A mistake many people make is to think caring about nonhuman animals means not caring about human beings. The reality is that nearly all human misery is rooted in animal abuse. Not cruelty to animals for the purpose of causing pain and suffering, but the vast scope of animal abuse starting hundreds of thousands of years ago when humans started killing off their natural predators and killing nonhuman animals for food, clothing, weapons, tools, and other purposes. Predictably, then, only by estabishing the equal rights all animals need to lead a fulfilling life can we begin to eradicate human misery.
As outlined in Responsible Policies for Animals founder David Cantor’s essay “Beyond Humanism, Toward a New Animalism” in the book Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice (see www.veganpublishers.com), the original hunting cabals established the weaponed class that over thousands of years became the massive warring, war-mongering, war-profiteering, dissent-suppressing, demagogic plutocracy that dominates civilization today.
Along the way, animal abuse became ever more the norm, though abnormal, unnatural, and inconsistent with innate human morality and its live-and-let-live attitude toward other beings, known to scientists as biophilia. With every new phase of human technology – agriculture, animal husbandry, manufacturing, mining, construction, shipping, gunpowder and other explosives, construction, the Industrial Revolution, the pet industry, car and oil culture, nuclear weapons, animal experimentation, and more – new abuses killed, injured, and poisoned nonhuman animals, destroyed their homes, and disrupted the ecosystems generated by their ancestors over hundreds of millions of years.
Little did our prehistoric ancestors guess that they were acquiring infectious diseases from the animals they enslaved, bred, oppressed, slaughtered, and exploited for labor – diseases that became scourges over thousands of years, defining human experience and history. Little did they know the many other ways their descendants would suffer from practices and policies that seemed beneficial but had far-reaching destructive consequences. As the misery mounted, it is no wonder authorities increasingly assured people that what they were experiencing was divinely ordained and that the afterlife would be better if they remained compliant and obedient.
The diagram below illustrates how hundreds of thousands of years of animal abuse, called “human progress” in the humanist indoctrination imposed on all human beings in civilization, generates the misery that defines the present time and the foreseeable future. Responsible Policies for Animals’ brochure Animal Abuse: It’s Why We Suffer explains further. It is available free of charge from RPA.
Also see the article by a physician showing that human beings are natural herbivores though our institutions routinely teach otherwise. And we recommend these books about human diseases from other animals, “human progress” as animal abuse and ecodisruption, and human diseases from eating meat, dairy, fish, and eggs: Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution, Expanded Edition, by Donna Hart and Robert W. Sussman, Man and Microbes: Disease and Plagues in History and Modern Times by Arno Karlen, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen, A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations by Clive Ponting, The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted by T. Colin Campbell, and The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention by Kerrie Saunders.
Animal Abuse: It’s Why We Have Infectious Diseases
Links between animal abuse in the form of humans’ unnatural consumption of meat, dairy, fish, and eggs and non-communicable scourges such as heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis are well established. Here, Responsible Policies for Animals reveals links between animal abuse – enslavement of nonhuman animals, tree-killing, emigration from humans’ original habitat on the African savanna, human overpopulation, construction of permanent shelters and population centers, and more – and infectious diseases, many of them rampaging through our species today. One more basic reason why only working to establish the equal autonomy, ecology, and dignity rights all animals need to lead a fulfilling life can begin to eradicate human misery.
Implications for policy and practice are enormous! Human beings are by nature plant-foraging apes native to the African savanna. Other animals are not mere human merchandise or products; they are biological persons in their own right. When human beings started mistreating them many thousands of years ago, eventually making them into human property, they had no idea they were inflicting agonizing and lethal diseases on each other and on their descendants including those of us living today. Now that we know about viruses, bacteria, fungi, and how they spread from nonhuman animals to humans and among human populations, it is obvious that policy and practice permitting, encouraging, and rewarding direct contact between humans and other animals are disastrous.
