The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

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sTeamTraen
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by sTeamTraen » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:50 pm

If I understand Nezumi correctly, farmed meat is less likely to be a problem than exotic wild creatures.

I have been unimpressed by the claims of the more militant wing of veganism that COVID-19 proves we should stop consuming animal products forthwith. I have a lot of time for vegans and don't eat meat every day, but it is completely unrealistic to imagine that the majority of the world's population is going to renounce goat or sheep or chicken meat as an important source of protein and in many cases a culturally important thing. I also wonder if one can make better use of some shapes of land (eg, much of central Wales) than turning grass and gorse into sheep.
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:33 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:50 pm
If I understand Nezumi correctly, farmed meat is less likely to be a problem than exotic wild creatures.
Wild animals may generally be the original source of novel zoonoses, but these viruses typically move between wild and farmed animals very readily.

As I noted above, most of the other near-miss pandemics (mostly flus) have been strongly associated with farming. The densities alone are a factor, along with specific husbandry practices etc.
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by nezumi » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:41 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:33 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:50 pm
If I understand Nezumi correctly, farmed meat is less likely to be a problem than exotic wild creatures.
Wild animals may generally be the original source of novel zoonoses, but these viruses typically move between wild and farmed animals very readily.

As I noted above, most of the other near-miss pandemics (mostly flus) have been strongly associated with farming. The densities alone are a factor, along with specific husbandry practices etc.
I think the key here is the transmission factor is still human incursion, the farmed animals are just the vector, the reservoir and the birthing pool. If we* weren't putting animals in crowded pens right in the middle of jungles we* just colonised the problem would be less urgent.

There are two main groups that cause disease, to my mind, diseases that have co-evolved with us and our animal slaves/familiars/companions/cupboard lovers and ones that are entirely novel. This is obviously not exclusive - there are loads that break this general observation, but entirely novel diseases like Ebola or Hantavirus cause absolute messy havoc but are quite hard to pass on, huge death tolls but they don't get too far cos they either kill the host too quick or they need some obscure transmission method like blood in the eyes or something. Diseases that have been with us for a long time have developed to be successful viruses to humans and our animals, simply because viruses that pass more effectively between us were more likely to survive, evolutionary pressure is also on their lethality, downwards. Hosts that live longer serve you better.

Outliers like the 1918 pandemic flu, swine flu, coronavirus and so on only have the power to kill us** because our entire system is a precariously stacked house of cards, something like hantavirus getting respiratory would actually be doomsday (I use, of course, the standard definition of doomsday as "more than 30% of everyone, dead, horribly and gorily while wild dogs roam the streets eating unburied corpses")

So I'd say yes to both of you but it's a bit more complicated than that. And I could go on for HOURS.

* OK, this is primarily, sadly a third world problem. We can have problems here in the west with bovine TB and prion diseases so we're not exempt from bad-practice charges, but the fact that the UK at least has systematically obliterated its wildlife for generations means there's none to be a reservoir. This makes us very bad, regardless.

** With me it also has chronic health problems but for everyone the whole world has the potential to just disintegrate. I'm not saying it will.

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:09 pm

Escaping the ‘Era of Pandemics’: Experts Warn Worse Crises to Come Options Offered to Reduce Risk
Future pandemics will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world economy and kill more people than COVID-19 unless there is a transformative change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases, warns a major new report on biodiversity and pandemics by 22 leading experts from around the world.

Convened by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) for an urgent virtual workshop about the links between degradation of nature and increasing pandemic risks, the experts agree that escaping the era of pandemics is possible, but that this will require a seismic shift in approach from reaction to prevention.

COVID-19 is at least the sixth global health pandemic since the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, and although it has its origins in microbes carried by animals, like all pandemics its emergence has been entirely driven by human activities, says the report released on Thursday. It is estimated that another 1.7 million currently ‘undiscovered’ viruses exist in mammals and birds – of which up to 850,000 could have the ability to infect people.

“There is no great mystery about the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic – or of any modern pandemic”, said Dr. Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance and Chair of the IPBES workshop. “The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment. Changes in the way we use land; the expansion and intensification of agriculture; and unsustainable trade, production and consumption disrupt nature and increase contact between wildlife, livestock, pathogens and people. This is the path to pandemics.”

