A GROUP of Skipton vegans are putting their backing behind a Viva campaign which highlights the risks from coronavirus to those with underlying health conditions.

Viva, a prominent vegan campaigning charity, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the government to support and encourage plant-based food initiatives to ‘transition our food system and eradicate our reliance on unsustainable animal agriculture’.

The campaign states a healthy vegan diet can help you lose weight, reverse type 2 diabetes, and protect heart health, reducing a person’s risk of severe Covid 19.

Members claim Covid-19 is just one of many zoonotic diseases including SARS, MERS, Ebola and HIV – all of which came from animals – and new viruses are appearing with increasing frequency. They say it is a ‘stark warning of what’s to come if we don’t act now.’

In a letter supported by Skipton vegans, Viva states: “Across the globe animals are kept in horrific conditions in factory farms and wildlife markets. These settings provide a fertile environment for the transmission of viruses between different species and are the leading contributor to global heating.”

The group adds claims that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60 per cent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the products provide just 18 per cent of calories and 37 per cent of protein levels around the world (Poore, 2018).”

A spokesman for Skipton vegans said the group shared the view that ending the factory farming of animals is the ‘only way to prevent future pandemics’.

They said avian and swine flu are particularly worrying due to the often thousands of chickens and pigs kept in one shed, with over 800 mega farms in the UK. There had also been avian flu outbreaks in the south of the country and in Cheshire.

Bird flu hit the headlines in 1997 when it was found that a strain of flu virus was spreading from poultry to humans in Hong Kong.

For more information visit Viva.org.uk