August 2006
Live simply so that others may simply live.

In this edition...

  Vegan diet reverses diabetes symptoms, study finds
  Just one fatty meal is all it takes to clog those arteries
  U.S. approves spray to kill food bacteria
  Hot dog meat could harbour risk of cancer: researchers
  New Zealand health scientists frustrated by poultry industry 'bullying'

  Chinese consumer key to saving world's sharks
  China to let tourists hunt endangered species
  Another inconvenient truth: Meat is a global warming issue
  The bean that threatens the Amazon

Lifestyles and Trends
  Veggie experiences: A compassionate choice
  Americans are voting with their forks
  Germans discover "You are what you eat"
  Cats go vegan in Asia's biggest feline shelter
  In the raw: Live food diet

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Animal sentience: Good feelings count
  Dog meat still hot potato in Korea
  A few lucky baby turkeys survive flight disaster
  The case against "animal science" in agricultural schools
  Ice cream maker continues to allow hen abuse

Books and Perspectives
  The origins of veggie might
Special offers for
VegE-News readers:


Vegan diet reverses diabetes symptoms, study finds
Full story: CNN/Reuters

People who ate a low-fat vegan diet lowered their blood sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet, researchers said. They lowered their cholesterol more and ended up with better kidney function, according to the report published in Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association.

Participants said the vegan diet was easier to follow than most because they did not measure portions or count calories. "I hope this study will rekindle interest in using diet changes first, rather than prescription drugs," [said] Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, which helped conduct the study.

CNN/Reuters - July 28, 2006

Just one fatty meal is all it takes to clog those arteries
Full story: Los Angeles Times, CA, US

Eating just one meal high in saturated fat appears to quickly prevent "good" cholesterol from protecting the body against clogged arteries. In the study, at the Heart Research Institute near Melbourne, Australia, 14 people, ages 18 to 40, ate two meals of carrot cake and a milkshake one month apart. One meal was high in saturated fat - using coconut oil - and the other was high in polyunsaturated fat - using safflower oil. The researchers found that three hours after eating the saturated-fat cake and shake, the lining of the arteries was hindered from expanding to increase blood flow. And after six hours, the anti-inflammatory qualities of the good cholesterol were reduced. But the polyunsaturated meal seemed to improve anti-inflammatory qualities.

Saturated fats are found mostly in food from animals, and some plants, including coconut oil. Polyunsaturated fats are found in oils from plants. Dr. James O'Keefe, a cardiologist at the Mid America Heart Institute, said [the] study shows "a really important concept - when you eat the wrong types of food, inflammation and damage to the vessels happens immediately afterward...Even one meal of a double cheeseburger with fries and a Coke will mess up your system, let alone a steady diet of it, which is a recipe for disaster."

Los Angeles Times, CA, US - August 14, 2006

U.S. approves spray to kill food bacteria
Full story: New York Times

A mix of bacteria-killing viruses may be sprayed on cold cuts, wieners and sausages to combat common microbes that kill hundreds of people a year. The ruling, by the Food and Drug Administration, is the first approval of viruses as a food additive, said Andrew Zajac of the Office of Food Additive Safety at the agency. The viruses, called bacteriophages, are meant to kill strains of the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, the food agency said.

The bacterium can cause a serious infection, primarily in pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. Luncheon meats are particularly vulnerable to Listeria because after they are bought they are typically not cooked or reheated, which can kill harmful bacteria like Listeria, Mr. Zajac said. "As long as it used in accordance with the regulations, we have concluded it's safe," Mr. Zajac said. Consumers will not be aware which meat and poultry products have been treated with the spray, Mr. Zajac said. [Our emphasis]

New York Times - August 19, 2006

Hot dog meat could harbour risk of cancer: researchers
Full story: Discovery Channel, US

Hot dogs may seem like the perfect barbecue food for the summer, but new research shows that eating them could lead to cancer. Scientists from the University of Nebraska Medical Centre say hot dog meat may contain a DNA-mutating compound that can boost the risk of cancer. The meat is preserved with sodium nitrate, which can form chemicals called N-nitroso, the scientists explain. This chemical usually causes cancer in lab animals. [Anyone for a veggie dog?]

