For Immediate Release:

18 May 2020

Animal Rights Group Suggests Ethical Evolution After Almost 100 People Connected to Melbourne Abattoir Test Positive

Melbourne – After almost 100 people connected to a West Melbourne abattoir operated by Cedar Meats tested positive for COVID-19, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to the company to suggest that it stop killing animals and produce vegan meats instead.

In a letter, PETA points out that potentially lethal viruses were crossing the species barrier to humans from other animals long before the novel coronavirus originated in a “wet market”. H1N1 (swine flu), which originated in pigs and killed as many as 575,400 people in the year after it began spreading in humans, was traced back to a US factory farm. H5N1 (bird flu), which can be contracted by humans who come into close contact with infected live or dead birds, has a mortality rate of up to 60% and is considered a concern by the World Health Organization because of its potential to mutate and become highly infectious via human-to-human contact.

The group notes that although it’s likely that animals will always carry zoonotic diseases and that the Cedar Meats COVID-19 cluster wasn’t caused by the slaughter of infected animals, cramming animals together in abattoirs and on farms heightens the risk of the emergence of deadly pathogens.

“The risk of zoonotic diseases isn’t limited to wet markets,” writes PETA Senior Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “Wherever animals are bred, intensively confined, and slaughtered, humans run the risk of creating another pandemic.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human supremacist worldview – notes that choosing vegan foods helps avoid the spread of zoonotic diseases, prevents animal suffering, and is better for the environment.

PETA’s letter to Cedar Meats can be found here. For more information, please visit