For Immediate Release:
11 March 2020
Each Square of the Precious Paper Carries a Message to Help Users ‘Wipe Out’ Future Pandemics
Sydney – As Australians continue to panic-buy loo rolls amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak, PETA came to the rescue with a few squares to spare. PETA members were at Central Station in Sydney this morning handing out free toilet paper, each sheet printed with the message: “Wipe Out Animal-Borne Illness: Go Vegan.”
Public health experts believe the virus originated at a live-animal market, and according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75% of emerging diseases originate in animals. In this way, COVID-19 is similar to other infamous coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). All three spread from animals to humans. Likewise, swine flu originated in pigs and bird flu in poultry.
Human demand for meat means that huge numbers of animals, such as chickens and pigs, are crammed together on crowded, faeces-ridden farms, transported in filthy lorries, and slaughtered on killing floors soaked with blood, urine, and other bodily fluids. Pathogens flourish in such conditions, making factory farms a breeding ground for new strains of dangerous bacteria and viruses, which is why today, more than half of the antibiotics used in Australia are fed to farmed animals. According to the British National Health Service, agricultural antibiotic use is driving up levels of antibiotic resistance, leading to new “superbugs”, and Hans-Gerhard Wagner of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has called the “intensive industrial farming of livestock” an “opportunity for emerging disease”.
“We must get to the bottom of the issue and consider the link between these kinds of viruses and humanity’s flesh fetish,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “With every flush, this paper will remind users that the only real way to prevent future panic is by avoiding meat like the plague.”
The best thing that any of us can do to help prevent animals raised for food from developing diseases borne from the horrific conditions in which they live is switch to a vegan lifestyle. Every person who goes vegan also spares nearly 200 animals every year daily suffering and a terrifying death. In today’s meat, egg, dairy, and fishing industries, piglets are castrated without painkillers, chickens’ throats are cut while they’re still conscious, cows are forcibly separated from their beloved calves, and fish are cut open while they’re still alive.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.