Humans are to blame
November 12 2020 12:25 AM
Ghanim al-Sulaiti
Ghanim al-Sulaiti

By Ghanim al-Sulaiti

Modern humans contribute to the success of dangerous viruses. A virus replicates only when inside the cell of a living being, and spreads most efficiently when there is contact between two individuals. The United Nations measures current world population growth at more than 1% per year. From the virus’ perspective, potential incubators are increasing. The world’s population is also urbanising, which means people living in closer proximity, which is conducive to spread of a virus. Humans are to blame for the rise in dangerous viral infections because it’s humans creating wet markets, slaughterhouses, and other environments where animals are kept too close together in unsanitary conditions. 
Fast forward to today – and following the spread of a mutation of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 to humans on a Danish fur ‘farm’ – Denmark has announced plans to kill up to 17 million minks held captive at such facilities in an attempt to curb the spread of the mutated virus.
The new iteration of the virus could have ‘devastating consequences’ worldwide, according to Mette Frederiksen, the country’s prime minister. Kåre Mølbak, Director at a Danish Research Institute, said, “The worst case scenario is a new pandemic, starting all over again out of Denmark” – an awful possibility that PETA has been urging people to recognise for months. 
But it’s cramming animals together in filth led to the emergence of the novel coronavirus, and as this latest outbreak in Denmark proves, it also facilitates mutations.
Filthy fur farms packed with sick, stressed, and injured minks are breeding grounds for disease. The viruses that cause Sars and Covid-19 first infected humans who came into close contact with captive wildlife at live-animal markets – which represents a public health risk similar to that posed by fur farms. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warns that approximately 75% of recently emerging infectious diseases affecting humans originated in other animals.
As in the case of live-animal meat markets, on fur farms, minks and other animals killed for their skin are confined to cramped wire cages next to one another, making it very easy for infectious diseases to spread through the exchange of urine, excrement, pus, and blood. 
The animals will suffer because of human’s decision to imprison these minks in barren cages for their entire lives. Unable to engage in natural behaviour, they often go mad from the confinement, and some even self-cannibalise, chewing on their own limbs or tails as a result of the constant psychological and physical torment. They’re killed in gruesome ways, including poisoning, gassing, drowning, or even being skinned alive.
If we want to tackle this virus and prevent future pandemics, we have to change our behaviour. We have to close fur farms everywhere. This is 2020. It’s unethical, it’s dangerous, and it’s harmful. They are relentlessly cruel to animals and pose a serious threat to human health. 
PETA is appealing to Italy’s prime minister to close the 13 remaining mink farms in that country.
Top designers have been dropping fur in droves because it’s jarringly outdated as well as cruel. Consumers increasingly want high animal welfare, environmentally-friendly products, which fur is not.
This pandemic should serve as a warning, but also an opportunity - a clear opportunity to move away from this cruel and dying industry and choose a more humane and sustainable livelihood instead. 

*The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92 

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