In this edition...
Health and Environment
Veggie power: Fat source key in low-fat cholesterol lowering diet
Full story: MSNBC/Reuters
A [plant-based] low-fat diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans has twice the cholesterol-lowering power of a conventional low-fat diet - even when the two diets have the same amount of calories and fat. Writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, [researchers] said the study suggests that low-fat diets may often fail to lower cholesterol because they contain the wrong nutrients.
"The effect of diet on lowering cholesterol has been really minimized and undermined by a lot of clinicians and researchers saying, "Yes, it has an effect but it's really trivial: It would be better to put you on drugs to control your cholesterol,'" said Christopher Gardner of Stanford University, who led the study.
MSNBC/Reuters - May 2, 2005
USA Today (May 23, 2005)
BBC News (May 17, 2005)
Best to take Canada's new "politically influenced" food guide with grain of salt?
Full story: Torono Star
The Canada Food Guide is based on politics and economics and not the science of good health, says a food systems expert. Two out of the four food groups in the guide are in essence meat and dairy. The focus on animal food products "is so lopsided it doesn't give it any credibility," says Wayne Roberts, project co-ordinator for the Toronto Food Policy Council.
But Carolyn Bennett, minister of state for public health, says it is important not to "go to war with the food industry." While she admits some politics are involved in any government document, she says, evolving science and social and cultural trends have a bigger impact on the food guide. The guide should help Canadians make educated food choices so they can influence the food industry to change though their purchasing habits, she says.
Torono Star - May 20, 2005
Five steps to make the new [U.S.] eating guidelines work for the health of your family AND the planet.
ENN/The Green Guide (May 5, 2005)
Soy joins crops damaging environment for wastefull animal feed
Full story: The Independent
It is stark. It is scarcely believable. But the ruthless obliteration of the Amazon rainforest continues at a headlong rate new figures reveal - and today we reveal the man who more than any other represents the forces making it happen. He is Blairo Maggi, the millionaire farmer and uncompromising politician presiding over the Brazilian boom in soya bean production. He is known in Brazil as O Rei da Soja - the King of Soy.
Brazilian environmentalists are calling him something else - the King of Deforestation. For the soya boom, feeding a seemingly insatiable world market for soya beans as cattle feed, is now the main driver of rainforest destruction. The soya boom is bitterly criticised by environmentalists. "It is turning the rainforest into cattle feed. It is gross," said John Sauven, head of the rainforest campaign for Greenpeace UK.
The Independent - May 20, 2005
Bird flu found in pigs raising fears of human danger
Full story: Yahoo! News
Indonesian researchers have found a strain of bird flu in pigs on the densely populated island of Java, raising fears the virus could more easily spread to humans. The scientist who made the discovery identified the strain [as] the virus that has jumped from chickens to humans elsewhere in Southeast Asia, killing [52 people]. Until now, human infections have been traced to direct contact with infected poultry or poultry waste. But last fall, the World Health Organization urged scientists to examine other mammals, in particular pigs.
Pigs, which are genetically similar to people, often carry the human influenza virus. Experts worry that pigs infected with both bird flu and its human equivalent could act as a "mixing bowl," resulting in a more dangerous, mutant virus that might spread to people more easily - and then from person to person. They fear that could fuel a devastating flu outbreak, vastly exceeding the current annual death toll from human influenza, which kills 500,000 to one million people around the world each year.
Yahoo! News - May 14, 2005
Vietnam study raises WHO concerns of pandemic.
Toronto Star (May 19, 2005)
Yahoo! News/Reuters (May 23, 2005)
China slaughters thousands of cows in possible foot and mouth outbreak
Full story: Macleans
Chinese authorities have slaughtered thousands of cattle at dairy farms outside Beijing in an effort to stop an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The disease affects cows, sheep, goats and other cloven-footed animals, causing blisters on the mouth and feet. It isn't usually fatal, but authorities slaughter animals to stop its spread.
The [South China Morning Post] said 16 Chinese cattle imported to Hong Kong in March were found to have Asia 1 type foot and mouth disease - the first time that type of the disease was found in the former British territory. That prompted the destruction of 7,147 pigs, 560 cattle and 120 goats that were at the same Hong Kong slaughterhouse as the mainland cattle, the newspaper said.
