European Union (EU) Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius recently told media outlet Reuters that factory farming played a role in the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that there is “strong evidence that the way meat is produced, not only in China, contributed to COVID-19.” The EU plans to step up efforts to control wildlife trading and factory farming, given that both played a role in the current pandemic. The European Commission, the EU’s executive, will seek to address this issue in upcoming proposals to safeguard biodiversity. “Healthy ecosystems lead to a healthy society and therefore it is not too high a price to pay to fix them,” Sinkevicius said.

While the origin of the COVID-19 virus is unconfirmed, it is widely believed by the scientific community to have originated from a wet animal market in Wuhan, China—and the country recently banned the trade of wild animals in response to the crisis.

According to a recent poll conducted by research organization Faunalytics, 84 percent of Americans are unaware of the animal origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The science is clear on how the use of animals for food can contribute to public health emergencies like the one the world is currently facing, but most people don’t know about it,” Jo Anderson, PhD, who oversaw the study, said.

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