In this edition...
Health and Environment
| ||Have vegetarians found the 'Fountain of Youth'?|
| ||A vegetarian diet prevents disease and keeps you trim|
| ||Dairy products tied to having twins|
| ||Tens of millions of Britons at mad cow disease risk|
| ||No more bull - avian flu and mad cow exposed|
| ||Governments have failed to stop overfishing, study shows|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Google takes up cage-free eggs|
| ||Raw food vegan diet fuels pro-athlete|
| ||Diet trends aggravate U.S. meat glut, lower meat prices|
| ||Veganism creates $2.8 billion market|
| ||Veg Experiences: 'I'm cool' health concerns forced change|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Egg farm film exposé used against its director|
| ||Australia: Activists protest at World Meat Congress|
| ||If pigs could fly, they'd be after some space|
| ||Live seafood the new humane focus|
| ||We force feed chickens, too|
| ||Apes, birds may plan, remember like humans|
Books, Movies and Perspectives
| ||'Fast Food Nation' biting as fiction|
| ||Al Gore reveals 'An Inconvenient Truth'|
| ||Mighty mushrooms|
| ||Chew the right thing - an interview with Peter Singer||
Special offers for
Health and Environment
Have vegetarians found the 'Fountain of Youth'?
Full story: Web India
People who eat lots of fruit and vegetables are likely to have fewer wrinkles, says a new study. Free radicals - unstable oxygen molecules - are a major factor in premature skin aging and skin cancer. Antioxidants contained in the body stop free-radical damage. A study conducted at the Berlin Charite hospital found that people with a high concentration of antioxidants in the skin look younger because they have fewer wrinkles, [German magazine] The Dermatologist said. The study showed that vegetarians had more antioxidants in their bodies than non-vegetarians. [The magazine warned against obtaining anti-oxidants from] supplements rather than food.]
Web India - April 18, 2006
A vegetarian diet prevents disease and keeps you trim
Full story: Munster Times, IN, US
One way to go if you're looking to thin down is to become a vegetarian. Removing saturated fats from your diet and replacing them with antioxidants and fiber provided by fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains can lead to a healthy lifestyle that may result not only in weight loss, but prevent many diseases, from diabetes to stroke to cancer. Vegetarianism can be just as effective as medicine. Following a vegetarian diet has been found to reduce the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disorders, type II diabetes and cancer, particularly of the colon and the prostate. "A lot of what physicians are trying to accomplish with medications can be accomplished with diet," [Registered Dietician Mark] Rifkin said.
"Fish has gotten a lot of attention for the healthy fat content, but mercury is one of the downsides of fish," Rifkin said. Fish absorb many of the water pollutants, he said, especially those fish farther up the food chain. Those who fear they'd be lacking protein and iron if they opted for a meatless diet would be surprised to learn how many foods are out there that can be used to meet their nutrition requirements. "I'd first remind readers of where the animals get their proteins and iron, which is from plants. Iron is ultimately an earth-based mineral." Rifkin said.
Munster Times, IN, US - May 1, 2006
Staten Island Advance, US (May 3, 2006)
Medline/AMA, US (May 13, 2006)
Orlando Sentinel, FL, US (May 16, 2006)
Voice of America, US (May 11, 2006)
Dairy products tied to having twins
Full story: BBC News, UK
A study in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine showed milk drinkers were five times more likely to have twins than women who ate no animal products. The numbers of twins in the world has increased significantly in the past 30 years, in some countries by over 50%. [The rate increased by 75% in the U.S. between 1980 and 2003]. Scientists have suggested fertility treatments and women delaying pregnancy can help explain the rise. But this new research indicates that diet can also play an important part. In the study, the twinning rates of women who ate a diet including milk were compared with  women who followed a vegan, or no animal products diet.
It is believed that a protein found in cow's milk and other animal products [may be the cause]. In women it makes the ovaries more sensitive and increases the number of eggs produced. The effect is likely to be greater in countries such as the United States that allow growth hormones to be fed to cattle. The researcher behind this study says that women thinking of getting pregnant might consider alternatives to meat and dairy products to reduce their chances of having twins, as multiple births are more prone to complications.
