The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.
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Media Release: February 15, 2007
Veg Society warns against McDeadlets
The next Black Death may be merely a McNugget away. Michael Greger, M.D., in his new book, Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, argues that the naturally occurring range of avian flu viruses present in waterfowl combined with a new and unnatural poultry industry practice of intensively confining thousands of chickens has created the grave potential for devastating, deadly flu pandemic among humans.
The Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society is featuring Dr. Gregor at its annual Meat Out event, March 11.
Dr. Greger writes, “If the virus triggers a human pandemic, it will not be peasant farmers in Vietnam dying after handling dead birds or raw poultry—it will be New Yorkers, Parisians, Londoners, and people in every city, township, and village in the world dying after shaking someone’s hand, touching a doorknob, or simply inhaling in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Greger places blame for this potential flu pandemic with the poultry industry. “With unprecedented numbers of chickens intensively confined at record density we are seeing bird flu viruses adapt to humans in ways we’ve never seen before. By adapting to chickens, bird flu viruses hit an evolutionary jackpot. And by adapting to chickens, the viruses may be adapting to the human race—another multibillion-host bonanza for the virus.
The conditions making a bird flu pandemic so likely have not always existed, they are a creation of recent industrial-scale agribusiness. Dr. Greger suggests such disease factory conditions need not continue.
“There need not be billions of chickens. With the emergence of H5N1 [strain of bird flu], the fate and future of chickens is inexorably tied up with our own. The disease resistance of chickens may need to be considered a critical public health issue. No longer may chicken breeding remain a simple business decision of counting carcasses and seeing if the per-bird profits of the survivors compensate for the mortality. It may be a matter of global health how the industry breeds birds, or whether they should be breeding them at all.
“Humanity may decide that eating chicken is worth weathering the occasional pandemic, but is cheaper chicken worth risking viruses like H5N1?
“Hopefully, for humanity’s sake, the direction world history will take is away from raising birds by the billions under intensive confinement. Tragically, it may take a pandemic with a virus like H5N1 before the world realizes the true cost of cheap chicken.”
Michael Greger, M.D., is Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. An internationally recognized lecturer, he has presented at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, among countless other symposia and institutions, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.
Dr. Greger is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine. His other books include Carbophobia.
All of the proceeds Dr. Greger receives from his books and speaking engagements are donated to charity.
The entire text of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching is available online at: http://birdflubook.com.
The Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society’s Meat-Out event is Sunday, March 11,
4:30pm at the Church of the Messiah, Route 9, Rhinebeck. The event also features
a vegan potluck (no meat, dairy eggs or other animal ingredients). Cost is $10
with a dish or $25 without a dish. Children 12 and under admitted free.
Reservations via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 845•876•2626.
*Dr. Greger and MHVS officers are available for advance interviews.
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