Celebrate Earth Day April 22 - Go Veg for the Planet!
In this edition...
| ||Time's global warming survival guide: Skip the steak|
| ||The environmental impact of organic eating|
| ||Japan whaling ship returns with 500 whales, shrouded in questions|
| ||One fish, two fish, eat fish... no fish|
| ||Red meat may increase heart disease risk for diabetics|
| ||Fertility problems seen for sons of beef-eating women|
| ||Animal protein & fat raise endometrial cancer risk|
| ||Breast cancer risk higher among meat eaters: U.K. study|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Hamburger giant makes historic advance for animals|
| ||Editorial: Mr. Puck's good idea |
| ||'Vegan' is hard for consumers to swallow|
| ||Veggie experiences: Weight problem led to raw-licious diet|
| ||Food Not Bombs: Serving meals in a radical way - for free|
| ||Vegan cycling team hits the road to dispel myths|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Ethical omelettes on the menu at Canadian universities|
| ||Film shows neglect of pigs, turkeys and ducks sold under ethical label|
| ||Australia: The fox is in charge of the chickens|
| ||Philippines to pass ruling for animal welfare|
| ||Back in barbaric business - the caged cats of China|
| ||Five reasons why Americans must stop eating animals|
Time's global warming survival guide: Skip the steak
Full story: Time Magazine
Which is responsible for more global warming: your BMW or your Big Mac? Believe it or not, it's the burger. The international meat industry generates roughly 18% of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions - even more than transportation - according to a report last year from the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization. Much of that comes from the nitrous oxide in manure and the methane that is, as the New York Times delicately put it, "the natural result of bovine digestion." Methane has a warming effect that is 23 times as great as that of carbon, while nitrous oxide is 296 times as great.
There are 1.5 billion cattle and buffalo on the planet, along with 1.7 billion sheep and goats. Their populations are rising fast, especially in the developing world. Global meat production is expected to double between 2001 and 2050. Given the amount of energy consumed raising, shipping and selling livestock, a 16-oz.T-bone is like a Hummer on a plate. If you switch to vegetarianism, you can shrink your carbon footprint by up to 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to research by the University of Chicago. Trading a standard car for a hybrid cuts only about one ton - and isn't as tasty.
Time Magazine - March 29, 2007
MSNBC (March 10, 2007)
CNN (March 15, 2007)
Scroll down - Quote: "There's a new poll out on global warming. 83 percent of U.S. citizens now believe it`s a serious problem. But the polling geniuses didn`t ask the far more important question. Here it is. Who`s responsible? And what, if anything, can we do to fight it? Well, I`ll answer both of them for you right now: Big meat is responsible. Become a vegan if you want to make a difference."
Some previous links that bear repeating in honor of Earth Day:
An excellent overview from Toronto Vegetarian Association
Choosing a plant-food based diet is a moral issue - Dr. McDougall Newsletter (December, 2006)
Dr. McDougall Newsletter (January, 2007)
Quote: Which would you rather give up? Meat and dairy, or ... The chance to drive a car; Taking a trip to visit relatives on an airplane forever;
Vacationing anywhere by bus, train, or airplane; One-third of the world’s land mass; The rainforests of South America...
The environmental impact of organic eating
Full story: Brock University Press, ON, Canada
[Aside from] the ethical argument to eliminate meat from one's diet, the environmental impact of factory farming has all but devastated the environment and its natural resources. The unnatural influence of hormone injection, multiple breeding and complete disregard for the animals' quality of life have left not only these animals to suffer but the earth's resources to be nearly depleted in the attempt to produce more. Even if one is adamantly against altering their diet, a change in the companies they choose to deal with and buy from could reduce not only the strain on the land but that on the human body. Organic meat farming allows the animals to at least live somewhat naturally before they are used in food production. Hormone injection and forced breeding is eliminated, less range is ravaged and the compromising of the earth is less, though still significant. Apart from adopting a vegetarian, if not vegan diet, to ultimately leave as small a footprint as possible, one should invest in organic farming overall.
