February 2009
In this edition...

  Vegan diet has stick-to-it-iveness
  Factory farms breeding a superbug more deadly than AIDS
  'Pig Ebola' mutation could pose threat to humans
  Egg intake linked to diabetes risk

  Eating less meat could cut climate costs
  UK hospitals will take meat off menus in bid to cut carbon
  Rainforest razed so cattle can graze
  Sharks need to fear humans
  Solution for the world's water woes

Lifestyles and Trends
  Wall Streeter sues employer over vegetarian taunts
  Veggie experiences: Going veggie for a week
  Meatless reception doesn't cut it with father of the bride
  A teen's view: Why you should become a vegetarian
  Veg out! A how-to guide

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Pork advert outlawed by UK watchdog
  Naturally raised - what it doesn't mean
  Is it possible to be a conscientious meat eater?

Books and Perspectives
  'How to Eat Like a Vegetarian, Even If You Never Want to Be One'
  Plant-powered firefighter wants to lower your cholesterol
  Great chefs cook vegan

Of Note

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

Vegan diet has stick-to-it-iveness
Full story: Globe and Mail, Canada

A meat-free menu is easier to maintain and lowers blood sugar better than a traditional diabetes food plan, according to a new study. Is a vegan diet the new "non-diet"? The question isn't if a diet works, but if it's sustainable. Any number of diets can lower blood sugar, reduce cholesterol or promote weight loss over its initial three months. But the real winner is the one that can accomplish these tasks over the long term. Enter the vegan diet. Such a diet has been shown to improve blood sugar in people with diabetes, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, promote weight loss and even help reverse heart disease. A study published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association has concluded that a vegan diet - no calorie counting or measuring foods required - is easier to stick to than you might think.

Globe and Mail, Canada - February 4

Factory farms breeding a superbug more deadly than AIDS
Full story: Grist Magazine

Last June, Iowa State researcher Tara Smith delivered preliminary results of a study linking the deadly, antibiotic-resistant virus MRSA to pigs in concentrated animal feedlot operations. MRSA kills something close to 20,000 Americans every year - more than AIDS. Now Smith's research has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Examining CAFOs scattered in Iowa and Illinois, Smith and her team found the MRSA strain in 49 per cent of pigs and 45 per cent of the workers who tend them. To keep animals alive while stuffed together by the thousands, standing in their own collected waste, it's evidently necessary to dose them with lots of antibiotics. CAFO conditions destroy animal's immune systems; antibiotics pick up the slack. Take them away, and the CAFO model might crumble.

Grist Magazine - January 27

'Pig Ebola' mutation could pose threat to humans
Full story: SciDev, UK

Veterinary experts are investigating how a form of the Ebola virus found in primates has been transmitted to pigs in the Philippines. Twenty-two international health and veterinary experts [recently] travelled to the island of Luzon in the Philippines to investigate an outbreak of the Ebola Reston virus in pigs that occurred in 2008. The concern is that once inside the pig, the virus could mutate into a form deadly to humans - as bird flu is thought to have done.

SciDev, UK - January 22
Manila to slaughter 6,000 pigs to stop Ebola spread
Reuters (February 23)
New insights into a leading poultry disease and its risks to human health
ENN (January 27)

Egg intake linked to diabetes risk
Full story: Reuters

People who sit down to a daily breakfast of eggs may have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, new research suggests. In a long-term [Harvard Medical School] study of 57,000 U.S. adults, researchers found that those who ate an egg a day were 58 per cent to 77 per cent more likely than non-egg-eaters to develop type 2 diabetes. The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care, do not necessarily mean that eggs themselves put people on a path to diabetes, according to the researchers. But they do suggest it is wise to limit your egg intake. The study does not explain exactly why eggs are linked to diabetes, but cholesterol may play a role.

Reuters - February 2

Eating less meat could cut climate costs
Full story: The New Scientifist

Cutting back on beefburgers and bacon could wipe $20 trillion off the cost of fighting climate change. That's the dramatic conclusion of a study [by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency] that totted up the economic costs of modern meat-heavy diets. The researchers involved say that reducing our intake of beef and pork would lead to the creation of a huge new carbon sink, as vegetation would thrive on unused farmland. The model takes into account farmland that is used to grow extra food to make up for the lost meat, but that requires less area, so some will be abandoned. Millions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, would also be saved every year due to reduced emissions from farms. These impacts would lessen the need for expensive carbon-saving technologies, such as "clean coal" power plants, and so save huge sums.

