Lawmakers should consider putting taxes on livestock production and meat consumption to reduce the risk of future deadly pandemics. Reuters says that is the conclusion of a group of international experts called the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which has more than 130 member states.
The group published a study last week calling for better protection of nature. “Overconsumption of meat is bad for our health and unsustainable in terms of the environmental impact,” says zoologist Peter Daszak, who chaired the study. “it’s also a driver of pandemic risk.”
The group says outbreaks of influenza viruses and new pandemic strains have emerged for the most part because of the incredibly dense production of poultry and pigs in some parts of the world, driven by our global consumption patterns. “Breeding cattle for beef is another well-known cause of deforestation and ecosystem destruction in Latin America,” Daszak added.
The study warns that pandemics will emerge more often, spread faster, cost more, and kill more people than COVID-19 without bold action to halt the habitat destruction that helps viruses hop from wildlife to humans. The group is also asking governments to step up efforts to avert pandemics instead of responding after they hit.