Letter: Animal-free diet also helps the planet

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Regarding the “Get Involved” box in the article, “A Planet Apart: WNC Celebrates Socially Distant Earth Day,” April 22, Xpress]: As animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors of human-made greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation and water pollution, an animal-free diet would have been another at-home opportunity on Earth Day. To have done nothing was not a choice: Every time we eat, we make a choice to help or to harm. We make this choice several times a day, every day.

Factory farms are also a pandemic risk. “If you actually want to create global pandemics, then build factory farms,” said Michael Greger, the author of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching. While scientists believe the novel coronavirus originated in wild bats, highly pathogenic strains of H5N1 bird flu are linked to poultry farms in China (“The Meat We Eat Is a Pandemic Risk, Too,” Vox).

The American Conservative agrees: “Packing thousands of drugged-up animals in metal sheds, ignoring health concerns, makes perfect breeding grounds for pandemic” (“Multinational Meat Farms Could Be Making Us Sick”).

Legislation proposed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) imposes a moratorium on the U.S.’s biggest factory farms and phases them out altogether by 2040. In March, as the COVID-19 pandemic gained traction, the conservative magazine National Review carried a piece arguing that “if you reflect on this issue with an open mind, you’ll agree that ending factory farms is a good idea — even if Cory Booker thinks that it is.”

While we should support the legislation, we should adopt an animal-free diet now. COVID-19 did not stop the climate clock. [Vegan Outreach’s] 10 Weeks to Vegan [challenge] will send you a free email each week full of tips and resources to help you make the switch to eating vegan.

— Lynda Cozart


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