January 2010
In this edition...

Editor's Note
  Haiti relief efforts

  Western diets turn on fat genes
  Unhealthiest 'gourmet burgers': Wendy's tops list
  Diabetes isn't a one-way street...'
  Jane Brody: Healthy aging, with nary a supplement
  Gluten-free vegan diet helps rheumatoid arthritis
  Would you like ammonia with your burger?

  The ecological impacts of animal agriculture
  Growing demand for soybeans threatens Amazon rainforest
  Food labels to show 'carbon footprint' under British Government plans
  True sustainability needs an ethical revolution

Lifestyles and Trends
  Australian veg society uses parody to take on a meat promoting rival
  PETA asks Pope Benedict XVI to serve only vegan meals at Vatican
  Veggie celebs: Interview with CNN host Jane Velez-Mitchell
  The recession is taking a bite out of meat consumption
  Getting into shipshape on a macrobiotic cruise

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'
  Is it ever right for animals to suffer?
  A call for understanding between man and animals
  Let's face the chilling truth, author says in exposé on eating animals

Of Note - Recipes, new year's resolutions, videos, calls to action and more
Don't forget to visit:
(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
  Editor's Note    

Haiti relief efforts
Our hearts go out to those suffering the devastating earthquake in Haiti as well as those working to help them. We are always grateful when disaster strikes that there are organizations that are ready to help. Food for Life, providing vegan food relief, is among the organizations on the ground in Haiti offering relief to the victims. There is a link below if you would like to donate to their efforts. We are also grateful that organizations step in to help animals often forgotten when there is so much human suffering to address. The Los Angeles Times reports on the growing animal relief efforts. Major animal welfare organizations are combining efforts through the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti [ARCH - links to member organizations are below]. "We hope that by addressing the needs of the animal victims of this disaster, ARCH will ultimately provide much-needed relief to the entire country of Haiti, humans and animals alike," [said ASPCA's Ed Sayres]. In Canada donations to many registered charities will be matched dollar for dollar by the Canadian government until February 12 (see info below).

Related links:
Food for Life - Vegan food relief
Listing of Canadian aid agencies taking donations for Haiti
Canada matching program info
Animal relief effort for Haiti gets more support - LA Times (January 18)
Monitoring the situation in Haiti - HSUS
IFAW  IFAW Canada  IFAW Asia/Pacific
WSPA - click on Donate Now to be directed to your country's donation page
Humane Society International


Western diets turn on fat genes
Full story: Science Daily

Those extra helpings of gravy and dessert at the holiday table are even less of a help to your waistline than previously thought. According to a new research report recently appearing online in The FASEB Journal, a diet that is high in fat and in sugar actually switches on genes that ultimately cause our bodies to store too much fat. In the research report, scientists show that foods high in fat and sugar stimulate a known opioid receptor, called the kappa opioid receptor, which plays a role in fat metabolism. When this receptor is stimulated, it causes our bodies to hold on to far more fat than our bodies would do otherwise. [Editor's note: Unfortunately the research was conducted on mice and one conclusion of the researchers is that it may help develop yet another drug against obesity. However, they also mention, in passing that it might be a good idea to just not eat the fatty foods.]

Science Daily - December 1

Unhealthiest 'gourmet burgers': Wendy's tops list
Full story: PCRM

High-end "gourmet burgers" at fast-food chains may seem like a cheap way to enjoy a premium meal, but they can pose risks to consumers' health. With a whopping 1,140 calories and more saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium than anyone should eat in a single day, Wendy's Bacon Deluxe Triple Burger tops the Cancer Project's list of the five most unhealthful gourmet burgers sold by national U.S. fast-food chains. "These pricey burgers could do as much damage to your heart as they do to your wallet," said Krista Haynes, a registered dietitian with The Cancer Project. "A single high-fat meal like a gourmet burger can cause a dangerous increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The large amounts of processed meat, fat, dairy, and sodium in gourmet burgers can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer."

