The raising and eating of animals does not cause or promote human disease.
Many human diseases come directly from animals. For instance, pigs and birds carry influenza, pigs and dogs carry whooping cough, and cows carry tuberculosis, smallpox, and cowpox. So when we raise and eat animals, we increase our risk of exposure to these and other diseases. Further, plants contaminated by animal agribusiness runoff can be vectors of salmonella, which is the primary way spinach, peanut butter, and other plant-based foods come into contact with the bacteria.
Worse, people who do not eat animals are placed at grave risk by people who do. In many developed countries, factory-farmed animals are fed antibiotics in sub-therapeutic doses to counteract suboptimal growth caused by unsanitary conditions. In this way, factory farms are exposing zoonotic diseases to non-toxic levels of these drugs, and this is driving the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Many of our “last-resort” antibiotics are being used this way in animal agriculture, and a substantial percentage of all antibiotics are given to food animals. As a result, we are near the dawn of a post-antibiotic era; a terrifying consequence of animal agriculture we might very well see in our own lifetimes.
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