BBC News, UK - May 20, 2006
Tens of millions of Britons at mad cow disease risk
Full story: The Scotsman, Scotland
Tens of millions more Britons are at risk of contracting the human form of mad cow disease than originally thought, raising fears over the safety of blood products and surgery. Scientists had believed that only 40 percent of the population with a specific gene type were susceptible to vCJD, the human form of the cattle disease BSE. But they recently discovered that the disease can lie dormant for decades in other people. The evidence could mean that rather than dying out, as had been hoped, vCJD may go on to be self-sustaining.
The Scotsman, Scotland - May 19, 2006
No more bull - avian flu and mad cow exposed
Full story: Common Ground, Canada
Recent studies of Alzheimer victims' brains show that a shocking 5.5 to 13 percent of these individuals actually died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This is a serious and dangerous misdiagnosis with huge implications. Now we need to know how much of that CJD is the new variant type caused by mad cow disease. We need to remember that whether it is mad cow or bird flu, we are only one mutation away from a worldwide pandemic, and that factory farming and humans' desire to eat meat constitute the root causes. Today, millions of humans could be incubating the brain-wasting disease vCJD, and it could take anywhere from 10 to 40 years before symptoms appear; symptoms very similar to Alzheimer's, and also 100 percent fatal.
[As a former cattle rancher,] feeding dead animal waste to plant-eating cows was like robbing the bank with the help of the sheriff. We never gave a thought to the health of the animals, as long as they made it to slaughter. The idea that turning cows into cannibals could come back to haunt us was the furthest thought from our minds. Mad cow disease shocked the world. At the same time, governments were scrambling to word news releases so that meat sales would continue lining the pockets of large multi-national corporations. Faced with a similar problem with avian flu today, the news release has become the preferred vehicle of protecting the consumer. This approach might work if birds could read. Every time we spend a dollar, we are voting on the future. When we spend our money on meat produced on a factory farm, we are endorsing the madness that takes place on those farms. [-IT-A long and excellent article by Howard Lyman, the "Mad Cowboy"-/IT-]
Common Ground, Canada - May, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia (May 15, 2006)
CNews, Canada (April 28, 2006)
CNews, Canada (April 28, 2006)
American Chronicle (April 26, 2006)
Governments have failed to stop overfishing, study shows
Full story: ENN/Reuters
Governments worldwide have failed to prevent overfishing in the oceans, where a proliferation of bottom-trawling threatens to wipe out deep sea species, conservation groups WWF and Traffic said. Their report, released ahead of a New York meeting on the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, argued that controls needed to be reinforced to prevent further damage to marine ecosystems and future food supplies.
"Given the perilous overall state of marine fisheries resources and the continuing threats posed to the marine environment from over-fishing and damaging fishing activity, the need for action is immediate," said Simon Cripps, director of the World Wildlife Fund's global marine programme. Illegal fishing "by highly mobile fleets under the control of multinational companies" was cited in the report as one of the top threats to the sustainability of marine life. Governments were also at fault for not respecting limits.
ENN/Reuters - May 19, 2006
ENN/Reuters, US (May 24, 2006)
MSNBC, US (May 5, 2006)
Fishing Hurts website
Lifestyles and Trends
Google takes up cage-free eggs
Full story: Playfuls.com, Romania/UPI
California-based Google, one of the hottest companies around, has embraced a hot trend in animal rights - cage-free eggs. The company will require that all of its cafes and cafeterias serve only the pricier cage-free eggs. Google uses about 300,000 eggs a year along with 7,000 pounds of liquid egg products.
Google is jumping on a bandwagon that already includes America On Line and Bon Appetit Management, a catering company serving a number of Silicon Valley companies. Several universities have also pledged to serve cage-free eggs. "There's a ripple effect that I think will happen," said John Dickman, Google's food service manager. "Other companies also will want to ensure humane treatment of animals."
