November 2005
Celebrating our first anniversary!

A message to our readers...

On the occasion of our First Anniversary Issue, we would like to say thanks to our individual subscribers from all over the world, as well as the Vegetarian Societies for which we are pleased to provide custom versions. A special thanks to David Parker, who signed up the Vegetarians of Alberta for our first issue a year ago - we saw this support from the heart of Canada's cow country as a very good omen! Thanks, too, to those of you who have written to say how much you appreciate reading VegE-News each month. We love to hear from you!

In celebration of our anniversary, we are launching a new feature: some special offers for our readers, thanks to our new Sponsors. Plus, we are happy to introduce our VegE-Store, where you'll find sources of environmentally friendly, vegan products (and where your purchases will help support VegE-News).

We hope you will continue to find the VegE-News informative and useful in the coming year.

Editors, Lana & Pete

In this edition...

Vegan Founder Passes Away at Age 95
  BBC News Obituary: Donald Watson

Health and Environment
  Bird flu triggers concern over consumption of eggs
  Cause of mad cow disease may be found in milk: study
  Meaty, salty, starchy diet impacts lung disease
  Skip the drugs and change diet to improve health, lose weight
  Illegal fishing threat to seas

Lifestyles and Trends
  American Thanksgiving: Please don't pass the turducken
  Adopt a turkey, don't eat one
  Canadian students say veggie diet could be out of this world
  Professor's work to improve lives of animals part of growing area
  More school menus include veggie options to improve health
  Veggie experiences: Slaughterhouse work leads to life of compassion

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Escapee finds sanctuary
  Chain bows to consumer pressure, opts to sell only cage-free eggs
  Whales, hunted under guise of research, end up on Japanese plates
  Broiler chickens in Israel face some foul conditions
  Roger Moore: foie gras is a disease, not a delicacy
  Australian farmers say cruelty charges threaten live export trade

Are They Serious? Unfortunately Yes
  Kangaroo steak by any other name...
  VIP's to dine on exotic animal meats at new Thai zoo
Special offers for
VegE-News readers:

  Vegan Founder Passes Away at Age 95    

BBC News Obituary: Donald Watson
Full story: BBC News, UK

As a child in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, where he was born in 1910, Donald Watson used to spend time on his Uncle George's farm. One day one of the pigs was slaughtered - Watson never forgot its screams. Suddenly the idyllic country scene with its friendly livestock was transformed into what he described as a Death Row for animals. From that day, he became a vegetarian and remained so for the rest of his life. However, he went further by forming the Vegan Society [in 1944].

A friend, George Roger, chair of the Vegan Society, described him as "a very gentle man, quite intellectual, very knowledgeable and a very caring person." Donald Watson was once asked what he felt was his life's greatest achievement. His reply was "Achieving what I set out to do: to feel that I was instrumental in starting a great new movement which could not only change the course of things for Humanity and the rest of Creation but alter Man's expectation of surviving for much longer on this planet." [Editor's note: We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and colleagues of Mr. Watson]

BBC News, UK - November 18, 2005
More information:
Toronto Vegetarian Association Tribute
With summary of interviews and links
2004 interview with Donald Watson

  Health and Environment    

Bird flu triggers concern over consumption of eggs
Full story: China Daily

HONG KONG - The discovery of chickens infected by the bird flu virus but showing no symptoms of the disease has triggered concern over consumption of their eggs. Scientists cannot agree whether the content of the eggs from such chickens are free of the virus, but they do say there is some risk because the surface of the egg shells may still be tainted with virus-laden excreta of the birds.

The question has assumed urgency since healthy chickens carrying the virus were discovered in Indonesia recently. The birds do not fall sick and continue laying eggs even though they carry and shed the virus. Australia's veterinary emergency plan of 2004 said that while severely affected birds will stop laying, eggs laid in the early phase of an outbreak could still contain avian influenza viruses in the albumen and yolk, as well as on the surface of the egg. But health experts said eating eggs is still safe, as long as they are handled and cooked [properly].

China Daily - November 7, 2005
Related bird flu stories:
Chicken excrement for fish stirs concern in Vietnam
ENN/Reuters (November 8, 2005)
International summit takes aim at pandemic avian flu threat
Toronto Star (November 20, 2005)

Cause of mad cow disease may be found in milk: study
Full story: Canadian Press

New research [published in the journal Nature Medicine] into prions, the infectious agents that cause mad cow-like diseases, has found them in the mammary glands of some sheep, raising questions about whether milk and milk products from infected animals could transmit the pathogens. Prion experts were quick to insist the current potential risk to human health is low and may even be nil. But they suggested the findings are a warning that if prion diseases in livestock aren't rigorously hunted for and rooted out, milk and products like cheeses and yogurt could be a potential route of transmission of prions to humans.

