ScienceDaily (Sep. 26, 2008) — A study by researchers from Lancashire, England, and Chicago, IL, found that 97 percent of campylobacteriosis cases sampled in Lancashire were caused by bacteria typically found in chicken and livestock. The work is based on DNA-sequence comparison of thousands of bacteria collected from human patients and animal carriers. Campylobacter jejuni causes more cases of gastroenteritis in the developed world than any other bacterial pathogen, including E. coli, Salmonella, Clostridium and Listeria combined. Wild and domestic animals act as natural reservoirs for the disease, which can also survive in water and soil.
James: This is part of the reason that I became a vegetarian to avoid this kind of stuff but it must also be said that vegetables can become tainted too. We "veggies" can get a little self-righteous sometimes so here's a good dose of reality for us because it must be said that even vegetarians are taking lives too so to some degree we can not avoid taking lives.
Few of us are in a position to judge meat eaters or anyone else for "killing by proxy." Being part of the world economy entails "killing by proxy" in every act of consumption. The electricity that runs our computers comes from facilities that harm the environment. Books of Buddhist scriptures are printed on paper produced by an industry that destroys wildlife habitat. Worms, insects, rodents and other animals are routinely killed en masse in the course of producing the staples of a vegetarian diet. Welcome to samsara. It is impossible for most of us to free ourselves from this web; we can only strive to be mindful of entanglement in it. One way to do so is to reflect on how the suffering and death of sentient beings contributes to our comfort. This may help us to be less inclined to consume out of mere greed.James: One of the main reasons that I practice vegetarianism is to increase loving-kindness and compassion. I know that I can't completely avoid taking lives even being a vegetarian but I can limit the number of lives that I take. As an omnivore I was taking lives of insects in the course of producing the staples of a vegetarian diets as mentioned above but I was also taking the lives of animals. So I wanted to live so that I was taking the least amount of lives possible--causing the least suffering and harm.
While I don't agree with the taking of animal life for food I try not to judge people who do eat meat as terrible people. It is a personal choice either way. I have many, many family and friends who eat meat and I still love them and respect them as much as I did before I became a vegetarian. I just tot along my faux meat products and veggies to BBQ's and dinners where most will be eating meat.