In the wake of Omaha-based All American Meats, Inc’s, recall of 167,427 pounds of ground beef because of possible E. coli contamination, PETA is negotiating with area outdoor advertisers to run a billboard that shows an ornery-looking chicken brandishing a machine gun next to the words “If the Cows Don’t Get You, I Might.” The billboard, available here, goes on to warn, “65% of chicken breasts tested were contaminated with E. coli. Try vegan.”
“PETA’s billboard is a reminder that it’s not only beef that poses a health risk, from E. coli and salmonella to heart disease and diabetes,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Fears over food-borne illness are well-founded, and the safest solution is to go vegan.”
Today’s industrialized meat industry is a breeding ground for disease. Poultry farms cram tens of thousands of birds into filthy ammonia-filled sheds, where they’re surrounded by their own waste. In slaughterhouses, the terrified chickens lose bowel control as their throats are slit or they’re scalded alive. More than half of the chicken breasts tested in a Consumer Reports study contained fecal contaminants, and 97 percent of the samples contained some type of bacteria that can cause illness, including E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter.
This week’s beef recall comes in the midst of other reports on the health risks of eating animal-derived foods. Blue Bell Creameries, a manufacturer of ice cream, recently faced a major listeria outbreak, and the World Health Organization recently noted the cancer risk associated with the consumption of processed meats such as bacon. On the other hand, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegetarians are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer than meat-eaters are.
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