The findings was reported by a team of scientists led by Dr. Adriano Aguzzi, one of the world's leading prion researchers, based at the Institute of Neuropathology, Switzerland. His team had earlier shown that prions, once thought to be concentrated in the brain and central nervous system tissues of infected animals, actually migrate to other organs if those organs are inflamed because of infection.

Canadian Press - November 17, 2005
Related stories:
U.S.: Report finds flaws in mad cow disease-related testing
USA Today (November 9, 2005)
Europe: France records 15, Britain 157, cases of mad cow's human form since 1996
All but a few have died -, Singapore (November 4, 2005)
Canada: Mad cow - the science and the story
CBC (October 31, 2005)

Meaty, salty, starchy diet impacts lung disease
Full story: Science Daily

A new study [from the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences] found that individuals whose diets are rich in meat, refined starches and sodium are 1.43 times more likely to report new onset of persistent coughs with phlegm than those who consume a diet high in fruit and soy. The results analyzed the usual dietary intake of 52,325 participants. Although the study was conducted within a Singaporean population, the dietary patterns are reflective of U.S. [and other Western] eating patterns.

Science Daily - November 11, 2005
More trouble with meaty diets:
Atkins diet deprives the heart of energy, study shows
Guardian Unlimited, UK (November 15, 2005)
Britons' poor diets costs health service billions
Over three times one commonly quoted estimate for the cost of smoking - MSNBC (November 14, 2005)

Skip the drugs and change diet to improve health, lose weight
Full story: The Detroit News, MI, US

Nutrition researcher Dr. Neal Barnard says by picking the right foods, we can fend off cravings. Even better, he says a low-fat, plant-based diet can lower cholesterol levels and make our bodies more disease-proof. "Changing our diet is more powerful than most of us have imagined," Barnard says. "If we do it in the right way, we can reach our goal of knocking off weight, getting our cholesterol down, really getting healthy and living again."

After working as an autopsy assistant before going to medical school 20 years ago, Barnard switched to a vegan diet. Barnard says he is frustrated by doctors today who find it easier to write a prescription than to tell a patient to change his or her diet, even though studies show that a vegan diet can halt - and even reverse - diabetes and heart disease. "We don't have to have our kids be part of a generation that's headed to be the most unhealthy generation we've ever had," he says. "We don't have to have husbands, wives or parents resign themselves to illness."

The Detroit News, MI, US - November 8, 2005
More healthy reasons to eat veggies and fruits:
Broccoli sprouts, cabbage, ginkgo biloba and garlic: A grocery list for cancer prevention
Science Daily (October 31, 2005)
Start young to stop breast cancer
Pre-puberty soy and omega 3's protective - (November 4, 2005)
Evidence mounts on health benefits of flax
CBC (November 4, 2005)

Illegal fishing threat to seas
Full story: BBC News

Illegal fishing fleets are plundering the seas by taking advantage of rules allowing them to adopt "flags of convenience", a [UN/WWF] report has claimed. The report calls for the abolition of the system, which it describes as corrupt. Flags of convenience can be bought, sometimes over the internet, for just a few hundred dollars. The report says that some countries allowing boats to fly their flags for a fee fail to enforce [international law such as fishing quotas]. "We know of fishing vessels that carry up to 12 different flags on board, and they re-flag their ship at sea," Dr Claude Martin, director-general of WWF, told the BBC.

Many vessels, particularly those pursuing high value fish such as swordfish and tuna, transfer their catch to other boats to "launder" their illegally caught fish. In addition to threatening the world's fisheries, bycatch - the incidental capture of non-targeted species - from pirate fishing operations is a serious threat to sea turtles, albatross, sharks and a range of other species.

