In this edition...
Health and Environment
John Hopkins University: Choose a vegan lifestyle to combat global warming
Full story: The John Hopkins News-letter
While the Bush administration denies it, global warming is a true threat. However, what they don't say on the eleven o'clock news is that there is something each person can do to reverse climate change.
The principle cause of climate change is CO2 emissions. Ways to reduce CO2 on an individual basis would be to drive less...use fuel-efficient cars... make clean energy choices...and simply turn out the lights. Choosing a vegan lifestyle also reduces carbon emissions by eliminating the need for the CO2 producing beef and dairy industry. It is critical that we unite to stop climate change.
The John Hopkins News-letter - February 25, 2005
Good carbs: Whole grains fight cancer
Full story: Kansas City Infozine
New research reported by the American Institute for Cancer Research shows that whole grains like corn, whole wheat, oats and brown rice have powerful antioxidants - cancer-fighting agents - that have gone undocumented for years. Whole grains, the study found, exhibit a level of anti-cancer activity that is equal to, and sometimes greater than, the level known to occur in vegetables and fruits.
These new findings may partially explain why diets high in whole grains can help reduce the incidence of colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Of the whole grains tested, corn had the highest total antioxidant activity, followed by whole wheat, oats and brown rice.
Kansas City Infozine - March 4, 2005
Milk not the white stuff for strong bones researchers conclude
Full story: Yahoo! News/Reuters
Children who drink more milk do not necessarily develop healthier bones, researchers said in a report that stresses exercise and modest consumption of calcium-rich foods such as tofu and broccoli.
Appearing in the journal Pediatrics, the report drew its conclusions from previously published studies and was written by researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which advocates a strict vegetarian diet. "Under scientific scrutiny, the support for the milk myth crumbles. This analysis of 58 published studies shows that the evidence on which U.S. dairy intake recommendations are based is scant," said study author Dr. Amy Lanou.
Yahoo! News/Reuters - March 7, 2005
More milk news:
News.telegraph (February 25, 2005)
WebMD (February 24, 2005)
U.S. government report questions mad cow feed compliance
Full story: Houston Chronicle
The effectiveness of the most important U.S. safeguard against mad cow disease was questioned when a government report accused the Food and Drug Administration of overstating feed mill compliance with a ban on cattle remains in animal feed.
The Government Accountability Office report was released as many U.S. lawmakers seek to prevent Canadian cattle from entering the United States because of concerns that its neighbor was not effectively enforcing its own animal feed ban. "We believe FDA is overstating industry's compliance with the animal feed ban and understating the potential risk of BSE for U.S. cattle in its reports to Congress and the American people," the GAO report said.
Houston Chronicle - March 14, 2005
Washington Times (March 3, 2005)
BBC News (March 17, 2005)
The Guardian (March 4, 2005)
More bad news about red meat: Too much harms long-term health
Full story: Yahoo! News/Reuters
When it comes to high protein diets and health, the source of the protein really does matter, new research suggests. After following nearly 30,000 women for 15 years, investigators found that women were more likely to die from heart disease if they often substituted red meat for carbohydrates. In contrast, swapping vegetable sources of protein for carbs appeared to protect women from heart disease.
"Our main finding was that animal compared to vegetable sources of protein seem to have a different effect on dying from heart disease," (said the) study author from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. The investigators found that women who most often ate vegetable protein in place of carbohydrates and animal protein were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease. But the more red meat and dairy products women substituted for carbohydrates, the more their risk of heart disease increased.
Yahoo! News/Reuters - February 23, 2005
(in case you thought fish was the answer) ENN (March 17, 2005)
Good news about soy: study may show link to lower blood pressure
Full story: Science Daily
The medicinal benefits of soybeans may finally be explained in on ongoing study at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study is investigating the effect of chemicals in the soy plant, isoflavones, in reducing hypertension in menopausal women. Another two-year study is examining the effect of these same soy isoflavones on osteoporosis in menopausal women.
"There doesn't appear to be any downside to soy," said Dr. Addison Taylor, professor of medicine at BCM. Concerns about conventional estrogen replacement therapy, based on its connection to an increased risk of breast cancer, have compelled many women to consider "natural" alternatives such as soy.
Science Daily - March 14, 2005
Indonesia reports birdflu outbreak in chickens
Full story: Yahoo! News/Reuters
JAKARTA - Bird flu has re-emerged in Indonesia's main island of Java and South Sulawesi province since the start of the year, prompting the government to slaughter affected fowl, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday.
H.R. Wasito, director-general of animal husbandry at the ministry, said around 24,000 fowl died this month in South Sulawesi and more than 13,000 in West Java province in January. He said the H5N1 strain, which can be deadly to humans, had been detected, but no cases had been reported in people. The H5N1 strain can jump from birds to humans and can be deadly. It has killed 34 Vietnamese, 12 Thais and one Cambodian.
(Editor's note: Why can they afford slaughter the birds, but not to put an end to the overcrowding that caused the outbreak?)
