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In this edition...
| ||Diets high in meat boost skin cancer risk|
| ||New study: Plant-based diets play critical role in breast cancer survival|
| ||Dairy Council to end misleading weight loss ad campaign|
| ||New 'superbug' strain spreading in meat, warns study
| ||Meat is murder on the environment|
| ||Into the meat of the global warming issue|
| ||Brazilian fishermen joke over illegal dolphin kill|
| ||Sharks face increased threat due to fin soup - report|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Veggie experiences: Health concerns inspire life changes
| ||The veggie kid|
| ||The end of cheap food|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Animal sentience: Chickens are more evolved than previously believed|
| ||Activists accuse Quebec foie gras maker of cruelty to ducks |
| ||Video renews beefs about slaughterhouse's practices
| ||Livestock producers face animal welfare challenges|
| ||Bhutanese lama saves animals from slaughter|
Books and Perspectives
| ||Suffering on an epic scale|
| ||What we owe what we eat|
| ||Pamela Rice's "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian"|
Are They Serious? Unfortunately Yes
| ||Taiwan restaurant blasted for serving "dead-and-alive fish"|
Diets high in meat boost skin cancer risk
Full story: Reuters
An Australian study hints that diets with high amounts of meat and fat compared with those rich in vegetables and fruit appear to increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin - one of the most common forms of skin cancer. "Our study," lead investigator Dr. Torukiri I. Ibiebele told Reuters Health, "shows that particularly for people who have a history of skin cancer, there is benefit in avoiding fatty foods, overly processed foods, and foods with high amounts of sugar."
Conversely, the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin appeared to be significantly reduced among those who had a high consumption of fruit and vegetables. However, the investigators point out "this protective effect was mostly explained by the association with green leafy vegetables." No association was seen between dietary patterns and cutaneous basal cell carcinoma - another common form of skin cancer. Diet can apparently reduce risk, Ibiebele concluded, as does "staying out of the sun during the peak hours, and use of sunscreen and protective clothing."
Reuters - May 31, 2007
New study: Plant-based diets play critical role in breast cancer survival
Full story: Medical News Today
A new study in the "Journal of Clinical Oncology" reinforces existing evidence showing that women with breast cancer can greatly reduce their risk of recurrence by eating a healthy plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables and making other healthy lifestyle choices, according to nutrition experts with The Cancer Project.
"Women coping with breast cancer deserve to know that plant-based diets and regular exercise can spell the difference between life and death," says Jennifer Reilly, R.D., senior nutritionist with The Cancer Project. "In the battle against breast cancer, fruits, vegetables, and other low-fat vegetarian foods may be our most powerful weapons. Doctors must let women know that diet changes and exercise can help them beat this terrible disease."
Medical News Today - June 13, 2007
Dr. McDougall Newsletter (July 23, 2007)
Dr. McDougall debunks recent headlines that a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and low in animal fat, is not beneficial for breast cancer survival.
BBC (July 10, 2007)
A study of 1,500 Chinese women showed those who ate a "meat-sweet" diet were twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those on a vegetable-based diet.
Dairy Council to end misleading weight loss ad campaign
Full story: New York Times
A national advertising campaign that associates dairy products with weight loss will be curtailed because research does not support the claim, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The assertion that there is a link between weight loss and dairy consumption has long been contested by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an advocacy and research group that promotes a diet free of animal products.
Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the group that brought the matter to the F.T.C., said it would continue to press the dairy industry on other claims, which include the assertion that calcium helps prevent bone fractures in older women. "I think people will start to recognize that the dairy industry, which used to have a mom-and-pop image, is a huge commercial entity that will exaggerate to sell its products," Dr. Barnard said. Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, said the agreement to modify the advertisements was groundbreaking. "Those ads were ridiculously misleading," she said.