BBC News - November 2, 2005
Related stories:
Sea turtles killed by U.S. tuna fleet triples in one year   While calling on other nations to implement conservation measures, the U.S. exempts its fleet from controversial circle hooks and area closures. - ENN/Sea Turtle Restoration Project - S. Africa (November 16, 2005)
Extinction on the menu  Old menus could hold the story of how shifting food fads threaten the survival of a species. Some of the fish we have almost eaten to death include cod, haddock and orange roughy. - Toronto Star (October 26, 2005)

  Lifestyles and Trends    

American Thanksgiving: Please don't pass the turducken
Full story: The Rocky Mountain Collegian, CO, US

Every year at Thanksgiving, my family is reminded of an ancient, dark secret. For the past four years, I've been a vegetarian. It always goes something like this. Family: "Here, Johnathan, you must try some of this Turducken-VealApe." Me: "Thanks, but I try not to eat things whose combined IQs exceed my own." Family: "Well in that case, have a single teaspoon of the mashed potatoes."

Ouch. Thanks, based-on-a-true-story family. Really, though, I spend a lot of my Thanksgiving answering questions about what exactly is wrong with my brain that I don't eat meat. [The author gives his tongue-in-cheek answers to those Frequently Asked Questions.]

The Rocky Mountain Collegian, CO, US - November 17, 2005

Adopt a turkey, don't eat one
Full story:, TN, US

On modern turkey factory farms, 5,000 or more sensitive birds are forced to sit and stand jammed together in filthy litter breathing burning ammonia fumes and lung-destroying dust. The turkeys develop respiratory diseases, foot ulcers, breast blisters, and ammonia burned eyes. They are dosed with drugs, vaccines and antibiotics to prop them up until marketing time. To combat stress-induced aggression caused by overcrowding, factory-farmed turkeys are brutally debeaked. The hot debeaking blade cuts through the sensitive beak tissue causing lifelong pain and suffering in the mutilated, disfigured bird.

The [US] Animal Welfare Act does not cover turkeys or other animals raised for food, and the Humane Slaughter Acts excludes all poultry. As a result, turkeys are subjected to intolerable cruelty at factory farms and slaughterhouses. It is time to re-think the old habit of eating a dead bird for Thanksgiving., TN, US - November 4, 2005
Related stories and info:
M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit talks turkey
Chico Enterprise-Record, CA, US (November 16, 2005)
Simple substitutions make holiday meal vegetarian-friendly
Asheville Citizen-Times, NC, US (November 16, 2005)
Top 10 reasons not to eat turkey and much more from PETA's comprehensive new vegetarian website
Farm Sancuary's Adopt-A-Turkey Project
Check out the gallery of potential adoptees!


Canadian students say veggie diet could be out of this world
Full story: CTV News, Canada

Travelling to space is a dream of many school children [who] could be part of the generation that makes it to Mars, a goal long desired by astronauts. But, the journey would present a special challenge - having enough food to last the entire trip - and back. One possible answer is to grow it as you go, and students [across Canada] are trying to figure out if that's possible by taking part in a program called "Tomatosphere." As part of the project, [Canadian astronaut] Bob Thirsk has brought tomato seeds from the International Space Station to the students.

But, tomatoes aren't the only plants being tested for use in space. Many foods that would be seen on a vegetarian dinner plate on earth are candidates for a space menu. "Take a normal vegetarian menu and work backwards, wheat for the flour, tofu used from soy beans, greens, peas, carrots you name it," said [Mike Dixon, University of Guelph]. "Nutritional, and aesthetically pleasing." The project already seems to be getting students excited about science.

CTV News, Canada - November 15, 2005

Professor's work to improve lives of animals part of growing area
Full story: Lansing State Journal

Adroaldo Zanella's interest in animal welfare can be traced, loosely, to a pregnant sow and a 500-pound nest. It was the mid-1980s. Zanella [a professor at Michigan State University] was doing research on his family's pig farm in Brazil. One pig was allowed outside to give birth. She began instead to gather branches and twigs - hundreds of pounds of branches and twigs - and built them into a gigantic nest. This, apparently, is what pigs do in the wild.

Zanella was intrigued, both by the display of instinctive behavior from an animal raised indoors and by the fact that his pigs seemed to flourish outdoors. He began to ask questions. Asking questions about quality of life as it pertains to pigs - and to other animals - is the essence of his job. So is answering them, scientifically. That places Zanella and his colleagues at the leading edge of a young but increasingly important discipline. And, slowly, they're building a body of research that will have implications for the way we raise animals for production and exhibit them in zoos.

Lansing State Journal - November 11, 2005

More school menus include veggie options to improve health
Full story: The Clarion-Ledger, MS, US

More than 28 million children in 100,000 schools and child-care facilities participate in U.S. Department of Agriculture's National School Lunch Program. Unfortunately, the lunch fare is made up largely of USDA's surplus meat, milk and cheese commodities, which contain excess protein, saturated fats and cholesterol and account for the epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease afflicting our children.

