May 2009
In this edition...

Top Stories
  Belgian city plans 'veggie' days
  And after much effort, Man created swine flu
  Future fillet: In vitro meat and its biggest promoter
  Farm living is the life for Molly the cow

  Life-threatening disease is the price we pay for cheap meat
  Study: Many organic soy food brands importing beans from China
  Turn down grill heat on cancer risk

  Ultra-rare shark caught and eaten
  Paper, plastic, cloth: It's what's in the bag that counts
  Diet change may be greener option than local sourcing
  Fishery closed to protect endangered sea turtles

Lifestyles and Trends
  Vegan etiquette
  Going vegan for a month
  Quaint - and dangerous - ideas on vegetarianism in France
  Heather Mills opens 'shocking' new restaurant

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  'Lose pretty or win ugly' - Big Ag attacks Americans concerned about factory farming
  Australian police raid rights group over kangaroo meat protest
  New Zealand comedian does U-turn on pork
  Student activists try to save wildlife on China's menu

Books, Docs and Perspectives
  A vegan cookbook shows you what you won't miss
  Documentary review: A Sacred Duty

Of Note: Veg Funding, Recipes, Videos, Calls to Action - and More

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

Belgian city plans 'veggie' days
Full story: BBC

The Belgian city of Ghent is the first in the world to go vegetarian at least once a week [with] a regular weekly meatless day, in which civil servants and elected councillors opt for vegetarian meals. Ghent means to recognise the impact of livestock on the environment. Public officials and politicians will be the first to give up meat for a day. Schoolchildren will follow suit with their own veggiedag in September. It is hoped the move will cut Ghent's environmental footprint and help tackle obesity.

BBC - May 12

And after much effort, Man created swine flu
Full story: Times of London, UK

I once worked on a chicken farm. Actually "farm" is far too gentle a word for the way these chickens were raised, and "factory" sounds too clinical. This was the seventh circle of chicken hell, a clucking, stinking, filthy production line with just one aim: to produce the maximum quantity of edible meat, as fast and as cheaply as possible, regardless of quality, cruelty or hygiene. The creatures were raised in vast hangars, living on a diet of hormones, antibiotics and cheap grain, thousands crushed together in their own dirt under artificial light, growing from chick to slaughter size in a few grim weeks. Those mass-produced chickens were evidently ill. One did not need to be a scientist to know that something very sick was being produced in that shed. As swine flu spreads, and fear spreads faster, it is worth remembering that this, and other animal-to-human viruses, are partly man-made, the outcome of our hunger for cheap meat, the result of treating animals as if they were mere raw material to be exploited in any way that increases output and profits.

Times of London, UK - April 30

Future fillet: In vitro meat and its biggest promoter
Full story: University of Chicago Magazine

Jason Matheny envisions the day when beef and chicken grown in labs will help prevent heart attacks and protect the environment - if enough people swallow the concept. There could be a limit with fake meats, he explained, standing before a freezer stuffed with veggie burgers, soy chicken nuggets, and vegan-friendly meatballs. "Meat tastes great. Meat has unique properties," said Matheny, who hasn't eaten the stuff in more than two decades. "Some consumers might not be satisfied with soy or mycoprotein" (made from an edible fungus). "We just can't put all of our eggs in one basket." It was this basic idea - the need for an alternative to vegetarian alternatives - that ultimately led to Matheny's provocative proposal [to grown in vitro meat]. Critics call it "disgusting," "gross," "a Frankenfood nightmare"; others see it as a potential humanitarian and environmental panacea, saving lives and land. Matheny's vision, first articulated in the May/June 2005 Tissue Engineering, was that meat could be grown rather than raised. [An excellent review of the history and future of in vitro meat. Also visit the New Harvest website.]

