It’s rightly quoted in movie Havana, ‘A butterfly can flutter its wings over a flower in China and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean.’ The recent outbreak of coronavirus has proved it right. As soon as the novel coronavirus took grip over India, hashtags like #NoMeatNoCoronavirus started doing rounds on social media in no time. All such startling trends are blaming non-vegetarians for bringing the virus to India and considering them sinners. This is not the first time non-vegetarians are facing such baseless allegations.
There have been no studies that decisively prove that eating meat is the root cause of the outbreak. When cyclone Amphan is lashing coastal areas with ferocious rain and tremors of the earthquake are being felt in Delhi quite frequently, do you really think the earth is healing? That’s a big question!
It’s not out of the ordinary for viruses to hop from animals into the populace. In fact WHO stated that in the previous 50 years, 70% of global disease-causing pathogens emerged from animals. It is believed that coronavirus originated in a “wet market” in China that sold exotic animals for consumption. According to reports, it was a well- known hub for wildlife like deer, snakes, porcupines, many of which were butchered in front of the customers, creating room for particles that could lead to infection. Who knew that a mainstream market would become a ticking time bomb? After all, raising animals for food in filthy conditions is a breeding ground for zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
Our voracious demand for meat means that animals in large numbers are stuffed together on crowded, feces ridden farms, transported in grimy lorries, and slaughtered on floors with blood, urine, and other bodily fluids, thus inculcating conducive environment for pathogens to prosper. In order to keep these animals alive in filthy set-up, they are fed vast amounts of antibiotics on a regular basis. This contributes to the emergence of “superbugs”. These are the pathogens that become resistant to antibiotics eventually. Needless to say, plants have viruses too, but the need of the hour is to alleviate the risk.
Nothing is going to be the same even after the pandemic is over. A major shift will be seen in eating patterns. You will take some time to finally trust that exotic street delicacy again. Vegan food will take the industry by storm. Food delivery is likely to become the new dining out.
If you think going vegan is your safest bet, then stop eating non-vegetarian food for all the right reasons and not because pandemic is at your doorstep. This step towards vegetarianism is a means of averting climate change. It doesn’t mean that you’ve to switch eating habits overnight or eliminate meat entirely from your diet. That would be quite unworkable. But according to doctors, consumption of raw meat is a big no-no.
Although, coronavirus and meat don’t have any scientific link. This should be done as a preventive measure. Currently, China consumes 40% of the world’s fruits and vegetables. This indicates the growing trend of vegetarianism in China.
Climate change has to be taken as a long term coronavirus, the only difference is that climate change brings problems in more subtle ways. If we will not keep an eye on the places where humans and animals meet, this will be just the beginning. Since mass veganism is unlikely to happen, till then don’t forget to do your bit in every possible way. Because in the end “it’s coexistence or no existence”.