February 2010
In this edition...

  The aftertaste of more milk and meat
  Heart doctors tout vegetarian diets
  Dr. Neal Barnard: Settling the soy controversy
  Calcium kick

  Call for tax on livestock emissions
  Shrimp's dirty secrets: Why America's favorite seafood is a health and environmental nightmare
  Australia threatens legal action over Japanese whaling
  86 per cent of dolphins and whales threatened by fishing nets

Lifestyles and Trends
  Veggie celebs: Gold-medal snowboarder carves a meaningful life
  Going vegan: A life-long carnivore gives up meat, eggs, dairy
  Fighting hunger - a matter of faith
  Author Mark Bittman on veganism

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Got milk? Got ethics? Animal rights v. U.S. dairy industry
  Going to slaughter: Should animals hope to meet Temple Grandin?
  Animal sentience: Smarter than you think
  Can animals cry?
  Animal rights enters the mainstream

Books and Perspectives
  Alicia Silverstone's 'kind diet'
  Eating on a dollar a day pays off for vegan duo

Of Note
Don't forget to visit:
(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)

The aftertaste of more milk and meat
Full story: IRIN

Did you know that 70 per cent of all newly emerging infectious human diseases originate in animals? The links between diseases, livestock and climate change are raised in the flagship annual report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which put the spotlight on livestock. The researchers underlined that the question of how climate change would alter the already "fragile relationship" between human beings and livestock was "fraught with uncertainty." About 70 per cent of the world's 1.4 billion "extreme poor" - people earning less than US$1.25 per day - are known to depend on livestock for their livelihood. The livestock population is exploding as demand for meat and milk products grows in developing countries. The report noted that city residents in poor countries often kept livestock in cramped and unsanitary conditions close to their homes. "This can foster the emergence and spread of diseases affecting both animals and humans."

IRIN - February 18

Heart doctors tout vegetarian diets
Full story: The Suncoast News, FL, U.S.

Here, it seems, is a surefire business-losing proposition: A cardiac surgeon learns firsthand how to stop and even reverse heart disease and starts proselytizing about it, thus potentially reducing the number of patients needing to have him open their chests for repairs. Meet Dr. Marc R. Katz, who would be glad to see a slowdown in the number of people requiring heart bypasses and other procedures. Katz has lost 35 pounds and lowered his cholesterol by a third in the past year adhering to a seriously low-fat [vegan] diet. But he's not convinced a lot of his patients or Americans in general are motivated to follow him. "It's amazing, people will take a pill, but if you tell them they can actually do better in some ways by changing their lifestyle and their diet, they just say, 'Aw, I could never do that.' "

The Suncoast News, FL, U.S. - February 23

Dr. Neal Barnard: Settling the soy controversy
Full story: Huffington Post

Because soy products are so widely consumed, some people have raised the question as to whether they are safe. After years of research, science is weighing in. Here is what the studies show: Women who include soy products in their routines are less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with other women... [For women already diagnosed with breast cancer,] soy products may reduce the risk of recurrence. Soy products have no adverse effects on men and may actually help them prevent cancer. Researchers found a 30 per cent risk reduction [in prostate cancer] with nonfermented soy products such as soy milk and tofu... In summary, evidence to date is reassuring. Having said that, soy products are certainly not essential. The fact is, a vegan diet can follow a Mediterranean tradition, focusing on vegetables, fruits, beans and pasta. Or it might follow a Latin American tradition of beans, rice, and corn tortillas. Soy products come from an Asian tradition with many healthful delights and the most enviable health statistics on record. So soy is handy, but it is certainly not essential. If you choose to include soy products in your routine, you'll have science on your side. [Also check out PCRM's "Food for Life" episode on soy - click on archives if not showing as the current episode).

