As Swine Flu Declared a Pandemic, Doctors Offer Vegetarian Starter KitHog Industry Bears Responsibility for Disease; Meatless Diets Could Help Prevent Development of Novel Influenza Viruses
WASHINGTON—The World Health Organization’s announcement that swine influenza is now officially a pandemic is prompting the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to offer a free 16-page Vegetarian Starter Kit to worried consumers. WHO’s pandemic designation comes after swine flu has reached 74 countries and infected nearly 30,000 people.
“There would be no swine flu pandemic without pig farms,” says PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D. “These huge pig facilities are unsanitary, inhumane, and extremely dangerous to human health. The federal government should take action against these flu factories, but consumers can also reduce the risk of new influenza viruses by eating meatless meals.”
Hog producers have tried to distance themselves from culpability for the swine flu outbreak. But crowded pig farms offer a breeding ground for new strains of influenza, according to the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. One-third to one-half of pigs on modern farms have antibody evidence of influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Five years ago, the American Public Health Association called for a moratorium on new factory farms because these facilities pose grave public health risks. Last year, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production cited numerous public health issues associated with factory farms and recommended the phaseout of intensive confinement on farms.
A meatless diet helps eliminate the farms that breed infectious disease. Vegetarian eating habits also eliminate animal fat and cholesterol, which have been linked to heart disease, one of America’s top killers.
PCRM’s Vegetarian Starter Kit offers a three-step plan for moving to a healthier diet and is packed with recipes, nutrition information, and cooking tips. Research has shown that vegetarians are slimmer than meat-eaters and have less risk of heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes. Consumers can request a free copy of the Vegetarian Starter Kit at www.GoVegetarian.org.