Amidst the panic of coronavirus, the origins of which can be traced to a species of bat commonly eaten in China, a new study from the Make America Meat Again think tank in Raleigh, North Carolina, shows that most Americans prefer the prospect of indefinite self-isolation to getting the animals out of agriculture – the most effective means of preventing future pandemics like COVID-19.
"It's mainly the bacon," said MAMA President Dick Schafer. "It's important to people."
One such American is 43-year-old Decker Hollis of Nashville, Tennessee, who absorbed in stride the information that the best way of stopping the emergence of pandemic viruses in the first place is to eliminate the mass farming of non-human animals, which has been the source of all historic viruses, including bird flu and swine flu, as well as non-viruses like mad cow disease.
“I’d go along with stopping eating bats,” said Hollis. “But pigs and chickens? And cows? That would mean changing everything about our society and how we live. I’m just not comfortable with that.”
One of Hollis's primary concerns is the toll that shifting to a vegan diet would take on society and, particularly, local businesses. Referring to a popular Nashville barbecue joint, he said, “Hey, if I have to have my hot chicken from Hattie B’s delivered and eat in front of the T.V. for the rest of my life, I’ll do it. But I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they stay in business.”
And, while acknowledging that the continued factory farming of non-human animals presents a veritable guarantee of future pandemics far worse than COVID-19, Hollis says that's a risk he's willing to take for the sake of preserving local food culture. "Sure, staying at home all the time and being out of work are a drag," he said. "But we have to make sacrifices for the things that are important to us. We’re all in this together.”