New York Times - May 11, 2007
New 'superbug' strain spreading in meat, warns study
Full story: Food Production Daily
Retail meat from pigs, chickens and other livestock could be infected with a "superbug" strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to a UK study released [June 25]. The prospect of MRSA in the food chain could spark off another consumer reaction against meat products, already suffering from a bad perception due to past outbreaks of bird flu, food-and-mouth disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
In the Netherlands, the MRSA strain has been found in 20 per cent of pork, 21 per cent of chicken and 3 per cent of beef on sale to the public, the UK's Soil Association stated in the study. "This new type of MRSA is spreading like wildfire across Europe, and we know it is transferring from farm animals to humans - with serious health impacts," said Richard Young, a policy adviser to the Soil Association. The association warned that MRSA found in farm animals have already transferred to farmers, farm-workers and their families in the Netherlands, causing serious health impacts.
Food Production Daily - June 25, 2007
Environmental News Network/Reuters (July 24, 2007)
Meat is murder on the environment
Full story: New Scientist
The production of a kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving a car for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home. These are the conclusions of researchers in Japan who studied the effects of beef production on global warming. The team focused on calf production and the effects of the production and transportation of the animals' feed, water acidification and eutrophication, and energy consumption... "Everybody is trying to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints," says Su Taylor of the Vegetarian Society in the UK: "But one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat."
New Scientist - July 16, 2007
Into the meat of the global warming issue
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald
Hey, canivore, think you can call yourself an environmentalist? It's a dilemma that has exercised the best minds. The Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki challenges people to eat less meat for the future of the planet, and the Australian ethicist Peter Singer, based at Princeton University in the US, argues going vegetarian or even vegan - dumping dairy and eggs - will reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions.
Meanwhile, in Australia, meat production is responsible for a massive 18 per cent of the country's CO2e emissions. CO2e is the measure of total greenhouse gas contribution... Yet as environmentalists and vegetarians will tell you, most Australians take the suggestion they should also give up meat as a personal or even patriotic slight, as though meat protein built a nation.
Sydney Morning Herald - July 3, 2007
Times Herald-Record, NY, US (July 1, 2007)
LiveScience (July 16, 2007)
Thoughtful essay by Captain Paul Watson. Quote: But that one 16-ounce cut of prime rib is equal to 1000 gallons of fresh water, a few acres of grass, a few fish, a quarter acre of corn etc. What's the point of taking a shorter shower to conserve water if you can sit down and consume 1000 gallons of water at a single meal?
Brazilian fishermen joke over illegal dolphin kill
Full story: Environmental News Network/AP
crew of Brazilian fishermen was captured on video killing 83 dolphins and joking about their illegal haul, Brazil's Ibama environmental protection agency said Tuesday. The video obtained by an Ibama researcher and broadcast by Globo TV showed the fishermen netting the dolphins, which suffocated because they could not surface to breathe. The dead dolphins were then hauled from the sea and piled on the boat's deck. Fishermen on board are seen laughing after someone said, "Everyone's going to jail after this filming!" Fishermen who illegally snag dolphins usually sell the meat to other boats to use as bait to catch sharks, Globo TV said.
The images came as a surprise to groups working to protect dolphins around the world. "Brazil has strict laws to protect whales and dolphins in their waters, and they are very clearly being abused," said Claire Bass, program manager for marine mammals with the London-based World Society for the Protection of Animals. "Using nets to kill these extremely sociable and intelligent animals by drowning them is completely diabolical." River dolphins are sometimes harpooned in the Amazon and used as bait, Bass said. Fishermen who kill the river dolphins try to wound them so they can be tied to trees while still alive. "Then they come and kill them for the bait as and when they need it," Bass said.
Environmental News Network/AP - July 18, 2007
Sharks face increased threat due to fin soup - report
Full story: Reuters
Sharks could face extinction within a generation from overfishing for their fins, a conservation group said on [July 18], calling on the Chinese government to lead the way in their protection. More than 90 percent of shark fin is consumed in China and demand is growing rapidly as the economy develops leading to more sharks being caught, many illegally in areas that are supposed to be protected, according to the group WildAid. "These animals have been here for 400 million years and they may disappear in one generation, not to provide people with basic food, but for a solely luxury item," executive director Peter Knights told a news conference to launch a new report.
