On the eve of upcoming elections for the World Health Organization’s new director general, over 200 scientists, policy experts, and others have signed an open letter urging candidates to acknowledge factory farming as a public health crisis. A recent New York Times op-ed authored by three of the signatories discusses the letter.
The op-ed recalls an address by the organization’s departing director general, Margaret Chan, at last year’s World Health Assembly in which she called chronic diseases, antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and climate change “three slow-motion disasters.” Factory farming is inextricably connected to all three of them.
Over half a million deaths worldwide in 2015 were linked to diets high in processed and red meat, which the World Health Organization places in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco and asbestos. Furthermore, factory farmers’ practice of cramming animals together while pumping them full of antibiotics creates a breeding ground for dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change. It uses a whopping 56 percent of water in the United States and produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. Going vegan immediately cuts your CO2 emissions in half.
Factory farming is not only dangerous to our health and planet but also unspeakably cruel. Animals suffer hellish lives of mutilation, extreme confinement, and constant abuse. They endure all this only to be killed in a slaughterhouse.
The op-ed concludes, “Eating animals may have been crucial to our survival in the past. But now, it’s killing us.” We couldn’t agree more.
Let’s stop supporting this terrible industry. By ditching animal products you can help protect your health, the planet, and animals.
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