November 1 is World Vegan Day!
In this edition...
Health and Environment
Viewpoint: World Farm Animal Day about more than suffering
Full story: Eugene Register-Guard, OR, US
On Oct. 2, more than 20 countries [observed] World Farm Animals Day. But make no mistake, this issue is not solely about ending pointless suffering and death. It's about human health. It's about clean air and clean water. It's about decency and morality. It's about sustainability. It's about survival! In 2004, the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health presented a symposium [which pointed to the increasing human consumption of meat as the foremost factor in the "vicious spiral of population growth, poverty and environmental degradation."] This is not People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or some radical animal rights activist group who many so easily dismiss. These are some of America's brightest health professionals.
The evidence has been mounting for decades. There's no denying it - our addiction to animal products is destroying our bodies, the planet and our legacy. We are looting from our children and grandchildren. With every mouthful, we are ruining the possibility for a livable future. Some of us are ignorant, but many of us simply choose to ignore reality. We ignore the unarguable facts. We lie to ourselves. If we didn't, these atrocities would become impossibilities. We have a choice. We can end the madness. We can end the thievery of resources and lives. We can choose dignity. We can and must choose peace.
Eugene Register-Guard, OR, US - September 30, 2005
Guardian Unlimited, UK (October 18, 2005)
Innovations Report, Linköping University (October 6, 2005)
Grist Magazine (October 12, 2005)
Bird flu: blame factory farming, says report
Full story: OneWorld U.S.
The giant feed lots and factory farms are fanning the spread of bird flu and mad cow disease, says a new report from a prominent environmental think tank, the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute. In the report, 'Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry,' author Danielle Nierenberg says "Mitigating the fallout will require a new approach to the way the animals are raised." Consumers can help by buying meat that is organic...and by embracing vegetarianism, she says.
Crowded, inhumane, and unhygienic conditions on factory farms can sicken animals and create "the perfect environment for the spread of diseases" according to Nierenberg. Additionally, factory farmed meat and fish contain "an arsenal of unnatural ingredients." Many agribusiness firms have turned to irradiation and genetic engineering in a bid to ensure the safety of their products. "These end-of-the-pipe remedies don't address the real problem: factory farming is an inefficient, ecologically disruptive, dangerous, and inhumane way of making meat," Nierenberg says.
OneWorld U.S. - September 29, 2005
The Toronto Star (October 18, 2005)
'Farmer Brown' promotes green to alleviate the ills of factory farming
Full story: Marin Independent Journal, CA, US
While most family farmers have been forced by economics to adopt factory farm practices, some farmers, like Harold Brown (aka Farmer Brown), are finding ways to make humane farming work. Brown knows first-hand the effects of factory farming on animals and the environment - he was raised on a cattle farm in southern Michigan. Haunted by memories of sending animals to slaughter, Brown struggled with his work and the values he had been taught. "In retrospect it was a kind of death of my spirit, the ability to shut off the emotions and feelings I felt for the animals and replace them with a steely resolve to be a man."
Now, having metamorphosed from a beef farmer to a vegan farm animal advocate, Brown works to encourage farmers to adopt cruelty-free and sustainable farming practices - and to "put the family back in farming." He also appears in the acclaimed Tribe of Heart documentary, "Peaceable Kingdom," in which he shares the powerful story of his transformation.
Marin Independent Journal, CA, US - October 14, 2005
Prevention: A little tofu, for those middle-aged bones
Full story: New York Times
Eating soy may help prevent bone fractures in postmenopausal women. A large study of more than 24,000 women suggests that soy protein is especially helpful to bone health in the first few years after a woman reaches menopause. The researchers found that the more soy a woman ate, the less likely she was to break a bone. Within 10 years of menopause, high soy consumption was associated with a 50 percent reduction in the risk for bone fracture.
Dr. Xiao-Ou Shu, a co-author of the paper, pointed out that the American Heart Association and the Food and Drug Administration recently recommended the consumption of 25 grams of soy protein each day as a heart disease preventive. That would be more than enough to assure protection against fractures as well. "In my opinion," Dr. Shu said, "women should increase soy consumption."
New York Times - September 20, 2005
Foodnavigator.com (October 18, 2005)
High-vegetable diet protects against pancreatic cancer
Full story: Science Daily
In one of the largest studies of its kind, [University of California, San Francisco] researchers have found that eating lots of fruits and vegetables - particularly vegetables - is associated with about a 50 percent reduction in the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose and remains largely untreatable. It kills about 30,000 people in the U.S. each year and has a five-year survival under four percent.
