January 2009
In this edition...

Editor's Note
  In loving memory of Cincinnati Freedom

Health
  New study links diet to heart failure risk
  New study backs soy's bone protection benefits
  City health chief tells it like it is - says 'don't eat meat'
  Chicken transportation transmits dangerous germs

Environment
  A meat-loving environmentalist on 'the low-carbon diet'
  Basking in shame: Canada must atone for its treatment of gentle giants
  Professor upsets local apple cart
  Humans eating frogs into extinction

Lifestyles and Trends
  Critter-free cooking
  Perseverance pays off for vegan entrepreneur
  Vegetarian diets draw teenage advocates
  Alanis Morissette's slim-down secrets!
  Being vegan, inside and out
  Veggie experiences: A research paper for class made one teen give up meat

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  'Welfare doesn't come into it'
  Fish? No, they're 'sea kittens'
  The chi of chickens
  Is there a vegan in the White House?

Books and Perspectives
  Cookbooks for those resolving to eat better in 2009
  Our inner animal

Of Note
 

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(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
  Editor's Note    


In loving memory of Cincinnati Freedom

Farm Sanctuary recently reported that Cincinnati Freedom, the cow that stole hearts when she leapt a six-foot fence to escape slaughter, has passed away. . .

When it came time to say goodbye to Cinci, the herd gathered close around her. One of the eldest steers, Kevin, stepped forward to lick her face, while Iris, an older female, licked her back, soothing and keeping her calm up until she took her final breath. After our beautiful girl passed, every member of the herd approached to say goodbye, each one sharing with Cinci one last moment of affection. Though heartbreaking, the herd's mourning ritual was also beautiful and comforting, as there was no doubt that Cinci not only lived, but also died knowing that she was cherished by all.

I find many of the articles I research for VegE-News each month difficult to read, but it is stories like Cinci's that absolutely break my heart. Every living thing wants to live. Every cow waiting to be slaughtered, hearing the bellows and smelling the blood of others, wants to break free just as she did. Each one would give and receive the same love and compassion to her fellow sanctuary cows that she did.

Sometimes, I think I can't bear it. But, as difficult as it is, in the words of the Barack Obama, who has ushered in a new spirit of hope in the world, "we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off" and carry on with the good fight toward a better, more humane world.

[Read the full Farm Sanctuary tribute to Cinci.]

 
  Health    

New study links diet to heart failure risk
Full story: MSNBC

Increasing the number of regular whole grain servings in your diet by just one may lessen heart failure risk by 7 per cent, according to findings from a long-term study. Conversely, an increase of one serving of high-fat dairy and egg appear to raise heart failure risk by 8 and 23 per cent, respectively, [researchers at] the University of Texas Health Sciences Center found.

MSNBC - December 26

New study backs soy's bone protection benefits
Full story: NutraIngredients, Europe

Soy protein consumption could help protect against bone loss in post menopausal women, suggests a new study that adds to previous findings linking soy to bone health in women. Published in the December 2008 issue of Osteoporosis International, the study followed over 400 perimenopausal Chinese women for 30 months to investigate change in bone mineral density and its determinants. The findings revealed that the fastest bone loss occurred in women undergoing menopause - but that soy protein intake seemed to exert a positive effect on bone health, together with maintenance of body weight and physical fitness.

NutraIngredients, Europe - January 20


City health chief tells it like it is - says 'don't eat meat'
Full story: Chicago Tribune

Chicago health commissioner Dr. Terry Mason has a message for Chicagoans who enjoy devouring meat in all its fat-dripping, artery-clogging glory: Don't do it. As part of his campaign to slim down waists and lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol citywide, Mason is encouraging everyone to join him in going vegetarian for January. "For the entire month, I'm not eating any meat," he has told listeners to his Sunday morning radio show. "I'm going to focus on eating a healthy and delicious variety of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. . . And I want you to do the same." In a city famous for Italian beef, Polish sausage and deep dish pizza, his call for a meatless month may sound downright blasphemous. But Mason, a physician who has a medical practice in urology, appears undaunted.

Chicago Tribune - January 9
Taking the challenge:
Want to join in to save the planet, animals and your own health, by cutting back on meat?
Take the Veggie Challenge from the Toronto Vegetarian Association
PETA also has issued a special 30-day challenge
Need help or inspiration?
Check out Meatout Mondays from FARM
Request a free vegetarian starter kit from PETA
Find recipes and our very own going veggie tips at VegE-News
Check out the experiences of "Star McDougallers" - people making the transition and changing their health.


