While the world battles against the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 3,70,000 lives, a scientist has warned that a deadlier plague is yet to come that can wipe out half of the global population.
Dr Michael Greger, the author of the popular book ‘How Not To Die’, claims that chickens could be the cause of the next pandemic and the worst kind. According to him, an apocalyptic virus from chicken farms could lead to more deaths than Coronavirus.
In his latest book titled ‘How To Survive A Pandemic,’ Dr Greger warns that as “long as there is poultry, there will be pandemics.” Dr Greger, who is a strong advocate of a plant-based diet, has spent years campaigning against the use of animal-based products. He fears that humans’ close connection to animals could lead to the worst kind of epidemic. It is important to note that the novel coronavirus is also believed to have originated from bats.
Dr Greger predicts that chicken farms could be harbouring another deadly pandemic. After the H5NI bird flu emerged in Hong Kong in 1997 millions of chickens were killed to eliminate the virus. But the flu emerged again between 2003 and 2009, which indicates that the virus was never eliminated completely and could occur again.
To prevent another outbreak of viruses from poultry, Dr Greger suggests changing the way chickens are farmed. In most farms, chickens are kept in such congested spaces that the birds cannot even flap their wings, he noted. The scientist says that the high ammonia level from their droppings creates a recipe for diseases.
Suggesting a solution to this problem, Dr Greger called for a ban on mass production of chickens. He suggested poultry farmers raise smaller flocks in less crowded spaces with outdoor access, better hygiene, and without the use of human antivirals. He further said that there is also a need to end unnatural production of egg and the practice of breeding.
Coronavirus, that was first reported in China's Wuhan city has affected sixty lakh people across the world, claiming more than 3,62,000 lives.