Huffington Post - February 24

Calcium kick
Full story: VegNews

The dairy industry would like us to believe that milk builds strong bones. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to advertise milk and cheese. Yet, a 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women demonstrated that those who drank the most milk broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk. Evidence from around the word shows that in countries where dairy intake is highest, osteoporosis is most prevalent. Where dairy is seldom consumed, bones remain strong into old age. While we certainly don't need milk, we do need calcium to keep our bones healthy. The good news is that a plethora of vegetarian foods - including beans and greens, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and fortified juice and soymilk - all provide ample calcium. [This article is by Patti Breitman, co-author of "How to Eat Like a Vegetarian, Even if You Never Want to Be One", a great resource for anyone who wants to give their diet a health boost. We've also included calcium-rich recipes in our "of note" section.]

VegNews - February

More Health News:
Africa: Livestock trade is culprit in sleeping sickness spread
SciDev, UK (January 22)
E. Coli from chicken and other meat causes urinary tract infections
PCRM (January 26)
Meat safety: How well done?
A look at some of the unappetizing things done to meat in the name of safety before it is packaged - Chicago Tribune (January 21)
An invitation for Bill Clinton to attend the McDougall Program
Dr. McDougall website (February)
Soy protects against lung cancer
PCRM (February 8)
Vegetarian diet and healthy lifestyle rejuvenate coronary arteries
PCRM (February 2)
Katie Kouric Investigates: Animal antibiotic overuse hurting humans?
CBS News (February 7)


Call for tax on livestock emissions
Full story: Financial Times, UK

Livestock should be taxed to reduce the contribution made by their flatulence to greenhouse gas emissions, the United Nations said February 18 in a report that will give anti-livestock campaigners fresh ammunition. The novel suggestion by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation to use taxation comes as campaigners focus on the impact on climate change of emissions of methane from cattle, sheep and pigs.

Financial Times, UK - February 19

Shrimp's dirty secrets: Why America's favorite seafood is a health and environmental nightmare
Full story: AlterNet

Americans love their shrimp. It's the most popular seafood in the country, but unfortunately much of the shrimp we eat are a cocktail of chemicals, harvested at the expense of one of the world's productive ecosystems. Worse, guidelines for finding some kind of "sustainable shrimp" are so far nonexistent. In his book, Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, Taras Grescoe paints a repulsive picture of how shrimp are farmed in one region of India. The shrimp pond preparation begins with urea, superphosphate, and diesel, then progresses to the use of piscicides (fish-killing chemicals like chlorine and rotenone), pesticides and antibiotics (including some that are banned in the U.S.), and ends by treating the shrimp with sodium tripolyphosphate (a suspected neurotoxicant), Borax, and occasionally caustic soda... What are we actually eating without knowing it? And is it worth the price - both to our health and the environment?

AlterNet - January 25

Australia threatens legal action over Japanese whaling
Full story: Guardian, UK

Australia [on February 19] warned Japan to end its "scientific" whale hunts in the Antarctic by November or face international legal action, in a move that threatens to sour relations between the Asia-Pacific allies. The Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, has threatened legal action before in an attempt to end the slaughter every winter of 1,000 whales in the Southern Ocean. Rudd said he would prefer to reduce Japan's whaling activities "to zero" through negotiation. "But if that fails - and I'm saying this very bluntly and very clearly - then we will initiate that court action before the commencement of the whaling season in November 2010," he said.

Guardian, UK - February 19

86 per cent of dolphins and whales threatened by fishing nets
Full story: mongabay.com

A new report from the United Nations Environment Program finds that almost 9 out of 10 toothed whales - including dolphins and porpoises - are threatened by entanglement and subsequent drowning from large-scale fishing operations equipment, such as gillnets, traps, longlines, and trawls. These operations threaten the highest percentage (86 per cent) of the world's toothed whales. Lack of food and changes in diets due to overfishing by humans currently threatens 13 species, while 14 species are threatened by collisions with ships. The ingestion of plastic and other pollutants have been reported in a total of 48 species. Currently six species are considered on the edge of extinction. The most threatened is the vaquita with only 100-150 individuals left in the Bay of California. The baiji, once abundant in the Yangtze River, is considered extinct.

