Dennis Banner Top
Matthew Priebe

Cause ➔ Effect

PANDEMICS, ANIMAL ABUSE, HUMAN SUFFERING, AND YOU

 

There is likely not a single person reading these words who is unaware of the new reality in which civilization finds itself. New terms such as social distancing, shelter-in-place, and community spread have already entered our popular lexicon. By far the most sinister new word, however, must be pandemic. An ugly word that represents an even uglier threat of mass disease and death.

The disease causing all this fear and disruption is called Covid-19. It is spreading worldwide and seems to overthrow every effort to stop it. Many people who contract it survive without undue difficulty. Many people become badly sick before recovering. And some people die despite all the efforts made to save them.

Is this the worst disease ever to plague humanity? Hardly. Other pathogens throughout history have had higher lethality rates or more gruesome symptoms. Does that make the anguish and suffering of those infected or their families any less now? Of course not. This is a terrible crisis that is ruining people’s lives, either physically, mentally, or financially. And the death totals will only be certainly determined by history. If ever we needed proof that this world is not our true home, it is times like these that show the misery of a world run by Satan.

Is there nothing we can do at times like these but to wring our hands and lament the wretchedness of our lot in life? Or perhaps we should blame the faceless “bad guys” who have inflicted this evil upon us all. I have already heard countless versions of who started this current pandemic, with detailed descriptions of the motives and methods of those responsible. Unfortunately, no two versions agree, and attempts to prove any of them bog down into endless speculation and rumor. I will not chase those theories, since the real source of this virus is already well established.

 

The Source of Pandemics

In Asian cultures we find a gruesome tradition called “wet markets.” Animals captured in the wild or raised in captivity are brought to these marketplaces and kept alive for buyers to choose from. The conditions are frightful, the sanitation is horrible, and the methods of slaughter are brutal. I will not go into too many details because these places really are as wretched and graphic as it gets. For those “Doubting Thomases” who need to see to believe, google “wet markets” and then see if you can forget what you find.[1]

These vile places have been around for a long time, but increases in global trade and smuggling have allowed more species to be marketed than ever before. Combine this with a rising affluent class and a capitalistic urge to buy anything novel that is offered, and you have a booming business based on death.

The animals killed in these markets suffer in every way possible. They are ripped from their wild homes or raised in squalid conditions. They are transported in shocking ways and crammed into cages or hung on display. The animals are often killed in front of the buyer to guarantee freshness or to fulfill some mystical ritual. Some buyers want exotic flavors; some want the supposed medicinal benefit that different animals are supposed to confer.[2]

None of this matters to the animals. The only thing that matters to them is that they are tortured and killed in Satanic ways and then their existence is over, wasted and pointless. But that’s not the end of it for humanity. During this process of corruption and degradation, a strange thing is taking place. Diseases carried by the animals, usually not terribly dangerous to themselves, are being transmitted from them to us. The humans involved end up carrying these novel diseases to other humans and pandemics are born.

It is very hard to pinpoint the source of these diseases, but our current crisis may have originated from bats. How? Some may assume that a bat landed on a human’s neck, sucked the victim’s blood and infected them. But of course that never actually happens.[3] In reality, the bats are killed for customers’ exotic dining pleasure after having suffered greatly. So the real victims in these markets are the poor bats.

There are a couple other candidates and scenarios for the source of the disease, such as pangolin meat. But regardless, it is clearly from some form of animal-to-human market transmission. Our society’s acceptance of these markets is the reason Covid-19 is ruining our lives. Toleration of animal abuse is directly responsible for the hundreds of thousands of humans who are now dying. Cruelty to animals has translated directly to suffering of people. Any other interpretation of events is a denial of reality. Animal abuse ➔ human suffering.