The vegetables most strongly associated with increased protection were onions, garlic, beans, yellow vegetables (such as carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, corn and yellow squash), dark leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables. The results are considered particularly meaningful because of the study's size, the quantitative nature of the food questionnaire and the statistical significance of the findings, according to the study team.
Science Daily - September 19, 2005
More healthy reasons to eat veggies and fruits:
Medical News Today (September 24, 2005)
- found in soy products, grains, carrots, spinach, broccoli, and other fruits and vegetables.
Kansas City InfoZine (September 28, 2005)
Science Daily (September 27, 2005)
Lifestyles and Trends
Even in Texas! Restaurants respond to growing veggie demand
Full story: KXAN.com, Austin, TX, US
Rick Stauffer has been a vegetarian for 35 years. He says over time, it's gotten a lot easier to eat out and eat well. Long gone are the days where you can just get a veggie burger at some restaurants. Now you can even get veggie food at drive-through's. Some businesses say soon it will be impossible for almost all restaurants not to offer something meatless. "In Austin, it's very important to have vegetarian items. They're such a huge part of the population. Otherwise, you'll probably fail. Unless, of course, you're a barbecue place," Kerbey Lane [restaurant] employee Joshua Kaplan said.
KXAN.com, Austin, TX, US - October 13, 2005
More about the growing popularity of going veggie:
Delaware News Journal, US (October 18, 2005)
Nonvegetarians said they found the school lunches infinitely better than last year. Rockland Journal News, US (September 19, 2005)
A vegan lifestyle: Seeing the big picture
Full story: American Chronicle
If you look at a photographic negative, the colors are reversed, nothing seems quite as it should, and the image may be unrecognizable. Once you see the picture developed, you recognize the face of your best friend. That's a bit like a common impression of vegans. We don't eat dead animals. Pork and beef, seafood and fowl are out. So are milk and cheese, eggs and caviar. We try to avoid leather and wool and fur. It sounds like a long list of negatives. Why would anybody want that?
You get a better picture by reversing the colors, developing the negative. The incomprehensible prohibitions turn out to be the boundaries of something positive. Instead of a list of don'ts, we see an abundance of healthy, delicious foods, with plenty of options for home and clothes and personal care. We do not grudgingly practice a creed of self-denial. We select from an embarassment of riches. But [there's more]. At the heart of being vegan is a kind of compassionate awareness. The vegan message is ultimately very simple: Look. Pay attention. See the unnecessary death and suffering. We don't have to contribute or help to keep it going. We can stop being a part of this. And so, that's what we try to do.
American Chronicle - October 10, 2005
All in the family: Raising vegetarian pets
Full story: The Manitoban, University of Manitoba, Canada
For the same reasons that they themselves choose not to consume meat, many pet-owners [prefer] vegetarian cat and dog food. Although the movement to raise vegetarian cats and dogs hasn't gained enough popularity to warrant meat-free pet food being stocked [in regular stores], there is no shortage of online vendors.
It isn't only vegetarians who should be concerned about what they're feeding their pets. In [a PETA survey of] the health histories of 300 dogs that had been switched to a vegetarian diet, it was found that the longer the dog had been meat-free, the fewer health problems the animal experienced. The meat that goes into the making of commercial pet foods often comes from diseased animals graded as unsuitable for human consumption. Animal by-products [including chicken feathers] are a common ingredient. Bearing these in mind, feeding soy protein and cereal grains to your cat or dog doesn't seem quite so unnatural.
The Manitoban, University of Manitoba, Canada - October 19, 2005
From fiction to fork. The concept of 'cultured meat' meets with mixed reaction
Full story: Satya Magazine
The suffering of animals is one of the most common reasons people cite for switching to a plant-based diet. So how would you feel about barbecuing a chicken breast if it did not involve killing the chicken? We're not talking imitation meat here: this is genuine chicken flesh. The only difference is, rather than being raised on a high-fat diet in a crowded shed, this chicken meat was grown in a lab [in a cell culture] in vitro ("within glass"). Hoping for a way to feed astronauts in extended space travel, scientists have been experimenting with in vitro meat since at least 2001. Though the science behind it is new, the notion of cultured meat actually pre-dates space flight.
[In 1932], Winston Churchill optimistically declared, "Fifty years hence we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium." Many ridiculed him, but Churchill's comment now seems prescient. Reaction from the animal rights community has been mixed. Though an informal survey suggests that most activists are in favor of cultured meat, some feel eating animals is simply to be avoided. Paul Shapiro, [of] the Humane Society of the United States, is among those in favor of promoting it. "In vitro meat has the potential to reduce an enormous amount of suffering," he says.
