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Wearing a hidden camera, Animal Outlook’s brave investigator gathered damning footage inside several Southern California live markets.
Animal Outlook's undercover footage revealed:
• Multiple species of animals crammed into tiny cages stacked floor to ceiling.
• Workers roughly handling birds, rabbits and other animals, including throwing birds and holding rabbits dangling by their delicate ears.
• Live chickens shackled by their feet and hanging upside down on a slaughter line.
• Workers cutting the throats of fully conscious live birds.
With animals packed together in filthy, overcrowded conditions, live markets are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses that cause disease. Live markets in the U.S. have been implicated in at least five outbreaks of bird flu amongst commercial poultry.
COVID-19 is thought to have originally made the jump from animals to humans at a live market.
Like in live markets, animals on factory farms are also packed tightly together in stressful, filthy conditions. Feces and urine accumulate on factory farms, leading to perfect conditions for pathogens to grow.
These highly stressed animals have weakened immune systems, making them more vulnerable to disease.
Recent pandemic virus threats from swine flu and bird flu almost certainly evolved on chicken and pig factory farms. And while we don’t yet know the full history of COVID-19, the links between animal and human health could not be clearer.
Pathogens don’t respect species boundaries, and the COVID-19 pandemic has put factory farming in the international spotlight. Moreover, the frequency of pathogens jumping from other animals to people is increasing due to unsustainable human activities, according to a July 2020 United Nations report titled Preventing the next pandemic -- Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission. The report goes on to say that “pandemics such as the COVID-19 outbreak are a predictable and predicted outcome of how people source and grow food, trade and consume animals, and alter environments.”
The U.N. report identifies seven trends most likely driving the increasing emergence of zoonotic diseases, including increased demand for animal protein and a rise in intense and unsustainable farming.
Nearly 500 U.S. meatpacking facilities have had confirmed cases of COVID-19, more than 40,000 workers have tested positive and nearly 200 workers have died.
Raising and killing animals for food poses such a danger in terms of potential disease proliferation that the United Nations has called the health of farmed animals “the weakest link” in the global health chain. In fact, three out of four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.
It’s time to wake up. Factory farms are breeding grounds for pandemics.
It’s time to rethink our food system.
The current one is broken beyond repair.
As a society, we must demand better because we all deserve better. We must stop these systems of destruction. It’s up to us tot hold the animal agriculture industry and our government accountable: stand up and speak out, share this information, empower yourselves and others, , and demand protection for us all by ending factory farming.