Chicken transportation transmits dangerous germs
Full story: Washington Post

Here's something new you can worry about when traveling by car on your next vacation: Don't get too close to one of those huge tractor-trailer trucks if it's carrying a load of live chickens. It's a perfect breeding place for the transmission of germs from the chickens to humans. And some of those germs may be resistant to many antibiotics, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have discovered. The scientists found increased levels of pathogenic bacteria on surfaces and on the air inside cars traveling behind trucks carrying broiler chickens. Typically, broiler chickens - scientifically called "intensively raised poultry" - are transported in open crates on the back of flatbed trucks. These crates are contaminated with feces and bacteria. [Not to mention the cruelty involved - see links below.]

Washington Post - November 25
Some animal transportation links:
Australia
Europe
Canada
International

 
  Environment    


A meat-loving environmentalist on 'the low-carbon diet'
Full story: Audubon Magazine

Full disclosure: I love to eat meat. I was born in Memphis, the barbecue capital of the Milky Way Galaxy. My carnivore's lust goes beyond the DNA level. It's in my soul. So why in the world am I a dedicated vegetarian? The answer is simple: I have an 11-year-old son whose future - like yours and mine - is rapidly unraveling due to global warming. . . Here's the inconvenient truth about meat and dairy products: If you eat them, regardless of their origin and how they were produced, you significantly contribute to climate change. Period. If your beef is from New Zealand or your own backyard, if your lamb is organic free-range or factory farmed, it still has a negative impact on global warming. Even poultry, while less harmful, also contributes. . . Bottom line: Of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life, vegetarianism doesn't even make the chart. It's about right versus wrong. Knowingly eating food that makes you fat or harms your local fish and birds is one thing. Knowingly eating food that makes children across much of the world hungry is another. [The full article is highly recommended.]

Audubon Magazine - January 1
Related:
Flexitarian commenters set me straight on meat (or lack thereof)
U.S. News (January 9)
Eating our future: The environmental impact of industrial animal agriculture
WSPA (pdf)
Think again: Climate change common myths
Washington Post/Newsweek (January 5)
How to talk to a climate skeptic
Grist Magazine


Basking in shame: Canada must atone for its treatment of gentle giants
Full story: David Suzuki Foundation

The basking shark is huge - often bigger than a bus. As fish go, it's second in size only to the whale shark. It has been roaming the world's oceans for at least 30 million years. But now, all indications are that this magnificent animal is on the edge of extinction. It makes my blood boil! Over the past two centuries, people have been killing them for sport, for food, for the oil from their half-tonne livers, and to get them out of the way of commercial fishing operations. Many were also killed accidentally by fishing gear. . . These animals need to be protected under strong species at risk legislation. When one species goes extinct, the repercussions cascade throughout the environment. We can't afford any more losses.

David Suzuki Foundation - December 19

Professor upsets local apple cart
Full story: Mississauga News, ON, Canada

Pierre Desrochers freely admits to being the "resident contrarian" in the geography department at University of Toronto Mississauga. In his latest foray into upsetting conventional wisdom, Desrochers and his wife, economist Hiroko Shimizu, have published a paper that debunks the theory that buying locally-grown food is a major boon to the environment. Called Yes, We Have No Bananas: A Critique of the 'Food Miles' Perspective, the paper was published by the Mercatus Centre in the Unites States, an academic site that "publishes stuff that people will actually read," says Desrochers. "Long-distance food transportation by highly-efficient diesel container ships represents only a tiny per centage of total energy expenditure in agricultural production," he says. "Cold storage or greenhouses have much more significant expenditures. North Americans somehow forget that we have seasons."

Mississauga News, ON, Canada - December 18

Humans eating frogs into extinction
Full story: The Australian

A world obsession with the French delicacy has seen the consumption of garlic sauteed frogs legs increase dramatically in the past 20 years, with scientists from the University of Adelaide [Australia] predicting the global trade of the amphibians rests somewhere between 200 million to one billion each year. "Frogs are already in a bad way throughout most parts of the world," said Corey Bradshaw, from the university's school of earth and environmental sciences. "The main driver is certainly habitat loss, so we're already dealing with a group that's being hammered and we're eating up to one billion frogs a year, so we're not really helping them out much." Eaten widely throughout Europe and Asia, Professor Bradshaw said he attributed the decline of the species to a shift from seasonal harvest for local consumption to year-round international trade.