The New Scientifist - February 10
How meat contributes to global warming
Article emphasises beef, but other meat, including chicken, also contributes significantly more than a plant-based diet - Scientific American (February)
Australia: Bring on emissions trading, say vegetarians
Quote: [A parlementarian] has said that Australians will have to stop eating meat if an emissions trading scheme goes ahead. Australian Vegetarian Society president Mark Berriman says the vegetarian diet is healthier, and meat farmers could change to other industries. - ABC Australia (February 24)

New Zealand: Mock meat one way to save the planet
Quote: Producing livestock is a startlingly inefficient way to create protein. - New Zealand Herald (February 16)
Europe: The EU parliament calls meat a climate threat
Quote: That is the finding after adoption of the climate resolution, “2050 - The future begins today.” Nevertheless, the parliament declined to demand that measures be taken to lower meat consumption. - Blog of Jens Holm, Member of European Parliament (February 4)
The CAFO syndrome
The impact of China's growing appetite for U.S.-style meat production - Grist Magazine (February 17)

UK hospitals will take meat off menus in bid to cut carbon
Full story: Guardian, UK

I saw a little sign on the tip jar at a US airport cafe recently. It said, "Scared of change? Leave yours here!" Human nature makes us resist change. There's a biological reason for this. Our ancestors knew that if they ate unfamiliar foods, they might die. Not much has changed, which was clear in the hysterical response to the government's decision to take measures to cut carbon emissions - including by changing hospital menus to make them more environmentally friendly. . . It isn't hard to see that, if anything, the recent ruling hasn't gone far enough. We need to stop feeding meat not only to hospital patients but to schoolchildren as well. And we should eliminate dairy products and eggs too. I'm betting that hospital patients - and certainly not their poor clogged arteries - will never miss the pink-beige blob of meat on their food tray.

Guardian, UK - January 29

Rainforest razed so cattle can graze
Full story: Independent, UK

Brazil's attempt to double its share of the global market for beef will carry a heavy environmental cost, a [Greenpeace] report warns. The South American country has the world's largest cattle herd and is already the biggest beef exporter on the planet. Now the Brazilian government is seeking to boost its share of the world beef market from 30 per cent to 60 per cent in the next decade. Most of this growth will come in Amazonia, on pastureland created by cutting down rainforest. "The Brazilian government needs to get a grip on the cattle industry before it completely undermines the country's chances of tackling climate change," said Sarah Shoraka, Greenpeace's forests campaigner. [A government representative countered] it was hoped to use intensive farming techniques to produce more cattle in future from a smaller area of land. [Editor's note: A stomach- turning thought.]

Independent, UK - January 31

Sharks need to fear humans
Full story: IPS

Ever since the horror movie Jaws was released in 1975, sharks have been regarded as deadly creatures in the public imagination of many countries. The deep irony is that humans pose a far greater danger to sharks than vice-versa. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has warned that one-third of the continent's shark species are at risk of extinction. "Sharks sit at or near the top of the food system," said Joe Borg, EU commissioner for fisheries. "They are very vulnerable to overexploitation, and depleting their numbers may have very serious consequences not just for sharks but also for marine ecosystems and for fishermen themselves." The World Wide Fund for Nature complained that some of the EU measures proposed are too weak.

IPS - February 6
Plenty of blame for collapsing fish stocks
Climate change, pollution and overfishing have left the oceans in crisis, experts agree. Now a new study reveals that every national government with a fishing fleet has dramatically failed to manage fisheries in a responsible manner. . . Unfortunately the suggested solution is farmed fish. - IPS (February 4)

Solution for the world's water woes
Full story: BBC

Rising populations and growing demand is making the world a thirsty planet, says David Molden [of the International Water Management Institute]. He says the solution lies in people reducing the size of their "water footprints." Each of us can make a difference if we first consider the water implications of our lifestyles and the water footprint we are leaving behind. Today, one-third of the world's population has to contend with water scarcity, and there are ominous signs that this proportion could quickly increase. Up to twice as much water will be required to provide enough food to eliminate hunger and feed the additional 2.5 billion people that will soon join our ranks. The demands will be particularly overwhelming as a wealthier, urbanised population demands a richer diet of more meat, fish, and milk. The water required for a meat-eating diet is twice as much needed for a 2,000-litre-a-day vegetarian diet.

