WITH news of a new avian influenza, or “bird flu”, outbreak and the killing cycle that’s just been kicked into high gear in an attempt to contain it, isn’t it time we focus on the cause of these deadly viruses before it’s too late?

Diseases run rampant on crowded filthy factory farms, where thousands of birds are forced to live amid their own faeces and the rotting corpses of other animals.

As Hans-Gerhard Wagner, a senior officer with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, has said, the intensive industrial farming of livestock is an “opportunity for emerging disease”.

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The way to prevent future outbreaks of bird flu, SARs, swine flu and other animal-borne diseases is to stop raising billions of animals for meat, eggs and dairy products.

We must take responsibility for our actions, which impact not only animals but also humans, and we can all be part of the solution by leaving animals off our plates.

Harriet Barclay, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)