Macleans - May 23, 2005
More cow news:
CNN.com (April 22, 2005)
Lifestyles and Trends
Vegetarian experiences: Diet decision gives sense of satisfaction
Full story: OhMyNews.com (Korea)
Over the years I have made many decisions...But there are a few distinctions I've made in my life that I can strongly stand behind; that give me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. One such decision was to become a vegetarian. Many other people have made the same dietary distinction. Some switch for the health benefits, some for the environment and still others for animal rights. For me, it was a process that has taken two years, much adjusting, much reading and much opposition.
Before I made the switch, I couldn't imagine not eating a tenderized animal ever again...But then I discovered a book - or better stated - it found me: Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser. I found myself at an intellectual and health crossroads. I had to make the switch. But cold turkey? It seemed too hard for me, so I began to phase it out...In an age where we over-medicate, dwindle resources and point fingers, I find it's refreshing to know that you can make life-changes regardless of what others think.
OhMyNews.com (Korea) - May 8, 2005
Eats shoots, leaves
Full story: L.A. Times
I was checking out at the grocery store the other day when the clerk asked whether I wanted the green tops removed from my carrots. I started to reflexively answer "yes," as I always have except for that brief period I was in charge of feeding my daughter's guinea pig Dovey. But this time I hesitated. I had a sudden flash of what those carrot tops smelled like when I was chopping them up - intensely green, like turbocharged parsley.
I already had a big, old gnarly celery root, and I thought for a moment about how those two might go together. At first it was just a bit of whimsy: What if I combined one common vegetable's little-used top with another common vegetable's little-used bottom? I figured that since I already had one weird vegetable in my basket, I might as well go all the way. I told the clerk to leave the tops on. [Featuring some delicious ideas for the parts of veggies that more often go in the compost.]
L.A. Times - May 18, 2005
Let's hope insurance company's ethical investing catches fire
Full story: The Observer (UK)
Co-operative Insurance Society will soon be the first insurance company to incorporate policyholders' ethical views about the companies where it invests for its investment, life and general insurance businesses. The CIS has had a responsible shareholding programme since 1999, but following a year-long consultation with customers, it now has a clear mandate on specific areas of concern to policyholders.
Barry Clavin, SRI policies manager at CIS, says: "The top issues are the environment, human and labour rights, animal welfare, how things are marketed and social inclusion." The consensus was that responsible investment and decent returns should go hand in hand: "The people for whom money came first were in the minority." Clavin does not foresee an increase in premiums: 'We never believe that people should have to compromise for ethics so the pricing has to be competitive. We have to generate sufficient returns to make us attractive and be ethical at the same time.
The Observer (UK) - May 22, 2005
Celebrity viewpoint: Entertainer Moby expounds on his philosophy
Full story: Toronto Star
Moby doesn't play by the rules, but he's polite about it. He's a fringe musician and a hitmaker whose sounds are heard in commercials and movies...An environmentalist and a vegan. Long gone are the Wendy's and Burger King days of his youth. The soon-to-turn-40 musician has added "tea guru" to his resume. Ironically it started with a hangover. Somehow, the idea [of opening a bar] evolved into a wholesome tea house serving vegetarian, anti-hangover food.
It's called teany. The name is perfect. It's tiny, it's in New York and it serves tea - 98 varieties, plus meals, snacks and sweets. Moby has been a vegetarian for 20 years, a vegan for 17. "I became a vegetarian because I liked animals," he says. "The more I found out about the way animals are treated at factory farms, the more I wanted to be a vegan... I feel a little uncomfortable proselytizing about veganism. But if everyone were a vegan, the world would be a nicer place."
Toronto Star - April 27, 2005
Example: "The next time someone asks you, `What do vegans eat?' please feel free to show them this five-course menu..." - Toronto Star (April 27, 2005)
Toronto Star (April 27, 2005)
An interesting article featuring the experiences and observations of others as well as Moby - SFGate.com (May 11, 2005)
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Question for carnivores: Was your meat smarter than your pet?
