Spread of ‘free-range’ farming may raise risk of animal-borne pandemics – study

If we can’t dramatically cut meat consumption then intensive ‘factory farming’ may be comparatively less risky, say authors

The industrial farming of animals such as pigs, poultry and cattle to provide meat for hundreds of millions of people may reduce the risk of pandemics and the emergence of dangerous diseases including Sars, BSE, bird flu and Covid-19 compared with less-intensive farming, a major study by vets and ecologists has found.

Despite reports from the UN and other bodies in the wake of Covid linking the intensive farming of livestock to the spread of zoonotic (animal-borne) diseases, the authors argue that “non-intensive” or “low-yield” farms pose a more serious risk to human health because they require far more land to produce the same amount of food.

Continue reading...