Playfuls.com, Romania/UPI - May 12, 2006
Raw food vegan diet fuels pro-athlete
Full story: Arizona Daily Star, US
What did you eat yesterday? Bradley Saul, a former pro-cyclist and founder of Organic Athlete, told me what he had munched on that day: half of a case of strawberries, two heads of lettuce chopped into a salad, some oranges and about 50 small dates. The tall and lean but strong-looking cyclist is a vegan, and a raw foodist. He promotes organic living for athletes to ensure personal and environmental health. Chowing down on a few heads of lettuce for lunch and avoiding all cooked and processed foods sounds a little extreme, but the principles of his vegan raw food diet are based on eating whole, organic foods that provide the vitamins, minerals and fiber that we all strive for in our diets.
Everyone's first question: Where do you get your protein? "Where don't you get protein if you're eating whole foods?" said Saul. "We get enough protein if we eat whole foods, fruits and vegetables." Fruits and vegetables have a bit of protein per calorie so as long as you're eating whole foods, you can't not get enough protein, Saul says. These foods aren't as high in protein as meat, of course, but that protein is more difficult to digest, according to Saul. "I used to come out of a race all covered in salt. I'm not like that anymore," he said. "Since I've started this, I can say my recovery times are better. I wake up in the morning ready for the day, and I don't need stimulants or caffeine to keep me going."
Arizona Daily Star, US - May 16, 2006
Raw food diet cured my arthritis
Mirror, UK (May 3, 2006)
Diet trends aggravate U.S. meat glut, lower meat prices
Full story: MSNBC/AP, US
Too much of a good thing isn't good for anyone. That goes for protein, too. After years of people stuffing themselves with chicken, pork and beef while they were following low-carb diets like Atkins, the meat industry is looking at a glut as the diet trend turns toward a more balanced approach. Benchmark wholesale prices for beef and pork are down more than 8 percent from a year ago and 20 percent for chicken, according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center. "There is just an overabundance of protein on the market," the center's Jim Robb said.
Good profits in 2004 and 2005 tempted farmers and agribusiness companies to raise production faster than the growth in demand. But changing diets have helped pressure the market, as have export problems for beef and chicken. Consumers are increasingly shunning high-protein diets like Atkins and South Beach, which have been lauded for inducing rapid weight loss but criticized for raising the intake of fats and cholesterol. Despite diet fads, the long-term trend is for U.S. consumers to eat more meat and spend less for it as producers and processors become more efficient.
MSNBC/AP, US - May 15, 2006
Veganism creates $2.8 billion market
Full story: Arizona Daily Star, US
The shoes are fashionable. And the food isn't bad either. No longer considered a "hippie fad," the vegan lifestyle is translating into business opportunities, resulting in part from a growing $50 billion a year natural-products industry.
There are more than 1.7 million vegans, in the United States, according to a 2000 poll conducted by the [Vegetarian Resource Group]. Choices for vegan consumers are growing along with demand, as more niche businesses cater to vegans, and main-stream grocery stores carry more products, said John Cunningham, consumer research manager for the vegetarian group. The market for foods replacing meat and other animal products is estimated at $2.8 billion, according to Mintel International Group Ltd., a research consumer company.
Arizona Daily Star, US - May 15, 2006
Tyson quarterly loss biggest in 10 years
Chicago Tribune, US (May 2, 2006)
Montreal Gazette, Canada (May 1, 2006)
China Daily (May 17, 2006)
Veg Experiences: 'I'm cool' health concerns forced change
Full story: Trinidad &Tobago Express
The notion of red meat seems to go with the idea of red-blooded men. Except, of course, when the family physician requires that you back off a bit, and when, finally, he decides you should cut it out. Completely. Ah, but I remember the days when a choice cut beckoned, and the lengths to which you would go to find and procure a good steak. But time was catching up with us, requiring that we modify menus. The upshot of all this: I've been checking different sources to help find a way to keep on the straight and narrow in a way that would not induce boredom, and cause me to flee the regimen.
...The Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine, has much to say about the whole thing. And while they don't indulge in scare tactics, they do offer what seems a compelling point of view about what we put, unthinkingly, into our systems. They're very much down on too much protein and fat. I must say, though, that I don't miss red meat as much as I thought I would. Strangely, what I sometimes hanker after is lowly and commonplace corned beef. Basically, though, I'm cool. So if you run into Dr. Goertz, let him know that I'm hanging in there!