BBC - February 10
  Lifestyles and Trends    

Wall Streeter sues employer over vegetarian taunts
Full story: New York Daily News

A vegetarian Wall Streeter has a real beef with his macho man ex-boss, who he says tormented him for being a "homo" who wouldn't eat steak with the boys. Ryan Pacifico is suing Calyon in the Americas, charging that his one-time boss at the French financial firm presided over a testosterone-fueled trading desk, where he was mocked for avoiding meat and wearing snug-fitting shorts during triathlons. "A trading floor is certainly a manly man's world," Pacifico said. "I just never expected someone to think it's gay to be a vegetarian or to constantly poke fun at me. . . It's a ridiculous male stereotype that only real men eat meat."

New York Daily News - January 29
Vegetarian athletes share their favorite protein sources
Pure Jeevan blog (February)
Veggie Love
Studies show vegetarians have better sex - PETA's banned Super Bowl ad

Veggie experiences: Going veggie for a week
Full story: The State News, Michigan State University, U.S.

I did it. I lived an entire week as a vegetarian. Living as a vegetarian for a week had its ups and downs, although I was surprised my experience was not as difficult as one might think. I never suffered regret or an intense longing for meat. I didn't break down and give up. While I was seriously tempted one time, I overcame it. I binged on carbs and fat in the beginning, but gradually learned to increase my vegetable intake. I tried new foods, from veggie burgers to rice milk to edamame. I found the best place on campus to eat vegetarian-friendly meals, and I even survived a weekend at home and on the road without meat. I have to admit, I feel healthier. With the exception of Saturday, my diet this past week was healthier than it's been since, well, ever. Who knows, maybe my vegetarian life doesn't have to end today.

The State News, Michigan State University, U.S. - January 28

Meatless reception doesn't cut it with father of the bride
Full story: Arizona Republic, U.S.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter and future son-in-law are being married this summer. They are both vegans and are planning a vegan dinner for their reception. I thought it was a very cool way of showing what different types of vegan dishes could be planned, but I'm getting grief from my husband. He thinks it is selfish of them not to offer a meat dish. I couldn't disagree more.
DEAR FUTURE MOTHER-IN-LAW: This will be your daughter's day, not your husband's. I'm sure the food they offer will be not only delicious, but also sufficient to satisfy the guests, who may not even realize they aren't being offered meat. If your husband is concerned about what will be served, he should eat before going to the wedding. Please tell him I said so, and let him chew on that.

Arizona Republic, U.S. - January 20

A teen's view: Why you should become a vegetarian
Full story: Philadelphia Jewish Voice

The most common reason for becoming a vegetarian is ethics. Whether people become conscious of animal treatment through videos or articles, friends or advertisements, this consciousness is what most leads many people including myself to make this dramatic lifestyle change. I felt that I was lucky to live in a world where I can afford to live without causing animals to die to feed me. I felt that the right animals have to live far outweighs my right to enjoy eating them. With the abundance in vitamins, recipes, and meat substitutes, modern food technology has made a vegetarian lifestyle easier than ever.

Philadelphia Jewish Voice - February

Veg out! A how-to guide
Full story: Self Magazine

When was the last time you watched the evening news and heard a nutrition expert urging Americans to eat more meat to stave off illness? Um, never? In fact, lots of studies have found the reverse is true: A largely plant-filled diet is the route to a longer, healthier life. It isn't a guarantee that you'll eat better, but if you make smart choices, you can lower your risk for disease and shed some pounds in the process. How? Follow this easy-to-digest guide on how to eat-minus the meat. [Lots of tips and recipes here, though it repeats some myths like the need for protein combining. Certainly, it got the beef industry worried - see this call for a letter-writing campaign from "Beef Magazine."]

Self Magazine - February
  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Pork advert outlawed by UK watchdog
Full story: BBC, UK

Pork adverts claiming British pigs have "very high welfare standards" are inaccurate and must not be used again, the advertising watchdog has ruled. The watchdog said cases of tail-docking and a lack of straw bedding meant the British Pig Executive's claims were not always true. The Advertising Standards Authority issued the ruling after receiving complaints from animal rights groups. The advert had claimed: "British pig farms have very high welfare standards, assured by the Quality Standard Mark. And well cared-for animals mean better quality meat." The pig executive said the wording of the advert referred to conditions outlined by the quality mark, not to those actually found in British farms.