Satya Magazine - September, 2005
Anti-vegan patrol hard to swallow
Full story: Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, US
In 2003, apparently short on terrorists to monitor, the Homeland Security division of the DeKalb Police Department dispatched an undercover detective to spy on a few vegans holding an animal cruelty protest. Police ended up arresting two who had been handing out anti-meat leaflets near a HoneyBaked Ham store. So now we know: Glazed hams are safe in DeKalb County, but the green bean casserole better watch its back.
In rounding up vegans, the county's Homeland Security division not only looks foolish, it looks pointless. If homeland security employees have time to spy on sandal-wearing, tofu-loving vegans, then there's apparently not a whole lot of work for them to do. They end up wasting time on petty and embarrassing arrests that can lead to federal lawsuits like the one filed [recently by two protestors]. It's hard to fathom any rationale reason why Homeland Security officers would be shadowing people for advocating a veggie diet. Last time we checked, terrorists were throwing bombs, not broccoli.
Atlanta Journal Constitution, GA, US - September 28, 2005
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Chickens: Pets or meat? It's all in the eye of the beholder
Full story: Santa Cruz metroactive, CA, US
It may surprise you to know that chickens make fine pets. They come when called. They follow around their humans. They like to be held and petted. They jump on shoulders. Chicken owners say their chickens are as intelligent as their other, more traditional pets, and that they're even friendlier than their cats. [One chicken owner Cheryl Potter] not only has dozens of pet chickens of her own, but recently pitched in to help with a large-scale battery chicken rescue.
I asked Cheryl if she considered herself to be an "activist." She doesn't see herself that way. But she hastens to add: "It doesn't take an animal rights activist to say, 'This is wrong.' I think the average American would think it was disgusting and totally wrong if they could see how these chickens were treated." I know people who travel overseas and return with horrified stories about being offered horse or dog meat. Clearly different cultures have drawn the "cute" line in different places, but if you talk to nontraditional pet owners, those with everything from poultry to pigs will tell you these are artificial lines, and that all of these animals are "good for" a whole lot more than eating.
Santa Cruz metroactive, CA, US - September 28, 2005
Student's undercover video reveals cruel treatment of hens in Canada
Full story: NB Telegraph-Journal/canadaeast.com
Animal-welfare activists are going after Canada's largest grocery retailer in a battle against what they call the "hideously abusive" conditions in which the country's laying hens are kept. The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, which was to release "shocking" video of a Canadian egg barn today, wants Loblaw to use its clout as a major egg retailer to help ensure hens are treated better. As part of its campaign, the coalition planned today to release "undercover" video taken inside an Ontario egg barn showing "extremely cruel" treatment of battery hens.
The video was taken over the summer by a student at one of the country's pre-eminent agricultural educational and research institutions, the University of Guelph. In an interview, the student said he was horrified to find birds covered in excrement and suffering extreme feather loss, as well as dead hens in cages and aisles. "Government and industry are constantly reassuring consumers that things are better for farm animals here in Canada (than in the United States)," said [a coalition spokesperson]. "We have long suspected that's not the case and now we have the proof - this footage shows filthy, disgusting, hideously abusive conditions."
NB Telegraph-Journal/canadaeast.com - October 13, 2005
ABC Western Victoria, Australia (October 6, 2005)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, US (October 7, 2005)
Washington Post, US (October 4, 2005)
Reflections on making the most difference for the animals
Full story: Satya Magazine
The slaughter of animals for food is, by far, the most significant cause of suffering today, both in terms of the numbers and the level of cruelty inflicted. Knowing this, the issue for thoughtful, compassionate people isn't, "Is this vegan?" Rather, the important question is: "Which choice leads to less suffering?" Our guide shouldn't be an endless list of ingredients, but rather doing our absolute best to stop cruelty to animals. Veganism is important, not as an end in itself, but as a powerful tool for opposing the horrors of factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses.
The impact of our individual veganism - several hundred animals over the course of a lifetime - pales in comparison to what we have the potential to accomplish with our example. For every person inspired to change their habits, the impact we have on the world multiplies! Conversely, for every person we convince that veganism is overly-demanding by obsessing with an ever-increasing list of ingredients, we do worse than nothing: we turn someone away who could have made a real difference for animals if they hadn't met us! The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective. We don't want to just win an argument with a meat-eater, we want to open people's hearts and minds to a more compassionate lifestyle.
Satya Magazine - September, 2005
Initiative opposes confined livestock
Full story: The Arizona Republic, US
Arizonans will have some big choices to make during the 2006 election year, and one of the biggest could involve pregnant pigs. Animal-rights activists have filed an initiative that would make it a crime for farmers to keep young calves or pregnant pigs in crates so cramped that the animals can't turn around. Opponents already are rallying to defeat the measure, calling it "anti-meat."
