The death of an 11-year-old boy due to bird flu has prompted PETA India to put up a billboard holding the meat industry responsible for the spread of zoonotic diseases.
In an official statement, PETA India said the lives of not only chickens but of children can also be lost due to zoonotic diseases while reiterating that vegetarian diets must be fully embraced.
“An 11-year-old Gurgaon child has died from H5N1 bird flu and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India warns the public that the lives of not only chickens but also children’s lives can be lost as long as vegetarian diets are not fully embraced.
“PETA India has just placed a billboard near the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the hospital where the child was taken, holding the meat industry accountable for the spread of zoonotic diseases, including the deadly H1N1 swine flu, which humans contracted after it developed from viruses in farmed pigs, and COVID-19, believed by most scientists to have spread from a live-animal market, as well as other poor health outcomes,” it said.
The H5N1 virus is fatal to 60 percent of humans who contract it, PETA India said.
It said human infections with various forms of avian influenza have also been reported in poultry farm workers in Russia and in China earlier this year, and the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed over five crore people worldwide, is believed to have originated from an animal farm in the United States.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that handling diseased or dead birds and improper cooking can risk infections and that eggs can contain H5N1 virus both on the outside (shell) and the inside (whites and yolk),” it said.
Live poultry markets such as those all over India are believed to be a major source of the H5N1 infection in humans and it is common to see sick chickens at such places, it added.
“The development and outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, bird flu, and swine flu are as horrifying as they are preventable,” said Dr Kiran Ahuja, PETA India Vegan Foods and Nutrition Specialist.
“PETA India reminds everyone that you won’t be supporting disease-prone factory farms and live-animal markets if you eat vegan foods,” she added.
More than 700 human infections with Asian H5N1 viruses have been reported to WHO since November 2003, PETA India said.