Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight. Albert Schweitzer
In this edition...
| ||Wolfgang Puck: Changing tastes|
| ||Millions of chickens fed tainted pet food|
| ||Dairy linked with Parkinson's in men|
| ||Scientists point to link between dairy foods and dementia|
| ||Don't blame veganism for child neglect|
| ||How eager are we to fight global warming?|
| ||Bishop Desmond Tutu: This fatal complacency|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Veggie experiences: A vegan army vet - and cute to boot|
| ||We like it raw|
| ||Vegetarian dinners made easy|
| ||Beware hidden animal ingredients|
| ||Vegetarian fare - at Fatburger?!|
| ||Dissention in the ranks? Vegetarian vs. vegan|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||California to allow roo sales|
| ||English horses being sent to France to be eaten|
| ||Animal sentience: Activists want chimp declared a 'person'|
| ||Industry viewpoint: HSUS attack mere sideshow to real animal welfare reform|
| ||Turkey producer accused of animal cruelty|
Books and Perspectives
| ||A vegan diet for a stress-free life|
Wolfgang Puck: Changing tastes
Full story: NSNBC/Newsweek
I've been thinking a lot lately about how it's up to chefs like me to help everyone stay healthy. It's not just about reducing obesity and diabetes, though that's obviously a priority. It's about getting every one of us to eat the right foods. That means buying produce from responsible farmers who grow fruits and vegetables that aren't covered with pesticides or genetically modified. It means getting meat from ranchers who not only shun the use of antibiotics and growth hormones, but also raise their animals humanely in a free-roaming environment.
I'm not going soft, or, heaven forbid, vegan. I'm just trying to be more accountable to myself, my customers and to those who are farming responsibly. And if it means being nicer to animals along the way, well, that's a big bonus. Why shouldn't cows and pigs feel sunlight on their backs, grass under their feet? Fish shouldn't be jammed into tanks too full for them to even think about swimming. They should be able to exercise their muscles and feel a current. Yes, they'll be killed for food - but until then, they should have a nice stay on Earth... I'm hoping other chefs will follow suit. If I can get my foods from responsible ranchers and farmers and feed millions of people each year - and not raise prices - then chefs who cook for smaller audiences can do this, too. And one by one, we'll all benefit. The way I see it, our future will be filled with more chefs and fewer doctors.
NSNBC/Newsweek - May 7, 2007
Millions of chickens fed tainted pet food
Full story: Washington Post
At least 2.5 million broiler chickens from an Indiana producer were fed pet food scraps contaminated with the chemical melamine and subsequently sold for human consumption, federal health officials reported [May 1]. Hundreds of other producers may have similarly sold an unknown amount of contaminated poultry in recent months, they added, painting a picture of much broader consumption of contaminated feed and food than had previously been acknowledged in the widening pet food scandal. Officials emphasized that they do not believe the tainted chickens - or the smaller number of contaminated pigs that were reported to have entered the human food supply - pose risks to people who ate them.
Nonetheless, 100,000 Indiana chickens that ate the melamine-laced food and are still alive have been quarantined and will be destroyed as a precautionary measure - as will any other animals that turn up as the investigation continues to expand. The revelations are the latest in a rapidly widening scandal that started out with reports of a few deaths of pets. It has mushroomed into a major debacle that, even if no human injuries emerge, has exposed significant gaps in the nation's food-safety system. Experts conceded, however, that they know little about how the toxin interacts with other compounds in food.
Washington Post - May 2, 2007
The Daily Green (May 23, 2007)
Hamilton Spectator, Canada (May 11, 2007)
Quote: Fish feed made with a contaminated Chinese ingredient was distributed to about 120 fish hatcheries and farms, roughly split between the U.S. and Canada.