PCRM - January 10

Diabetes isn't a one-way street...'
Full story: Mumbai Mirror, India

...it can be reversed, says researcher Dr Neal Barnard, as he presents this idea to doctors and students all over India. He tells Malay Desai the benefits of going vegan, banishing milk and more in this interview. Q: It's your fourth trip to the world diabetes capital. What's the new way of life you are advocating and why? A: I feel India is the world diabetes capital for a reason. Indians have adopted a 'westernised' diet - they are having more meat, cheese and soda. I'm here to talk about 'easternising' it again - by going vegan in traditional ways. After all, diabetes can rob you of ten years of your life, and it's a leading cause of blindness, kidney malfunction and amputation... We can reverse diabetes by reversing the trend of increasing weight, rising blood sugars and higher doses of medications. We're proposing a vegan diet. We've proved how you can reverse diabetes - it need not be a one-way street. For this, we assigned two groups of diabetic patients to eat two types of diets. One was vegan and the other, a healthy but non-veg diet. Over two years, the vegans improved three times more - and many came off their medicines for diabetes.

Mumbai Mirror, India - December 1

Jane Brody: Healthy aging, with nary a supplement
Full story: New York Times

We are a long way from consuming the kind of diet most closely linked to a low risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and dementia. That diet need not be strictly vegetarian, but it should emphasize plant-based foods over the meat and other products that come from animals that eat plants. The closer to the earth we eat, the healthier - and leaner - we are likely to be. Most of the evidence for the assumed health benefits of specific nutrients comes not from stuffing people with supplements but rather from observing the effects of eating foods rich in these nutrients. Supplements of antioxidants failed to protect against disease the way a diet rich in fruits and vegetables seems to. Rather than isolated nutrients, combinations of them, along with other perhaps unidentified substances in foods, are now thought to confer the observed health benefits.

New York Times - January 11

Gluten-free vegan diet helps rheumatoid arthritis
Full story: FoodConsumer

Eating a gluten free vegan diet may help patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a study in Arthritis Research & Therapy has suggested. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease which affects multiple joints of the body. The vegan diet was found to be atheroprotective and anti-inflammatory. The study involved 66 patients at an average age of 50 years with active rheumatoid arthritis with 38 assigned a gluten free vegan diet and 28 given a well-balanced non-vegan diet for one year.

FoodConsumer - January 10

Would you like ammonia with your burger?
Full story: New York Times

Eight years ago, [U.S.] officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia. The company, Beef Products Inc., had been looking to expand into the hamburger business with a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil. The trimmings were particularly susceptible to contamination, but a study commissioned by the company showed that the ammonia process would kill E. coli as well as salmonella. Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture endorsed the company's ammonia treatment, and have said it destroys E. coli "to an undetectable level." They decided it was so effective that in 2007, when the department began routine testing of meat used in hamburger sold to the general public, they exempted Beef Products. But government and industry records obtained by The New York Times show that in testing for the school lunch program, E. coli and salmonella pathogens have been found dozens of times in Beef Products meat.

New York Times - December 30
More Health News:
Animal protein linked to increased diabetes risk
PCRM (January 22)
A dangerous Dutch epidemic: Goats now, humans next?
At least 40,000 pregnant goats must be destroyed in in the Netherlands to head off a new outbreak of Q-fever, a nasty disease that has killed six of the 2,300 people in the Netherlands who caught it last year. The question now is whether this outbreak will remain limited to the Netherlands. - The Economist (January 7)
What goes into chicken
When you go to the market and buy a raw apple, you expect - and get - an apple. Not a fruitlike product injected with liquid that makes it weigh more but that softens the natural crispness and dilutes the flavor to the point where it has to be infused with caramel-apple concentrate to restore some tastiness. If only the same could be said of chicken. - Los Angeles Times (January 4)
California ruling prohibits requiring meat industry to label hazards
Drovers Magazine (December 28)
Pressure rises to stop rampant antibiotic use in agriculture
Yahoo! News (December 29)
Six essential super foods to start 2010 off right


The ecological impacts of animal agriculture
Full story: OpEdNews

Numbers sometimes tell a story better than words can. First: 86 million. That's the number of acres planted with corn in the U.S. Next: 4.35 million - the total number of U.S. acres planted with vegetables. This means that the acreage of U.S. farmland apportioned to growing vegetables is a mere 5 per cent of what's devoted to growing corn. That's a real problem, since a majority of that corn won't feed people, but rather animals - specifically, the approximately 10 billion farm animals raised and slaughtered in the U.S. each year. This monoculturization and intensification of U.S. agriculture has had dire effects on farm animals, almost all of whom are raised in factory farm systems. But it's also had devastating effects on the environment. And, this system of mass-producing "cheap food" (at just about any cost) is spreading around the world.