Discovery Channel, US - August 15, 2006

New Zealand health scientists frustrated by poultry industry 'bullying'
Full story: Stuff, New Zealand

Scientists say funding problems, covert bullying and a lack of co-operation from the poultry industry are hampering research into health risks associated with chicken. Their claims are hotly denied by the Poultry Industry Association and health officials. Many scientists working on problems including antibiotic resistance in chicken and campylobacter infection, which causes stomach cramps and diarrhoea, have given up or gone overseas in frustration.

This month, the Sunday Star-Times reported that Otago University scientists wanted a ban on the sale of fresh chicken to curb our rocketing campylobacter epidemic. They found up to 90% of the country's chicken is swarming with the disease, and human infection rates here are the highest in the world. Otago University microbiologist Greg Cook, who found antibiotic resistant bacteria in chicken could be passed to humans, has abandoned the work after being unable to get funding.

Stuff, New Zealand - July 23, 2006

Chinese consumer key to saving world's sharks
Full story: ENN/Reuters

China is the key to saving the world's sharks, a senior wildlife activist said, launching a campaign to convince the country's increasingly affluent consumers to stop eating shark fin. In recent years, shark numbers have fallen drastically, threatening the existence of some species, and while exact scientific data is lacking, figures show imports of shark fin rocketing in China, said Steve Trent, president of WildAid.

"China is key. All the best estimates suggest that 70, 80, 90 percent of shark fin is for the mainland Chinese market, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan," Trent told Reuters. "As increasing wealth and income comes to Chinese consumers, they are spending it on luxury goods like shark's fin soup, and that means there is a pressure that is now no longer sustainable on these species in the wild," he said. Another problem is that most sharks are caught just for their fins. "They are taken on board, their fins are hacked off and they are dumped back into the water dead or dying," Trent said.

ENN/Reuters - August 3, 2006
Related stories:
Proposal to expand drift gillnet fishery puts endangered sea turtles and whales at risk
ENN/Sea Turtle Restoration Project (August 4, 2006)
Pollution, overfishing is killing East China Sea - Paper
Planet Ark (August 18, 2006)

China to let tourists hunt endangered species
Full story: ENN/Reuters

China is to auction licences to foreigners to hunt wild animals, including endangered species. The government would auction licences based on types and numbers of wild animals. Hunting of animals is popular with Chinese who like to eat exotic meats or use animal parts in medicines for their perceived aphrodisiac or medicinal properties. But the hunting licences would be available only to foreigners, given China's strict rules on gun control, the daily said. "Hunting is not slaughtering," it quoted an official at a wild animal protection department as saying.

ENN/Reuters - August 9, 2006
Related story:
U.S.: Conservation organizations oppose expanding aerial gunning and trapping in wilderness areas
ENN/Center for Biological Diversity (August 4, 2006)

Another inconvenient truth: Meat is a global warming issue
Full story: E/The Environmental Magazine

Al Gore's movie (and book), An Inconvenient Truth, is playing to rave reviews. His laudable project is an urgent message on the vital issue of global warming. We all must heed the call. There are many human activities that contribute to global warming. What many people do not know, however, is that the production of meat also significantly increases global warming...Andrea Gordon, in her article "If You Recycle, Why Are You Eating Meat?" [says]: "Quite simply, you can't be a meat-eating environmentalist. Sorry folks."

Vegetarianism is literally about life and death - for each of us individually and for all of us together. Eating animals simultaneously contributes to a multitude of tragedies: the animals' suffering and death; the ill-health and early death of people; the unsustainable overuse of oil, water, land, topsoil, grain, labor and other vital resources; environmental destruction, including deforestation, species extinction, mono-cropping and global warming; the legitimacy of force and violence; the mis-allocation of capital, skills, land and other assets; vast inefficiencies in the economy; tremendous waste; massive inequalities in the world; the continuation of world hunger and mass starvation; the transmission and spread of dangerous diseases; and moral failure in so-called civilized societies. Vegetarianism is an antidote to all of these unnecessary tragedies. [The full article is highly recommended.]

