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The next pandemic could come from our farms

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 Biology   |   Health   |   Environmental   |   Science
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We've engineered the perfect environment for deadly new germs.

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In the last half-century, the global production of meat has undergone a seismic shift. While meat was once mostly raised on small farms, today almost all the meat we eat comes from industrialized factory farms, known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. Animals in CAFOs are often packed closely together, which makes them both efficient and, for many, ethically dubious. But infectious disease experts worry about CAFOs for a different reason: Because theyre also an ideal environment for virus and bacteria mutations that human immune systems have never seen. In other words, theyre a highly likely source for the next pandemic.

You can read more about the pathogen risks in factory farming at Vox.com:
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/4/22/21228158/coronavirus-pandemic-risk-factory-farming-meat

A deeper look at the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria:
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/5/7/18535480/drug-resistance-antibiotics-un-report

Further reading on how RNA virus reassortment works: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5119462/

Martha Nelson's study tracking the origins of the 2009 H1N1 virus:
https://elifesciences.org/articles/16777

Read more about the sources of meat produced around the world from the Sentience Institute: https://www.sentienceinstitute.org/global-animal-farming-estimates

The US Center for Disease Control's timeline of the H1N1 pandemic: https://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/cdcresponse.htm

A hopeful look at where factory farming might be headed in the US:
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/12/20/21028200/factory-farms-abuse-workers-animals-and-the-environment-cory-booker-has-a-plan-to-stop-them

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

Watch our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE
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