The coronavirus variant, COVID-19, responsible for the outbreak of a virulent form of respiratory illness in China belongs to the same general virus class as the common cold and SARS. The source is bats that infected wild animals marketed in the Wuhon wet market. Both wild and domestic animals are kept live and slaughtered in front of customers, leaving no doubt what one is buying. The conditions are unsanitary. The wild animals were infected by virus containing bat feces. COVID-19 uses the ACE2 receptor, critical in controlling blood pressure in humans, bats and pigs. Coronavirus genes use RNA and mutate frequently, creating new viral strains having varying levels of virulence.
Wet market conditions mirror those existing in U.S. swine CAFOs. Crowding of animals and humans in markets or CAFOs creates conditions for rapid amplification and spread of virus once infected animals or humans enter the facility. Similarities between amplification of influenza virus in U.S. swine CAFOs and the coronavirus epidemic in China are striking. Both juxtapose animals and humans in crowded unsanitary facilities open to wild animals, the source of viruses that infect both consumed animals and humans through common receptors shared by both humans and the animals they consume. These conditions exist in the poorly regulated environment of the swine industry today.
Our governor supports removal of local control of CAFOs with no effective DENR oversight, clearly not in the best interest of the constituents that elected her.