The Australian - January 21
 
  Lifestyles and Trends    

Critter-free cooking
Full story: The Bridge, MN, U.S.

With its sunny, modest kitchen, charming living room and a medley of rescued animals frolicking across the wooden floors, Meagan Holtgrewe's home might seem an unlikely spot to host a cooking show. But, then again, few things about the show are typical of the genre. Rhymes With Vegan, (a play on the pronunciation of Holtgrewe's first name) is an exclusively online cooking show promoting the vegan lifestyle - cooking without the use of meat or dairy products. Holtgrewe, the creator, host and chef, said she hopes her show will "demystify" common misconceptions about veganism and make the diet more accessible to the public. [Check out this new entertaining and informative show here.]

The Bridge, MN, U.S. - January 21

Perseverance pays off for vegan entrepreneur
Full story: Wall Street Journal

[An interview with Seth Tibbott, inventor of Tofurky and founder and president of Turtle Island Foods, part of WSJ's How I Got Here series.] How I got to here in 10 words or less: Stuck with it until it worked. Before tofu turkey substitutes like Tofurky landed in supermarket freezer aisles, many vegetarians weren't able to easily share the holiday dinner table experience with friends. "I was tired of piling baked potatoes and yams on my plate," says Mr. Tibbot. That's one of the reasons he started his company, which sold 275,634 Tofurky Roasts in 2007, along with other products like Tofurky hot dogs and deli slices. The company has seen sales double between 2003 and 2007 as a growing number of nonvegetarian eaters include meat substitutes in their diet.

Wall Street Journal - January 6

Vegetarian diets draw teenage advocates
Full story: New Jersey Star-Ledger, U.S.

It's been six years since high school senior Nicole Landrie swore off meat, but carnivorous classmates haven't given up. "People still come up to me and want to fight about why I don't eat meat. There's constant jokes, and even my friends think it's funny to take me to dinner at Outback," said Landrie, 17, referring to the steakhouse chain. Lately, though, with the whole green movement getting popular, vegetarianism is finally becoming kind of cool. Roughly 1 in 200 shun meat, according to a recent study that provides the first national [U.S.] count of young vegetarians. Other research suggests the rate could be as much as four to six times higher among older teens who have more control over what they eat than young children do. Vegetarians say it's animal welfare, not health, that most often causes kids to stop eating meat. [For a perspective on the numbers click here.]

New Jersey Star-Ledger, U.S. - January 19

Alanis Morissette's slim-down secrets!
Full story: OK! Magazine

Less than a year ago, Alanis Morissette found herself in a heavy situation: the once-svelte rock star had packed on weight, and the processed food she'd been eating left her feeling unhealthy. Determined to get back on track, Alanis turned to Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book Eat to Live, a plan that recommends consuming fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts, and avoiding meat and dairy products. Alanis' vegan diet - one of the more popular in Hollywood these days - has helped her shed 20 pounds since she began the new regime in September. [Alanis says:] "I saw this book, Eat to Live, and I thought, that's exactly what I want to do. I wasn't interested in some fad diet that was unsustainable, like "lose 10 pounds in two weeks." So I opened it and flipped through and thought the weight loss is incidental. The primary focus is disease prevention."

OK! Magazine - January 2

Being vegan, inside and out
Full story: Philadelphia Inquirer, PA

A vegan for the last eight years, Jennifer Storey is careful not to put meat, eggs, honey or milk in her body. Now it's becoming easier not to put them on her body, either. From conditioner to lip balm to plant-based pedicures, companies and spas nationwide are offering vegan products and services. That typically means there's no testing on animals, and ingredients are free of animal byproducts - including beeswax and carmine, a commonly used red coloring made from beetles. But these goodies aren't tucked away on a dusty bottom shelf in a health-food store. They're at the hair salon, on the shelves of Lush, or even at the local [pharmacy].

Philadelphia Inquirer, PA - December 24

Veggie experiences: A research paper for class made one teen give up meat
Full story: Herald-Mail, MD, U.S.

Haley Eckel used to think nothing about downing multiple servings of homemade pot roast. But that was before the 15-year-old began writing a research paper about the health benefits of being a vegetarian for a class at Hagerstown Community College. Using information from scholarly peer-reviewed articles, books and pamphlets, Haley said she was surprised to learn that eating animal foods can be detrimental to one's health. "Because I have asthma and food allergies, my curiosity was piqued when I learned that meat is an inflammatory food and a meat-free diet can reduce allergic reactions and the effects of inflammatory diseases," she said. [A good article other than it repeats the myth that you have to "combine" foods for complete proteins.]

