Dear Vegan Outreach:
I am writing to clarify some points.
The question you published ("What is your opinion of PETA openly hoping
for mad cow to come to the US?") shows that activists are as susceptible
as everyone else to not grasping that foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and mad
cow disease – or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) – are quite different
(there was an AP story about the public¹s lack of comprehension recently).
No one at PETA has said that they hope BSE comes to the US (or spreads at
The real news is that, at least in Europe, these diseases are providing the
general public with significant insights into animal agriculture. The German
agricultural minister has made remarks to the effect that it is time to reassess
what we have done to animals (all animals) in the pursuit of ever-cheaper
meat. The positive outcomes in France and Italy are even more than in Germany.
Across Europe, agricultural ministers and activists are using BSE and FMD
to force real and serious improvements in the way all animals are treated.
All meat exports have been banned – also a very good thing.
Many Europeans *are* going vegetarian and vegan (our definition, rather than
the popular one – merely eating no red meat) in response to the BSE and FMD
crises. Some are eating more chicken, yes, but many are taking this as their
wakeup call and are giving up all meat. Our small European offices now do
nothing but vegan advocacy because the demand has skyrocketed. They take every
opportunity to make the points you suggest re: not just giving up beef, which
would be counterproductive from an animal rights standpoint.
For the animals,