Now is the time to talk veganism.

We are in the fifth week of lockdown and the focus of the media has now shifted to when a vaccine will be available and how we come out of lockdown and return to ‘normality’.

Five weeks of scientists, politicians and journalists ignoring the huge elephant in the room: Why did this pandemic happen and how can we avoid it happening again?

The answer is simple: leave animals, and nature alone. Stop exploiting them, stop farming them and stop eating them.

3 in 4 of the world’s new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. Not just wild animals but domesticated animals; farmed animals. In an open letter published today in The Independent, 10 scientists and campaigners have warned that factory farms and wildlife markets provide the perfect conditions for disease to thrive and transmit to humans. They go on to say “Ending the exploitation of animals is one of the biggest actions humankind can take to protect itself against future pandemics.”

The other topic conveniently being swept under the carpet right now is Climate change. With the UN Climate Change conference postponed and, as of today, Scotland’s review of their emissions targets also postponed until the end of the year, Climate change is still, to quote the UN Secretary General, ” the deeper emergency.”

The  solution to both these emergencies is veganism.

Many commentators have said this is not the time to talk about veganism but this is ABSOLUTELY  the time to talk about veganism! If the world goes vegan, factory farms and wildlife markets will be erradicated, thereby reducing the likelihood of another pandemic: there will be a significant reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, with animal agriculture though to be responsible for 60%: there would be 75% less farmland used for animals and animal feed  around the world, freeing that land for food crops and thereby avoiding future food shortages: mass extinctions of wildlife will be halted and habitats can be restored with rewilding…the list goes on.

So why is this not the time to talk about veganism?!  I get that people are struggling, losing loved ones and facing financial uncertainty but surely veganism is the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the only way the human race will survive because, as Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said ” this planet was never meant for 8 billion meat eating, fish eating primates.”

Paul Watson also said: ” Trees, worms and bees are more important than us.” When questioned why he said that, his reply was ” they can all survive without us but we can’t survive without them.”

We must not come out of this crisis and return to normality as we knew it. There must be a paradigm shift in peoples’ thinking and their lifestyles to avoid it happening again. For our own survival and that of the planet, we must ask the right questions and share the answers, worldwide.

Fortunately, there are journalists and experts  out there that get it.  There have been a few articles in The Guardian recently examining the bigger picture and asking the right questions, and now this letter to the Independent. At some point, I am confident, those in governmental office will no longer be able to ignore that veganism is the only way for us, and other species to survive. Until then, I will keep sharing these articles and inviting the conversation on social media, in the hope that others will be enlightened.