Brock University Press, ON, Canada - March 6, 2007
Japan whaling ship returns with 500 whales, shrouded in questions
Full story: Environmental News Network/AP
A Japanese whaling ship that triggered a high-seas showdown with environmental groups and suffered a deadly fire was due back in port [March 23] with a catch of 508 whales, despite having to cut its annual hunt short after the accident. The Nissin Maru's return brings an early end to this year's hunt in the icy waters off Antarctica, which had been scheduled to continue through the end of March. It was the first time in 20 years that Japan had to abort its whaling mission. Still, the six-vessel fleet managed to kill 508 whales out of a target of 860. After scientific research is conducted on the animals, the meat will be sold to market where it is snapped up as a culinary delicacy by the Japanese. The hunts are allowed by the International Whaling Commission, but environmental groups have long condemned the hunts as a pretext for keeping commercial whaling alive after the practice was banned by the IWC in 1986 [to protect endangered whales].
Environmental News Network/AP - March 23, 2007
Independent, UK (April 16, 2007)
Environmental News Network/Reuters (April 11, 2007)
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society/YubaNet (April 2, 2007)
One fish, two fish, eat fish... no fish
Full story: Satya Magazine
Animal activists and ethical vegetarians often talk about the 10 billion farm animals slaughtered for human consumption each year in the U.S. Yet the majority of our campaigns don't shed enough light on the roughly 17 billion aquatic creatures Americans eat annually, not to mention the countless others discarded as bycatch. Last fall a report in Science warned if current fishing trends continue, the world's fish supply could be depleted by 2048. Aquaculture is also on the rise worldwide with the weight of farmed fish exceeding the amount of beef produced globally. Not only are pollution concerns present, but it can require up to five pounds of wild fish to feed one pound of farmed fish! Despite the impending collapse of our aquatic ecosystems, marine conservation groups, seafood purveyors and guilt-ridden fish eaters are still finding ways to embrace seafood consumption.
While the efforts and literature promoting sustainable seafood genuinely attempt to address the emptying of our oceans, it seems like some of the biggest proponents simply want to ensure their livelihoods. There is a bizarre logic with "ocean-friendly" seafood, that we can actually save these animals while eating them, and the only reason to save them is so people can continue to eat them. Unfortunately, fish are not always seen as beings but rather resources: seafood, fish stocks and filets. But whether wild-caught or farmed, sustainable or not... it is clear that someone with eyes, gills and fins is dead on the plate. Sure, this is a partnership - between business and the idea that we can keep eating whomever we please forever. As for respect, the truth is, we as a species have rarely treated the planet and the animals we share it with, with respect. And the rapid emptying of our oceans to fill our bellies is testimony to this.
Satya Magazine - April, 2007
Reuters (March 26, 2007)
Environmental News Network/Reuters (April 4, 2007)
Environmental News Network/AP (April 19, 2007)
Environmental News Network/Reuters (April 13, 2007)
Century-old rockfish caught as bycatch
Environmental News Network/AP (April 6, 2007)
Satya Magazine (April, 2007)
Red meat may increase heart disease risk for diabetics
Full story: Food Navigator, US
High consumption of red meat and heme iron from the diet may increase the risk of coronary heart disease amongst diabetics by 50 percent, says new research from Harvard. The research looked at the effects of red meat and dietary iron intake on the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among the 6,161 women with diagnosed type-2 diabetes enrolled in the Nurses Health Study. "The major importance of this finding is that, high consumption of heme iron and red meat may be a more dangerous cardiovascular risk factor for diabetic patients compared with the general population," [said] lead author Lu Qi.
Diabetics are already at an increased risk of subsequent CHD, explained the researchers, but the new study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, reports that this risk may be increased further with high intakes of red meat and heme iron. Dietary iron intake is either heme iron, from red meat, poultry, and seafood, or non-heme that can be found in both animal and plant foods. After adjusting the results for confounding factors such as age and BMI, the researchers report that high intake of heme iron from red meat, poultry and seafood was associated with a significantly increased risk of CHD for these diabetic women.
