Celebrating Our Second Anniversary
In this edition...
| ||Red meat linked to breast cancer|
| ||Abattoir fraud could bring "mad cow" disease back to Britain|
| ||Salmonella on the rise in chicken|
| ||New bird flu strain discovered|
| ||Spain chews out Burger King over XXL burger|
| ||Diet for a hot planet|
| ||Foul state of affairs found in feedlots|
| ||World fish stocks near collapse|
| ||Deep-sea trawling moratorium ends up dead in the water|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Turkey not missed at this feast - except as a guest!|
| ||"Fake" meat on the rise - pass the tofurky, please|
| ||First vegetarian black pudding has Lancashire meat lovers spluttering|
| ||Animal rights party poised for historic win in Dutch elections|
| ||Vegetarians needn't fear flying as airport food improves|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Marine biologists to Japan: Stop inhumane dolphin drive|
| ||Animal sentience: They think, feel pain|
| ||American Thanksgiving's nasty little secret|
| ||"Humanely raised" turkeys?|
| ||Animal group bids to buy whale's life from Iceland|
Books, Movies and Perspectives
| ||"Fast Food Nation" director found book food for thought||
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Red meat linked to breast cancer
Full story: eCanadaNow
Eating red meat could double a young woman's risk of getting breast cancer. This is according to a new study put out by U.S. researchers who say that women who eat more than one serving a day of red meat are twice as likely to develop hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. This compared directly to those who eat only three portions of red meat per week.
The research was done at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. It included over 90,000 women. [According to the study:] "Known cancer-causing compounds in cooked or processed red meat increase mammary tumours in animals and have been suspected of causing breast cancer in humans. In addition, cattle in the United States are treated with hormones to promote growth, which could also influence breast cancer risk. The type of iron available in red meat also may enhance tumour formation."
eCanadaNow - November 15, 2006
Abattoir fraud could bring "mad cow" disease back to Britain
Full story: The Independent
Meat contaminated with BSE [which can cause "mad cow" disease] may be on sale throughout Britain because of widespread fraud at abattoirs, according to inspectors. Slaughterhouses are accused of swapping samples from carcasses to stop them failing tests to detect the disease. The brain stems of all cattle more than 30 months old should be checked for contamination, but some abattoir owners are suspected of substituting the brains of younger animals to ensure the meat is sold.
The Independent - November 20, 2006
iol, South Africa (November 16, 2006)
Salmonella on the rise in chicken
Full story: Forbes, US
A type of salmonella found in eggs is turning up more often in chicken meat and needs to be reduced, according to the (U.S.) Agriculture Department. From 2000 through 2005, there was a fourfold increase in positive test results for salmonella enteritidis on chicken carcasses. Salmonella sickens at least 40,000 people and kills about 600 every year in the United States.
It used to be that eggs got contaminated with salmonella on the outside, from contact with fecal bacteria. But in recent years, the salmonella enteritidis strain has been found inside intact, disinfected, grade A eggs. This type of germ contaminates eggs inside a hen's ovaries, before shells are even formed. Now the germ is turning up in broiler chickens, the kind used for meat, according to research by the Agriculture Department published in the December issue of the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Forbes, US - November 20, 2006
New bird flu strain discovered
Full story: Environmental Network News/AP
Scientists have discovered a new strain of bird flu that appears to sidestep current vaccines. It's infecting people as well as poultry in Asia, and some researchers fear its evolution may have been steered by the vaccination programs designed to protect poultry from earlier types of the H5N1 flu. While the new virus has infected people, there is no evidence that it can pass easily from person to person, Webster said. However, he added, "this virus is continuing to drift." Dr. Michael L. Perdue, of the World Health Organization's Global Influenza Program in Zurich, Switzerland, said the new variant doesn't indicate any increased risk for people "other than the fact it seems to be pretty widespread."
The H5N1 flu has devastated poultry in China and several other southeast Asian countries and also has claimed more than 150 human lives. Most of the people affected lived close to flocks of chickens or other poultry. Public health authorities fear that the virus will mutate into a form that can spread easily among people, raising the potential for a worldwide pandemic like the one that killed millions in 1918.
Environmental Network News/AP - October 31, 2006
Spain chews out Burger King over XXL burger
Full story: Miami Herald, FL, US
Spain has asked Burger King to yank an ad campaign for its monster XXL burger - which contains the caloric equivalent of 10 fried eggs - because it violates a national initiative against obesity, Spain's Health Ministry said. The ministry said it had been asking the fast-food chain to abandon the campaign because the commercials go against an agreement signed by the Spanish Federation of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs, of which Burger King is a member. Each sandwich has an average of 971 calories - nearly 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance for an active teenager - and 25 grams of saturated fat. The numbers could be even higher if condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise were added to the burgers.