The concepts people must learn in order to move toward sound policy and practice are those that point to equal autonomy, ecology, and dignity rights of all animals as the means to justice, defense, the general welfare, and the other values asserted in the U.S. Constitution. Explore this website for more on these crucial concepts, and support Responsible Policies for Animals in its 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign to get our colleges of agriculture to stop teaching the false beliefs that make humans so sick, cause so much nonhuman-animal suffering, and inflict ever more damage on the entire living world.
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome):
The best-documented and most likely theory holds that human beings acquired the virus which causes AIDS, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) from unnatural contact with chimpanzees — namely butchering them for meat, enslaving them as pets, or attracting them to settlements or crops, most likely starting in the late 19th or early 20th century. AIDS undermines the human immune system, rapid weight loss, recurring fever, skin lesions, night sweats, extreme fatigue, etc. Almost all cases result in premature death. AIDS spreads from human to human through the exchange of bodily fluids, usually through sexual relations, repeated use of hypodermic needles, or contaminated blood transfusions.
Humans can catch anthrax via ingestion, inhalation, or cutaneous contact. This occurs from unnatural contact with nonhuman animals such as eating infected animals, handling them, or touching their skin or wool. Infection is much more common among those who work in certain professions (i.e., those handling animal skins for the manufacture of shoes, coats, hand-bags, furniture, etc., chopping animal horns to make buttons, constructing brush bristles from animal hair, etc). Depending on the mode of infection, symptoms may include coughing, pneumonia, severe gastrointestinal difficulty, severe diarrhea, acute inflammation of the intestines, the vomiting of blood, and skin lesions. If a substantial amount of spores are inhaled, ingested, or absorbed, fatality is likely.
Humans’ reckless land use— mainly deforestation and suburban sprawl —is to blame for the threat of this disease, which is spread by tick bites. Symptoms resemble the flu: fever, chills, sweats, headache, body ache, loss of appetite, nausea, and fatigue. Babesiosis can cause hemolytic anemia, from the destruction of red blood cells.
Human beings contract bubonic plague through unnatural contact – eating, petting, capturing, being bitten – with free-living rodents such as ground squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, rats, mice, and prairie dogs and through contact with pets who have had contact with infected animals. The plague causes infection of the lymph glands, gangrene of extremities, chills, high fever, muscle cramps, seizures, labored breathing, vomiting of blood, cough, and severe pain. Though many people believe the Black Death which devastated the human population of Europe and Asia in the 14th century was simply caused by fleas from rats, the larger reality included fleas moving to rats on ships from furs being traded along the coasts. Thus, at least three unnatural human inventions were involved: clothing, shipping, and trade.
This bacterium spills over to humans from enslaving cattle for meat and dairy. It causes severe bouts of diarrhea, which often contain blood. Symptoms also include fever, nausea, abdominal pain, headache, and muscle pain.
Cholera (Vibrio cholerae):
Human overpopulation, technological “advancement,” and enslavement and consumption of nonhuman animals create toxic environments in which water contamination is inevitable. All those who use the tainted water are susceptible to its contents. When humans ingest V. cholerae, it multiplies in the intestines and releases a potent toxin that causes violent vomiting and diarrhea, which in turn causes severe dehydration. Victims excrete bacilli that can easily make their way back into the water supply. Left untreated, cholera can kill within days or even hours of infection. Many devastating cholera epidemics have occurred, including one in Haiti introduced by international aid workers intending to assist the Haitian people following a powerful earthquake. Such “natural disasters” harm humans mostly because of the unnatural practice of constructing buildings.
The Common Cold:
Humans originally caught this airborne illness from enslaving horses for work, transportation, and companionship. Although rarely life-threatening, the common cold is easily contracted (most humans catch it about 2-4 times per year) and causes persistent discomfort. Cough, congestion, sore throat, and sneezing are typical symptoms.
This protozoan reaches humans through enslavement/abuse of cattle and causes diarrhea epidemics. Humans become infected in large numbers when rainwater washes cryptosporidia from dairy-herd wastes into the water supply. Symptoms include stomach cramps, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss.
