In this edition...
| ||Getting real about the high price of cheap food|
| ||Artificial meat production could prevent disease|
| ||Against dogfighting? But what about that hot dog? |
| ||Harvard study links fish and fish oil to diabetes|
| ||High cholesterol linked to Alzheimer's risk|
| ||Gorilla virus in our midst|
| ||Can children be healthy if vegan or vegetarian? Yes!|
| ||15 horrifying reasons to never let anyone you love near a McDonald's|
Environment and Ethics
| ||Are we on the brink of saving rainforests?|
| ||Q&A: 'Time to de-grow'|
| ||Origins of the food crisis in developing countries|
| ||Global warming: The meat of the problem|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Q&A: About peas in a pod - the 'slow food' movement|
| ||When friends ask about vegan diet: Fast answers to frequent questions|
| ||Veggie celebs - Alicia Silverstone: How a vegan diet makes you sparkle|
| ||Why Jews should be vegetarians|
| ||Australian restaurants becoming more veg-friendly|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Perspectives on advocacy: When 'go vegetarian' is the right message|
| ||The low cost of chickens|
| ||Australian supermarket signals major shift to free-range eggs|
| ||Happy endings: Slaughterhouse escapees romp on New York farm |
Of Note - Videos, Calls to Action, Festivals and More
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| Top Stories
|Getting real about the high price of cheap food
Full story: Time Magazine
The agricultural industry can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Those hidden prices are the creeping erosion of our fertile farmland, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that the birds can't even raise their wings and the scary rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals. Add to the price tag the acceleration of global warming - our energy-intensive food system uses 19 per cent of U.S. fossil fuels, more than any other sector of the economy. And perhaps worst of all, our food is increasingly bad for us, even dangerous... The industrial food system fills us up but leaves us empty - it's based on selective forgetting. But what we eat - how it's raised and how it gets to us - has consequences that can't be ignored any longer.
|Time Magazine - August 21|
|Artificial meat production could prevent disease
Full story: Daily Nation, Kenya
An end to the era of animal slaughterhouses isn't near. However, in a decade or so, four-legged and two-legged creatures as favored sources of meat should expect competition. Scientists say so. Early this month, Mr. Jason Matheny of the research group New Harvest expounded on the merits of the competition in an interview with CNN. He said producing meat in-vitro would be healthier for the planet, [and] humans. That's because scientists will control ingredients such as fat and acid ratios in meat. To use Mr. Matheny's words, that means "a hamburger that prevents heart attacks instead of causing them." Additionally, the process would reduce risks of human diseases Mr. Matheny claimed, with reason, livestock farming accounts for. Included are avian flu, swine flu, "mad cow disease," Salmonella contamination; the list is unlimited.
|Daily Nation, Kenya - August 16|
In-vitro meat: Would lab-burgers be better for us and the planet?
CNN (August 8)
CNN (August 8)
|Against dogfighting? But what about that hot dog?
Full story: NorthJersey.com
The Philadelphia Eagles [a U.S. football team] have given Michael Vick [who was convicted of cruel dogfighting practices] a one-year deal with an option for a second year. People are outraged at the thought that someone who abused and killed dogs would be rewarded with a lucrative contract. I am absolutely bewildered at this reaction. Please, let me be very clear from the outset: I think that dogfighting is a terrible thing. But I must say that the Vick case is rather dramatically demonstrating what I call our "moral schizophrenia" about animals... In [the United States] alone, we kill more than 10 billion animals annually for food. The animals we eat suffer as much as, if not more than, the dogs used in dogfighting. They are raised under horrendous conditions, mutilated in various ways without pain relief, transported long distances in cramped, filthy containers and finally slaughtered amid the stench, noise and squalor of the abattoir. There is no need for us to eat meat, dairy or eggs. We impose pain, suffering and death on these billions of sentient non-humans because we enjoy eating their flesh and the products that we make from them. We have no better justification. [We highly recommend reading this full thought-provoking article by Gary L. Francione, professor of law at Rutgers University School of Law, as we can't do justice to it in a short excerpt.]
