In this edition...
Tsunami Stories and Relief Efforts
Vegetarian food relief making a difference
Source: Food for Life
Food for Life, the world's largest vegetarian food relief organization, is providing more than 20,000 freshly cooked vegetarian meals for the tsunami victims every day in Sri Lanka and Chennai. The organization was the first to respond to the victims, serving more than 1,000 meals in Sri Lanka on December 26, the day of the disaster.
Plans are currently in place to establish two new FFL teams to increase the distribution in Sri Lanka, where the need is greatest, from 10,000 to 30,000 meals daily.
Food for Life - January, 2005
Latest info from the region and donations:
Animals in danger after Tsunami muddies water, kills owners
Full story: ENN/AP
The tsunami that pounded South Asia last week has created a second tier of victims: animals. Dogs are homeless in Thailand. Cows, water buffalo and goats have died in Sri Lanka. A number of farm animals are roaming destroyed grazing land and drinking polluted water since their owners have died, said Sherry Grant, Asia director for Humane Society International.
Humans and animals have a "dynamic connection," Grant said during a three-country tour of Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. "The animals and their well-being ... connect to the humans because they are the providers" and can generate economic recovery, she said. Grant also noted that dogs were important companions for humans, but devastated families were now having to decide if they can feed one more mouth.
ENN/AP - January 4, 2005
Latest info from the region and donations:
Did animals sense Tsunami was coming?
Full story: National Geographic News
Before giant waves slammed into Sri Lanka and India coastlines ten days ago, wild and domestic animals seemed to know what was about to happen and fled to safety. Elephants screamed and ran for higher ground. Dogs refused to go outdoors. Flamingos abandoned their low-lying breeding areas. Zoo animals rushed into their shelters and could not be enticed to come back out.
Wildlife experts believe animals' more acute hearing and other senses might enable them to hear or feel the Earth's vibration, tipping them off to approaching disaster long before humans realize what's going on.
National Geographic News - January 4, 2005
Reuters (January 17, 2005)
Thai tsunami workers turn vegetarian
Full story: Reuters
BANGKOK - The gruesome task of retrieving the bodies of tsunami victims has turned many Thai rescue workers vegetarian, the Matichon newspaper said on Friday.
Matichon said vegetarian food was all the rage in one nearby village, where a makeshift relief kitchen produced about 1,000 boxes of meatless food a day. The newspaper quoted a survivor as saying that the smell of death had put her off meat.
Reuters - January 14, 2005
Health and Environment
Vegetarianism is good for blood pressure
Full story: NY Times (requires free reg.)
Many large-scale epidemiological studies have found that vegetarians are less likely than meat eaters to have high blood pressure. But moving from that observation to proof of cause and effect can be difficult, because the findings may reflect an unknown third factor - for example, a tendency of vegetarians to do other healthy things as well.
An article in the January issue of the journal Nutrition Reviews examined a number of studies that found ways around that difficulty, in some cases by comparing two groups who led similar lives except for diet. One set of researchers, for instance, turned to monks. Trappists are strict vegetarians, and Benedictines are not, and blood pressure, they found, was lower in Trappist monasteries.
NY Times (requires free reg.) - January 11, 2005
Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (Release, January 11, 2005)
BBC News (January 19, 2005)
Eating red meat ups colon cancer risk
Full story: TheBostonChannel.com
It's well documented that eating too much red meat can increase your risk of heart disease, but now a new study has found another important health risk. Eating red meats too often - nine times or more a week - ups your cancer risk considerably, according to a new study. "For people who reported high consumption of red meat and processed meat, we found about a 50 percent higher risk of colon cancer," American Medical Society Dr. Michael Thun said.
TheBostonChannel.com - January 11, 2005
Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (Release, January 11, 2005)
E-coli from meat linked to urinary tract infections
Full story: Science News
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common infectious disease in women. About half (of U.S. women) get a UTI in their lifetimes.
According to new research, (a) wave of multidrug-resistant UTIs may have a surprising source: eating meat. In a recent study, Lee Riley at the University of California, Berkeley and his colleagues link a multidrug-resistant strain of Escherichia coli isolated from beef cattle to clusters of UTIs in women across the country. If women can get UTIs from the food they eat, "that is a major public health concern," he says.
