March 2010
In this edition...

Health
  Mediterranean diet may help prevent dementia, study says
  Whistleblower veterinarian says U.S. meat inspection agency endangers public health
  Severe allergic reaction to meat may not be rare
  100 per cent of fish in U.S. streams contaminated with mercury

Environment
  CITES faces political storm over tuna ban
  UN climate panel remains credible despite minor errors
  A deforestation-based diet: Seven foods that are destroying the world's forests
  Manure becomes pollutant as its volume grows unmanageable

Lifestyles and Trends
  Staying vegan: After a month of plant-based eating, the adventure continues
  Processed foods are good for vegan activists
  Don't mock my lentils: UK vegans to get discrimination rights
  Giving voice to vegans
  Veggie celebs: Simon Cowell supports Paul McCartney's Meat Free Mondays campaign
  Veg*ism in Africa

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  A lawyer with a cause to stamp out cruelty to all animals - including fish
  To meat or not to meat
  Inside the cruel cat and dog meat market in China - but there's a glimmer of hope
  UK food agency moves to install video in slaughterhouses

Books and Perspectives
  Vegan book hits #1 on Amazon.com

Of Note - Recipes, Videos and More
 
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(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
  Health    

Mediterranean diet may help prevent dementia, study says
Full story: CNN

Eating a diet rich in healthy fats and limiting dairy and meat could do more than keep your heart healthier. It could also help keep you thinking clearly. New research shows that sticking to the Mediterranean diet, previously shown to reduce heart and other health issues, also may help lower the risk of having small areas of dead tissue linked to thinking problems. Known as brain infarcts, they're involved in vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia, after Alzheimer's disease. A Mediterranean diet includes a lot of fruit, vegetables and fish, olive oil, legumes and cereals, and fewer dishes containing dairy, meat, poultry, and saturated fatty acids than other diets. It also involves small to moderate amounts of alcohol. [For personal and planet health, get your omega-3 fatty acids from flax and walnuts rather than fish.]

CNN - February 8

Whistleblower veterinarian says U.S. meat inspection agency endangers public health
Full story: Examiner.com

In testimony before [a U.S. government committee], Dr. Dean Wyatt testified as to how the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Food and Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) supports unhealthy practices at the national slaughterhouses and endangers the nation's meat food supply. Dr. Wyatt, a public health supervisory veterinarian with FSIS, testified to numerous instances where FSIS executives overruled his and other inspectors' citations of slaughterhouses' abuses endangering the safety of the nation's meat supply. Dr. Wyatt also testified that he was directed by his superiors to "drastically cut back" the time spent on ensuring that animals destined for food were treated humanely. [He recounted numerous acts of shocking cruelty.] Asked why he blew the whistle and ruined his career, Dr. Wyatt responded: "I truly believe that the USDA inspector is the only advocate animals have in slaughter plants. When we turn our backs on the helpless, when we fail to speak on behalf of the voiceless, when we tolerate animal abuse and suffering, then the moral compass of a just and compassionate society is gone." The agency's actions and inactions may go a long way to explain the rash of salmonella and e. coli outbreaks over the last few years.

Examiner.com - March 6

Severe allergic reaction to meat may not be rare
Full story: Vancouver Sun/Reuters

Eating meat may be a much more common trigger for anaphylaxis - a severe and potentially deadly allergic reaction - than previously thought. A study of 60 patients who had unexplained severe allergic reactions suggests that a compound in meat known as alpha-galactose may be the culprit, according to research presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in New Orleans. They found immune system proteins in 25 out of 60 patients who had unexplained allergic reactions. "What we're finding is that this traditional notion of allergy to meat being very rare may, in fact, not be true," [lead researcher Dr. Scott Commins said]. The anaphylaxis may seem to appear out of the blue because the meat or dairy may have been eaten four to six hours earlier. "The typical scenario has been if you don't react to food within two hours, then it's not the food, in this case that doesn't seem to be true," Commins said.

Vancouver Sun/Reuters - March 1

100 per cent of fish in U.S. streams contaminated with mercury
Full story: Natural News

In a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), every single fish tested from 291 freshwater streams across the United States was found to be contaminated with mercury. "This study shows just how widespread mercury pollution has become in our air, watersheds and many of our fish in freshwater streams," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that builds up in the food chain at ever higher concentrations in predators such as large fish and humans. It is especially damaging to the developing nervous systems of fetuses and children, but can have severe effects on adults, as well. The number one cause of human mercury poisoning in the United States is the consumption of fish and shellfish. All fish [tested] were contaminated with mercury, more than 66 per cent of them at levels higher than those set by the Environmental Protection agency as a "level of concern for fish-eating mammals," according to Reuters.

Natural News - March 3

More Health News:
Lawsuit claims Omega-3 supplements from fish oil contain industrial chemicals
Toronto Star (March 2)
Vegetables, fruits, soy help prevent breast cancer
PCRM (March 16)
Low-fat diet tops low-carb in long run
Study shows people on low-fat diet more likely to keep weight off. - WebMD (March 1)
Vegetable intake increases ovarian cancer survival rates
PCRM (March 17)
Vegetarian (vegan) diets for preventing osteoporosis
Osteoporosis Solution (March 16)
Study: Factory farms a threat to public health
Iowa Independent, U.S. (January 8)

 
  Environment    

CITES faces political storm over tuna ban
Full story: IPS

The vast majority of the species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, live on land, but as marine species come under increasing pressure from unsustainable fishing and a range of climate change-related threats that focus is beginning to shift. Trade in some of these marine species, however, is highly lucrative, and so limiting their commercial trade has made for contentious and high-stakes international politics. On the agenda [of the latest meeting March 13-25] will be a record number of proposals to protect marine species [including Atlantic bluefin tuna], estimated to be a 7.2-billion-dollar-a-year industry. A Japanese government official announced his country would not comply with a ban on trade in Atlantic bluefin. Four-fifths of the harvest is shipped to Japan where a single fish can be sold for as much as 100,000 dollars.

