After almost 100 people connected to a West Melbourne abattoir operated by Cedar Meats tested positive for COVID-19, PETA wrote to the company to suggest that it choose a new direction: stop killing animals and switch to producing vegan meats instead.
COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease caused by a novel coronavirus that originated in a meat market. But long before this disease emerged, potentially lethal viruses were already crossing the species barrier to humans from other animals. H1N1 (swine flu), which originated in pigs and killed as many as 575,400 people in the year after it began spreading among 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
View this post on Instagram
The Cedar Meats COVID-19 cluster was not caused by slaughtering infected animals. Nonetheless, abattoir workers are proving to be particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. More than 4,900 workers at meat-processing plants in the US have also contracted the virus, nearly 4% of the industry’s workforce.
Breeding, confining, and slaughtering animals increases the risk of the emergence of deadly pathogens – no matter the country. In a paper published in 2018, Belgian spatial epidemiologist Marius Gilbert found that more “conversion events” for bird flu – in which a not-very-pathogenic strain of a virus becomes more dangerous – had occurred in Australia than in China.
As the worldwide death toll from the current pandemic surpasses 320,000, we’re being given a stark warning: we cannot breed and slaughter sentient beings who suffer immensely for foods we don’t need without grave consequences for human health, the global economy, and the environment.
Brands such as v2food, Tofurky, Beyond Meat, and The Meatless Farm Company are growing as more and more people choose to eat vegan. Even meat producers such as Tyson, Smithfield, Perdue, and Hormel have invested in the vegan food market, which is projected to be worth around AU$49 billion by 2020. In Australia, the demand for plant-based meat products is forecast to generate 6,000 full-time jobs and add nearly AU$3 billion to the economy over the next 10 years.
There has never been a better time for businesses like Cedar Meats to make the switch to vegan meat, and we’ll be on hand to help them if they decide to make the ethical decision.
We can help you go vegan too! Click the button below for a free vegan starter kit.