University of Chicago Magazine - May/June

Farm living is the life for Molly the cow
Full story: New York Times

Molly the calf seems to have escaped the slaughterhouse permanently. The heifer - who evidently escaped from a Queens [New York] slaughterhouse before being corralled by police officers - was loaded on a trailer at a Brooklyn animal shelter and transported to her new home: a 60-acre organic farm where she can romp with a steer named Wexler and munch on organic hay.

New York Times - May 7
Barbara Walters may go vegetarian thanks to Molly the cow
Ecorazzi (May 7) - Like Barbara, such stories just tear at this editor's heart - every one of those cows would like to escape. It is at least hopeful that someone with Barbara's influence "gets it."
Cow uses gorilla tactics
"Cow finds love after escaping death," trumpeted the "New York Post" above its picture special and for a moment everyone forgot about recession, climate change, terrorism, swine flu . . . Unfortunately, they also forgot about Molly's old friends, who were being turned into steaks just as Molly was being captured. - Sydney Morning Herald (May 17)


Life-threatening disease is the price we pay for cheap meat
Full story: Independent, UK

A swelling number of scientists believe swine flu has not happened by accident. No: they argue that this global pandemic - and all the deaths we are about to see - is the direct result of our demand for cheap meat. So is the way we produce our food really making us sick as a pig? At first glance, this seems wrong. All through history, viruses have mutated, and sometimes they have taken nasty forms that scythe through the human population. This is an inescapable reality we just have to live with, like earthquakes and tsunamis. But the scientific evidence increasingly suggests that we have unwittingly invented an artificial way to accelerate the evolution of these deadly viruses - and pump them out across the world. They are called factory farms. They manufacture low-cost flesh, with a side-dish of viruses to go. We always knew that factory farms were a scar on humanity's conscience - but now we fear they are a scar on our health.

Independent, UK - May 1
More on swine flu:
Pig boom raises health issues
Pig and other animal populations are growing too rapidly, raising the odds of disease outbreaks and other environmental problems. - Wall Street Journal (May 11)
CNN videos
Inhumane farming practices and factory farms pose an unacceptable risk to the environment, animal welfare and public health. - CNN/VegSource (April 28)
The pigs' revenge
Guardian, UK (May 2)
The swine flu crisis lays bare the meat industry's monstrous power
Guardian, UK (April 27)
The true cost of eating meat
Guardian, UK (April 30)
Goat horns don't belong on a pig
The real cause of swine flu is corporate control of food - Beyond Factory Farming, Canada
What you should know about swine flu
Q&A with Dr. Michael Greger - HSUS (May 3)

Study: Many organic soy food brands importing beans from China
Full story: Organic Consumers Association

Tremendous growth in the organic soy foods industry has occurred over the last two decades as consumers seek healthy dietary alternative sources of protein. Many companies touting their "natural" or "organic" soy brands have found favor in the supermarket. A new report, released by The Cornucopia Institute, lifts the veil on some of these companies, exposing widespread importation of soybeans from China and the use of toxic chemicals to process soy foods labeled as "natural."

Organic Consumers Association - May 18

Turn down grill heat on cancer risk
Full story: Health News Digest

Throw a slice of pineapple on the grill instead of a chicken leg? A portobello mushroom instead of a burger? Meat lovers may call foul, but as grilling season heats up, Duke University Medical Center researchers say that's the best way to lower your cancer risk especially as recent findings add fuel to the link between grilled meat and cancer. "It's a concern," says Denise Snyder, a nutrition researcher at the Duke School of Nursing, about a study presented recently at a cancer meeting by Minnesota researchers. It found people who ate well-done meat were 60 per cent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. "It doesn't mean if you eat well-done steak that you will get cancer, but it is more evidence to suggest a relationship exists between eating grilled meats and certain cancers." Red meat isn't the only culprit. Snyder says any meat made of muscle protein - including chicken, pork and fish - can generate a cancer-causing reaction when it meets a hot grill.