Pandemic risk can be significantly lowered by reducing the human activities that drive the loss of biodiversity, by greater conservation of protected areas, and through measures that reduce unsustainable exploitation of high biodiversity regions. This will reduce wildlife-livestock-human contact and help prevent the spillover of new diseases, says the report.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence points to a very positive conclusion,” said Dr. Daszak. “We have the increasing ability to prevent pandemics – but the way we are tackling them right now largely ignores that ability. Our approach has effectively stagnated – we still rely on attempts to contain and control diseases after they emerge, through vaccines and therapeutics. We can escape the era of pandemics, but this requires a much greater focus on prevention in addition to reaction.”
Executive summary
Full report

Recommended reading. IPBES are like the IPCC of biodiversity issues and should be taken pretty seriously.
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:32 pm

Denmark will cull its mink population of up to 17 million after a mutation of the coronavirus found in the animals spread to humans, the prime minister said on Wednesday.

Health authorities found virus strains in humans and in mink which showed decreased sensitivity against antibodies, potentially lowering the efficacy of future vaccines, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-heal ... SKBN27K1X6

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Nov 05, 2020 6:54 pm

Bird flu: Culls in Dutch and German farms over outbreaks
The Dutch authorities are racing to contain a bird flu outbreak at two poultry farms and the same strain - H5N8 - has also infected chickens and wild birds in north Germany.

A farm in the eastern Dutch town of Puiflijk and another nearby have been told to cull 200,000 chickens.

Chickens are also infected at a small poultry farm in Nordfriesland, part of Germany's Schleswig-Holstein state.

H5N8 is very low-risk for humans, but the economic cost can be significant.

Health experts say people should avoid touching sick or dead birds, and chicken and eggs are safe to eat if cooked thoroughly, as that kills the virus.

A poultry farm in Frodsham, north-west England, also has cases: a cull of 13,000 birds was ordered there on Monday.

A smaller cull is under way at a farm in Kent, in the south-east, where the H5N2 avian influenza strain was detected this week.

H5N8 has been detected in migratory birds from Russia. A huge cull was carried out on farms in Russia's western Kostroma region late last month, to contain an outbreak.

The Dutch farms affected are just outside Nijmegen, 30km (19 miles) from the German border.

Containment zones have been set up around the farms, as well as around the north German farm in Oland, Nordfriesland. Farmers have been urged to keep their poultry indoors.

German public broadcaster NDR says more than 1,000 dead wild birds - mainly geese and ducks - have been found on the Nordfriesland coast, most likely infected with bird flu.
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by jimbob » Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:03 pm

Does the Danish mink mutation of SARS-COV-2 count? It's spread back to humans, and apparently is in a part of the genome that the vaccines are trying to target?

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by jdc » Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:35 pm

jimbob wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:03 pm
Does the Danish mink mutation of SARS-COV-2 count? It's spread back to humans, and apparently is in a part of the genome that the vaccines are trying to target?

CBA to add links - just call me LPM.
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Nov 07, 2020 9:28 am

Some commentary on the Danish minks.
https://twitter.com/ballouxfrancois/sta ... 04067?s=21

tl;dr stop getting your knickers in a twist

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by raven » Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:33 pm

I think this one belongs here:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-55556030 and https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-ne ... 180976705/

Outbreaks of bird flu in various parts of India, resulting in some culling. I think in smaller numbers than previous years, so not as dire as it could be.

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:56 pm

Video shows Wuhan lab scientists admit to being bitten by bats
Chinese scientists shown using little to no PPE while handling bats in wild, samples in lab

A video released two years before the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic shows Wuhan Insitute of Virology (WIV) scientists being cavalier toward protective equipment and being bitten by bats that carry deadly viruses such as SARS, demonstrating a lax safety culture in the lab.

On Dec. 29, 2017, Chinese state-run TV released a video designed to showcase Shi Zhengli, (石正麗), also known as "Bat Woman," and her team of scientists at the WIV in their quest to find the origin of SARS. Despite the fact that the scientists work in a biosafety level 4 lab, they show a shocking disregard for safety when handling potentially infectious bats both in the wild and in the lab.
https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4102619

Source isn't very reliable though.

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:48 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:56 pm
Video shows Wuhan lab scientists admit to being bitten by bats
Chinese scientists shown using little to no PPE while handling bats in wild, samples in lab

A video released two years before the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic shows Wuhan Insitute of Virology (WIV) scientists being cavalier toward protective equipment and being bitten by bats that carry deadly viruses such as SARS, demonstrating a lax safety culture in the lab.

On Dec. 29, 2017, Chinese state-run TV released a video designed to showcase Shi Zhengli, (石正麗), also known as "Bat Woman," and her team of scientists at the WIV in their quest to find the origin of SARS. Despite the fact that the scientists work in a biosafety level 4 lab, they show a shocking disregard for safety when handling potentially infectious bats both in the wild and in the lab.
https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4102619

Source isn't very reliable though.
I know loads of bat scientists, and have done a bit of bat work myself, including attending captures for projects with the aim of finding zoonotic infections in bats (though I didn't handle any myself, as they're quite different anatomically to birds and I wouldn't know how to do it safely).