|NorthJersey.com - August 19|
|Harvard study links fish and fish oil to diabetes
Full story: PCRM
A new Harvard study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links fish and omega-3 oil consumption to type 2 diabetes. Following 195,204 adults for 14 to18 years, researchers found that the more fish or omega-3 fatty acids participants consumed, the higher their risk of developing diabetes. The risk increase was modest for occasional fish eaters, but rose to a 22 per cent increased risk for women consuming five or more fish servings per week. Prior studies have suggested that fat accumulation within muscle cells can lead to insulin resistance which, in turn, contributes to diabetes. People who eat no animal products have less fat in their cells and much less risk of developing diabetes. A low-fat vegan diet has been shown to improve type 2 diabetes.
Study links pesticide in fish to diabetes
Chicago Tribune (August 23)
Don't like fish? Need omega-3? Eat your veggies
Daily Press, U.S. (August 15)
From the archives:
Fish is not health food
By John McDougall, MD - Earth Save International
|High cholesterol linked to Alzheimer's risk
Full story: UPI
A 40-year study suggests having high cholesterol in midlife increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease in later years, U.S. and Finnish researchers say. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente and the University of Kuopio in Finland say the study of of 9,844 men and women suggests high cholesterol in midlife - 240 or higher milligrams per deciliter of blood - increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease later in life by 66 per cent. Borderline cholesterol levels of 200-239 mg/dL raised the risk for vascular dementia by 52 per cent, the study said. The researchers tracked the study participants for 40 years. [A vegan diet is known to lower cholesterol.]
|Gorilla virus in our midst
Full story: Science Now
Researchers are shaking up the HIV family tree again. For the first time, investigators have found what looks like a gorilla version of the AIDS virus in a person. They do not know how the woman became infected but suspect that other humans harbor a similar virus. The possibility that gorillas can transmit the virus to humans further underscores the danger of butchering the apes or keeping them as pets, which still occurs in some African communities.
|Can children be healthy if vegan or vegetarian? Yes!
Full story: Examiner.com
While some parents and pediatricians believe a vegan or vegetarian diet is unhealthy for children, studies and real-life experiences suggest quite the opposite. According to the American Dietetic Association, "Well-planned vegetarian diets - even a vegan diet - can supply all the nutrients that children require for their growth and energy needs." In fact, it is the official position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada also recognized that "Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes." . . . Looking at these [health statistics] it is hard to deny that a vegetarian or vegan diet is the healthier choice for children and teens, especially when those diets can help end the epidemic and prevent children and adults from becoming obese or developing type II diabetes.
|15 horrifying reasons to never let anyone you love near a McDonald's
Full story: AlterNet.org
The Golden Arches: the ultimate American icon. The documentary Super Size Me taught us that fast food culture brings obesity, heart disease, hypertension and a whole slew of other problems. How bad do you really want that Big Mac? Here are 15 reasons you'll never let anyone you love get near those Golden Arches...erectile dysfunction, the truth behind the "special sauce," and a burger from 1996. Keep reading if you dare.
Also of note:
Consumer health vs. 'Big Chicken' - no contest
Miller-McCune (August 27)
Consumers plan to sue hot dog makers seeking health warnings
Pointing to "landmark" research showing a heightened risk of colon cancer in people who consume processed meat, the class-action lawsuit will target the makers of [various brands of] franks as if they were Big Tobacco. - NJ.com, U.S. (July 22)
| Environment and Ethics
|Are we on the brink of saving rainforests?
