Doctors in India are urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to recommend a vegan diet amid the coronavirus pandemic.
To date, more than 11.5 million people have contracted COVID-19 around the world. More than 6.2 million have recovered from the virus; more than 535,000 people have died.
Some experts believe the coronavirus originated at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, transferring to humans from wild animals.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister, the doctors pointed to the fact that zoonotic diseases aren’t endemic to wet markets. The letter was backed by animal welfare groups People for Animals (PFA), Mercy for Animals, and Ahimsa Trust.
“While COVID-19 has been traced to a meat market in Wuhan, the conditions in such places are similar to any meat production facility and market in India,” Guari Maulekhi, an activist from PFA, told Times of India.
In light of this, the letter also called on the Food Safety and Standards Authority to promote plant-based foods in its Eat Right Campaign—the country’s initiative to encourage healthy eating.
Plant-Based for the Health of People and the Planet
The letter cited other health problems, as well as environmental impacts, that arise from consuming meat.
It revealed that a growing body of research from organizations like the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Economic Forum indicates that the consumption of meat is harmful to the health of the public and the environment.
A 2019 report on climate change described plant-based diets as a major way to mitigate global warming. Compiled by more than 100 scientists, it published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report also included policy recommendations on how people could reduce their meat intake.
“There is ample evidence from research to prove the role of different forms of meat in causation of several chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, coronary heart failure, stroke, etc.,” said Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi of Tate Memorial Hospital.
The letter explained that several countries, including China, Canada, and Germany, have already advocated for the consumption of plant-based in their national health guidelines.