As the months-long outbreak of African swine fever continues to decimate pig populations across China’s regions and municipalities, PETA’s activists hung a banner from Taipei’s Xinyi sky bridge today urging residents to spare pigs by going vegan.
So far this month, 112 outbreaks have been reported in 28 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, and nearly 1 million pigs have been culled.
Pigs raised for their flesh are kept in filthy, crowded conditions, in which disease can spread like wildfire, and they’re typically denied access to fresh air, sunlight, and adequate space. The air on factory farms teems with bacteria, and the animals and humans on the premises breathe in the accumulated germs and waste—a recipe for spreading virulent diseases. Pigs are then slaughtered on killing floors that are contaminated with feces, vomit, blood, and other bodily fluids, which drain into vast lagoons of waste that can be smelled for miles and often leak onto nearby land and into water supplies. These conditions have led to a rise in foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, campylobacter, salmonella, listeria, and other organisms that originate in the intestinal tracts and feces of animals. As their names imply, swine fever and the closely related avian flu originate in pigs and birds, and the viruses that cause them often mutate into pathogens that can afflict humans.
What You Can Do
Killing any animal for food is, of course, completely unnecessary. Anyone who’s horrified by the reported pig culls should remember that it’s possible to save pigs, chickens, cows, and other animals from suffering every single day simply by not eating them.