Full story: Mongabay.com
Deep in the Brazilian Amazon, members of the Surui tribe are developing a scheme that will reward them for protecting their rainforest home from encroachment by ranchers and illegal loggers. The project, [was] initiated by the Surui themselves ... under a far-reaching initiative to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Supporters say REDD could send billions of dollars a year to developing nations for conserving their rainforests, while preserving biodiversity; protecting ecosystem services; promoting rural development in some of the world's poorest, and in some cases, least, governed regions; and breaking a deadlock that has stalled international climate negotiations for over a decade. Forests are being destroyed as a consequence of global economic forces - demand for timber, pulpwood, beef, soybeans (to feed livestock), and palm oil - as well as subsistence farming.
|Q&A: 'Time to de-grow'
Full story: IPS
Serge Latouche, professor emeritus of economic science at the University of Paris-Sud, is one of the main proponents of "the society of de-growth." He calls for "abandoning the objective of growth for growth's sake, an insane objective, with disastrous consequences for the environment." The need for a 'de-growth' society stems from the certainty, he says, that the earth's resources and natural cycles cannot sustain the economic growth which is the essence of capitalism and modernity... Q: What strategies could the global South pursue in order to eliminate poverty in a different way than the North has, at the expense of the environment and producing poverty in the South? A: Firstly, it is clear that de-growth in the North is a precondition for opening up of alternatives for the South. As long as Ethiopia and Somalia are forced, during the worst food shortage, to export feed for our domestic animals, as long as we fatten our cattle with soya obtained after destroying the Amazonian forest, we are asphyxiating any attempt at real autonomy in the South.
|Origins of the food crisis in developing countries
Full story: Monthly Review
Adam Smith remarked in his Wealth of Nations that there was a natural upper bound to the demand for food, since how much a person could eat was limited by the size of his stomach. He could not have foreseen the sharply increasing animal-products intensity of diets as populations grew better off. The per capita direct plus indirect grain demand of the United States, at 900 kg per year, is seven times the comparable per capita grain demand of the poorest nations, although North American stomachs are obviously not seven times larger. The required direct grain consumption for minimum daily energy intake for working and health is often not available to the poorest nations and any slight output or import shortfall can tip large segments of the population into famine. This not always because these nations produce too little grain to feed their populations, but because the end use of the grain they do produce is determined by the superior purchasing power of their own elites and of richer Northern populations.
|Global warming: The meat of the problem
Full story: Washington Post
The debate over climate change has reached a rarefied level of policy abstraction in recent months. Carbon tax or cap-and-trade? Upstream or downstream? Should we auction permits? Head-scratching is, at this point, permitted. But at base, these policies aim to do a simple thing, in a simple way: persuade us to undertake fewer activities that are bad for the atmosphere by making those activities more expensive. Driving an SUV would become pricier. So would heating a giant house with coal and buying electricity from an inefficient power plant. But there's one activity that's not on the list and should be: eating a hamburger. If it's any consolation, I didn't like writing that sentence any more than you liked reading it. But the evidence is strong. It's not simply that meat is a contributor to global warming; it's that it is a huge contributor. Larger, by a significant margin, than the global transportation sector.
|Washington Post - July 29|
| Lifestyles and Trends
|Q&A: About peas in a pod - the 'slow food' movement
Full story: IPS
Slow Food, obviously, is the opposite of fast food. And it's a movement now with more than 100,000 members in 132 countries. But what does "slow food" mean in practical terms? The question was put to Paolo di Croce, secretary-general of Slow Food International, who spoke about the challenges ahead for "good, clean and fair" food, and the movement itself... Q: But this message is not exactly mainstream. Don't you feel frustrated? A: In the last five years I have seen a lot of changes. Everywhere I go now there is more interest. I am not talking about the World Bank, but about normal people, who are the ones who can change the world, the "co-producers." The day we all decide to eat fresh and local, to eat less meat... with these, simple daily choices we will have a revolution. [While the Slow Food Movement is not vegan, it can be a step in a positive direction.]
|When friends ask about vegan diet: Fast answers to frequent questions
Full story: Examiner.com
Once you've explained to someone why you are vegan, they are likely to have a few questions about the how of it all. And let's face it - you've heard most of those questions so many times that it can be a trial to describe once again where you get your protein or how you know plants don't feel pain. A little preparation can make it easier. Memorize the quick answers [in this article] to the questions that non-vegans frequently ask so that you'll always be on your activist toes.
