Thiruvananthapuram: The death of a 12-year-old child in Kerala from Nipah virus, has prompted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India to urge Kerala’s minister for animal husbandry and dairy development, J. Chinchrani, to close down pig farms in the state to prevent further spread of the infection and a potential epidemic.
PETA India’s request to Kerala on Tuesday, comes within two months of the group installing a warning billboard in Delhi about the meat industry’s link to the spread of bird flu. In Delhi, an 11-year-old boy had succumbed to complications from H5N1 bird flu, an infection with a 60 per cent mortality rate, in July.
“The crowded animal farms of the meat industry create hotspots for zoonotic diseases. These killer facilities need to be shut down immediately and permanently, before they cost more lives,” said PETA India Vegan Foods and Nutrition Specialist Dr Kiran Ahuja.
The World Organization for Animal Health warns, Nipah virus is highly contagious in pigs and has devastating zoonotic potential, meaning that it can infect humans from other animals, PETA India noted.
Numerous zoonotic diseases, including the Nipah virus, which has an estimated fatality rate of 40 per cent to 75 per cent in humans, prove that crowding animals together for rearing or slaughter allows diseases to spread among them and to humans easily.” PETA India’s letter to the minister states while urging the Kerala government to shut down pig farms to preempt a potential pandemic.