Dairy linked with Parkinson's in men
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
A new study has confirmed a relationship between consuming large amounts of dairy products and an increase in the rate of Parkinson's disease in men, but the reason for this relationship remains a puzzle. Researchers found that among more than 130,000 US adults followed for nine years, those who ate the largest amount of dairy foods had an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, a disorder in which movement-regulating cells in the brain die or become impaired.
There was a clear pattern seen among men, whose Parkinson's risk increased in tandem with consumption of dairy, particularly milk. The results were more ambiguous among women, however. The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology, echo those of earlier studies that found a link between dairy consumption and Parkinson's in men, but not women. Men with the highest levels of dairy consumption [equivalent of three - four glasses of milk per day] were 60 percent more likely to develop the disease than those who consumed the least amounts of dairy, the study found.
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - April 20, 2007
Scientists point to link between dairy foods and dementia
Full story: The Scotsman
Calcium and vitamin D in dairy products may be contributing to brain damage and dementia in older men and women, new research suggests. Scientists believe too much calcium can narrow blood vessels in the brain, leading to neural damage. The effect may be compounded by vitamin D, which regulates calcium retention and activity. Researchers made the discovery after scanning the brains of 79 men and 153 women aged between 60 and 86. All had at least a number of brain lesions - areas of tissue damage.
A previous study published last year by Columbia University Medical Centre suggested eating a "Mediterranean-style" diet significantly reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Such a diet - rich in fruit, vegetables and cereals with some fish and alcohol and very little dairy and meat - has been long associated with a healthy lifestyle. The food intake of participants was given a Mediterranean diet score of between zero and nine. The researchers found that, for each additional point on the Mediterranean diet scale, the risk of Alzheimer's dropped by almost 10 per cent.
The Scotsman - May 14, 2007
Don't blame veganism for child neglect
Full story: OpEdNews
In a sad and tragic story, the news recently broke that a "vegan couple" were found guilty of starving their 6-week old baby to death. The AP story reports that the couple fed the baby mostly soy milk and apple juice. If that's true, then the couple's crime wasn't that they were vegan. They were either incredibly misinformed, stupid, or both. An online pediatrician's guide
explains how vegan babies and children can easily be kept healthy on a vegan diet. And most of the advice that's relevant - breast feed for at least a year, and take your vitamins - would be given to vegans and carnivores alike. It's unfortunate that such misinformation about the vegan diet still abounds, even among otherwise educated people... it sounds like the couple was responsible for the infant's death. But their mistake had nothing to do with their veganism.
OpEdNews - May 9, 2007
How eager are we to fight global warming?
Full story: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, US
Most Pennsylvanians think global warming is an inconvenient truth, but not many are willing to be inconvenienced enough to do anything about it. Seven out of 10 agree that global warming exists and is a concern, according to a survey by two Mansfield University researchers, but significantly fewer are willing to do so much as change a light bulb to help address the problem. [In the survey] the 10 personal actions that people were asked if they do, or would do, were: use compact fluorescent light bulbs, compost kitchen scraps, take reusable bags to the grocery store, buy from environmentally friendly companies, wash dishes by hand, own a hybrid car, purchase a solar power system for their home, allow clothes to air dry, buy a windmill and stop eating meat.
Slightly more than half of those surveyed said they would use fluorescent light bulbs, take reusable bags to the grocery and buy from environmentally friendly companies. Slightly less than half said they'd feed the composter. Only 41 percent said they'd be willing to drive a hybrid car or install solar panels; 38 percent were willing to wash dishes by hand; 30 percent were willing to stop eating meat. Just 26 percent would let their clothes air dry and 25 percent said they would buy a windmill. [While the researchers saw this as bad news, we see promise and likely - hopefully! - the survey applies elsewhere as well.]
