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In this edition...
| ||The chickens come home to roost|
| ||Low-fat, vegetarian diet may stall prostate cancer|
| ||More kids developing high blood pressure|
| ||Saturated fat: Even a little splurge may be too much |
| ||Green is the new black|
| ||Connecting the dinner plate to climate change connects animal rights groups |
| ||Fishermen unite to protect sea turtles|
| ||Iceland calls off whale hunt|
| ||Farm animal diversity: Not on the plate?|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Cracked it! Free-range outsell battery eggs for first time|
| ||In Mumbai, one man's meat is indeed another man's poison|
| ||Love me, love my tofu|
| ||Celebrity veggies: Hynde whets diners' appetites |
| ||Pleased to un-meat you|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Stop talking about 'debeaking' a chicken. Instead, let's call it 'beak conditioning.' |
| ||Despite progress against trafficking, world still hungry for exotic creatures|
| ||Escaped cow Maxine to receive refuge|
| ||Farmers are concerned by the uproar over dogfighting case|
Books and Perspectives
| ||Making songs and recipes|
| ||The shopper's GMO guide|
The chickens come home to roost
Full story: The American Journal of Public Health/Earthsave
Avian influenza is just one of dozens of zoonotic diseases that have caused and will cause considerable human fear, suffering, and death. Although some zoonoses are probably unavoidable, much human suffering resulting from zoonotic diseases could probably have been avoided had humans treated animals better. There is now an ample body of philosophical literature that compellingly demonstrates that the ways in which most humans treat animals is wrong. Almost all humans can now not only survive but also thrive without consuming animal flesh or using animal skins and furs. Thus those who persist in these practices treat the most important animal interests ... as less important than very trivial human interests, including carnivorous gastronomic experiences. Even those who deny that there is anything wrong with treating animals in this way should now recognize that thwarting important animal interests sometimes causes considerable harm to humans.
It is curious, therefore, that changing the way humans treat animals - most basically, ceasing to eat them or, at the very least, radically limiting the quantity of them that are eaten - is largely off the radar as a significant preventive measure. Such a change, if sufficiently adopted or imposed, could still reduce the chances of the much-feared influenza epidemic. It would be even more likely to prevent unknown future diseases that, in the absence of this change, may result from farming animals intensively and from killing them for food. Yet humanity does not consider this option. Humanity's continued consumption of animals is not only morally problematic but also highly imprudent. [Earthsave Forums has posted this editorial from the world's pre-eminent public health journal in its forum for research and education purposes. The full text is highly recommended reading.]
The American Journal of Public Health/Earthsave - September, 2007
AllAfrica.com/FAO (September 17, 2007)
Low-fat, vegetarian diet may stall prostate cancer
Full story: Reuters UK
Low-fat, plant-based diets may help prevent or slow the progression of prostate cancer, according to a new research review. A number of studies, though not all, have suggested that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may help ward off prostate cancer, while "Western"-style diets heavy in animal fat and dairy products may increase a man's risk of developing the disease. In the current study, researchers reviewed 25 previously published studies that examined the effects of plant-based diets on prostate cancer development or progression. Overall, the evidence suggests that diets high in fiber, fruits and vegetables, and low in meat and dairy, can help battle the disease, they report in the journal Nutrition Reviews.
Reuters UK - September 11, 2007
More kids developing high blood pressure
Full story: Washington Post
The rate of health-threatening high blood pressure has started rising among American children for the first time in decades, researchers reported [September 10], confirming a trend long feared by experts worried about the consequences of the obesity epidemic. After dropping steadily since the 1960s, diagnoses of early hypertension and full-blown high blood pressure began creeping up among children and adolescents beginning in the late 1980s as the obesity epidemic apparently began to take its toll, according to an analysis of data collected from nearly 30,000 youths by seven federal surveys.
Washington Post - September 11, 2007
Related (from the archives):
Science Daily (January, 2005)
Quote: A new scientific review shows that high blood pressure can be reduced with diet changes, especially a vegetarian diet
BBC (January, 2006)
Saturated fat: Even a little splurge may be too much
Full story: Yahoo! News
How bad can it be to indulge in an occasional meal or snack loaded with saturated fat? How about bad enough to diminish your body's ability to defend itself against heart disease. A recent study by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia found just that reaction after 14 trial participants, all healthy and between the ages of 18 and 40, ate just one piece of high-fat carrot cake and drank a milkshake. That fat-laden feast compromised the ability of the participants' arteries to expand to increased blood flow, the researchers found. The sudden boost in what's known as saturated fat hampered the effects of so-called "good" cholesterol, the high-density lipoprotein or HDL, from doing its job - to protect the inner lining of the arteries from inflammatory agents that promote the build-up of fatty plaques. It's this plaque that, over time, clogs blood vessels and causes heart disease.
