In this edition...
Health and Environment
| ||Good for health and reducing global warming|
| ||Eat less meat and dairy: That's UK's official recipe to help health of consumers - and the planet|
| ||India offers no-beef climate solution|
| ||Paul McCartney tells EU that 'less meat = less heat'|
| ||Soy beneficial for breast cancer survivors: Study|
Lifestyles and Trends
| ||Small U.S. town embraces 'think globally, act locally' philosophy|
| ||The unlikely vegetarian|
| ||Scientists grow pork meat in a laboratory|
| ||London named world's top city for vegetarian cuisine|
| ||A very vegan holiday feast|
| ||Meat off the menu as Windsor Castle goes vegan for a day|
Animal Issues and Advocacy
| ||Q&A with Jonathan Safran Foer on the morality of vegetarianism|
| ||Top 10 (recent) developments on factory farming and vegetarianism|
| ||Animal, vegetable, miserable|
| ||Foie gras turns faux pas|
| ||Japan vows to carry on whaling - Japanese like to eat it says foreign minister|
| ||Attacking the messenger: Big Ag's attempt to misdirect attention from cruelty exposés|
Books and Perspectives
| ||Cold turkey|
| ||The sixth extinction|
Of Note - Recipes, Videos, Calls to Action and More
(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
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| Health and Environment
|Good for health and reducing global warming
Full story: IRIN
Eat less meat, have smaller herds of animals, switch to more efficient stoves that pollute less, and develop more sustainable public transport systems are some of the lifestyle changes and technical fixes that could save millions of lives and reduce global warming. This is the message in a series of studies published by a group of scientists in the respected British medical journal, The Lancet, to make a case for health at the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen... The food and agriculture sector contributes 10 per cent to 12 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide said Sharon Friel, of the Australian National University, and Alan Dangour, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in a study calling for a 30-per cent reduction in livestock production. This would lower emissions, while less intake of animal saturated fat would improve health.
|Eat less meat and dairy: That's UK's official recipe to help health of consumers - and the planet
Full story: Guardian, UK
The first official [UK] recommendations for a diet that is both healthy and good for the environment were published December 11, and they are likely to be seen as an assault on the UK's current food system. To fight climate change and tackle the growing crisis of diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, British consumers must cut down on meat and dairy produce, reduce their intake of processed foods and curb waste. These are the three priorities identified in a report by the government's independent advisory body on sustainability, the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), which calls for radical changes in patterns of consumption. The study acknowledges that cutting processed food and reducing consumption of intensively-produced meat and dairy foods could lead to a shrinking of the UK food and drink industry.
|Guardian, UK - December 11|
|India offers no-beef climate solution
Full story: The Age, Australia
India's Environment Minister suggests the world adopt vegetarianism if it is to tackle the greenhouse emission problem, writes Matt Wade in Delhi. As the international community struggles to come up with a climate change deal, India's Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, has come up with a solution: don't eat beef. He challenged the world to follow the example of millions in his country and eschew beef in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
|The Age, Australia - November 23|
|Paul McCartney tells EU that 'less meat = less heat'
Full story: Examiner.com
Earlier this month [December 3] Paul McCartney spoke at the European Parliament's hearing on Global Warming and Food Policy where he promoted his Meat Free Monday campaign. After the hearing McCartney signed a joint statement with European Parliament Vice President Edward McMillan-Scott and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Dr. Rajendra Pachauri calling on individuals and governments to recognize the importance of meat's impact on health and the environment. The statement read, "We call on those governments, and all represented at COP15 and in subsequent discussions, to adjust their agriculture, development, environment and public health policies to reflect the role of livestock production in climate change. We call on the local authorities and municipalities in Europe and worldwide to adopt the principle of a meat-free day for their employees. We call on people worldwide, but especially in the developed nations to change their diet to one meat-free day as the most effective way to combat global warming."
|Examiner.com - December 13|
|Soy beneficial for breast cancer survivors: Study
Full story: U.S. News & World Report
Regular, moderate consumption of soy foods can help lower the risk of death and cancer recurrence in women who've had breast cancer, new research shows. What's more, the association between soy and a reduced risk of death held true even for women with estrogen receptor-positive cancers and women taking tamoxifen, according to the study published in the December 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. There has been some concern that soy might increase the risk of breast cancer or worsen the prognosis for women already diagnosed with the disease because soy is what's known as a phytoestrogen. That means that it can act like a weak form of estrogen in the body. However, it appears those concerns may have been unfounded because [the researchers] found that soy actually reduces the availability of naturally occurring estrogen by binding to its receptors. [The article points out it is important to have soy in natural forms such as tofu, unsweetened soy milk or soy beans - not processed soy products.]