OpEdNews - January 8

Growing demand for soybeans threatens Amazon rainforest
Full story: EurActiv.com

"Some 3,000 years ago, farmers in eastern China domesticated the soybean. In 1765, the first soybeans were planted in North America. Today the soybean occupies more U.S. cropland than wheat. And in Brazil, where it spread even more rapidly, the soybean is invading the Amazon rainforest," writes Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute... Although the deforestation is occurring within Brazil, it is the worldwide growth in demand for meat, milk, and eggs that is driving it. Put simply, saving the Amazon rainforest now depends on curbing the growth in demand for soybeans by stabilising populations worldwide as soon as possible. And for the world's affluent population, it means moving down the food chain, eating less meat and thus lessening the growth in demand for soybeans. With food, as with energy, achieving an acceptable balance between supply and demand now means curbing growth in demand rather than just expanding supply."

EurActiv.com - January 5

Food labels to show 'carbon footprint' under British Government plans
Full story: Telegraph, UK

Hilary Benn, the [British Environment Secretary], said in future people will have to eat less "carbon intensive" foods like red meat or excessively packaged products to make sure Britain meets targets to cut greenhouse gases. To help consumers do this, new "green" food labels will show how much carbon was produced in the manufacture and transportation of food. Supermarket food will be clearly labelled to show its carbon footprint as well as country of origin and animal welfare standards as part of efforts to transform the British diet. But Tracy Worcester, the former actress and food campaigner, said the guidelines will do little to improve animal welfare unless it is compulsory. "It needs to be mandatory because no producer is going to put people off buying their food," she said.

Telegraph, UK - January 5

True sustainability needs an ethical revolution
Full story: The Ecologist

Obsessed with technology, we have overlooked something critical that lurks in our institutionalised notion of sustainability. Sustainability is at risk of being abducted by consumerism, the same philosophy that continues to hold us captive and inspires many of our environmental crises. From every episode of the evening news and every edition of printed journalism we learn how a few people - the heroes of sustainability - are working day and night to develop 'sustainable' technologies. Our job is to support their efforts, politically and economically... There is an alternative to this misguided, disempowering approach to sustainability. It involves confronting the ethical aspects of sustainability... Sustainability could, at one extreme, mean to 'exploit as much as desired without infringing on future ability to exploit as much as desired' - what might be called vulgar sustainability. On the other pole is enlightened sustainability - to 'exploit as little as necessary to maintain a meaningful life.'

The Ecologist - January 8
More Environmental News:
Grass fed beef won't save the planet
NewWest (January 22)
This is bigger than climate change. It is a battle to redefine humanity
Guardian, UK (December 14)
Enshrining legal rights for the planet
The Ecologist (December 10)
The Dark Mountain Project
A fresh look at the issues

  Lifestyles and Trends    

Australian veg society uses parody to take on a meat promoting rival
Full story: Daily Telegraph, Australia

The NSW [New South Wales] branch of the Australian Vegetarian Society has taken solid aim at [Sam Kekovich, of Meat and Livestock Australia]'s sixth annual election-style lamb campaign, which this year shows him addressing the United Nations and extolling the meat. The vegos will stage a meat-free fry-up at Bondi on Australia Day [January 26] and [have produced] a parody of Kekovich called Simon Kennovich. "The Vegetarian Society has had a gutful of the heavy-handed tactics employed by Meat and Livestock Australia whereby lamb is force-fed down our throats in the saturated media blitz leading up to Australia Day," the society's NSW president Mark Berriman said. "We believe it is time to strike a balance and implore all Australians to eat a diet rich in fabulous and nutritious fruit and vegetables. It is important to remember ... that eating meat adds considerable greenhouse gases to our overheating Earth."

Daily Telegraph, Australia - January 23

PETA asks Pope Benedict XVI to serve only vegan meals at Vatican
Full story: Examiner.com

In anticipation of World Day of Peace, held on January 1st, Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement connecting world peace with preserving the environment. In response, Bruce Friedrich, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for PETA, penned a letter urging his holiness to go vegan and serve only animal free meals at the Vatican. Friedrich writes, "... we urge you to consider the fact that the most effective action an individual can take to fight climate change is to go vegan ." In 2002, when Pope Benedict XVI was known to the world as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was asked, "Are we allowed to make use of animals, and even to eat them?" [He] responded, "... Animals, too, are God's creatures. Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible."

