by Diana O. Potter, VEGWORLD Senior Editor

Getting the word out about the benefits of plant-based eating is more important than ever.

We all know that our veganism makes us healthier on a daily basis — and may well prolong our lives. But now there’s evidence that eating plant-based may save lives at risk for coronavirus worldwide. This is especially likely in regions like China, where eating meat is a dietary “must,” animal agriculture is poorly regulated — and the coronavirus pandemic began.

Evidence is
mounting that, in addition to human-to-human contact, exposure to and eating
animal flesh can transmit viral infection to humans. This includes coronavirus
as well as the viruses that caused earlier infectious disease epidemics,
including SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East
respiratory syndrome).

Scientists now agree that all three, as well as other infections, can be transmitted from animals to humans, sparking the swift spread of human-to-human contact and disease.

Coronavirus
typically starts with symptoms similar to the common cold but can lead to
pneumonia, other severe respiratory illnesses, and, in vulnerable persons such
as the frail elderly, to death.

What
Happened in China

Animal-to-human
viral transmission is happening in areas like China, where coronavirus appears
to have originated and where animals raised for food are kept in dirty, crowded
conditions and often sold in so-called “wet markets,” where, for the sake of
“freshness,” live animals are slaughtered and skinned at the point of sale.

That’s right: Customers stand and watch as their chosen victims, which often include exotic and wild animals, are murdered right in front of them. All this while the buyers breathe in the fleshy, filthy particulates that can result from violent murder with knives.

One such market,
in Wuhan, China, is believed to be the original source of the coronavirus
infection.

What’s
Happening Now? Enter Plant-Based Eating

According to
the online publication Tech Buzz China, “This may be the epidemic that
finally makes it completely socially unacceptable” for Chinese people to eat
mainly meat, especially meat bought at wet markets. For now, it’s clear that
many more people in China are searching out and eating non-meat alternatives.

Even plant-based
meat products are being produced there! Examples include Omnipork, in Hong
Kong, and Zhenmeat, in Beijing. Soy-based “fake meat” has been available in
China for some time, thanks to Buddhist vegetarians, and is reportedly
increasing in popularity.

What Happens
Next?

But you don’t
have to be a genius to recognize that all this is too little, too late to stop
the coronavirus pandemic currently raging around the globe.

Will the growing
preference for plant-based eating help beat back the spread of coronavirus, or
will we need to suffer its full horror — and passively hope that what’s been
learned will help prevent the next viral onslaught?

As vegans, now
more than ever before, we need to encourage the adoption of plant-based eating
in every way we can, everywhere we can. For our personal health, yes. For the
animals, yes. For the environment, yes.

For our
species’ survival? Could be.

Coronavirus Spotlighting Meat as Transmitter of Infection

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