Food Navigator, US - January 17, 2007
Fertility problems seen for sons of beef-eating women
Full story: San Francisco Chronicle/Los Angeles Times
Sons born to women who ate a lot of beef during their pregnancy have a 25 percent below-normal sperm count and three times the normal risk of fertility problems, researchers reported. The problem may be due to anabolic steroids used in the United States to fatten the cattle, Shanna Swan of the University of Rochester Medical Center reported in the journal Human Reproduction. It could also be due to pesticides and other environmental contaminants, she said.
If the sperm deficit is related to the hormones in beef, Swan's findings may be "just the tip of the iceberg," wrote biologist Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri in an editorial accompanying the paper. In daughters of the beef-eaters, those same hormones could alter the incidence of polycystic ovarian syndrome, the age of puberty and the postnatal growth rate, he said. Six growth-promoting hormones are routinely used in cattle production in the United States and Canada. At slaughter, not all of these hormones have been metabolized.
San Francisco Chronicle/Los Angeles Times - March 28, 2007
Animal protein & fat raise endometrial cancer risk
Full story: Scientific American
A new study provides more evidence that animal-derived foods increase the risk of endometrial cancer, while foods from plant sources reduce it. Women who received the most calories from animal protein had twice the risk of the disease compared to those who took in the fewest calories from animal sources, Dr. Wang-Hong Xu of Fu Dan University School of Public Health in Shanghai and colleagues found. High levels of calories from animal fat boosted the risk by 50 percent. However, the women who ate the most protein from plant sources cut their endometrial cancer risk by 30 percent. The results suggest that it's the source of fat or protein, not the macronutrients themselves, that is related to endometrial cancer risk, Xu and his team conclude.
Scientific American - March 21, 2007
Breast cancer risk higher among meat eaters: U.K. study
Full story: CBC, Canada
Eating red or processed meat is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer, a British statistical study [by the University of Leeds] says, and the highest risks are associated with the greatest consumption of the meat. The study published in the British Journal of Cancer "indicates relationships with certain meats and breast cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal women." The researchers gathered diet data on 33,725 British women between 1995 and 1998.
"The findings are most striking for postmenopausal women," the university said in a news release. "Those with the highest intake of red meat, the equivalent to one portion a day (more than 57 grams) run a 56 percent greater risk of breast cancer than those who eat none. "Women who eat the most processed meat, such as bacon, sausages, ham or pies, run a 64 percent greater risk of breast cancer than those who eat none."
CBC, Canada - April 4, 2007
Citrus County Chronicle, FL, US (March 26, 2007)
South Bend Tribune, MI, US (March 21, 2007)
Quote: Researchers found that people who ate a high-fruit, low-meat diet had half the risk of developing precancerous polyps compared with heavy meat-eaters.
Lifestyles and Trends
Hamburger giant makes historic advance for animals
Full story: Wilmington Star, NC, US
In what animal welfare advocates are describing as a "historic advance," Burger King, the world's second-largest hamburger chain, said that it would begin buying eggs and pork from suppliers that did not confine their animals in cages and crates. The company said that it would also favor suppliers of chickens that use gas, or "controlled-atmospheric stunning," rather than electric shocks to knock birds unconscious before slaughter. It is considered a more humane method, though only a handful of slaughterhouses use it. While Burger King's initial goals may be modest, food marketing experts and animal welfare advocates said that the shift would put pressure on other restaurant and food companies to adopt similar practices.
"I think the whole area of social responsibility, social consciousness, is becoming much more important to the consumer," said Bob Goldin, executive vice president of Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm. "I think that the industry is going to see that it's an increasing imperative to get on that bandwagon." Burger King's announcement is the latest success for animal welfare advocates, who were once dismissed as fringe groups, but are increasingly gaining mainstream victories. [Recently,] the celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck announced that the meat and eggs he used would come from animals raised under strict animal welfare codes. The changes were made after discussions with the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known as PETA.
Wilmington Star, NC, US - March 28, 2007
Editorial: Mr. Puck's good idea
Full story: New York Times
From time to time, consumers are reminded of the power they have, and the power of the choices they make. There is no better example than the rising popularity of organic food - a matter of conscience and of taste. Not surprisingly, people who shop that way also like to dine out that way. That will now be easier thanks to Wolfgang Puck, the universal restaurateur. He has decided that his culinary businesses will now use products only from animals raised under strict humane standards. Mr. Puck is not the first chef and restaurateur to decide to forgo factory-farmed meat and eggs. But Mr. Puck runs an empire, not a restaurant. His outreach is enormous, and so is his potential educational impact.
