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Factory farms increases disease outbreaks in humans and wildlife, gives boost to crop pests

Factory farming

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(NaturalNews) A new study out of the University of South Florida (USF) confirms what many environmentalists and anti-GMO activists have been saying all along: Reducing biological diversity places humans and wildlife more at risk for infectious disease outbreaks.

While it's true people are living longer than ever before, we're also plagued with much more illness and disease, which according to a new study, could be caused at least in part by a variety of unnatural processes including factory farming, commercial agriculture and environmental destruction such as deforestation.

The study posits: "Our results indicate that biodiversity generally decreases parasitism and herbivory. Consequently, anthropogenic declines in biodiversity could increase human and wildlife diseases and decrease crop and forest production."

Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers make a solid case for the "dilution effect hypothesis," the concept that more biodiversity limits outbreaks of disease among both humans and wildlife.

"The dilution effect hypothesis is important because it warns that human-mediated biodiversity losses can exacerbate disease outbreaks, yet it has been contentiously debated," said Dr. David Civitello, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at USF.

Click here for more articles on factory farming at GoodGopher.com

Maintaining Earth's natural biodiversity may reduce the abundance of parasites in humans and wildlife

Prior to this latest study, there's been little understanding about the relationship between biodiversity and disease risk. However, after reviewing 200 assessments relating biodiversity to disease, researchers discovered that the dilution effect applies broadly to many parasitic species and not just a select few as other scientists previously thought.

"Our study found broad evidence that species-rich communities suffer less infectious disease, and the magnitude of this effect was independent of host density, study design, type and specialization of parasites, and whether the parasite infected humans or wildlife, indicating that dilution was robust across all ecological contexts examined," Civitello said.

"This suggests that maintaining biodiversity in nature could reduce the abundance of many parasites of humans and wildlife," he explained. "Conversely, human-induced declines in biodiversity could contribute to increases in both human and wildlife diseases."

Find the breaking stories on superbugs and other diseases at superbugs.news

Scientists encourage "better management of natural systems" including forests and farmland

"We also found that plant biodiversity reduced the abundance of herbivore pests," said the study's senior co-author Dr. Jason Rohr, an associate professor in the USF Department of Integrative Biology.

"So, biodiversity can inhibit two types of harmful natural enemies, parasites and herbivore pests, and this might increase the stability and production of natural ecosystems."

When scientists say we need to manage our natural ecosystems better, they're referring to disease causing processes such as factory farming, which is not only cruel and inhumane treatment for the animals, but unsanitary and unhealthy for everyone involved.

Confining thousands of pigs, cows, turkeys and chickens into a tightly packed facility creates a breeding ground for disease, which is then transmitted to other animals, the food supply and eventually people. Those disease can also contaminate the soil, air and water.

Factory farming is hugely responsible for the rise of dozens of new diseases such as the MRSA bacterium, a pathogen that originated in North American pig farms and has claimed more lives than HIV/AIDS, reports by One Green Planet.

Mad Cow Disease, Salmonella and E. Coli are a few more examples of infectious diseases that originated and/or were spread through factory farming.

Three of the top ten causes of death are from infectious disease

Understanding how and why infectious diseases are spreading across the globe is incredibly important as such diseases are the leading cause of death among children and adolescents worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

While most of these deaths occur among low- and middle-income countries and include diseases such as diarrhea, lower-respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, developed nations such as the US are also experiencing widespread infectious disease outbreaks among people and animals.

One of the latest examples of infectious disease among factory farm animals is the H5N2 virus, which has claimed the lives of 48 million birds in 15 states.










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