For Immediate Release:
31 August 2020
Protesters Urge Queenslanders to Reduce the Risk of Animal-Borne Diseases by Ditching Meat
Brisbane – As the city faces a new outbreak of COVID-19, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) supporters gathered today outside the Queensland Health offices in Brisbane dressed in biohazard suits and carrying signs proclaiming, “Prevent Pandemics: Go Vegan,” “Stop Killer Diseases: Go Vegan,” and “Meat Trade Kills: Go Vegan.”
Photos of the demonstration are available here.
Deadly outbreaks of swine flu, avian flu, SARS, HIV, foot-and-mouth disease, mad cow disease, and other zoonotic diseases have stemmed from capturing or farming animals for food. Australia’s factory farms are a perfect breeding ground for diseases. Intelligent, sensitive animals are caged or warehoused there together before being sent to abattoirs, where they’re killed on floors soaked with blood, urine, and other bodily fluids.
In a study published in 2018, Belgian spatial epidemiologist Marius Gilbert found that Australia had generated more instances of historical “conversion events” – in which a not very pathogenic avian flu strain suddenly becomes dangerous to humans – than China, where COVID-19 originated.
“Zoonotic diseases are not limited to wet markets,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “Wherever stressed, injured, and sick animals are crammed together in filthy conditions like they are on factory farms – which is where a majority of Australian meat comes from – at abattoirs, and on live-export ships, deadly pathogens can emerge and viruses can spread. The only way to prevent future pandemics is to avoid meat like the plague.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recent infectious diseases affecting humans began in animals.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.