E/The Environmental Magazine - August, 2006
Related stories and links:
The case against meat
E/The Environmental Magazine (August, 2006)
Heat and meat
The European Vegetarian Union asks why this important link is ignored
New online calculators encourage eating green
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), US (August 16, 2006)
The VegE-Store
For the books "An Inconvenient Truth" and CSPI's "Six Arguments for a Greener Diet"
"An Inconvenient Truth" movie site
Stop Global Warming Virtual March.


The bean that threatens the Amazon
Full story: New Statesman

So clever and useful is the soya plant that it is threatening to swallow the Amazon rainforest. Where, until a few years ago, we had to worry about the encroachment of loggers and cattle ranchers on the vast forest that serves as a lung to the planet, now soya is becoming the driver of deforestation. Global demand pushes the process along. In the case of China, as the country gets richer it eats more meat, and the meat is fed and fattened on soya beans. Europe, too, is eating more meat; and since BSE we are picky about what our livestock is fed on. Soya seems a healthy option.

We benefit so much from this great global asset - the air, the water, the biodiversity - that losing it, even by salami slices, will eventually cost us more than we can afford. Better pay now [by paying Brazil compensation for preventing deforestation], the argument goes, when the bill is easier to pay. Or would we rather just eat less meat, which would knock a hole in the soya market?

New Statesman - July 24, 2006, UK
  Lifestyles and Trends    

Veggie experiences: A compassionate choice
Full story: Home News Tribune, NJ, US

I am a vegetarian in a world of bacon and cheeseburgers. People constantly ask me why. They want to know how it is I woke up one day and went from fried chicken to faux chicken without ever looking back. That's a big decision for a notoriously indecisive person like me, who gets stressed out, for example, trying to choose the best banana at the grocery store. But this time, there was no list of pros and cons. There were no lingering doubts, no second-guessing. Like most people, I grew up thinking meat came from animals raised on farms. I pictured cows grazing on rolling pastures, oblivious to the swift but not ignoble fate that would one day come to pass.

But the truth is nothing like that. I have heard people say the situation is acceptable because these are animals as opposed to people. The implication is that animals do not deserve freedom from cruelty or pain because they are not as intelligent, or don't "know" better, or simply because they failed to be born human. This, ironically, is the same flawed logic plantation owners once used to justify the horrific abomination that was slavery. It's bunk. All that matters is the answer to a simple but powerful question: Do they suffer? Those of us who share our homes and hearts with dogs and cats, or other pets, already know the answer. To me, it was clear: I wanted no part in the meat industry. I wasn't giving it a penny...Besides, when given a choice, compassion is always the best path.

Home News Tribune, NJ, US - August 21, 2006
More veggie experiences:
Whole family can benefit when one goes meatless
The Ledger, FL, US (August 3,2006)
Non appetit: Dietary restrictions can complicate social dining
Seattle Times, WA, US (August 16,2006);

Of interest offline: Articles in the July/August issue of Men's Health on Tarahumara runners and the August issue of Yoga Journal on vegan athletes - both feature quotes from vegan author and Ironman Triathlete
Dr. Ruth Heidrich.

Americans are voting with their forks
Full story: Los Angeles Times, US

Summer is supposed to be the mindless season, with nothing deeper to contemplate than the instant gratification of barbecues and ice cream. But something is different this year. America is getting serious about eating. In the last couple of months a choir of disparate voices has been sending the same message through books, magazines and the Internet that advocates of farmers markets and eating locally have been preaching for years: The cost of industrialized food is too high, both literally and environmentally. And the thought is sinking in.

