For Immediate Release:
06 August 2021
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]
Monica Chopra; [email protected]
Delhi – An 11-year-old Gurgaon child has died from H5N1 bird flu, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India warns the public that the lives of not only chickens but also children lives can be lost as long as vegetarian diets are not fully embraced. PETA India has just placed a billboard near the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the hospital where the child was taken, holding the meat industry accountable for the spread of zoonotic diseases, including deadly H1N1 swine flu, which humans contracted after it developed from viruses in farmed pigs, and COVID-19, believed by most scientists to have spread from a live-animal market, as well as other poor health outcomes. Human infections with various forms of avian influenza have also been reported in Russia in poultry farm workers and in China earlier this year, and the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed over 50 million people worldwide, is believed to have originated on an animal farm in the US.
The billboard is located at Sri Aurobindo Marg, Block C 2, Ansari Nagar East, New Delhi, Delhi 110 016.
H5N1 bird flu is fatal to 60% of humans who contract it. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that handling diseased or dead birds and improper cooking can risk infections and that “[e]ggs can contain H5N1 virus both on the outside (shell) and the inside (whites and yolk)”. Live-poultry markets, such as those all over India, are believed to be a major source of H5N1 infections in humans, and it is common to see sick chickens in them.
“The development and outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, bird flu, and swine flu are as horrifying as they are preventable,” says PETA India Vegan Foods and Nutrition Specialist Dr Kiran Ahuja. “PETA India reminds everyone that you won’t be supporting disease-prone factory farms and live-animal markets if you eat vegan foods.”
More than 700 human infections with Asian H5N1 viruses have been reported to WHO since November 2003. In most cases, infected persons have had contact with sick or dead chickens. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says if Asian H5N1 viruses mutate so as to “gain the ability for efficient and sustained transmission among humans, an influenza pandemic could result, with potentially high rates of illness and death worldwide”.
In addition to helping to prevent the spread of diseases, meat-free meals spare animals immense suffering. In today’s meat industry, huge numbers of animals are raised in vast warehouses in severe confinement and their throats are often cut while they’re still conscious.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – offers a free vegetarian/vegan starter kit. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.