February 2006
March 20 is Meatout Monday

In this edition...

Health and Environment
  Dr. Ornish: The skinny on the latest fat study
  Diet expert slams NZers' love of red meat
  Spain: Fast food blamed for population weight gain
  Not milk?
  Nigeria fears bird flu has spread to humans
  Disturbing questions about beef safety

Lifestyles and Trends
  Eating to save your job
  Veggie experiences: Lawyer puts his heart into his work
  Peace, love and profit - meet the world's richest organic grocer
  Why veganism? The real question is why not?
  It's hip to go veg
  The raw and sexy food movement

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Study: Cows excel at selecting leaders - Hey, can we get them the vote?
  Horse slaughter continues in U.S.
  China: It's a dog's life, if you're dinner
  Animal welfare activism has an impact

Books and Perspectives
  Compassionate conservatives for animals
  The joy of veg

Are They Serious? Unfortunately Yes
  Arcade claw offers live lobster prizes
Special offers for
VegE-News readers:

  Health and Environment    

Dr. Ornish: The skinny on the latest fat study
Full story: MSNBC/Newsweek

The Journal of the American Medical Association on [February 7] reported the results of the Women's Health Initiative dietary modification study, which followed nearly 49,000 middle-aged women for more than eight years, comparing those on a regular diet to those on a low-fat diet. What did researchers find? According to the study: Low-fat diets don't protect against heart disease, or stroke, or breast cancer, or colon cancer. OK, so maybe you're a little confused? A little crazed? You're not alone. With a large number of women in a randomized controlled trial in a major peer-reviewed journal, these findings must be true. Right?

Well, no - not exactly. The investigators acknowledged that the study had some serious limitations [detailed in article]. The real lesson of the Women's Health Initiative study is this: if you don't change much, you don't improve much. Small changes in diet don't have much effect on preventing heart disease and cancer in those at high risk. Here's the good news: in this study, the risk of a heart attack was reduced in the subgroup of patients who consumed the lowest amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and the highest amount of fruits and vegetables. More intensive changes in diet and lifestyle also may affect cancer as well as heart disease.

MSNBC/Newsweek - February 7,2006
Related link:
Dr. McDougall's response to misleading fat study reports
Paly Voice/Verde Magazine (February, 2006)

Diet expert slams NZers' love of red meat
Full story: Stuff, New Zealand

New Zealanders' continuing love of dairy products and red meat was ignoring risks to their health, leading diet expert Audrey Eyton warned. Eyton, a life-long advocate of low-fat foods and dietary fibre, said recent campaigns to encourage people to eat more red meat were driven by big business. New Zealand is among the top six meat-eating countries in the world but also has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer.

She [cites] research released in 2005 which revealed that some people who eat a diet high in red meat and processed meat may increase their risk of bowel cancer by up to a third. Eyton said few people fully realised the risks they ran while living on a typical Western diet. Breast, colon and breast cancers and heart were not a factor in developing countries where people ate traditional, plant-based diets. An American is 20 times more likely to get colon cancer than a vegetarian Asian, and 17 times more likely to get heart disease than a rural Chinese. The World Health Organization recommends low-fat diets, high complex carbohydrates and large amounts of fruit and vegetables as a priority in obesity prevention.

Stuff, New Zealand - February 16, 2006
More bad news about meat, good news about veggies:
Red meat cancer risk clue found
India, France and Iran the latest countries to confirm the presence of the virus.
BBC News (January 31, 2006)
Fruit and vegetables cut stroke risk
Yahoo! News (January 27, 2006)
Black currants may help thwart Alzheimer's
BBC News (January 23, 2006)
Whole grains cut diabetes, heart disease risk
Medline Plus (February 8, 2006)

Spain: Fast food blamed for population weight gain
Full story: CNN/Reuters

Weight gains among Europeans have been linked to consumption of more American-style fast foods like hamburgers, pizza and sweetened soft drinks, according to a study released [February 7]. It also showed significant but weaker links between weight gain and consumption of red meat and sweetened fruit juice. The authors emphasized that fast foods are generally fiber-free and consumers ultimately lose the benefit of a traditional Mediterranean diet to prevent weight gain.

