Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia
A widely available Queensland dairy brand, Kenilworth Dairies, had to recall several of its products this month after they were found to be contaminated with the E. coli bacteria, which government website Healthdirect says can cause serious illnesses, including pneumonia, meningitis in newborn babies, and haemolytic uraemic syndrome, which damages the blood cells and can cause the kidneys to fail. E. coli is also often caught from meat.
While the world’s attention has been vaccines to stop the virus that causes COVID-19, a more serious threat looms – ‘superbugs’ or bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Dangerous new diseases with the potential to become pandemics have become four times as frequent in the past half-century. E. coli is one of the bacteria listed on the World Health Organisation’s list of ‘critical’ threats, due to its resistance to a large number of antibiotics, including those which still work on most other bacteria.
A pandemic of resistant superbugs is the nightmare of every health department on the planet. And we know now that at least 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases “jump species” from other animals to people. The perfect environment for these bugs to evolve is the filthy, cramped cages and pens in which billions of animals suffer miserable lives and die agonising deaths each year for meat, dairy and egg production.
We can try closing the world economy every time a new pandemic pops up. Or we can just close down the root cause – animal abuse – and move to a healthy, sustainable and compassionate vegan lifestyle.