But change is on the way. Hawaii, California and New York legislatures passed resolutions asking schools to offer a daily vegan or vegetarian option to every child. National health advocacy organizations and local parents groups have mobilized to improve school food quality.

The Clarion-Ledger, MS, US - November 8, 2005
Related stories:
India: National Cadet Corps cautioned on meat eating
News Today, India (November 8, 2005)
Canada: Students opting for fast food over new healthy school menus
Experts call for education along with changes - Press (November 19, 2005)
UK: Gory burger posters target young
Meant to shock children into improving their diets - The BBC News (November 7, 2005)

Veggie experiences: Slaughterhouse work leads to life of compassion
Full story:, New Zealand

Twenty-five years after Anna Mumford got a job in a slaughterhouse, it's not the smell or the blood that she remembers. It's the fear. She's haunted by the look in the eyes of petrified cows being herded into sheds to be shot in the head. It's an image that changed her life. Overnight she stopped eating meat, and soon after became a strict vegan.

Mumford's story is typical of many who choose to adopt a vegan or vegetarian life-style. It could be described as a "lightbulb" moment - a defining event from which there is no turning back. For her it was a simple choice to live cruelty-free, but it didn't seem enough. She wanted to arm the public with information on animal cruelty in the hope that light-bulbs might go on all over the world. As the organiser of Australia's only Cruelty Free Lifestyle Expo [held recently], she's achieved much in the way of raising awareness., New Zealand - October 22, 2005
More veggie experiences:
Tofu outmuscles red meat at firehouse  Austin American-Statesman, TX, US (October 9, 2005)

  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Escapee finds sanctuary
Full story: Elmira Star-Gazette, NY, US

Annie Dodge, a brown-and-white Hereford, made her way to Farm Sanctuary nearly six months after she escaped from an auction house. In April, the wayward cow wandered across a river and several roads and found refuge in the yard of Barbara and Bill Chamberlain. "(Annie Dodge) was eating out of their bird feeder at first," said Kate Walker, [of] Farm Sanctuary. "Can you even imagine looking out and seeing something like that? At that time, we couldn't get her because it's dangerous to use tranquilizers in hot weather."

"No one knew where she went during the day. We only saw her at night when she would stop by for dinner," Barbara Chamberlain stated. "She would kick her heels up and frolic in our yard for a time, then disappear into the woods." The auction house offered to shoot and slaughter Annie, and for $500, would butcher the cow and return the meat to the Chamberlains.. "We thought that having come this far, she didn't deserve that fate. We contacted Farm Sanctuary because we knew that a more permanent safe haven existed for Annie."

Elmira Star-Gazette, NY, US - November 7, 2005

Chain bows to consumer pressure, opts to sell only cage-free eggs
Full story: The Boston Herald, MA, US

Trader Joe's, under intense customer pressure organized by animal rights activists, said it will no longer put its name on eggs laid by chickens confined to tiny cages. It's a great day for chickens, said Paul Shapiro, who is organizing the anti-cage campaign for the Humane Society of the United States. Commonly, commercial egg-laying hens are kept in cages so small they can't spread their wings, walk around or engage in natural behaviors such as nesting or dust bathing, he said. "The abuse these birds endure is so immense that no socially responsible company should support it," Shapiro said.

The Boston Herald, MA, US - November 9, 2005
Related stories:
'Free range' may not be the natural paradise you think it is
The Independent, UK (October 31, 2005)
Whole Foods might drop live lobster from stores
"We are viewing the lobster as a live creature rather than a commodity that deserves no concern." - Progressive Grocer (November 16, 2005)

Whales, hunted under guise of research, end up on Japanese plates
Full story: ENN/AP

A fleet of Japanese whaling ships left [recently] for the seas of Antarctica amid protests, aiming to kill 850 minke whales - almost double last year's catch - and expand the hunt to fin whales for the first time. The expedition is the first under a six-year research whaling program launched earlier this year by the Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, fisheries ministry official Kenji Masuda said. Japan wrapped up an 18-year study of feeding and migratory habits in March, when the fleet returned from an Antarctic hunt with a haul of 440 minke. Their meat was sold to restaurants and food wholesalers.

Greenpeace International called on Japan to cancel the latest hunt, calling it commercial whaling in disguise. New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter issued a statement Tuesday expressing alarm about Japan's expanded whale hunt. "Hunting whales is like hunting tigers (or) gorillas. New Zealanders regard it as unjustifiable," Carter said.