|U.S. News & World Report - December 8|
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia (November 25)
Quote: Notably, worldwide each year, livestock are the leading driver of deforestation, while consuming up to half the catch of marine organisms and as much as half of all crops brought to market. - From a brief prepared for FAO meeting - reported at www.wellfedworld.org
The sudden and mysterious disappearance of the once-bustling Nazca civilization in Peru in 500 AD should be a reminder and a warning to countries that allow widespread deforestation. - Mother Nature Network (November 21)
The article concludes: The challenge of feeding seven or eight billion people while oil supplies are falling is stupefying. It'll be even greater if governments keep pretending that it isn't going to happen. - And, VegE-News would add, if we continue to eat meat at the current rate. - The Guardian, UK (November 16)
PCRM (October 26)
HSUS report (pdf)
For ongoing updates on the issues
| Lifestyles and Trends
|Small U.S. town embraces 'think globally, act locally' philosophy
Full story: Farm Sanctuary Blog
Plant a single seed and a garden will grow. The residents of a small Tennessee town called Signal Mountain (with a population of almost 8,000) demonstrated that they're living by that adage when they adopted the United States' first green foods resolution. A green foods resolution is a formal commitment to supporting environmentally-friendly farming practices, such as the production of organic, locally-grown and plant-based foods (the cultivation of which is much less detrimental to the environment than animal agriculture is). On October 12, after a single session of deliberation and a unanimous vote, the local council of Signal Mountain officially resolved that the town will "promote the expansion of the number of Farmers Markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, community gardens, and other venues which provide healthful plant-based foods." The full story behind Signal Mountain's green foods resolution is a shining example of the power that lies in thinking globally, scaling down, and acting locally to inspire change.
|Farm Sanctuary Blog - December 1|
|The unlikely vegetarian
Full story: Pro Publications Blog
NHL [National Hockey League] heavyweight Georges Laraque has been effectively dispatching on-ice opponents with his pugilistic prowess for over a decade, and now he's setting his sights on a different kind of opponent: the meat industry. You see, on 1 June 2009, the 6' 3" 245 lbs. Montreal Canadiens' winger officially became not just vegetarian, but vegan. Laraque's personal revelation and the epiphany that came along with it transformed him, and provided him with a more compassionate world view. "Even though they are not humans, [animals] feel pain like us." So how did the change come about? According to his website, he says,"I decided to become vegan after I saw the movie called EARTHLINGS, which shows in detail the cruelty animals go through to end up on your plate, become a piece of clothing or even end up in a circus or a zoo." ... "I don't do it to force people to be vegetarian or vegan," he says on his website. "I just want to educate people on the subject to make this world a better place. If you, for example, can watch the entire Earthlings documentary and still eat meat, I will respect you because at least you will know what you're contributing to, and if you can live with that, then so be it!"
|Pro Publications Blog - November 19|
|Scientists grow pork meat in a laboratory
Full story: Times, UK
Scientists have grown meat in the laboratory for the first time. Experts in Holland used cells from a live pig to replicate growth in a petri dish. The advent of so-called "in-vitro" or cultured meat could reduce the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted each year by farm animals - if people are willing to eat it. So far the scientists have not tasted it [it's against laboratory rules], but they believe the breakthrough could lead to sausages and other processed products being made from laboratory meat in as little as five years' time. "You could take the meat from one animal and create the volume of meat previously provided by a million animals," said Mark Post, professor of physiology at Eindhoven University, who is leading the Dutch government-funded research.
We already eat hydroponic vegetables. This is hydroponic meat. - Globe and Mail (November 3)
Guardian, UK (December 1)
|London named world's top city for vegetarian cuisine
Full story: Belfast Telegraph
London was declared the top city for meat-free dining in a survey of the world's best hubs for vegetarian foodies. Campaign group People for the Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA) cited the variety of cuisine choices and number of vegan options available in giving the UK capital the nod over its global rivals. In being named most vegetarian friendly city in the world, London triumphed over PETA's other top five locales; Los Angeles, New York, Melbourne and Mumbai. Coinciding with the announcement, PETA launched a new video [see our "of note" section] hosted by Sir Paul McCartney exposing what happens in factory farms and the contribution of the meat industry to global carbon emission.