Science News - January 15, 2005
Vitamin E In plant seeds could halt prostate, lung cancer
Full story: Science Daily
The form of vitamin E found in many plant seeds - but not in most manufactured nutritional supplements - might halt the growth of prostate and lung cancer cells, according to a Purdue University study.
A team has found that gamma-tocopherol, which occurs naturally in walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, and in corn and sesame oils, inhibits the proliferation of lab-cultured human prostate and lung cancer cells. The vitamin's presence interrupts the synthesis of certain fatty molecules called sphingolipids, important components of cell membranes. However, the gamma-tocopherol leaves healthy human prostate cells unaffected, which could give it value as an anticancer agent.
Science Daily - December 30, 2004
Vegetarian diet would help crucial farm water conservation
Full story: Yahoo/AP
A growing population coupled with diminishing fresh water supplies should force major changes in the way the world's farmers water their crops in the coming decades, a recent study recommends. Since agriculture uses about 70 percent of the world's fresh water every year, farming should be the focus of intense conservation efforts, said David Pimentel, a professor at Cornell University.
The United Nations estimates world population will rise to 9.4 billion by 2050 from about 6.3 billion now. The increasing demand for water is already causing problems. It takes 3,500 liters of water to produce one kilogram of chicken, but 43,000 liters for the same amount of beef, Pimentel said. Rice needs about 1,600 liters of water per kilogram, but corn requires just 650 liters. "There are lots of things individuals can do to change food habits," he said.
Yahoo/AP - January 9, 2005
Lifestyles and Trends
Heirloom vegetables growing in popularity
Full story: Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
A recent study at the University of Texas suggests that the nutrient value of 43 common garden crops has dramatically declined from 1950 to the present. Scientists suggest that many garden vegetables and fruits have been developed over the years for increased yields and insect and disease resistance; at the expense of nutritive value. Some folks might also argue that flavor has also taken a back seat with many newer varieties.
Many gardeners have suspected this all along. This is why interest in heirloom vegetables has grown. Heirloom vegetable varieties are types of prized vegetables that have been preserved by families over generations. These vegetables were prized for their flavor, yield and their ability to grow in certain climates.
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - January 9, 2005
Food for thought on Judaism and vegetarianism
Full story: Canadian Jewish News
The Jewish Vegetarians of North America recently published their "Top 10 Reasons for Being a Kosher Vegetarian." First on the list: "Two words - buttered challah!" I welcomed this moment of levity about an issue that often generates a tremendous amount of passion on both sides of the table. When the plates are cleared, though, it seems to me that there are some compelling Jewish reasons for shifting our diets toward vegetarianism.....Rabbi Michael Skobac continues with a thoughtful review of the subject.
Canadian Jewish News - January 6, 2005
Vegetarianism is the lean choice
Full story: RedNova/Vegetarian Times
Although there is still much work to be done, the data are coming in: Vegetarians are significantly slimmer than meat eaters. On average, vegetarian men weigh nearly 17 pounds less and vegetarian women 7 pounds less than nonvegetarians, according to a major analysis of multiple studies by Joan Sabat, MD, chair of the department of nutrition at Loma Linda University in California. And vegans are the sleekest of all, according to a recent British study of 38,000 meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans.
Interestingly, scientists don't know precisely why vegetarians are leaner. "But one reason is definitely diet," says Sabat. The British researchers found that the food factors most strongly associated with gaining weight were high protein and low fiber intakes. By contrast, vegetarian diets are generally high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, not in protein.
RedNova/Vegetarian Times - January 2, 2005
Netscape (December, 2004)
Boca Ratan News (January 8, 2005)
Hardcore fans embrace vegetarian lifestyle
Full story: Winston-Salem Journal (journalnow.com)
Hardcore music, a type of underground music influenced by fast, abrasive punk rock, has a large following among teenagers in the Triad (North Carolina). The teenagers who attend these shows are often heavily pierced and wear T-shirts of bands with such names as Glass Casket and Tell Them I Died.
Many teenagers who attend hardcore shows live a lifestyle known as "straight edge." To be straight edge means you have taken a vow to be drug- and alcohol- free. Many teenagers who follow hardcore music are also strongly opposed to animal cruelty. Many have become vegetarian or vegan. Rob Turner, a junior at East Forsyth (says) "If people knew what was in that cute milk mustache they would definitely think twice about animal products," he said.
