Food Regulations are an Existential Threat [Fueling the argument for plant-based diets]Reading Time: 6 minutes
The most alarming event in modern history, this century, is the Coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese government has claimed it’s the result of animal-based food sold in a Wuhan wet market.
International intelligence agencies suspect the virus may have been the result of negligence at a Wuhan lab. If what the Chinese government claims is correct, and the origin is a wet-market, then the wet markets must be closed immediately. Yet they have been reopened.
Whichever the case, China must be held responsible for lax regulations in managing the storage and distribution of animal products. The SARS-CoV-2 virus (commonly known as Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been transmitted from animals and adapted itself to humans.
Either close the wet markets, or close the labs. The Chinese government can’t have it both ways. They must be held to account, for the hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, from their regulatory failure. The economic fallout will only bring further misery to the lives of millions.
“SARS-CoV-2 appears to have been a zoonotic infection that has adapted to humans. Origin is uncertain, although bats implicated”.
The irresponsible regulation of food products should now be a global concern. More so than climate change, with its immediate impact. Many countries don’t regulate the food industry sufficiently, and more specifically, how animals are farmed, stored, and sold.
It’s not as if this is the first time an epidemic has originated in this manner. There have been several epidemics arising from the transfer of viruses from animals to humans, with dire consequences.
To name a few:
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), 2012
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), 2003
- Swine Flu, 1998
“MERS-CoV likely came from an animal source in the Arabian Peninsula. Researchers have found MERS-CoV in camels from several countries. Studies have shown that direct contact with camels is a risk factor for human infection with MERS-CoV”.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
“SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) – virus identified in 2003. SARS-CoV is thought to be an animal virus from an as-yet-uncertain animal reservoir, perhaps bats, that spread to other animals (civet cats) and first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002”.
World Health Organization
“In 1998, swine flu was found in pigs in four U.S. states. Within a year, it had spread through pig populations across the United States. Scientists found this virus had originated in pigs as a recombinant form of flu strains from birds and humans”.
Hypothetically, imagine what would happen if a virus had the infection rate of current SARS-CoV-2, and the 50% fatality rate of Ebola, or the 34% fatality rate of MERS. The ongoing spread of infection would result in the deaths of millions of people worldwide.
The possibility of this threat is real and imminent. If the U.S. military were to recognize such a hypothetical virus as a threat from an enemy state, they would graduate the state of alert to DEFCON 1.
The most pressing debate that needs to take place today is the lack of regulation in the animal-based food industry. The actual cost to human health from animal-based products is an existential issue with global ramifications for human life as we know it.
The threat of viruses that stem from the production, storage, and distribution of animal-based foods is the most significant argument for a plant-based diet and perhaps, even Veganism.
The trend towards plant-based eating
With overwhelming evidence that a mostly plant-based diet is beneficial to health, physicians unanimously encourage plant-based food to be a significant part of a healthy diet.
” Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods. We present a case study as an example of the potential health benefits of such a diet. Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.”
NCBI, Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets
A controversial documentary promoting plant-based food
Four months after the release of the film, The Game Changers, in early 2018, produced by Joseph Pace and James Wilks, available on Netflix, there was a spike in the already growing trend towards Veganism.
The film’s website core principles state the following:
” The preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that an animal-based diet — where foods like meat, eggs and dairy are the foundation of most meals — decreases overall health, increases the risk of numerous diseases, and reduces our lifespans. Conversely, the more plants you eat, the healthier you tend to be, decreasing your risk of many major diseases while increasing the quality and length of our lives”.
The Game changers Movie Website
Statements like this aroused the ire of people such as Chris Kresser, a proponent of combining both animal and plant-based diets.
Chris appeared on the Joe Rogan show and attempted to debunk The Game Changers movie. I suspect he now regrets that decision.
The film’s producer and star, James Wilks, countered the debunk in another round at a later J.R. show, challenging Chris face-to-face. Well prepared, James arrived not for a battle, but war. The majority of his counters proved Chris wrong (making thoroughly sure Chris’s arguments were buried six feet under).
I felt quite sorry for Chris, as one or two of his points need consideration. Lessons learned! Don’t mess with James Wilks, a champion MMA fighter. There are studies both for and against eating animal-based foods. There are few, if any, that contend plant-based foods are unhealthy, apart from young kids that don’t want to eat their greens.
Glaring problems for animal-based food production
Ther are several legitimate arguments for plant-based eating and the concerns about animal-based food production and consumption.
- Lack of sufficient regulation in the animal-based food industry, with the acute danger from the transmission of deadly viruses from animals
- Cruelty to animals in the meat, dairy, and fish industries
- The meat and dairy industry’s destruction of the environment
- Meat and dairy production exacerbates climate change
- Eating plant-based food is more healthy
- The health benefits of an animal-based diet are questionable
- Plant-based farming is better for the global economy
- Plant-based agriculture provides more food worldwide
One of the reasons omnivores get annoyed at Vegans is the perceived attitude of self-righteousness. The question of morality in eating animals is a weaker argument that’s unlikely to sway the majority of meat and fish eaters. Even more abhorrent is dictating to people how to live.
Increasing your consumption of plant-based food is one thing—becoming an all-out Vegan is a whole other matter. Veganism demands a complete revamp of the menu, a personal choice, not to be forced upon others.
Debatable arguments for becoming a vegan
- Eating animal-based food is unhealthy
In the context of practice in the food industry, how animals are raised, and the content of their feed, maybe. However, how healthy, eating animal-based foods, that are raised in healthy conditions with the right feed, is scientifically questionable. There are plenty of studies that would support arguments for and against.
- The eating of animals, birds, and fish is abhorrent
The hatred in eating animal-based food is subjective and controversial. New TV adverts that illustrate the connection of meat on supermarket shelves with living animals have a significant effect on shoppers that haven’t hunted their food for several generations. The vegan “Extra Fresh” TV commercial has caused considerable debate in Israel, a country with a relatively high percentage of vegans and vegetarians per capita globally.
Yet, the vast majority of omnivores would disagree and are happy to eat meat and the vast majority of the animal kingdom prey on one another.
- Vegans are slimmer
Leading a well-planned vegan diet will result in healthy weight management. Yet, without careful planning, eating the wrong mix of plant-based foods including processed foods and food containing high quantities of carbs and sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity.
- Vegans are happier
Vegans may feel healthier, but happiness is a choice. Many meat-eaters and dairy eaters are perfectly content.
- Vegan food is delicious
There’s plenty of tasty plant-based cuisine, but it depends on who’s cooking and what on the menu. Animal-based meals taste just as good, if not better. A lot depends on who does the cooking and what’s on the menu. Taste is subjective.
In light of recent events. What’s your view on food regulation, plant-based food, and Veganism? Have your opinions changed?