A billboard campaign is calling for the closures of meat factories to protect workers and animals during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A mobile billboard, organised by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), took to the streets of Dublin in a bid to spread the message of growing concern over the outbreak of coronavirus at meat factories.
Outbreaks have been reported at 16 Irish plants, with more than 800 workers infected with the virus so far.
The Dail has heard how some 60 workers at Rosderra Meats’ Edenderry plant in Co Offaly had tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, around 100 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at its plant in Roscrea, Co Tipperary.
Dawn Meats temporarily closed one of its plants following an outbreak of Covid-19.
Four cases of the disease have been confirmed at the meat processor’s facility in Kilbeggan in Co Westmeath.
In a statement, the food company said when it became aware of four confirmed cases of Covid-19 among workers in Kilbeggan, it was decided to defer production in the plant.
“We have implemented a detailed series of measures to manage risks associated with Covid-19, and to maintain social distancing in our facilities in line with procedures recommended by the HSE (Health Service Executive) and other Government agencies,” the statement read.
Peta director Elisa Allen said: “A deadly disease that originated in a meat market is now sweeping through meat-processing plants and endangering workers, their families, and the whole community.
“No one needs meat – that’s why Peta is calling for these facilities to be shut down immediately, for everyone’s protection.
“The novel coronavirus originated in a Chinese ‘wet market’, where live and dead animals are sold for human consumption; swine flu began on a factory farm; and other influenza viruses have been traced to chickens.
“The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warns that approximately 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases affecting humans originated in other animals.”
The mobile billboard, which reads “no one needs to kill to eat”, was parked outside the gates of Leinster House while TDs debated the ongoing impact of Covid-19 in the Dail.