Yahoo! News/Reuters - March 16, 2005
Lifestyles and Trends
Professor creates international storm with "unethical" vegan diet comments
Full story: The California Aggie
UC Davis professor Lindsay Allen found herself amid international press coverage and the target of wrath from vegans around the globe for comments she made at a scientific conference that vegan diets for children are "unethical."
"There's absolutely no question that it's unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans," she said. "There's a lot of empirical research that will show the very adverse effects on child development of doing that."
Allen's comments created a backlash among vegan advocacy groups who labeled the report biased for studying already-undernourished Kenyan children. They also criticized the study for accepting funding from the National Cattleman's Association, a U.S. meat industry group. (Editor's Note: Aren't those cattlemen crafty? But how does such bad science even get into the field? Surely reputable researchers would have refused the study or structured it to compare the addition of vegetable protein sources and over a long period.)
The California Aggie - March 2, 2005
Sacrmento State Hornet (March 2, 2005)
iol.com (March 3, 2005)
Guardian Unlimited (February 22, 2005)
Vegetarian experiences: Family finds taking the "Veggie Challenge" painless
Full story: Toronto Star
Twice a year, the Toronto Vegetarian Association runs its Veggie Challenge. Carnivores are challenged to go meatless for a week, and vegetarians to go vegan. I decided to try the experiment. I decided going vegan was too extreme. We became ovo/lacto vegetarians. "Lots of people do this sort of thing in stages," advises Jenny McQueen, membership director of the Toronto Vegetarian Association. Converting meat eaters is doable, McQueen says, because "a lot of people are thinking about healthier diets."
During my family's vegetarian week, with all those grains and greens and legumes, we had never eaten more healthily. We were filled with fibre and vitamins. We didn't feel deprived. "I didn't intend to stay a vegetarian all week," my husband confessed. "But it was easy. I didn't mind at all." However, he returns to his meat. I eat a spicy salami sandwich.
Toronto Star - March 16, 2005
Research subjects find slimming, heart-healthy vegetarian diet easy to adopt
Full story: Pak Tribune
Contrary to popular belief, it's easy for people to switch from a regular diet to a vegetarian diet that's good for the heart. So says a study in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. The study included well-educated, postmenopausal, overweight women who were divided into two groups. One group ate a low-fat vegetarian diet while the other group ate a controlled diet.
The women who ate the vegetarian diet lost much more weight than women in the other group. The study also found that 89 percent of the women on the vegetarian diet said they felt mostly or completely used to the diet after 14 weeks, and 86 percent said they could adhere to the vegetarian diet at least most of the time in the future.
Pak Tribune - February 23, 2005
Vegans must be ever vigilant - even when toasting to their health
Full story: The Publican.com
The (UK) Vegetarian Society is urging licensees to wise up to which alcoholic drinks are suitable for vegetarians. The society is posing the question because it believes that few licensees can provide well-informed answers.
While many know that cask-conditioned ales use finings to help clear the liquid of yeast and other debris, how many know that the finings derive from the bladders of tropical fish? Or that wine production uses similar animal-derived finings? It may seem a minor point, but it is something that the increasingly large number of vegetarian consumers will want to know.
The Publican.com - March 11, 2005
Any tears for this? UK Atkins diet company to close
Full story: BBC News
British dieters' fascination with the Atkins diet could be over, with the company appointing an administrator for the UK arm of its business. It will be appointed after Atkins Nutritionals UK was hit by lower-than-expected sales of its own branded dietary products.
A poll conducted last year suggested that an estimated three million people in the UK had tried the controversial diet. Followers can eat unrestricted amounts (of) meat and other high protein food while restricting carbohydrates. Many scientists and nutritionists, however, say that, if used long-term, its higher fat content could lead to kidney problems - and some have even suggested that it could increase the risk of bowel cancer.
BBC News - March 16, 2005
"I don't eat meat" - ten different ways: Guide for vegetarian travellers
Full story: Toronto Star
Planning a trip? This article tells you how to say variations of "I do not eat meat, fish, pork or poultry" in 10 different languages, courtesy of the International Vegetarian Union. For example:
Spanish: Yo no como carne, puerco o pollo.
French: Je ne mange pas de viande, de porc
ou de poulet.
German: Ich esse kein Fleisch, auch kein Huhn und keinen Fisch.
Italian: Non mangio carne, nč pollo o pesce.
Toronto Star - February 26, 2005
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Cows hold grudges, say scientists
Full story: News.com.au/The Australian
Once they were a byword for mindless docility. But cows have a complex mental life in which they bear grudges, nurture friendships and become excited by intellectual challenges, researchers have found. Cows are capable of strong emotions such as pain, fear and even anxiety about the future. But if farmers provide the right conditions, they can also feel great happiness. The findings have emerged from studies of farm animals that have found similar traits in pigs, goats and chickens. They suggest such animals may be so emotionally similar to humans that welfare laws need to be reconsidered.