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, PA, US - April 22, 2007
Bristol, UK Vegan Festival (June 9-10, 2007)
Bishop Desmond Tutu: This fatal complacency
Full story: The Guardian, UK
What if dealing with climate change meant more than a flick of a switch? Would our friends in the industrialised world think differently if the effects of climate change were worse than extended summer months and the arrival of exotic species? Cushioned and cosseted, they have had the luxury of closing their minds to the real impact of what is happening in the fragile and precious atmosphere that surrounds the planet we live on. Where climate change has occurred in the industrialised world, the effects have so far been relatively benign. With the exception of events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the inhabitants of North America and Europe have felt just a gentle caress from the winds of change.
I wonder how much more anxious they might be if they depended on the cycle of mother nature to feed their families. How much greater would their concerns be if they lived in slums and townships, in mud houses, or shelters made of plastic bags? In large parts of sub-Saharan Africa, this is a reality. The poor, the vulnerable and the hungry are exposed to the harsh edge of climate change every day of their lives... Our friends there should think about this the next time they reach for the thermostat switch. They should realize that while the problems of the Mozambican farmer might seem far away, it may not be long before their troubles wash up on their shores.
The Guardian, UK - May 5, 2007
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia (May 12, 2007)
Paul Watson on global warming
The Vegetarian Union of North America (May 14, 2007)
European Vegetarian Union Manifesto (May 1, 2007)
A thoughtful essay by Keith Akers (May 4, 2007)
Quote: One approach would be to accept environmentalism as a movement, as it is, and then seek to change it from within. You would not start, in this scenario, by declaring that all who disagreed with you should be excluded from the movement. Instead, you would come to the movement with the message, we want to help.
Lifestyles and Trends
Veggie experiences: A vegan army vet - and cute to boot
Full story: Burlington Free Press, VT, US
The cutest vegetarian alive voted for himself in the contest. "Just like I'm sure the president probably votes for himself, I couldn't resist," said cutie-pie Jed Martin, 22. The cutest vegetarian alive was chosen by voters in an election sponsored by peta2, the youth division of the animal rights organization. He lives on a U.S. Army Base in Germany, where he's an air traffic control specialist with 26 days left of his five-year military commitment. To keep his vegan diet alive while serving in Mosul, Iraq, Martin received care packages from his sister.
Martin became a vegetarian in March 2005. Within six month he was completely vegan, a choice that made Army eating more difficult, particularly in Iraq. He's been around vegetarians for years hanging out in the punk and hard-core scene. He became one after learning about the treatment of animals on "factory farms." He was especially influenced by "Meet Your Meat
," a video narrated by actor Alec Baldwin. Compassion toward animals and a commitment to their humane treatment led Martin to vegetarianism. He has gained health benefits from the diet, too. "Physically, I feel amazing," he said. "I have an endless supply of energy." [You can check out Jed's pic at the full story link.
Burlington Free Press, VT, US - May 22, 2007
More veggie experiences:
Seattle Times, WA, US (May 13, 2007)
We like it raw
Full story: Common Ground
Even within the natural food movement's inner core, Raw foodists can't get no love. Tell most folks you limit your diet to just fresh, uncooked fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and responses range from bewildered admiration ("Wow. You do that?!? I could never deal") to bemused skepticism ("uh, whatever floats your boat, I guess") to snark bordering on hostility ("what are you, a f'ing rabbit?"). Even the possibility of "increased energy and vitality" - the raw foodie's beckoning promise - couldn't persuade most of us to consign to a lifetime of carrots and celery. And so the "Raw Way" has largely remained a path for only the most disciplined zealot and/or narcissistic celebrity with the disposable funds to bankroll a personal chef.
But like any great idea whose time is nigh, raw food is maturing beyond its uncooked beginnings to a lifestyle choice that allows for flexibility, creativity, and above all - (dare we say?) great taste. Glossy cookbooks, fresh new restaurants, raw chocolate smoothies and healthy, happy raw enthusiasts - who are anything but cultish or militant - are moving Raw out of the fringe and into the mainstream. [Some scrumptious-looking photos are included in the full article, which also explores the environmental benefits of raw food.]
