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The next pandemic?

Dear Editor,
What the world does not need now is another pandemic. Yet in Victoria, hundreds of thousands of chickens, turkeys and even emus are now being killed in the hope that wholesale carnage can stop or slow the spread of at least three different, extremely virulent strains of bird flu. This is not surprising – confining and killing animals for food has been linked to SARS, swine flu, bird flu, and COVID-19.
You’ll never catch the flu from tofu, but when tens of thousands of birds are crammed into sheds and forced to stand in their own waste and breathe in the fumes, diseases spread and can mutate into different strains quickly. People can be co-infected with an avian and a human influenza virus. The genetic information in these viruses can then reassort to create a new virus, against which humans have little or no immunity.
If you care about animals, and your own health, do what many others are doing nowadays and choose healthy vegan meals. If everyone went vegan, these birds, each of them a personality who wanted only to enjoy life, wouldn’t have lived in misery and died in terror, and humans wouldn’t be facing yet another catastrophic virus.
Mimi Bekhechi
Campaigns Strategist
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
PO Box 20308 World Square
Sydney, NSW, 2002
(08) 8556-5828