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(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
In this edition...
| ||Low-fat diet cuts ovarian cancer risk by 40 per cent: study
| ||Look to traditional cuisines to discover the five healthiest habits on the planet |
| ||Bird flu virus mutates into a strain more infectious to humans |
| ||Something 'fishy' about children's health coalition's admonition to 'eat more fish'|
| ||Study rates Ornish veggie diet best for heart|
| ||Obesity becoming a global problem|
| ||How to address humanity's global crises?|
| ||Holy cow! We're crazy to farm livestock like this|
| ||Tuna fishing kills endangered birds, sea life: WWF|
| ||Monkeys, apes teeter on brink of extinction: report|
| ||The globalization of hunger|
| ||Agriculture in a post-oil economy? Veggie diet most practical |
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||An interview with eco-activist and vegan Julia Butterfly Hill
| ||Vegetarians find love at first bite|
| ||Anti-meat talk bites student|
| ||Moving up the food chain. Want to eat ethically but not sure how?|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||California initiative would restrict confinement of chickens, pigs, calves
| ||Call for a stop to Canadian's dolphin exports from Solomon Islands|
| ||Greenpeace tracks whales as Japan prepares to hunt|
| ||U.S.: Small drop in annual farm animal per capital death toll|
Low-fat diet cuts ovarian cancer risk by 40 per cent: study
Full story: CNN
Try fewer burgers and more veggies after menopause: Cutting dietary fat may offer a long-sought protection against deadly ovarian cancer - if you stick with the diet long enough. [Recently], researchers unveiled the first hard evidence that switching to a low-fat diet late in life can lower the odds of ovarian cancer, a malignancy with a particularly dismal survival rate. The study tracked almost 40,000 women ages 50 to 79, some of whom were assigned to cut the total fat in their diets to 20 percent of calories - from an average of 35 percent - while others continued their usual diets. For the first four years, the menu changes didn't make a difference. But those who kept the fat low for eight years cut their chances of ovarian cancer by 40 percent, researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
. [CNN video on the subject.
CNN - October 12, 2007
Look to traditional cuisines to discover the five healthiest habits on the planet
Full story: Cooking Light
Learn five nutritious habits of the planet's healthiest countries. We've sifted through the research to offer the following eating and meal-planning tips. Making small changes in the way you eat can bring big health benefits - and more enjoyment - to your table. Healthy habit #1: Eat plenty of produce and whole grains. In many countries, meat is a garnish. The traditional Chinese diet, for example, consists primarily of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. And in Greece, vegetables and legumes are main meals, not just side dishes. 2: Savor leisurely dining. 3: Practise portion control. 4: Eat a variety of unprocessed, fresh foods. 5: Add herbs and spices for taste and health benefits. [The article looks at which countries practice these habits and provides tips for enhancing your own diet.]
Cooking Light - October, 2007
Bird flu virus mutates into a strain more infectious to humans
Full story: Independent, UK
The bird flu virus H5N1 has mutated into a form that makes it more infectious to humans, increasing the risk of a human pandemic, researchers have found. The changes, which only affect the virus circulating in Europe and Africa, are worrying although they have not yet transformed it into a pandemic strain, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the research, said. The outbreak of avian influenza caused by the lethal virus H5N1 began in Asia in 2003 and spread around the world, leading to the slaughter of hundreds of millions of birds. More than 30 countries have reported outbreaks in the last year, mostly in wild birds such as swans. The virus has infected 329 people since 2003, of whom 201 have died, according to the World Health Organisation.
Independent, UK - October 6, 2007
UN expert says world unprepared for avian flu pandemic
Voice of America (October 24, 2007)
Bird flu finds children's lungs faster
Science Daily (October 25, 2007)
Quote: New findings, reported in the online open access journal Respiratory Research, about how the virus binds to the respiratory tract and lung suggest children may be particularly susceptible to avian influenza.
