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Health and Environment
Vegetarians are lighter
Full story: Yahoo! News
Women who eat little or no meat are less likely to be overweight than their more carnivorous peers, according to a new study. The findings, say researchers, suggest that replacing some meat and other animal products with plant-based fare may help people control their weight. The study of more than 55,000 Swedish women found that those who identified themselves as vegetarian or vegan tended to weigh less than meat-eaters, and were less likely to be overweight or obese - even with other factors, such as age, exercise and total calorie intake, taken into account..
The findings run counter to the current "fad" of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. "Plant foods are generally high-carb," [the head researcher] said, "but they also contain a lot of fiber - which helps you to feel full - and they also have other nutrients that are important to overall health." Because these nutrients may help ward off heart disease and cancer, she noted, there are "lots of good reasons" besides weight control to eat a plant-based diet.
Yahoo! News - June 24, 2005
Doctors sue dairy industry over weight-loss claims
Full story: Washington Post
An activist physicians group entered the battle of the bulge, filing lawsuits that accuse the [U.S.] dairy industry of fraudulently claiming that people can shed pounds by consuming more dairy products. The two lawsuits by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine contend the industry has promoted the weight-loss notion through a "massive, deceptive advertising campaign." In fact, the committee says, overwhelming scientific evidence shows that dairy products cause weight gain or have no effect on weight.
The more milk children drank, the more weight they gained, according to [a] study, which followed more than 12,000 children nationwide. The lawsuits charged that the dairy industry's weight-loss campaign is based solely on studies conducted by [professor] Michael B. Zemel. His objectivity is "compromised," the lawsuits say, because his research is funded by the dairy industry.
Washington Post - June 29, 2005
Link between eating red meat and Crohn's disease
Full story: The Guardian (UK)
A study of the diets and lifestyles of 218 patients has revealed a statistical association with eating beef or canned meat such as corned beef. Results suggested the chances of someone with Crohn's being a meat eater were 40% greater than those of someone without the disease being a meat eater.
Last month, [a European study of the eating habits of half a million people] revealed those who ate two portions of red meat a day had a 35% greater risk of developing bowel cancer than those who ate one portion a week.
The Guardian (UK) - July 16, 2005
More mad cow found in Britain
Full story: World Peace Herald/UPI
A cluster of cows infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Mad cow disease, has raised fears that contaminated feed is still being used in Britain. Three young dairy cows born long after the 1996 ban on contaminated feed are the second such BSE cluster found in England. Scientists said the occurrence of a second cluster of BSE in young cattle strongly suggests the cases were not a statistical fluke and contaminated feed caused the outbreaks.
World Peace Herald/UPI - July 20, 2005
UPI (July 19, 2005)
Nebraska Lincoln Journal Star (July 16, 2005)
The Scotsman (July 21, 2005)
Veggie eating would cool global warming
Full story: The Journal - UK & World News
Climate change could be reduced if mankind swapped their pork chops for tofu sausages, according to new research. A scientist claims ditching meaty meals in favour of nut roasts could do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions than burning less oil and gas. The radical new theory argues livestock animals bred to be eaten produce 21% of the carbon dioxide attributed to humans. So by [eating vegetarian meals], damaging emissions can be slashed.
Author of the new anti-climate-change strategy Alan Calverd argued vegetarianism had no adverse health effects and his proposal required no new technology. He said: "I am not a vegetarian or an animal-rights advocate. But a worldwide reduction of meat production in the pursuit of the targets set in the Kyoto treaty seems to carry fewer political unknowns than cutting our consumption of fossil fuels. It takes about 60% less land to produce a given quantity of fat and protein from plants than from animals. If we cultivated the same fields, the world would be in food surplus rather than shortage."
The Journal - UK & World News - July 6, 2005
Suit claims poultry farms are polluting rivers
Full story: ENN/AP
Oklahoma's attorney general, Drew Edmondson, says phosphorous from poultry litter runoff fuels algae growth that reduces the clarity of rivers and streams, depletes oxygen and can kill certain populations of fish. He remembers that, as a college student in Tahlequah, Okla., he could stand chest-high in the Illinois River and still see his toes. "I've seen it change," Edmondson said. "It's nice to have green land. It's not so nice to have green rivers."
Last month, he sued 14 Arkansas poultry companies accusing them of tainting Oklahoma waters with the waste from millions of chickens and turkeys. The chickens add phosphorus waste equivalent to 10.7 million people per year, Edmondson says.
