Melbourne COVID outbreak: Time to stop eating meat



Sir – The outbreak of COVID-19 at a Melbourne slaughterhouse shows the urgency of dumping the meat habit.

Slaughterhouses not only put workers and the public health at risk but also cause the agonising, bloody deaths of hundreds of millions of animals every year. Factory farms and slaughterhouses are as filthy as China’s “wet markets,” their floors covered with blood, urine, faeces, and offal.
The novel Coronavirus originated in a Chinese wet market where live and dead animals were sold for human consumption, swine flu began on a US factory farm, and other influenza viruses have been traced to chickens.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that approximately 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases affecting humans originated in other animals.
Closing slaughterhouses doesn’t mean a food shortage, because no one needs meat. Consuming it is linked to heart disease, cancer, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
Mimi Bekhechi
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals


  1. Extremely misleading headline and highly subjective article.
    [ED – Thanks for your comment. It is a Letter to the Editor.]

  2. Ah, Mimi Bekhechi, the activist who believes dogs should not be used for work, milk should not be consumed and using wool is cruel.
    Firstly, the Australian livestock industry has nothing to do with the outbreak that occurred at the Melbourne abattoir.
    It could just as easily of occurred on a soy farm or a tofu factory. Do we also shut down hospitals as they have been the scene of Coronavirus outbreaks?
    Secondly, by all accounts, given that there was some good rainfall in prime grazing country and we have now lost/reduced some of our export markets – the quality of meat hitting our shelves has been excellent!
    The marbling in the scotch fillets is heading into Wagyu territory. Who can resist that beautiful rendered fat in a juicy, premium piece of Australian beef? Come on Mimi, tuck in, never been a better time to support our livestock industry and buy yourself a good steak.

  3. @ Mimi Bekhechi: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? What about fish? Crustaceans? Worms?
    The Animalia Kingdom is a diverse group of organisms that share certain characteristics.
    Some members of this kingdom seem like they would fit in elsewhere, like sponges or coral. T
    he Animalia Kingdom is the largest of all kingdoms with more than one million species!
    Plant Kingdom – Plantae Plants are worthy of same compassion we show animals.
    Animals have five senses – sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell.
    Plants have their own versions of these senses.
    Sight: Plants respond differently to different types (wavelengths) of light.
    Hearing: Playing sound recordings of a caterpillar chomping on a leaf stimulates the plant to secrete anti-caterpillar toxins.
    Touch: Some leaves eg Mimosa pudica, curl up when touched.
    Smell: Plants secrete and detect volatile odour molecules, essential for survival strategies such as deterring pests and attracting pollinator bees.
    Do plants have feelings?
    Yes, but not in the same sense that we do. They have stimuli – responses.
    Plants, like all other living things, share the trait of adaptation for survival. It is our common bond.
    Plants don’t have brains or central nervous systems like humans. Therefore they can’t have emotions or reasoning capabilities (sometime I wonder if some humans do).
    They are, however, sentient life forms because they do have “tropic” and “nastic” responses to stimuli.
    Plants can’t vocalise or flee from danger, so they must rely on other ways to thrive and to protect themselves when threatened.
    They can choose which direction to grow, for example, and can defend themselves and aid pollination by moving their leaves, petals, and stamens.
    Plants also produce both attractive and defensive messenger chemicals called pheromones, much like humans, animals, and insects.
    For instance, the smell of a fresh mowed lawn is usually pleasant to us, but it signifies a wounding process to other plants through the odour-releasing chemical the grass produces.
    Perhaps our response is more emotionally driven because it is associated with memory.
    As a nature lover should I starve?
    No, because I need to survive. Therefore as a carnivore or a vegetarian I will be part of killing a living thing.

  4. Wow. Consuming meat is linked to so many diseases. Absolutely shocking.
    Perversely, non consumption it seems is only linked to silliness.
    Thank you Mimi for being proof positive of this.

  5. This PETA letter dodges the real reason that the Melbourne abattoirs in question is in the news.
    The Victorian government kept hidden from the public the fact that 34 cases of the Coronavirus have been identified at the meat works.
    While the government kept it a secret, transport meat delivery drivers were unknowingly exposed to the virus.
    Yesterday Andrews gave the excuse that it was a Health Department decision to keep it from the public because “there is no evidence that the virus is transferred from meat processing”.
    The owners of the abattoirs had donated $15,000 to the Labor party but Andrews says that is irrelevant.
    Meanwhile, the government named a school that had closed in the last few days because one case had been identified
    The PETA crowd is exploiting the exposure of the \Victorian government’s failure to alert the public of a serious virus outbreak at a meat works to promote its own cause.
    PETA is playing on the public’s misery and distress in the Coronavirus crisis to create news and push its own barrow. Shameful.


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