March/April 2018
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I had always called myself an animal 'lover' while I was simultaneously stuffing their tortured and decaying corpses into my mouth. - Jayn Meinhardt, letter to Observer, UK

In this edition...

Featured Video
  Rescue pig Pigcasso loves to paint

Top Stories
  The unstoppable rise of veganism: How a fringe movement went mainstream
  Our love of seafood is strangling marine life
  China going vegan?
  James Cameron touts veganism over Viagra to raise male awareness and save the planet

  How a recent doctor's visit inspired 'Grey's Anatomy' star to go vegan for breast health
  Vegan Diet May Decrease Risk of Depression, Study Finds

Environment and World Hunger
  By going vegan, America could feed an additional 390 million people, study suggests
  How to make global food systems more sustainable
  How bad is Canada's food waste problem? Among the world's worst

Lifestyles and Trends
  'Dining of the future': Canada's vegan restaurant boom fuelled by meat eaters
  New Australian vegan accessories brand reflects global shift to ethical fashion
  Plant-based investing: An emerging investment strategy For vegans
  Canadians under 35 three times more likely than older generations to be vegans or vegetarians

Signs of the Times
  Gordon Ramsay finally gives vegan thing a try
  U.S. ranchers fight against vegetarian 'fake meat'
  Florida hospital offers vegan menu to patients

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Australian MP announces bill to phase out live sheep exporting
  Nicholas Kristof: Choosing animals over people?
  Toronto restaurant owner under fire for deer carving stunt during animal rights protest

Toronto Vegetarian Association Upcoming Events

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(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
  Featured Video    

Rescue pig Pigcasso loves to paint
Video source: Care2

Pigcasso doesn't just paint for kicks. Her paintings sell for as much as $4000, and all of the money goes to support Farm Sanctuary South Africa.   Watch video...

Care2 - April 23
Related/More video:
Esther the wonder pig gets cozy on the couch
Care2 (March 20)
Internal medicine physician Milton Mills on plant based diets
Highly recommended - Mercy for Animals (February 28)
Top 100 vegans of 2017
Plant Based News (April 7)

  Top Stories    

The unstoppable rise of veganism: How a fringe movement went mainstream
Full story: Guardian, UK

Veganism might have recently acquired a hipster cache at buzzy London events such as Vegan Nights and the weekly Hackney Downs market established by influential blogger Sean O'Callaghan, AKA "the Fat Gay Vegan", but its surging popularity is a national phenomenon, with plant-based food festivals and businesses booming from Bristol to Inverness. Health, climate change, animal welfare... what's driving more people and brands to embrace a plant-based lifestyle? We investigate [in depth], and four vegans explain their choice...   Read more...

Guardian, UK - April 1

Our love of seafood is strangling marine life
Full story: Care2

We hear a lot about marine pollution and how it's hurting wildlife, but much less attention is paid to the impact of discarded fishing gear - fishing gear that is used to procure all the seafood the world consumes. Seafood companies are leaving behind thousands of tons of fishing materials, or "ghost gear," that are choking our marine life, according to a new report.   Read more...

Care2 - March 9

China going vegan?
Full story: Financial Express

With increasing health consciousness among people, the Chinese food eating habits are witnessing a paradigm shift. A recent PTI report suggests that more and more people in China are switching to vegetarian food. In China, a country which is the world's largest market for beef, pork, and poultry, eateries are going all vegan to encash this popular sentiment. The report hints that people relate non-vegetarian food with high blood pressure and obesity. This has made the vegan eateries more competitive than ever.   Read more...

Financial Express - February 26

James Cameron touts veganism over Viagra to raise male awareness and save the planet
Full story: Toronto Star

Hollywood titan James Cameron wants to save the planet by promoting veganism - and he's happy to begin in the bedroom by raising the sexual benefits for men of a plant-based diet. "I'd love to put Viagra out of business, just by spreading the word on plant-based eating," Cameron said in an interview from Los Angeles. The director of Titanic and Avatar is executive producer of The Game Changers, a feature-length testimonial to the benefits of veganism, with Olympic athletes, distance runners and bodybuilders - including Arnold Schwarzenegger - extolling the benefits of a plant-based diet.   Read more...