mongabay.com - February 7
More Environmental News:
Global weirding is here
New York Times (February 17)
A fish oil story
How the demand for omega-3 fish oil supplements is decimating a small fish that plays a big role in ocean health - New York Times (December 15)
Is the Omega Protein company overfishing the most important fish in the sea?
Houston Press (January 19)
Poultry companies accused of poisoning watershed
Motivated by greed, 11 Arkansas poultry companies cut corners when getting rid of thousands of tons of waste and allowed it to pollute a sensitive watershed. - New York Times (February 18)
Climate Progress
Excellent ongoing source for recent climate news

  Lifestyles and Trends    

Veggie celebs: Gold-medal snowboarder carves a meaningful life
Full story: Huffington Post

You'd expect a gold-medal snowboarder to be confident, outgoing, brassy, even. And Hannah Teter - who won the halfpipe competition in Torino and [has just won the silver in Vancouver] - is all that. What you might not expect is for her to donate her winnings to charity [through Hannah's Gold helping a village in Africa. She answered questions about her charity work and philosophy...] I went vegetarian after watching Earthlings. I had no idea how intense and how horrible factory farms are. I have such a love for animals that I can't justify having their heads cut off for me. And the slavery of the dairy industry motivates me to go more vegan. I can't justify animal slavery for my enjoyment. I love the Gandhi quote: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Animals can't speak for themselves, but scientifically we know that they don't want to die. I feel stronger than I've ever been, mentally, physically, and emotionally. My plant-based diet has opened up more doors to being an athlete. It's a whole other level that I'm elevating to. I stopped eating animals about a year ago, and it's a new life. I feel like a new person, a new athlete.

Huffington Post - February 19

Going vegan: A life-long carnivore gives up meat, eggs, dairy
Full story: OregonLive

Meat has always been a part of my life. I grew up eating steaks and burgers, and at least once a week my mom made a seriously good tuna casserole. But no more. I've gone vegan ... for a while, at least. So why ditch meat, eggs and dairy altogether? Here are the main reasons: ... As a cook, I love a good challenge. It's a greener way to eat. While attending last fall's Veg Fest, a fantastic annual event celebrating all things vegan, "compassion" and "kindness" were buzzwords. These are values I aspire to in other aspects of my life, so why not embrace them in the way I eat? Let's face it: I'm fat! Maybe this will kick-start a little weight loss. So for at least the month of February (hmmm ... the shortest of the year -- a convenient coincidence?), I'm giving veganism a try. Follow the journey with daily blog entries. [The blog entries offer excellent reading on many transitional and controversial topics.]

OregonLive - February 1

Fighting hunger - a matter of faith
Full story: IPS

The world's major religions might disagree on theology and matters like the foods we ought to eat and the days we should rest on, but when it comes to fighting hunger, they see eye to eye. The holy books say that those who do not have enough to eat must be helped, which, if you are a believer, makes food insecurity a spiritual issue, not just a political or economic one. "In every religion I know, the first or second most talked about issue [in their scriptures] is the number of verses that deal with the poor, the sick, the hungry," said Tony P. Hall, director of the Alliance to End Hunger and former United States ambassador to the United Nations food agencies... Richard H. Schwartz, an emeritus mathematics professor and a commentator on Judaism and social affairs [and president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America], believes many of his fellow Jews are ignoring God's will by not doing more about hunger. Schwartz even encourages people of faith to convert to vegetarianism. "I believe it is scandalous that the world is currently feeding about 40 per cent of its grain to animals, while so many people are chronically hungry and malnourished," he said.

IPS - February 10

Author Mark Bittman on veganism
Full story: CBC Books

[Food Matters author Mark Bittman participated in a live chat on CBC Books. Answering a video question by Moby on what he thinks about veganism he replied,] "I think veganism is the most principled position one can take when it comes to eating; there is no need to eat animal products at all, and - aside from processed food - they are the most damaging foods produced, both from a personal and a global perspective. Having said that, I think veganism is a very tough sell. And I would rather see millions, tens of millions of people significantly reduce their consumption of animal products than see tens of thousands eliminate them." [Speaking about his Vegan until 6 approach to eating he said...] "I lost 35 pounds (gained 5 back in Spain)... Saw my cholesterol and blood sugar numbers fall, had my sleep apnea disappear, my knees stopped hurting, and I'm running the NYC marathon in two weeks, for the first time in 12 years." [Scroll down to timeline 2:40 at the link to find the start of this exchange.]

