Written by PETA
Audiences are flocking to see the new thriller Contagion for its exciting action
scenes and big-name celebrities, but the film's storyline is more true to life
than many people may realize.
the recent swine and
bird flu outbreaks have amply illustrated,
deadly diseases that originate on factory farms easily spread to humans. Just last
month, three children in Pennsylvania were diagnosed with a new strain of swine flu that the state's Department
of Health believes they may have contracted from animals at an agricultural
fair. And the World Health Organization is concerned about a true pandemic this
conditions on severely crowded factory farms are the perfect breeding ground
for deadly contagious
diseases. Considering that
factory farms breed swine flu,
avian flu, MRSA, mad cow disease, and E.
not to mention cruelty to animals, isn't it time that we ditch diseased dinners
in favor of healthy
platters of plants?
will be distributing leaflets about the dangers of factory farming at theaters
showing Contagion across the country.
To get involved, contact
our Action Team.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
"Super Freak." Super Target. Superbad. I'd say the wedding reception classic, shopper's wonderland, and hit flick are all worth cheering. But "superbugs," a la swine flu, salmonella, and E. coli? Not so much.
These drug-resistant infections contaminate not only our air and waterways but also America's meat supply, which is also greatly responsible for creating them. The practice of feeding antibiotics to crowded factory farmed pigs, chickens, and cows started in the '90s and has since skyrocketed—70 percent of the antibiotics in the U.S. last year were used on factory farms. Old killers like malaria, tuberculosis, and staph are making comebacks, stronger than ever. And thanks to the overuse of antibiotics, more than 65,000 people died last year from drug-resistant infections.
Health and government officials everywhere, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the White House to the World Health Organization, are worried. This alarming article by the Associate Press, which I urge you to read and forward, had so many mind-boggling stats and quotes that I was tempted to cut and paste it in its entirety. Instead, I lifted the following quotes:
"This is a living breathing problem, it's the big bad wolf and it's knocking at our door."—Dr. Vance Fowler, Infectious disease specialist, Duke University
"If we're not careful with antibiotics and the programs to administer them, we're going to be in a post antibiotic era." —Dr. Thomas Frieden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"If you mixed an antibiotic in your child's cereal, people would think you're crazy." —Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat from New York
How can you keep superbugs at bay? Start by going vegan. There's no doubt that you'll save animal lives—and better protect your own.
Written by Karin Bennett
Unless you've had your head in the sand for quite some time, you know that "swine flu blues" are sweeping the nation. Just in time for sniffle season, PETA's swine flu prevention masks have arrived.
We are giving you, dear PETA Files reader, a chance to win the perfect accessory for your next pro-vegan demonstration or leafleting junket (or cross-country flight). All you need to do is simply create your own "swine flu haiku," a short, three-line poem, about this pandemic that has worried people all over the world. Here's mine:
Swine flu fears? Not hereBecause I am vegan andWash my hands a lot
(Remember, the first line in haiku must have five syllables, the second must have seven, and the third one must have five.)
Written by Karin Bennett
Achoo! Swine flu?
Sunshine State residents who feel under the weather should know that Florida has had 141 confirmed swine flu deaths. Sounds to me like Florida residents would do well to learn about ways to stop the spread of swine flu—hence our action in Jacksonville this morning.
Evidence is growing that the meat industry is responsible for the swine flu outbreak, just as it was largely responsible for outbreaks of MRSA, mad cow, E. coli, and bird flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies have shown that 30 to 50 percent of pigs raised for food in the U.S. have been infected with some strain of swine flu. That shouldn't come as any surprise, considering that jam-packed, filthy factory farms are breeding grounds for disease.
The best way to help guard against future swine flu outbreaks? Swear off the ham, Spam, and snouts—and go vegan.
Well, we tried—but our permit to set up a factory farm display on the steps of the U.S. Capitol has been denied. Apparently, the Capitol Police thought that such a display posed "significant public health concerns about the possible spread of the H1N1 virus."
Hmm. That just might have been our point.
