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How Factory Farming Harms People, Planet and Animals

Zoonotic origins of Covid 19


  • Endemic - Naturally occuring in.
  • Reassortments - The mixing of genes between two organisms to make a new genetic sequence.
  • Pathogenic - Disease causing.

Where Avian Flu Epidemics Originated

“The studies and records (ProMED mail) included a total of 58,709,463 individual birds. Most of the outbreaks (364), which are included in this systematic review, originated from commercial poultry farms (56.1%)..and wet markets less than 1%”
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🔗 Source: Global avian influenza outbreaks 2010–2016: a systematic review of their distribution, avian species and virus subtype
“The growing speed and intensity of zoonotic spread is primarily driven by anthropogenic* environmental change and the intensification of animal agriculture (Jones et al. 2013; Rohr et al. 2019)”.
🔗 Source: A Public Health Ethics Case for Mitigating Zoonotic Disease Risk in Food Production.
“The majority of pathogens of animals are generalists that infect multiple host species, referred to as multi-host pathogens. Roughly 77% of pathogens of livestock are known to be multi-host pathogens (Cleaveland et al. 2001)”.
“Blaming migratory waterfowl … is clearly no longer a tenable position,” says Rob Wallace, an American virologist who argues that the new strains of flu emerging are adapting to industrial poultry production. “Influenza’s infiltration into industrial livestock and poultry is so complete that these farms now act as their own reservoirs [of disease],” he says. “They are their own source.”
🔗 Source: Factory farms of disease: how industrial chicken production is breeding the next pandemic

“Pandemics … emergence is entirely driven by human activities”

“Pandemics have their origins in diverse microbes carried by animal reservoirs, but their emergence is entirely driven by human activities. The underlying causes of pandemics are the same global environmental changes that drive biodiversity loss and climate change. These include land-use change, agricultural expansion and intensification, and wildlife trade and consumption. These drivers of change bring wildlife, livestock, and people into closer contact, allowing animal microbes to move into people and lead to infections, sometimes outbreaks, and more rarely into true pandemics that spread through road networks, urban centres and global travel and trade routes. An estimated 1.7 million currently undiscovered viruses are thought to exist in mammal and avian hosts. Of these, 540,000-850,000 could have the ability to infect humans. Pandemic risk could be significantly lowered by promoting responsible consumption and reducing unsustainable consumption of commodities from emerging disease hotspots, and of wildlife and wildlife-derived products, as well as by reducing excessive consumption of meat from livestock production.

Zoonosis Historical background

“Influenza A viruses are the only [influenza] ones with a pandemic potential (Lofgren et al., 2007). Influenza A virus is endemic* in a number of species including humans, birds and pigs (Webster et al., 1992). Gene reassortments* can thus occur between human and animal influenza A viruses and lead to a new virus subtype which can be pathogenic* to humans (Webster et al., 1995)”

🔗 Source: Pandemics through History
“The most important reservoirs of pathogens with pandemic potential are mammals (in particular bats, rodents, primates) and some birds (in particular water birds), as well as livestock (e.g. pigs, camels, poultry).”

A sample of 18,000 pigs from 2500 farms shows a pandemic is waiting to happen

“To better understand what we're up against, a massive collaboration has been taking place across 2,500 European pig farms, sampling more than 18,000 individual pigs. The scientists involved found that influenza A viruses –those which can become human pandemic viruses –were present on more than 50% of the farms they visited, particularly in areas of intense pork production including Denmark, Brittany, northwest Germany and the Netherlands. “ ”In 1995, a pig holding that had 200 sows was an exception. Now we have holdings with 2000 and 20,000 sows. With their intense and increasing farming of pigs, humans are helping to change the way influenza viruses operate and keep them active for longer. ‘It's a very nice playground for viruses, says Harder.”
🔗 Source: The reasons swine flu could return

UK Government table of recognised zoonotic diseases already in the UK and linked to farmed animals Which was last updated in 21 January 2019

In March 2021, an article in Nature reported that Eddie Holmes, a virologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, commented on a report about the theorised wet market origins of Covid 19. He is quoted as suggesting the next steps for study. “There was clearly a lot of transmission at the market,” he says. “To me, looking at live-animal markets and animal farming should be the focus going forward.”
🔗 Source: WHO report into COVID pandemic origins zeroes in on animal markets, not labs

We should know what works

To reduce the impacts of Covid-19, people have adapted to reducing contact, social distancing and staying outdoors.

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RSPCA standard factory farms - a recipe for disease propagation

🐓 Egg laying hens may live on just over the size of an A4 paper, with thousands in a shed.

🐖  can be kept at 0.8m^2

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