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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...
Earth Day Focus
| ||McCartney urges vegetarianism to fight climate ills|
| ||Recipe for climate change|
| ||Toxic fumes, blisters & brain damage: Got milk? |
| ||Seafood not so healthy after all - for us or the planet|
| ||Scientists flesh out plans to grow (and sell) test tube meat|
| ||Seven or more eggs a week raises risk of death |
| ||Why eating just one sausage a day raises your cancer risk by 20 per cent|
| ||Gluten-free vegan diet could protect arthritics' hearts|
| ||Bird flu virus has mutated into form that's deadly to humans|
| ||Study suggests soy stops prostate cancer spread|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||The changing face of the food industry|
| ||Consumer demand prompts move against Monsanto's bovine growth hormone |
| ||Grains gone wild - world food crisis
| ||Is changing our diet the key to resolving the global food crisis?|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||The truth behind humane slaughter law|
| ||More companies discontinuing farm animal confinement|
| ||Love in the octopus' garden|
| ||Animal rights groups sues egg producer|
| ||Video exposés effective tool for animal rights|
Books and Perspectives
| ||'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.' An omnivore defends real food|
| ||Making a case for Farm Sanctuary
| ||Trafficking in food|
| Earth Day Focus
|McCartney urges vegetarianism to fight climate ills
Full story: Environmental News Network/Reuters
Former Beatle Paul McCartney is urging the world to go vegetarian in a bid to fight global warming and is surprised more green groups don't promote it. In an interview with the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), McCartney said the global meat industry was a major contributor to global warming." The biggest change anyone could make in their own lifestyle would be to become vegetarian," McCartney, a longtime vegetarian and advocate of vegetarianism, said. "I would urge everyone to think about taking this simple step to help our precious environment and save it for the children of the future."
|Environmental News Network/Reuters - April 21, 2008|
|Recipe for climate change
Full story: University of Minnesota Daily
Climate change has emerged as perhaps the single biggest threat to the future of our planet and its inhabitants. While some may view it as a distant problem, its effects have already begun to take their toll. Given the breadth and urgency of climate change and its impact, what actions can we as individuals take to mitigate this crisis? Just as consumers have switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs and are driving and flying less, each of us can, and must, take a closer look at the amount of meat, egg and dairy products we consume and how they were produced... Indeed, we can make a difference - for animals and the environment - at every meal. We can avoid factory-farmed products; reduce our consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy; and replace animal products with vegetarian options. Every bite we take is an opportunity to make a difference.
|University of Minnesota Daily - March 27, 2008|
Taking the challenge:
Ready to save the planet, animals and your own health, by cutting back on meat consumption?
from Compassion in World Farming
Ready to go all the way? Take the from the Toronto Vegetarian Association
Want to start more slowly? Check out
Request a free vegetarian starter kit from PETA
Find recipes and our very own going veggie tips at
Vegetarian Times (January, 2008)
I always knew that becoming a vegetarian would help prevent cruelty to animals but I was not aware of the environmental consequences... the single most environmentally important choice I can make is to eat a plant-based diet.
Daily Mail, UK (March 15, 2008)
Quote: If every American substituted just one vegetarian meal a week for a meat one, the reduction in CO2 emissions would be equivalent to removing half a million cars from the road. This Government doesn't care about the environment, otherwise it would... put a green tax on meat and dairy products.
Independent Online, South Africa (April 18, 2008) - Mainichi Daily News, Japan
International Vegetarian Union
|Toxic fumes, blisters & brain damage: Got milk?
Full story: Ithaca Times, NY, U.S.
Karen Strecker is bracing. She's about to turn on the faucet, and there's a chance liquid manure is going to stream from the spout. "I've been taking a bath and actually had cow sh*t pour into the tub," Strecker says, matter-of-factly. She uses well water. "It's nasty." Yet the threat of a sewage bath pales in comparison to a more dangerous problem: Breathing poisonous fumes. After years living next to Willet Dairy, the largest industrial farm in [New York], Strecker and her neighbors are reporting the kinds of health problems eco-watchdogs lose sleep over, from blistering eyelids to brain damage... It's a familiar refrain from environmentalists: There are too many loopholes; too little oversight.