Reuters - July 18, 2007
Environmental News Network/Center for Biological Diversity (July 13, 2007)
Lifestyles and Trends
Veggie experiences: Health concerns inspire life changes
Full story: Dallas Morning News, TX, US
Though no physician ever suggested that Barbara Bush of Carrollton become a vegetarian, the assistant professor at the University of North Texas realized that she inherited a legacy of diet-related diseases that included diabetes and heart problems. A dozen years ago, she began as a vegetarian, then transitioned to a vegan, someone who eats no animal products whatsoever, including dairy and eggs. "Doctors seem to enjoy telling me I'm in good health," she says. "And I feel like I'm in good health." She's part of a growing trend of people abstaining from or limiting the amount of meat and other animal-based products in their diet.
As a teenager in the Czech Republic, Barbara Dillard feared that a nasty bout of hepatitis would end her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina. Traditional medicine may have saved her life at age 17, but she despaired that the constant fatigue and accompanying weakness might end her aspirations. Out of desperation and after much research, she decided to try vegetarianism. "My doctors were amazed at my recovery," says Mrs. Dillard, a Dallasite since the late 1990s. "But it wasn't easy to be a vegetarian. I even had to learn to make my own soy milk." That's because such products were not readily available at the time in the Eastern European country.
Dallas Morning News, TX, US - June 19, 2007
The veggie kid
Full story: Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, US
No carnivore parent wants to hear the words uttered by my eldest daughter one night last summer. We were about to dig into one of my family's favorite chicken dishes - a nice Marcella Hazan number, garlic, rosemary, good stuff - when an anxious look crossed Aislinn's face. "What?" I asked. "I'm a vegetarian!" she, then 11, blurted out. "Not tonight, you're not!" I blurted back.
The next day, we revisited the issue. She came prepared. "What about your health?" I asked. She whipped out books on how growing children could safely go vegetarian... Nearly a year has passed. Aislinn is indeed a vegetarian, and I have not been reduced to kitchen slave. Having a vegetarian kid in an otherwise meat-eating household has proved to be quite doable. In fact, we've discovered great dishes we probably wouldn't have if not for this veggie thing. [There's lots of practical advice, and some good recipes, in this article.]
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA, US - June 28, 2007
The end of cheap food
Full story: Embassy, Canada
The era of cheap food is over. The price of corn has doubled in a year, and wheat futures are at their highest in a decade. The food price index in India has risen 11 per cent in one year, and in Mexico in January there were riots after the price of corn flour (used in making the staple food of the poor, tortillas) went up fourfold. Even in the developed countries, food prices are going up, and they are not going to come down again.
Early this month, in its annual assessment of farming trends, the United Nations predicted that by 2016, less than 10 years from now, people in the developing countries will be eating 30 per cent more beef, 50 per cent more pig meat and 25 per cent more poultry. The animals will need a great deal of grain, and meeting that demand will require shifting huge amounts of grain-growing land from human to animal consumption - so the price of grain and of meat will both go up. The global poor don't care about the price of meat, because they can't afford it even now - but if the price of grain goes up, some of them will starve.
Embassy, Canada - July 11, 2007
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Animal sentience: Chickens are more evolved than previously believed
Full story: Buffalo News, NY, US
A recent article in The Buffalo News cited a reader who said she's a vegetarian, except for chickens, because chickens are the "least intelligent" animals of the meat choices available to her. I would like to challenge this view with evidence of the intelligence of chickens. Summarizing what we now know, avian specialist Lesley Rogers wrote in "The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken" that "It is now clear that birds have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates."
One reason is that chickens have excellent memories. They can recognize more than 100 other chickens and remember them. In addition, chickens are able to wait for rewards, demonstrating that they can anticipate the future and exercise self-control. In laboratory studies, chickens have learned not to peck at buttons that yield only a small number of grains in favor of waiting longer to peck at buttons that produce a large amount of food. Hens fed grains that made them ill not only avoid such grains in the future; they push their chicks away from the bad grains (which they distinguish by color coding) and lead them to the good ones. Laboratory findings show that lame chickens, given a choice between food bowls laced with pain reliever and bowls having none, choose the medicated food.
Buffalo News, NY, US - July 21, 2007
Activists accuse Quebec foie gras maker of cruelty to ducks
Full story: Expatica, France
Animal rights activists accused the largest producer of foie gras in Canada, with links to a French group, of cruelty to ducks. The Global Action Network unveiled images of live ducks being decapitated, beaten, thrown against walls and floors, and ducklings left to suffocate in plastic bags purportedly at Elevages Perigord's poultry farm and food processing plant south of Montreal.