Common Ground - May, 2007
Vegetarian dinners made easy
Full story: Common Ground
Including more plant-based meals and "going" organic is a gift to both future generations and to our planet. Does making a vegetarian dinner seem too daunting a challenge? In fact, revolutionizing your diet can be easy. Most of us rely on eight or nine favourite recipes that we return to again and again. Think of your favourites; they likely make up a short list. Here is a three-step plan to help you make a simple transition to vegetarianism by including veggie favourites already on your list. 1) Think of three meals you like that also happen to be vegetarian. 2) Modify three of your recipes. 3) Try three new recipes. Check out vegetarian cookbooks at the library and at bookstores. You've now got nine delicious, tasty choices. Earth will thank you, the animals will thank you and your body will thank you too.
Common Ground - April, 2007
Boston Globe, MA, US (May 17, 2007)
Common Ground (May, 2007)
Beware hidden animal ingredients
Full story: Daily Telegraph
The food industry has been criticised after it emerged that some of the best known soft drinks, confectionery and dairy products contain animal products. Fanta Orange, Kellogs Frosted Wheats breakfast cereals, Smarties and Guinness are all on a list, compiled by the [UK] Vegetarian Society. Chris Olivant, a spokesman for the society, said: "If people decide to go vegetarian they obviously know to cut out red meat, but they are not going to think about crisps, sweets and drinks. "It would be much easier if these manufacturers put it on the label."
Daily Telegraph - May 15, 2007
BBC News, UK (May 20, 2007)
Vegetarian fare - at Fatburger?!
Full story: Santa Barbara Independent, CA, US
You know vegetarianism has made it into the mainstream when a fast food joint whose slogan is "Man didn't claw his way to the top of the food chain to eat soy" now carries veggie burgers. I made this discovery while playing the where-should-we-eat game with a fellow vegetarian. Sick of Sojourner, sick of Thai, sick of Indian, my friend finally sheepishly suggested Fatburger. Actually she coughed it while turning her face in the opposite direction. "Where?" I asked. "I, uh, hear Fatburger carries Boca Burgers now." She had no need to be ashamed. I was thrilled.
My least favorite part of being a vegetarian is people's assumption that I'm a health nut, consuming small portions of legumes, leafy greens, and soy protein. It's not that I don't eat these things; I just smother them in butter, cheese, and seasoning and follow them with a healthy portion of chocolatey goodness. You're right, Fatburger: Man didn't claw his way to the top of the food chain to eat soy. He walked down the street into his local corporate fast food joint to eat soy.
Santa Barbara Independent, CA, US - May 18, 2007
Dissention in the ranks? Vegetarian vs. vegan
Full story: ABC News, US
For centuries, people have been crowing about the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. While it's not for everyone, more and more folks want to reap the green goodness sown by means of a vegetable-dominated diet. Traditionally, vegetarians have stood together as a group, but there is evidence of a growing rift among those who say "no" to meat. Why? It just may be that some noncarnivores think they are better than others. "It is really a matter of great distress," says Dr. Stanley Sapon, professor emeritus of psycholinguistics at the University of Rochester. Sapon, a long-time vegetarian crusader, is concerned about the effect of a division among the flock, which he says "would seriously diminish the power to effect social change that a single, large, unified organization can exert."
The problem is most people have very different ideas about the word and the lifestyle. "I know people who eat fish and call themselves vegetarians," says Hyland Fisher, 33, an 11-year vegan and an apprentice architect from Nevada City, Calif. "I wouldn't consider them vegetarians." While few vegans will admit to a full-on bias, most do say they wish more people would see it their way. "Anyone who chooses not to eat meat should be applauded," says Fisher. "But it's perplexing to me that someone who chooses a vegetarian lifestyle wouldn't go vegan." "The ethics of vegan philosophy calls for a gentle, respectful, benevolent and compassionate treatment of all life forms - human and animal," Sapon says. Basically, for Sapon and many other vegans, the act of trying to live "animal-free" is the important part; the degree to which one chooses to do so is a personal formality.