Bird flu virus can pass mother to unborn child - study
Reuters (September 27, 2007)
Canada finds bird flu strain in Saskatchewan chicken farm
Environmental News Network/Reuters (September 27, 2007)
Bird-flu may become endemic in parts of Europe
Environmental News Network/Reuters (October 25, 2007)
Something 'fishy' about children's health coalition's admonition to 'eat more fish'
Full story: New York Times
Many health advocates were surprised earlier this month when a children's health coalition that includes federal agencies and professional medical associations contradicted government warnings about mercury contamination and recommended that women of childbearing age eat more fish. Since then several coalition members have renounced the findings, some criticizing the coalition's leadership for taking thousands of dollars from the fishing industry to promote the recommendations. "We are appalled," said Dr. Frank Greer, chairman of the nutrition committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a member of the coalition. He said his organization does not believe the new advice is backed up by the preponderance of science. Julie Zawisza, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration, said the agency stood by its warnings about seafood high in mercury.
New York Times - October 17, 2007
Study rates Ornish veggie diet best for heart
Full story: WebMD
The Ornish [low-fat, vegan] diet is the best weight loss plan for heart health, say researchers who compared eight popular diets. Yunsheng Ma, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, rated eight popular diet plans. The researchers chose one seven-day menu from each plan. They then ranked each menu according to seven dietary components most strongly linked to reducing heart disease risk. Contenders, chosen because they are best-selling diet books, popular weight loss programs, or government recommendations, are the New Glucose Revolution, the Weight Watchers high-carb plan, the Weight Watchers high-protein plan, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Zone Diet, the Ornish Diet, and the 2005 USDA Food Guide Pyramid. "It is not just about losing weight. The idea is to lose weight in a way that is helpful, not harmful," Ornish says. "If all you want to do is to lose weight, you can do it by smoking cigarettes or by going on amphetamines."
WebMD - October 4, 2007
Obesity becoming a global problem
Full story: Environmental News Network/Reuters
People are getting fatter in all parts of the world, with the possible exception of east Asia, doctors found in a one-day global snapshot of obesity. Overall, 24 percent of men and 27 percent of women seeing their doctors that day were obese, and another 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women were overweight, the researchers found. That puts the rest of the world close to par with the United States, long considered the country with the worst weight problem. An estimated two-thirds of Americans are overweight and a third of these are obese. People who are overweight have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Environmental News Network/Reuters - October 22, 2007
Studies confirm weight loss and cancer survival benefits of plant-based diet
Foodconsumer.org (October 2, 2007)
Adult weight gain raises breast cancer risk
ENN/Reuters (October 22, 2007)
Belly fat, weight cycling ups kidney cancer risk
ENN/Reuters (October 5, 2007)
Video: "Health Food" vs. Healthy Food"
Jeff Novick helps explain the obesity epidemic and gives some great advice on reading labels
From VegSource 2007 Healthy Lifestyle Expo
How to address humanity's global crises?
Full story: Environmental News Network/Organic Consumer's Association
[Activist Vandana Shiva made these remarks this September at a conference on "Confronting the Global Triple Crisis - Climate Change, Peak Oil, Global Resource Depletion & Extinction," in Washington DC.] Before I came here I was very fortunate to join the group of scientists and religious leaders who made a trip to the Arctic to witness the melting of the icecaps. An entire way of life is being destroyed. You've seen the polar bears losing their ecological space, but the highest mobility in that part of the world is the dog sledge. And they can't use it. They're locked into their villages because the ice is now too thin to travel on it. But it's still there and therefore not good enough for them to use boats... The problem of climate chaos to me and the problem of appropriating the resources of those who need those resources for ecological security and economic security, is ultimately a question of ethics and justice. And that issue of ethics and justice can only be addressed if we recognize some very basic facts and reorient our practices of what we eat, what we do on our farms, our homes, our towns, our planet.
