New Virus Means More Suffering for Animals Raised for Food

Posted by on February 27, 2012 | Permalink

Many of us will have seen stories in the media about the Schmallenberg virus, the latest disease to hit animals already suffering in severely crowded and filthy conditions. The virus causes birth defects and miscarriages in sheep, goats and cattle, and it effects milk yields in cows and causes them to have diarrhoea. It is believed to have started in Germany, but cases have now been confirmed at 74 farms in the UK.

In addition to being forced to endure unnatural conditions, farmed animals are also denied the right to fulfil their natural instincts – things as basic as building family bonds and nursing their young. Factory farms are a breeding ground for new strains of dangerous bacteria and viruses, which is why animals are fed a steady diet of drugs to keep them alive in such unsanitary and stressful conditions. This, in turn, increases the chance that drug-resistant superbugs will develop, some of which are capable of being transmitted to humans, such as swine flu and bird flu. Many animals already have weakened immune systems, allowing disease to spread quickly in the filthy conditions. Hans-Gerhard Wagner of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, has called the “intensive industrial farming of livestock” an “opportunity for emerging disease”.

Whilst for farmers, deformities and miscarriages are a concern for profit, they mean pain, suffering and sadness for the animals. The best thing that any of us can do to help animals raised for food, at the mercy of diseases borne from the horrific conditions in which they live, is to switch to a vegan diet. That way, you can enjoy your food, safe in the knowledge that you are not contributing to cruelty to animals. And why not let us give you a hand getting started? Order your free vegetarian/vegan starter kit today!