Herald-Mail, MD, U.S. - January 20
Related:
Documentary: "A Delicate Balance"
The film documents the latest discoveries of some of the most prominent experts on nutrition in the world. Over 50 years of research is skilfully woven into what feels like a detective unravelling the mysteries behind the disease epidemic which has struck affluent countries with a vengeance. - Phoenix Philms

 
  Animal Issues and Advocacy    


'Welfare doesn't come into it'
Full story: Guardian, UK

Pigs kept on slatted, concrete floors; pregnant sows in cages so small they can't move; piglets castrated without pain relief; tails routinely docked to prevent animals attacking each other. This is the truth behind the European pig industry - and so behind most of the pork we eat. . . Some years ago, the late Lyall Watson, who devoted his last book to Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs, wrote that if you look properly behind the eyes of any pig, you will see "a liveliness, an intelligence for which you are just not prepared." These are not like other animals. If it matters to us that our morning rasher or chop or pork pie does not come from a genetically engineered fat-free pig that spent its brief life in a dark, bare, windowless shed stuffed full of antibiotics and reduced to attacking its pen-mates for entertainment - a pathetic parody, in short, of a pig - we're going to have to reach deeper into our pockets.

Guardian, UK - January 6
Related:
"Revealed: The state of Europe's pigs"
Compassion in World Farming undercover video
Report on the undercover video
BBC (January 6)

Videos showcasing animal sentience and compassion:
Smart crows
The animal odd couple
Hero dog rescues wounded comrade
The mothering instinct


Fish? No, they're 'sea kittens'
Full story: Guardian, UK

Some people - such as anglers - don't seem to bond with fish. They think of them as slithery and slimy, and are disconcerted that some fish have eyes on both sides of their heads. Which is why PETA decided to act as PR for fish, giving them a "rebrand" consisting of a new name, "sea kittens," and a more positive image. If we put our old prejudices aside, we can see "sea kittens" very differently. Like the dogs and cats in our homes, fish are bright little individuals with their own unique personalities. Dive guides have been known to name friendly fish who follow them around and enjoy being petted, just as dogs or cats. A researcher at the University of Edinburgh reports that fish have cognitive abilities that equal and sometimes even surpass those of nonhuman primates; they can recognise individuals, use tools and maintain complex social relationships.

Guardian, UK - January 14
Related:
PETA sea kitten campaign
NY eatery frees ancient lobster
BBC (January 10)


The chi of chickens
Full story: Common Ground

We keep chickens - five mature females and two youngsters - who we think are roosters. I never thought much about chickens before we had them. To see them in their free state has been a revelation. Every day they explore the garden, clean up fallen birdseed and scratch for bugs everywhere. In summer they jump for the lowest-hanging raspberries. These are wild birds that humans have domesticated; they are the closest living relatives of the dinosaur. Their chi - their life energy - is healthy and alive. It is so satisfying to see how they enjoy their daily explorations, how they bond together and how they play their little pecking order games, just as humans do. How they rush to hide a tasty morsel of food, trying their best to eat it in private. How they clearly enjoy their lives. And how they chatter - chickens make up to 200 different sounds, using 30 different phrases. Contrast this with the life of a captive chicken.

Common Ground - January
Related:
Urban chicken trend on rise
ABC News, CA, U.S. (January 2)


Is there a vegan in the White House?
Full story: Planetsave.com

Soon-to-be-President Barack Obama has appointed animal advocate Cass Sunstein to head the relatively obscure, yet powerful Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The regulatory czar, as the position is generally called, is responsible for every regulatory agency in the country, such as the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], and will oversee all administration rules. Sunstein is best known for his balanced views between government regulations and cost-benefit analysis and for his theory of behavioral economics and he is widely considered to be a great choice for the office. However, a new controversy is arising over his views on animal rights and animal welfare. Sunstein, a vegetarian, co-authored the book Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, and has advocated for much stricter regulations of almost every industry that uses animals.

Planetsave.com - January 19
Related:
An open letter to Barack Obama
EVU/Veg Climate Alliance (January 20)
Cass Sunstein has secret animal rights agenda
He certainly has the other side worried - Opposing Views (January 15)
"The rights of animals" (pdf)
Paper by Cass Sunstein for University of Chicago Law School (2002)

 
  Books and Perspectives    

Cookbooks for those resolving to eat better in 2009
Full story: Grist Magazine

Ten Thousand Villages, the wonderful chain of Mennonite-rooted fair trade stores, offers two cookbooks perfect for people wanting to eat better, healthier, more sustainable food - much lower on the food web, with little or no meat, in season - while saving money. The first is the More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre, a nice, basic first cookbook and a sustainable improvement on Betty Crocker. I would give this to any young person starting out in the world. The second makes a great complement: Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind, a luscious, season-specific book of recipes for all year round.

