Kendra Coulter, Chair of Labour Studies in Brock’s Faculty of Social Sciences, wrote a piece recently published in The Globe and Mail that advocates for an to end harmful practices toward animals by examining the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Netflix docuseries Tiger King.
“As the world reels from the physical, psychological, social and economic effects of COVID-19, millions of people are temporarily being distracted by Netflix’s docu-series Tiger King, a show about people who own, train, exhibit and exploit tigers. Viewers watch, jaws dropped, people and places that seem so different and shocking. But it is not actually a distraction — it is a mirror and a microscope, because the world that created the novel coronavirus and the Tiger King is one and the same.
This is a world that has failed to respect animals: in Wuhan, at a wet market where wild animals are sold to be eaten and where the novel coronavirus is thought to have originated, and in the orbit of Joe Exotic, where fame and power are glorified and the well-being of captive animals is an afterthought. The fact is that humans are not only harming animals but also endangering ourselves.
Scientific research suggests that the consumption of animals was the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, and this has been true of most recent outbreaks, including swine flu, bird flu and mad-cow disease. Zoonotic (animal to human) transmissions do not occur in a vacuum. As the United Nations Environment Programme and many researchers have argued for decades, rampant deforestation, industrial animal agriculture, climate change and the global trade in exotic species have exponentially increased health risks.”
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