CBC Books - October 15
  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Got milk? Got ethics? Animal rights v. U.S. dairy industry
Full story: ABC News

Undercover videos produced by animal rights groups are fueling a debate over the need for new laws to regulate the treatment of American dairy cows. The graphic videos include one made inside a huge New York dairy operation where cows never go outside, have the ends of their tails cut off in painful procedures without anesthesia, and are seen being abused by one employee who hits a cow over the head with a wrench when it refuses to move. An investigator for the group Mercy for Animals worked at the New York dairy farm, Willet Dairy, one of the largest in the state, for two months as a mechanic. "These animals are really treated as little more than milk-producing machines," said Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals. "The overall environment at this facility was really a culture of cruelty and neglect."

ABC News - January 26

Going to slaughter: Should animals hope to meet Temple Grandin?
Full story: Psychology Today

[There has been a lot of positive press around the movie on the life of autistic Temple Grandin, known for creating slaughterhouse systems. Here's another viewpoint on her legacy.] Temple Grandin has become a media star because of the work she does that supposedly makes the lives of slaughterhouse animals better. Meat eaters and the slaughterhouses that pay her and those that don't claim she does make the life of a terrified animal better and that it is okay to eat them because they have better lives. Of course "better" doesn't mean even a marginally "good" life. Grandin and others also claim that because or her autism she has better connections with animals because she has a better understanding of them, but this has been called into question by solid scientific research. But let's put this topic aside because one could easily argue that if Grandin does indeed have a better idea of what animals are thinking and feeling she couldn't possibly allow them to be sent to their reprehensible death to become an unnecessary meal.

Psychology Today - February 6

Animal sentience: Smarter than you think
Full story: Times, UK

The animal kingdom is home to much greater intelligence than has been previously acknowledged, with scientists seeing evidence of human-like traits everywhere... It was the sight of a diminutive Diana monkey attacking a giant crowned eagle in the treetops of the Tai forest in Ivory Coast, west Africa, that gave Klaus Zuberbühler his great insight into the language of monkeys. As the animal charged the bird it emitted screams that Zuberbühler, a psychologist at St. Andrews University, knew he had heard before. "When we analysed our recordings we realised it was different to all the other monkey alarm calls - except for when they were fighting off eagles," said Zuberbühler. The implication was a powerful one: the monkeys were communicating with each other, in this case passing on complex information about a specific threat and its whereabouts. In other words, they had developed a rudimentary language.

Times, UK - January 17

Can animals cry?
Full story: Psychology Today

Not long ago, I interviewed Jeffrey Masson about animal emotions. Allowing that cats and dogs have emotions is one thing. Masson's 2003 book The Pig Who Sang to the Moon goes one step farther, examining farm animals' feelings - and exposing possibilities that a mostly carnivorous public would rather not see. "One of the things I took away from psychoanalysis is how much humans use denial to ward off stuff that we don't want to deal with," he declared. "And when people don't want to deal with what they're eating, they're in massive denial... My publisher told me not to make anyone feel bad about what they eat." He scoffed. "But how do you not?" Jack Norris agrees. The registered dietician heads Vegan Outreach, a national nonprofit that raises awareness about farm animals. "These animals are treated in ways that would be illegal were they done to a dog or cat, yet because the sows are being raised for food, farmers are allowed to do just about anything as long as it is considered a standard agricultural practice." [Link to the full article to also read the moving story of the author's childhood dog.]

Psychology Today - February 8

Animal rights enters the mainstream
Full story: NewMatilda.com, Australia

The title of this article may confuse some people. You may be thinking "but animal rights is an issue that is in the mainstream all the time. When I walk through the city I see billboards campaigning for an end to live animal export to the Middle East. Same thing when I turn on my television. I see Jamie Oliver exposing the treatment of chickens in factory farms... These, however, are not about animal rights at all. They are about promoting animal welfare which certainly is a mainstream issue. The distinction between the two approaches is critical to understanding why the rights focus is finally gaining traction. Animal welfare involves promoting better treatment of animals by humans, whereas an animal rights ideology means striving for the abolition of humans' use of animals, regardless of their treatment. While animal welfare campaigns try to improve the treatment of animals raised for food, clothing and so on, animal rights campaigns push to abolish the use of animals for all of these purposes.

