Sydney – Following a string of “doughnut days” (days with zero locally acquired cases of COVID-19) in New South Wales, animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) visited aged-care facility Canterbury Place Care Community to share some delicious, well-deserved vegan doughnuts with frontline workers and residents.
“Fortunately, Australia is seeing the rollout of a vaccine for COVID-19 – but staying ahead of viruses means wholly rethinking our relationship with animals,” says PETA Campaigns Advisor Mimi Bekhechi. “When it comes to pandemics, prevention is key, and eating vegan food and avoiding animal-derived products are the best ways to prevent the next pandemic. Luckily, vegan doughnuts taste delicious!”
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 originated in animals. In this way, the virus that causes 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 trucks; 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.
Just last month, Russia reported the first case of a bird flu strain, H5N8, being passed from poultry to humans, fuelling the fears held by some experts that animal agriculture will be ground zero for the next zoonotic virus outbreak. Dr Michael Greger, author of How to Survive a Pandemic, stated that “as long as there is poultry, there will be pandemics”.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and notes that each person who goes vegan spares nearly 200 animals every year daily suffering and a terrifying death.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.