John Webster (of Bristol University said): "People have assumed intelligence is linked to the ability to suffer, and that because animals have smaller brains they suffer less than humans. That is a pathetic piece of logic." The assumption that farm animals cannot suffer from conditions that would be intolerable for humans is partly based on the idea they have no sense of self. Latest research suggests this is untrue. "Sentient animals have the capacity to experience pleasure and are motivated to seek it," Professor Webster said. "You only have to watch how cows and lambs both seek and enjoy pleasure when they lie with their heads raised to the sun on a perfect English summer's day. Just like humans."
News.com.au/The Australian - February 28, 2005
The Scotsman (February 26, 2005)
International Herald Tribune (March 2, 2005)
Are they serious? Open season on cats in Wisconsin
Full story: ENN/Reuters
A proposal that would allow hunters in Wisconsin to shoot and kill feral cats is causing, well, a hissy fit. "It's entirely cruel behavior to have an open season on cats. Just because a cat doesn't have a collar doesn't mean a cat has no owners," said Jessica Frohman, community outreach and policy coordinator for Alley Cat Allies, a group which espouses no-kill methods of controlling wild felines.
The rationale is that wild cats prey on songbirds in disproportionate numbers. Not so, says Frohman. Man is a far worse predator, she said, with skyscrapers and other man-made structures killing countless migrating wild birds in collisions each year. The true solution to the country's millions of feral city and country cats, she said, is to trap them, have them spayed or neutered and then released back into the wild. Killing them, she said, only causes colonies of existing cats to expand in size to take up the territory of those that have been eliminated.
ENN/Reuters - March 9, 2005
Activists ride to the rescue of mustangs facing slaughter
Full story: San Jose Mercury News
For the first time in more than a generation, the mustang - a symbol of the West - can be slaughtered for horse meat. In December, Congress repealed the 34-year-old ban on the slaughter of the wild horses that run free across the West. The move has brought a powerful backlash from activists, who want to reinstate full protection for the mustangs. A bill to reinstate the slaughter ban was introduced in Congress last month.
Responsibility for rounding up horses on federal land and selling them rests with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which has yet to send any of the animals to slaughter.
BLM officials said the agency is reaching out to animal-protection groups and is optimistic that before the summer, it will find new homes for the 8,900 horses and burros that could be subject to slaughter.
San Jose Mercury News - February 25, 2005
Slate (February 16, 2005)
Hawaii: Bill would ban killing dogs for human consumption
Full story: Hawaii News
HONOLULU - The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would make it a felony to kill, distribute or purchase any dog or cat for human consumption. The original House bill dealt only with stray or stolen dogs and cats, but the committee added language that included all canines and felines. (Editor's note: Does this mean it's still allowed for animal food?)
Animal Rights Hawaii director Cathy Goeggel says federal officials believe the use of dog meat is a thriving business in Hawaii. She says there is a public health concern because there is no oversight over the slaughter, packaging or sanitation of cat and dog carcasses.
Hawaii News - February 12, 2005
Lawsuit fights deceptive animal care claim by egg sellers
Full story: Compassion Over Killing/AP
An animal advocacy group said it is filing a lawsuit claiming that several retailers are peddling eggs labeled "Animal Care Certified," even though the egg industry routinely treats the birds inhumanely. The suit alleges that the grocery chains are selling eggs stamped with a logo that deceives customers.
Compassion Over Killing argues that the standards are too lax. The suit complains that hens are allowed to be kept in cages with bottoms smaller than the size of a sheet of paper, that they're starved to the point of losing 30 percent of their body weight and have their beaks partially burned off without painkillers.
Compassion Over Killing/AP - February 15, 2005
Now an elephant really does have to fear a mouse - first internet kill
Full story: Animal Planet
Hunting wild animals is nothing new in Texas. But a new company called Live-Shot.com has added a modern, controversial twist to the primal desire to kill: Internet hunting. Now anyone with a computer and a modem can log on and fire real weapons. Howard Giles did it a few weeks ago, becoming the first known Internet hunter to bag a wild hog by remote control. Giles was sitting behind his computer in San Antonio. The pig was munching on corn about 50 miles away in the Texas Hill country.
"What started as a depraved idea has apparently become a sickening reality," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society (of the United States). John Lockwood, owner of Live-Shot.com, does not see what the fuss is all about. He said the animals are not penned up. "They're just as free-ranging as on any other ranch," he said.
Animal Planet - March 15, 2005
(and people say birds are dumb) Science Daily (March 15, 2005)
"Man The Hunter" theory doesn't have teeth according to a new book
Full story: Science Daily
Despite popular theories posed in research papers and popular literature, early man was not an aggressive killer, argues Robert W. Sussman, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences. Sussman's book, "Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators and Human Evolution," poses a new theory, based on the fossil record and living primate species, that primates have been prey for millions of years, a fact that greatly influenced the evolution of early man.
What Sussman and (co-author) Hart discovered is that Australopithecus afarensis (one of the better known early human species) was not dentally pre-adapted to eat meat. "It didn't have the sharp shearing blades necessary to retain and cut such foods," Sussman says. "These early humans simply couldn't eat meat. If they couldn't eat meat, why would they hunt?" It was not possible for early humans to consume a large amount of meat until fire was controlled and cooking was possible.
Science Daily - February 26, 2005
March 20 is Meatout Day 2005
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