Yahoo! News - September 9, 2007
Green is the new black
Full story: The Strand, University of Toronto
Eco-chic is the fastest growing trend around, from shoes to art, and diamonds to diapers. Though people have been championing the fight against global warming for years, it's only recently been made cool by Al Gore. Unfortunately, to the dismay of self-proclaimed environmentalists: until you go veg, you're still enabling the change. Last year, at study conducted at the University of Chicago concluded that vegetarian diets are healthier for the planet than meat-centric diets. It's hardly a drastic move. Gidon Eshel, an Assistant Professor in Geophysical Sciences and contributor to the study, concludes that "however close you can be to a vegan diet and further from the mean American diet, the better you are for the planet."
The Strand, University of Toronto - September 20, 2007
Connecting the dinner plate to climate change connects animal rights groups
Full story: New York Times
Ever since "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore has been the darling of environmentalists, but that movie hardly endeared him to the animal rights folks. According to them, the most inconvenient truth of all is that raising animals for meat contributes more to global warming than all the sport utility vehicles combined. The biggest animal rights groups do not always overlap in their missions, but now they have coalesced around a message that eating meat is worse for the environment than driving. They and smaller groups have started advertising campaigns that try to equate vegetarianism with curbing greenhouse gases.
Some backlash against this position is inevitable, the groups acknowledge, but they do have scientific ammunition. In late November, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report stating that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined. When that report came out, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups expected their environmental counterparts to immediately hop on the "Go Veggie!" bandwagon, but that did not happen. So the animal rights groups are mobilizing on their own.
New York Times - August 29, 2007
Grist (September 18, 2007)
Guest essay by PETA VP Bruce Friedrich
Guardian, UK (September 19, 2007)
About the new UK Vegetarian Society Ad: 'Silent but Deadly'
Fishermen unite to protect sea turtles
Full story: Environmental News Network
In the summer of 2002, Anselmo Ruiz-Camacho, a halibut fisherman in Baja California, Mexico, asked Hoyt Peckham, "How can loggerhead turtles possibly be endangered when I caught 30 in my nets this morning?" All but two of the incidentally caught turtles were dead. The question astonished Peckham, a scientist with Pro Peninsula and University of California-Santa Cruz PhD candidate. He knew that fewer than 1,500 loggerheads nested in the North Pacific the winter before, and, despite conservation efforts, nesting has declined 50 to 80 percent over the past decade.
The Ruiz-Camacho loggerheads appeared to be numerous because the turtles regularly aggregate off the Baja California peninsula. Highly migratory creatures, the turtles hatch on the beaches of southern Japan and then migrate across the Pacific to Baja California via the Hawaiian Islands. When reproductively mature, they return to Japan to mate and nest. Now a unique program, the Tri-national Fishermen's Exchange, is bringing together fishermen, scientists and community leaders from these three areas to help fishermen find solutions to protect the turtles while maintaining their livelihoods.
Environmental News Network - August 23, 2007
Iceland calls off whale hunt
Full story: E/The Environmental Magazine
Responding more to economic realities than to political pressure, the government of Iceland announced that it is calling off its controversial whale hunt due to lack of demand for the product. Environmentalists are cheering the decision, hoping that it signals an end to commercial whaling in the region. "This is fantastic news for whales and for Iceland," says [International Fund for Animal Welfare's] Robbie Marsland. "Whaling is cruel and unnecessary, and all of our studies have also shown there is little appetite for whale meat in Iceland or internationally."
E/The Environmental Magazine - September 4, 2007
Farm animal diversity: Not on the plate?
Full story: Environmental News Network/Worldwatch Institute
The first international technical conference on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, held in Interlaken, Switzerland, didn't get much coverage from mainstream media - unfortunately. Despite the fact that, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, at least one breed of livestock has become extinct every month for the last seven years, most burger-eating, milk-drinking consumers in the U.S. and Europe haven't taken notice.