|Belfast Telegraph - December 7|
|A very vegan holiday feast
Full story: Los Angeles Times
There was something about the chicken splayed across his plate that triggered Gene Baur's gross-out reflex more than 25 years ago. As quickly as you can say "Tofurkey," the Hollywood native swore off eating meat. [Recently], his Farm Sanctuary movement brought veganism to New York's [famous and posh] Tavern on the Green restaurant to prove that Thanksgiving can be decadent without turkey, sausage stuffing and buttery mashed potatoes. "I'm not much of a foodie," Baur said sheepishly as waiters carried trays of hors d'oeuvres across the thick carpet: tiny pizzas with caramelized onions and figs, but no cheese; fragrant polenta rounds laced with rosemary; potato pancakes with tofu creme fraiche. For the main course, guests gathered in an opulent dining room at tables with brocade tablecloths. Merging mainstream restaurants with vegan causes is all part of the effort to demystify the movement, said Meredith Turner, a spokeswoman for Farm Sanctuary. "We love to partner with establishments that aren't traditionally vegan, to show that there is a growing consumer demand for it," she said.
|Los Angeles Times - November 26|
Delightful video with Karen Dawn, author of "Thanking the Monkey," and her two rescued turkeys. - ABC News (November 26)
We can assure you: You don't want to know. From conception to carcass, here's the short, hellish life-cycle of your industry-produced turkey. - Business Insider (November 23)
LA Times (November 26, 2008)
|Meat off the menu as Windsor Castle goes vegan for a day
Full story: Telegraph, UK
Royal banquets, surely, are all about meat. From those four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie to a portly King Henry tearing at whole chickens via roast swan and apple-stuffed suckling pigs, our Hollywood-fuelled vision of princely dining is of a flesh fest. Sharpen your pencils, Royal historians, because that may be about to change. [Recently], Windsor Castle [went] vegan for the day, with a banquet for 200 bigwigs, including UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, the Grand Mufti of Egypt and Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa, President of the All Africa Conference of Churches, as part of "the Celebration of Faiths and the Environment." When I was asked to advise on a menu that could be eaten by leaders from nine different faiths with all manner of dietary requirements, I knew that the meatless, dairy-free feast I came up with must be anything but dry and worthy.
|Telegraph, UK - November 2|
| Animal Issues and Advocacy
|Q&A with Jonathan Safran Foer on the morality of vegetarianism
Full story: The Atlantic
Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, Eating Animals, is an eloquent exploration of something most sentient humans think about at some point in their lives. I spoke to him about his conclusions recently... Q: Go back to this question, because it's one of the many surprising things in your book: Why is eating beef, which comes from mammals, more humane than eating a chicken? A: There are two reasons. One is that it takes 220 chickens to make one cow, so just in terms of individual suffering from a utilitarian perspective, that's 220 lives versus one life... The question is, if we don't say no to this [factory farming], what do we say no to? If we don't say no to something that systematically abuses 50 billion animals, if we don't say no to the number one cause of global warming, and not by a little bit, but by a lot, if we don't say no to what the UN has said is one of the top two or three causes of every significant environmental problem in the world, locally and globally, if we don't say no to something that is clearly - not clear to me, but clear to the World Health Organization - a prime factor in the generation of Avian and Swine flus... just what do we say no to? This is not a case where we need to go to war with another country or spend a trillion dollars or elect a new government. We just need to say no to it.
|The Atlantic - December 11|
|Top 10 (recent) developments on factory farming and vegetarianism
Full story: Huffington Post
[By Kathy Freston, author of "Quantum Wellness."] On Thanksgiving, I spent some time taking stock of my life and the world around me and, as we're supposed to do over the holiday, giving thanks for all the joys - little and big - in my life. One of the larger joys for which I am giving thanks is all of the recent attention that has been lavished on a topic that is near and dear to my heart - the cruelty and environmental harm involved in raising animals for food. I struggled to cohesively construct an article about some of the many recent and important developments on this topic, but there is just too much. Instead, I decided on a top 10 list (a tip of the hat to David Letterman) - the 10 most interesting articles on the farmed animal welfare front.
