Here’s my list of five headline-grabbing stories in 2014 that show just how connected human health and animal protection are:
1. Chris Christie Sells Out Humans and Animals
After reports of his bridge scandal, the New Jersey Governor’s 2016 presidential ambitions took a nosedive. That’s why many see his recent veto of a bill that would have banned gestation crates as an attempt to win back influential voters. Pork industry groups — especially the Iowa-based National Pork Producers Council — opposed the bill. Christie’s veto was made as a concession to Iowa’s primary voters. But Christie sold out both animals and humans for campaign favors.
CNN reports that Cambodia is seeing a spike in the number of deaths due to the H5N1 strain of bird flu. In a related case, Mexico recently slaughtered more than 1 million chickens infected with the H7N3 strain of bird flu. Despite the increase in bird flu in Cambodia, H5N1 is currently not very contagious among humans (most people who contracted the virus were in direct contact with sick farmed animals), and H7N3 is not known to cause harm to humans.
In spite of our current low risk, it is just a matter of time before H5N1, H7N3 or another influenza strain evolves into a dangerous form that results in a pandemic. And the events in Mexico and Cambodia beg the question: Are we ever going to be safe from bird flu?
As long as we continue to treat animals raised for food poorly, the answer is a definite “no.”
Tyler Cowen mentions the book in his post in the New York Times, titled “End Subsidies and Treat Animals Better”
Read Tyler Cowen’s full article in the New York Times.
As the number of confirmed cases of swine flu around the globe increases, we grow closer and closer to having a pandemic on our hands. In preparation against that possibility, governments are emphasizing prevention of further human-to-human transmission and treatment for those who are ill. Talk about greater distribution of filter masks, vaccine production, and limitations on international travel abounds. Surprisingly, however, there is very little discussion about how swine flu got started in the first place.