ENN/AP - July 21, 2005
Hong Kong Disneyland takes shark fin soup off its menu
Full story: Hindustan Times
Hong Kong Disneyland has scrapped controversial plans to serve shark fin soup at the park following weeks of protests from environmentalists who say millions of sharks are needlessly killed each year to supply the trade in the traditional Asian delicacy. A company spokeswoman said Saturday the park was "not able to identify an environmentally sustainable fishing source, leaving us no alternative except to remove shark's fin soup from our wedding banquet menu."
Some green groups had earlier accused Disney of being "hypocritical" by serving shark fin while saying it cares about the environment. They denounce the practice of "finning," where fishermen hack off sharks' fins and dump the animals back into the water where they face certain death.
Hindustan Times - June 25, 2005
Master of long-line shark fishing vessel given a suspended sentence for illegally dumping overboard the bodies of definned sharks - iafrica.com (July 22, 2005)
Lifestyles and Trends
Vegetarian experiences: Cofounder of Voiceless inspired by daughter
Full story: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News
In 2003, [his daughter Ondine took successful equity entrepreneur Brian Sherman] to an animal rights conference in America. "After 23 years of not eating meat it was the first time that I actually understood the issues. "I felt in seeing these living beings in these steel cages, never to go out until their deaths, that we were somehow playing God. It just felt ungodly. It just didn't feel right, there is something intrinsically wrong." Returning with fire in their bellies, Ondine and Brian founded Voiceless, a non-profit organisation which aims to promote respect and compassion for animals.
The Shermans say Voiceless aims to lift the veil of secrecy to show the Australian public what is happening with modern industrialised farming practices. "People are sitting at their dinner tables eating meat and they don't know where that meat comes from and they don't want to know. But they should know, because it's not good. This is something that each of us needs to search our hearts for and to find some mercy for these animals who have no voice," Sherman said.
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News - July 17, 2005
Passionate vegetarian wins recognition for his tireless efforts
Full story: Staten Island Advance
Jewish vegetarian and environmental activist Dr. Richard H. Schwartz was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the North American Vegetarian Society during its 31st annual Summerfest. Dr. Schwartz is the author of "Judaism and Vegetarianism," "Judaism and Global Survival" and "Mathematics and Global Survival." He also frequently speaks and contributes articles on environmental, health, and other current issues. A professor emeritus of mathematics at the College of Staten Island, Dr. Schwartz is the president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, and coordinator of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians.
"This wonderful honor will inspire me to work even harder toward a vegetarian world," Schwartz said. "Animal-based diets and modern intensive animal agriculture violate basic religious mandates to preserve our health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people, and pursue peace and non-violence...A switch toward vegetarianism is a societal imperative, essential to help shift the world to a more sustainable path, and a religious imperative necessary to show the relevance of ancient traditions to modern crises."
Staten Island Advance - July 8, 2005
Links to the many insightful and thought-provoking works by Dr. Schwartz on the relationship between Judaism and vegetarianism:
Vegetarian dining on a roll
Full story: San Diego Voice
Vegetarian and vegan fine dining have not been around for very long. Although you could always call a restaurant ahead of time and request a vegetarian entree, chefs generally found this an intrusion into their profession. But times have changed. Commonly held notions of brown food served on paper plates, hippie servers and a not so pleasing environment are long gone. Rice, grains and vegetables have gained a new place at both ends of the dining spectrum.
Chefs got a wake-up call. They needed a variety of options if they wanted to keep customers coming in. So they did what all creative people do; they began to experiment with new products. Now fine diners find vegetarian tasting menus right there next to the seafood or meat menus. A bit of advice to the eater or diner: big cities are far more adventurous in catering to the needs of vegetarians and vegans. Much of the country is still a work in progress, but be assured, progress there is. [The article recommends several San Diego restaurants.]
San Diego Voice - July 8, 2005
The Indianapolis Star (July 8, 2005)
Eating veggie-style around the globe
Full story: REDNOVA
In many ways, lifestyle limitations are anathema to any traveller. An open mind and willingness to adapt make a much better approach. However, we all carry ethical notions in our mental rucksack and, if we preserve our moral standards at home, then even if the "locals" don't agree with us, why not abroad?
For vegetarians, this isn't always easy and so, to help you along [here's] a look at some of the best - and worst - purveyors of meat-free food.
FIVE OF THE BEST: Israel, India, Thailand, Australia, Canada.
FIVE OF THE WORST: Iceland, Croatia, France, South Africa, South America.
REDNOVA - June 21, 2005
All in the family (veggies' loved ones adjust)
Full story: The Orlando Sentinel
Family members of vegans and vegetarians often embrace, in some way, a meatless lifestyle. Sarah Miller of Orlando, Fla., became a vegetarian five years ago when she was 15 and a total vegan more recently. "Both my parents thought I was crazy," says Miller. And her brother told his parents it was just a phase and she would get over it. The parents have come around. "She's very respectful of us," says Betsy Miller. "She doesn't talk down to us if we want to eat meat, she just tries to introduce other options.