Grist Magazine - December 28

Our inner animal
Full story: Time Magazine

Humans! They do like their words. Take these two specimens. Hannah Holmes is a tall, blond, personally assertive science journalist. Temple Grandin is an eminent scholar of animal behavior who also happens to be autistic. These humans have written two books that look very different but are, in their warm-blooded, four-chambered hearts, very similar. In The Well-Dressed Ape, Holmes attempts to produce a thorough description of Homo sapiens using the kind of language we ordinarily reserve for animals. In Animals Make Us Human, Grandin does the opposite: she describes animals in terms we usually associate with human beings. Both writers are after the same thing. They want to demolish the hard line that separates people from animals; you might call it the doctrine of human exceptionalism. They're both tunneling under the bars of the cage, but they're doing it from different directions.

Time Magazine - January 15

Visit our VegE-Store
For books featured in this issue of VegE-News and more. Thanks for your support!

 
  Of Note    


The sweetest Valentine's gift!
Nutritionist Victoria Laine has written an amazing book that will endear her to chocolate lovers everywhere. HEALTH BY CHOCOLATE: radical new recipes and nutrition know-how features 40 mouth-watering recipes that are actually good for you - and easy to make. The photos alone have us licking our lips. What could be a more perfect gift for your valentine? It's available online - just click below.
Health by Chocolate

Finally a healthy vegan pet food for dogs & cats!
Look no further. Green Leaf Vegan Distribution is pleased to now bring the AMI vegan pet food products to Canada and the United States. Made in Italy and selling well across Europe for over 5 years, these products are great tasting and nutritionally complete. Welcome to this new sponsor! Check out the website for more information and sources.
Ami Dog and Ami Cat

Recipes for health
Does your New Year's Resolution include healthier eating? Find recipes to make it delicious on our VegE-News website. You'll also find some excellent New Year's resolution resources from the Toronto Vegetarian Association and inspiration from The Vegan Culinary Experience by Chef Jason Wyrick at the links below.
VegE-News recipes
Toronto Vegetarian Association resolution resources
Vegan Culinary Experience

Perspectives on advocacy
Stephanie Ernst responds to animal rights' critics in her blog on Change.org - a brief quote: Animal rights advocates spend their time, energy, and resources speaking out for animals not because it's fun, not because it's lucrative, not because we get lots of praise for it. We are compelled to engage in this struggle because it's right, because what's happening every second of every day to millions of animals is wrong. . . Also of note, Matt Ball, of Vegan Outreach, has updated his profound A Meaningful Life essay. Links for both below.
Ready to attack animal rights activists? Consider this first
A Meaningful Life

'World Day for the Abolition of Meat' - January 31
On 31 January conferences, street actions, leafleting and information stands will be organized to spread the idea that the consumption of meat cannot be justified ethically and should therefore be abolished just as human slavery was in its time. Worldwide six million sentient beings are killed for their meat every hour! Find out more at the link below.
World Day for the Abolition of Meat

Health alert - advertising passed off as research
Dr. McDougall alerts us to a study widely reported in the media with headlines claiming that 11 million more people should be taking statins bringing the total to 44.7 million people in the U.S. that they say should be on daily statins for a lifetime. As usual, he brings sanity to bear. If you or anyone you know is involved with Crestor or other statins, his exposé is a must-read.
Dr. McDougall on the latest statin research

Talking about being a vegetarian
A Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin is studying how vegetarians talk about being a vegetarian and is looking for people to participate in a short survey. She is trying to capture the experiences of as many vegetarians as possible by February 1, 2009.
Survey

A note for veggie organizations and members
Your comments on any subject are always welcome! If you are a vegetarian organization that would like to discuss having your own customized version of VegE-News, let us know. We are pleased to produce customized versions of VegE-News for the Australian Vegetarian Society, Vegetarians of Alberta, Toronto Vegetarian Association, and Winnipeg Vegetarian Association with their logo, a link to their website and local events listed. If you are a member of one of those organizations, but not receiving the customized version, just drop us an email to be switched to the specific list.
Email VegE-News

 
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