Rights group tells Asia to not eat meat
An animal rights advocacy group urged Asians Monday to go vegetarian amid
fears that the SARS epidemic ravaging the region may have originated from
livestock in southern China.
"Stop eating meat," the U.S.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA) said in a statement sent with a mock medical mask adorned
with the pink face of a piglet and the slogan "Say No to Pig-Farm Germs."
The global death toll from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is
about 320 with some 5,000 cases reported, mostly in East Asia.
PETA, which advocates a vegetarian diet as the answer to many human ailments,
said "intensively confining animals create filth that allows diseases to
spread like wildfire".
"As people in Asia eat more meat, they are putting the rest of the world at
risk," the statement said, citing a "highly healthy" trend in the West
toward vegetarian diets.
PETA's Asia representative Jason Baker said "the battle against SARS and
other diseases begins on our dinner plates."
"No more meat means no more factory farms and no more outbreaks of diseases
spread by intensively raised animals, whether from germs or from the
cholesterol and fat in their flesh."
Scientists are looking into the possibility that livestock in southern China
may have been the source of the SARS virus, noting that in some rural parts
of Guangdong province people live in close proximity to pigs, chickens and