Humans continually create milieus in which mosquitoes can thrive. Puddles, cisterns, used car tires, and water vessels are a few examples. Transmitted by mosquitoes, dengue is the leading cause of illness and death among humans in the tropics and subtropics, infecting about 400 million people each year. Symptoms include severe headache, eye pain, joint pain, muscle and/or bone pain, rash, nose or gum bleed, petechiae, easy bruising, and low white cell count.
Humans’ unnatural contact with fruit bats, monkeys, and other animals in western Africa, through hunting and trapping – usually for purposes of eating what is known as “bushmeat” — spread this terrifying, contagious infectious disease to humans. Bushmeat constitutes some people’s sustenance and others’ luxury due to civilization’s perverse concept of human food, gross inequality, and serial overpopulation. The Ebola strain in the current outbreak, 2014-2015, is the most lethal of the five known strains of the virus. It is called Ebola Zaire and usually kills up to 9 out of 10 infected people. At first, the symptoms are like a bad case of the flu: high fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, and weakness. They are followed quickly by vomiting, diarrhea, and internal and external bleeding, which can spread the virus. The kidneys and liver begin to fail.
Having emigrated away from their original habitat on the African savanna, humans are highly vulnerable to tiny animals, despite centuries of effort to eradicate them. Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas transmit encephalitis from birds and mammals to humans. The onset of symptoms is sudden and severe and may include fever, drowsiness, lethargy, and coma. Encephalitis often kills children, and those not killed may be left blind, deaf, or mentally retarded.
This parasite routinely infects fish and other water animals. When humans consume these hosts due to poverty, lack of healthful plant foods, or a misconception that animals can be sound food for humans, they become infected. Within 3-6 weeks, the adult worm produces fully-mature larvae in the intestine, some of which are passed in the stool. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weakness, and weight loss. Fish Tapeworm infections can lead to vitamin B-12 deficiency and anemia.
Known casually as “the clap,” gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted infection, is thought to have originated in early cities and towns — unnatural dwellings that harm human and nonhuman animals alike. It originally “spilled over” into humans from cattle, due to naturally herbivorous humans’ unnatural enslavement of and direct contact with those animals. Gonorrhea can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat. The usual symptoms in men are a burning sensation with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are asymptomatic half the time or have vaginal discharge and pelvic pain. In both men and women, if gonorrhea is left untreated, it may spread locally, causing inflammation of the epididymis or pelvic inflammatory disease or throughout the body, affecting joints and heart valves.
Human beings catch various strains of influenza from enslaving pigs and birds to use for food and other purposes. Symptoms include high fever, chills, severe aches and pains in the muscle and joints, coughing, and sore throat. Left untreated, the virus can be fatal, especially among infants and elderly. Influenza epidemics have been historic events, more destructive than wars or terrorism, sometimes killing millions of human beings. As long as food policy includes meat, it will not be possible to eradicate influenza.
Indoor climates (buildings) with cooling and hot-water systems—so-called technological “advancements”—created this disease, which is spread through aerosol droplets from air conditioners, cooling towers, condensers, and hot-water systems (whirlpool baths, humidifiers, steam turbines). Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle ache, dry cough, confusion, delirium, and acute pneumonia, and may result in death.
Humans who stray from their natural diet of leaves, fruits, berries, roots, legumes, flowers, and other edible plants commonly contract this bacterial infection when they eat meat and soft cheeses. Symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, fever, muscle ache.
Deer ticks – so named because the deer mouse, or white-footed mouse, is their most common carrier – are common on low vegetation in areas where humans destroy forest for construction of buildings, roads, gardens, and for recreation or other purposes. These tiny arachnids carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in humans (and sometimes their pets). Lyme disease can be extremely painful, causing stiff neck, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fatigue, muscle ache, and may result in permanent nerve damage and/or arthritis.