CNN/Reuters - February 7,2006
Related stories
Japan battles rising obesity
Yahoo! News (February 15, 2006)
Canada: Worry grows over childhood obesity
The Toronto Star (February 17, 2006)
U.S.: Former President Clinton announces healthy schools effort to combat obesity
Yahoo! News (February 14, 2006)
Many new immigrants to U.S. change diet - and not for the better
Science Daily (February 9, 2006)

Not milk?
Full story: The Chicago Tribune

If you can't imagine life without a daily dose of dairy, consider new research that questions the value - if not the safety - of this dietary staple. You know it like the Pledge of Allegiance: "Milk helps build strong teeth and bones." But does it really? Or, as nutrition researchers from Harvard and Cornell Universities are radically suggesting: Have we all been duped by the dairy industry's slick, celebrity-driven "got milk?" advertising campaign?

Milk is under attack and not just by animal-rights activists. Researchers are examining the role of dairy in everything from rising osteoporosis rates, Type 1 diabetes and heart disease to breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. Last March, the journal Pediatrics published a review article concluding that there is "scant evidence" that consuming more milk and dairy products will promote child and adolescent bone health. [Studies have] found that women with the highest calcium consumption from dairy products actually had substantially more fractures than women who drank less milk. Some leading [doctors] suggest eliminating dairy products from the diet to help treat irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, eczema and ear infections.

The Chicago Tribune - February 5, 2006
Related story:
High dairy diet may up ovarian cancer risk
muzi.com/International Journal of Cancer (February 2, 2006)

Nigeria fears bird flu has spread to humans
Full story: CNN

Nigerian health officials waited anxiously for test results on two children feared to be the first Africans infected with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. The virus broke out in early January among poultry in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, but the H5N1 diagnosis was confirmed only last week and authorities are struggling to contain it as it spreads rapidly to farms across the north.

People can catch the virus, which has killed at least 88 people in Asia and the Middle East since early 2003, from contact with infected birds, but it cannot yet be spread from one human to another. But experts fear the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain may mutate into a form that can spread from human to human and cause a global flu pandemic that could kill millions. The outbreak of H5N1 in Nigeria is the first known appearance of the virus in Africa.

CNN - February 12, 2006
Related stories:
Deadly bird flu widens its reach
India, France and Iran the latest countries to confirm the presence of the virus.
The BBC News (February 19, 2006)
EU battens down hatches as bird flu hits meat sales
Yahoo! News (February 13, 2006)
Scientists see growing animal-disease risk
Researchers have documented 38 illnesses that have made the animal-human jump over the past 25 years. Yahoo! News (February 20, 2006)

Disturbing questions about beef safety
Full story: MSNBC.com

Last week, just a month after the Japanese government decided to allow the import of U.S. beef into that country, it has once again halted shipments of American beef into Japan because animal spines were found in three boxes of frozen beef being brought into the country. The big question is if spinal matter is making it into exported beef, what is making it into beef we are eating right here at home?

Here's the question that U.S. officials have to answer... the question that we as consumers have to demand be answered: What will it take to get the U.S. government to decide to test every cow? What concerns us is not the cows they find infected with BSE. It is the cows that are not being detected, that are getting into the food supply. It could be one or two. It could be hundreds. We simply don't know, and that is unacceptable.

MSNBC.com - January 24, 2006
Related stories and info:
U.S. meat supply at risk of mad cow disease
Consumer Affairs.com (February 6, 2006)

  Lifestyles and Trends    

Eating to save your job
Full story: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TX, US

How much do you like chicken wings? Or cheeseburgers? Or pork chops? Enough to lose your job? At Ford Motor Co., that's exactly the question that workers should be asking themselves. Ford has announced massive layoffs. More than 30,000 North American Ford employees will be out of work. One main reason cited by company officials for the layoffs is healthcare costs. If Ford aims to compete, it needs to regain its edge.