NewMatilda.com, Australia - February 23

More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:
Matt Ball of Vegan Outreach responds to the Guardian piece mentioned in the above article:
Comment is free; reason too expensive
Vegan.com (January 21)
Also of interest:
Interview with Matt Ball
We focus on the animals because they matter. If we are going to reduce the animals’ suffering, we need people to recognize and consider their suffering. The ethical case for vegetarianism is simple, straightforward, and indisputable.
Animal sentience: If you think a crow is giving you the evil eye…
New Scientist (January 26)
New whaling compromise is step backwards for whales
WWF (February 23)
Video: Disturbing reality of dairy industry
ABC Nightline (January 26)
Temple Grandin: Savant or professional killer?
Care2 (February 6)
At last - number of animals killed in the U.S. for food drops slightly

  Books and Perspectives    

Alicia Silverstone's 'kind diet'
Full story: Oprah

Vegan actress Alicia Silverstone stopped eating meat because she's an animal lover, but that's not the real reason she calls her book The Kind Diet. "The kindness is about being truly kind to yourself first and letting yourself have the best health and look your best and feel your most vital." [See recipes and video demonstrations at the link. Read a terrific excerpt from the introduction here.]

Oprah - January

Eating on a dollar a day pays off for vegan duo
Full story: Sign On San Diego, CA, U.S.

More than a million people have checked out a blog launched by Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard, curious to see how the middle-class schoolteachers from North County fed themselves on $1 a day. In the online diary that happened to debut just as the country was entering the Great Recession, the couple described how they sustained themselves during September 2008 on a diet based largely on commodity ingredients, such as bleached flour, oats, beans and rice. The project, which began as a way to cut food bills, led to worldwide discussions on the "food justice" movement and landed the couple a lucrative book deal. On a Dollar a Day was released February 9. Taking on the role of social commentators, Greenslate, 29, and Leonard, 30, tell their story while exploring many of the same themes as those of recent books that raise questions about the food industry and government policies on food. The 211-page book also documents the couple's subsequent attempt to eat on the $4.13-per-day allotment for food-stamp recipients. (They're both vegan, so the diet was meat- and milk-free.)

Sign On San Diego, CA, U.S. - February 13
  Of Note    

Recipes - for health and fun
We love the kale chips featured by The Toronto Vegetarian Association - we think they taste better than potato chips and they're high in calcium! Delicious marinated kale salad with omega-3-rich flaxseed oil dressing from VegNews is good for your bones and your heart too. (You can steam the kale for a few minutes if you find it too rough.) As always, you'll find lots more healthy recipes on VegE-News' own Green Gourmet pages, along with tips for making the transition to a vegan diet - or staying on one - including info on calcium.
Kale chips - from Toronto Vegetarian Association
Marinated kale salad - from VegNews
VegE-News recipes and tips

Don't miss the new 21-day vegan kickstart!
A new PCRM's 21-day vegan kickstart starts March 1. We highly recommend this program. 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!
Short video about the program
21-day vegan kickstart details

Vegan Organic Network has a new website - and an award
Vegan organic growing, with the smallest carbon footprint of all farming methods, is truly the way of a healthy, sustainable future. Vegan Organic Network (VON)'s new site is packed with information, clips and tips for 'clean, green and cruelty free' food. Some people say that if we don't have livestock, we won't have "fertilizer" for organic growing. But the Vegan Organic Network is out to prove that isn't true. The vegan organic agriculture revolution will improve our own health, lessen animal suffering and tackle climate change. In recognition of their efforts, VON has just been awarded the UK Vegan Society's 2009 award for Best Vegan Project or Campaign. Find out more at the website.
Vegan Organic Network