Full story: ABC News
If you could talk to the animals, would they have anything to say? New research suggests they might. One sheep who got a reward every time she recognized a human face correctly on a video screen scored a perfect 50 out of 50. Hamlet the pig is a computer wiz. He gets a reward every time he uses a joystick designed for a chimp to move a cursor into a blue area on a computer monitor. A Jack Russell terrier couldn't achieve such a task after a year of trying.
New research shows that chickens can be taught to run the thermostat of the chicken coop. Cows have been known to form lifelong friendships, and one recent study found that they actually show excitement when they've learned something new. If farm animals are intelligent creatures, should we all be vegetarians? "I stopped eating meat as soon as I began to really think about it," said Jane Goodall. "People actually don't think about it."
ABC News - May 22, 2005
Campaigners' film shows cruelty of animal transport methods
Full story: The Scotsman
Compassion in World Farming [is screening] a film, which they say shows harrowing cruelty suffered by farm stock during transportation, for delegates at a conference [which began May 23] of the World Organisation for Animal Health - the veterinary equivalent of the World Health Organisation. Compassion in World Farming said it hoped its film will leave delegates in no doubt that global standards for the care of animals in transit are long overdue.
The film shows: Dead farm animals piled on the deck of a ship, which travelled from Australia to Kuwait. Survivors went for slaughter without any pre-stunning...Pigs, which endured a 28-hour journey from Canada to California without or food or water amid intense heat. They were then held for 34 hours in ship containers and finally suffered a five day sea voyage to Hawaii...Appalling scenes of botched and cruel slaughter in abattoirs. The campaigners are calling for food, water and rest periods for transported animals and for the outlawing of some transit practices.
The Scotsman - May 19, 2005
news.com.au (May 24, 2005)
abc.net.au (May 24, 2005)
Animals to get official status in French civil code
Full story: Yahoo! News
Animals are for the first time to get an official status of their own under France's 200 year-old civil code, in a move that reflects the country's arrival from a rural to urban society. Justice Minister Dominique Perben approved the recommendation of an expert's report that animals should be recognised to be "protected property, as living and sentient beings."
Animal rights campaigners welcomed the proposed change, which brings France in line with legislation in the EU and other European countries. Under the EU's proposed constitution - to go before a referendum in France on May 29 - states are obliged to "pay full regard to the requirements of animal welfare."
Yahoo! News - May 11, 2005
Animal experts quit KFC over confidentiality pact
Full story: Yahoo! News
Two animal welfare experts said they resigned as advisors to fast-food chain KFC after the company asked them to sign an agreement preventing them from speaking publicly about its policies on such issues as animal slaughter.
KFC has been criticized by animal rights activists, who claim the chain has not done enough to make sure the chickens it uses are cared for and slaughtered humanely. Last year, the issue reached a boiling point when a video made public by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) showed workers at a West Virginia chicken processing plant that supplies KFC ripping off birds' beaks, spitting tobacco into their mouths and eyes, and stomping and kicking them.
Yahoo! News - May 5, 2005
canoe.ca (April 27, 2005)
PETA official calls letter to Pamela Anderson "patronizing and sleazy." - CTV.ca (May 2, 2005)
Panel: Killing animals in woodchippers OK
Full story: Merced Sun-Star (CA)
Lawmakers on the Assembly Agriculture Committee rejected an effort by animal-rights activists to ban the killing of farm animals by using [wood] chipping machinery, more commonly used to grind up trees and other yard trimmings. The activists wanted the rare practice of death-by-chipper banned after a 2003 incident in Escondido, when a poultry farmer fed 30,000 live hens into a chipper in the wake of a scare over exotic Newcastle disease.
Animal-rights groups pressed lawmakers to make it illegal to kill animals by grinding, burning, burying, drowning, freezing and suffocating. But lawmakers sided with farm groups that argued the Escondido incident was a freak occurrence that won't happen again. Bill Mattos, president of the Modesto-based California Poultry Federation...said the animal-rights groups are out to turn everyone into vegetarians. "We cannot legislate against stupidity," added Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews, D-Tracy, who chairs the ag committee.