BBC, UK - February 11

Naturally raised - what it doesn't mean
Full story: American Prospect

If you were told an animal was "naturally raised," what would you imagine that meant? Is it evidence that they wandered a field? Felt the touch of sunlight? Ate their normal diet? Well, no. At least, that's not what it means if you see "naturally raised" on a package of meat [in the United States]. The USDA released their guidelines for the marketing term [recently]. Grass, sunlight, and open space don't enter into it. Rather, animals are "naturally raised" if they "have been raised entirely without growth promotants, antibiotics (except for ionophores used as coccidiostats for parasite control), and have never been fed animal by-products." These guidelines are a simple act of collusion with the marketing teams in the livestock industry. The implication of "naturally raised" is that the chicken lived the natural life of a chicken, not the life of a widget. But USDA has defined it as living the life of a widget, just not a particularly heavily medicated widget.

American Prospect - January 22
Keepin’ it natural: Urgent action on meat labels
With a link to make comments to the USDA (by March 3) - The Ethicureans
The virtual battery cage - see how it feels to be a battery hen
Facts and images - AnimalVisuals.org

Is it possible to be a conscientious meat eater?
Full story: AlterNet

You may have noticed an onslaught of articles recently on what is being coined as the "new meat movement." These articles almost all support the idea that cruelty to animals is wrong and that factory-produced meat is unjustifiably bad for the environment. However, they are not opposed to meat in and of itself, they are simply opposed to industrial meat. The backlash against industrial meat has been brewing for many reasons. Ever-increasing knowledge of the industry's effect on the environment, human starvation and animal welfare, is making it harder for even the most ardent omnivore to consume meat without guilt. . . Truth be told, this ["new"] meat is a marketing gimmick, an ideological pose, which assuages the ethical compulsions of those who consume it even though it does nothing to kick America's cheap meat habit, and perhaps contributes to the growing international fetishization of meat as a class signifier. . . "Conscientious omnivores" may believe that they are eating in a radical and ethical way. However, if one really examines the issues and thinks beyond their taste buds, it has to be agreed that animal products are dangerous for the planet and always cause unnecessary suffering.

AlterNet - February 18
  Books and Perspectives    

'How to Eat Like a Vegetarian, Even If You Never Want to Be One'
Full story: OpEd News

I've been vegan for almost 30 years, and I teach others how to prepare delicious vegan fare, so when I first came across the title of this book How to Eat Like a Vegetarian, Even If You Never Want to Be One [from Lantern Books] I thought, "sounds great, but it's not for me." Well, never judge a book by its cover, or its title! Authors Carol J. Adams and Patti Breitman have so thoroughly jam-packed this wonderful book with useful information and time-saving tips, I wished they'd written it decades sooner, as it would have saved me countless hours in the market and the kitchen. . . this book will surprise you at every turn of the page with a bounty of clever ideas and sure-fire shortcuts to eating healthfully and deliciously. [Listen to a radio interview with the authors on Vegan World Radio. ]

OpEd News - October 16

Plant-powered firefighter wants to lower your cholesterol
Full story: Austin360, TX, U.S.

How plant strong are you? Austin (Texas) firefighter Rip Esselstyn, a former professional triathlete and, most recently, self-dubbed Head Lettuce of a group that tested his Engine 2 Diet, wants to know. Esselstyn is about to drop a smart bomb of healthy eating into a society that, he says, eats food that ravages our cardiovascular systems and relies too readily on drugs to keep its cholesterol in check. Five years ago, Esselstyn flipped the meat-munching crew of the Austin fire station where he worked to a plant-powered gang fueled by beans, tofu and leafy greens. Now he's introducing the rest of us to his eating philosophy in his new book, The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds.

Austin360, TX, U.S. - February 13

Great chefs cook vegan
Full story: Huffington Post

Compiled by photographer, writer and longtime vegan Linda Long, Great Chefs Cook Vegan challenges award-winning non-veg chefs to create three- or four-course vegan meals. The resulting cookbook, which would be just as at home on a coffee table as a kitchen counter, is over 200 pages of vivid photographs, detailed ingredients lists and even a glossary for those of us who have never heard of carrageenan (it's made from a dried red algae and when softened in water, it will form a jelly).

