To prevent pandemics, respect nature

28 Jul 2020 / 02:23 H.

ARE human bodies like magnets attracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind Covid-19?

It is worth investigating to determine whether there is some form of causal link, as this is a wildlife virus getting attached to us and there is speculation of fresh pathogens coming our way.

SARS-CoV-2 makes use of human cells to replicate itself by the thousands, in the process causing our death.

Having little or no immunity against it, the best defence is to keep our distance from the viral source – animals.

But instead there is a massive breach of social distancing rules as we hunt, trap, imprison, sell and kill wild animals.

Even if the United Nations were to ban wildlife trade globally, we are still at risk.

“Farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses,” says James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at Cambridge University.

In mid-July, 100,000 minks at a farm in Spain had to be slaughtered because they were carrying the coronavirus.

Mink is a squirrel-like mammal that is skinned for its fur desired by rich ladies.

In the Netherlands last month, half a million farm minks were similarly killed to destroy the virus.

Religion is the institution with greatest influence on human thinking and conduct.

Yet it is staying on the sidelines of a war.

All religions preach “Thou shall not kill” but we draw a line between animal and human.

Every species draws a line.

The lion eats a lamb and spares another lion weaker than itself.

Primitive hunter-gatherers ate meat but only on some days and rarely did they hunt big game.

That would be risky, and meat also could not be kept for long.

As mentioned in previous articles, the command “Thou shall not kill” is inclusive of animal treatment in the ethics of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Hinduism – the six indigenous religions of China and India.

Hence, it is time for the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism to initiate an “Animal Lives Matter” campaign to force a review of the global slaughter of 200 million terrestrial livestock animals per day for the kitchen.

The animals we eat do not live freely, but are raised as manufactured goods kept in cages and pens under horrific breeding conditions in factory farms.

As there is a cost to feeding them, these animals are slaughtered at a young age.

What about Christianity? The Bible is very clear that ideally in the future there should be no meat eating, although it is allowed for practical reasons.

The opening chapter of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, recommends a vegetarian diet: “And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food’.”

It is only in chapter four of Genesis that fat is brought to the altar by Abel the herder and it is favoured by God over fig, signifying the ascendency of meat eating over vegetarianism with the dawn of pastoral farming.

Some 300,000 years separate chapter one and chapter four in terms of events in human time.

But a caveat is revealed in a later book of the Bible: “You shall not eat any fat of ox, or sheep or goat.” (Book of Leviticus).

In yet another book, Isaiah, a verse admonishes the people: “He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck.”

Isaiah also portrays an image of the righteous person in whose domain “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat ... and the lion shall eat straw like the ox”.

It is not a description of futuristic nature, but a poetic way of saying that “Animal Lives Matter”.

Farmed animals destined for the kitchen pot are not part of the natural ecosystem, and hence when they die the streams of energy released from their bodies do not return to any ecosystem.

They hang around the farms and human beings, possibly energising the viruses.

When President Emmanuel Macron, dressed in military combat uniform, declared six times over French television in March 2020 that “We are at war”, he unwittingly depicted humanity the way it has become – a warrior breed destroying nature.

To prevent more Covids launching attacks on humans, religion must act to stop this war against nature.

The writer champions interfaith harmony. Comments:


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