Unlike the last revolution in food, in the '70s, the movement toward change is not coming from the fringe and cannot be easily written off as the pipe dreams of a bunch of vegetarian hippies. The right stuff is no longer segregated in health food stores and co-ops; it's gone mainstream. And that may explain one more sea change in the Summer of Food: Priorities have shifted. Americans concerned about how their food is raised now know they can make a difference. Hence the scandale over lobsters and the growing movement to outlaw foie gras. A year ago those tempests at the table would have dominated headlines. This summer, conscientious eaters seem to have started moving onward and upward on the food chain, informed all the way.

Los Angeles Times, US - August 16, 2006
Books mentioned in the article are available at:
The VegE-Store

Germans discover "You are what you eat"
Full story: Deutsche Welle, Germany

Take a hard-as-nails vegetarian nutritionist, a half dozen seriously overweight men and women, and add several TV cameras. What have you got? The recipe for Germany's latest hit docu-soap, "You Are What You Eat." Germans love to poke fun at overweight Americans but it's slowly dawning on them that the trend towards a more obese population has caught on in Europe, too. In Germany, every second person is classed as overweight, while around 13 percent of the population is obese. The executives at private broadcaster RTL II probably didn't have to think too long about whether or not to launch a copycat production of the successful British TV show, "You Are What You Eat."

Across the Channel, junk-food addicted Brits are whipped into shape by nutritionist Gillian McKeith, whose tough-love approach forces the volunteer to confront the ugly truth about what they eat on a weekly basis, and be shocked into an about-face. The German version, "Du Bist Was Du Isst," follows the same concept, only it features 27-year-old Kirsten Ellert as the straight-talking nutritionist. "This is not a diet show," [Ellert] said. "The message is that losing weight doesn't mean starving yourself. I show people how they can change to a healthier lifestyle, and through that, they not only become slimmer, they also become healthier and have more energy."

Deutsche Welle, Germany - August 9, 2006

Cats go vegan in Asia's biggest feline shelter
Full story: India News

In Asia's biggest shelter for rescued cats, the feline inmates are turning vegetarian these days, thanks to animal lovers who import alternative Italian food for the furry laptops. 'To avoid serving non-veg food to cats some of our animal-loving patrons thought that we should try to find out an alternative vegetarian food which can provide cats required nourishment and at the same time save innocent lives of other animals,' said Debasis Chakraborti, founder of CCT [Compassionate Crusaders Trust], a strategic partner of Maneka Gandhi's People for Animals (PFA).

India News - August 16, 2006

In the raw: Live food diet
Full story: Greensboro News-Record, NC, US

Constance Williams promised a sweet potato pie so delicious they would forget that it wasn't cooked. And she set out to prove it. Before their very eyes, Williams made a sticky, sweet crust of crushed almonds and dates. She then made the pie filling with ingredients that included pureed sweet potatoes, apricots, raisins, dates, cinnamon and lemon juice. Within the hour, Williams had whipped up a smooth sweet potato pie that garnered compliments from everyone there. And it never came near the oven.

A raw food diet isn't restricted to apple slices and carrot sticks, Williams said. You can even make meatloaf, pizza and spaghetti. Williams adopted the raw diet in 2001 after a series of recurring health problems failed to improve with medicine or surgery. At that time, she was a fast food junkie, addicted to french fries, pizza, candy bars and soda. But some people she encountered told her about the benefits of live food, so Williams gave it a try. Her health problems have been resolved and Williams says she's never felt healthier.

Greensboro News-Record, NC, US - August 16, 2006
  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Animal sentience: Good feelings count
Full story: Salt Lake Tribune

The capacity for feeling both good and bad things - the scholarly term is "sentience" - is central to the ethics of how we treat animals. If you're sentient, you have some quality of life at stake, and you deserve moral consideration. As a biologist and animal behavior specialist, I know that science has historically shown a profound disinterest in animals' capacity for good feelings. Thankfully, that's now changing, and scarcely a week passes without some new scientific revelation about animal minds, emotions and feelings. Inevitably, these revelations are starting to inform real-world decisions: witness the Whole Foods live lobster sale ban and the recent decision by the Chicago City Council to end the sale of foie gras in the city's restaurants.