Under natural conditions, human beings rarely, if ever, fall prey to mosquitoes. But when humans displace or kill off mosquitoes’ usual hosts and destroy forest causing mosquitoes to move lower down toward the ground, humans become an easy source of blood meals for mosquitoes. Malaria is one of several diseases that can be transmitted through mosquito bites. Symptoms include high fever, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Countless millions of human beings have suffered from malaria due to humans’ unnatural ways of living. Even the Atlantic crossing of the African slave trade is rooted partly in malaria, because many Africans were found to be better adapted to the disease than white Europeans, and the Mason-Dixon line approximates the northern limit of malaria prevalence before slaves were forced to drain massive Southern swamplands for agriculture.
Human beings most likely contracted measles originally from enslaving dogs. Today, the measles still kills about one million humans per year. Those infected suffer from acute fever, cough, runny nose, malaise, full-body rash, and conjunctivitis.
Paragonimus (lung fluke):
Humans acquire this parasite when they consume infected crabs and shrimp – unnatural foods for naturally herbivorous humans. Once ingested, the parasite affixes itself to the lungs and transforms into a cyst that later ruptures and is spread to other animals through coughing or defecation. Symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, and hives. In some cases, the infection spreads to the brain, causing headache, vomiting, and seizures.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever:
Like Lyme disease and babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is prevalent due to humans’ reckless and unnatural land use such as destruction of forests and suburban sprawl, which leaves humans vulnerable to the bites of an exploding tick population. Symptoms include chills, fever, confusion, headache, muscle pain, and full-body rash.
Ross River fever:
Most common in Australia and Southeast Asia, this particular virus is transmitted by mosquitoes from kangaroos to humans, causing epidemic arthritis that can last for years. Irrigation and dam-building— unnatural practices— create new niches for microbes and improve conditions for the virus to spread. Symptoms include rash on the trunk and limbs, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Salmonellosis, one of the most common forms of food-poisoning among humans, results from ingesting poultry, beef, milk, eggs, and fecally contaminated water. Symptoms often include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and fever. 1.2 million Americans are infected each year. Animals who consume only foods that their species evolved to eat rarely, if ever, contract food-born illnesses.
Humans ingest Shigella, an infectious disease-causing bacterium, through consumption of sea animals, eggs, or undercooked chicken or beef. Symptoms include diarrhea (bloody), fever, and stomach cramps.
Sexually-transmitted diseases were uncommon until humans took up settled living in towns and cities. With an exponential increase in the number of sexual partners available comes severe and widespread infection. This ancient disease became sexually transmitted when humans moved from the African savanna to much cooler environments and adopted the unnatural practice of clothing themselves. Clothing interfered with syphilis’s original transmission on the skin’s surface, causing it to seek refuge in reliably warmer parts of the body: the mouth, genitals, and anus. Those infected often develop a bumpy red rash, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, hair loss, muscle ache, and fatigue. In some cases difficulty coordinating muscle movement, paralysis, numbness, blindness, and dementia occur.
Human beings get trichinosis from eating pigs, bears, foxes, moose, and walruses who host trichina worms – all unnatural foods for naturally herbivorous humans in the first place. Trichinosis causes nausea, heartburn, dyspepsia, diarrhea, edema, muscle pain, fever, weakness, and splinter hemorrhage in the nails.
Humans can catch tuberculosis from a variety of animals with whom they didn’t evolve to have direct contact, even pet cats. Infection can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or if an infected animal or carcass (often cows) contaminates a wound. “TB” attacks the lungs, kidneys, spine, and brain. Those infected often develop chest pain and a bloody cough. If left untreated, TB can be fatal. For a time, TB was thought to be “under control.” But, probably related to the routine feeding of antibiotics to “livestock” at factory farms for unnaturally rapid growth of the enslaved animals, some strains of TB have acquired resistance to medicines that used to treat the disease effectively.
The mosquitoes in Central and South American who carry the yellow fever virus normally remain in the tree canopy, feeding on the blood of monkeys. Humans’ tree-felling for timber and logging brings them down from the canopy to the forest floor. Workers become infected and return home to cities and towns where this contagious disease can easily become epidemic. Yellow fever causes intense headache, chills, back pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and in some cases liver damage, kidney damage, abdominal pain, bleeding in the mouth, the eyes, and in the gastrointestinal tract causing vomit to contain blood.