'Why are you vegan?'
Some succinct answers to the question - Examiner.com (July 30)
Is going vegan for you?
Benefits - Yahoo! Lifestyle
Vegan diet need not be a 'bone' of contention
USA Today (August 12)
|Veggie celebs - Alicia Silverstone: How a vegan diet makes you sparkle
Full story: Health.com
Over a vegan lunch in Los Angeles, Alicia gave us a sneak peek at her first book, The Kind Diet, which is part healthy-eating treatise, part diet plan, and chock-full of recipes. She also shared the many ways that down-to-earth living makes her glow... I'm excited about presenting something that can make you feel amazing and look your best. Once you're informed, then you can be really gentle and kind to yourself, by giving yourself all the gifts life has to offer - like mental clarity and vitality - all while making the planet better.
|Why Jews should be vegetarians
Full story: Tikkun Magazine
Judaism has to be a daily spiritual and social practice, not simply a ritualized one, if it is to be meaningful to Jews and relevant to others. Beyond being spiritual, we are called upon to uplift ourselves and to make the world a better place for ourselves, our families, our communities, and others. One of the ways to follow our rich tradition while putting Judaism's highest ideals into daily practice is to choose vegetarianism. In the words of Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, "I see vegetarianism as a mitzvah"- a sacred duty and good deed. Here are thirteen categorical imperatives suggesting why Jews should seriously consider vegetarianism and then move in that direction... [The reasons articulated can largely apply to all ethical people, regardless of religious belief.]
Interview with Richard Schwartz, president Jewish Vegetarians of North America
Mr. Schwartz answers common counter arguments on the Gary Null radio broadcast (July 28)
A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World
Compelling documentary produced by Richard Schwartz, Jewish Vegetarians of North America
|Australian restaurants becoming more veg-friendly
Full story: Food Week, Australia
Australian restaurants are heeding customer calls for tasty vegetarian menu options according to a recent survey of food service businesses. Of those surveyed, 56 per cent said they were cooking up more plant-based options than they did a few years ago and nearly a third said more than 30 per cent of their main dishes were vegetarian. The survey, conducted by Restaurant and Catering Australia, in collaboration with National Vegetarian Week, aimed to gauge the extent of vegetarian and healthy options on menus and whether this had increased in recent years.
|Food Week, Australia - August 24|
| Animal Issues and Advocacy
|Perspectives on advocacy: When 'go vegetarian' is the right message
Full story: The Vegan Dietitian Blog
I've been lately dipping into one of my all-time favorite books, Simple Food For The Good Life by Helen Nearing. She and her husband Scott were back-to-the landers, pacifists, and simple lifestyle pioneers in the 1930s through 1970s. They were vegetarian - almost vegan. I love this cookbook not so much (or really at all) for its recipes, but for the amusing snippets throughout, as well as some delightfully radical ideas (for 1980) about animal rights. But be forewarned: Helen's thoughts were not in sync with some of the absolutist positions that some activists take today. She was a straight talker and pulled no punches when it came to her disdain for inflexible perspectives.
|The Vegan Dietitian Blog - August 13|
Vegan.com (August 15)
|The low cost of chickens
Full story: Washington Post
I've not yet read Ellen Ruppel Shell's Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, but I have read a review of the book, and even a blog post about the review of the book, which in D.C., puts me ahead of the game to comment. "Cheap chicken, cheap shirts, cheap sneakers - they're all being paid for by somebody, even if it's not the person taking them home," writes Shell. Chicken is an interesting example here: It's really cheap. I can get a whole rotisserie chicken for the price of two bunches of carrots. But why? ... I sort of wonder how long we'll allow chicken producers to compete on low prices derived from incredible cruelty to animals, exploitation of illegal workers, and taxpayer subsidies to the corn industry. It's a pretty ugly scene, and the product eventually ends up on our plates.