Health News Digest - May 18

Ultra-rare shark caught and eaten
Full story: Discovery News

A megamouth shark, one of the world's most elusive species, was caught, carved up and eaten by fishermen from a town in the Philippines, the environmental conservation group WWF said. So rare are megamouth shark sightings that each find is given a number - this one, caught by fishermen from the coastal town of Donsol, was only the 41st ever seen or captured in the world. But Elson Aca, a Donsol WWF representative, said it was butchered and its meat sauteed in coconut milk as a local delicacy, against the organization's advice.

Discovery News - April 7

Paper, plastic, cloth: It's what's in the bag that counts
Full story: Blog

In a nutshell, what's in the bag matters a lot more towards stopping global warming than what the bag is made of - around 186 times more, according to some 2007 data crunching by a blogger at The Daily Score. The energy saved by a family of four that chooses a vegetable-based diet for one day would be equivalent to the energy needed to produce 186 plastic bags, or drive the average U.S passenger car over 15 miles. So, if you're standing in the checkout line, transfixed by the "paper versus plastic" question because your canvas grocery tote is hanging on a hook back at home, and worrying about global warming in particular, your best option really is to put the beef roast back in the meat case, grab a couple bags of dried beans, and make a nice pot of vegetarian chili for dinner. Blog - May 6

Diet change may be greener option than local sourcing
Full story:

As consumers seek out food with a reduced carbon footprint, some experts believe a dietary shift from red meat and dairy consumption may be more effective than turning to locally sourced products, suggests new analysis. In a report for the environmental research group, the Worldwatch Institute, Sarah DeWeerdt looked at the potential environmental benefits of locally sourced goods in relation to other food production models. "Replacing red meat and dairy with chicken, fish, or eggs for one day per week would save the equivalent of driving 760 miles per year," stated the report. "Replacing red meat and dairy with vegetables one day a week would be like driving 1,160 miles less." [Editor's note: Vegan, organic, local is the best for the environment! But vegan is the most important, followed by organic.] - April 23
Jewish group calls animal-based diets and agriculture 'madness and sheer insanity'
Because the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental problems, and animal-based agriculture is contributing substantially to these threats, JVNA [Jewish Vegetarians of North America] believes that it is time to call animal-based diets and agriculture MADNESS AND SHEER INSANITY and to urge that there be a major shift to plant-based diets.- EVU/JVNA (May 25)

Fishery closed to protect endangered sea turtles
Full story: Environment News Network

The [U.S.] National Marine Fisheries Service has ordered a six-month emergency closure of the bottom longline fishery in the Gulf of Mexico to protect imperiled sea turtles from capture and death. During the closure, which [went] into effect May 16, the agency will determine whether and how the fishery can operate while ensuring the survival of the turtles over the long term. "After years of delay and the death of hundreds of turtles, it's great to know that protections are finally on their way," said Sierra Weaver, an attorney with Defenders of Wildlife. "This closure will insure that the fishery can operate without threatening these species with extinction." Bottom longline fishing is a fishing process that uses hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks along miles of lines laid behind fishing vessels and stretching down to the reef and Gulf floor.

Environment News Network - April 30
  Lifestyles and Trends    

Vegan etiquette
Full story:

"Veg-etiquette" can sometimes be straining, as conflicts often lead to discussing animal rights and meat-eating, which is always a sticky subject. We all need a reminder sometimes that respect for others is what makes the world go around, and although we have our differences, everyone deserves respect and to be treated with proper etiquette. Hopefully the people around you will respond in kind. [The article has practical advice for omnivores and vegans.] - May 11

Going vegan for a month
Full story: San Francisco Chronicle

Mention to a few friends that you are going vegan. You'll find out who your friends are pretty quickly, as I did for the month that I adhered to the strict rules of a vegan diet. I decided to cut out all animal products and go vegan for a month because I felt I couldn't cover the topic without having the experience. A month seemed like an appropriate amount of time, but I discovered it wasn't, especially if I would continue feeling as good as I did. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed being vegan. My body felt great and my skin was shining. I cooked all the time, so not only did I really get into the process of living alone and creating lovely meals for myself, but I was also saving money by not going out or buying processed ingredients. When I spoke with friends about what I was doing, I did realize one thing: The fact that I knew how to cook, and enjoyed it, certainly helped. Most felt they couldn't make a lifestyle of having to cook all the time. Then they saw my boundless energy, and reconsidered. [Article includes recipes.]