What are the implications for humankind's relationship to animals when we acknowledge and embrace the richness of their sensory experiences? It is sometimes convenient to exclude animals from our sphere of moral concern - as we do, for example, in the making of foie gras or lobster salad or in the meat industry in general. But is it right? Because animals can enjoy life, our moral obligations to them are greater. We may not have an obligation to provide pleasure to animals, but actively depriving them of the opportunity to fulfill natural pleasures - as we do when we cage or kill them - is another matter. As we awaken to the rich landscapes of animal sentience, it only follows that lobster tanks and foie gras are on their way out. [The article provides many examples of animal sentience and pleasure responses.]

Salt Lake Tribune - July 31, 2006
Related stories:
Never mind that Polly wants a cracker stuff. Birds are smart
Toronto Star, Canada (July 29, 2006)

Study: Rats weight cost and benefit
Animal Planet (June 16, 2006)

Dog meat still hot potato in Korea
Full story: Korea Times

[August 10] was "malbok," the last day of heat based on the lunar calendar, and it is also the day when many Koreans eat what they consider invigorating to recharge their batteries from the steamy weather. "Poshintang (dog meat soup)" is one of the most popular foods for the day along with "samgyetang (chicken broth)." Also malbok is the day when people for and against consuming dog meat bark at each other. Dog meat is believed to be an invigorating food by many Koreans. About 25 tons of dog meat is consumed a day and that comes to 8,428 tons a year. "Tonguibogam," a Korean traditional medical book, said that dog meat comforts human bodies and strengthens stomachs and intestines while boosting bodies and women's beauty.

Korea Times - August 10, 2006
Related stories and links:
S. Korea's dogs find new champions
CNN (August 3, 2006)

Philippines: Group seeks ban of dog meat in restaurants
Baguio Sun-Star (August 16, 2006)
Against dog consumption in Philippines
Equine surgeon urges U.S. to stop slaughtering horses
Howell Tri-Town News, NJ, US (August 9, 2006)
Horse-eating foreigners finding friends in United States congress
Niagara Falls Reporter, US (July 31, 2006)

A few lucky baby turkeys survive flight disaster
Full story: Chico Enterprise-Record, CA, US

The north valley [California] became home to 11 true survivors Thursday. They are baby turkeys that were among thousands of birds that died during shipment from Canada to California. Their new home, where they'll live out the rest of their natural lives, is Farm Sanctuary's spread west of Orland. Farm Sanctuary is an animal-rights group that focuses on farm animals.

"Most of the turkeys - more than 9,100 - died while on the nonstop flight," according to a Humane Society news release. "Both Hybrid Turkeys and Peninsula Humane Society believe the massive loss was due to overcrowding. The turkeys couldn't breathe, became overheated, dehydrated and died." [A Humane Society spokesperson] said the whole incident has raised questions about the transport of livestock. The Humane Society heard about these problems by chance, he said. "How often does this happen?"

Chico Enterprise-Record, CA, US - August 4, 2006
Related stories and links:
Farm Sanctuary
Read the report on the incident and find out how you can help
Farm Sanctuary releases report: U.S. highway accidents involving farm animals
Press Release (August 2, 2006)
EU project seeks to improve consumers' knowledge of farm animal welfare
Cordis News, EU (August 21, 2006)
Thousands of chickens die of heat
Daily Telegraph, Australia (August 17, 2006)
California heat kills 25,000 cattle: official
Yahoo! News (July 27, 2006)
'Animals Matter to Me' international animal welfare petition


The case against "animal science" in agricultural schools
Full story: Ka Leo O, University of Hawai'i

The University of Hawai'i should end its service to the flesh, milk and egg industries in the form of "animal science." Animal science fails the most basic test: If this were proposed today, would we approve and fund it? Animals' sentience - their ability to experience pain and pleasure - entitles them to equal consideration of equal interests. They have a moral right, which we should make a legal right, not to be means to human ends. We do not dress, build, raise children or amuse ourselves as at the start of animal "domestication" 10,000 years ago. Why should we still hack up animals, control their reproduction and otherwise abuse them?