For one thing, Mr. Puck's new standard will help correct a misimpression. Many diners assume that most of the cruelty in factory farming lies in producing foie gras and veal. But Americans consume vastly more chicken, turkey, pork and beef than foie gras and veal, and most of the creatures those meats come from are raised in ways that are ethically and environmentally unsound. Until recently, most Americans have been appallingly ignorant of how their food is produced. That is changing.
New York Times - March 26, 2007
Globe and Mail, Canada (April 2, 2007)
Toronto Star, Canada (April 3, 2007)
USA Today (March 22, 2007)
'Vegan' is hard for consumers to swallow
Full story: Nashua Telegraph, NH, US
V.G. Burgers [in Colorado, U.S.], uses strictly plant-based ingredients. What it doesn't use anywhere on its menus or marketing materials is the "v" word. "The word 'vegan' tends to scare people - and to exclude people," said [co-owner] Gargiulo, a retired competitive snowboarder and vegan for 16 years. "We're still developing the right language." Preferably, the language will promote the tasty food and environmental commitment without scaring anyone away, he said. About 2.3 percent of U.S. adults called themselves vegetarian last year, while 1.4 percent were vegan, according to a poll by the Vegetarian Resource Group.
"From a marketing point of view, trying to attract just those people would give you a tiny market, so it makes sense to broaden the appeal by not necessarily proclaiming your veganness," said Denver restaurant consultant John Imbergamo. At least half of American adults strive to eat at least two or three meatless meals per week, according to another poll by the trade group. It's that larger market that restaurants and food sellers must target if they're to stick around and grow - as the vegetarians will find them anyway. "About 80 percent of our customers now are nonvegetarians," [Gargiulo] said.
Nashua Telegraph, NH, US - March 11, 2007
Veggie experiences: Weight problem led to raw-licious diet
Full story: Denver Post
Always a little heavy, Scott Jackson gained about 50 pounds in his 30s, then saw his weight balloon from 200 pounds to over 300 after his second marriage in 1995. "I was one porky boy," he says. "I couldn't get behind the steering wheel of my van, and climbing stairs, I couldn't get up three steps, let alone three stories, without running out of breath." Worse, he was plagued by headaches, constant heartburn, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health problems. He tried dieting - "the Atkins Diet, the Zone, Richard Simmons, Weight Watchers, starvation" - but while he had some success, the weight always came back. Finally, fed up with his appearance and with being stared at by strangers, he decided to take a radical approach.
In December 2005, Jackson came across a magazine article on the benefits of eating fruit and other raw foods. Intrigued, he read everything he could on the subject. In six months, he went from 298 pounds to 190, and his waist size shrank from 56 inches to 38. And while it took a few weeks for his 5-foot-6 body to adjust to the new regimen, he says, "I felt great. My headaches went away, my heartburn disappeared, and my stats all improved." Inspired by his success, he went on to earn a certificate as a raw-food chef and now is sharing recipes in a class at Colorado Free University (freeu.com).
Denver Post - March 11, 2007
Food Not Bombs: Serving meals in a radical way - for free
Full story: Common Ground Magazine
Setting up on street corners and in front of City Halls and fast food chains from Los Angeles to Latvia, Food Not Bombs
serves almost exclusively vegan food, and attempts to ensure that most of its food is organic. [Founder Keith] McHenry explains: "For one, we want to show our stance of nonviolence against animals, that nonviolence means more than not fighting wars. The other reason is ecological - vegetarian food, and vegan food in particular, uses much fewer resources in terms of water, land and so on. Also," he points out, "this is mainly a poor people's movement, and we wanted the Food Not Bombs model to spread without needing a lot of money."