San Francisco Chronicle - May 22
More veggie experiences:
For vegetarian, a strange new world
Beware of grandmothers with good intentions - The Atlantic (April 29)

Quaint - and dangerous - ideas on vegetarianism in France
Full story: American Chronicle

April, 2008, saw the French media have a field day as they reported the case of a baby that died due to, allegedly, malnutrition from being breastfed by its vegan mother. As in a similar 2004/5 case, the parents have been arrested, charged with mistreating their 11-month-old daughter. . . I mentioned this new case of a dead baby to a woman I met in Nice a couple of weeks ago, an American of Indian (Hindu) origin. She reacted exactly as I had supposed she would, by looking at me with incredulity and amazement. Surely I was kidding. Wasn't I? Sadly, no. 'But don't they know,' she protested, 'that in India, to take just one example, there are hundreds of thousands, even millions of mothers who take no animals products, and their babies don't die of malnutrition?' No, the majority of the French don't know these things. Linguistic isolation, and the resulting exclusive dependence on French authorities for news and analysis, reinforced by French chauvinism, keeps the public ignorant and squarely under the thumb of those who control the media here, and who can thus shape public opinion at will, and even in defiance of facts.

American Chronicle - April 30
Call for action to help a vegan mother detained in France
The challenge of going veggie in Egypt
Egypt Today (January)

Heather Mills opens 'shocking' new restaurant
Full story: PerthNow, Australia

Heather Mills says people will be "shocked" by her new vegan restaurant. The former model, who plans to open a chain of eateries, claims customers visiting V-Bites in Brighton, UK, will relish the tasty meat-free meals she has been working on for years. She said: "I think the food is really going to surprise everyone. Most people's diet is 70 per cent vegan anyway, as they eat rice, pasta and bread, but they just don't associate the two. "What is going to shock people most is the meat replacements. I have been working on them for seven years and they have a real meat taste."

PerthNow, Australia - May 15
More veggie celebs:
Baseball ace Pat Neshek is willing to take the heat for his vegan diet
The Minnesota Twins relief pitcher says he feels better, physically and mentally, when not eating meat or dairy. - Minneapolis Star Tribune (May 17)
Bollywood celebrities give animal welfare a boost
The Hindu News, India (May 9)

  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

'Lose pretty or win ugly' - Big Ag attacks Americans concerned about factory farming
Full story: Civil Eats

Since the overwhelming passage of California's Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act this past November, Big Agribusiness has been in a feeding frenzy, stepping up its attacks on its critics, most especially The Humane Society of the United States. The ringleader of these attacks is an industry PR front group deceitfully named the "Center for Consumer Freedom." Started with a $600,000 grant from [tobacco giant] Phillip Morris, CCF is also funded by alcohol, restaurant, and agribusiness interests. It campaigns against groups as varied as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Cancer Institute. The editorial boards of USA Today and the Washington Post have condemned CCF for misleading the public. As [CCF spokesperson David Martosko] explained it to agribusiness cheerleader Trent Loos, rather than discussing the issues at hand, just destroy the reputation of your critics. Martosko concluded to Loos: "You can either lose pretty or win ugly."