Trinidad &Tobago Express - April 29, 2006
to idea of promoting the taste of their food instead of the politics at Vegetarian Awakening Conference
Toronto Star, Canada (May 24, 2006)
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Egg farm film exposé used against its director
Full story: ABC News, US
Adam Durand and two women planned to sneak into a gigantic egg farm, owned by Wegman's, a [huge U.S.] grocery chain, to document what they believed to be the poor conditions inside. "At the time, we weren't thinking about the legal consequences. We were just concerned about getting the best footage we could... there's no other way to show people what happens," he said. The disturbing images Durand shot include a chicken with its head caught between bars and another trapped in a pile of manure. Durand said their intention was only to document, not to destroy property. They ended up finding what they thought were sickly hens trapped in manure pits below the egg-laying house. "We just couldn't leave them behind, so yes, we brought hens out of the facility," Durand said.
Durand made the tape into a film ["Wegman's Cruelty"], convinced that when the world saw what he shot, the supermarket chain would be punished for the way it raised its hens. The footage did indeed lead to a prosecution - not of Wegman's but of Durand [for] felony burglary for breaking in and taking chickens out of the egg farm. Durand would face up to seven years behind bars if convicted of those charges. Eric Schneider, Durand's original lawyer, said the punishment was way out of proportion to the crime. "It seems thus far that the prosecution in this case is deferential to this corporation," Schneider said. [Durand was acquitted] on all but the criminal trespassing charges.
ABC News, US - May 10, 2006
Related stories and links:
Newsday, US (May 16, 2006)
New Zealand: Battery cage deadline wanted
One News, NZ (May 10, 2006)
Australia: Activists protest at World Meat Congress
Full story: The Australian
Animal activists protested peacefully at an international meat industry forum in Brisbane after earlier chaining themselves to machinery at an abattoir. More than 100 people marched through the city's centre to protest against the 2006 World Meat Congress. About 700 meat industry representatives gathered for the three-day conference. Improving animal welfare headed the forum's agenda [on the last day] but Animal Liberation NSW spokeswoman Danielle Archer said it was a "joke".
At the conference, Dr David Bayvel of the World Organisation for Animal Health said consumers expressed interest in humanely-produced products but the reality was different. "You carry out surveys and 50 or 60 percent of consumers say they'll pay quite happily for improved animal welfare product. When faced with choice in the supermarket and getting out their credit card at the check-out counter, that 60 percent falls to 5 or 6 percent."
The Australian - April 29, 2006
If pigs could fly, they'd be after some space
Full story: The Edge, Australia
Stop participating in the shame of our generation: Give "babe" some wriggle room. The pitiable walk from the pig pen to the slaughter house is the high point of the lives of many pigs. The way we treat farm animals is so barbaric, we will be rightly condemned by future generations for the unthinkable levels of distress and cruelty that we are inflicting on these emotional and gentle creatures.
By the time they get to the sow stalls, pigs have already experienced excruciating levels of pain. Piglets have their tails docked without anaesthetic, causing them to writhe in excruciating pain, so much so they shake and vomit. Their teeth are also clipped, causing intense pain for more than two weeks.
We would be hypocrites to continue to turn a blind eye to such practices. We are quick to condemn seal clubbing in Canada and dog farming in northern China, but seem content to ignore this far more barbaric practice, to creatures whose emotional and intelligence levels are at least as high as that of dogs and seals. In fact there are few species that are as social as pigs. Why inflict a life full of misery, pain and deprivation on sentient beings just so people can feast on their flesh for a few cents less? It's time to correct the balance. Before you order your next meal, reflect (if only for an instant) about how the meal came to be.