ENN/AP - November 9, 2005
Related Link:
Consider the Whales
By Captain Paul Watson, Captain of the Sea Shepherd - pdf file (November, 2005)

Broiler chickens in Israel face some foul conditions
Full story:, Israel

All broilers born in hatcheries in Israel...develop exceptionally large breasts - bred this way intentionally because chicken breast receives the highest market price. A report by the Scientific Veterinary Committee of the European Commission stated that the broilers' legs can hardly bear the excess weight of their bodies. A large number of immobile chickens is a problem for chicken farmers because of high rates of disease and mortality, which harm profits.

In recent years, leg strength has been improved through genetic selection. However, in visiting the chicken farms one still finds chickens that wobble and some that are unable to walk at all. The chickens are frightened. When they see humans walking outside the shed they retreat in flocks. The immobile ones remain on the ground and flap their wings, unable to escape. Itzik Malka, head of the poultry department in the Agriculture Ministry's training division, thinks the death rate of chickens in Israel is "reasonable." "Normal mortality. These breeds are in use everywhere in the world." [The article has a litany of suffering and disease issues.], Israel - October 26, 2005

Roger Moore: foie gras is a disease, not a delicacy
Full story: 

Sir Roger Moore has launched a campaign urging Britain's top chefs to stop using foie gras. The former James Bond star has narrated a video showing geese and ducks being force-fed to enlarge their livers. Sir Roger said: "Foie gras farms are so cruel that force-feeding birds has been banned in many countries. But many restaurants continue to serve this horribly cruel product. Please join me and countless kind people everywhere by never eating foie gras and by telling your friends, relatives and restaurant owners that foie gras is a disease, not a delicacy." The video was made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

- October 27, 2005

Australian farmers say cruelty charges threaten live export trade
Full story: The Sunday Times, Perth, Australia

Animal cruelty charges laid against a leading West Australian live export company could decimate sheep farmers across the state, an industry spokesman has said. The charges arise from an investigation by animal rights organisation Animals Australia, whose investigators claimed to have seen dead, dying, blind and sick sheep on board the livestock carrier MV Al Kuwait. "The voyage by the Al Kuwait in November 2003 was entirely representative of the industry. There was nothing unusual about it, which is why Animals Australia laid this complaint," Ms Oogjes [executive director of Animals Australia] said.

Trevor De Landgrafft, president of the WA Farmers Federation, said a guilty verdict would have a serious impact on sheep farmers across WA. "These animal welfare groups have been building momentum for some time. It is the way which society is moving." Mr De Landgrafft said.

The Sunday Times, Perth, Australia - November 10, 2005
Related story:
Farmers may be losing battle with animal rights activists  Agri News, MN, US (November 15, 2005)

  Are They Serious? Unfortunately Yes    

Kangaroo steak by any other name...
Full story:

Australia has launched a competition to find a new way of describing kangaroo meat which will be less offensive to diners sensitive about eating the national symbol. Organisers point out that a slice of cow or pig on a plate is called by the more palatable euphemisms of beef or pork, and want to find a similarly savoury name for cute kangaroos. "We don't eat cow or pig - the industry for a long time has been saying why do we eat kangaroo?" said [ industry spokesman] John Kelly.

Kangaroo meat sales have grown 50-fold in the past, with Europe a major export market and Russians lapping it up in sausages. But Australians have been reluctant to eat an animal so closely linked to the national identity, and most kangaroo meat consumed locally is in the form of pet food. Hundreds of names have already been put forward, including "Skippy" (the name of a favourite TV kangaroo character), "Yummy" and "Kanga" - none of which stand a chance of success, the Australian newspaper reported. - November 14, 2005

VIP's to dine on exotic animal meats at new Thai zoo
Full story:  Waco Tribune-Herald, TX, US

VIP guests at the grand opening of the night safari zoo in northern Thailand will not only get to see exotic animals - they'll get to taste them. The Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo will have its official opening on New Year's Day, and the "Exotic Buffet" marking the event will include tiger, lion, elephant and giraffe, said Plodprasop Suraswadi, the director of the zoo project. "The VIP guest who pays 4,500 baht ($110) for the buffet will have the privilege of tasting an exotic menu, ranging from dog meat from (Thailand's Sakhon Nakhon province) to lion meat from Africa," Plodprasop told reporters.

Waco Tribune-Herald, TX, US - November 16, 2005
Note: 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.
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