ABC News, US - May 18, 2007
Animal Issues and Advocacy
California to allow roo sales
Full story: Daily Telegraph, Australia
California is poised to overturn a 35-year ban on kangaroo imports. Under a Bill before the US state's legislature, the definition of kangaroo would be changed so that non-endangered species of the animal could be legally sold. Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has accused sports giant adidas of being behind the change to the laws. Kangaroo skin is used to make soccer boots - including the adidas "Predator" shoe - handbags and baseball mitts.
But Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia executive officer John Kelly said kangaroo products were already legally sold in the US under federal laws and three separate court challenges had found the national rules override any state bans. If the Californian law was passed it would be welcome [ Editor's note: not to VegE-News readers!] but would not have a major impact on Australia's $200 million-a-year roo industry.
Daily Telegraph, Australia - April 30, 2007
English horses being sent to France to be eaten
Full story: Evening Standard, UK
At a restaurant in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, a group of 20 impeccably dressed young men and women are seated at an oval dining table. There are half a dozen bottles of red wine being passed around as a brace of sure-footed waiters carry in a silver platter bearing a colossal joint of roast meat. Alexandre Lazerges, one of the diners, taps his glass and rises to his feet. "Ladies and Gentlemen," he announces. "Pray silence for the horse." He sits, they carve, and this group of Parisian friends (The Pony Club, as they are known) indulge their culinary passion for the equine race. And, make no mistake, it's a passion that is not theirs alone. Today, in France, horsemeat is enjoying a renaissance. "The main difference between us and a normal pony club is that they ride horses and we eat them," explains Lazerges. "They taste good - it's as simple as that."
The Mail has discovered that as many as 5,000 horses are being slaughtered here in abattoirs every year and their carcasses shipped to France, where they are enjoyed by the likes of The Pony Club. Of that total, many are failed or injured racehorses - the cast-offs, animal rights groups claim, of an industry that purposefully over-produces horses in the search for winners. Equally contentious is the fact that every year a further 100,000 live horses are transported in horrific conditions across the Continent from Eastern Europe.
Evening Standard, UK - May 19, 2007
Animal sentience: Activists want chimp declared a 'person'
Full story: Environmental News Network/AP
In some ways, Hiasl is like any other Viennese: He indulges a weakness for pastry, likes to paint and enjoys chilling out watching TV. But he doesn't care for coffee, and he isn't actually a person - at least not yet. In a case that could set a global legal precedent for granting basic rights to apes, animal rights advocates are seeking to get the 26-year-old male chimpanzee legally declared a "person." The campaign began after the animal sanctuary where Hiasl (pronounced HEE-zul) and another chimp, Rosi, have lived for 25 years went bankrupt. Activists want to ensure the apes don't wind up homeless if the shelter closes. Donors have offered to help, but there's a catch: Under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal donations.
Austria isn't the only country where primate rights are being debated. Spain's parliament is considering a bill that would endorse the Great Ape Project, a Seattle-based international initiative to extend "fundamental moral and legal protections" to apes. If Hiasl gets a guardian, "it will be the first time the species barrier will have been crossed for legal 'personhood,'" said Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders International. "Chimps share 99.4 percent of their DNA with humans," [Martin Balluch of the Association Against Animal Factories] said. "OK, they're not homo sapiens. But they're obviously also not things - the only other option the law provides." But Paula Stibbe, who brings Hiasl sweets and yogurt and watches him draw and clown around by dressing up in knee-high rubber boots, insists he deserves more legal rights "than bricks or apples or potatoes."