Miami Herald, FL, US - November 17, 2006
Diet for a hot planet
Full story: Boston Globe
Thirty-five years ago, Frances Moore Lappé's revolutionary cookbook "Diet for a Small Planet" warned of the dire consequences of a growing taste for meat. For example, it takes up to 16 times more farmland to sustain people on a diet of animal protein than on a diet of plant protein. As U.S., European, and Asian farmers run out of land for crop expansion, her warning rings prophetic. The emerging meat-eaters of the emerging economies - especially China - are driving industrial agriculture into the tropical forests of South America, sending greenhouse gases skyward in a dangerous new linkage between the palate and the warming of the planet.
This diet-energy-climate conundrum may seem insurmountable. But there is reason for hope ... as close as our dinner tables. If Americans face the connections between diet and the planet by eating less meat - thumbing their nose at the Atkins diet - they could provide a rare act of leadership in slowing global warming.
Boston Globe - November 22, 2006
Foul state of affairs found in feedlots
Full story: Los Angeles Times, US
Growing so large that they are now called factory farms, livestock feedlots are poorly regulated, pose health and ecological dangers and are responsible for deteriorating quality of life in America's and Europe's farm regions, according to a series of scientific studies [published in the online version of the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives]. Feedlots are contaminating water supplies with pathogens and chemicals, and polluting the air with foul-smelling compounds that can cause respiratory problems, but the health of their neighbors goes largely unmonitored, the reports concluded.
The international teams of environmental scientists also warned that the livestock operations were contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs, and that the proximity of poultry to hogs could hasten the spread of avian flu to humans. Among their recommendations are limits on the population density of animals and mandatory extensive environmental reviews for new feedlots. They also recommended a ban on the use of antibiotics to promote animal growth, and that the drugs be available to farmers only through prescriptions.
Los Angeles Times, US - November 17, 2006
Related story and link:
Satya Magazine (November, 2006)
From Farm Sanctuary
World fish stocks near collapse
Full story: Ohmy News, South Korea
If you're looking for a good reason to go vegetarian, this may be it. Scientists have warned that the world's edible fish and shellfish stocks could collapse within 40 years. An international team of researchers discovered that 29 percent of fish stocks have sunk to, and even below, 10 percent of their 1950 levels. If fishing practices are not reformed all stocks will decline by 90 percent before 2048.
Report co-author Nicola Beaumont of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (U.K.) warns: "We must take action now. If we leave this for 10 or 20 years we will reach the point of no recovery for fisheries." The team's report was published in Science. Andrew Sugden, the journal's international managing editor, called for "international intervention." He told reporters: "All services that the oceans and seas provide for mankind will be damaged or gone. If this bio-diversity goes it is irreplaceable. Every species matters when it comes to the ocean's ability to repair itself." Consumers also have the power to make a difference by buying less fish from commercial enterprises that fail to face up to this issue.
Ohmy News, South Korea - November 4, 2006
Environmental Network News/Reuters (October 26, 2006)
Quote: Ocean mammals, including seals, killer whales and dolphins, are also affected. When ocean species collapse, it makes the ocean itself weaker and less able to recover from shocks like global climate change.
Environmental Network News/AP (November 9, 2006)
Environmental Network News/Reuters (October 26, 2006)
Deep-sea trawling moratorium ends up dead in the water
Full story: Mail & Guardian, South Africa
Iceland and a few other fishing nations [including Canada] have successfully undermined a three-year international effort to place a moratorium on destructive deep-sea trawling. Environmentalists say that the agreement reached at a United Nations meeting [November 23] puts the commercial interests of a few hundred trawlers from a handful of nations ahead of the international community and ignores the advice of the scientific community. "Iceland refused to endorse any measures on the unregulated high seas," said Susanna Fuller, a marine biologist with Canada's Ecology Action Centre. Australia and other nations were extremely angry at Iceland's willingness to sacrifice vital fish habitat in the high seas for its short-term fishing interests.
Scientific evidence of the need to halt unregulated deep-sea or bottom trawling is overwhelming. Trawlers literally drag a large net equipped with steel rollers weighing thousands of kilograms along the bottom of the deep sea, scooping up everything in their 100m-wide paths. Everything - including cold-water corals that have taken thousands of years to grow, endangered and unknown deep-water fish and other sea creatures - is hauled to the surface and then thrown over the side as garbage. Conservationists are calling on countries that supported the moratorium to set up a global network of marine parks and reserves. "Something has to happen in the future to protect habitat or we'll simply run out of fish," Fuller said.