|Ithaca Times, NY, U.S. - April 2, 2008|
|Seafood not so healthy after all - for us or the planet
Full story: E/The Environmental Magazine
Several decades ago a fish-centric diet was considered to be not only healthy but also environmentally friendly. But today those of us who eat a lot of fish may not be doing ourselves or the environment any favor. The two major concerns are overfishing and pollution. Demand for low-calorie, protein-rich fish has grown tremendously alongside increases in world population. At the same time, the technologies employed for catching seafood have improved to the point that the commercial fishing industry has essentially stripped the ocean of its once teeming fish populations... Scientists routinely find unsafe levels of mercury, PCBs, dioxins, pesticides and other harsh toxins in the fat, internal organs and even muscle tissue of many different kinds of fish. For those looking to cut down on or eliminate seafood from their diets but still gain the health benefits of eating fish, plenty of alternatives exist. As most vegetarians know, beans, tofu and many nuts can be significant alternative sources of protein. And walnuts, flaxseed and hemp oil/seeds are all rich in the Omega-3 fatty acids common in many fish and thought to help ward off heart disease, cancer, macular degeneration (age-related blindness), arthritis and inflammatory disorders.
|E/The Environmental Magazine - April 6, 2008|
|Scientists flesh out plans to grow (and sell) test tube meat
Full story: Wired.com
In five to 10 years, supermarkets might have some new products in the meat counter: packs of vat-grown meat that are cheaper to produce than livestock and have less impact on the environment. According to a new economic analysis presented at [the recent] In Vitro Meat Symposium in Ås, Norway, meat grown in giant tanks known as bioreactors would cost between $5,200-$5,500 a ton (3,300 to 3,500 euros), which the analysis claims is cost competitive with European beef prices. With a rising global middle class projected by the UN to double meat consumption by 2050, and livestock already responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gases, the symposium is drawing a variety of scientists, environmentalists and food industry experts.
|Wired.com - April 11, 2008|
New York Times (April 11, 2008)
FoodProductionDaily.com (April 4, 2008)
|Seven or more eggs a week raises risk of death
Full story: Yahoo News
Middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week had a higher risk of earlier death, U.S. researchers reported on [April 9]. Men with diabetes who ate any eggs at all raised their risk of death during a 20-year period studied, according to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study adds to an ever-growing body of evidence, much of it contradictory, about how safe eggs are to eat. It did not examine what about the eggs might affect the risk of death. Eggs are rich in cholesterol, which in high amounts can clog arteries and raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.
|Yahoo News - April 9, 2008|
|Why eating just one sausage a day raises your cancer risk by 20 per cent
Full story: Daily Mail, UK
One sausage a day can significantly raise the risk of bowel cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease, experts have warned. Eating 1.8oz (50g) of processed meat a day - the equivalent of one sausage or three rashers of bacon - raises the likelihood of the cancer by a fifth, research shows. The sobering statistic adds to growing evidence that too much meat in the diet can be deadly. Professor Martin Wiseman, the [World Cancer Research Fund's] medical and scientific adviser, said: "We are more sure now than ever before that eating processed meat increases your risk of bowel cancer and this is why WCRF recommends that people avoid eating it. "The evidence is that whether you are talking about bacon, ham or pastrami, the safest amount to eat is none at all." Processed meats may also trigger cancer in the prostate, lung, stomach and oesophagus.
|Daily Mail, UK - March 31, 2008|
|Gluten-free vegan diet could protect arthritics' hearts
Full story: CBS News/WebMD
Gluten-free vegan diets aren't just for health-food nuts. New research from Sweden shows that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who skip both animal products and certain grains could reduce their risk of having a heart attack or stroke. RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis - the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Sticking to a gluten-free vegan diet lowers the most damaging forms of artery-clogging cholesterol and increases levels of antibodies that may be protective against the inflammation that contributes to both RA and heart disease, researchers report in Arthritis Research & Therapy.
|CBS News/WebMD - March 24, 2008|
|Bird flu virus has mutated into form that's deadly to humans
Full story: Natural News
The avian flu has undergone a critical mutation making it easier for the virus to infect humans, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and published in the journal PLoS Pathogens... "We are rolling the dice with modern poultry farming practices," warned consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of the book How to Beat the Bird Flu. "By raising chickens in enclosed spaces, treating them with antibiotics, and denying them access to fresh air, clean water and natural sunlight, we are creating optimal conditions for the breeding of highly infectious diseases that can quickly mutate into human pandemics," Adams said.
|Natural News - March 6, 2008|
E Canada Now (April 18, 2008)
Daily Gleaner, NB, Canada (April 18, 2008)
Global TV, Canada (April 17, 2008)
Sify, India (April 15, 2008)
|Study suggests soy stops prostate cancer spread
Full story: NutraIngredients Europe
A new animal study has added to a body of research suggesting that soy could prove helpful in the fight against prostate cancer spreading to other parts of the body. The same research team from Northwestern University previously established the mechanism by which genistein, an antioxidant from soy, inhibits detachment of cancer cells from a primary prostate tumour and represses cell invasion. The results of the new study, which appears in Cancer Research, give a new basis for hope that genistein could help prevent the spread of prostate cancer in patients, said senior investigator Raymond Bergan, MD. [One wonders why, if there is already a body of research about this, it was necessary to experiment on animals.]
|NutraIngredients Europe - March 17, 2008|
More health news:
Science Daily (April 9, 2008)
NutraIngredients Europe (March 21, 2008)
Quote: Flavonoids are components of plants that are especially concentrated in fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, apples, beans and onions. They have been shown to have various benefits including cancer reduction, heart health and free radical (oxidation) control.