Environmental News Network/Organic Consumer's Association - October 2, 2007
Holy cow! We're crazy to farm livestock like this
Full story: The Times, UK
I prefer not to eat food that has a face. But many of my nearest and dearest love their meat, and who am I to ask them not to eat so much of it? Until now, that is. Having just discovered the huge impact of livestock production on global warming, I need hesitate no longer. Reducing our meat consumption is no longer an option but an urgent necessity. Here's why. Eighteen per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions that we produce come from the production of livestock - that's 4 per cent more than from transport. That's not all, as the amount of meat and dairy produce consumed globally is set roughly to double by 2050: so if there's a problem now, how big will it be by then? You might wonder why official concern over climate change has focused so strongly on carbon offsetting, greening your home and cutting your transport and has all but neglected the huge role played by our consumption of meat and dairy products. Could it be fear of being seen as the nanny state? Has our dietary choice become a sacred cow?
The Times, UK - October 16, 2007
Taking the challenge:
The article concludes with an ivitation to benefit the planet, the animals and your own health, by cutting back on meat consumption and taking
The Big Food Challenge from Compassion in World Farming
Ready to go all the way? Take the Veggie Challenge from the Toronto Vegetarian Association
Want to start more slowly? Check out
Meatout Mondays from FARM
Limit meat eating to tackle climate change: study
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia (September 13, 2007)
Quote: Less meat means less heat. It's a slogan that leading scientists hope will catch on worldwide.
Killer cow emissions
Los Angeles Times (October 15, 2007)
Quote: The government should not only get out of the business of promoting unhealthful and environmentally destructive foods, it should be actively discouraging them.
'Humanity's very survival' is at risk, says UN
The Times, UK (October 26, 2007)
Quote: Each person in the world now requires a third more land to supply his or her needs than the Earth can supply... the “point of no return” is fast approaching.
The top 100 effects of global warming
Center for American Progress (September 24, 2007)
Extensive list of links on global warming/diet relationship
International Vegetarian Union
Tuna fishing kills endangered birds, sea life: WWF
Full story: Environmental News Network/Reuters
Fishhooks meant to catch tuna in the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans are killing endangered seabirds, as well as sharks and turtles, the WWF conservation group said on [October 11]. It estimated up to 13,500 seabirds, including 10,000 albatrosses, were caught every year by long-line fisheries targeting southern bluefin tuna. Most of the fishing vessels were from Japan.
Environmental News Network/Reuters - October 11, 2007
Monkeys, apes teeter on brink of extinction: report
Full story: Environmental News Network/Reuters
Mankind's closest relatives are teetering on the brink of their first extinctions in more than a century, hunted by humans for food and medicine and squeezed from forest homes, a report on endangered primates said on [October 26]. There are just a few dozen of the most threatened gibbons and langurs left, and one colobus may already have gone the way of the dodo, warned the report on the 25 most vulnerable primates. "You could fit all the surviving members of these 25 species in a single football stadium - that's how few of them remain on earth today," said Russell Mittermeier, president of U.S.-based environmental group Conservation International. "In Central and West Africa primate meat ... is a luxury item for the elite," Mittermeier [said]... But just a few thousand dollars could be enough to push up numbers of the most vulnerable animals.
Environmental News Network/Reuters - October 26, 2007
Third of primates 'under threat'
BBC News, UK (October 26, 2007)
The globalization of hunger
Full story: CommonDreams.org
At first, the numbers don't seem to add up. The world produces more food than ever - enough to feed twice the global population. Yet, more people than ever suffer from hunger; and their numbers are rising. Today, 854 million people, most of them women and girls, are chronically hungry, up from 800 million in 1996. Another paradox: the majority of the world's hungry people live in rural areas, where nearly all food is grown. World Food Day on October 16 is a good time to try and understand the conundrum of world hunger. The root of the problem is the inequitable distribution of the resources needed to either grow or buy food (also known as poverty). World Food Day is an equally good time to call out one of the main culprits of the crisis: industrial agriculture.
[Comments posted on this article point out the relationship to meat consumption - for example from Richard Schwartz, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America: "In a world with so much hunger with millions dying annually from insufficient food, how can we justify animal-based diets that involve the feeding of 70 percent of the grain grown in the US and over 40 percent of the grain grown worlwide to animals?" See his many informative articles here.
