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#Covid19 is among the most serious challenges humanity has ever faced, and enormous work lies ahead of us to get this outbreak under control. But in parallel, we need to innovate ourselves out of the systems that create entirely foreseeable & unacceptable public health risks. 1/n
That’s what I’ve dedicated my career to at @goodfoodinst: supporting the development of #plantbased meat and #cultivatedmeat so that we can wean ourselves off of industrial animal agriculture and all of its attendant public health and environmental hazards. 2/n
Both farmed domestic animals and caged wild animals create the perfect breeding ground for zoonotic diseases, which leap from livestock or wildlife to humans that have close contact with live animals and their infected tissues and fluids – namely, hunters and slaughterers. 3/n
Wave after wave of #avianflu and #swineflu emerge from dense factory farming operations. If prior outbreaks are any indication, an avian flu pandemic could have a far higher mortality rate than the current Covid19 outbreak. 4/n…
Researchers have warned of these risks for decades. From a recent @ucdavis paper, “Few threats to human health have the potential to cause more impact than emerging zoonoses.” 5/n…
Biological hazard risk modelers run whole training exercises around bird flu outbreaks. As noted by @AmeshAA from the @JHSPH_CHS, “An H7N9 pandemic could well be worse—perhaps much worse—than the great pandemic of 1918.” 6/n…
At the same time, incursions into wildlands are increasing exposure to wild viral vectors. And the vast majority of deforestation is driven by expansion of agricultural land, namely for animal agriculture. 7/n
Animal production already occupies over 75% of all agricultural land, either as pasture or as crops grown for animal feed. Make no mistake: the increased demand for meat and dairy is where the pressure for additional deforestation is coming from. 8/n…
Compounding this ongoing viral threat is the looming certainty of antibiotic resistance. Globally, >70% of antibiotics are administered to farmed animals, the vast majority via chronic, subtherapeutic doses... a perfect storm for inducing antibiotic resistance. 9/n
It has been estimated that by 2050, antibiotic-resistant infections could kill more people each year than cancer. 10/n…
And we can now trace resistance genes directly from their animal farm origins to unsuspecting human hosts. (This article is a long read but SO worthwhile.) 11/n…
But the twin public health hazards of viral zoonotic disease outbreaks and antibiotic resistance aren’t all. There are massive public health implications of intensive animal agriculture on surrounding communities, including the workers employed by the industry. 12/n
The massive pools of excrement being generated by the animals we farm are often dispersed by spraying onto nearby fields. Dried manure becomes airborne, triggering unacceptable rates of respiratory disease in economically vulnerable nearby residents. 13/n…
Accidental runoff from these waste lagoons into waterways and groundwater — as well as purposeful spraying of waste onto nearby fields — contributes to the spread of over 150 pathogens, many of which cause severe foodborne illness in humans. 14/n…
These public health risks associated with animal agriculture are well documented and widely acknowledged. However, old habits die hard. Demand for meat continues to grow, both in the U.S. and abroad. Until now. 15/n
A new wave of innovators is developing plant-based and cultivated forms of meat products that consumers know and love — burgers, nuggets, sausages, you name it — so that consumers can make a safer choice for the health of the planet and of humanity without sacrificing taste. 16/n
This is what I spend my day job doing: supporting these innovators. It’s a refreshingly optimistic and forward-looking solution. Rather than brow-beating consumers to reduce their meat consumption, let’s learn to *make meat in a better way*. 17/n
If you want to follow more tailored posts on the alternative protein field, I invite you to follow @goodfoodinst or to follow me on LinkedIn (no #Covid19 posts there, just the future of food). 18/n
If you’re curious to learn more about the progress of plant-based meat and cultivated meat and you’ve got 90 minutes to spare while you’re chilling at home, check out my recent talk hosted by @capgemini, with a super in-depth Q&A session. 19/n
We need to find new solutions to sustainably feed a growing planet without jeopardizing our health. This challenge is surmountable, but it requires all hands on deck — we don’t have time to waste. We must heed the wake-up call that 2020 has thrust upon us. Let’s get to work. /end
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