|Washington Post - July 20|
|Australian supermarket signals major shift to free-range eggs
Full story: Herald-Sun, Australia
Battery hens may become a thing of the past with a supermarket giant signalling a shift to free-range eggs. Woolworths will reduce its reliance on cage eggs by almost halving to 11 the number of brands it sells. The move is expected to speed up a consumer-driven switch to free-range and barn-laid eggs. The average price of a dozen cage eggs in Victoria is $4.50 compared to free-range eggs at $6.50. About 80 per cent of Australia's 13 million laying hens are kept in cages. But the market share of free-range eggs has almost doubled in eight years to 31 per cent.
|Herald-Sun, Australia - August 14|
McDonalds Australia to move to using free-range eggs
Herald-Sun, Australia (August 15)
|Happy endings: Slaughterhouse escapees romp on New York farm
Full story: Bloomberg
A three-legged goat hops about on a prosthetic limb and an agitated sheep stalks her territory nearby. Pigs much older and fatter than porkers normally get to be are asleep in their muck. Such is life at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. Rescued from slaughterhouses, stockyards and other "food animal" production facilities, these creatures find themselves in a bucolic idyll run by vegan activists. The 175-acre Watkins Glen refuge and its sister farm in Orland, California, make up the largest rescue network for farm animals in North America. The group also exposes the brutal conditions in factory farms. "A large part of this is raising awareness," says Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. "Most people are humane and don't support cruelty. They are usually very surprised to learn the truth about factory farming." [Gene Baur is the author of the inspiring book "Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food". Check out the Farm Sanctuary videos and walk for farm animals in our "Of Note" section.]
| Of Note - Videos, Calls to Action, Festivals and More
21-day vegan kickstart - starts September 8
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is inviting everyone to kickstart their health on September 8. Based on research by Neal Barnard, M.D., PCRM president and one of America's leading health advocates, this 21-day program is designed for anyone who wants to explore and experience the health benefits of a vegan diet. Participants will receive support, recipes, tips, and more. All you have to do is sign up with your email address. For more recipe ideas and our own tips visit the VegE-News site or click the "recipes" tab at the top of the newsletter.
21-day vegan kickstart
VegE-News recipes and tips
The 'Vegan Poet' invites participation in her 'Vegan Voices' project
As mentioned in our last issue, Butterfly Katz has launched a great resource to inspire and enlighten - the VEGAN VOICES FROM AROUND THE WORLD project. Check out the web link below. She is seeking more profiles of leaders within the vegan movement, vegan activists, forerunners of the first vegan societies, humane educators, authors and journalists, vegan chefs and cookbook writers, philosophers, website owners, vegan-abolitionist bloggers, founders and directors of organizations, athletes, politicians, doctors and lawyers, registered dietitians, vegan business owners, and vegan event trendsetters. (Phew!) If you are a fit or if you have nominations, please send them to her via the site.
Vegan diets: Not a new idea
Oetzi the iceman was found in the Alps in 1991, more than 5,000 years after his death. While his bow and arrow led many to assume he was a hunter, a few strands of his hair reveal that he was following an essentially vegan diet. (As reported in "Good Medicine" Spring 2009, a publication of PCRM.)
Meat sales being down is a thumbs up kind of thing
We have heard that the profits of large meat "producers" are declining as demand falls and costs increase. Whether this is due entirely to the global financial crisis or, as we hope and expect, a more enlightened public, it is a good trend. It will be important, of course, to be vigilant against even more cruelty in the name of cost-savings.
