factory farm

Could What You Eat Prevent the Next Pandemic?

Zoe Weil is a blogger for Psychology Today and she has been writing weekly posts about COVID-19. We’re sharing them here. We hope they are helpful to you during this pandemic.

When the history of COVID-19 is written, will we list our obsession with eating animals as a major cause that led to a catastrophe of such profound consequence?

Will we have learned from the lesson of the Wuhan “wet market”—where COVID-19 is theorized to have originated—that cramming wild animals into meat markets can be dangerous?

Will we have added to that lesson the one about the H1N1 swine flu of 2009 that originated in an intensive pig confinement operation in North Carolina? Will we have also added both these lessons to the H5N1 bird flu lesson of 1997, in which yet another deadly disease evidently originated in animal farms?


Will we have factored in the tens of millions of illnesses each year that come from bacteria-contaminated meat? And will we have finally concluded that confining billions of animals annually into potentially lethal pandemic- and bacteria-breeding grounds can have severe consequences?

When we have carefully compared the number of people who died in the U.S. in April 2020, not only from COVID-19 but also from heart disease, will we notice that the numbers were similar, but that one disease led us to shutter our economy and spend trillions of tax dollars to prevent more deaths, while the other—heart disease, which so much data reveal is largely preventable through reducing or eliminating excessive consumption of meat and dairy—had been exacerbated through tax-subsidized animal agribusiness?

psychology today