Mail & Guardian, South Africa - November 24, 2006
The Australian (November 15, 2006)
Canada.com (November 17, 2006)
Lifestyles and Trends
Turkey not missed at this feast - except as a guest!
Full story: Summit Daily News, CO, US
If Margie Garrett had her wish, she'd be having a turkey at her Thanksgiving dinner. But this turkey wouldn't be roasted, fried or stuffed. It would be a guest. "I'd love to invite one to dinner," said Garrett, who has worked at Good Health grocery store for 10 years. "I would love to have one as a pet turkey some day."
Each year, Garrett hosts a Thanksgiving spread that features enough food to make anyone forget about turkey. "I'm telling you, by the time you finish dinner, you don't even miss the gobble gobble," she said. "I have all the trimmings." Garrett's Thanksgiving menu includes homemade vegetarian stuffing covered with mushroom gravy, cranberries, salads, mashed potatoes, creamed peas, and baked squash stuffed with wild rice. Dessert features homemade pumpkin pie with organic whipping cream. "People always ask me, 'Well, what do you eat?' But look at all this," she said.
Summit Daily News, CO, US - November 22, 2006
Related link and stories:
Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-A-Turkey Project
Check out the endearing gallery of hopeful adoptees.
Turkeys are our friends
AlterNet (November 23, 2006)
Southern Maryland Online (November 22, 2006)
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, US (November 20, 2006)
"Fake" meat on the rise - pass the tofurky, please
Full story: Business Week
Vegetarian alternatives to traditional holiday favorites are becoming increasingly popular and profitable. Turtle Island Foods is celebrating the sale of its 1 millionth Tofurky roast since the product was hatched in 1995. "At first, retailers didn't believe anyone was crazy enough to make a whole Tofurky roast for Thanksgiving," recalls Seth Tibbott, founder of Turtle Island Foods. "The first one served eight and cost $32. Stores would sell one per season at first, then five the next year." Today, the company is turning a robust profit and expects $10 million in sales in 2006, despite dramatically lowering the cost of Tofurkys over the years.
And Turtle Island Foods isn't the only happy player at the table. For businesses manufacturing vegan and vegetarian versions of dairy- and meat-based products, the outlook is pretty much all good. In the U.S., sales of products "positioned as analogs to meat and dairy products" grew 63.5% between 2000 and 2005 ... in the 12-month period ended in January, 2006, sales of frozen and refrigerated meat substitutes alone increased 35.9%. To look at the evidence, one might think the percentage of U.S. vegetarians is climbing steeply. Not true, say industry watchers. "The phenomenon lies in the number of meat eaters who are choosing to eat vegetarian foods more often - but not exclusively," according to Balzer.
Business Week - November 21, 2006
First vegetarian black pudding has Lancashire meat lovers spluttering
Full story: The Independent, UK
Black pudding is about as carnivorous as it gets - fresh pig's blood and ox intestines go into a Lancashire speciality which was narrowly edged out by tripe and jellied eels in a recent survey of the dishes which the British find least palatable. But in an attempt to overhaul the pudding's image, one of its most successful producers has done the unthinkable - and produced a vegetarian version.
The Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company's decision has been greeted by howls of protest in Bury, the home of the black pudding. "What is the world coming to?" asked the local writer Jonathan Schofield. "A black pudding without pig's blood? Big wrong." Customers seem to feel differently. First impressions of the "V Pud", as the veggie version is known, seem so positive that the producers have just earned their first contract with a supermarket, Booths. The Vegetarian Society has also given a ringing endorsement.
The Independent, UK - November 17, 2006
Animal rights party poised for historic win in Dutch elections
Full story: International Herald Tribune
The Roman emperor Caligula is fabled to have made his horse a senator. The Dutch Party for Animals won't go that far, but looks set to score a milestone in elections Nov. 22 by becoming the first animal rights party in Europe to have its own lawmaker. "We see this as a follow-up to liberating slaves, giving rights to women, and finally giving rights to animals," says party leader Marianne Thieme.
The Party for the Animals is poised to win at least one, and possibly two seats in the Dutch parliament. "We want a constitutional amendment, guaranteeing animals the right to freedom from pain, fear, and stress caused by humans," said Thieme, 34, in an interview with The Associated Press. Her party, known by its Dutch acronym PvdD, has adopted a down-to-earth program, sidelining more radical activists who would like to mandate vegetarianism and forbid zoos. Its central aims are promoting "biological" farming practices - such as giving animals a minimal amount of living space - and discouraging the most inhumane of industrial farming practices, such as castration or slaughter without anesthesia. "Suddenly all the political parties are talking about animals," she said.
