When China Sneezes, the World Catches a Virus!

Time to Cast Out a Ravenous Appetite for Wild Animals and Embrace a Vegan Diet!

When China sneezes, the world catches a cold. This used to be said of the U.S., particularly with relevance to the economy.

In a changing world where new dimensions are taking shape, it is China that is at the centre of everything – from the global economy to public health, not always in a positive pitch.

Now, with the coronavirus (COV) taking ominous directions, bringing back the horror of SARS (when China kept the flareup under wraps for a while in line with its tradition of secrecy and self-interest), it is not just a harmless cold that the world is infected with, but deadly viruses.

China’s ravenous appetite for all kinds of wild animals is believed to be at the root of life-threatening viruses being spread across the country and to the world. The transmission from Wuhan to the world has already consumed 25 lives and left thousands quarantined – perhaps millions, considering the travel restrictions and the flow of information from China that can often be questionable.

The countries that have reported confirmed instances of coronavirus (outside of China) include Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Middle East (with Indians among those affected), Nepal, Taiwan, South Korea and even the U.S. This list is certain to expand as, notwithstanding the inherent risks, travel in and out of China has for long caught the fancy of the world, for business and pleasure.

The WHO, however, has declined to categorise this as a global epidemic as it is waiting for evidence on whether it can spread from human to human. As of now, it is believed that the COV is an outbreak that jumps from animals to humans – known as “zoonotic” diseases.

While Singapore has been quick to act with thermal screening at Changi, earlier this week I saw warning messages about the Wuhan virus at airports in the U.S. – San Francisco and Orlando.

No Animal is Spared, Not Even the Endangered Ones!

Snakes, monkeys, dogs, cats, bats, wolf pups, seahorses, turtles, porpoises and even endangered pangolins are among animals that fall prey to demands in China – most of them bred and slaughtered under inhuman conditions for human consumption ostensibly to boost vitality and detoxification.

All noxious eating habits that cause extinction and spread disease to the world make me squirm. How I wish a vegan diet is embraced by the world!

Today’s edition of The Straits Times offers some insights into how China’s Wild Animal Markets are a Breeding Ground for Disease.”

CNY 2020 collage

East or West, Vegetarianism is best!

I cannot resist saying that “East or West, Vegetarianism is best!”

Yet, the message from Rudyard Kipling’s “Ballad of East and West” springs to my mind.

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” I hope it does, at least in this aspect of life, in the interest of the world, if not of animals.

Each of the 12 months in a Chinese calendar is dedicated to an animal. It cannot be out of any love for them. No animal is kept out of the dining menu of carnivores in the country, not excluding sickening forms of eating such as live monkey brain.

It is sad that this COV outbreak has come amid preparations for the Lunar New Year of the Rat that will be ushered in tomorrow.

May the virus be contained without leading to an epidemic with disastrous consequence.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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