 

The Animal/Disease Connection

But surely this is an isolated incident, a regrettable but unavoidable disaster. There’s nothing we can do about it…. But that is not the case. It not only has happened before but it has happened repeatedly. Let’s briefly look at a few examples:

  1. SARS coronavirus. First identified: 2003. Source: Masked Palm Civets imprisoned in live animal markets of southern China.[4]
  2. H1N1 (Swine flu). First identified: 2009. Source: domestic pigs raised and slaughtered for food in Mexico (or possibly America).[5]
  3. H1N1 (Spanish flu). First identified: 1917-1918. Source: unknown bird and/or pig combination, either from Europe or China.[6]
  4. Ebola. First identified: 1976. Source: either wild monkeys or apes or fruit bats or duikers killed for human consumption as “bush meat”.[7]

In fact, 60% of all human diseases and 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are transmitted from animals to people, mostly from animals enslaved and killed for human food.[8] This is staggering. It means the meat industry is mostly responsible for human diseases and death. Animal exploitation ➔ human disease."

Perhaps this should not be surprising. Eating animals has been a cause of suffering and death since the beginning of time. No animal was allowed by God to be used for food until after the flood. Many corrupt people before the flood killed animals in defiance of God’s will, and eating animals “rendered them still more cruel and bloodthirsty, until they came to regard human life with astonishing indifference.” [9]

After the flood, certain animals were allowed as food in the devastated new reality. But only a few species were permitted and no blood (which usually carries the diseases) was allowed under any circumstances. {Genesis 9:4} This not only maintained the highest health standards possible when eating corpses, but made it as unpleasant a diet option as possible (no blood=little flavor) and therefore discouraged meat gluttony.

The Bible offers examples of rebellious people eating meat and suffering the consequences, such as Israel and the quail {Numbers 11} and the captives of Babylon {Daniel 1:8-16}. Some diseases are purely meat eaters’ diseases (like gout) and most killer health problems are now linked directly to meat (heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, obesity, etc.).

A common misconception is that clean meats, as listed in the Old Testament, are healthier than unclean meats. That was true 3000 years ago. But since most meat available today is contaminated by blood and cancers and general filth, both clean and unclean meat are toxic and dangerous. “The whole animal creation is more or less diseased. Diseased meat is not rare, but common. Every phase of disease is brought into the human system through subsisting upon the flesh of dead animals.” [10]

Avoidable meat-caused illnesses kill far more people in modern society than more sensational wars, car accidents and natural disasters. Meat diets ➔ human illness.

 

All Actions Have Consequences

One of the great threats on the near horizon is the ineffectiveness of antibiotics treating disease. The medical and scientific community have warned us for years, calling it the coming antibiotic apocalypse. Why are antibiotics suddenly losing their effectiveness? The factory farm industry constantly feeds antibiotics directly to farmed animals. This overuse breeds antibiotic resistant bacteria. Then when humans eat their contaminated flesh or drink their milk, we take on the antibiotic resistance into our bodies. Society is showing more and more resistance to the effectiveness of our most useful aids in fighting illness. This means that a formerly treatable illness will be lethal, and typical treatments won’t work anymore.[11] Meat industry ➔ human death.

Starvation afflicts people around the globe while food is grown and fed to cows and pigs. Those who insist upon a meat diet are taking food out of the mouths of poor people around the world.[12] Meat diets ➔ human starvation.

Waste from the factory farming industry pollutes many rural areas. People are dying from the pollution of their air and water.[13] Meat industry ➔ human contamination.

But the underlying crisis is actually much deeper. Meat is the driving force behind virtually every area where humanity is destroying itself: deforestation, topsoil erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, ocean acidification, as well as human disease. I have examined these issues elsewhere and will not repeat them here, but it is safe to say that the global meat industry is the single greatest threat to the survival of life on earth.[14] Meat industry ➔ human extinction.