CommonDreams.org - October 16, 2007
Meat, the hidden reason for growing food insecurity
European Vegetarian Union press release for World Food Day (October 15, 2007)
Agriculture in a post-oil economy? Veggie diet most practical
Full story: Foodnews.ca
The decline in the world's oil supply offers no sudden dramatic event that would appeal to the writer of "apocalyptic" science fiction: no mushroom clouds, no flying saucers, no giant meteorites. The future will be just like today, only tougher. Oil depletion is basically just a matter of overpopulation - too many people and not enough resources. The most serious consequence will be a lack of food. The problem of oil therefore leads, in an apparently mundane fashion, to the problem of farming. What will we eat and how will we grow that food in a post-oil society? How much land is required to sustain life without chemical fertilizers? What are the most efficient crops to grow? When will mechanized farming be substituted for manual labour? The most practical diet would be largely vegetarian, for several reasons.
Foodnews.ca - October 25, 2007
Cornell Universtiy research: Low-fat veggie diet is five times more efficient for land use
Though they say adding dairy and a little meat would also make use of poorer quality land in New York
ENN/Cornell Chronicle (October 5, 2007)
Land use information
Toronto Vegetarian Association
Lifestyles and Trends
An interview with eco-activist and vegan Julia Butterfly Hill
Full story: E/The Environmental Magazine
Q. What is the most pressing environmental issue in 2007?
A. The most pressing environmental issue in 2007 is actually our disconnected consciousness. All the incredibly devastating issues facing our world today are actually symptoms of a disease. I call this disease "Separation Syndrome." When you rip a plant from its roots of connection it begins to die. As we have ripped out the roots of our consciousness of connection, so too are we beginning to die... Q. Are you a vegetarian? Why or why not?
A. I am a JOYOUS Vegan! I never say I am Vegan without adding the word "Joyous" to it because when some people hear "vegan," they think things like rigid, boring, bland, angry, and judgmental. I LOVE life. I love celebrating my connection with Creation through the mindfulness of what I eat... I am clear that our forks and plates are weapons of mass destruction or tools of mass compassion based on the choices we make. [Visit Julia's website Circle of Life. Purchase Julia's book "The Legacy of Luna."
E/The Environmental Magazine - June 18, 2007
Vegetarians find love at first bite
Full story: Athens Post, OH, US
When Sarah Joseph visits her boyfriend Michael Cordingley's family, they know to have a veggie burger in the freezer. Soon they may have to keep two on hand as he continues to choose Boca [a veggie burger brand] over beef. Opposites may attract, but most vegetarians prefer to date other vegetarians, according to The New Vegetarians
by Paul Amato and Sonia Partridge. Joseph, an English graduate student, and Cordingley, an MBA student, think it is healthier to ditch the meat. The couple started dating New Year's Eve of last year. Although Cordingley is not technically a vegetarian, he consciously chooses vegetarian foods over meat. Joseph sees this as an appealing change compared to her last relationship.
Athens Post, OH, US - October 18, 2007
Anti-meat talk bites student
Full story: Winnipeg Free Press, Canada
Don't eat meat, vegetarian Grade 9 student Sydney McMahon implored fellow students at Churchill High School - and she stirred up so much grief that she's being home-schooled the rest of the year. McMahon said she and three friends formed their own animal rights/vegetarian group this summer, then asked in late September to make presentations to two classes, grades 7 and 8. The first presentation went well, the second not well at all. The second class heckled the four students, and the four raised their voices in return. Two days later, the controversy escalated when parents called Churchill to complain that children who'd heard the presentation were refusing to eat meat. "That was the point of the presentation," said McMahon.
Winnipeg Free Press, Canada - October 17, 2007
Moving up the food chain. Want to eat ethically but not sure how?
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Ethicurean. It's a new word to describe a new kind of eater - a diner whose ethical concerns take priority over epicurean whims. Ethicureans like their food as tasty as everyone else, but they insist it falls into at least some of four categories - sustainable, organic, local and ethical - SOLE food, for short. Choices are informed by a grab bag of ethical concerns, not all of which are compatible. How do I save the planet from global warming; show concern for factory-farmed livestock; or help third-world workers?
