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How plant-based diets could help prevent the next COVID-19

Eating less animal proteins may help reduce the risk of future zoonotic viruses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

How plant-based diets could help prevent the next COVID-19

Eating less animal proteins may help reduce the risk of future zoonotic viruses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

How plant-based diets could help prevent the next COVID-19

Eating less animal proteins may help reduce the risk of future zoonotic viruses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

How plant-based diets could help prevent the next COVID-19

Eating less animal proteins may help reduce the risk of future zoonotic viruses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Many Canadians are already aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet. Doing a better job at supporting those already trying to make a dietary change could be an effective approach for government policy.

Eating less animal proteins may help reduce the risk of future zoonotic viruses. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Kurtis Boyer, University of Saskatchewan

Viruses like COVID-19, SARS, bovine spongiform, swine flu and avian flu all have something in common: They all come from animals, described by scientists as zoonotic diseases.

Yet, these diseases do not really “come from animals.” After all, it is not like animals conspire against humans, throwing COVID-19 over the backyard fence. When we say this pandemic “comes from animals,” it means that these diseases come from the way society raises, harvests and eats animals.

A well-rounded policy strategy for avoiding the next pandemic should include reducing the demand for animal products. Fortunately, an effective approach need not imply government telling people what they should or should not eat.

Many Canadians are already aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet. Doing a better job at supporting those already trying to make a dietary change could be an effective approach for government policy.

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