Abu Dhabi – “Eating meat kills koalas.” That’s the message on a new PETA ad that the group plans to run throughout the UAE in response to a new report that identified Australia as one of the world’s worst deforestation hotspots, largely because of the creation of pastureland for sheep and other animals who are then exported to the UAE and elsewhere in the Middle East for human consumption.
The trees that are being cut down are koalas’ natural habitat – and experts warn that the animals could become extinct by 2050 as a result of deforestation, climate change, and devastating bushfires, all of which are caused and/or exacerbated by the meat industry.
“Many people have no idea that importing live sheep from Australia to the UAE may lead to gentle koalas’ extinction,” says PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA points out that choosing a delicious vegan meal doesn’t just keep sheep and cows off our plates – it can protect koalas’ homes, too.”
Every year, Australia exports millions of live cows and sheep to the Middle East, forcing them to endure a gruelling trip across thousands of miles – sometimes in the searing heat – that may take weeks. More than 200 million animals have been crammed onto filthy cargo ships over the last 30 years, and more than 2.5 million of them have been trampled to death or have died from dehydration, starvation, or disease. Once they reach their destinations, the survivors’ throats are slit, typically while they’re still conscious.
In addition to saving animals’ lives, going vegan helps the planet considerably. Animal agriculture is responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions, uses a massive amount of water that contributes to the dry conditions that allow wildfires to spread, and is a leading cause of deforestation. In the Australian state of New South Wales alone, more than 88,000 hectares of primary forest were cleared – largely for agriculture – between 2010 and 2018.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.