DEAR READERS: I have often raised the issue of how a One Health approach could have prevented the COVID-19 pandemic, and of how, if such an approach is not adopted internationally, future pandemics and declining quality of life will be inevitable.
I want to make readers aware of a newly published article in the medical journal Neuroepidemiology, written by three international leaders in neurology and epidemiology, entitled “Brain Health, One Health, and COVID-19.” For the first time in medical literature, this article has linked human brain health to the interconnectedness of all life (humans, nonhumans and the Earth) and to animal-derived food sources. As I have documented in my article “A Reflection on Animals, Nature and the Human Condition: A One Health for One Earth Manifesto,” pesticides and other agrichemicals contribute to brain and other diseases. These harmful chemicals must be prohibited in food production.
Authors David Wiebers, M.D. (Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation); Valery Feigin, M.D. (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand); and Andrea Winkler, M.D. (Technical University of Munich, Germany) state in the article: “For the sake of humans, nonhumans and the Earth, there is a fundamental and urgent need for us to rapidly evolve toward eating forms of protein that are safer for humans, including a wide range of time-honored fundamental plant-derived food sources as well as the more recently developed plant-based meat, dairy and egg alternatives and cultured meat (produced by culturing animal cells).”
The authors further call for an end to factory farming and live-wildlife markets worldwide, calling them “two activities which are among the most threatening to human health and among the most debasing to our species.” They also point out that “the emergence of novel and concerning COVID-19 variants on mink farms that can easily be transmitted to humans or other wild or domesticated animals raises the prospect that a global pandemic put in motion by exploiting animals in live-animal markets may be extended and reinvigorated by our exploitation of animals on mink farms.”
The authors offer this concluding statement: “We call on decision-makers to seriously think about making One Health the new norm across the various sectors while inventing and implementing equitable economic systems that have human, animal and environmental health at their cores. Our failure to heed the wake-up call of COVID-19 and rethink our relationship with all life on this planet will not only impact negatively on brain health but may ultimately result in the unwitting extermination of all or a good part of our species.”
DEAR DR. FOX: Of course there’s climate change, as a previous reader wrote, and the cause of it is probably not known. What gets to me, though, is your infatuation with Trump, which I find distasteful. I don’t believe Trump bungled the COVID response. Try saying Andrew Cuomo bungled it. I can tell you personally, being a New Yorker, we watched him and saw ineptitude in action. He let my friend’s father die as well as possibly thousands of others.
I will ask you this, did you know Biden’s quick escape from Afghanistan left many contractor working dogs behind?
Do what you do best — stick to being a vet, not a pundit. — T.D., Poughkeepsie, New York
DEAR T.D.: I think you are using the wrong word regarding an “infatuation” with Trump, which means a feeling of foolish or very strong love or admiration for someone or something. See my documented review of his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Pandemics: Past, Present and Future Prevention,” on my website (drfoxonehealth.com).
All my published conclusions and opinions are supported by facts — which I can document, since I am fully aware of the current epidemic of disinformation. I am a veterinarian who, now with many more health care professionals, is an advocate of the One Health and One Earth/One Economy perspective. Hopefully this will help make political decisions more fact-based and science-supported in the future. I consider it my duty as a veterinarian to speak truth to power when that power is being abused by politicians and corporations at the expense of environmental health, public health and human and nonhuman animal rights.
As for the contractor working dogs left behind in Afghanistan: The U.S. seems to make a habit of this, as with most of the military service dogs in Vietnam that were abandoned when the U.S. withdrew. American soldiers often have great difficulties bringing back local “camp mascot” and working dogs from various foreign postings. At least the Brits have more evident compassion-in-action, as per the ex-British Marine whose saga I detailed in an earlier column. He was able to airlift some 200 cats and dogs from the rescue shelter he had established in Kabul.
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