Don’t be fooled by animal rights groups: COVID-19 has nothing to do with animal agriculture
Taking advantage of people when they are most vulnerable is a disgrace, but that’s just what animal rights activists are doing during this COVID-19 pandemic. Groups including Direct Action Everywhere, The Save Movement, Mercy for Animals, Farm Sanctuary and PETA are using social media and op-eds to claim that animal agriculture is to blame for COVID-19 and will be the cause of future pandemics. However, experts in epidemiology, zoonotic diseases and food safety disagree.
Dr. Richard Raymond, former Undersecretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says there is absolutely no connection between animal agriculture and the current COVID-19 pandemic or any previous pandemics. “There has been no source identified for the current coronavirus and there is certainly no link to food animals or animal production,” said Raymond. “It started in a multi-million population center in China, nowhere near any large food animal operations.”
Activists frequently tout modern animal housing as a key player in disease spread, but the opposite is true. “If anything, modern agriculture helps prevent infectious disease outbreaks by not allowing our domestic animals contact with environment contaminated by wild species of animals such as surface water or other environmental contaminants,” said Dr. Dan Thomson, chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University and former professor of production medicine and epidemiology at Kansas State University. “Modern agriculture allows us to monitor animal health daily and quickly mitigate animal health issues.”
Dr. Randy Singer, professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and editor-in-chief of Zoonoses and Public Health, a Wiley peer-reviewed journal agrees, saying “the high level of biosecurity used by modern animal agriculture has resulted in a greatly decreased risk of disease spread.”
Since COVID-19 began, restrictions have been placed on buying, selling and eating wildlife in China and now some animal rights groups are using this as a basis to call for restrictions to be placed on farms and ranches, drawing an illogical connection in an attempt to erode trust in our food supply. Any concerns around the safety of animal agriculture and meat, milk, poultry and eggs are unfounded as the United States has the safest food supply in the world with the USDA, FSIS and FDA constantly monitoring the supply chain to ensure we have safe, wholesome and nutritious food. “Beef, pork, poultry, eggs and milk products are safe and wholesome,” said Thomson. “It is immoral to use this COVID crisis to drive politically-charged vegan agendas.”
Our food chain workers are rising to the challenge of unanticipated demand to ensure food is one thing families don’t have to worry about. In this unprecedented time, we should be supporting our farmers and other frontline workers. Unfortunately, some can’t help but show their true colors. While it is unsurprising that animal rights groups would take advantage of this world health crisis to spread misinformation and vegan agendas (not to mention to fundraise), their greedy fearmongering is one disease that should be eradicated for good.