Go ahead - indulge in lovely hand-crafted jewelry - and help animals
Cheryl Baker of Zen 4 Animals Jewelry makes unique hand-crafted jewelry to raise funds for animal rescue and education. Her designs, inspired by her love for animals, cleverly incorporate messages that let you remind everyone to include animals in their thoughts. Examples: "I Spay"...."Kindness"..."Veg Head"..."Compassion" - Got an idea? Cheryl will custom design something just for you. Cheryl has been working towards the day when every homeless animal has a chance to find a forever home and all sales benefit her efforts.
Zen 4 Animals Jewelry

Video shorts
This month: Two heartwarming rescue stories from Farm Sanctuary, an interview with Cleveland Clinic's CEO Delos Cosgrove MD who says that health care costs can't be controlled unless the obesity epidemic is stopped. And his hospital is doing something about it. On Food for Life TV, Dr. Barnard tells how one size really does fit all when it comes to steering clear of disease. There's a video based on the writings of Dr. Richard Schwartz, author and president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America. And finally an informative talk by Lubomir Stoyanov, a Bioinformatics student in Germany who was kind enough to write and share his presentation on the compassionate veggie way of life.
Farm Sanctuary helps Gloria the goat
A calf's story of survival
Cleveland Clinic and obesity epidemic solutions
Dr. Barnard: Steer clear of chronic disease - does one size fit all?
Dr. Schwartz: What would a vegan world look like?
Go Veg talk by Lubomir Stoyanov

Calls to action
Project Coyote is asking for support in their fight to ban coyote and fox penning: The captured coyote is released into the pen and every one of her senses scream fear. Before she can race to the fence, the hunting dogs are released and the bloody sport of penning begins. Considered a training exercise, the dog packs are pitted against one terrified, trapped coyote or fox. These penned wild canids suffer horribly and die - literally torn apart by a dog pack. To learn how to help, click below
Project Coyote

Compassion Over Killing is asking vegans to put on their creative hat and enter a vegan donut creation in Dunkin’ Donuts 2nd annual “Create Dunkin’s Next Donut Contest” - it’s the perfect opportunity to let the company know that its next donut should be vegan! The contest ends on March 8, 2010. Visit COK's Dunkin' Cruelty website for inspiration and details on entering.
Dunkin' Cruelty

Humane Society International is asking people to tell the U.S. to leave CITES protection for bobcats intact. You can find out more and show your support for bobcats and other small, spotted wild cats at the link below! But hurry, the deadline for signatures is Monday, March 1st.
Bobcats need help

March 20 is the 25th Anniversary of Meatout Day
On March 20th, the first day of spring, caring people in 1,000 communities throughout all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries publicize the benefits of a plant-based diet. This year's slogan is "Eat for Life - Live Vegan!" Visit the Meatout website to find out more and get involved. For help with funding vegan handouts at an event, check out VegFund.org

Earth Hour 2010, March 27, 8:30 pm
Earth Hour was created by WWF to demonstrate to world leaders that hundreds of millions of people want action on climate change now. From the biggest cities to the smallest towns and from all corners of the globe, people will be uniting to turn out their lights on March 27. More info below. [We believe this is a valuable initiative, even though WWF needs to be enlightened when it comes to the importance and ease of a vegan diet. We have written to the organizers encouraging them to become educated and spread the word.]
Earth Hour info
Vegan.com takes WWF to task

Animal Rights 2010 Conference, July 15-19, Washington, DC
Animal Rights 2010 is the animal rights movement's annual national conference. It is a forum for sharing knowledge, reporting on progress, discussing strategies and tactics, networking, and "recharging our batteries." All viewpoints that support the goal of animal liberation from all forms of human oppression are welcome (except for advocacy of injury).
Animal Rights 2010

The 39th IVU World Vegetarian Congress 2010, Jakarta, 1-6 October, 2010 and Bali, 7-9 October, 2010
The Congress is a bi-annual program of the International Vegetarian Union. Theme: Save Our Life, Save Our Planet. If you've ever attended an international Vegetarian Congress, you know what an inspiring and recharging experience it is. More details and online registration at the website below.
World Vegetarian Congress 2010

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