Environmental News Network/Worldwatch Institute - September 11, 2007
Lifestyles and Trends
Cracked it! Free-range outsell battery eggs for first time
Full story: Daily Mail, UK
British consumers are eating more eggs laid by "free" chickens than battery farmed birds for the first time. The milestone was revealed in an in-depth report into Britain's booming organic market. Sales of free range, barn and organic eggs from chickens allowed to roam outdoors accounted for just over 50 per cent of total sales last year - a huge turnaround from five years previously.
It is one of the most startling illustrations of how the trend towards buying "ethical" food is bringing huge changes to the food industry. Sainsbury's announced this year that it planned to phase out battery eggs by 2012. Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, which compiled the report, said: "A few years ago cage birds seemed set to dominate for the rest of my life. It is very encouraging that that is no longer the case."
Daily Mail, UK - August 31, 2007
In Mumbai, one man's meat is indeed another man's poison
Full story: International Herald Tribune
Cooking chicken has become a high-security, covert operation for Shailaja Hazare, an undercover meat eater who has spent the last decade pretending to be vegetarian so she can keep her apartment in one of Mumbai's strictly vegetarian-only residential complexes... recently the tone of Mumbai's vegetarianism has become more militant, and activists have started battling against a tide of Westernization that they fear is seducing a younger generation of vegetarians to start eating meat. This summer campaigners in the city staged protests against plans to open a chain of shopping malls that would sell meat as well as vegetables
Vegetarianism in India is far removed from the animal-rights vegetarianism of the West. It is usually a marker of religious identity, handed down over generations, inherited at birth, rather than adopted for reasons of personal health or concern for animal welfare. But aware that lectures on spirituality are not working, activists here have begun adopting shock tactics, like organizing visits to slaughterhouses, to persuade "flesh eaters" to return to the fold. In such a climate, the fear of discovery hangs heavy on Hazare, who requested that her maiden name be used and would be photographed only from behind to obscure her identity.
International Herald Tribune - September 21, 2007
Love me, love my tofu
Full story: Newsweek
Religion and social status have always been deal breakers in relationships. But for those navigating today's dating pool, the currents may just have gotten rougher. No longer is it enough to share an interest in piña colada or getting caught in the rain - today's singles want to know whether potential partners are fit and how often they work out, among other personal details. And then there's the friction between vegans and vegetarians.
Newsweek - September 26, 2007
Celebrity veggies: Hynde whets diners' appetites
Full story: Akron Beacon Journal, OH, US
Wearing jeans, a black apron and a waitress's white blouse monogrammed with the name Chrissie, rocker Chrissie Hynde pulled up to the front of her new restaurant on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. She hopped off, grabbed a silver platter of hors d'oeuvres and began passing them around to people in the crowd of more than 300 who had gathered for her ribbon-cutting ceremony. Hynde, lead singer for The Pretenders, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and an Akron native, came home to open her new vegetarian restaurant, VegiTerranean, in the Northside Lofts on Furnace Street. Hynde handed out samples of bean salsa and even offered to give one to a fan's dog. "Dogs can be vegetarians, too," she said.
Akron Beacon Journal, OH, US - September 15, 2007
Pleased to un-meat you
Full story: New Zealand Herald
The woman behind the cafe counter looked incredulous. A salad sandwich without meat - it was as if I'd asked for troll on toast. Then relief slid down her face as she realised she had the solution. She pointed to the chicken and salad sandwiches. Chook, it seems, can magically morph from animal to vegetable when slapped between a couple of slices of Vogel's. There was no point arguing; no point producing evidence that things with legs/fins/wings also have flesh. No doubt she'd been influenced by vegetarians buying her chicken and lettuce sarnies; those who tut-tut over chewing on chops but are happy to put away slabs of fish or chicken... Half-baked logic and another example of the trials facing the stalwart vegetarian.
New Zealand Herald - September 27, 2007
Animal Issues and Advocacy
Stop talking about 'debeaking' a chicken. Instead, let's call it 'beak conditioning.'
Full story: Northwest Arkansas News, US
That's a suggestion from Timothy Cummings, a clinical professor and poultry veterinarian at Mississippi State University, who spoke to poultry producers. At a Turkey Meeting sponsored by the Arkansas Poultry Federation, Cummings argued the poultry-slaughter industry must come to terms with the power, and media savvy, of anti-meat campaigners like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Words like debeaking, hanging and detoeing used in the poultry industry gives extra fodder to groups that seek its destruction, he said. Cummings offered other suggestions:
The "backup killer" in a poultry plant - the worker who kills birds missed by the automatic killer - should be called "knife operator." Rather than saying a bird has been "bled" to death, call it "exsanguinated." Cummings also broached the idea of "sentience," defined as an animal's ability to perceive the world, experience pain, anguish and anxiety. "The problem is, there is a range of sentience," Cummings said. "I can talk ugly to my dog, and he'll sulk away. If I talk ugly to a chicken, he'll just look at me. The bottom line is that legal rights should only be afforded to species that can comprehend that concept." [A PETA spokesperson] said that is dangerous logic. "If you extend that a little farther, it is acceptable to do whatever we want to infants and people below a certain IQ level."