Nutraingredients Europe (April 10, 2008)
Quote: An increased intake of cruciferous vegetables may slash the risk of bladder cancer by 36 per cent... could also have potential prevention activity against hormone-responsive tumours, such as breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TX, U.S. (March 24, 2008)
NutraIngredients Europe (April 11, 2008)
NutraIngredients Europe (March 26, 2008)
| Lifestyles and Trends
|The changing face of the food industry
Full story: Battlecreek Enquirer, MI, U.S.
Vegetarians are far from a majority, but people who abstain from meat or cutting their consumption are having a major influence on business. The Baltimore-based Vegetarian Resource Group estimates the number of vegans at about 1.4 per cent of the population, compared to 2.3 per cent defined as vegetarians. But 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the population falls into a catergory referred to as "flexitarians," those who mostly eat vegetarian but make occasional allowances for meat. Along with a spreading veggie-only population, this quasi-veggie population is helping fuel the growth of meat analog, or "fake meat," products. Vegetarian-themed restaurants are on the increase as well, said John Cunningham, a consumer research manager at the resource group. The phenomenon of vegetarian-friendly options in restaurants is even more widespread thanks to the "Vegetarian Veto," Cunningham said. "With the number of vegetarians increasing, the likelihood of a member of a group being vegetarian increases. And the group is going to go to a place where the vegetarian can eat something." he said.
|Battlecreek Enquirer, MI, U.S. - March 23, 2008|
CBS News (April, 2008)
ABC News (April, 2008)
|Consumer demand prompts move against Monsanto's bovine growth hormone
Full story: Environmental News Network/Globe and Mail
Organic food proponents will remember [March 20] as the day the ground shifted. Giant food retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced that its store brand milk in the United States will now come exclusively from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones. The move sends a powerful signal to food manufacturers about the growing mainstream demand for health food products. With Wal-Mart already the largest retailer of organic milk in the U.S., it has been clear that consumers interested in greener food products are no longer the narrow group of back-to-the-earth types and wealthy urban yuppies. "It's reached the tipping point," said Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association in the U.S. Similar demands are growing in Canada, with mainstream grocery retailers like Loblaw Cos. Ltd. introducing reams of new products to meet mainstream demands for organic and "green" foods. [Bovine Growth Hormone is already banned in Canada.]
|Environmental News Network/Globe and Mail - March 24, 2008|
Environmental News Network (March 27, 2008)
Environmental News Network (April 1, 2008)
New York Times (March 9, 2008)
|Grains gone wild - world food crisis
Full story: New York Times
These days you hear a lot about the world financial crisis. But there's another world crisis under way - and it's hurting a lot more people. I'm talking about the food crisis. Over the past few years the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled, with much of the increase taking place just in the last few months. High food prices dismay even relatively well-off Americans - but they're truly devastating in poor countries, where food often accounts for more than half a family's spending. There have already been food riots around the world. How did this happen? The answer is a combination of long-term trends, bad luck - and bad policy. First, there's the march of the meat-eating Chinese - that is, the growing number of people in emerging economies who are, for the first time, rich enough to start eating like Westerners. Since it takes about 700 calories' worth of animal feed to produce a 100-calorie piece of beef, this change in diet increases the overall demand for grains.
|New York Times - April 7, 2008|
|Is changing our diet the key to resolving the global food crisis?