Winston-Salem Journal (journalnow.com) - January 3, 2005
Space colonies will be kinder, gentler places
Full story: ABC News
The goal of NASA's food scientists is two-pronged. One is to ensure that astronauts on board a spacecraft for long periods could have access to food that is safe and enjoyable to eat for five years - with no refrigeration. The other is to develop systems to grow, harvest and process foods on the surface of the moon or other planets such as Mars.
Meat-lovers traveling to Mars may have to go without. While developing an aquaculture might be possible, it's not feasible to raise livestock in space. "Animals would be competing for the same resources as you - oxygen, space and food," explained Lisa Mauer (a food scientist at Purdue University). "It only makes sense to rely on a plant-based, vegan-like diet." (Editor's note: Isn't it the same on earth?)
ABC News - December 20, 2004
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Mad cow fallout: sales of other animals down (some see this as bad news!)
Full story: The Toronto Star (requires free reg.)
Thanks to stiffer U.S. trade regulations, Canada's pork, sheep and goat producers - and even bison and llama breeders - say their prospects are uncertain and that the government and consumers have abandoned them in favour of cattle and beef farmers.
"If the border doesn't open soon, a lot of goat farmers are going to be out of business," (said Stan Johnston, chairman of the Canadian National Goat Federation). Even those farmers who aren't trying to ship live animals across the U.S. border have been hurt by the ban. "There's no doubt we're facing a pork crisis in this country as well as beef," said Clare Schlegel, president of the pork council.
The Toronto Star (requires free reg.) - January 15, 2005
MSNBC (December 23, 2004)
Dairy farms can keep milking their "Happy Cows" campaign
Full story: San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com)
An animal-rights group's suit against a state milk board for its "Happy Cows'' advertising campaign was put out to pasture Tuesday by a state appeals court, which said state agencies can't be sued for false advertising.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed the suit in December 2002 against the California Milk Producers Advisory Board, whose ads showed cows grazing in green pastures with the slogan, "Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.'' The ads, funded by dairy farms, were misleading, Peta argued, because California dairy cows commonly spend their lives in dirt and mud, are repeatedly impregnated and milked throughout their pregnancies, often suffer painful maladies, and are slaughtered when they can no longer meet the industry's production demands.
San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com) - January 12, 2005
No charges in chicken torture case
Full story: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Criminal charges will not be filed against workers who allegedly tortured chickens at a West Virginia processing plant, a prosecutor said yesterday. "After reviewing the evidence and conferring with other prosecutors, I've made the decision the incident does not rise to the level of a criminal prosecution due to the fact that these were chickens in a slaughterhouse," she said. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals quickly condemned the decision and vowed to keep fighting.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - January 12, 2005
Update: Orphaned cub of Pyrenean bear still alive
Full story: animalplanet.com
The one-year-old cub of a female brown bear killed by a hunter in the French Pyrenees two months ago is still alive and looks to be in "good shape" for the winter hibernation period, an official said.
The cub is the offspring of a 15-year-old female bear named Cannelle, who was shot by a hunter Nov. 1, 2004. Cannelle was the last female bear of pure Pyrenean stock.
animalplanet.com - January 12, 2005
Are They Serious?
Cloned cat sale generates ethics debate
Full story: MSNBC
SAN FRANCISCO - The first cloned-to-order pet sold in the United States is named Little Nicky, a 9-week-old kitten delivered to a Texas woman saddened by the loss of a cat she had owned for 17 years. The kitten cost its owner $50,000 and was created from DNA from her beloved cat, named Nicky, who died last year.
Yet while Little Nicky, who was delivered two weeks ago, frolics in his new home, the kitten's creation and sale has reignited fierce ethical and scientific debate over cloning technology, which is rapidly advancing. The company that created Little Nicky, Sausalito-based Genetic Savings and Clone, said it hopes by May to have produced the world's first cloned dog - a much more lucrative market than cats.
MSNBC - December 23, 2004
Meat company test markets extra-fatty pork
Full story: Chicago Sun-Times
The world's largest pork processing company has some good news for low-carb dieters: Fattier pork is on its way. Smithfield Foods is test-marketing a new, higher-fat pork that takes the opposite approach of the company's Lean Generation Pork line, developed more than a decade ago to appeal to health-conscious carnivores.
People who subscribe to low-carb diets should remember that fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates, said Cynthia Sass, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
Chicago Sun-Times - January 16, 2005
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