"This industry has no place in civilized society and we are asking the Canadian government to outlaw the production of foie gras immediately," Andrew Plumbly, director of the animal protection group, said in a statement, noting it has been banned in 14 countries. The birds are force-fed several times a day, he alleged, causing bruising, lacerations, sores, organ rupture, and even death. It also creates the grossly oversized and diseased "fatty liver" for which foie gras is named. The birds, meanwhile, are left gasping, vomiting and struggling to move, he alleged. Canada started making foie gras in large quantities about 10 years ago. About 30 percent of it is exported to the United States.
Expatica, France - July 12, 2007
Global Action Network
Click on right of screen for video - CTV, Canada (July 11, 2007)
The video, "Foie Gras: Culinary Cruelty," is available on DVD by direct order from the site.
Video renews beefs about slaughterhouse's practices
Full story: Forward, US
A video from a kosher slaughterhouse in Nebraska is reigniting concern about the way the nation's largest kosher meat company handles its animals. The three-and-a-half minute video shows bloody images of cows being killed at the Local Pride slaughterhouse. The footage was filmed and released by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
The new video shows much less gut-wrenching detail than the one from 2004. A PETA spokesman said that allegations this time around are more limited. Unlike the previous video, which was filmed clandestinely, the new one was made with the knowledge of the workers, according to PETA. The group alleges that the video provides proof of the failure to follow through on reforms that they agreed to make after the previous video was released, including a promise to use a gun to immediately kill any animal that is not rendered insensate after the kosher cut is administered. [Watch the PETA video here
Forward, US - July 11, 2007
Livestock producers face animal welfare challenges
Full story: ABC, Australia/Landline
Growing calls for stricter animal welfare laws presents a difficult challenge for Australia's livestock producers. While many Australian farmers argue they have the highest standards of welfare in the world, animal rights groups say that's still not enough. In fact during a recent visit to Australia, America's most famous animal rights lawyer called for an end to the legal exemptions against cruelty that are presently provided to most of Australia's intensive livestock industries.
SEAN MURPHY, REPORTER: These little pigs are part of a research trial to determine what's more important to them: a feed or a yarn with their mates... PAUL HEMSWORTH, ANIMAL WELFARE SCIENCE CENTRE: We're finding that the majority of the pigs prefer social contact, so irrespective of whether or not you've deprived them of feed in the short term, overwhelmingly they prefer social contact. So the objective of this research really is to sort out their preferences and by understanding their preferences, we should be able to understand their welfare requirements better. [Thus starts an excellent investigation of animal welfare. Transcript and video are both available at the full story link.]
ABC, Australia/Landline - July 1, 2007
New Zealand Herald (July 18, 2007)
Earthtimes (June 27, 2007)
Congress to receive animal welfare and environmental recommendations in landmark farm bill white paper that challenges cruelty, waste and corruption
Bhutanese lama saves animals from slaughter
Full story: Radio Free Asia
A Buddhist teacher in Bhutan has set up an unusual network of sanctuaries in the hills and jungles of the tiny Himalayan kingdom and in its giant neighbor India to care for hundreds of animals saved from slaughter. "I would like to save as many animals as I can, but it won't be possible to save them all," the lama, Kunzang Dorjee, said in an interview. "No one can do that. But we have to do whatever we can."
Monasteries and private individuals have donated funds for the sanctuaries, Lama Kunzang said. Money has even been raised by taxi drivers who support his work. Bhutan's government also pays a small amount. Saving animals is common among Buddhists, who believe saving the lives of other sentient beings will create positive karma that can affect the nature of future rebirths. Saving the lives of animals destined for slaughter is frequently prescribed by lamas as a form of spiritual practice.
Radio Free Asia - July 12, 2007
Newsday, US (July 10, 2007)
Quote: "When you see an animal with such a desire to live, it really pulls at your heart strings." [Editor's note: We believe every animal has that desire.]