Full story: The Independent, UK
People are dying because of the global food shortage, which has sparked a sudden surge in food prices... How does eating meat cause hunger? Because it is a very inefficient way of producing food. It takes 8kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef, and large tracts of forest have been cleared for grazing land that might have been used to grow crops. To maximise food production it is best to be vegan. According to Simon Fairlie, in his magazine The Land, it would take just 3 million hectares of arable land to meet Britain's food needs, half the current total, if the population were vegan... So what diet should we be aiming for? One that does not eschew meat altogether - if that seems too difficult - but that puts more emphasis on the vegetarian elements. In many countries meat is regarded as a relish, with the bulk of the meal coming from carbohydrates - corn, rice, pasta or potatoes - and vegetables. We should get used to thinking of meat as a treat - it could help to save the world's poor from starvation.
|The Independent, UK - April 16, 2008|
The Guardian, UK (April 15, 2008)
Quote: The only reasonable answer to the question of how much meat we should eat is as little as possible. Let's reserve it - as most societies have done until recently - for special occasions. For both environmental and humanitarian reasons, beef is out. Pigs and chickens feed more efficiently, but... you encounter another ethical issue: the monstrous conditions in which they are kept.
Toronto Star (April 4, 2008)
News Tribune/NYT (April 18, 2008)
| Animal Issues and Advocacy
|The truth behind humane slaughter law
Full story: Reuters
"The hog was lying in the cradle and all four feet had been removed. The hog was observed to be kicking and shaking its head. It exhibited skin twitching and irregular but rhythmic breathing with deep abdominal and thoracic movement. It appeared to be gasping
for breath," a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector wrote about a still-conscious hog at a slaughter plant in Frankenmuth, Mo... The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) has released the first report of its kind to analyze humane slaughter enforcement at state, federal and foreign slaughterhouses. Drawing from over 1,000 documents obtained from sources including 60 public records requests to federal and state agriculture departments from 2002 to 2007, the report exposes the lack of sound enforcement at plants throughout the United States and across the globe.
|More companies discontinuing farm animal confinement
Full story: Environmental News Networ/Worldwatch Institute
More companies around the world are adjusting their farm-animal confinement policies and requesting clarification of consumer labels to reflect these changes. The moves come largely in response to U.S. voter-led initiatives and the implementation of farm policy reforms in the European Union. Animal confinement - forcing dense populations of chickens, pigs, or young cattle into cages, crates, or tight pens to more efficiently utilize farm space - is a common practice in the United States, Europe, and increasingly the developing world.
|Environmental News Networ/Worldwatch Institute - April 7, 2008|
Sydney Morning Herald (April 17, 2008)
Quote: Consumers are becoming increasingly intolerant of cruel and intensive farming practices - such as sow stalls and battery cages - as well as the live export of animals for slaughter, RSPCA Australia chief executive Heather Neil says.
The California Majority Report (April 9, 2008)
Cattle Network (March 26, 2008)
China Daily (March 25, 2008)
Quote: "To safeguard animal welfare is not only a demonstration of progress of human civilization and humanitarian spirit, but also closely linked with the health of the human beings," a government minister said.
M&C (March 20, 2008)
|Love in the octopus' garden
Full story: Environmental News Network/Reuters
They flirt, hold hands and guard their lovers jealously - yet they don't even have bones. The love lives of octopuses are far more complex than anyone thought, a team at the University of California, Berkeley, reported. Graduate student Christine Huffard snorkeled in the waters off Indonesia to watch Abdopus aculeatus, an octopus with a spiky tan body the size of a small orange and arms 8 to 10 inches long. Octopuses are well studied in captivity but because they are shy and often nocturnal, their natural wild behavior is less understood. They saw male cephalopods guarding the dens of their mates for several days, warding off rivals and even strangling them if they got too close.
|Environmental News Network/Reuters - April 1, 2008|
Telegraph, UK (February 26, 2008)
The Age, Australia (February 18, 2008)
DeeperBlue.net, UK (April 14, 2008)
E/The Environmental Magazine (March 25, 2008)
|Animal rights groups sues egg producer
Full story: Forbes
An animal rights group is suing a large egg producer and an industry trade group, accusing them of breaking New Jersey's consumer fraud law and violating legal agreements with the federal government and 16 states by using a questionable claim on egg cartons. At the center of the lawsuit, filed in Middlesex County Superior Court, is the use of the words 'Animal Care Certified' in a logo on egg cartons. Compassion Over Killing said that United Egg Producers, which licensed use of the logo to egg producers meeting its standards, agreed to replace it with the words 'United Egg Producers Certified.' The animal rights group had objected to the original wording, 'Animal Care Certified,' saying that implied to consumers that the eggs came from well-treated laying hens. But according to the group, the industry standard is to confine hens in stacks of metal cages with too little room to walk around, nest or perch.
|Forbes - February 20, 2008|
|Video exposés effective tool for animal rights
Full story: New York Times
A new generation of cameras so small they can be hidden in eyeglass frames or a hat - together with the rise of YouTube and the growing appeal of so-called citizen journalism - has done for animal rights advocates what the best-organized protest could not. Perhaps more than other social agitators, people concerned about animals raised for food have discovered that downloadable video can be the most potent weapon in their arsenal... "A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good video is worth a million," [Ingrid Newkirk of PETA] said.