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - October 25, 2007
Animal Issues and Advocacy
California initiative would restrict confinement of chickens, pigs, calves
Full story: San Diego Union-Tribune, CA, US
Nineteen million California chickens produce about five billion eggs a year - making them the nation's fifth-largest supplier of omelets and scrambled eggs. Now, animal welfare groups are hoping to change the way the hens live and lay, by collecting enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot asking state voters to give the hens more room to roam. The measure would force farmers to change current practices that keep most egg-laying hens, veal calves and pregnant pigs in small cages or boxes for most of their lives. It would require that enclosures be big enough for the animals to fully extend their wings or legs, lie down, stand up and turn around. The state effort is part of a recent national movement by animal welfare organizations to ask voters to help decide how their food is raised.
San Diego Union-Tribune, CA, US - October 2, 2007
Call for a stop to Canadian's dolphin exports from Solomon Islands
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald
Australian Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull joined opposition to a resumption of live dolphin exports from the Solomon Islands as it was revealed some of the marine mammals had already died. Two Emirates Airbus A310-300 jets at the main airport in the Solomons capital, Honiara, [October 16] took off with 28 dolphins for a long flight to Dubai in the Middle East. It has been claimed one of the local men connected to the export scheme has previously been involved in slaughtering dolphins to sell their meat for food. There was an international outcry when Canadian Chris Porter in 2003 exported another lot of 28 dolphins, on that occasion to Mexico. Australian and international conservation groups called for Mr Porter's new export push to be stopped.
Sydney Morning Herald - October 17, 2007
Greenpeace tracks whales as Japan prepares to hunt
Full story: Environmental News Network/Reuters
Environmental group Greenpeace is satellite tracking 19 humpback whales as they travel from the South Pacific back to Antarctic waters this whaling season, to prove Japan does not need to kill whales to study them. Greenpeace said the tracking would gather data on the humpbacks' movements, habitat use and population structure, and allow people to monitor individual whales on a website. The position of the whales will be a delayed broadcast to prevent Japanese whalers locating the slow moving humpbacks, which have been tagged with transmitters. "We are collecting skin samples to sequence DNA of every whale that we encounter. We don't have to kill the whales to do this," Greenpeace whale researcher Nan Hauser said in a statement. Critics [of Japan's whaling] say most of the whale meat ends up in Japanese supermarkets and restaurants and that Japan rarely publishes its scientific findings.
Environmental News Network/Reuters - October 11, 2007
U.S.: Small drop in annual farm animal per capital death toll
Full story: FARM press release
The total number of land-based animals killed for food in the U.S. this year is projected to reach 10,378 million, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This represents no significant change from the 2005/2006 mean of 10,381 million, and a 1 percent drop in the per capita figure, in light of the 1% annual U.S. population growth. The number of fishes and other aquatic organisms killed for human and animal consumption is not reported by any agency, but is likely to exceed that number... In more personal terms, during a 75-year life span, a typical U.S. resident is responsible for the suffering and death of 10 cows, 34 pigs, and other small mammals, 2,535 turkeys, chickens and ducks, and uncounted numbers of fishes and other aquatic animals.
FARM press release - October, 2007
Happy Gentle Thanksgiving!
The United States will soon celebrate its biggest holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. Each year, 45 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving alone. No laws protect turkeys from cruelty in slaughterhouses and factory farms. FARM is asking everyone to promote a Gentle Thanksgiving this year.
Animal rights proclamation to be unveiled in Washington, DC
The signing ceremony of "A Religious Proclamation For Animal Compassion" will take place on November 7, presented by an alliance of religious leaders representing faith traditions worldwide. Best Friends Animal Society is sponsoring the event and has issued an invitation to join them in this groundbreaking event as religious leaders issue calls to action for people of faith to reject animal cruelty in all its forms and embrace kindness to animals as a core spiritual value.
Best Friends Animal Society
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