Toronto Star - April 23

How a recent doctor's visit inspired 'Grey's Anatomy' star to go vegan for breast health
Full story: People

For fourteen seasons, Ellen Pompeo has played a doctor on Grey's Anatomy, but a recent visit to a real-life doctor spurred a major change for Pompeo and her entire family. "I just went for my yearly appointment a couple of weeks ago and [Dr. Kristi Funk] told me about her book," Pompeo told PEOPLE at the launch party for Dr. Funk's book Breasts: The Owner's Manual: Every Woman's Guide to Reducing Cancer Risk, Making Treatment Choices, and Optimizing Outcomes . "Since then my whole family has gone completely vegan... It's super fun," she shared.   Read more...

People - April 25

Vegan Diet May Decrease Risk of Depression, Study Finds
Full story: LiveKindly

New research on the impacts our daily dietary choices have on our risk factors for mental health issues points to the benefits of a plant-based or vegan diet in mitigating depression, particularly in elderly individuals.   Read more...

LiveKindly - March 5

More Health & Environment News:
Best diet to beat depression (April 3)
Dr. Greger's daily dozen checklist (Archives)

  Environment and World Hunger    

By going vegan, America could feed an additional 390 million people, study suggests
Full story: LA Times

More than 41 million Americans find themselves at risk of going hungry at some point during the year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. But it doesn't have to be this way. New research suggests the country could feed all 327 million Americans - plus roughly 390 million more - by focusing on plants. If U.S. farmers took all the land currently devoted to raising cattle, pigs and chickens and used it to grow plants instead, they could sustain more than twice as many people as they do now, according to a report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [The study further states that this shift would have a greater impact on reducing hunger than even eliminating all food waste from supply chains.]   Read more...

LA Times - March 26

How to make global food systems more sustainable
Full story: National Post, Canada

Global food systems are increasingly generating severe human, social, environmental and economic costs. We need smarter, healthier and kinder approaches. For example, it is grossly inefficient to grow grains and feed them to livestock. It would be 10 times more efficient if humans ate these grains and seeds instead. It would also be more equitable. The price of grains increases when feedstocks are channelled to industrial animal agriculture, and puts them out of reach of marginalized populations.   Read more...

National Post, Canada - April 13

How bad is Canada's food waste problem? Among the world's worst
Full story: CBC

Canada wastes so much food that a researcher likens it to tossing a quarter of your groceries away when you leave the supermarket. In fact, Canada is among the worst globally in wasting food, according to a recent report on the state of food loss and waste in Canada, U.S. and Mexico.   Read more...

CBC - April 9

Related/More Environmental News:
Success! EU nations back ban on insecticides to protect honey bees
Reuters (April 27)
100 solutions to reverse global warming
Searchable info/book - plant-rich diet number four on the list
Twenty per cent of Americans - biggest meat eaters - cause almost half of U.S. dietary emmissions
Animal products cause 83.5 per cent of emissions - Plant Based News (March 30)

  Lifestyles and Trends    

'Dining of the future': Canada's vegan restaurant boom fuelled by meat eaters
Full story: National Post, Canada

Foodies say Canada is in the midst of a renaissance in plant-based dining as vegan restaurants sprout up across the country and traditional establishments update their menus to make them more animal-friendly. But restaurateurs say the proliferation of options is being driven not by observant vegans, but by dabbling omnivores looking for appealing meat-free fare. Frank Ferris, who consults with businesses about targeting ethically minded consumers, said as plant-based diets become more popular, particularly among young people, non-vegan restaurants are adding animal-friendly options in a bid to regain market share.   Read more...

