Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Avoiding meat now a priority, says campaign group

Animal-borne diseases an increasing threat to human health

Release date: 
Thursday, March 10, 2005

While governments prepare for a deadly human pandemic of bird flu, people are feeling worried, confused and impotent, claims campaign group, Viva! The situation is not being helped by contradictory messages from the world's bureaucracies, who are more concerned with defending world trade than protecting human health, it adds.

The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation places the blame for the impending outbreak on livestock markets, poor biosecurity and the trade in live poultry and dismisses the charge that wild birds are responsible for its spread. The World Health Organisation, insists that free-range poultry are being infected by wild birds, who carry the virus but are not affected by it. The answer, they say, is to put all poultry into factory farms " ignoring their past advice to end to all intensive farming.

'Human beings have the unique ability not to learn by their mistakes', says Juliet Gellatley, Director of Viva!. "Most farmed animals in developed countries were crammed into the abject cruelty of factory farms decades ago and we're now picking up the tab for that stupidity " antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as MRSA and deadly, mutated food poisoning bacteria in the form of E.coli 0157, salmonella and campylobacter. The flood of cheap meat resulting from factory farming has turned heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity and some cancers into epidemics and is destroying the health of our children.

"We now want to spread the problem world wide, putting trade in meat before human health, just as the Government did with BSE/vCJD. Scares related to livestock are emerging with growing regularity as their numbers remorselessly increase, some of which have the potential to devastate the human race, including Alzheimer's disease whose link with meat is now beyond doubt. The time has come to stop rearranging chairs on the Titanic's deck and admit that there's an iceberg dead ahead.

'the answer to bird flu and foot and mouth, CJD and coronary heart disease, prions and poisoning, superbugs and salmonella is to go vegetarian. And Viva!'s remit is to help the increasing numbers of people who want to make the change'.

For further information contact Tony Wardle or Juliet Gellatley on 0117 944 1000.