I reckon roughly 0% of bat scientists wear PPE in the field, and about 100% of them will have been bitten by bats. People sometimes wear thick gloves when handling bats with big teeth, but nothing that would stop the rona.

Nobody wears PPE for birds either. People who work with seabirds or birds of prey often get bitten and scratched enough to draw blood. I've got a decent scar from a gull.

In my experience, a team looking for diseases in wild animals would have two strands - one doing the fieldworky stuff, hiking up hills and climbing trees to set traps, etc, and another part doing the infectious-disease stuff, with the swabbing and so on. Doing fieldwork in a hazmat suit would be totally impossible in a lot of situations, and generally completely unnecessary (I don't know what they should be doing in the lab).

This might change after the pandemic, of course, and additional restrictions/guidelines have been put in place during historic bird flu outbreaks. Bat workers (including the ones in this article) do tend to get the rabies vaccine.

So regardless of the source, nothing about this is particularly surprising. I would be fairly surprised if this turned out to be the source of the pandemic, too - the number of bat scientists is tiny compared with the number of bat-eaters, and none of the latter wear any PPE either.
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:45 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:48 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:56 pm
Video shows Wuhan lab scientists admit to being bitten by bats
Chinese scientists shown using little to no PPE while handling bats in wild, samples in lab

A video released two years before the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic shows Wuhan Insitute of Virology (WIV) scientists being cavalier toward protective equipment and being bitten by bats that carry deadly viruses such as SARS, demonstrating a lax safety culture in the lab.

On Dec. 29, 2017, Chinese state-run TV released a video designed to showcase Shi Zhengli, (石正麗), also known as "Bat Woman," and her team of scientists at the WIV in their quest to find the origin of SARS. Despite the fact that the scientists work in a biosafety level 4 lab, they show a shocking disregard for safety when handling potentially infectious bats both in the wild and in the lab.
https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4102619

Source isn't very reliable though.
I know loads of bat scientists, and have done a bit of bat work myself, including attending captures for projects with the aim of finding zoonotic infections in bats (though I didn't handle any myself, as they're quite different anatomically to birds and I wouldn't know how to do it safely).

I reckon roughly 0% of bat scientists wear PPE in the field, and about 100% of them will have been bitten by bats. People sometimes wear thick gloves when handling bats with big teeth, but nothing that would stop the rona.

Nobody wears PPE for birds either. People who work with seabirds or birds of prey often get bitten and scratched enough to draw blood. I've got a decent scar from a gull.

In my experience, a team looking for diseases in wild animals would have two strands - one doing the fieldworky stuff, hiking up hills and climbing trees to set traps, etc, and another part doing the infectious-disease stuff, with the swabbing and so on. Doing fieldwork in a hazmat suit would be totally impossible in a lot of situations, and generally completely unnecessary (I don't know what they should be doing in the lab).

This might change after the pandemic, of course, and additional restrictions/guidelines have been put in place during historic bird flu outbreaks. Bat workers (including the ones in this article) do tend to get the rabies vaccine.

So regardless of the source, nothing about this is particularly surprising. I would be fairly surprised if this turned out to be the source of the pandemic, too - the number of bat scientists is tiny compared with the number of bat-eaters, and none of the latter wear any PPE either.
Fair enough. Probably just the Taiwanese stirring things up.

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by dyqik » Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:59 pm

Mind you, bat researchers are far more likely to get on a plane and travel to something like a conference or crowded lecture soon after being bitten than the average bat eater.

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:56 pm

BBC is running an interesting series called Stopping the next one: What could the next pandemic be?
The Covid-19 pandemic took much of the world by surprise. But not everyone. For years, epidemiologists and other experts have warned that we have been setting ourselves up for a global pandemic.

Most of the diseases experts worry about originate in animals. In fact, 75% of newly emerging diseases are zoonotic. Covid-19 – thought to have originated in pangolins sold at wet markets in China – was no different. But like Covid-19, zoonotic diseases are becoming riskier to humans because of our own actions. Our effect on the climate, encroachment on wildlife habitats and global travel have helped circulate animal-borne diseases. Combined with urbanisation, overpopulation and global trade, we’ve set up an ideal scenario for more pandemics to come.

In this multimedia series, we explore six of the diseases most likely to cause the next one, and examine the work being done to try to stop them. From Mers-carrying camels in Africa to the pigs with influenza in Europe, meet the animals and the diseases with the biggest pandemic potential and learn what we can do to stop them, before it’s too late.