National Post, Canada - April 19

New Australian vegan accessories brand reflects global shift to ethical fashion
Full story: Australian Financial Review

Cathryn Wills was working as the managing and creative director of [leather] accessories brand Mimco when she watched Cowspiracy, a documentary about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment... The result is her new vegan accessories brand Sans Beast, born of the Melbourne-based designer's twin passions for good design and the ethical treatment of animals. "But even if you don't care about the animals, with the environmental damage that mass farming inflicts, the excessive water usage and health impacts of consumption of these products, it seems clear to me a change is needed," she says. [Her products] are part of a global movement towards animal alternatives products that will see the vegan "leather" market reach $US85 billion ($108 billion) by 2025, according to a 2017 report.   Read more...

Australian Financial Review - February 26

Plant-based investing: An emerging investment strategy For vegans
Full story: Green Business Network

An increasing number of both institutional and individual investors are aligning their investment dollars with their values - this approach to investing totaled $8.72 trillion in assets under professional management in the United States alone as of 2016 according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing. Socially responsible investing strategies continue to evolve to reflect new concerns and heightened values that investors seek to integrate with their investment decisions. As people understand that decreasing meat consumption is good for the climate, there is simultaneously growing interest in plant-based diets - and in plant-based or vegan investing. Several members of the financial service industry and Green America's Green Business Network share their perspectives on this emerging investment strategy...   Read more...

Green Business Network - February 22

Canadians under 35 three times more likely than older generations to be vegans or vegetarians
Full story: Toronto Star

Younger Canadians are far more likely to be vegetarians or vegans than older generations, according to a survey that a researcher says is among the first of its kind. The poll, conducted for Dalhousie University professor Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, reported that 7.1 per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians, and 2.3 per cent consider themselves vegans - levels he says were not previously known. More than half were under the age of 35 [indicating numbers could go up].   Read more...

Toronto Star - March 13

More Lifestyles and Trends News:
Bentley designer predicts animal-free future for cars
VegNews (April 24)
Nine easy meals from a can of chickpeas
Toronto Star (March 13)
Easy vegan lunches

  Signs of the Times    

Gordon Ramsay finally gives vegan thing a try
Full story: VegNews

The celebrity chef - who has publicly mocked vegans for at least 10 years-has changed his mind about plant-based food. Ramsay surprised his social media fans [recently] with a cryptic message about veganism. "Going to give this #vegan thing a try," Ramsay tweeted alongside a photograph of what appears to be a vegan-friendly pizza.   Read more...

VegNews - April 17

U.S. ranchers fight against vegetarian 'fake meat'
Full story: USA Today

Some see plant-based food products as a fad, others see them as a revolutionary force in the food industry. Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are combining plant-based ingredients and science, rather than animals, to create fake-meat burgers and other products that taste like the real thing.vNow U.S. Cattlemen's Association is looking to draw a line in the sand. The association launched what could be the first salvo in a long battle against plant-based foods.   Read more...

USA Today - February 25

Florida hospital offers vegan menu to patients
Full story: Care2

You'd think that by 2018 all hospitals would be providing healthy, nourishing food to their recovering patients. After all, as Hippocrates once said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, just became the first hospital in the state - and one of only a handful in the United States - to offer a 100 per cent vegan meal option to patients. "I was on rounds one day," Dr. David Dodson said, "and a patient of mine had been admitted to the hospital with a heart attack, and he had a stent. I happened to be rounding at noontime, and they were serving him a cheeseburger! And I said, 'Wait a minute, something's wrong here.'" The lightbulb went off for Dotson, and he pushed for better patient meal options. T   Read more...