"My mom is almost vegetarian," says Sarah. Betsy Miller says that she has high blood-pressure and cholesterol levels, and her daughter told her a vegetarian diet would help. "By golly it's working," says Betsy. She says her blood pressure, which was 180 over 100 has dropped to 150 over 80, and her cholesterol, which was over 200, is now 158. As for Sarah's dad, he just goes along and sticks with eating meat. Or so he thinks. "He thinks he's eating real meat in the casserole," says Betsy. "Don't tell him."
The Orlando Sentinel - July 7, 2005
Vegan athletes flex their muscles
Full story: PRWeb
In a recent interview Olympic track star Carl Lewis, who was a vegan during his best years, says he believes that "most athletes have the worst diet in the world, and they compete in spite of it." Members of OrganicAthlete's "Vegan Pro-Activist" team are out to prove that a plant-based diet is the best diet for optimal health and performance, and that they can succeed at high levels in sports because they are vegan.
Many people are resistant about becoming vegan because of dietary myths like not getting enough protein, but elite vegan athletes and health professionals are participating in the 2005 OrganicAthlete Conference to dispel these myths. Leading nutritionists Dr. Doug Graham, Rozalind Gruben, Dr. Ruth Heidrich and Dr. Rick Dina will join the athletes in explaining the science of vegan nutrition. Dr. Graham, who has trained many Olympic caliber athletes, explains: "Every nutrient known to be essential for human health is available, in proper concentration, in plant foods. This is not so with animal-based foods, as there are many essential nutrients totally absent in them."
PRWeb - June 22, 2005
People on strict raw food vegetarian diets are thin but healthy with strong bones and other health benefits - iol - S. Africa (June 30, 2005)
Corvallis Gazette-Times - Oregon (June 28, 2005)
Coming to a supermarket near you: Burgers from a lab?
Full story: Alertnet/Reuters
Laboratories using new tissue engineering technology might be able to produce meat that is healthier for consumers and cut down on pollution produced by factory farming, researchers said. Writing in the journal Tissue Engineering, [doctoral student Jason] Matheny said scientists could grow cells from the muscle tissue of cattle, pigs, poultry or fish. "There would be a lot of benefits from cultured meat," Matheny said in a statement. "For one thing, you could control the nutrients."
Raising livestock requires million of gallons of water and hundreds of acres of land. Meat grown from tissue would bypass those requirements. Writing in this month's Physics World, British physicist Alan Calvert calculated that the animals eaten by people produce 21 percent of the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity. He recommends people switch to a vegetarian diet as a way to battle global warming. [Editor's note: that sounds more appetizing to us.]
Alertnet/Reuters - July 6, 2005
More lab stories:
Cattle Network (June 22, 2005)
Statesman.com (July 11, 2005)
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Chickens think about the future
Full story: Discovery News
Chickens do not just live in the present, but can anticipate the future and demonstrate self-control, something previously attributed only to humans and other primates, according to a recent study. The finding suggests that domestic fowl are intelligent creatures that might worry.
Prior studies have found that neuron organization in chicken brains is highly structured and suggests that, like humans, chickens evolved an impressive level of intelligence to help improve their survival. [Researchers] hope the findings will lead to more humane treatment of birds and animals raised for slaughter. Aside from animal rights issues, other research has indicated that if a bird or animal feels stress before killing, that anxiety may adversely affect the quality, taste and texture of meats.
Discovery News - July 14, 2005
A look at the impact this news had on the author - DailyPress.com - Newport News, VA (July 19, 2005)
An abstract notion that humans don't typically understand until age three or four - Science Daily (July 11, 2005)
Happy ending for this little piggie
Full story: icWales
A piglet who escaped from a farm where he was destined for the slaughterhouse is living a new life as a horse. The three-month-old Common White made a run for it when a load of piglets were being unloaded from the back of a lorry into a field in Mid Wales. The animal survived for six weeks in the wild, living off the land. Then the exhausted and painfully thin piglet wandered into the Lluest Horse and Pony Trust, a haven for abandoned or unwanted horses.
Manager Stephanie Banks said, "The piglet was so hungry when he first arrived he was eating everything so we called him Mr Greedy." The piglet has bonded with the ponies and horses at the sanctuary and now runs and gambols alongside them. Stephanie said, "It's a really touching sight to see the ponies standing over Mr Greedy when he sleeps. It's almost as if they are guarding him." Shortly after Mr Greedy arrived at Lluest, the farmer arrived at the sanctuary. But it was decided as the piglet had been so determined to survive he should continue living with the horses.
icWales - June 29, 2005
Another happy ending:
CNN.com (July 20, 2005)
Cruelty to animals by children could indicate sexual abuse
Full story: NZ Herald
The abuse of animals by children is a sign that they themselves might be abused, research suggests. [A study shows] 35 per cent of boys and 28 per cent of girls who have been sexually abused have been cruel to animals. Only 5 per cent of boys and 3 per cent of girls who were not sexually abused have been cruel to animals. The study forms part of a paper by policy analyst Cathy Kern presented at [a] child and family policy conference in Dunedin [New Zealand].