So, it's not safe to allow members of congress and lobbyists to be exposed to factory farms, but it looks like tough luck for the millions of Americans in rural areas who have to live amidst the poisonous waste of factory farms. And although the president has declared swine flu a national emergency, the government continues to prop up the industry that caused the crisis (to the tune of $62.6 million in one year alone—with the possibility of $250 million more in the coming fiscal year).
What do you think?
Written by Amanda Schinke
Yesterday, the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority ruled against a PETA U.K. ad that the watch group feels the public is too dense to understand. The decision was sparked by a sole complainant who thought that people might be confused by this billboard:
Personally, I think it's pretty straightforward, but moving on: How about this one, which PETA U.K. unveiled yesterday?
Hans-Gerhard Wagner of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization has acknowledged that factory farms create an "opportunity for emerging disease." The meat, egg, and dairy industries keep diseased animals in crowded, filthy conditions and feed them a steady diet of drugs to keep them alive. It shouldn't come as a shock that factory farms provide the ideal conditions for drug-resistant "superbugs" to develop.
Forgo the surgical masks, folks. The safest, easiest way to prevent animal-borne disease epidemics is to go vegan.
Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is a bacterium that infects pigs—usually on crowded, inhumane factory farms, where infectious diseases such as swine flu spread like wildfire. Erysipelas causes fever, chronic arthritis, heart inflammation, painful skin lesions, and often death. Up until a few weeks ago, most of us at PETA had never heard of erysipelas either.
There is a vaccine for erysipelas, but each batch produced was tested by infecting pigs with the disease. The test caused the animals immense suffering, which was often followed by death. Enter PETA's scientists, whose heads are no doubt getting a little big right now, what with two big victories in one week.
In August, PETA's Regulatory Testing Division wrote to the USDA asking the agency to follow Europe's example and adopt a non-animal in vitro test for the erysipelas vaccine. We pointed out that the in vitro ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay—try saying that three times fast) test is more humane and is also much more reliable than simply administering the vaccine and seeing whether or not the pigs die. It also helps to ensure vaccine consistency.
Last week, we received a response from the USDA announcing that the test involving the use of pigs will no longer be used. The icing on the cake is that the USDA also said that it is moving away from a hideously cruel method that uses mice to produce antibodies and will instead use a cell culture–based system that is humane and reliable.
Not ones to rest on our laurels, we at PETA are also working to replace animal tests with in vitro tests for tetanus, hepatitis B, whooping cough, clostridium, and leptospirosis vaccines. Already, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is on board when it comes to ending the use of hamsters in the manufacture of leptospirosis vaccines—a decision that will save the lives of about 40,000 hamsters a year. Hopefully, we'll be able to report back with another victory soon.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Two PETA Europe members who recently fell victim to swine flu set out to show the people of Brussels that no one is immune to the diseases that are bred on factory farms—not even those who wouldn't dream of eating animal flesh.
These two lovely (and now recovered) ladies crammed themselves into tiny "gestation crates" to illustrate the fact that the cramped, filthy conditions on factory farms are breeding grounds for swine flu and other deadly viruses and bacteria.
What's the best way to shut down disease-incubating factory farms? Stop supporting them: Go vegetarian.
Written by Heather Drennan
Now that the World Health Organization has declared the swine flu outbreak "a pandemic," I'm going to predict that PETA's "flu prevention" mask will sneak past blinged-out cell phones as the must-have accessory this summer. I have a feeling that fashionistas and health officials all over the world will soon agree with me.
Despite denials issued by big pig farms and the change in the name of the illness, funnyman Jim Carrey hit the nail right on the head when he said, "There wouldn't be a swine flu if we treated the pigs better!"
PETA's swine flu mask will serve as a reminder of that.
"There wouldn't be a swine flu if we treated the pigs better!"
That was superstar comedian and professional face-contorter Jim Carrey's shout out to pigs during his acceptance speech for Best Comedic Performance at the MTV Movie Awards last night.
While Rob Pattinson cleaned up in every other category and "Bruno" shocked the audience when he stuck his you-know-what in Eminem's face, Carrey's speech took home the golden popcorn for Best Awards Show Moment, at least in our eyes.
Thanks, Jim. If you ever want to put your mug on a pro-pig poster, you know where to find us.
Written by Christine Doré
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.