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How the COVID-19 Crisis is Affecting Farmed Animals Around the World

April 9, 2020
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The increased interaction between humans and animals through wildlife trade, farming, deforestation and more is fostering the emergence of novel infectious diseases, like COVID-19. As we are living through these uncertain times and follow global news, we experience the effect zoonotic diseases have on humans first hand. A lesser mentioned topic is the impact of the pandemic on farmed animals worldwide, which are suffering behind closed doors. 

ANIMALS ARE BEING BURIED ALIVE: As rumors circulated linking coronavirus to eating meat, a farmer in India buried 6,000 chickens alive. With decreased demand, the animals cost more to sustain than they were worth on the market for their meat, leading to their unnecessary and cruel death. This is not uncommon during outbreaks: Pigs and chickens were burnt alive to contain the African Swine Fever and Avian Flu alike in recent years as farmers were trying to contain the viruses. 

ANIMALS ARE STARVING: Feed for animals raised for human consumption was already in short supply, as factories had halted production amid the coronavirus outbreak in China. Implemented travel restrictions cut off the transportation infrastructure and soon farmers found themselves without enough feed for their animals. Millions of young chickens were culled prematurely for their meat, while other animals suffered from hunger on reduced daily rations. 

ANIMALS SUFFER NEGLECT: Additionally, as caretakers globally fall ill of the virus, animals on factory farms are left without basic care, food and water and are now at risk of a slow and painful death. Hard-hit countries like Italy have experienced less applications from seasonal workers, who choose to find work in countries that seem safer. 

ANIMALS DIE DURING TRANSPORT: As Animal Equality reported earlier, travel restrictions are causing hell for live animals that are being transported for slaughter. Inspection lines at border crossings across Europe mean the already cruel journey is extended by many hours without the provision of water, food or rest causing stress and even death. 

WHAT WE ARE HOPING FOR: While COVID-19 is suspected to have started at a wet market in China, prior zoonotic diseases emerged on factory farms where animals are kept in crowded and filthy conditions. As this link is publicly discussed and on peoples’ minds, we are hoping for the animals:

  • That wet markets are banned globally. Please sign our petition here and support our campaign. 
  • That more people will choose a plant-based diet to lessen the risk of future outbreaks.
  • That farmers transition from animal farms to fruit and vegetables for their workers’ and families’ safety.
  • That animals on factory farms are provided with more space per animal to allow for social distancing.
  • That slaughter line speeds are decreased for more careful inspection of each animal. The slow down will allow workers to ensure that stunning is done correctly and reduce unnecessary suffering. 
  • That cruel live transport is banned to stop the spread of diseases across borders. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: By choosing a plant-based diet and leaving animals off your plate you can spare farmed animals from the horrors they endure every day and decrease the potential for future pandemics. The choice is ours. 


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