There are other examples of how the casual destruction of animals causes problems for ourselves. Lyme disease is increasing across America. It is given to humans by ticks and ticks are increasing. Why? Several factors are combining to increase the tick population:

  1. Opossums are never very popular, but they are tick-eating specialists. Opossums attract and then kill thousands of ticks per acre, per week, making them one of our best allies in stopping the spread of Lyme disease. As their forest habitats have become fragmented, opossum populations have declined, and no one seems to care.[15]
  2. Sport hunting over the last century has increased White-tail Deer populations to levels never seen before in America. More deer provide food for more ticks and bring them into closer contact with us.[16]
  3. Small rodents harbor many ticks. People slaughter snakes unmercifully for the high crime of being snakes. A single medium-sized snake eats enough rodents to destroy around 4000 ticks per year. Every snake killed boosts the local tick population by 4000 ticks.[17]

So now people are suffering increased cases of Lyme disease, and it’s due to killing other animals for no good reason. Animal killing ➔ human illness.

The most famous plagues in history took place in the Middle Ages across western Europe. Spread by fleas on rats, the diseases were horrific both in terms of symptoms and the high mortality rates. The best control agents were predators of rats, such as domestic cats. But cats were demonized by the Catholic Church as agents of Satan, and people tortured and killed cats without mercy. So the predators suffered for no reason and humans died accordingly.[18] Predator eradication ➔ human deaths.

Sport-hunting results in millions of animals killed for meat, trophies and bragging rights. But American hunters alone also cause roughly 1100 human injuries and around 100 human deaths every year--hardly a trivial amount.[19] Sport hunting ➔ human deaths.

The most trafficked (enslaved & killed) animal in the world right now is the pangolin. These walking pine cones are the only scaled mammal alive today. They eat ants with a tongue nearly as long as their body! They are gentle and sweet animals whose only defense is to roll into a ball. They are wonderful creatures who are curious and affectionate when cared for in captivity. And they are nearing extinction.

Asian markets fuel a demand that results in hundreds of thousands of them being killed in the last few years. Their scales are turned into aphrodisiacs and quack medicines for those who are naïve enough to believe everything they are told by unethical sellers. Also, their meat is a delicacy for depraved appetites. And guess what? They are the only mammal known besides bats to be carriers of the coronavirus that is plaguing us right now. The next pandemic (or even, perhaps, this one) could easily come from them as they are brought unnaturally into contact with humans by way of exotic meat markets.[20] Animal-based folk-medicines ➔ human illness.

The best way to prevent future outbreaks is to shut down the meat markets for good and stop forcing animals into these horror shows.[21] China closed the wet markets temporarily after the SARS outbreak but later quietly opened them, leading to our current crisis. China closed the markets recently after the current outbreak but is already opening them again![22] In fact, the only changes China has made is to post security guards in the markets to prevent anyone taking pictures of the brutalities committed.[23]

China has even recommended as a treatment for the virus to take bear bile. Not only is this a quack remedy that has no chance of stopping the virus, but it perpetuates animal abuse. Bear bile is obtained by imprisoning bears in horrible cages with a permanent tube surgically implanted into their gall bladder. These poor bears spend their lives as bile taps and suffer terribly.[24] Once again, China is shown promoting cruelty.

But there is plenty of criticism to direct at our own government. When asked if he would use his influence as president to make sure the disease vector markets would be closed for good, Trump said that this is “not his priority.” Unsurprisingly, the obliviousness of this administration continues. In fact, instead of working to address the sources of the pandemic, Trump has used his powers to force U.S. meat plants to stay open during the pandemic crisis even though workers in them are dying. In effect, this administration has placed the "meat supply" above human life.

 

The Animal/Human Connection

What can we learn from all of these examples? A common attitude among many Christians is that human suffering and animal suffering are two entirely different issues and that human suffering is vastly more important than animal suffering. Anyone who cares about animals is said to be either wasting their time or showing unconcern for human problems. But this is not true at all. As we have seen above (and we could list countless more examples), animal suffering leads to human suffering. In fact, they are NOT separate issues at all but are all part of the same issue: Suffering.

