Industrial farming of livestock a ticking pathogen bomb, scientists say

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Three years before the virus that causes Covid-19 started making people sick in
China, another novel coronavirus began circulating in the southeast of the country. It
was fatal, but its victims were 25,000 piglets, not humans.

That outbreak was swiftly followed in 2018 by a scourge on a much larger scale–the
Ebola-like African swine fever, which does not infect humans but killed at least 100
million pigs as it raged across China. It threw the country’s pork industry into crisis
and sent the price of China’s favourite meat soaring. The disease is still spreading in

This flurry of outbreaks and the possible link between the Covid-19 human pandemic
to China’s wildlife trade has pressed the authorities to tighten rules.

“There is no perfect way to respond to an emerging disease threat. There will always
be trade-offs”

Prof. Dr. Latiffah Hassan, Universiti Putra Malaysia

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