Intensive animal production may create a potential risk of developing new diseases

Image by Egor Myznik/ Unsplash

Intensified meat production has been the solution to the increasing demand for food. It involves the production of meat in the most efficient method by keeping animals in confined environments and adding more inputs such as machinery and antibiotics. 

Even though the intensification increases meat production, keeping the animals in a close environment raises the risk of developing and spreading infectious diseases.

According to Matthew Hayek, assistant professor at New York University’s Department of Environmental Studies, pandemics will continue to develop as long as there is an increasing demand for meat consumption.

The demand for meat production will promote the intensified method of meat production. It will be more practical since intensification reduces feed and land area requirements. This is because animals are kept in intensive farming facilities where they remain sedentary to gain weight fast.

Housing the farm animals inside the facilities and keeping them away from the open land may help prevent contracting diseases from wild animals. Even so, intensification cannot prevent diseases from spreading among the animals inside the farm facilities.

Having the animals close to each other promotes the fast spread and mutation of diseases. The rapid spread of diseases is usually observed in pig and chicken farm facilities where thousands of animals are confined.

The prevention of diseases within the farm facilities requires the administration of antibiotics. However, excessive use of antibiotics may develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria that may eventually cause potential pandemic diseases.

Hayek suggests that reducing meat consumption could prevent pandemics. He proposes to form policies that promote plant-based food to be more appealing and viable will help lessen the need for the intensification of meat production.


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