Huffington Post - February 19
  Of Note    

Welcome to the New Zealand Vegetarian Society!
We're delighted that members of the New Zealand Vegetarian Society will now be receiving VegE-News, complete with a listing of their own local events. They join the Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg and Australia veggie orgs as well as subscribers from all over the world in keeping up to date on current news and views from a veggie perspective with VegE-News.
New Zealand Vegetarian Society
Email VegE-News

Where to find a healthy vegan pet food for dogs & cats?
AMI Dog and Ami Cat are great tasting and nutritionally complete. Available in stores in Ontario, BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, several U.S. states and over the internet everywhere! Click below to find store addresses and internet sources.
Where to buy Ami vegan pet food

Tell your friends - March 20 is the 25th annual Meatout!
On (or around) March 20 — the first day of spring — thousands of caring people in Canada, all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries - including New Zealand! - get active to host educational Meatout events. This year's theme is "Change Your Diet - Change the World!"

There's a free vegetarian starter kit on the Meatout site and ongoing support from the 'Meatout Mondays' e-newsletter, always featuring a delicious recipe. In honor of our new subscribers from New Zealand, click below for a recent issue with a scrumptious salad dressing made with kiwifruit - plus info on the health benefits of this major New Zealand export. Did you know it is always called "kiwifruit" in Australia and New Zealand, but often just "kiwi" elsewhere?

"Meatout" would be a good day to sign up for The Toronto Vegetarian Association's Veggie Challenge - just click below. And you'll find lots of recipes at VegE-News to keep you going all-year round.
Free vegetarian starter kit
Meatout Mondays - Kiwi clementine dressing
TVA Veggie Challenge
VegE-News recipes

Brighton Vegan Fayre - March 21
Billed as "the world's 2nd biggest vegan fayre," this year's show promises to be great fun! So if you're in the area - be sure to take it in.
Brighton Vegan Fayre

Calls to action
When disaster strikes, we can be grateful that there are organizations to help people in need with resources and comfort. And also thankful that organizations such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare remember the animals as well. IFAW is asking for help with rescuing animals from Australia's devastating bushfires.
IFAW Australia

Despite a vanishing market for seal fur and an international boycott of Canadian seafood that is costing the Canadian economy far more than the value of the sealing industry, the Canadian government decided to allow the commercial hunt of grey seals in Nova Scotia again this year. Click below to take action with Humane Society International.
Stop Canada's seal hunt

Newspapers worldwide are reporting about the extreme torture of cats that are skinned and then boiled alive by butchers in Guandong, China. Click below to read the full text of a letter to the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan and to take action.
A letter the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan - EVU

The sister of yours truly wants everyone to get active to put an end to fur cat toys. They may look adorable, but they represent immense cruelty. She says: "We need to start a world wide boycott of these stupid toys that cause so much suffering to animals and are completely unnecessary. Don't buy fur toys and tell your pet store and gift shops to stop carrying them. Write to the Pet Store Companies through mail, email or deliver a letter to the store to be sent in the pouch to the main office. Remember these animals have only us, they have no voice but ours." The article below shows that consumer voices can make a difference. And the transcript from the Larry King show with Heather Mills and Alec Baldwin reveals more about the shocking industry. Heather's site reports success with China, but clearly there is more to be done.
Outrage as supermarket giant sells real fur toy - Sunday Herald, UK (February 23)
Larry King with Heather Mills
Heather Mills - campaign update

Animals in Northern Canada need help. You can sign a petition at the link below to help in pressuring the Government of the Northwest Territories to enact and pass Animal Protection Legislation similiar to that of other Canadian Provinces [which is only a small step in any case].
Loki's Gift - for dogs in the north

A Happy Ending
This isn't new news - or even about vegetarianism. But, it brought a smile to read it after so many distressing stories. Molly is a 15-year-old gray speckled pony that was abandoned during hurricane Katrina. After being attacked by a pit bull at her rescue shelter, "Pony Paradise," she had a seriously injured leg. Almost miraculously, she survived with never-before performed surgery at Louisiana State University and the help of a prosthetic limb. "The prosthetic device is amazing. Even without it, Molly does really well, but the prosthetic has given her a whole new life,” said her veterinarian. “And she asks for it. She’s amazing. She will put her little limb out and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she wants you to take it off, too."

Now Molly visits children who have had life-altering illnesses or injuries themselves, where her pluck always spreads hope and cheer. There's even a children's book about her - Molly the Pony: A True Story.
Molly's story from LSU
Book - "Molly the Pony: A True Story"

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