For Immediate Release:
13 June 2020
Protesters Urge Australians to Prevent the Spread of Animal-Borne Diseases by Ditching Meat
Sydney – Members of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) descended on Sydney’s famous Pitt St Mall wearing protective hazmat suits today, urging passers-by to ditch meat to help avoid future pandemics. Holding signs reading, “Meat Kills” and “Prevent Pandemics: Go Vegan,” while TV screens behind them showed footage of local factory farms and abattoirs, the group of activists engaged members of the public to inform them about the link between the intensive farming of animals and the spread of zoonotic diseases.
Photos of the demonstration are also 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 perfect breeding grounds for diseases. Intelligent, sensitive animals are tightly 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 paper 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, 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 view of the world.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.