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From the Horse’s Mouth

( Shreyasi Majumdar, Editor ) WHEN PIGS FLY :- 1350 – Plague – The Black Death outbreak in China. 2000 – 2012- SAARS ! Mad Cow Disease! Swine flu ! Nile Disease ! Ebola ! In between somewhere we had an outbreak of Leptospirosis. And we haven’t even talked yet about Diabetes, heart ailments and cancer….. We don’t need to be a Van Leeuwenhoek to understand that most epidemics do not happen randomly – it happens when we tamper and destroy the “ecosystem services “ of the natural world with our greed for progress. We cannot mask the glaring link between intensive factory farming for our dependence on animal based food and regular outbreaks of viral and bacterial pathogens. Food borne diseases kill thousands every year. When we add to that viruses that thrive in factory farms with huge concentration of animals and poorest of sanitation and waste disposal, we have a casserole of contagions. “Any emerging disease in the last 30-40 years is the result of encroachment into wild lands and changes in Demography “ – Peter Daszak , disease ecologist and President of EcoHealth. The Nipah virus has been known to spread to humans through pork meat. Imported exotic wildlife that have been pulled out from the forests of tropical disease hotspots are likely to carry deadly diseases too. These are going to continue to multiply and mutate and turn up to haunt our health services if we don’t act smart right away. The meat industry exists for the immense global demand for meat. And it cannot attain the profits without a model like a factory farm that relies on maximum production and minimal oversight. And why does that happen? Because it is considered radical and unthinkable to suggest cutting down on dairy products and meat. If we suggest :” Go vegetarian “, the reply is “ Yes, as soon as pigs can fly “ Well, only if pigs and cows, chickens and turkeys could fly. If they could, it would help all of us to escape this mess. Best wishes for the coming months Shreyasi Majumdar

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