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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE November 8, 2005

Concerned About Bird Flu? Doctors Offer

Meatless Diets Could Help Stop the Disease at its Source, Physicians' Group Says

WASHINGTON—In response to the growing concern over a potential worldwide outbreak of the avian flu, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is offering a free 16-page Vegetarian Starter Kit for worried carnivores. Although the lethal H5N1 strain of the flu has not yet been found in the United States, the World Health Organization and other authorities fear the possibility of a deadly pandemic if the virus mutates and begins spreading easily among humans. 

Avian influenza develops on poultry farms, where routine confinement, overcrowding, and poor sanitary conditions create the perfect reservoir for viruses and other diseases to incubate and spread. Once a pathogen emerges, it is easily carried by migrating birds or commercial livestock transport. But a meatless diet helps eliminate the farms that breed infectious disease.

Vegetarian eating habits also eliminate animal fat and cholesterol, which have been linked to heart disease, one of America’s top killers. “The fat, cholesterol, and cancer-causing agents in chicken, turkey, and other poultry meats are damaging America’s health,” says PCRM nutritionist Tim Radak, DrPH, R.D. “Switching to a vegetarian diet would dramatically decrease obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other diet-related illnesses in this country. And meatless eating habits could also help reduce the risk of a bird-flu pandemic.”

PCRM’s Vegetarian Starter Kit offers a three-step plan for moving to a healthier diet and is packed with recipes, nutrition information, and cooking tips. Research has shown that vegetarians are slimmer than meat-eaters and have less risk of heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes. To request a free copy of the Vegetarian Starter Kit, consumers should contact PCRM at 202-686-2210, ext. 306, or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Patrick Sullivan

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