|A ditch filled with endangered pangolins (humans soon to follow...no laugh)|
Humans got some major payback this year. We once again played with viral fire and now we are getting severely burned. Anyone who has read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel understands that animal husbandry and wildlife hunting are the breeding grounds for plague. Covid-19 like so many other diseases occur because of excessive human interaction with animals.
News update: our species is a product of evolution by natural selection; the lies a dozen religious origin myths tell are magical, fictitious thinking pure and simple. No gods or collective universe energy will be coming to our rescue in this crisis; it's up to us. Unlike our animal cousins we have the scientific tools to understand and to protect ourselves better from pathological plagues like the novel corona virus.
In general, non-human animals are biologically similar enough to humans to permit mutated pathogens to occasionally jump the species barrier. These zoonotic diseases are natural mutations exacerbated by human practices. Sure, we have accumulated scientific wisdom to battle against these "acts" of Nature, but we fools in we do so little in the way of prevention.
How can we significantly reduce zoonotic occurrences like H1N1 (swine flu) H5N1 (avian flu), and SARS (bat incubated pathogen tbd), and Covid-19 (pangolin incubated virus tbd)? The well-reasoned, straight-forward answer is we can stop imprisoning and harvesting as many animals as possible and shift faster toward using plant agriculture as a substitute for for all the unnecessary animal products our culture has blindly kept as archaic ("because we like them") carnist traditions.
Each of us, our communities and civilization as a whole can choose a better path. Yes, we can fight zoonotic diseases with medical technology once there's an outbreak, but an ounce of prevention in this case is worth a mega-metric tons of cure! A solid preventative consideration to start us down that road is choosing to transition society toward being vegan aligned. At its heart compassion and reason make veganism a foundational ethic of goodness for everyone. Indeed, whole plant food diets can also be healthier, but when it comes down to it eliminating animal husbandry and hunting would be a boon for the health of our planet and our species.
Individually we can help in this way to avoid the next zoonotic pandemic, but we also need inspired leaders that encourage a healthy global ethic. If we don't, Nature will only more frequently throw catastrophe pie in our collective faces.