Civil Eats - May 18

Australian police raid rights group over kangaroo meat protest
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Police have raided the offices of the animal welfare group Animal Liberation, seizing documents and computer files in the latest development in a prolonged war over the slaughter of kangaroos and their export for human consumption. The chief executive of Animal Liberation, Mark Pearson, said the warrant specified allegations that members of the group had wilfully contaminated carcasses for the purposes of causing "public alarm or loss," and of breaking into a house for the purposes of committing a serious indictable offence. Mr. Pearson said that had not happened, but there was no need to anyway, because tests commissioned by Animal Liberation and contained in a report by an Israeli-born ecologist and biologist, Dror Ben-Ami, showed high contamination in some samples. Dr. Ben-Ami [also said] in his report that "every year some 440,000 dependent young kangaroos are either clubbed to death or left to starve after their mothers have been killed." [Editor's note: Mark Berriman, president of the Australian Vegetarian Society, tells us that "this is a dreadful business - worse than the Canadian seals!"]

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - May 4

New Zealand comedian does U-turn on pork
Full story: Stuff, New Zealand

Comedian Mike King, who used to front a campaign promoting pork products, says the "callous and evil" practice of crate farming pigs should be outlawed immediately. King said that after breaking into a pig farm with animal activists where pigs were kept in crates, he was deeply ashamed he took part in promoting the type of farming. The pigs were unable to move and obviously in distress, chewing at the cage bars and frothing, King said. There was one dead pig in the sties and Mr. King described the pigs as being "despairing, terrified and lost." It was "callous, evil" treatment of pigs and the sound of "screaming" pigs he would never forget. "It was like they were screaming for you to help them. "If I had known this was going on I would never have supported this. I firmly believe that anyone who sees this would say this has to stop."

Stuff, New Zealand - May 17
Suddenly it's the time of the pig
The Dominion Post, NZ (May 23)

Student activists try to save wildlife on China's menu
Full story: Guardian, UK

Stewed turtle cures cancer, crocodile meat relieves asthma, pangolin scales regulate menstruation and scorpion venom helps stroke victims. Such is the traditional wisdom in Guangdong province, where animal markets teem with snakes, scorpions, salamander and dozens of different species of birds and turtles, some of which are endangered and all of which are fated to end their lives in restaurants, pharmacies or pet cages. Eating rare wildlife is normal in southern China, but a growing group of student activists is trying to do something considered far stranger: they are trying to save them. The activists say the key is changing attitudes. "We try to educate people that turtles are not only pets and not only food; they are also a friend of humans," Wen Zhenyu says.

Guardian, UK - May 15
U.S.: Maine becomes sixth U.S. state to ban extreme confinement
HSUS (May 13)
UK: Pig industry complaint over advert backfires
Yorkshire Post (May 20)
International: United Nations animal welfare web portal launched
FAO Newsroom (May 22)
The truth behind labels - a new and revealing report
Farm Sanctuary

  Books, Docs and Perspectives    

A vegan cookbook shows you what you won't miss
Full story: Darien Times, CT, U.S.

When someone who is unfamiliar with vegan cooking thinks of it, often associated thoughts include weird dishes, strange grains, and less flavor. However, Priscilla Feral, author of her second vegan cookbook, The Best of Vegan Cooking, hopes to change all that. Feral is president of the Darien-based Friends of Animals. Feral said she hopes the book inspires people who are new to the vegan world and will show them they're not missing out on anything. "I didn't think anything should be sacrificed. We wanted to show people delicious looking food, the eye is important. You need a good palate to be a good cook. You don't have to sacrifice anything for good vegan cooking," she said.

Darien Times, CT, U.S. - May 9

Documentary review: A Sacred Duty
Full story: Bella Online

Conversations around the topics of environmental concerns, health and sustainability, and the ecological future of our world often lead me to a deeper contemplation of our purpose here on Earth. It is time - no matter who you are or what you believe in - to begin to consider the bigger picture. It is time we become accountable for the actions we take and how our actions make their impact on the world around us. Recently, I had the opportunity to view a documentary called A Sacred Duty, produced by multi-award-winning producer/director, writer and cinematographer, Lionel Friedberg and edited by professional editor, Diana Friedberg. Whether you are an environmentalist, a vegetarian, or neither - this documentary is a worthwhile view that will educate, inform and raise questions in your mind. From Israel to a global view of the world, you will be provoked, concerned and motivated to make some change - even if it is a small one.