Care2 - March 20

More Signs of the Times News:
InStyle Magazine pledges to be fur-free
DawnWatch Facebook Page (April 24)
Vegans now have their own cryptocurrency
Newsweek (February 28)
US-based Green Giant Fresh debuts six vegan meal bowls
Plant Based News (April 1)
Compassion Over Killing prompts line of vegan foods at Starbucks
COK (March 21)

  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Australian MP announces bill to phase out live sheep exporting
Video source: SkyNews Australia

MP Sussan Ley says "We have to lift our eyes; we have to focus on what is really happening and we have to recognise that these exporters have had years, if not decades, to clean up their act. It is 'inherently impossible' to transport sheep to the Middle East during the northern summer in a humane manner. Particularly if the exporters are not interested in doing it." [You can send a note of thanks to Sussan Ley at]   Watch video...

SkyNews Australia - April 19

Nicholas Kristof: Choosing animals over people?
Full story: New York Times

Hearts melt seeing the wildlife in the Dzanga Sangha rain forest. But is it wrong to focus on animal welfare when humans are suffering? Are we betraying our own species when we write checks to help gorillas (or puppies or wild horses)? Is it wrongheaded to fight for elephants and rhinos (or farm animals at home) while five million children still die each year before the age of 5? It's a legitimate question that I've wondered about over the years. But I've come to believe that on the contrary, conserving rhinos or gorillas - or speaking up for tortured farm animals at home - is good for humans, too. At the broadest level, it's a mistake to pit sympathy for animals against sympathy for humans. Compassion for other species can also nurture compassion for fellow humans. Empathy isn't a zero-sum game.   Read more...

New York Times - April 7

Toronto restaurant owner under fire for deer carving stunt during animal rights protest
Full story: The West Australian

A Toronto restaurant owner is under fire after slicing up a deer leg during an animal rights protest outside his eatery. The protesters were holding signs emblazoned with slogans such as 'Murder' and 'Animals are not ours to use' outside Michael Hunter's restaurant, Antler Kitchen and Bar. Hunter responded by taking an animal leg to the front window of his restaurant and carving it in full view of the protesters.   Read more...

The West Australian - March 28

More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:
Former Australian MP Craig Emerson quotes Ghandi in calling for end to live export
"You can't call yourself a civilized society and treat animals like this." - SkyNews (April 18)
Redacted tonight: Our national torture industry
By comedian Lee Camp - highly recommended ! - RT (March 10)
21 major tech companies join forces to stop wildlife trafficking
Care2 (March 9)
Kangaroo culling film labelled 'misleading' and a 'beat-up' by industry
ABC, Australia (March 6)
Free-range eggs laid by ‘mutilated’ hens
Times, UK (April 8)

Also of interest:

Books and Films
The Last Pig - Beautifully documented journey of a former pig farmer turned veganic veggie farmer
The Minimalist Vegan: A Simple Manifesto On Why To Live With Less Stuff And More Compassion - By Michael & Masa Ofei
Vegan Comfort Classics - By Lauren Toyota - hot for food blog
But I Could Never Go Vegan! - By Kristy Turner - Keepin' it kind

Animal Rights Conference - Los Angeles, June 28 - July 1
Compprehensive list of global VegFests

One Step for Animals - not eating chicken is the most impactful thing to do - make Wednesday Hensday from now on!
Veganland - Eureka! We found it - You can help Gentle World create a very special place for humans and animals in Hawaii
Pledge to eat less meat - important and meaningful initiative from Avaaz - a place to sign even if you are already veg
Vegan Health - comprehensive health and nutrition info from Vegan Outreach
Soi Dog - remarkable rescue organization, working to end the dog meat trade
RescueDiaries on YouTube
Petition - Ask Kraft foods to ditch dairy from their BOCA burgers and stop the cruelty
Petition: Ban fur farming in Ontario, Canada
Petition: Tell Animal Rescue Groups: Adopt a Vegan Policy to Save the Animals and the Earth - just makes sense!
Petition: Stop the cruel commercial killing of baby seals - Humane Society International

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Email:   Barbi

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TVA Vegetarian Directory
The Vegetarian Directory is a concise compilation of vegetarian-friendly restaurants, bakeries, caterers, food stores, organic produce suppliers, cooking classes, vacation spots, bookstores and organizations in the Toronto area. The web edition and regular updates are available at the link below. You can also pick it up free in the Toronto Area at over 140 natural food stores, restaurants, bakeries, libraries and non-profit organizations, as well as the TVA.
Website:   TVA Vegetarian Directory