As a doctor and nutrition researcher, I would like to make a modest suggestion. At breakfast, let's toss out the bacon and eggs and cook up a big bowl of oatmeal. Top it with cinnamon and raisins, not cream and sugar. At lunch, make it a veggie burger or vegetable stew. At dinner, top that pasta with marinara, not Alfredo sauce. Of course, any menu change takes a little getting used to. But a healthy diet sure beats Lipitor, diabetes drugs and unemployment. If our work force really pulls together and resolves to get healthy, we'll make our industries more competitive. And we'll also revolutionize the health of this country.

[Editor's note: The same concept could help countries with universal health care keeps costs under control.]

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TX, US - February 6, 2006

Veggie experiences: Lawyer puts his heart into his work
Full story: The Seattle Times, WA, US

In a Seattle University law classroom, attorney Adam Karp plunks his feet on a bench, next to his chalkboard sketch of a three-legged dog. His shoes are not leather. His tie, the one with a picture of a giraffe, isn't silk. He wears no wool. His belt is plastic. And, he practices only animal law. "It's more a way of life than a philosophy," said Karp, the only attorney in the state whose practice is limited to cases involving animals.

"It began when I became a vegan, when I was able to open my eyes to injustices in the way we treat animals. It's a serious problem here, and the law is a ripe tool for affecting change." He said becoming a vegan - not eating meat or wearing anything made from animals - opened his eyes to the way animals are treated. Practicing solely animal law was a way to marry his personal and professional views.

The Seattle Times, WA, US - February 7, 2006

Peace, love and profit - meet the world's richest organic grocer
Full story: Guardian Unlimited, UK

[Meet] the founder of Whole Foods: hippie entrepreneur John Mackey. As he scans the menu in vain for a vegan muffin, Mackey asks: "Are you familiar with Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs? His theory is that our first and most important needs are physical - food, water, sex. When those needs get met, other needs begin to assert themselves - safety, belonging, having a sense of love and friendship, then self-esteem. Beyond that it is self-actualisation." Whole Foods' journey to self-actualisation has taken time - some 25 years or so.

"Twenty-five years ago we were very much on the fringe," Mackey says. "It has only been in the last few years that we have moved into the mainstream. We have not really changed. What has changed is that the world has begun to move closer to us." The store is offering more than just food; the 2004 annual report spoke of a "virtuous circle entwining the food chain, human beings, and the earth; each reliant upon the others through a delicate symbiosis." All of which might have remained empty pieties had the young Mackey enjoyed more success sowing his own wild oats. In 1978, Mackey was a philosophy and religion student at Texas University in Austin. "I was in my early 20s and open to alternative lifestyles. I thought, 'I bet you get a lot of attractive, interesting women in a vegetarian co-op.'"

Guardian Unlimited, UK - January 29, 2006
More veggie experiences:
Healthy, energetic - and vegetarian

Stuff, New Zealand (February 14, 2006)


Why veganism? The real question is why not?
Full story: Metroactive.com

Veganism, as a philosophy, starts with the precept that humans don't have any right to "use" animals and that our use of animals, who have no choice in the matter, is exploitation. To the extent possible vegans should avoid that exploitation. Vegans believe their lifestyle is healthier for people, the environment, and of course, animals.

That brings us to that qualifying phrase "to the extent possible." I do my best with diet, which isn't good enough, but it's better than doing nothing. However, being a vegan in my clothing and accessory choices is easy. So I turn the "Why vegan?" question around. When you know that buying vegan can eliminate your contribution to cruel practices and that you can get function and style with vegan alternatives, then the question becomes: "Why not vegan?"

Metroactive.com - February 1, 2006

It's hip to go veg
Full story: Indianapolis Star, IN, US

From movies such as "Finding Nemo" ("Fish are friends, not food") to bands such as Goldfinger ("Free Me"), kids today are hearing a message that it's not cool to eat meat, a message that more and more are taking to heart. In fact, according to a nationwide study in 2002 by market research group Teenage Research Unlimited, more than 20 percent of teenagers surveyed said vegetarianism is "in." That's not to say that 20 percent of teens are vegetarians. But schools are listening to students who want more vegetarian choices.

