Fifty million Chinese locked down! Fifteen countries affected! Three confirmed cases in the U.S.! These dramatic headlines announce one more pandemic caused by our abuse of animals.

Indeed, 61 percent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. These so-called zoonetic diseases, claiming millions of human lives, include Asian flu, Hong Kong flu, West Nile flu, bird flu, swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola, HIV, SARS and yellow fever. The pandemic “Spanish” flu of 1918 may have killed as many as 50 million people worldwide.

Western factory farms and Asian street markets are virtual breeding grounds for infectious diseases. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in close contact with raw flesh, 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 on contact.

Each of us can help end these deadly pandemics 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. The internet offers ample recipes and transition hints.

Santa Rosa

Preserve Live Theater

Some time ago, a roster of prominent performers (DeNiro, Streep, Dench, Hopkins, etc.) commented on the critical importance of live theatrical performances.

Collectively, they agreed that live performances, warts and all, are better than movies. In movies, “action” is tailored, redone, adjusted to be made “perfect” to an audience of persons (lighting, grips, best boys, etc.) who get paid to be there and support movie-making.

In live theatre, line flubs are part of the show, as are lighting errors, missed queues and audience members answering cell phones. Billy Dee Williams contributed a recollection when he portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King. An audience member was slouching, with his feet up on the chair in front of him. By the end of the performance, he was sitting upright watching intently.

Anything other than live theatre is a rehearsed piece played to a small, anonymous audience.

Santa Rosa

Thankful for

Terrific review (“Stories To Tell,” Arts & Ideas, Jan. 22) of a book that’s both fun to read, as Susan is always fun to read, and instructive for older women about how we make lighter the inevitable darkness. Thanks so much.

San Francisco

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