Northwest Arkansas News, US - September 22, 2007
Despite progress against trafficking, world still hungry for exotic creatures
Full story: Environmental News Network/Worldwatch Institute
Earlier this month, the Chinese government invited law enforcement officers from the Association of South East Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) to meet with counterparts in China to discuss strategies to combat the illegal wildlife trade. Conservationists applauded the historic move, but say there is still much to learn. Eating certain rare animals, such as snakes, pangolins, turtles, tortoises, and salamanders, is a status symbol for many Chinese. And endangered species products such as bear bile, tiger bones, and pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine and can fetch a high price on the market. But China is not the only country that has an illegal wildlife trade problem.
Environmental News Network/Worldwatch Institute - September 26, 2007
Escaped cow Maxine to receive refuge
Full story: New York Daily News
Maxine the cow cheated death. After leading authorities on a 49-minute chase Tuesday night, Maxine was making her final trip last night - to an idyllic upstate sanctuary, officials said. "Right when she got in the trailer she started eating clover hay," Susie Coston said, as she traveled with Maxine to the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen. "She's sweet." Coston, the sanctuary's director, said the cow would receive life-long care at the 175-acre farm that has more than 1,000 other animals... Coston said the animal probably broke out of a live market. "If it was a live market, she would have been slaughtered at the site," Coston said. The city has more than 75 markets where buyers can select live cows that are then butchered on the premises, she said. The markets are legal as long as they are licensed.
New York Daily News - September 20, 2007
Associated Content (September 2, 2007)
Farmers are concerned by the uproar over dogfighting case
Full story: Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, US
Pet owners and animal lovers are angry with Michael Vick's dogfighting endeavors. Farmers, on the other hand, are concerned with the deeper issues being raised behind the media attention the disgraced NFL quarterback is getting. Meat and dairy producers say they are concerned about the ramifications that media attention about animal cruelty has had on agriculture. They contend that the limelight on animal cruelty has helped fundraising efforts by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups. That funding may help PETA and other organizations that fuel their agendas to do away with the meat industry, said Bill McKinnon, executive secretary for the Virginia Cattle Feeders Association.
Richmond Times-Dispatch, VA, US - September 5, 2007
Books and Perspectives
Making songs and recipes
Full story: Stuff, New Zealand
Last year, songwriter Flip Grater loaded her Lada with a guitar, laptop and soundtrack and headed for Oamaru. She had a gig at the Penguin Club there and the town was the first stop on a promotional tour for her debut album, Cage for a Song. Three months and 2824km later, the tour was in the bag, there was a new and enthusiastic audience for her music and Grater had discovered handed-on recipes were wonderful mementoes of people and places. As a keen cook with thoughts of putting together a recipe book of vegan and vegetarian dishes, she made a point of collecting recipes from those she met "on the road" - new hosts, old friends, acquaintainces and audience members. Grater has been a vegetarian since she was 15. In the foreword to The Cookbook Tour she describes her progression from environmentalism to animal rights and veganism as "looking for a cause to fight society."
Stuff, New Zealand - September 27, 2007
The shopper's GMO guide
Full story: San Francisco Chronicle
I could hear my mother's voice in my head as I leafed through Andrew Kimbrell's new quick-guide to genetically engineered foods. "Oh, the government says they're OK. And if they were such a big problem, we'd all be falling down dead by now. They're no different than regular hybrids," she'd say, handing me a pot to wash with a dismissive snort. Polls have shown that a majority of Americans disagree with her. But many people also have a tough time explaining why, beyond their instinctive or ideological mistrust of this new technology.
"Since our government has refused to label these foods, how do we avoid buying and eating these foods?" asks Kimbrell, an attorney who heads the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Food Safety, a vocal opponent of GE foods. His new book, Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food (Earth Aware Editions, $24.95), answers that question. And, remarkably, it accomplishes that in user-friendly, factoidal, fun-with-graphics way.
San Francisco Chronicle - June 27, 2007
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