Examiner.com - December 22

Veggie celebs: Interview with CNN host Jane Velez-Mitchell
Full story: The Scavenger

Journalist and TV host Jane Velez-Mitchell is a feisty, feminist, lesbian, vegan eco-warrior who's determined to change the world. Her new book iWant is about overcoming our addictions and over-consumption. She spoke with Katrina Fox. Q. How did you begin your journey of social activism? A:... I'd always had compassion for animals but never really followed through. I was this sort of vegetarian that ate shellfish. Then I met Howard Lyman, the author of Mad Cowboy who was on Oprah. I did an interview with him and he asked if I ate dairy and I said yes and he called it 'liquid meat.' From then on I went vegan and have never looked back. It radically transformed my health - the colds I had every year went and my energy levels went up... Q: Finally, what do you do in your 'downtime'? A: I have lot of animal projects I work on. I get depressed over the state of the world and I find if I do at least one thing every day, it's like a daily reprieve from being overwhelmed by all the destruction.

The Scavenger - January 15

The recession is taking a bite out of meat consumption
Full story: AlterNet

The recession is having one positive effect. The national cholesterol is going down. More than half of Americans have cut back on meat, many becoming "recession-bred flexitarians," says Gourmet magazine - people who use meat as a condiment not as a meal anchor. Even the doyenne of taste and nutrition, Martha Stewart, broadcast a vegetarian Thanksgiving show. A small drop in meat exerts big consequences on your health says Katherine Tallmadge of the American Dietetic Association because red meat is the "primary source of saturated fat, which can boost levels of bad LDL cholesterol and inflammation." [The article goes on to outline proposed initiatives to bolster the ailing meat industry - at the expense of the public's health.]

AlterNet - December 2

Getting into shipshape on a macrobiotic cruise
Full story: Los Angeles Times

Recently, a kid named Sandy Pukel, whom I haven't seen since high school, tracked me down through Facebook. Turns out he is no longer a kid (surprise!); in fact, he is a health food guru, and he mentioned he was running his annual Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise to the Caribbean. The average cruiser is said to gain 7 to 10 pounds in a week by shoveling in food by the truckload; Sandy said that on his cruise, folks lose weight... At our table were people who said they'd been cured of arthritis, cancer, allergies, high blood pressure, eczema, lupus and other afflictions by changing to a vegan diet and, in some cases, consulting with macrobiotic counselors. In fact, every meal was the same story: healing through food. By the time we attended the Recovery Panel - where cruiser after cruiser attested to overcoming health issues by changing their diets - we were hooked. When we returned home, Paul, who does all the cooking, stocked the refrigerator with the macro foods he had disparaged.

Los Angeles Times - January 24
More Lifestyles and Trends News:
Meat alternatives: They're not just for vegans any more
Globe and Mail, Canada (December 29)
Therapists report increase in green disputes
New York Times (January 17)
U.S. school cafeterias expand vegetarian options
Miami Herald (December 8)
(See more on the Healthy School Lunches program in the "Of Note" section below.)

  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'
Full story: Times, UK

Dolphins have been declared the world's second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as "non-human persons." Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence. The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year. The studies show how dolphins have distinct personalities, a strong sense of self and can think about the future. [Scientists] will present their findings at a conference in San Diego, California, next month, concluding that the new evidence about dolphin intelligence makes it morally repugnant to mistreat them. [Editor's note: While this is good in one sense, it also seems like a dangerous concept - are we then allowed to mistreat less intelligent humans - or animals?]

Times, UK - January 3

Is it ever right for animals to suffer?
Full story: Washington Post

Despite 30 years' thinking and writing about animal ethics, only recently have I grasped that the rational case for protecting animals is stronger than even I had supposed. Consider the oft-cited differences between humans and animals, the very differences that many claim make human suffering more important than that of animals. By nature or divine providence, animals are naturally subject to humans. They are nonrational. They have no language. Animals are not moral agents, and they have no immortal soul. Assume, for the sake of argument, that all these differences are true. Given that we know that mammals (at least) are all capable of suffering, the question is: Do any of these differences make animal suffering less deserving of our moral solicitude?

Washington Post - December 27

A call for understanding between man and animals
Full story: NPR

In his new book The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals, Charles Siebert examines the complex - and too often violent and exploitative - relationship between man and chimp. Siebert could have resorted to writing a diatribe. Instead, his new book is a well-researched, deeply felt work encompassing centuries of the troubled interactions between humans and animals. In the end, the argument Siebert lays out is an important and compelling one: "The degree to which we humans will finally stop abusing other creatures and, for that matter, one another will ultimately be measured by the degree to which we come to understand how integral a part of us all other creatures actually are."