Bella Online - May
More books:
Stocking up: Two books inspire us to fill the larder for a better diet
Wenatchee World/Chicago Tribune (April 21)
Visit our VegE-Store for books and more
Thanks for your support!

  Of Note: Veg Funding, Recipes, Videos, Calls to Action - and More    

Funding to help you serve up compassion!
Now you can offer FREE vegan food at events in your region. VegFund helps activists who want to acquaint the general public with the joys of a plant-based diet by serving vegan food at local events around the world. VegFund was founded by Rae Sikora and JC Corcoran. JC has given up his informative "News For Life" e-newsletter to concentrate on this important project and has suggested that his readers subscribe to VegE-News to stay up-to-date on current veggie issues. Thanks JC for the vote of confidence - and welcome to our new subscribers! Find out more about VegFund at the link below.

Your friends won't believe this cake is vegan!
Midnight Kitchen serves up vegan meals to University of McGill students in Montreal on a "pay what you can" basis. Recently, I sampled their delicious fare, including an amazing vegan chocolate cake that you can now find in our VegE-News recipes. Just search for "Marie's chocolate cake" - thanks Marie!
VegE-News recipes

A note of caution regarding the veggie "eco card"
A recent report from Discovery Channel on a "fuel-efficient cow" reminds us that we need to tread carefully in bringing up environmental considerations against meat-eating. Just as a recent interview at warned, as technology advances, factory farms can be less wasteful and less harmful to the environment. Matt Ball of Vegan Outreach also points out that the argument may result in more chickens being killed as people, with good intentions, resolve to "do something."
Introducing the fuel-efficient cow - Discovery Channel (May 20)
Coming soon: Methane-free cows? -
Global warming, human psychology, and net impact for animals - Matt Ball, Vegan Outreach

A virtual visit to Farm Sanctuary
Farm Sanctuary has introduced its Virtual Experience, a new digital environment that enables anyone to investigate and explore a richly-detailed simulation of two very different worlds: the factory farm and the sanctuary. Check it out!
Farm Sanctuary Virtual Experience

Videos of note
Here's a selection of recent short, entertaining and informative videos from VegSource and a great visual from Animal Visuals depicting the enormity of animal slaughter:
The L.A. Veggie Pride Parade
Jeff Novick, MS RD - Why I Went Veg
Dr. McDougall MD - Ex-Processed Person
Jay Gordon MD - Do We Need Meat?
Happy Ending: Duck Rescue
U.S. Rate of Slaughter

Calls to action
In an effort to boost post-Easter holiday sales, egg producers across the country celebrate May as "National Egg Month." Compassion Over Killing is asking you to put an animal-friendly spin on this month-long industry-declared holiday by pledging to Crack the Cruelty and choose egg-free foods for at least 30 days!
Egg-free pledge

The first annual worldwide vegan bake sale will take place June 20 through June 28 (two weekends and the weekdays in between), when groups from across the world will hold vegan bake sales. Each participating group gets to choose its venue, what to sell, and how it uses the proceeds. Just about anyone can join in. will also help with funding if you want to give the food away rather than sell it!
Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

FARM Animal Rights 2009 Conference - July 16-20
This year's Conference will be held at the Westin LAX Hotel near Los Angeles Airport. The program will focus on effective tactics to promote animal rights and veganism, to stop federal repression of animal activism, and to engage other social justice movements.
Animal Rights 2009

An invitation to veggie organizations and members
If you are a vegetarian organization that would like 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, the New Zealand Vegetarian Society, Vegetarians of Alberta, Toronto Vegetarian Organization, and Winnipeg Vegetarian Organization. Members receive the regular VegE-News PLUS listings of their local events. If you are a member of one of those organizations, but not receiving the customized version, just drop us an email to switch you to the specific list.
Email VegE-News

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