For example, in The reasons swine flu could return they note:
To better understand what we're up against, a massive collaboration has been taking place across 2,500 European pig farms, sampling more than 18,000 individual pigs. The scientists involved found that influenza A viruses – those which can become human pandemic viruses – were present on more than 50% of the farms they visited, particularly in areas of intense pork production including Denmark, Brittany, northwest Germany and the Netherlands.

In other words, they found a pandemic waiting to happen.
With the surge in population has come a surge in demand for protein sources. Europe is trying to produce more pork, faster than ever, and that demand is creating new diseases.

Beer's colleague Timm Harder is head of the Animal Influenza Reference Laboratory at the FLI and a co-author of the surveillance report. He says there's a connection between the way Europe is producing protein and the viruses they're seeing.

"In 1995, a pig holding that had 200 sows was an exception. Now we have holdings with 2000 and 20,000 sows. It's a gross increase in the farm size. This is something that changes the epidemiology of the influenza viruses," he says.

Other fun future pandemics include MERS from camel production, Nipah from bats or mosquito-borne pathogens like Zika. Recommended reading.
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:20 pm

In case this thread isn't scratching your "annoying English expat banging on about the next pandemic" itch, here is John Oliver talking about it for 25 minutes on Last Week Tonight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v-U3K1sw9U

(Given the similarities between the links I've posted and HBO's researchers' content, I feel I should clarify that I'm not in any way associated with Last Week Tonight or John Oliver)
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by bjn » Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:21 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:36 pm
The origins of the current pandemic are still not clear, and may never be: while horseshoe bats were the original reservoir, some kind of intermediate mammal host is hypothesised before covid-19 ended up in humans. What does seem likely is that, as with the previous SARS outbreak, meat markets were involved in transmission to humans.

In the west we don't eat much terrestrial wildlife. However, we do eat pigs, which have been responsible for previous viral pandemics and a lot of near misses: the 2009 swine flu pandemic (250k dead) and possibly the 1918 flu pandemic (500 million dead), plus further epidemics in the USA (1976, 1988), Philippines (2007), UK (2009), India (2015, 2017), Nepal (2015), Pakistan (2016), Maldives (2017), and probably others undetected.

Bird flu gets into humans from poultry, and caused a million deaths in the 1956 pandemic, a further 1-4 million in the 1968 pandemic, plus lots of recent near-misses.

It's probably also worth noting that MERS likely got into humans via camel farming for meat. Then there's fun stuff like viral haemorrhagic fevers, anthrax, prion diseases, Japanese encephalitis, TB and so on. All sorts of potential sources for the next pandemic, especially considering that people around the world are continually expanding into new areas of wilderness to raise meat for western tables.

So, the question - people here are quite happy to make individual sacrifices to mitigate the current pandemic: staying at home, wearing a mask, etc., and criticise others for not making similar sacrifices. I'm wondering if anyone has made, or would be prepared to make, lifestyle changes to prevent the next one? Because the next one seems inevitable for as long as industrial animal-farming continues.

Has anybody, say, cut down on meat and dairy consumption? Or switched to buying only from lower-risk sources? For that matter, has anybody even seen a mainstream source suggesting that people do so? Because outside of a few vegan activists' accounts on social media, I haven't.

In general, I prefer long-term solutions to short-term reactions. It seems pretty shortsighted to fret about wearing masks in the supermarket during this pandemic, if when we get there we give our money to fund battery chickens and pig sheds breeding the next one. It's even dafter to be spending public money on healthcare and economic stimuli to ward off recession, while also spending billions subsidising meat production.

I won't bore you further by mentioning the climate emergency and ecological crises that also necessitate reduced meat production, because you all know that already.
I made the transition to vegetarianism decades ago, mainly to reduce my environmental footprint as well as animal welfare issues, but I do consume quite a bit of dairy and eggs. I've made half hearted efforts at cutting down on those in the past, but really should redouble my efforts. I don't need milk in my porridge or whatever.

Anecdotally there does seem to be a general societal trend towards veggie and veganism in the UK.

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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Opti » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:36 pm

Yeah, I've been at the 'except eggs and dairy' stage for decades.
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Re: The Next Pandemic: A meaty issue

Post by Fishnut » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:48 pm

I live 2 minutes walk away from a locally-sourced family-run butchers so giving up meat isn't going to happen for me any time soon, but I do try and reduce my consumption. I'm trying to eat more vegetarian and vegan meals this year in recognition of the impact of meat production on climate change. The pandemic aspect hadn't really crossed my mind before but it's pretty obvious once it's pointed out.
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