Newsflash: Go Vegan, Don’t Get Bird Flu
Avian influenza is no laughing matter, but using it as a scare tactic to get people to eat vegan turkey is.
In a recent post on The Bulletin (Norwich), a PETA writer from Florida wasted no time in making matters worse by urging those afraid of a bird flu outbreak in Indiana (we’re all over the map with this one) to eat differently. She says “No human infections have been detected yet, but it’s still safer, healthier and kinder to choose vegan turkey and other plant-based foods rather than animal-based ones.”
Considering a human flu can halt someone’s productivity for one or two business days (three if my boss asks), it’s no surprise that the thousands of crammed together chickens, turkeys, and various fowls of the meat industry can quickly become very fruitless for their farmers. You see, these animals die either way, but no humans get to profit if it’s death by sickness (dammit).
The writer goes on to say that “It’s also possible for bird flu viruses to spread to humans who have unprotected contact with infected birds,” which includes “handling, slaughtering, defeathering, butchering, culling, (and) preparation for consumption.” My favourite part of that list? It doesn’t include hugging, taking care of, or leaving turkeys the fuck alone.
So what happens when carnivores really fear eating poultry today? Can’t they just swap out turkey for bacon? But what about swine flu? There are countless ailments that animals face, just like humans. But unlike us, there’s a body of Government that gets to determine which strains halt assembly lines and are shared publicly, and which are not.
Vegan turkey isn’t a gateway choice – it won’t make anyone compulsively shed their down-filled coats. Rather than beg fearful eaters to protect themselves, vegan organizations ought to stand by the animals that aren’t being protected, and instead, be committed to promoting veganism as a moral baseline. The appeal falls flat by giving people permission to go right back to eating how they like when the fear of bird flu has been lifted, or when presented with a “healthier” animal option.