How Covid-19 Raises the Discussion on Veganism

By ANNARITA MARINARO| April 16, 2020

Cover Photo by Ben Cohen

On March 21, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the animal rights organisation, posted a picture on their social media claiming that, “…COVID-19 would not exist in a vegan world.”

According to PETA, up to 75% of the new diseases are so-called ‘Zoonoses’: infections that are transmitted from animals to humans. In the same vein, the United Nations also found that the most prominent diseases in the last few decades, such as Ebola, SARS and the bird flu (Avian Influenza), have been transmitted from animals. PETA founder, Ingrid Newkirk, states that  the next global pandemic “…is right around the corner as long as sick and stressed animals are crowded together in blood-soaked meat markets.” The COVID-19 is known for having its origins from an animal market in Wuhan, China where all kinds of animals, dead and living, are traded. While all these animals are forced to stay together in small cages, they are also coming in contact with humans – creating the perfect breeding ground for viruses.

“…COVID-19 pandemic would not exist in a vegan world.”

Once the COVID-19 outbreak began, PETA requested the United Nations to ban the wet markets. This was a success, as China had banned them during the lockdown. However, the lifting of the lockdown brought back the wet markets last week after receiving permission from the World Health Organization. Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and American President, Donald Trump, have both expressed their disapproval of the WHO’s actions with the latter even halting funding to the organization during the epidemic.

PETA Asia published new footage of markets in Tomohon, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand which lined up dogs, rats, and snakes right next to each other. The sellers were still working without gloves. In response, the United Nations has sanctioned a worldwide ban on wildlife markets. However, they have also pointed out that these markets are the source of income for millions, especially in poverty, so alternative solutions must be discussed for them. 

In the meantime, PETA still demands an end to the trading of animals as livestock worldwide and still stand by their statement: becoming vegan is the only solution to preventing most epidemics and other diseases.

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