Merced Sun-Star (CA) - April 21, 2005
Are They Serious? Unfortunately, Yes.
Now GM industry want veggie eaters to be cannibals as well as carnivores
Full story: Libery Post
Scientists have begun putting genes from human beings into food crops in a dramatic extension of genetic modification. The move, which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics, is bound to strengthen accusations that GM technology is creating "Frankenstein foods" and drive the controversy surrounding it to new heights. But supporters say that the controversial new departure presents no ethical problems and could bring environmental benefits.
In the first modification of its kind, Japanese researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice to enable it to digest pesticides and industrial chemicals. Professor Richard Meilan of Purdue University in Indiana says that plants modified with it could "clean up toxins" from contaminated land. But he and other scientists caution that if the gene were to escape to wild relatives of the rice it could create particularly vicious superweeds that were resistant to a wide range of herbicides.
Libery Post - April 25, 2005
Frogs saved from blender
Full story: CNN.com
LIMA, Peru - Peruvian officials saved some 4,000 endangered frogs from being whizzed into popular drinks after they were found hidden in an abattoir. "We were checking the fridges when out jumped a frog. It had escaped, they were in big crates," a spokesman for Lima city hall said. Frog cocktails are popular in the Andes because of their supposed aphrodisiac qualities. Shops in central Lima selling the drinks have tanks where customers can choose their frogs.
He said the Telmatobius frogs - which had apparently been brought from the southern lakes in the high Andes - were found stored in the abattoir. They were taken to a colonial fountain in central Lima to splash around before being returned to their native lakes by ecological police. "There were about 5,000 of them but 1,000 died because of the conditions and in transit," the spokesman said.
CNN.com - April 28, 2005
Easy vegan: "meaty" animal-free recipes
Full story: North County Times
Anyone who has ever considered a vegan diet probably has heard plenty of arguments against it. There's not enough protein. The selections are too limited. Life without ice cream and cheese is just not acceptable. To thath Janet Hudson says: How about a cheesy artichoke fondue? Some hot chicken wings? Lobster wontons? Beef burgundy fondue? Those and more than 400 other recipes are included in Hudson's book, "The New Vegan: Fresh, Fabulous and Fun" ($19.95, HarperCollins UK).
"People get scared and think, 'I can't have this and I can't have that,' but you can," Hudson said. "What I'm trying to do with the book is make it easier for people to be vegan." In her foreword, Hudson writes about serving "beef" burgundy fondue at an event where a man loved the dish so much he asked her where she had bought the sirloin, which he called "the most tender beef that I have had in quite some time." She had prepared the dish with mushrooms. [The article includes some great, hearty recipes.]
North County Times - May 12, 2005
Chicken McNuggets to cold turkey
Full story: Health Telegraph
Alexandra Jamieson is not happy. There she is, a successful vegan chef, and her boyfriend turns himself into a gastronomic guinea pig, embarking on a junk food odyssey of such orgiastic proportions that his liver almost packs up, his heart gets the jitters and his libido vanishes. Her boyfriend is Morgan Spurlock, the film-maker behind Super Size Me, the award-winning documentary on America's lethal love affair with hamburgers and fries. For 30 days, he [ate] nothing but McDonald's food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The moment the experiment was over, Jamieson made Spurlock submit to a strict, "non-negotiable" detox regime. Not only did it work - Spurlock says his girlfriend "helped save my life" - but inquiries began to flood in from people who had seen Jamieson in the film and wanted "to detox the way Morgan did." Soon, publishers came calling and, before she knew it, Jamieson had expanded her regime into a book, The Great American Detox Diet: Eight Weeks to Weight Loss and Well-Being.
Health Telegraph - May 19, 2005
About Spurlock's own book "Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America."
Boston Herald (May 23, 2005)
The VegE-News is supported by:
Sign up for the Green Challenge eco newsletter, chock full of environmentally friendly tips and lifestyle ideas. Visit the Green Gourmet for great vegan recipes.
Whenever possible, stories are linked to the original source. Some sites may require registration, and/or not archive the stories. All links were active at the time of publication.