|Huffington Post - December 1|
|Animal, vegetable, miserable
Full story: New York Times
Lately more people have begun to express an interest in where the meat they eat comes from and how it was raised... Many people soothe their consciences by purchasing only free-range fowl and eggs, blissfully ignorant that "free range" has very little if any practical significance... How can intelligent people who purport to be deeply concerned with animal welfare and respectful of life turn a blind eye to such practices? The simple answer is that most people just don't care about the lives or fortunes of animals. These uses of animals are so institutionalized, so normalized, in our society that it is difficult to find the critical distance needed to see them as the horrors that they are. The fact that my cat can't appreciate Schubert's late symphonies and can't perform syllogistic logic does not mean that I am entitled to use him as an organic toy, as if I were somehow not only morally superior to him but virtually entitled to treat him as a commodity with minuscule market value.
|New York Times - November 21|
|Foie gras turns faux pas
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Cruelty concerns may cook the goose of a classic delicacy. Foie gras is French for "fat liver." It is restaurant shorthand for sublime pleasure and luxury. In animal activist parlance it is two despicable four-letter words... Many top chefs have reacted to the pressure of such groups as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). In 2005, top Chicago chef Charlie Trotter declared he would stop using foie gras. Last year, the Prince of Wales banned foie gras from the menu in his residences. Turkey, Israel, Germany, Denmark, Britain, Ireland and many other northern hemisphere countries have effectively banned foie gras production. PETA has launched a worldwide competition to find a chef who can create a "faux gras" - a vegetarian dish that emulates the texture and flavour of foie gras - with a $15,000 prize.
|Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - November 30|
|Japan vows to carry on whaling - Japanese like to eat it says foreign minister
Full story: ABC News, Australia
In a massive blow to anti-whaling activists, Japan's new centre-left government has vowed to continue its policy of scientific research whaling. In an interview with the ABC, Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada has revealed that his government has no intention of reviewing the policy. And the minister says that eating whale meat is an important element of Japanese culture that must be respected. The Japanese whaling fleet is heading towards the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean where it will again do battle with militant protesters from the Sea Shepherd Conservation group. While Japan maintains that its whaling program is for scientific research, not once in Mr Okada's interview did he mention science. Instead, he preferred to defend the program in terms of the cultural significance of eating whale meat... "I think the average Japanese would like to continue consuming whale meat into the future."
|ABC News, Australia - December 11|
The Australian (December 11)
Sea Shepherd website (December 10)
Radio Australia (December 14)
The Age, Australia (December 6)
|Attacking the messenger: Big Ag's attempt to misdirect attention from cruelty exposés
Full story: Civil Eats Blog
Reading agribusiness officials' responses to undercover exposés documenting egregious acts of cruelty to farm animals can be truly mind-boggling. When faced with gruesome images of mistreatment of farm animals, rather than simply condemning the cruelty, some in agribusiness just can't leave it at that. They feel the need also to attack the compassionate investigators who put themselves at great risk to go undercover and blow the whistle on such abuse. For example, a new Mercy for Animals investigation involved videotaping workers at one of the nation's largest pork companies [in egregious acts of cruelty]. And what's the response of the president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, Dr. Butch Baker? Quite simply: These types of investigations "really are an attack on the rural lifestyle of America." Wow. [By Paul Shapiro, senior director of The Humane Society of the United States' factory farming campaign.]
|Civil Eats Blog - November 24|
Vegan.com (November 18)
| Books and Perspectives
Full story: The Monthly, Australia
[ Peter Singer reviews "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer.] In the end, Foer's reflections on [his dog] George provide the most powerful argument against eating animals. What justification do I have, he asks himself, for eating other animals, but not eating dogs? Yes, dogs are intelligent, feeling beings, but so are pigs, cows and chickens. Properly cooked, dog meat is as healthy and nutritious as any other meat. It is also said to be delicious. In fact, since many people now advocate eating locally produced food and stray dogs are killed in their thousands in most big cities every year, dogs are the ideal local meat. Foer helpfully provides a Filipino recipe for "Stewed Dog, Wedding Style" that begins, "First, kill a medium-sized dog, then burn off the fur over a hot fire." His tongue-in-cheek suggestion helps us see what we are really doing when we eat pigs, cows and chickens. [Peter Singer is an ethicist and author of many books including the seminal "Animal Liberation" and more recently "The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter."]
