It is the 19th November 2020.
We are in the second lockdown here in the UK and in the middle of a global pandemic. I think it is safe to say that the year 2020 has seemed like a bit of a write-off...
We have stayed in our houses, put rainbows in our windows, cancelled events, clapped for the NHS, socially distanced ourselves from other humans, stopped seeing our loved ones, scrubbed our hands until they are raw and now it is the new 'norm' to walk around with masks covering our faces.
If we had been told a year ago that this is how we would all be living, we all would have laughed and no one would have believed it!
Yet here we are. We have followed the government guidelines and done what we have been told to do and we are now waiting on a vaccine so we can all start to get our lives back to some sort of normality. However, what I find utterly bonkers is the fact that nobody seems to be talking about where this virus came from and how we can prevent this from happening again.
It literally seems like the elephant in the room...
When this all started there was a lot being written about where COVID-19 came from. We were told that it was from people eating bats from wet markets out in China and people were disgusted at the thought.
But why were people so horrified? Was it because they didn't like the idea of eating a bat or was it because our lives had now been affected and it is much easier to point the finger? There seems to be a real issue with hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance in our society because the majority of people eat animals themselves. We may not eat bats, cats or dogs like they do in China, but we do eat cows, pigs, sheep and many other animals in our country.
"70% of new diseases like Ebola and Zika, and almost all known pathogens with pandemic potential, such as influenza, HIV, and the novel coronavirus, have their origins in animals. These diseases then 'spill over' - jump from one species to another - during contact between wildlife, livestock, and people."
So just putting the ethical side of eating animals aside for a moment, if eating animals can literally cause such disruption to our lives, wreak havoc on our health, destroy people's lives and livelihoods, cripple the economy, kill us, and basically shut the world down, then why isn't the government talking more about it?
All we seem to see is a lot of reaction to the virus. Guidelines, rules, lockdowns, discussions about treatment, vaccines, but where are the discussions about how this happened and what measures are being put in place to stop this from ever happening again?
If our governments are concerned about our health, shouldn't they be looking at why all these Zoonotic diseases are even occurring and then telling people that we MUST all make changes to our lifestyle choices to reduce the risk? Surely they should be telling the world to stop eating animals and go plant based?
"The world needs a new approach to prevent future pandemics killing millions more victims...It calls on people to stop encroaching on wild land and eat less meat, because the industry drives contact between humans and emerging pathogens. Pandemics are becoming more frequent. Without preventive strategies, they will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people, and affect the global economy with more devastating impact.”
It is cheaper to prevent pandemics than it is to cure them and if you only get diseases and pandemics from eating animals and not plants, why has the world gone silent about this?
The elephant has not gone away, he is still very much in the room.
Tina Newman - Mum of 2 and author of the children's book series Vivi the Supervegan; fighting for more compassion and peace in this world.