Meat is a dirty, dangerous substance. It’s contaminated, carries infection and kills people. It’s hardly surprising when you consider where it comes from.
95% of food poisoning is caused by meat and animal products. Food poisoning makes millions ill in the UK every year and kills hundreds –usually the most vulnerable: the elderly and the very young. The meat industry and the shops which sell meat hide the truth with shiny packaging and clever marketing but Viva! exposes the truth.
Dirt on the farm: disease on the plate
These are just some of the illnesses found in dirty meat.
Salmonella – caught from chicken, pig meat and eggs. Half a million people made ill each year, hundreds killed.
E Coli 0157 – found in the guts of cows, spread to meat at slaughter. Meat from one butcher’s shop killed 20 and made hundreds ill in a single outbreak in Scotland a few years ago. The commonest cause of acute kidney failure in children.
Campylobacter – the number one food poisoningbug, found in half of all chicken on shops’ shelves. Infects millions, kills 80 to 100 people per year.
BSE – still found in hundreds of British cattle every year. Causes Creuzfeld-Jacob Disease in humans (CJD). CJD is invariably fatal. BSE is now found in 24 countries: others have yet to discover it – or, still worse, are yet to admit to it.
Superbugs – antibiotic-resistant bacteria (like MRSA) are a growing threat to human health. Some kinds are caught directly from eating meat and scientists now agree that the use of antibiotics on farmed animals has played a part in their emergence. In Britain, 20 of the antibiotics we use to treat human illnesses are also used to treat farmed animals
Dirt and disease on the farm
Viva!’s investigations have uncovered the filth and disease found throughout the farming industry. On factory farms and in the fields, we find the same stories of disease, suffering and neglect time and time again:
Chickens are packed together in their tens of thousands, the litter beneath their feet never changed and the stink of ammonia from bird faeces rank in the air. Diseases like coccidiosis (intestinal parasites) spread like wildfire through the flock. Despite routine administration of antibiotics and other drugs, 100,000 chickens die before slaughter every day. Half of chicken carcases on shelves carry the killer bug campylobacter – 40 million contain salmonella. The most virulent form of bird flu kills 75% of the people it infects – and now it has started to pass from human-to-human.
Pigs suffer from pneumonia, meningitis, dysentery, stomach ulcers and numerous other illnesses. Over 90% of meat pigs are kept indoors in filthy factory farms. One in 10 piglets die before they are a month old and dead and decomposing pigs and piglets can often be found just lying around. Breeding sows are forced to give birth into their own manure and these naturally-clean animals are frequently caked in slurry. Half of all pig carcases at slaughter show signs of pneumonia in their lungs. A quarter of pig carcasses are contaminated with salmonella.
Sheep endure fly-strike (maggots burrowed in their skin, eating their flesh), foot rot, pneumonia, infective abortions and intestinal parasites. They also suffer from scrapie, a BSE-like illness and may even harbour BSE itself. Sheep also pick up clostridium perfringens from infected soil, a bug causing over 50,000 cases of food poisoning a year.
Cattle are ravaged by pneumonia (which affects over 3 million a year and kills over 150,000 calves), tuberculosis, parasites, infected, weeping lesions on their feet and diarrhoea which kills one calf in 30. E coli 0157 is produced in the guts of some cattle and can be easily transferred to others in the pasture – and to humans through infected meat.
Fish become contaminated by all the pollutants we dump in the sea: mercury, dioxins, PCBs and other toxins. Many fish carry parasites, especially farmed salmon which are kept packed together and dosed constantly with drugs in a failed attempt to keep disease at bay.
In addition to these chronic illnesses, deadly epidemics devastate farmed animal populations on a regular basis – bird flu, BSE, swine fever and foot-and-mouth are just a few examples. The global trade in meat and livestock spreads disease across continents and borders. What will hit us next, nobody knows.
Sentenced to DeathHow many animals are killed?
The total number of animals killed in British slaughterhouses in 2003 was approximately 900 million.
This included 9.35 million pigs, nearly 15 million sheep, 28 million turkeys, 20 million ducks, over 850 million chickens and 2.25 million cattle.
This equates to 2.4 million animals slaughtered every day; 100,000 an hour; 1600 per minute and 26 every second.
Many people shout loud when they see the dogs and cats slaughtering to eat by people in Asia countries. I do not see any difference among the dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, cows, pigs, sheeps, horses, & buffalo. These animals fight for their lives when it comes to slaughtering scenes. They know the fear and scream that they want to live like the slaughtering people.
PIG IN HELL
Our government is urging you to eat more British pork and bacon. Why? Because Britain has the best animal welfare standards in the world, they claim!
Pigs killed for their meat live only five or six months but it takes a battery of drugs to keep them alive. From birth until death they are given powerful antibiotics – drugs which create superbugs that can kill us – in a desperate attempt to control the diseases which run rife in the filth of the factory farm.
Over the past two years, Viva! has secretly filmed inside British pig farms. Everywhere we pointed the camera we saw diseased, dead and dying animals. Meningitis, enteritis, pneumonia, dysentery and wasting syndrome are a few of the diseases that are spiralling out of control. Foot and mouth is just one of the many.
In almost every enclosure were the products of brutal neglect and indifference – broken legs, abscesses, ruptured stomachs, animals coughing from pneumonia, others panting from meningitis, cuts and lacerations from the perforated metal on which they have to live.
From new born piglet to 100kg in just five months, slaughter must come as a relief to most of these muscle-bound travesties of creation.
On one farm with 2,000 pigs, nearly 400 died in the first eight months. On others we filmed dead pigs left in the open to decay, prey to dogs and wildlife; dead piglets beneath a sea of writhing maggots; a pregnant sow about to give birth into her own excreta; pigs coated in their own faeces; animals with ruptures the size of footballs; pigs dragging themselves around, unable to walk.
Sentenced because she’s a mother
The farrowing crate is one of the very worst of factory farming’s hidden horrors. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant sows are shut into these tiny cages a week before they give birth - and remain imprisoned until their piglets are three to four weeks old. The crate is just inches wider and longer than the sow’s own body: for up to thirty-five days, every four or five months, she can do nothing but stand up, lie down, suckle her piglets and stare at a blank wall. This terrible frustration can turn into aggression: more than one-in-eight piglets are savaged to death by their own mothers. Limbs aching from inactivity, skin rubbed raw by the bars and their maternal instincts utterly frustrated, mother pigs suffer from stress, pain and psychological torture in the crate.
Many piglets are born into their mother’s excrement. After that, they are confined to the tiny, barren “creep” area next to the cage - with nothing to do but suckle and fight over their mother’s milk. By three weeks old wild piglets are normally found up to 30 metres from the sow, exploring their environment and trying out new foods - no such stimulation for these intelligent, curious little animals in the crate. After a month of confinement and misery, the piglets are “weaned”, ie taken away to be fattened for slaughter. Weaning takes place months before it should naturally occur and the piglets, unused to solid food, suffer from scours - pitiful, wasting diarrhoea. They are then given a cocktail of drugs on a daily basis. Their mothers, meanwhile, are given just a few days before being reimpregnated, and starting the whole 16 week cycle again.
The farrowing crate is designed with one purpose only: to maximise the &lsquo
roduction’ of pigs. All considerations of animal welfare are sacrificed to that goal. It is, therefore, not just an appalling practice in its own right, but a symbol of everything that is evil about factory farming. That is why this campaign is so important. Viva! is committed to the abolition of the farrowing crate not just for its own sake but as an integral part of the struggle to end factory farming and meat consumption itself.