Ms Kern said: "Everyone is becoming much more aware that this is not just about animals. It's very definitely an early warning indicator [of child abuse] and a call for early intervention," she said. Conversely, she said, teaching children to love and care for animals was a valuable way to teach young people how to care for other human beings, including their own future children. "Animal cruelty by children is not normal behaviour," she said.
NZ Herald - July 9, 2005
Web Devil - Arizona State University (June 28, 2005)
Activists ruffle corporate feathers, but make a difference
Full story: Reuters UK
As the founder and the passionate force behind People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Ingrid Newkirk says her organization is made up simply of "kind people" who want only to end animal abuse and exploitation. But try telling that to the corporate retail and food giants who have seen - and felt - PETA's claws. Industry leaders say the campaigns are embarrassing but do little to deter customers. But few deny PETA campaigns were the catalysts behind a range of animal welfare reforms made in recent years by [burger chains].
This summer, as PETA celebrates 25 years of largely successful campaigns, the group has set its sights on one of its toughest challenges yet as it seeks sweeping change in the $29 billion U.S. poultry industry. "I don't understand how anyone with a conscience can learn about the horrifically cruel conditions for chicken slaughter and not want to do anything about it," said PETA campaign director Bruce Friedrich. "They're just trying to come up with things that will be costly for food companies as part of their overall desire to move to a strictly vegan world," [a National Chicken Council spokesman] said.
Reuters UK - July 13, 2005
Controlling wildlife trade key to preventing health crises
Full story: Science Daily
According to a study by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, controlling the movements of wildlife in markets is a cost-effective means of keeping potential deadly pandemics such as SARS and influenza from occurring.
"Few threats to global health - including poverty, security issues or climate change - are as immediately manageable as the global trade in wildlife," said Dr. William Karesh, lead author on the study and head of WCS' Field Veterinary Program. "By focusing our prevention efforts on wildlife markets to regulate, and wherever reasonable eliminate, this trade, we can significantly decrease the risks of disease for humans, domestic animals, wildlife and ecosystems."
Science Daily - July 6, 2005
New Books and Perspectives
What we owe what we eat
Full story: MSNBC/Newsweek
Why, Mathew Scully [former speechwriter to President Bush] asks, is cruelty to a puppy appalling and cruelty to livestock by the billions a matter of social indifference? Animal suffering on a vast scale should, he says, be a serious issue of public policy. He does not want to take away your BLT; he does not propose to end livestock farming. He does propose a Humane Farming Act to apply to corporate farmers the elementary standards of animal husbandry and veterinary ethics: "We cannot just take from these creatures, we must give them something in return. We owe them a merciful death, and we owe them a merciful life."
Says who? Well, Scully replies, those who understand "Judeo-Christian morality, whose whole logic is one of gracious condescension, or the proud learning to be humble, the higher serving the lower, and the strong protecting the weak." Yes, of course: You don't want to think about this. Who does? But do your duty: read his book "Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy." As Scully says, "If reason and morality are what set humans apart from animals, then reason and morality must always guide us in how we treat them."
MSNBC/Newsweek - July 18 , 2005
Toronto Star (July 2, 2005)
History from a wolf's perspective? or a cow's? A new take on an old subject
Full story: Houston Chronicle
What's new in history? The animal turn. A few cutting-edge historians have begun to argue that animals are not just beasts of burden, material resources or wild threats to the spread of civilization, to be domesticated, eaten or exterminated by human beings. Instead, animals behave in ways peculiar to their own identity, and their independent actions impact human history in sometimes surprising ways. If racism long distorted the way historians discussed the history of African-Americans (as it did), "speciesism" does the same for the way humans have written about animals. Until now.
By no means is the animal turn a neutral approach to history. Just as the upsurge of black and women's history of the 1960s grew in tandem with the black and women's liberation movements, the animal turn is part of today's project of animal liberation. Like their counterparts in other disciplines, the new animal historians have a strong ethical commitment to animal rights and reject the apparently natural dominion of the human species over all others. They seek to connect the academy and the abattoir, as [one author] puts it. Thinking about animals in new ways allows us to reconsider what it means to be human.[A fascinating look at seven seminal books on the subject.]
Houston Chronicle - July 1, 2005
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