The Edge, Australia - May 2, 2006
PETA/goveg.com (May 12, 2006)
The Mirror, UK (April 24, 2006)
DNA, India (May 18, 2006)
Front Page Magazine (April 26, 2006)
Courier-Mail, Australia (May 3, 2006)
E/The Environmental Magazine (May 3, 2006)
Live seafood the new humane focus
Full story: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, US
Soft shell crabs are at the center of the latest controversy over how seafood and meat are being treated on their way to the table. From veal to foie gras, many delicacies with potential ethical issues are disappearing from some restaurants and supermarkets. Live seafood is next. Last week, Whole Foods Market stopped selling live soft shell crabs at the height of the season for the fully edible spring favorite. The Texas-based natural foods chain is reviewing its position on lobster and expects a decision by June 15.
Soft shell crabs are shipped and stored on ice or metal trays, often covered with seaweed and damp newspaper to keep them moist. They are forced to live up to a week out of water. Some die during shipping. The time in transit and discomfort of the trays concern Whole Foods, [a spokesperson] says. The Humane Society of the United States, which two years ago started a farm animal welfare campaign, is focusing on furry and feathered creatures. "Animals should not be boiled alive," said Paul Shapiro, director of the Humane Society of the group's Factory Farming Campaign. "At the same time, it's important to recognize that animals who are raised on factory farms, like most egg-laying hens or veal calves or ducks used for foie gras, suffer from a lifetime of torment."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, US - May 19, 2006
Independent Online, South Africa (April 27, 2006)
We force feed chickens, too
Full story: Chicago Tribune
Chicago's decision to ban foie gras addresses an important issue: animal cruelty. But the focus on ducks and geese is seriously misplaced. Chicken and eggs are far more popular foods than duck liver. And under our factory farming system, hens are crammed six to a cage, with 67 square inches of floor space per chicken, according to the United Egg Producers. You might not care whether a chicken is comfortable, but you should: a hen's health affects yours. The cramped, often cruel and unsanitary conditions breed disease.
So the chickens are loaded with antibiotics. More than 70 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals, largely to fatten them and to make them grow, according to the Humane Society. This affects all chicken and egg eaters because if antibiotics are overused, bacteria become resistant. Then it takes larger and larger doses of a drug to cure an infection. Sometimes the antibiotic won't work at all. There's an easy solution: keep the chicken healthy. Australia's policy of restricting antibiotic use in food-producing animals may be linked with lower level of drug-resistant bacteria found in people, according to a study in the May issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Chicago Tribune - April 27, 2006
Los Angeles Times (May 3, 2006)
Apes, birds may plan, remember like humans
Full story: Bloomberg
Apes and birds may use mental abilities previously attributed only to humans when they gather and store food, according to two studies published [May 18]. Researchers found that orangutans and bonobos were able to choose the correct tool to retrieve grapes or juice and hang on to it for as long as 14 hours. A separate study by British scientists found that Western scrub-jays seemed to recall which birds were watching them when storing food, and sometimes chose a new spot if they saw a familiar face. "The ability to plan for the future was supposed to distinguish us from the rest of the animal kingdom," said Josep Call, an author on the ape study. "Now there's some data that some rudimentary abilities to plan ahead exist in other animals."
Bloomberg - May 18, 2006
Books, Movies and Perspectives
'Fast Food Nation' biting as fiction
Full story: The Toronto Star, Canada
It might have been my imagination, but business looked sparser than usual at the McDonald's across from the Palais Du Festivals after the press screening of Richard Linklater's boldly fictionalized adaptation of Eric Schlosser's non-fiction bestseller "Fast Food Nation." Linklater's movie ends with some potently graphic sequences shot on the killing floor of a Mexican slaughterhouse. A popcorn flick, this decidedly ain't.
"That's real footage," Linklater, a vegetarian, clarified later to the media. Acknowledging the corporate fast food campaigns already underway to discredit the film, Linklater defended not only the movie's wide-sweeping anti-corporate politics but the decision to end the film with such stomach-churning footage. "This movie is really about unveiling things and becoming aware," he added. "I think (the slaughterhouse) is a reality everyone needs to know. We've become very separated and divorced from where everything comes from." When a journalist expressed her disappointment at the apparent lack of "hope" for the movie's characters, [star Ethan] Hawke leaned into the microphone. "Hope is great pacifier," he said. "...Many people sit around and hope, and that's why there is such great apathy all over the world."
