Intensive industrial food production provides ample opportunity for viruses to mutate and spread and Karl Marx wrote about this in the mid-nineteenth century.
From developing sheep and cattle breeds to be rounder and broader, to battery farms and stall feeding to the latest: breeding of featherless chickens in Israel – all done in the search for profit.
And it is no different in agriculture. From Monsanto’s GMO products to waxing and polishing cucumbers and injecting colouring agents, steroids, hormones, sugared water and chemicals into fruit and vegetables to enhance their taste, colouring, shape and preservation. All of course in the drive for profit! The global market demands chickens with over-sized breasts, standard shaped eggs with deep orange yolks, pink-coloured beef, ultra-sweet melons and uniformly red tomatoes.
Manipulated and engineered and tightly packed together with no immunological diversity; is it surprising the virulent pathogens in these animals thrive and spread like wildfire? More animals today are in captivity than in the wild; and animal rights and welfare is not even on our agenda. And if this is not bad enough, food is then processed. It is mass produced, is consistent from country to country and has a long shelf/freezer life and lacks the nutritional values of un-processed foods. It is commonly referred to as ‘fast food’ or ‘junk food’.
So what can we do? Invent more anti-virus vaccines? ‘First, they sell us food that makes us ill, the production of which generates a deadly viral-epidemic threat. Then they sell us the drugs to make us well again. It is insulting nonsense’, writes Lee Humber in the Socialist Review.
A tiny minority of obscenely rich capitalists is driving these ‘developments’, we need to end factory farming and industrial agriculture. And we in the Third World must find another route to real development—for the many, not the few. Development for people’s needs and not for profit—a route out of the capitalist system.
Arundhati Roy says: The pandemic is a portal. True – and it is up to us to choose the road ahead.