Human Health Hazards
H1N1 (Swine Flu): The Health and Welfare Implications for Humans and Animals
Food Safety and Inspection Service Recalls
foods improve human health, while animal 'foods' degrade it.
The most comprehensive study to date regarding the relationship
between diet and human health found that the consumption of
animal-derived food products was linked with "diseases
of affluence" such as heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes,
and cancer. T. Colin Campbell's landmark research in The
China Project found a pure vegetarian (i.e. vegan) diet
to be healthiest. Dr. Campbell estimates that "80 to
90% of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other degenerative
illness can be prevented, at least until very old age - simply
by adopting a plant-based diet."
The meat, poultry, dairy and egg industries employ technological
short cuts as drugs, hormones, and other chemicals
to maximize production. Under these conditions, virulent pathogens
that are resistant to antibiotics are emerging. These new
supergerms, whose evolution is traceable directly
to the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming, have the
potential to cause yet unknown human suffering and deaths.
Peculiar new diseases have been amplified by aberrant agribusiness
practices. For example, "Mad Cow Disease" (bovine
spongiform encephalopathy or BSE), a fatal dementia affecting
cattle, spread throughout Britain when dead cows were fed
to living cows. When people ate cows with "Mad Cow Disease,"
they got Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), a fatal dementia
that afflicts humans.
Another farm animal disease beginning to jeopardize human
health is avian influenza. In Hong Kong, where scores of people
have died from the so-called "bird- flu," over one
million chickens have been destroyed in the panic to stop
the spread of the disease.
Millions of Americans are infected, and thousands die every
year from contaminated animal food products. Despite
repeated warnings from consumer advocates, the USDA's meat
inspection system remains grossly inadequate, and consumers
are now being told to "expect" animal products to
Meanwhile, the agribusiness industry, rather than advising
consumers to curtail their intake of animal products, has
devised extreme measures (overcooking, antibiotics, etc.)
to help consumers circumvent the hazards of animal products
and maintain their gross over-consumption of meat and dairy.