International Herald Tribune - November 19, 2006
icWales (November 13, 2006)
Washington Post (November 13, 2006)
By GreenIsTheNewRed (November 14, 2006
Vegetarians needn't fear flying as airport food improves
Full story: United Press International
A new survey suggests airport food is becoming healthier - at least at 13 of the busiest airports in the United States. The report, by Washington's Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, shows 88 percent of restaurants surveyed offer at least one vegetarian entree that is low in fat, high in fiber and cholesterol-free. That represents a 13-percentage-point increase from 2005. "Travelers looking for healthy food should choose vegetarian options, which are naturally low in fat and high in fiber," said Susan Levin, a PCRM dietitian. "Even in the lowest ranking airports, it's easy to find a bean burrito or a veggie sandwich."
United Press International - November 21, 2006
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Marine biologists to Japan: Stop inhumane dolphin drive
Full story: E/The Environmental Magazine
Hundreds of marine biologists and zoo and aquarium administrators from around the world have come together to step up international pressure on Japan to end its annual "dolphin drive" in which as many as 20,000 small marine mammals are herded into shallow coves and slaughtered or captured by fishermen. The group's statement calls on the Japanese government to stop issuing permits allowing the hunt and for a halt to the purchase of dolphins caught in the drive. Organizers also hope to obtain one million signatures of those opposed to the dolphin drive to submit to the Japanese government.
While dolphin meat is not considered a delicacy, it is marketable for pet food and as fertilizer. While the Japanese government has been encouraging human consumption of dolphin meat, the most lucrative aspect of the drive for participating fishermen is selling captured live dolphins to aquariums in Asia and beyond. The scientists signing on to the campaign to stop the drive see the whole practice as inhumane, especially given the intelligence and sensitivity shown by dolphins and other marine mammals. [You can sign the petition here
E/The Environmental Magazine - November 22, 2006
Animal sentience: They think, feel pain
Full story: Miami Herald
Recent news that Happy, a 34-year-old Asian elephant, recognized herself in a giant, shatter-proof mirror at the Bronx Zoo is just the latest in a burgeoning list of eye-opening revelations into the minds and motivations of other beings. Recent studies have shown that mice empathize with familiar mice who are suffering, that captive male monkeys will hand over a bottle of fruit juice for a chance to ogle photos of female monkeys' bottoms and that rats accustomed to being tickled will come running for more, making high-pitched chirps linked to the origins of human laughter.
The once-long list of uniquely human traits is dwindling almost as fast as you can say "human supremacy." Tool use is widespread in nature. Animals also have their own cultures, and they may show malice, or compassion, for others. They deceive, tease, pretend and celebrate, and they exhibit a broad range of emotions including grief, gratitude, jealousy, joy and embarrassment. Because animals are sentient - because they can feel fear and pain, pleasure and joy - it follows that to them, their lives have value. It matters little what their IQ is. Their pain and pleasure are akin to yours and mine, and their will to live is just as strong. If animals experience the world essentially as we do, can we really justify harming and killing them for our own interests?
Miami Herald - November 10, 2006
Environmental Network News/AP (October 31, 2006)
American Thanksgiving's nasty little secret
Full story: Satya Magazine
Farm Sanctuary recently went undercover at one of the largest U.S. turkey breeding facilities. Investigators obtained rare photos and other documentation revealing rampant callousness and cruelty. Like the livestock and chicken industry, turkey "growers" have increased the efficiency of producing turkey meat by manipulating every aspect of the animals' lives. To appease consumer demand for white meat, turkeys are anatomically manipulated to be so large breasted and heavy they are incapable of breeding without human intervention. Workers are required to manually manipulate the genitalia of male turkeys (toms) and then forcibly inseminate female turkeys (hens) - a form of legalized bestiality and rape in animal agriculture.
Breeding toms languish for roughly one year in dark crowded pens and are 'milked' once or twice a week. We documented a worker collecting semen. The worker grabbed each turkey and forcefully restricted his legs in a clamp. Using a straw attached to a suction hose, he collected semen then tossed the bird to the floor so he could grab the next and repeat the process. Between 'milking' sessions, 16 to 17 male turkeys are crammed into five and a half square feet wire pens. Semen is forced into hens in an assembly line fashion, [their] legs clamped into metal forceps. The hens suffer during the process and try to resist. We were told that young hens are curious and friendly with employees "until the first couple [of times] - and then they run from you..." When asked about the state of the turkey business, an industry representative bragged, "It's thriving ... The more people that eat turkey the better we are."