McHenry feels that Food Not Bombs is a lightning rod for government hostility [he has been dubbed "One of America's 100 Most Dangerous People" by the US State Department] because of its explicit political stance. Different from a soup kitchen or a church-based food drive, the goal of Food Not Bombs is not simply to feed the hungry, but to change the story of hunger that pervades the American psyche. By serving free food in public, Food Not Bombs not only addresses these issues directly - it forces the rest of us to confront them as well. "Giving away food under the banner of FNB makes such a strong impact that people might begin to think money should go to human needs and not to the military."
Common Ground Magazine - April, 2007
Vegan cycling team hits the road to dispel myths
Full story: Daily Californian
Emily Thurston is a category one cyclist. She is also a vegan.
Thurston, a Berkeley resident, rides with Team Vegan, a cycling team working to change a perception that athletes need animal products to perform at their peak. The team, part of the nonprofit organization OrganicAthlete, is the first elite cycling team in the United States whose members exclusively follow a vegan lifestyle. OrganicAthlete is the creation of Bradley Saul, who is also a member of the cycling team. "We're trying to dispel the myth that you can't be health-based and fit," Saul said. Thurston said she feels better and healthier about her new [vegan] lifestyle. "I've been fine. I feel more clear, more healthy and energetic. I've been doing better than last year," she said.
Daily Californian - April 16, 2007
The Final Sprint (January 23, 2007)
Two vegans, determined to dispel the myth that vegans are puny and unhealthy, set out to radically transform their bodies in just one month - and they challenge you to sign up to do the same.
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Ethical omelettes on the menu at Canadian universities
Full story: Toronto Star, Canada
A coalition that wants to get laying hens out of cages is directing its free-range campaign at universities and colleges. [University of Toronto] history student Wokie Fraser confesses she's never really thought much about eggs, where they come from or why they seem so affordable. That changes, however, as she grimaces at images released as a campaign was launched to change the kind of eggs bought and sold on university campuses across Canada. "I never really thought much about this," Fraser says, looking at stills from a video snuck out of an egg barn in south-western Ontario. The pictures have an impact. "What else is there?" she asks. At the earlier media conference, members of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals attempted to answer that question.
"This is the reality of how 98 percent of our eggs are produced," Stephanie Brown, spokeswoman for the coalition, tells the media conference. Behind her plays a video of laying hens crammed into 16- by 18-inch battery cages, three to a cage. The hens' feathers are worn off by constant rubbing against the bars of the cages. Exposed skin, she says, is burned by ammonia levels in the barn. The coalition wants to end such conditions. Its new campaign to convince universities and colleges to switch to free-range or organic eggs, is its way to build up a critical mass of demand for such eggs. [A fellow student says] "You feel better about yourself when you buy free-range." Fraser nods. She can see his point. She likes fair trade coffee... So can see the argument for using her consumer dollars to change the way eggs are produced.
Toronto Star, Canada - April 3, 2007
Film shows neglect of pigs, turkeys and ducks sold under ethical label
Full story: Guardian, UK
Popular ethical food labels which claim to reassure consumers of high standards of animal welfare are criticised in a TV programme which shows shocking scenes of neglect on some farms including ducks being punched, kicked and thrown around by staff. Among the brands singled out is the Freedom Food scheme, launched by Britain's largest animal welfare organisation, the RSPCA , and used to certify meat products sold at a premium through Britain's main supermarket chains. At [one farm], footage shows pigs in wet and heavily soiled conditions with no straw or dry, comfortable rest area. A former RSPCA council member claims on the programme that the inspection back-up provided by the RSPCA for the Freedom Food scheme is flawed because it employs too few people.
Guardian, UK - March 13, 2007
Warrnambool Standard, Australia (April 18, 2007)
The Hindu, India (March 21, 2007)
Australia: The fox is in charge of the chickens
Full story: The Age, Australia
Victoria's animal-protection law largely fails to protect animals. In fact, it institutionalises widespread animal suffering. Why? Because the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, in effect, exempts the overwhelming mass of animals from its protection. How? By sanctioning "codes of practice" - usually favouring the interests of producers over animal welfare - as a defence or exemption from prosecution under the act.
