The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies and killing 29 children and thousands of seniors. Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals raised for food.
Indeed, 61 percent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent, contagious and deadly viruses among these include Asian, dengue fever, Ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile and yellow fever. The pandemic “Spanish” flu of 1918 killed 20-50 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts more pandemics in the future.
Today’s factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host’s immune system, then propagate by contact. Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune system against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These foods don’t carry flu viruses or government warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.
Re: The News-Sentinel’s Jan. 7 editorial on wind power, equipped with the Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind power has actually saved consumers money and driven billions of dollars in new investment to our national economy.
As a result, Americans have recognized wind’s benefits and a majority now support its growth.
Wind power’s cost has declined 90 percent since the 1980s. This is a result of new technology and a strong, emerging U.S.-based manufacturing sector. And as the cost of wind power drops, the savings are passed on to consumers.
When the Midwest grid operator recently obtained more than 25 percent of its electricity from wind, it noted, “Wind represents one of the fuel choices that helps us manage congestion on the system and ultimately helps keep prices low for our customers and the end-use consumer.”
According to a May 2012 Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., report, adding more wind power in the Midwest would reduce overall energy costs for consumers, saving the average ratepayer $63 to $147 per year (assuming a 20-GW scenario in 2020) with net savings ranging from $3 billion to $6.9 billion.
Wind power more than pays for the tax relief the PTC provides, through taxes paid by new projects over their operating lifetimes, and has attracted annual private investment of over $15 billion over the past five years.
As a result of these benefits, it’s no wonder that a significant majority (66 percent) of American consumers view wind energy as “very favorable” or “favorable,” according to a new white paper from Navigant’s Pike Research.
It’s clear why Americans support wind power and why Congress decided extending the PTC was the right choice.