Bill Maher compares American factory farms to Chinese wet markets

Bill Maher (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Bill Maher (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) /

Bill Maher called out factory farms in the U.S. as contributing to the destruction of the environment and public health.

You can count Bill Maher among the tiny number of people who have not watched Tiger King on Netflix. And the Real Time host never will as he explained during his “New Rule” segment arguing that crimes against animals and nature have severe consequences.

Two weeks ago, Maher found himself in yet another controversy for his comments. This time, it was his position that China should be held responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. He called for the permanent closing of the country’s wet markets as one step in preventing future outbreaks.

On Friday night, Maher looked at the situation closer to home. While not retracting his commentary on China, the late night host also called out the U.S. for what he sees as crimes against nature.

Maher’s “New Rule” segment specifically focused on factory farming practices. Watch below as Maher contends that Americans eager to criticize China’s wet markets should pay attention to what is happening in their own backyard:

Maher’s history as an environmentalist and an animal rights activist is well-documented. He was a board member at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and has discussed pollution and climate change at length.

The novel coronavirus pandemic gives Maher another opportunity to make his argument and point to the “ecological timebomb” that keeps ticking. It may have been easier for some to dismiss concerns over the environment before, but it is harder now when life has been interrupted and quarantine is a tangible consequence.

Maher cites several examples of diseases and viruses originating in food sources. On the specific issue of COVID-19, he observes that the solution has been for humans to socially distance. Yet at the same time, the animals we eat are kept in cramped cages in stressful disasters. According to Maher, nobody should be surprised when the results are more diseases.

Ever the skillful debater, Maher offers another angle to appeal to his viewers. He doesn’t demand that anyone should care about animal rights or cruelty to animals. Instead, he insists that the effects on human health should be enough for people to demand change.

Whether or not you agree with Maher, he makes a compelling point that is worth hearing. This segment of “New Rule” was one of his best in recent memory for its timeliness and how well Maher articulates his argument. It is another example of why he’s the most unique voice in all of late night, if not media.

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What did you think of Bill Maher’s “New Rule?” Let us know in the comment section below. Keep checking Last Night On for more from Real Time and the rest of late night television. For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.