PETA Exposes Link Between Avian Flu And Meat Consumption

For Immediate Release:
01 May 2003

Sean Gifford +44 20 7357 9229, ext. 226


Maastricht, The Netherlands – To call attention to the link between meat production and the avian flu now ravaging Holland’s chicken farms, PETA activists wearing biohazard suits and carrying signs warning, ‘Eating Meat Is a Biohazard’, and, ‘Meat-Eaters Caused Avian Flu’, will hand out ‘emergency’ vegetarian starter kits to KFC customers:

Datum: Friday 2 May 2003
Tijd: 1 p.m.
Locatie: Kentucky Fried Chicken, Maastricht, Markt 65

PETA is targeting KFC because the fast-food giant produces cheap meat by cramming thousands of chickens into windowless, ammonia-filled sheds similar to those in which diseases like avian flu are currently spreading like wildfire. Eighteen million birds—20 per cent of the country’s chickens—have been killed since February. The disease has also infected dozens of farm workers and 82 health workers, and scientists fear that the virus may mutate and become contagious among people, causing another SARS-like epidemic.

PETA launched an international campaign against KFC in January after nearly two years of failed negotiations with KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands. PETA wants KFC to increase the space allotted per bird and add minimal enhancements, such as sheltered areas and perches, which will reduce disease-promoting stress; replace crude and ineffective electric stunning and throat-slitting with gas killing; phase out the forced rapid growth of chickens, which causes metabolic disorders and lameness and implement automated chicken-catching, a process that reduces the high incidence of bruising, broken bones and stress associated with catching the birds by hand.

Meat-eaters should be aware that they are contributing to the avian flu crisis—as long as there is a demand for cheap meat, factory farms will continue to raise chickens in overcrowded, unhealthy, stressful environments. Holland’s meat addiction isn’t just bad for chickens—meat is often contaminated with salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter bacteria, which should be categorised as biohazards instead of dinner options.

‘The battle against avian flu, SARS and other diseases begins with your fork’, says
PETA Europe Managing Director Ingrid Newkirk. ‘Rejecting meat means rejecting filthy animal farming practices that cause outbreaks of influenza and avoiding the heart attacks, cancer and strokes that plague meat-eaters.’

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