If there is one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has clearly brought forward before us, it is the understanding and the compelling truth that a lot must change about the way we live on planet earth, relate to the environment and ecology, look at the questions surrounding food practices and economic consumptions and address our ways of looking at survival on the planet with renewed sensibilities and responsibility.
These are indeed compelling times and the pandemic has certainly made us more vulnerable, fragile and weak as a global populace.
While nation states across the world focus on welfare strategies and reconciliation programs to empower the weak sections of the population as they grapple with the pandemic, it is indeed becoming more certain than ever that we are all collectively at the receiving end and it is high time that we, as the whole of humanity begins to reflect and rethink our existence on planet earth.
The main challenge before us is how should we ensure that in the future, harm is reduced and we are able to form a better harmony with planet earth. For us to be able to do this, it is extremely necessary for us to to be considerate, caring and responsible not just towards fellow human beings but also towards the animals that cohabit the planet along with us. If we look at planet earth as our shared home then animals are part of our broader family and their wellbeing must be at the core of our concerns and policies.
If we don’t care for the broader bio-diversity, work in tune with the ecosystem and consciously work to make our own ways of life adaptable and sustainable for the whole of life systems on the planet. This is not just an ethical and moral question but a pressing need of our times. It is almost like trivialising the whole debate when we say that any discussion about rethinking our relationships to animals or rethinking our food practices is sheer puritanism or an attempt at overemphasising the vegan and non-vegan/omnivores difference or glorifying one food practice over others.
This is not about personal food choices or an assertion that being on one side of the food spectrum is better than being on the other. Instead, we need to think about such questions for the sake of all kinds of life including that of human beings on earth. Scientific evidence has reminded us time and again that most pathogens whether they are bacterial or viral in nature do originate in animals and we are likely to get infected by them through our consumption of animal meat. It is disheartening to see that we are overlooking these scientific evidences and are going about unabated in our consumption of animals without thinking about the kinds of dangers this may bring our way.
The coronavirus pandemic has made us aware of the fact that discovering a vaccine or a cure for a disease takes months and months of grounded research and a lot of time to get finalised, and it is true that we don’t have vaccines for hundreds of viruses that consumption of animal meat may expose us to. If we don’t have vaccines to deal with all kinds of viruses that consumption of animal meat may exposed us to, then we can only imagine the extent of danger that we are readily exposing ourselves to.
Moreover, the export of millions of animals across contents for the purposes of consumption, entertainment and research are posing a big challenge before the international community. This challenge means that we are exposing ourselves to the threat of virus and weakened health without even being aware that we were at potential risk. There is a need for the nation-states across the world to enforce these laws and restrictions so that the export/import of esoteric animals can be minimised. Moreover, the excessive consumption of animal meat and the cult of wet animal markets is intrinsically out of tune with ecological sustainability and the wellbeing of human and animals as a whole. We also cannot afford to neglect the fact that our wellbeing is closely associated with the proliferation and sustenance of animal life and they are connected to one another.
Learning from the pandemic, it is important for us to ensure that the global community becomes more sensitive to the needs of the environment and devises a new way of life that is not overtly consumptionist but in tune with the needs and concerns of biodiversity as a whole. It is in the wellbeing of the whole, that our own well-being lies.