Indianapolis Star, IN, US - February 15, 2006
Related story - one step back:
A number of hip-hop superstars giving up the beef
Arizona Daily Star, US (January 30, 2006)

The raw and sexy food movement
Full story: Columbia University Spectator, NY, US

Raw food is the latest diet craze in the evolutionary progression stretching from vegetarian to vegan, from organic to macrobiotic. The raw food community, however, heartily rejects the "fad diet" label. Turning to history for legitimization, raw food boasts a lineage that reaches back tens of thousands of years, to a pre-Promethean era when humans foraged for vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

Why the ban on the pan? Raw foodists claim that conventional cooking alters the molecular structure of food, which in turn destroys vital enzymes and "renders it toxic," according to living-foods.com. Raw or "living" foods are reputed to have higher nutrient values than their sauteed, steamed, and fried counterparts. In sum, the diet promises to give its adherents more energy, lighter dispositions, and fewer health complications. The medical community has yet to concur with these claims.

Columbia University Spectator, NY, US - February 16, 2006
  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Study: Cows excel at selecting leaders - Hey, can we get them the vote?
Full story: The Discovery Channel

Recent studies on leadership in cows and other grazing herbivores suggest that intelligence, inquisitiveness, confidence, experience and good social skills help to determine which animals will become leaders within herds. The findings suggest that, at least among these animals, individuals are not necessarily "born leaders," and that bullying, selfishness, size and strength are not recognized as suitable leadership qualities.

"The fact that in groups of animals of different age, leaders are amongst the oldest animals suggests that it's not innate, but the result of previous experience," said Bertrand Dumont, lead author of a recent paper on leadership in a group of grazing heifers. Dumont is a researcher at INRA, the national institute of agricultural research in Saint-Genes-Champanelle, France. He added, "Usually leadership and dominance are not correlated. In other words, leaders are not the strongest animals."

The Discovery Channel - December 22, 2006
Related stories:
Grieving baboons comforted by friends
Animal Planet (February 10, 2006)
Do only humans love their children?
Bird flies 2500 miles for baby's food
Bangladesh-web.com (January 19 2006)

Horse slaughter continues in U.S.
Full story: National Geographic News

Three foreign-owned processing plants will be allowed to continue slaughtering horses for meat, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced. The slaughterhouses sell the meat overseas as a delicacy and in the U.S. as food for zoo animals. Horses are supposed to be rendered unconscious prior to slaughter, usually by a stun gun. But sometimes, welfare workers say, it takes several attempts if the horse panics and tries to flee. Consequently, animal advocates assert, horses are improperly stunned, even with repeated blows, and are still conscious when their throats are slit.

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, introduced last year, would permanently ban the sale and transport of horses to slaughter. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is actively pursuing defeat of the legislation. Without meat processing as an option, many of the unwanted horses will be donated to rescue and retirement facilities, [an AVMA spokesperson] says, which are not regulated by any governmental body. Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses, an equine-rescue facility in Hitchcock, Texas, said there really aren't enough unwanted horses to make this an issue. Less than one percent of the total U.S. horse population is sent to processing plants each year, and new owners could easily be found for those animals.

National Geographic News - February 8, 2006

China: It's a dog's life, if you're dinner
Full story: The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

In the Year of the Dog, life for China's canines can mean wearing a Gucci coat and eating gourmet meals or becoming a fur coat and a traditional "warming" winter casserole. Mao Zedong's dictum that pets were a bourgeois conceit has long been brushed aside as China's new rich and middle classes buy dogs as pets and splurge on designer accessories, along with acupuncture, daycare and spa treatments, for them. But animal rights activists estimate that at least 10 million dogs are still being killed in appalling ways for food and their pelts.