The Toronto Star, Canada - May 21, 2006
Related stories and links:
Independent Online, South Africa (May 20, 2006)
Guardian, UK (May 21, 2006)
Al Gore reveals 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Full story: The New Yorker
"An Inconvenient Truth," starring [former U.S. presidential candidate] Al Gore (playing the role of Al Gore, itinerant lecturer), is coming to a theatre near you. Reserve some seats. Bring the family. It shouldn't be missed. No kidding. As a means of education, "An Inconvenient Truth" is a brilliantly lucid, often riveting attempt to warn Americans off our hellbent path to global suicide. "An Inconvenient Truth" is not the most entertaining film of the year. But it might be the most important.
If you are inclined to think that the unjustly awarded election of 2000 led to one of the worst Presidencies of this or any other era, it is not easy to look at Al Gore. He is the living reminder of all that might not have happened in the past six years. Imagining that alternative history is hard to bear, which is why Gore always has the courtesy, in his many speeches, and at the start of "An Inconvenient Truth," to deflect that discomfort with a joke: "Hello, I'm Al Gore and I used to be the next President of the United States." There is no substitute for Presidential power, but Gore is now playing a unique role in public life. He is a symbol of what might have been, who insists that we focus on what likely will be an uninhabitable planet if we fail to pay attention to the folly we are committing, and take the steps necessary to end it.
The New Yorker - April 24, 2006
Related stories and links:
Paramount Classics will donate 5% of ticket sales to the Alliance for Climate Protection
"An Inconvenient Truth" 2006 and "Earth in the Balance" 1993
Grist Magazine, US (May 9, 2006)
Grist Magazine, US (May 19, 2006)
Think Progress, US (May 17, 2006)
How environmentalists are overlooking vegetarianism as the most effective tool against climate change
Free info to distribute at movie theatres:
Postcards from FARM that explain the connection between global warming and animal agriculture and offer a free veg kit
Indicates the many negative environmental effects of animal-based agriculture
Gives many reasons for shifting to a vegan diet, including environmental considerations
Full story: E/The Environmental Magazine
Paul Stamets says we're all descended from mushrooms, and if that's true, he's one spore who hasn't fallen too far from his fungus of origin. That's a compliment, and anyone who reads his colorful 2005 book "Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World" (Ten Speed Press) will probably agree. Like the sentient networks of mushroom mycelium he champions for environmental remediation, natural pesticides and improved immune response in people, Stamets is on a mission to help save the world through his research, writing, teaching and company Fungi Perfecti, LLC, a source for all things fungus.
E/The Environmental Magazine - May, 2006
Chew the right thing - an interview with Peter Singer
Full story: Mother Jones, US
For Peter Singer, the unexamined meal is not worth eating. Over the past three decades, the Australian philosopher has challenged the idea that eating is simply a matter of convenience or enjoyment, making a case that it is a profound ethical choice - particularly if you're a meat eater. In his latest book, "The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter," Singer (with co-author Jim Mason) turns his sights on the American way of dining, applying his ethical calculus to the eating habits of three families - ranging from meat-and-potatoes Wal-Mart shoppers to Whole Foodies and hardcore vegans. With a mix of quiet philosophizing and Fast Food Nation-style reportage, Singer argues that eating well means looking beyond the plate and taking a hard look where our food comes from and how it affects other people, animals, and the environment.
[In response to an interview question, he says:] I'm not saying that enjoyment isn't legitimate. But I think that compared to what the cow or steer has been through and compared to the impact you're having on the environment, I think your enjoyment of the steak is secondary. Don't forget, it's the net difference between your enjoyment of the steak and your enjoyment of whatever else you'd be eating instead. So I hope you'll find something else - there's lots of great vegetarian or vegan food that you can eat that will be tasty and, once you develop a taste for it, probably will enjoy as much as you enjoy the steak, anyway.
Mother Jones, US - May 3, 2006
More interviews with Peter Singer:
(May 22, 2006)
(May 8, 2006)
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