Covid-19 has turned all eyes on our global treatment of wildlife.
The more we encroach on wildland and exploit animals for food, entertainment, and medicinal purposes—the higher the risk of contracting new viruses, parasites, and bacteria.
Animals in live markets and factory farms are often kept in filthy, claustrophobic confinement. Cages are frequently stacked on top of one another, increasing the risk of cross-species virus transmission. The stress alone that these animals experience can compromise their immune systems—making them more susceptible to disease.
A solid commitment to environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business practices may help stop the spread of future zoonotic viruses like Covid-19 (originating from animals).
As we start to recognize on an individual and collective level that animals are sentient beings with the same capacity to feel pain and suffering, it becomes clear that we have an ethical responsibility to treat them with dignity and respect. Regardless of whether an animal is needed for food, we should not ignore our own capacity for empathy—the animal should be given a high quality of life, with suffering minimized as much as humanly possible.
Human beings have a conscience for a reason, it gives us a higher capacity to create a more civilised, harmonious world. It is a critical part of our evolution.
Yet if we look at what is happening around the world in the food industry, animals are often kept in small confinement; transported in crowded conditions where they suffer extreme temperatures, starvation and dehydration; and have to endure invasive medical procedures without anesthetic or pain management.
Animals are also frequently the target of abuse, particularly in the food industry, from people who make a choice to unleash their displaced anger on an innocent, non-threatening source—it is an abuse of power that reflects a greater inability to deal with the original source of anger (perhaps an abusive authority figure).
In addition, most countries are also neglecting to care for their stray animals in a humane, compassionate and responsible manner. These animals frequently suffer from starvation, abuse, and disease.
Our global treatment of animals will always come full circle. We cannot ignore the exploitation of wildlife in any dark allies of the world.
Naturally, we reduce the risk of disease transmission to humans by respecting Mother Nature and maintaining superior standards in our treatment of animals—in like ways, a company reduces its liability and risk by protecting the health and safety of employees, consumers, and communities.
Purpose-driven businesses that prioritize ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), tend to make animal rights and environmental sustainability a fundamental priority.
Whether it is a sole proprietorship, mid-sized company or large corporation, businesses need to be closely monitored and heavily regulated in their treatment of vulnerable, sentient beings who have no voice to protect themselves.
Governments, politicians, business leaders, and conscious consumers across the globe have an ethical responsibility to call for an end to animal abuse in the food/pharmaceutical industry and global wildlife trade (legal and illegal).
A country’s moral progress and standard for civilization are revealed by its treatment of animals. Political leaders need to recognize that the abuse and exploitation of animals represents a sickness in society. There is a strong connection between poverty, a lack of education and resources—and the exploitation of wildlife.
The exploitation of animals is very likely at the root of this pandemic. It is time for human beings to transcend their own primitive and barbaric capacity for cruelty and abuse toward animals—to demonstrate a more civilized and evolved consciousness.
We are being called to evolve.
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