New York Times (July 6, 2007)
Books and Perspectives
Suffering on an epic scale
Full story: Telegraph, UK
Heaven knows how we ever acquired our reputation as a nation of animal lovers. True, we wallow in sentimental adoration of our dogs and cats, go dewy-eyed over seals, otters, voles and other members of the sweet and furry brigade, are filled with outrage at the declining fortunes of larks and thrushes. But when it comes to awareness of suffering on an epic scale - the kind of suffering laid out in all its horrible detail in Planet Chicken - it suits us to turn our heads and look the other way.
The message of this book is that the way most chickens are reared in [the UK] and the US is a disgrace. It's a message that should be taught in schools. It should be shouted forth by animal welfare groups. Politicians should be challenged on it, and society should be made to confront it. Hattie Ellis pertinently quotes Gandhi: 'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.' Judged thus, we are still in the caves.
Telegraph, UK - April 18, 2007
What we owe what we eat
Full story: Newsweek
Matthew Scully, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is the most interesting conservative you have never heard of. He speaks barely above a whisper and must be the mildest disturber of the peace. But he is among the most disturbing... So why, Scully asks, is cruelty to a puppy appalling and cruelty to livestock by the billions a matter of social indifference? There cannot be any intrinsic difference of worth between a puppy and a pig. Animal suffering on a vast scale should, he says, be a serious issue of public policy. He does not want to take away your BLT; he does not propose to end livestock farming. He does propose a Humane Farming Act.
Yes, of course: You don't want to think about this. Who does? But do your duty: read his book Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. Scully, a conservative and hence a realist, knows that man is not only a rational creature but a rationalizing creature, putting his intellectual nimbleness in the service of his desires. But refraining from cruelty is an objective obligation. And as Scully says, "If reason and morality are what set humans apart from animals, then reason and morality must always guide us in how we treat them."
Newsweek - July 18, 2007
Pamela Rice's "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian"
Full story: Her Active Life
The merit of a vegetarian lifestyle is a frequent topic of debate, whether between family members at the dinner table or among those working in causes related to health and nutrition, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. Those looking to bolster their arguments for meat-free living now have a one-stop resource in Pamela Rice's 101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian.
Rice, a longtime vegetarian advocate and founder of the Vegetarian Center in New York City, has produced a comprehensive and compelling work that challenges both the omnivore and even the most well-informed vegetarian; she makes note of new studies and facts that reveal a lot of information to both groups about the troubling implications of the standard American diet. From the knowledgeable vegan activist looking to strengthen her arguments to anyone interested in learning more about the implications of their eating, Rice's book will challenge even the most ardent meat-eater's stance on which diet is best suited not only to human and animal wellness, but to the sustained health of our planet as well.
Her Active Life - June 7, 2007
Are They Serious? Unfortunately Yes
Taiwan restaurant blasted for serving "dead-and-alive fish"
Full story: M&C, UK
A Taiwan restaurant has been condemned by the public for serving fish whose body has been fried but its head still moves when the fish is served to diners, a newspaper reported. The restaurant in Chiayi, central Taiwan, said it sent cooks to China's Sichuan province to learn how to prepare Yin Yang Yu, or dead-and-alive fish, and began to serve the dish in June, the United Daily News said. But far from booming business, the creation has brought the restaurant only trouble, with animal-rights groups and members of the public condemning the restaurant for its cruelty to fish.
'This is shocking and disgusting. How can someone be so cruel? It's alright if you want to eat a fish, but do you need to put the fish to so much torture?' the paper quoted a source identified as Miss Chen as saying. Even Chiayi city authorities disapprove of serving the 'dead-and- alive fish.' One official, Huang Wen-hsien, called it inhuman to serve a fish while it is still alive. 'The fish's eyes stare at you when you're eating its meat. Do you have the heart to swallow its meat?' he asked. The restaurant manager, named Wang, defended the dish by saying that another dish known as 'shrimp cooked alive' is even more cruel because restaurant boil shrimp in glass bowls to allow customers to watch the crustaceans being boiled alive.
M&C, UK - July 8, 2007
Taipei Times (July 19, 2007)
Quote: Kudos to those whose complaints led this Chiayi restaurant to stop frying live fish. But it is irrational if the shock and outrage ends there. Try looking at how Taiwan's livestock are treated.
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