NPR - June 7

Let's face the chilling truth, author says in exposé on eating animals
Full story: Ottawa Citizen

It's time, argues Jonathan Safran Foer, to stop lying to ourselves. With all the studies on animal agriculture, pollution, toxic chemicals in factory-farmed animals and exposés of the appalling cruelty to animals in that industry, he writes in Eating Animals, "We can't plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, 'What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?'" That said, this book, its author warns, is not a case for vegetarianism. It's a case for being informed and taking responsibility. In the process of asking questions, Foer "came face-to-face with realities that as a citizen I couldn't ignore, and as a writer I couldn't keep to myself."

Ottawa Citizen - January 3
More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:
Downer pigs in the food supply
An issue from both animal cruelty and human health perspectives - CNN Video (December 8)
Mercy for Animals ad campaigns
Provocative ad promotes vegan diet for better health and sex
The Daily Inquirer, Philippines (January 21)

  Of Note - Recipes, new year's resolutions, videos, calls to action and more    

Recipes - for health and fun
The Toronto Vegetarian Association says their delicious garlic soup "would be a lovely warming soup to help fortify you against the cold and flu season. The protection may be from the garlic or maybe because the smell of garlic is keeping intimate encounters at bay." And, for anyone missing eggs for breakfast, the soup recipe is followed by a fun and delicious recipe for a vegan fried egg, which you'll find on VegE-News' own Green Gourmet pages, along with lots more hearty fare. Our thanks to Rockney Shepheard of Shepheard Illustration for sharing this recipe. Rockney does pet and family portraits with 30 per cent of commissions going to help free chained dogs.
Garlic soup and vegan fried egg recipes - from Toronto Vegetarian Association
VegE-News recipes and tips - search for "vegan fried egg" and lots more

New year's resolutions
Dr. Walter E. Jacobsen on the VegSource website has some good advice for the New Year. "This New Year's Day, if we embrace this one resolution, to respond to the call for love from others with unconditional love, and we practice this every day to the best of our intention, over time we will see benefits in our lives." Dr. McDougall also has some excellent advice, saying "If you are looking for big improvements in your life for 2010 then your diet is the right place to focus." Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary suggests making 2010 the year for Green Food Resolutions and provides help on getting started in your community.
Dr. Jacobsen on New Year's Resolutions
Dr. McDougall on New Year's Resolutions
Introducing a Green Food Resolution in your community

21-day vegan kickstart - to help your 'get healthy' resolution
If better health is in your plans for 2010 - or the plans of anyone you know - we highly recommend PCRM's 21-day vegan kickstart. A new program starts March 1. It comes with information and inspiration to make it easy. Even for those already vegan, or not planning to go all the way, it is full of useful tips to use or share. Signing up is free!
21-day vegan kickstart

Video shorts
This month: Charming story of a chicken that adopted kittens; U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich tells how he would transform the nation with vegan chocolate chip brownies; continuing concerns about BPA in bottles and cans. We've also included some longer but very worthwhile videos from VegSource with talks by health giants Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. John McDougall, and Dr. Neal Barnard.
Chicken that adopted kittens
Rep. Dennis Kucinich: I order you to eat vegan brownies
BPA concerns
Dr. T. Colin Campbell: Meat and dairy cause cancer
Dr. John McDougall: The perils of dairy
Dr. Neal Barnard: Physically addictive foods

Calls to action
The Healthy School Lunch Campaign, sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, is dedicated to improving the food served to children in schools by educating government and school officials, food service workers, parents, and others about the food choices best able to promote children’s current and long-term health. This is a U.S. campaign, but changes would surely have impact beyond the borders.
Healthy School Lunches ad
Healthy School Lunches campaign and petition

The Iditarod is a dog sled race held every March in Alaska. The Sled Dog Action coalition is asking for help to end the horrific treatment of sled dogs in the Iditarod race by sending protest emails to organizations that support the race. At least 142 dogs have been run to death or have died from other causes in the Iditarod. Those who survive suffer brutal treatment and conditions.
Sled Dog Action Coalition

The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals is asking people to contact their local television stations to request airing of their new PSA (public service announcement) Campaign, "Think Outside the Cage." There is a growing sense of good will and concern for farm animals, as well as greater awareness that Canada's policies related to confinement and transportation in particular are far behind EU standards and some U.S. states. The PSA makes a positive statement, and by airing it, stations will be seen as a leader in this area. The PSA is available in any desired format, including Fast Channel, which will be sent on the day it is ordered. For further information, contact Stephanie Brown, 416.920.4948, or email.
Think outside the cage ad
Email Stephanie

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