Pesticide in drinking water warning
Though not specifically related to vegetarianism, we thought it worthwhile to pass on to our American readers, with possible implications elsewhere, this warning concerning drinking water. A recent report has shown alarmingly high levels of the hormone disrupter atrazine in the U.S. drinking water supply, endangering humans and wildlife. People can take precautions by filtering their drinking water, but this won't help animals at risk. Atrazine is banned in the European Union, but used in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia's national science agency, claims to have found an enzyme that can break down atrazine in agricultural run-off water.
U.S. drinking water and watersheds widely contaminated by hormone disrupting pesticide, atrazine
Natural Resources Defence Council (August 24)
Atrazine information, Canada - Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
Bioremediation to keep atrazine from waterways - CSIRO, Australia
John Robbins, Dr. McDougall on health care
John Robbins' book Diet for a New America literally changed my life. He has since written several equally compelling books. Now John brings some common sense thoughts to the health care debate in the U.S., with implications for all countries. Below is a brief video from VegSource. In the second video, obesity specialist John McDougall MD also discusses the issue and the benefits of "self" care. He comments on what could happen that would cure most of the population from ill health in a flash - a global depression where potatoes, fruits and vegetables were the most affordable foods.
John Robbins: Should we tax junk food?
Dr. McDougall on health
More video shorts
Here are a selection of recent short, entertaining and informative videos from Farm Sanctuary, Green Beings and VegSource plus excellent CNN coverage of veg environmental issues, meatfree Mondays, in vitro meat and more. We've also included a blog and (disturbing) video from a French slaughterhouse, in which a cow, hearing her fellows in pain, exhibits behavior that's no different than one would expect from a dog, cat, or human, facing a similar dire situation. She is obviously fearful as she makes frantic attempts to get away.
Farm Sanctuary camp
Piglets at play at Farm Sanctuary - a lot like puppies and kittens
Leftovers - What do you do without meat?
Prevent autism, have a healthy baby
Who is greener? A vegan who drives an SUV or a meat-eater who drives a hybrid? - CNN (August 9)
Violence against animals extends beyond the slaughterhouse - blog and video from Brockway Hall
Calls to action
Farm Sanctuary is asking for help from our U.S. readers to contact their government representatives regarding the inclusion of non-dairy alternatives in the Child Nutrition Act. It would set a precedent for other countries as well to ensure healthy options for school children while lessening suffering and global warming.
Non-dairy school alternatives
The World Society for the Protection of Animals is also asking for help against deceptive labeling on meat. Living cramped in a cage or crate without fresh air, sunlight or freedom of movement doesn’t sound very natural does it? Yet, earlier this year the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a voluntary standard that allows producers to put a “naturally raised” label on meat and meat products from animals raised in this manner - in CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations also known as Factory Farming). You can add your name to their protest below. Even meat eaters must find this clearly deceptive label unacceptable. Farm Sanctuary also has a petition on the subject.
Tell the USDA factory farming isn't "natural"
Farm Sanctuary label petition
World Vegetarian Day - October 1
Every year on October 1st, World Vegetarian Day kicks off World Vegetarian Month - a month of parties, potluck, presentations, food tasting displays, and lots of friendly discussions. For those new to vegetarianism, it serves as an enticement to give meatless fare a try (even for a day) and learn about its many benefits. And, of course, it's the perfect occasion for vegetarians and those already moving towards plant-based diets to celebrate their healthy, compassionate food choices.
World Vegetarian Day
Walk for Farm Animals - October 2
Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal." The Walk for Farm Animals helps fund and raise awareness about their vital education and advocacy efforts.
Walk for Farm Animals 2009
World Veg Festival - San Francisco, October 3 & 4
In the words of song, if you're going to San Francisco...don't miss the World Veg Festival at Golden Gate Park (SF Fair Bldg at 9th Avenue and Lincoln) from 10 am to 6 pm for entertainment, outstanding speakers, healthy food demos, vegan cuisine and more.
San Francisco Veg Festival
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