practices while cooking food and ensuring meat is well cooked before consumption can help a lot. Hygiene practices that such as washing hands with soap and clean water is especially important after you come in contact with some animal. Avoid bites and scratches from animals whose hygiene and health status is not known.
As individuals that is the best we can do to safeguard ourselves. We need to raise an awareness about these Zoonotic diseases so that slowly and steady we can try to move to a world that has lesser pandemics and lesser suffering due to such diseases.
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