|New York Times - March 12, 2008|
| Books and Perspectives
|'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.' An omnivore defends real food
Full story: New York Times
As a health writer, I've read hundreds of nutrition studies and countless books on diet and eating. And none of these has contained such useful advice as the cover of Michael Pollan's latest book, In Defense of Food. Wrapped around a head of lettuce are seven words that tell you pretty much everything you need to know about healthful eating. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This seemingly-simple message is surprisingly complex, because there is food, and then there are what Mr. Pollan describes as "edible food-like substances." ... "The health of our bodies is tied to the health of the community and the health of the earth. Health is indivisible. That's my covert message."
|New York Times - January 17, 2008|
|Making a case for Farm Sanctuary
Full story: Elmira Star Gazette, NY, U.S.
We can change the world, says Gene Baur, by changing what we eat. Baur, the co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, is traveling the country spreading that message and talking about his new book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food. The organization takes in abused or abandoned farm animals on its shelter farm on a hillside above Watkins Glen and another near Orland, Calif. It also works across the country advocating for laws and regulations banning what it considers unsafe and inhumane farming and food production practices. In the new book, Baur writes about the work of Farm Sanctuary and the stories of the animals that live there... "There have been many things that widened my interest and deepened my concern about these issues," he says. "As I spent time with animals, I realized how much like us they are in many respects: their emotions, their memories, their relations with each other. I came to understand them more and more over the years. All it takes to make change, he says, is for people to listen to their own conscience.
|Elmira Star Gazette, NY, U.S. - March 18, 2008|
KUSI San Diego, CA, U.S. (March 17, 2008)
Star-Gazette, NY, U.S. (April 11, 2008)
NY Daily News (April 11, 2008)
|Trafficking in food
Full story: Vancouver Sun
Transnational corporations have a stranglehold on what we eat and governments are complicit. By now, almost everyone is aware that we are unwilling participants in the greatest nutritional experiment in history. The story of our species is the story of our diet. "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are," the great gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said, but he had no idea what would happen to food 100 years after he wrote those words. Raj Patel's book, Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Battle for the World's Food System documents the economic path that led to this dangerous development. Today, 40 per cent of our diet is supplied by vast transnational corporations and complex trade systems difficult to track and trace, as we are discovering with the problematic foods coming out of China... Patel paints a scary and accurate picture of the industry that's creating the starvation cycles of Africa and India and the obesity plague in the poverty-stricken ghettos of America.
|Vancouver Sun - March 8, 2008|
Interview with author Raj Patel
AlterNet(April 19, 2008)
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| Of Note
The world's first Party for the Animals starts a 'Worldlog' in 9 languages
Marianne Thieme, leader of the Dutch Party for the Animals (the first animal party in the world to be represented in a national parliament), has launched a worldlog with the help of a team of 24 translators. Her goal is to inform kindred spirits across the globe about her work both within and outside of the Dutch parliament.
Party for the Animals website and worldlog
Animation is worth a thousand words
"The Little Fish" is a charming 9-minute cartoon, with a strong vegetarian message and beautiful music. It contains only a few words, spoken in Russian and written in Esperanto, but its message is clear enough even without any words.
"The Little Fish" video
Veggie celebs speak out
It's inspiring and enlightening to hear why our fave celebs have chosen a veggie lifestyle. Watch PETA's exclusive new "veggie testimonials" and find out what stars from Paul McCartney to Alicia Silverstone have to say about the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.
Celeb veggie testimonials
International Vegetarian Union online news
For international news and events, you can sign up for the free monthly International Vegetarian Union newsletter.
The 38th World Vegetarian Congress - July 27-August 2, 2008
This year's congress in Kulturpalast, Dresden, Germany will celebrate 100 years of the International Vegetarian Union. More info at the website below. (The 2010 congress will be in Jakarta, Indonesia.)
World Vegetarian Congress
Veggie Pride Parade - May 18, 2008
The first Veggie Pride Parade took place in Paris in 2001 and has been going on annually since then. This year the first Veggie Pride Parade in America will take place in Greenwich Village, New York City. Sounds like a good reason for a trip!
UK to hold largest vegan event in the world - May 31-June 1, 2008
Itís a celebration of every aspect of being vegan and is billed as the largest vegan event anywhere in the world today. There is an excellent line up of entertainment, with many different cultures being represented through food, music, 60 talks, cookery demos, as well as a wide range of stalls.
Bristol Vegan Fayre
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