For example, the Code of Accepted Farming Practice for the welfare of poultry permits the confinement of a battery hen on a floor area about three quarters the size of [a letter-sized] sheet of paper. Such enduring close confinement would ordinarily fall within one of the act's cruelty offences. As such confinement complies with the relevant code of practice, however, the act does not apply. Who is responsible for initiating and creating these "codes of practice"? In Victoria, it is the Minister for Primary Industries and his department - the very people charged under the act with its administration and enforcement. For the present, the legal regime is a public scandal. And this affront to the public interest is likely to continue as long as the fox remains in charge of the chickens.
The Age, Australia - March 30, 2007
Philippines to pass ruling for animal welfare
Full story: Sun Star, Philippines
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan [a Philippines province] is set to pass an ordinance to protect and promote animal welfare. Provincial Veterinary Office head Dr. Silvino R. Tedosio, Jr. said the [province] plans to enact this ordinance because the Philippines is one of the signatories to the groundbreaking of the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare in San Jose, Costa Rica and recognizes that "animals are living, sentient beings and therefore deserve due considerations and respect." He added its principles declare that animal welfare "shall be a common objective for all nations" and that "all appropriate steps shall be taken by nations to prevent cruelty to animals and to reduce their sufferings." [You can click on the link at the bottom of VegE-News to sign the Declaration's "Animals Matter to Me" petition. There are over 450,000 signatures now, with a goal of one million by the end of 2007.]
Sun Star, Philippines - February 21, 2007
China Post (April 20, 2007)
Back in barbaric business - the caged cats of China
Full story: Daily Mail, UK
The haunting sound of animal wailing fills the air. Dogs are crammed so tightly together into tiny metal cages they cannot even bark. Yards away the blood-spattered carcasses of others lie on the ground. This is Three Birds' Market in Guangzhou, China, officially described as a poultry market. But, as these exclusive pictures show [click on full story to view], many traders on the 60-acre site are doing brisk business selling dogs and cats to restaurants for slaughter and human consumption. Cages of dogs and cats - some of them bred as domestic pets - are piled high and when an animal is chosen for sale it is bludgeoned with an iron bar until it is close to death before, being handed over to the purchaser.
"When the dog dies slowly there is much more flavour in the meat. Some customers want the dog half-dead. Even in the absence of any animal rights legislation, Three Birds' owners are wary of plying their gruesome trade too openly, and advertising for the market refers only to poultry. At the entrance, there are cages full of ducks, geese, chicken and wildfowl. But further inside, away from the public, are the stalls trading in cats and dogs. The Three Birds' Market proves that despite China's bid to clean up its act before the Beijing Olympics next year, on the issue of animal cruelty it still has a long way to go.
Daily Mail, UK - March 28, 2007
Five reasons why Americans must stop eating animals
Full story: Bend Weekly, OR, US
Around the country, animal advocates are giddy. Three food empires: Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, Wolfgang Puck, the world-famous chef/restaurateur/food-products creator, and Burger King, the world's second-largest hamburger chain, have vowed to alter their practices to reflect more humane standards of care for animals used for food. The veil is being lifted. Agribusiness has a hideous face. Collectively, these decisions suggest that we are, indeed, at a tipping point. America does not like agribusiness, and business, wanting to save its bottom line, is taking note. Ordinary people are driving profound change.
Until we change what we purchase, agribusiness will continue to torture animals, harm the humans who eat them, and wreak environmental havoc. If you need some incentive, here it is: 1. The animals we eat are tortured from birth to death. 2. Raising animals for human food is killing the planet. 3. You'll be much healthier. 4. In ways that matter, animals are a lot like we are... who would guess that a rooster would beg to go for car rides and demand his share of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day? 5. It feels good to align your eating habits with your values. You are more powerful than you think. Purchase with consciousness and compassion, and the whole world will thank you. Go to Burger King if you must... but buy a salad. Chances are that you're far hungrier for kindness than you are for that burger.
Bend Weekly, OR, US - April 6, 2007
An enlightening and touching book by Kathy Stevens, the author of the above article as well as founder and director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary. The book is available at
OpEdNews (March 26, 2007)
New York Times (April 17, 2007)
IOL, South Africa (February 22, 2007)
Environmental Network News/AP (March 20, 2007)
Whenever possible, stories are linked to the original source. Some sites may require registration, and/or not archive the stories. All links were active at the time of publication.
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