Environmental News Network/AP - May 7, 2007
Delightful story about the joys of living with chickens
New York Times (May 17, 2007)
Industry viewpoint: HSUS attack mere sideshow to real animal welfare reform
Full story: Cattle Network
Let me start by acknowledging the shrewd performance of the Center for Consumer Freedom and its top attack dog, David Martosko, the group's director of research. He was brilliant. In congressional testimony Martosko savaged the position of the Humane Society of the United States. "When the topic of discussion is how to make livestock farming better, the complaints of radical vegans should be seen for what they are: an attempt to dismantle animal agriculture, not improve it," Martosko testified. "Thinking people should instantly recognize their ulterior motives... Congress could require U.S. farmers to supply every pig, chicken, duck, and cow with private rooms, daily rubdowns, video iPods and organic meals catered by Wolfgang Puck. But even this wouldn't satisfy activists who actually believe farm animals have the 'right' not to be eaten."
From a PR standpoint, that position is powerful. As a nicely packaged sound bite, Martosko's testimony was positively dazzling. There's only one problem: his argument was wrong - maybe "incomplete" is a fairer term. Whether people in the meat and poultry industries care to acknowledge it or not, the truth is this: From a broad, historical perspective, the industry - on balance - tended in the past to focus almost exclusively on productivity, wherever that led, instead of humane handling of its livestock. But the balance needed in a business dependent on animals was missing. When livestock are managed solely for performance and profit, the system begins to look like something that's unnatural, unnecessary and unacceptable. It would be much better for industry to accept that humane handling needs to be as important a priority as optimal performance. Personally, I love what the David Martoskos out there are doing... I just pray that his tactics don't represent the industry's primary strategy.
Cattle Network - May 18, 2007
Foodstuffs Foodlink (March 26, 2007)
Minnesota Daily, US (March 22, 2007)
Environmental News Network/AP (May 11, 2007)
Syracuse Post-Standard, NY, US (May 18, 2007)
Turkey producer accused of animal cruelty
Full story: North Carolina News-Record, US
A major producer of turkeys has been accused by an animal rights group of allowing workers to hit and mutilate live turkeys during the process of killing and butchering the birds. An undercover investigation found the alleged violations of state animal cruelty law, said Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals in Columbus, Ohio. Runkle contended the practices exceeded what is allowed by food processing regulations, such as ripping the heads off life birds and pulling eggs out of them to toss around. Management personnel observed the actions but didn't do anything in some cases, Runkle said. [Undercover video
North Carolina News-Record, US - May 21, 2007
Books and Perspectives
A vegan diet for a stress-free life
Full story: Ottawa Citizen, Canada
Put down the doughnut. Step away from the hamburger. Sure, they're bad for you, but they're also making you tense. It may sound strange, but it's true: your food is stressing you out. Brendan Brazier, a Vancouver-based professional Ironman triathlete and author of The Thrive Diet (Penguin Canada, 2007, $24), explains in his new book that "stress is anything that causes strain... When you eat foods that are refined, processed and really hard to digest, that's ultimately more stress and work for your body."
Brazier believes that eating whole, natural and high-alkaline foods such as vegetables, fruits and grains reduces nutritional stress. With loads of tasty-looking recipes, a 12-week meal plan and plenty of guidelines and explanations, Brazier's book is a veggie lover's dream. But what about us meat-lovers? "It's not all or nothing," he says. "Even if you have just one (vegan) meal or one snack a day, the benefits will be felt. "You'll feel good and you'll want to do more of it. You won't have to force yourself. It's certainly not about cutting everything out that you like or want to eat."
Ottawa Citizen, Canada - May 18, 2007
11th International Vegan Festival
The organizers of the 11th International Vegan Festival in Murdeshwar, Karnatka, India from September 30 to October 6, 2007 hope it will be a major step towards making the world gentler, by awakening the mass in that part of the world, to shun violence towards animals. More details of the Festival are available at the website below.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, with over 6000 physician members, has introduced a new website, Nutrition MD, to help individuals and health care providers adopt healthier diets. This Web site provides information on the role good nutrition plays in overall health, as well as how it relates to the prevention and treatment of specific conditions. Delicious recipes too.
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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