TVA Groups and Meetups

Vegetarians of High Park
Get to know other vegetarians or vegans living or working in the High Park/Bloor West Village/Junction area of Toronto. The group meets for bi-monthly social dinners, which may be at local veg-friendly restaurants, or as potlucks. To stay in the loop about upcoming events, check out the website or email.
Website:   Vegetarians of High Park

East End Vegetarians Group
This group is for vegetarians, vegans and the veg-curious living in the Beach, Upper Beach, and Leslieville area of Toronto, wanting to meet and network with likeminded people in the area. They meet at restaurants in the area and the group may plan for other outings/events in the future as well. Email to be added to the mailing list and find out about the next event.

York Region/North York Vegetarian Group
We welcome new and experienced vegetarians as well as anyone wishing to make a transition to a vegetarian lifestyle. All ages welcome. Events take place at various locations in York Region and North York. Please RSVP with Rachelle at the email below.

Veggies of Halton and Peel
For all TVA members and friends in the regional municipalities of Halton and Peel. We are a social group, but group members can decide what amount of advocacy, education and outreach (if any) to also engage in. For more information please leave a message at the TVA office or email.

DurhamVeg Group
If you're in the Durham region and would like to learn more about a vegetarian lifestyle, this group offers friendly, informal support and meets monthly (first non-holiday Wednesday of each month) at a local restaurant. Other events are also scheduled from time to time. For more details, visit the DurhamVeg website, or email.
Website:   DurhamVeg

York Region Vegetarian Families
Families will meet once a month at different venues throughout York Region. Families are encouraged to share ideas about meeting activities and places with us! Please contact Taunya at the email below to get added to the mailing list, and for questions or comments.
Email:   Taunya

Vegan Baking Group
Inviting all vegan hobby-bakers! The vegan baking group hosts potluck-style meetings giving people an opportunity to practice their vegan baking skills, exchange advice and ideas about vegan baking, and get feedback on vegan creations! Click the email below to be added to the email list and find out about upcoming potlucks.

Toronto Veg/Vegan Families
Get to know families who are also vegan, vegetarian or planning to make the big change in the Greater Toronto Area. Email or find them on Meet Up at the web address below.

Veggie Drinks
Join the Toronto Vegetarian Association for Veggie Drinks. Veggie Drinks is an opportunity for vegetarians and vegans to meet, talk advocacy, and network with other members of Toronto's veg community. Events are located at different veg-friendly businesses around the GTA, where short presentations will be made on the latest in veg-news. Find out more info and RSVP at the email link below.

Vegetarians in Their Twenties (VITT)
This group is for Torontonians in their twenties who are interested in vegetarianism and would like to go out and have fun! As well as going to vegetarian restaurants, we try to have a variety of events to appeal to everyone's tastes. For more details and upcoming events search for the group on Facebook: VITT - Vegetarians in their Twenties or email.

Queer Veggie Social Group
TVA Queer Veggie Social is a once-per-month dinner social for Toronto's vegetarian and vegan LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi and trans) communities and their friends. All ages welcome. New members welcome! To receive info on events or RSVP for events email to one of the addresses below.

Dinner Social Group
Dinner SocialPlease join us for good vegetarian food and lively conversation at our upcoming social dinners (and brunches) on the 3rd or 4th Thursday (or Saturday) of each month. For more information or to RSVP, please leave a message at the TVA office or e-mail Taunya at the address below. Coordinators: George, Jim and Taunya.

TVA Reading Group
Love to devour good books and great food in fabulous like-minded company? If so, we've got a group for you. Come and join TVA Reads, our new monthly Monday evening reading group. For more information or to join the group contact Shãn at the email below.
Email:   Shãn
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