Satya Magazine - November, 2006
"Humanely raised" turkeys?
Full story: Satya Magazine
This year a friend and I visited a local, organic farm with a good reputation for environmental and humane standards. Their 1,000 birds are raised in large outdoor hoop-houses with green pasture surrounding. Their feed is organically grown on the farm and hangs from accessible feeders. They even slaughter the birds right on the farm, avoiding transport to a large slaughterhouse facility. Yet even under "better than average" conditions, the turkeys suffer. Most people ordering organic birds assume they are not genetically bred for weight gain. On the contrary, at about 18 weeks, organic turkeys become so obese their legs cannot handle the weight of their bodies. Some of the turkeys we saw were stuck in the straw, unable to get up, and struggling to make it to food and water. While others, already dead, were being removed.
In the slaughter building the birds are "gently" pushed into wall mounted funnels head first and upside down. With their heads hanging below an opening at the base of the funnel, the "harvester" slices the major arteries on the bird's neck. A bucket catches the blood below. In the words of the harvester, "I slice with a clean hundred dollar surgical knife. I am careful not to cut the airway. We need them alive to drain all the blood out or it gets too messy in the next step. It is very fast. It only takes two minutes." I stood there struck by his words. I recently [asked] people to guess how long a minute is. Everyone closed their eyes. I told the participants to open their eyes and raise their hands when they thought a minute was up. Almost everyone had their eyes open and hands raised in about 30 seconds. A minute is a long time. Two minutes of hanging upside down with your major arteries sliced open and bleeding is a really long time.
Satya Magazine - November, 2006
Related stories and links:
Satya Magazine (November, 2006)
Quote: "People say turkeys have more personality than they ever imagined and now view those cold cut slices as something other than just lunch."
Charlotte Observer (November 21, 2006)
Quote: "Occasionally, some poults are destroyed because they are considered surplus, and suffocation is one method accepted under industry guidelines." See video on Compassion over Killings website.
Information and video
Animal group bids to buy whale's life from Iceland
Full story: The News, Pakistan
An animal protection group came up with a novel way of saving whales - it is asking supporters to donate money on eBay to try to buy the life of one of them from the Icelandic government. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is battling to raise 95,000 pounds (142,000 euros, US$180,000), the rough market value of a fin whale. It will then offer Iceland's government the money in return for not killing one of the endangered animals.
And the group hopes to keep raising enough money to make the bids a regular occurrence. If the Icelandic government does not accept the money, the WSPA says it will put the cash towards its anti-whaling campaigns. In October, Iceland announced it would resume commercial whaling despite an international ban. Iceland announced on October 17 it had authorised its whalers to hunt 30 minke whales and nine fin whales through August 2007 for export, thereby making it only the second country after Norway to defy outright a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. [Japan also allows whaling, saying it is for research purposes.]
The News, Pakistan - November 2, 2006
Related stories and links:
WSPA - the auction is now completed (short of the goal), but you can still donate
International Fund for Animal Welfare
BBC News (October 17, 2006)
Environmental News Network/IFAW (October 23, 2006)
iol/Reuters (November 1, 2006)
Books, Movies and Perspectives
"Fast Food Nation" director found book food for thought
Full story: Pittsburgh Post Gazette, PA, US
"Super Size Me" and "Fast Food Nation" are like the double-decker patties of a movie meal. The Morgan Spurlock documentary shows what happens after the burger hits your growing gut while the fictional "Fast Food Nation" looks at the world behind the counter, where ranchers, meat packers (some illegals smuggled across the Mexican border), marketers, store managers and teen employees reside. Richard Linklater, who directed "Fast Food Nation" and adapted the book with author Eric Schlosser, was a vegetarian long before he started this project, which took him and others inside a real slaughterhouse.
Linklater thinks a more appropriate movie title might be "Fast Food, Slow Death Nation." "From the corporate perspective, you have an entire population of 300 million strong, and they're really not thinking about their own health or their kids' health," the director says. The upper-middle or wealthy class, who think they deserve to be healthy, consider fast food to be an occasional family treat. "It is the diet for poorer people," Linklater says, and they and their children pay the price with obesity, diabetes and other medical problems.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, PA, US - November 17, 2006
Related story and link:
Grist Magazine (November 17, 2006)
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