France's Society for the Protection of Animals this week issued a new year appeal to President Hu Jintao to end the slaughter. The society and other animal rights groups charge that many animals are killed slowly to "enhance" the meat's flavour, a charge not denied by dog farmers who matter-of-factly state that bleeding a dog to death while it is conscious makes the meat more tender. "The cruelty isn't hidden here as it is in the West [in factory farms]; you can see it more blatantly in the markets," [a spokesman for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the Asia Pacific] said.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - February 4, 2006
Related stories:
U.S.: Documentary - 'Dealing Dogs': A gnawing portrait of despair
Washington Post (February 20, 2006)
Philippines: Activists protest legalization of dog meat
UPI (February 20, 2006)


Animal welfare activism has an impact
Full story: Iowa Farmer Today, US

Animal welfare activists may be part of the vocal minority but pork industry experts say they exert a tremendous influence on customers. "Companies aren't asking us these questions because they can benefit (economically)," says Kellye Pfalzgraf, director of animal welfare for Tyson Foods. "They are asking because they fear the activists and the protesting outside their doors." Because of the attention, [the director of animal welfare for the National Pork Board] said consumers are more aware of animal-welfare issues. "Consumers want a safe product that was raised humanely," she said.

Iowa Farmer Today, US - February 2, 2006
Related stories:
Students win cage-free chicken campaign
San Francisco Chronicle/AP (January 30,2006)
Ag lobbyists target activists
The Progressive Populist (March 1, 2006)

  Books and Perspectives    

Compassionate conservatives for animals
Full story: The Minnesota Daily, US

Matthew Scully, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, received widespread acclaim for his book "Dominion," in which he delivers a conservative and religiously grounded polemic for better treatment of farm animals. Scully says that as "a matter of simple decency and an obligation to justice" we should not subject animals to "human cruelty."

He maintains that we ought to consider why prohibitions exist against taking pictures on corporate farms, why public relations professionals are necessary to represent modern farms and their practices and ultimately why so many of us "don't want to know" where our food comes from. The distancing most of us do from the production of animal products is indicative of a conflict of conscience that ought to be rectified. At the same time, as Scully reminds us that animal suffering is something conservatives and Christians ought to consider and respond to, he destroys the stereotype of the vegetarian as Chaco-wearing hippie. Conservative, liberal, independent or politically indifferent, we should all consider whether our personal use of animals is indeed humane.

The Minnesota Daily, US - February 6, 2006
Related story:
Mathew Scully on the Canadian seal hunt: An ivory trade to call our own
National Post (February 13, 2006)

The joy of veg
Full story: Irish Examiner

Paul Gaylor is executive chef at London's Lanesborough Hotel and an award-winning food writer. He is well known for having brought vegetarian cooking to a new level. In his new book, Pure Vegetarian, he continues to extol the virtues of seasonal fresh vegetables. With Paul's guiding hand, the book will have you cooking exotic dishes with ease. Whether cooking for the family or entertaining guests, the recipes are sure to impress.

Irish Examiner - January 28, 2006
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  Are They Serious? Unfortunately Yes    

Arcade claw offers live lobster prizes
Full story: Monterey Herald, CA, US

You don't have to be a fisherman to catch lobsters anymore. At restaurants and bars in more than a dozen states - customers can plunk down $2 for a chance to catch their very own lobster using a mechanical claw in an arcade-style game. The apparatus is a new version of the old-style amusement game where players put in a quarter or two in hopes of grabbing a stuffed animal. But instead of plush toys, the Love Maine Lobster Claw game has a water-filled tank full of lobsters. When a lobster is caught, the restaurants cook it for free and serve it with side dishes.

The game has its critics. Animal rights activists contend it's cruel to toss a lobster into a boiling pot of water. And playing with the creatures before sending them to their deaths rubs some people the wrong way. "Turning animal cruelty into a game is absolutely hideous," said Karin Robertson of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Working a joystick and a pair of buttons, [one player] lowers the claw, clamps it around the lobster and attempts to lift it out of the water. But the lobster fights back and escapes before he can deposit it in an opening and down a chute into his possession. [The customer] leaves empty-handed, but he had a good time. "Who cares if you get a lobster for two bucks?" he said.

Monterey Herald, CA, US - February 6, 2006
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