HBO talk show host Bill Maher described factory farming as crimes against nature, contributing to the destruction of the environment and public health.
American comic made the comments during his Real Time show over the weekend.
Two weeks ago, Maher publicly called for the permanent closing of the Chinese wet markets to avoid future pandemics. Coronavirus is believed to have originated at a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan where animals are kept and slaughtered for meat.
This time he focused on animal factory farming practices and compared them to Chinese wet markets.
He started his talk reassuring he was among those very few who have not watched Tiger King on Netflix 'because torturing animals is what got us into this mess.'
"That's the lesson that we keep refusing to learn," he said.
"That you can't trash the environment—including animals—and not have it come back and kill you."
He continued: "Two weeks ago I called out China for reopening its wet markets and miraculously, people from both sides of the aisle reached out to say 'good for you for saying that'.
"Well here's another hot take that may not be as popular,' he said.
"America's factory farming is just as despicable as a wet market and just as problematic for our health."
"Factory farms have a lot more lobbyists, but ecological timebombs tick the same. Americans should not get too high and mighty about wet markets while we are doing this."
"To thwart the coronavirus, we've been told to create distance, avoid others who are sick, lower stress, and exercise. Are you surprised that diseases flourish among animals when they are forced to live in conditions that are the complete opposite of all of that?
"They are on top of each other, they can't move, they're stressed out, I've seen airports treat luggage better than we treat animals. Egg laying hens are starved, and given no water for weeks, to shock their bodies into molting, beaks of chickens are removed. I could go on...
"If you think the market in Wuhan is gross, you should visit one of our giant poultry processing factories. But of course you can't, because we have AG-GAG laws that make it a crime to report the crime. And it is a crime of animal abuse that goes on in our food industry," he said.
Bill Maher is a renowned environmentalist and an animal rights activist. He was a board member at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and often discussed environmental problems with the guests of his show.