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Celebrity actor and animal-rights advocate Peter Egan has blasted ‘intensive animal agriculture’ after scientists in China discovered a new strain of swine flu with ‘pandemic potential‘.

The Downton Abbey star shared a BBC article to his 77,300 Twitter followers – warning them of the emerging virus that has ‘all the hallmarks’ of being able to infect humans.

‘Destroy our planet’

“We have to take seriously how important it is to stop treating animals as a commodity,” Egan tweeted, “Intensive animal agriculture will destroy our planet and ourselves.”

Animal-rights charity PETA responded to Egan praises him for ‘spreading awareness’ on the issue. It added: “A plant-based diet is the best way to protect animals and the public from future pandemics.”

Pandemic potential

The G4 EA H1N1 virus is reported to bear similarities to the swine flu that broke out in Mexico back in 2009 – but has some differences which means humans may have no immunity to it.

Speaking to the BBC, Kin-Chow Chang, a professor at the University of Nottingham, said: “Right now we are distracted with coronavirus and rightly so. But we must not lose sight of potentially dangerous new viruses.”

He added that although the virus hasn’t caused any problems yet, it should not be ignored.

Liam Gilliver

Liam is the Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator for Plant Based News. He has written for a number of top publications including Gay Times, Attitude Magazine, Oh Comely, and The Huffington Post - and is the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.