Is Jesus really our example or not? “Jesus worked to relieve every case of suffering that He saw.” [25] We all know about His compassion for every human He encountered. But did it end there? “Jesus was the fountain of healing mercy for the world;…His life flowed out in currents of sympathy and tenderness. The aged, the sorrowing, and the sin-burdened, the children at play in their innocent joy, the little creatures of the groves, the patient beasts of burdens,—all were happier for His presence. He whose word of power upheld the worlds would stoop to relieve a wounded bird. There was nothing beneath His notice, nothing to which He disdained to minister.” [26]

Does this mean that animals are of equal importance as human beings? Absolutely not. Does this mean that animal suffering doesn’t matter? Absolutely not. “He [Jesus] pointed them to the birds and told them that their heavenly Father cares for even the little sparrow. He sustains the worlds, yet cares for the little birds, and how much more will He care for those who are formed in His image.” [27]

Part of our attitude of a lesser importance of animal suffering is the false medieval separation of animals and humans based on the unbiblical heresy of the immortal soul. Catholic theologians stole this concept from Greek philosophers and then passed it on unchanged to Protestants. Humans supposedly have immortal souls, animals don’t. Therefore, humans matter, while animals don’t.

But true Biblical theology refutes this false separation. Scripture defines both animals and humans as living souls, since they all have been given the breath of life.[28] If we respect the proper value God gave to all life, then we would be unwilling to tolerate any form of abuse, either to animals or humans.

God has inspired His messengers to show how we are all related. “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” {Ecclesiastes 3:18-19} The Hebrew word translated here as “preeminence” may be better translated as “advantage,” as found in several versions.

Just as we consider death to be evil for us, we should regard the death of other animals to be just as evil for them. “For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.” {Ecclesiastes 9:12}

 

False Leads and True Faithfulness

Those who are committed to abusing and killing animals for profit are always trying to misdirect attention away from their cruelty. A typical ploy is to tell stories of animal lovers who are callous to human misery, hoping to negatively paint all people who call for compassion. Do such people exist? They may, but I’ve never met any of them.

As a public speaker and traveler, I have met many people who are indifferent or opposed to caring for animals. I have met many people who care for both animals and humans, understanding the true role God has given to His representatives. But I have never met anyone who just cares only for animals.

Caring for animals and nature means caring for everyone. With all the examples of the human-animal connection we have examined, we see that eliminating these cruelties to animals would have avoided the human problems that resulted. A holistic approach to caring for all life, human and animal, is the best way to fulfill the golden rule and be a faithful representative of Jesus. Compassion ➔ faithfulness.

With all the problems in the world, we often grow discouraged and give up. It is true that suffering will never end as long as this world exists. Satan will continue to afflict and torment all life until he is finally overthrown when Jesus comes again. But our job remains straightforward. Be the salt of the earth. {Matthew 5:13} Love your enemies. {Luke 6:27-35} Care for the poor and needy. {Deuteronomy 15:11} Let your light shine. {Matthew 5:16} Don’t kill anyone. {Exodus 20:13} Stand for truth. {John 16:13} Warn others before it’s too late. {Isaiah 21} Care for the animals around you. {Proverbs 12:10} Don’t support or be one of those destroying the earth. {Revelation 11:18} And in the closing days of history we can add: Be a vegetarian or, better yet, a vegan.[29]

All of this is achievable, but it does require total unselfishness. The single defining requirement Jesus laid out for entrance to His kingdom is total unselfishness. If we follow that principle to its logical conclusion, we will never need to place an artificial barrier between us and them, whoever “them” might happen to be at the time. It will make all of our lives on earth better and it will prepare us for the perfect world to come. True love ➔ salvation.