|The Monthly, Australia - December/January|
|The sixth extinction
Full story: Los Angeles Times
There is a holocaust happening. Right now. And it's not confined to one nation or even one region. It is a global crisis. Species are going extinct en masse. Every 20 minutes we lose an animal species. If this rate continues, by century's end, 50 per cent of all living species will be gone. It is a phenomenon known as the sixth extinction. The fifth extinction took place 65 million years ago when a meteor smashed into the Earth, killing off the dinosaurs and many other species and opening the door for the rise of mammals. Currently, the sixth extinction is on track to dwarf the fifth. What - or more correctly - who is to blame this time? As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." [By Jeff Corwin, author of "100 Heartbeats," a book about his experiences tracking the sixth extinction.]
|Los Angeles Times - November 30|
| Of Note - Recipes, Videos, Calls to Action and More
Recipes for a gentle holiday season
Viva! has lots of ideas for a 'Very Veggie Christmas' and you'll find simple to fancy ideas for all courses on Farm Sanctuary's Veg for Life holiday menu. How about vegan gingerbread? Plus, as always, you'll find recipes and tips on our own Green Gourmet pages - check out recipes for vegan nog and traditional French-Canadian fare.
Very Veggie Christmas from Viva!
Veg for Life holiday recipes from Farm Sanctuary
VegE-News recipes and tips
Paul Watson responds to critics
One of the most moving and convincing essays we have read on hunting was written recently by Paul Watson, captain of the Sea Shepherd regarding his resignation from the Sierra Club over its pro-hunting stance. We found a copy of it on the LEAP (League for Earth & Animal Protection) website, where you'll also find other interesting philosophical articles to peruse.
Paul Watson on hunting
We sincerely appreciate donations to assist us with production and distribution expenses. If you would like to help, please click below. You can also help by sponsoring an issue and by making your book purchases through the Amazon link in our VegE-Store.
This month: Paul McCartney narrates a powerful short film Glass Walls on the meat.org website. In the Meat and Mortality issue of PCRM's Food for Life TV, Dr. Barnard discusses the latest nutrition findings on the increased risk of death from red and white meats. Ellen makes a vegan pizza with Wolfgang Puck - show it to anyone who says "I couldn't eat pizza without cheese."
"Glass Walls" - Paul McCartnery on factory farms - PETA/Meat.org
Meat and Mortality - PCRM Food for Live TV
Ellen makes vegan pizza with Wolfgang Puck - The Ellen Show (December 15)
Calls to action
To anyone who lives in or near Quebec, Canada - Black Bears in Québec need help! While it has not been very public about it, the government of Québec has been developing the Black Bear Management Plan 2006-2013 to “... optimize the value of the bear as a resource in each of the regions in which it is found throughout the province.” By “value” is meant the value of dead black bears.
Help black bears in Quebec
Michelle Nadon and her team at Cause4Paws - C4P - Animal Rescue, Canada's (and the United States) Animal Advocacy Network, are tireless in their efforts for animals. They send out a weekly e-mail with information about pets needing homes, animal cruelty calls to action and more. You can find out more and send a request to sign up for this valuable service at the link below.
Farm Sanctuary is calling for signatures to its Petition for the Pigs. Every day in the U.S., pigs and other farm animals too sick, injured or weak to stand or walk on their own are being dragged, beaten, pushed with forklifts, or shocked with electric prods – anything, no matter how cruel – to get them onto slaughterhouse kill floors. Others are simply being cast aside and left to suffer for hours or days without food, water or veterinary care, and many will die from this neglect. Click below to find out more and sign.
Petition for the Pigs
Farm Sanctuary invites you to adopt a turkey, instead of eating one. A gift adoption of a turkey or other farm animal is a great way for vegans to raise the issue. Recipients receive a gift card with the personal story of their adoptee.
Video with "Big Love" star Ginnifer Goodwin and story - LA Times
Veggie Brothers can deliver a no fuss feast
We like the philosophy - and the products - of Veggie Brothers. They're out to make a difference in the world with delicious, nutritious meal solutions, at the click of your mouse - delivered ready to heat to your doorstep throughout the U.S. and Canada. Watch their short video below and click on their website to check out their amazing array of products for the holidays - or anytime.
Video: The Veggie Brothers experience
Veggie Brothers website
Remember pets can share a gentle holiday too
AMI Super Premium Vegan Pet Food offers nutritious and delicious food that's kind to the planet and fellow creatures. Popular in Europe, it has recently become available at retailers in Canada and the United States as well as over the internet. Find a retailer at the link below. They have just added new retailers in Newfoundland (Food For Thought, St. John) and Quebec (Viva Granola Vegan Store, St. Raymond).
AMI vegan pet food
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