The political lines are being drawn, with the Arizona Humane Society on one side and the Arizona Cattlemen's Association on the other. "It's a sad day when...a couple of extreme groups, like the Humane Society of the United States and the Farm Sanctuary, would file an initiative to stigmatize animal agriculture," said Bas Aja, executive director of the group that represents 2,000 ranchers.
The Arizona Republic, US - September 19, 2005
Haaretz Daily (September 19, 2005)
France: Stop making foie gras? Fat chance
Full story: The Scotsman
French politicians have approved a draft law that declares foie gras part of the national heritage, despite widespread international concern about cruelty to animals during its production. Lawmakers have effectively given the kind of protection normally accorded great works of art to a dish whose manufacture by force-feeding geese and ducks is banned in 13 other EU member states.
"How on earth can you say that a barbaric custom, consisting of sticking a funnel or a pneumatic pump down the throat of a caged animal, is a tradition of high culture?" asked the Citizens Initiative for the Abolition of Force Feeding on its website yesterday. In France, it seems that a nation of foie gras lovers are more concerned about preserving "gastronomic tradition" than they are about diminishing the suffering of the animals used to produce it.
The Scotsman - October 19, 2005
The Macon Telegraph, GA, US (October 18, 2005)
Haaretz Daily (October 2, 2005)
Group says cheers to beer, no to milk
Full story: Manila Sun Star
Just in time to coincide with the month-long Oktoberfest celebration, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific's dancing cow will inform workers and passersby why it's better to drink beer than milk. PETA wants to remind Filipinos that in addition to the immense suffering of cows and their babies in the dairy industry, consuming milk and other dairy products can cause life-threatening illnesses in humans. "The verdict is in, and even beer beats milk in the health stakes," said PETA Asia-Pacific director Jason Baker.
Manila Sun Star - October 20, 2005
AlterNet (October 7, 2005)
Are They Serious - Unfortunately Yes
Cloned meat coming to a supermarket near you?
Full story: The Seattle Times, WA, US
The [U.S.] federal government is nearing a decision to allow the sale of meat and milk from cloned cows and their offspring, according to officials from government, industry and consumer groups. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to take a major step toward approval soon by proposing to permit the sales, subject to 60 days of public comment and some additional review. That could lead to choice cuts of steak and cartons of milk produced from cloned cattle landing in kitchens in the next several years.
The Seattle Times, WA, US - September 28, 2005
This is fun? Outrage in Australia over 'choke the chicken' toy
Full story: The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia
THE RSPCA said it was outraged about a toy dubbed "choke the chicken" being sold to young children that encourages them to squeeze the dancing chicken's neck until it flaps around. "What next? Burn a cat? Shoot a dog?," the RSPCA's Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said. "This so-called toy sends out completely the wrong message to children."
The wording on the side of the box said: "Grab and lift him up by the neck as he dances. He will squawk and cluck like mad, flapping his wings and feet wildly as if he's gagging and choking." Mr Beatty said "he would like to think he has a sense of humour" but "this is just plain sick."
The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia - October 18, 2005
New eco-friendly cookbook has taste
Full story: Nashville City Paper, TN, US
With the recently pressed Dining with Friends (Friends of Animals), anyone can prepare gourmet vegan dishes at home. If you're not a vegan, we're not talking tofu mounds and heaping piles of raw veggies. In this book you'll find hearty fare such as Potato and Carrot au Gratin, Perfect Chestnut Soup and Chocolate Marble Cheesecake.
The book caters to people who want healthy, flavorful appetizers, side dishes, main courses and desserts. The purpose is also to offer recipes that fit harmoniously into the harmonious vegan lifestyle. To wit, the foreword offers a Buddhist prayer about treating others how you want to be treated. Can't argue with that.
Nashville City Paper, TN, US - October 13, 2005
Lots to chew on in 101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian
Source: Library Journal
Expanding on her popular pamphlet of the same title, vegetarian writer/activist [Pamela] Rice thoroughly covers all the practical reasons to go vegetarian, including (in addition to the welfare of animals) social, medical, economic, and - especially - environmental concerns while avoiding spiritual or religious reasons. Rice aims to let the facts speak for themselves and not to attack anyone's eating habits or beliefs. She accomplishes this by thoroughly documenting all her 101 reasons, using respected mainstream sources. A well-written and -documented indictment of the meat industry and its impact on the world. [Lantern Books]
Library Journal - September 15, 2005
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