Just when it seemed we might actually survive the yellow peril, news arrives warning of the approach of an even more horrific nightmare.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Second time around ... A warning that a second virus is on the way.
Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash
​ ‘Industrial meat production has created the perfect breeding ground for the next deadly disease,’ warns farmer and writer John Lewis-Stempel.

Hoping to smother the chance of another ghastly lockdown, I want to raise a white flag.

I'm a vegetarian and have been for twenty years. Shouldn't we all give up meat? After all, the plague takes no prisoners. If it gets you, it most surely gets you.

That Mr Lewis-Stempel is a farmer and therefore involved doesn’t help us to pooh pooh the warning. Writing in Unheard, he warns that viruses don't just spread among humans. 'The virus crosses species.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
The warning ... John Lewis-Stempel's article in Unherd.
'In all likelihood the virus transited to Homo sapiens from bats via pangolin sold in a Wuhan wet market.

Seventeen million

'As well as spreading among humans, the (covid) virus crosses species.

He reports that only last week 17 million farmed mink, found to be infected with covid caught from the workers, were culled in Denmark.

‘A mutant form of the virus then spilt back from mink to humans. Five other countries have also reported coronavirus outbreaks at mink farms.

'Does it matter? Certainly for the mink, most probably for you and me.'

Ticking time-bombs

Danish scientists are expressing concern about one mink-related strain of the virus which is believed to be less sensitive to protective antibodies, raising concerns about the effectiveness of any Covid vaccine, he reports. 

'But the Danish mink episode is just one more proof that factory farms are ticking time-bombs of zoonotic disease — those which leap from animals to humans. 

'Humans are meant to be wise …  but you do wonder. We elevate ourselves over animals, consider them as Other, when biologically the species barrier between us is thin. Even non-existent.

'Take the common-or-garden pink pig. The pig so physiologically resembles humans that it has been used in medical research for over 30 years as a translational model.

‘If it works in a pig it is likely to work in humans,’ John Lewis-Stempel believes.

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure writing. The blogs (as they call 'em) are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory,

John Lewis-Stempel’s article in Unheard

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook.