In a worrying development amid the current global coronavirus pandemic, authorities have confirmed a case of avian influenza, or bird flu, in a farm in Saxony, Germany.

According to the Saxon State Ministry of Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, the outbreak of avian influenza virus H5N8 occurred on a small poultry farm in Bad Lausick. Sadly, thousands of chickens were killed as a result, and a restricted radius was set up around the farm.

This is the most recent in a number of increasingly alarming bird flu cases throughout Europe, with Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia having all experienced outbreaks in the past few months.

While the virus tends to only affect chickens, turkeys, ducks and other birds, there have been cases of these animals transmitting the bird flu to humans. When this happens, the diseases are called zoonotic and have the potential to kill people.

Like the coronavirus, another zoonotic disease, avian influenza is a greater risk to humans due to the cramped conditions, neglect, overuse of antibiotics on livestock and general poor animal welfare seen in the meat and dairy industries.

Other diseases linked to the meat and dairy industries include swine flu, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), salmonella and more.

If the world doesn’t soon recognize the threat that the brutal animal agriculture industry poses to human health, the chances of these pandemics continuing to occur skyrockets and millions of people could die.

By adopting a plant-based diet, we can save the lives of billions of animals, help our own health and protect the environment.