Teaching people to breed, raise and slaughter animals miseducates, undermining the University of Hawai'i's job. In addition, animal science favors flesh, milk, egg and feed-crop industry profits over human needs. Scientists have long warned against fats in flesh and milk. Nor are animal science students likely to learn that breeding and raising billions of animals and using them for food contributes significantly to global warming. Mathematics, literature, philosophy, history and other traditional academic subjects do not come with problems so dire and so easily preventable as those linked to animal science. Animal science is not the way forward for the human food supply or the University of Hawai'i in the 21st century.

Ka Leo O, University of Hawai'i - July 20, 2006
Related link:
10,000 years is enough
RPA's campaign to end the teaching of animal agribusiness

Ice cream maker continues to allow hen abuse
Full story: Burlington Free Press, VT, US

A national animal protection organization spoke out [August 21] against Ben & Jerry's, claiming the ice cream maker buys eggs produced by hens cooped in tight cages, a practice that belies Ben & Jerry's reputation as a socially and environmentally conscious company. "No socially responsible company ought to be supporting that kind of animal cruelty," said Paul Shapiro, a spokesman for the Humane Society of United States. The Humane Society's issue with Ben & Jerry's stems from a campaign against Michael Foods, a Minnesota-based foodservice company that provides eggs and potatoes to grocery stores and companies such as Ben & Jerry's.

In a report released on its Web site, Humane Society of United States said it found in an undercover investigation that Michael Foods hens died of dehydration and starvation, and the dead birds were kept in cages with live ones. The hens' cages were too small for the birds to spread their wings, according to the report. Shapiro said at least two other Michael Foods customers - Trader Joe's and Whole Foods grocery chains - have pledged to switch to cage-free eggs; more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities have reduced the use of caged bird eggs or eliminated them entirely.

Burlington Free Press, VT, US - August 22, 2006
Related stories:
Update: Ben & Jerry's breaks with egg supplier
Burlington Free Press, VT, US (August 24, 2006)
Fears over egg fakes
The Age, Australia (July 30, 2006)
Most egg labels 'mean nothing'
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia (August 1, 2006)
KFC diners remain unflappable in face of chicken cruelty protest
Jerusalem Post (July 3, 2006)

  Books and Perspectives    

The origins of veggie might
Full story: Guardian, UK

For inveterate carnivores such as myself, the prospect of vegetarianism is dry, cold and inhabited solely by lentils. Yet after completing Tristram Stuart's fascinating history [The Bloodless Revolution: Radical Vegetarians and the Discovery of India], I prodded my roast chicken around my plate with a little unease. Stuart illuminates the vibrant plurality of pro-vegetarian arguments: some cranky, some bonkers and others forcefully compelling.

He wisely focuses his attention on a densely packed era, roughly bordered by the English Civil War and the French Revolution. Vegetarianism was central to radical political thought during both struggles as disgust at unremitting bloodshed was transformed into a desire for a better, more harmonious world. The slaughter of animals seemed to perpetuate the barbarism of war. For theorists such as 17th-century dissenter Thomas Tryon, eating meat was a cause of violence as 'those fierce, revengeful spirits that proceed from the Creature, when the painful agonies of death are upon it ... fail not to accompany the flesh ... and have their impression on those that eat it.' This is intellectual history at its most scintillating, as passionate and vibrant as any swashbuckling romp or perilous adventure.

Guardian, UK - August 20, 2006

More book reviews and links:
Meaty arguments
Another review on the above book
Guardian, UK (August 21, 2006)
Make mine vegetarian
"Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian"
Birmingham News, AL, US (July 26, 2006)
New books explore morality of what we choose to eat
"The Hallelujah Diet," by Rev. George Malkmus and "The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter," by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
Charlotte Observer, NC, US (August 15, 2006)
Hard to swallow
"The Ethics of What We Eat" (Australian title of above book by Peter Singer and Jim Mason) and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan
The Age, Australia (August 21, 2006)
The Nut Gourmet
Nourishing nuts for all occasions by Zel Allen
These books and more are available at The VegE-Store
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