This letter to the editor was posted on Syracuse.com
vegetarian diet would help curb disease
To the Editor:
We face a global outbreak of swine flu, and our own food choices are at the root of
More than 100 people in Mexico have died from the H1N1 swine flu virus, and health officials have confirmed cases in the United State and several other countries.
As a physician, I think it’s critical to address the underlying cause of this global threat. Like human flu, swine flu spreads through close contact. On massive pig farms, overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions create the perfect reservoir for viruses and other diseases to incubate and replicate. Once a pathogen emerges, it is spread by farm workers and the transport of livestock. As the swine flu virus mutates and begins spreading easily among humans, we face the possibility of a deadly pandemic.
There would be no swine flu epidemic without pig farms. Americans now consume more than 200 pounds of meat a year, including a significant amount of pork. A collective shift to a vegetarian diet could help eliminate the farms that breed infectious disease. Meatless meals would also dramatically decrease obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Neal Barnard, M.D., president
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
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