 

 

[1] For an insightful comparison between Eastern live markets and Western factory farming, see:

Matthew Scully, “China’s Wet Markets, America’s Factory Farming” (https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/chinas-wet-markets-americas-factory-farming-both-violate-moral-common-sense/)

[2] For the insanity of traditional medicines and the horrendous cost to animals, see:

Charlie Campbell, “Traditional Chinese Medical Authorities Are Unable to Stop the Booming Trade in Rare Animal Parts” (https://time.com/4578166/traditional-chinese-medicine-tcm-conservation-animals-tiger-pangolin/)

[3] See my “Spotlight on Creation--Mammals” for a description of the three species of true vampire bats and how their behavior is nothing like the slanderous myths about them. (http://www.ask-the-animals.com/)

[4] See: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masked_palm_civet#Connection_with_SARS)

[5] See: (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627160935.htm)

[6] See: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu)

[7] See: (https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ebola_ecology_800px.pdf)

[8] See: (https://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/zoonoses/en/)

[9] Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 92, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1890

[10] Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 292, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1938

[11] See: (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/08/world-faces-antibiotic-apocalypse-says-chief-medical-officer)

[12] For an overview of all the issues involving the inefficiency of meat eating, see: George Monbiot, “Mass starvation is humanity’s fate if we keep flogging the land to death” (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/11/mass-starvation-humanity-flogging-land-death-earth-food)

[13] See: Bibi van der Zee, “Why factory farming is not just cruel – but also a threat to all life on the planet” (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/04/factory-farming-destructive-wasteful-cruel-says-philip-lymbery-farmageddon-author)

[14] See my presentation: Matthew Priebe, “Without This Animal You Will Die!” (http://www.ask-the-animals.com/)

[15] See: (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825780/)

[16] This concept is opposed viciously by all those who profit from killing animals, but the truth is available for those who look. For examples, see: “Hunting has increased deer population, not reduced it” (https://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Hunting-has-increased-deer-population-not-643259.php) & “The Buck Stops Here: Do We Really Need to Cull Deer Herds?” (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-we-really-need-to-cull-deer-herds/)

[17] See: Clara Turnage,“Sssinuous friends: Snakes help humans by devouring disease-carrying rodents” (https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2016/sep/05/sssinuous-friends-20160905/)

[18] See: Marija Georgievska, (https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/02/06/in-the-middle-ages-devil-fearing-christians-killed-cats-which-carried-the-unintended-consequence-of-increasing-the-rat-population-and-the-spread-of-the-black-death/)

[19] See: Ron Baker, The American Hunting Myth, Vantage Press, New York, 1985. Current human mortality numbers caused by hunters are about the same as they were decades ago (despite sharply dropping numbers of active sport hunters), and hunting groups are forced to downplay these human deaths as unimportant, see: (https://www.thoughtco.com/hunting-accident-rates-127877)

[20] See: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangolin_trade)

[21] For an overview of all the above issues, see: John R. Platt, “Where Pandemics Come From — and How to Stop Them” (https://therevelator.org/biodiversity-health-pandemics/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=no125&emci=ec47d061-c16e-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&emdi=2c2edd69-626f-ea11-a94c-00155d03b1e8&ceid=426353)

[22] See: Joseph Guzman (https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/491025-fauci-mind-boggling-that-chinas-wet-markets)

[23] See: (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8163761/Chinese-markets-selling-bats.html)

[24] See: Rachel Fobar (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/03/chinese-government-promotes-bear-bile-as-coronavirus-covid19-treatment/)

[25] Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, page 87, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, CA, 1898

[26] Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, page 74, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, CA, 1898

[27] Ellen G. White, This Day with God, page 279, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1979 [taken from: Manuscript 21, September 27, 1889]

[28] See my book: Matthew Priebe, Animals, Ethics & Christianity, pp. 4-7, Ask the Animals Productions, Galt, CA, 2018 (http://www.ask-the-animals.com/)

[29] For some of the most powerful condemnations of the way we raise and treat animals for food and a call for vegetarianism a century ahead of her time, see: Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, pages 380-386, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1938

 

All internet sites last accessed 04/2020.

arrow-circle-o-downtimes-circleellipsis-v