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This could be the New start of another Pandemic

When you think of an American farm, you probably think of a barn, a diverse group of animals until relatively recently, if you ate meat it probably came from a farm that looked basically like overcrowded space. That was true around the world, but in the last few decades, meat's global production has skyrocketed. That has have been driven by a change in how livestock is raised in order to increase profits and raise livestock more effectively; farms started to consolidate and mechanize take chicken farms for example in the 1970s the U.S. had around 30,000 chicken farms by 1995, it had only about 20,000 however the amount of chicken produced in the U.S. had tripled. Consolidated farms are now overcrowded with chicken. Farms like those are controversial; there are ethical concerns and environmental concerns, but infectious disease experts worry about them for different reasons.

A farm that is organized is called a concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO. CAFOs are massive industrialized farming operations. They contain tens of thousands of animals, sometimes hundreds of thousands of animals, and they are often very crowded American CAFOS were efficient and profitable. Soon they became a model for farming all over the world. Today, almost all the meat we eat comes from farms like these factory farms supply an estimated 90 percent of meat globally, and around 99 percent of the meat we eat here in the U.S. If you are eating a burger or bacon or whatever it probably came from a factory farm. A CAFO is an environment built for one purpose. To house as many animals as possible. What worries scientists is that that also makes it an ideal environment for the pathogens that cause pandemics. A virus is just a bit of genetic code that makes copies of itself. However, that replication process is not always perfect.

They are introducing lots of mutations as they can replicate; most of those mutations are going to be delirious and will not help the virus at all. Lots of mutations lead to the virus dying. Occasionally, a mutation will happen that will give the virus a new ability: to be more deadly, for example, or to be able to jump from one species to another. A virus can only replicate when it is inside another organism. However, It can only replicate inside a host for so long. Every host eventually dies. Even if a virus does mutate beneficially, without hosts, that mutation will eventually die out and out in the wild, or even on a small farm; new hosts can be hard to come by, however, in a CAFO. Let us say you are a pathogen; if you are a factory where you have hundreds of thousands of potential hosts, it is outrageous. More Hosts mean more chances to replicate, more chances to mutate, and a higher likelihood that a mutated virus would survive.

In other words, factory farms are also factories for new viruses that we have not met before. That also helped along with the larger systems that CAFOs are a part of. There is much international trading going on from live animals. Were sending these animals from city to city and from country to country. Were flying them across oceans


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