IPS - March 6

UN climate panel remains credible despite minor errors
Full story: IDN

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has come under severe attack for some minor errors in its extensive 2007 report on climate change. But, on the whole, the IPCC's conclusions remain indisputable: Climate change is happening now and human activity is causing it. There is no alternative for countries around the world to adapt to at least some climate change, including sea level rise, changes in precipitation, disruptions to agriculture, and species extinctions. But if they dramatically reduce their emissions, the worst effects of climate change can be staved off. The Union of Concerned Scientists has assembled a series of explanatory backgrounders on specific allegations about the report, with a view to setting the record straight.

IDN - March 3

A deforestation-based diet: Seven foods that are destroying the world's forests
Full story: Planet Green

We hear a lot about the importance of eating organic and eating local, but left out of the conversation are the growing methods of some of our staple foods, and how much forest land has been lost to grow (or raise) products like beef, rice, and palm oil. This is a quick look at common foods contributing the most to deforestation - and as a result, to climate change-around the world.

Planet Green - March 10

Manure becomes pollutant as its volume grows unmanageable
Full story: Washington Post

Nearly 40 years after the first Earth Day, this is irony: The United States has reduced the manmade pollutants that left its waterways dead, discolored and occasionally flammable. But now, it has managed to smother the same waters with the most natural stuff in the world. Animal manure, a byproduct as old as agriculture, has become an unlikely modern pollution problem, scientists and environmentalists say. The country simply has more dung than it can handle: Crowded together at a new breed of megafarms, livestock produce three times as much waste as people, more than can be recycled as fertilizer for nearby fields.

Washington Post - March 1

More Environmental News:
Al Gore: We canít wish away climate change
Excellent response to climate change deniers - New York Times (February 27)
Jeffrey Sachs: Climate skeptics are recycled critics of controls on tobacco and acid rain
The truth is that there is big money backing the climate-change deniers. - stopglobalwarming.org (February 19)
EU confirms support for bluefin tuna trade ban
EurActiv (March 11)

 
  Lifestyles and Trends    

Staying vegan: After a month of plant-based eating, the adventure continues
Full story: Oregon Live, U.S.

With a turn of the calendar page, my official month as a vegan is over. But don't expect to see me bursting through the doors of a steakhouse tonight or tossing a pound of bacon into my grocery cart any time soon. I'm sticking with it. I gave myself a beginning of March opt-out date in case I was having problems sticking to a plant-based diet, but it hasn't been a trouble at all. I've been exploring a whole new range of grains and legumes, which has made cooking exciting and varied... I've experienced plenty of physical benefits. I've dropped an astonishing 12 pounds in 28 days, without having to count calories or feel hungry all the time. At night, I'm sleeping better, which I'm certain is linked to my body not having to work overtime to digest all the beef I had been eating previously. As a result, I have tons of energy, and have been able to decrease my dependence on coffee and Diet Coke to get through the afternoon. Hey, every penny counts these days.

Oregon Live, U.S. - March 1

Processed foods are good for vegan activists
Full story: The Vegan Dietitian

It's true that for responsible eating, nothing compares with whole plant foods. Legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are the most healthful foods on earth and they take a smaller toll on the environment. They don't require fancy packaging or huge amounts of energy for processing. On the other hand, processed foods like meat and dairy analogues can make it much easier to take that leap from familiar omnivore meals to vegan cuisine... When it comes to nutrition, there are far more questions than answers about the best way to eat. I guess we can say with considerable confidence that an apple is more healthful than a Twinkie, but beyond that, it doesn't pay to be too perfectionist about diet. Enjoying foods now and then that don't fit into the "whole foods" ideal is very unlikely to do much harm to your health. It's good activism, too, because it promotes the image of vegan diets as approachable and fun. And it supports the companies whose work and contributions are essential to building a more humane world.

The Vegan Dietitian - March 2

Don't mock my lentils: UK vegans to get discrimination rights
Full story: Sunday Times, UK

Vegans and teetotallers are to be given the same protection against discrimination as religious groups, under [UK] legislation championed by Harriet Harman, the equalities minister. Members of cults and "new religions" such as Scientology, whose supporters include the film stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta, would also be offered protection, as would atheists. A code of practice explaining the legal implications of the equality bill states that religions need not be mainstream or well known for their adherents to gain protection. "A belief need not include faith or worship of a god or gods, but must affect how a person lives their life or perceives the world."

Sunday Times, UK - March 7

Giving voice to vegans
Full story: Northern Rivers Echo, Australia

I used to make jokes about vegetarians but, increasingly, as an animal-lover and someone who cares about the environment, I'm coming much more to the opinion that we need to examine the whole way we look at what we eat, both from a philosophical perspective and an environmental one. It's not as simple as meat=bad, vegetables= good, so to understand what veganism is all about I visited the editor of Vegan Voice, a quarterly independent magazine. Sienna Blake has a voice that sings while speaking, the courage to put her words out to the world and a face straight out of a Botticelli painting. While vegans have a reputation for being overly earnest, serious and, well, dull, the magazine is anything but. It's full of humour, wit, lovely writing and delicious-sounding recipes... "Once you understand that humans are just another animal and animals are not just human property as we've been told, you don't really have a choice," [Sienna] said. "I think there are a lot of intelligent, ethical people out there, just ripe for conversion."

Northern Rivers Echo, Australia - March 4

Veggie celebs: Simon Cowell supports Paul McCartney's Meat Free Mondays campaign
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Simon Cowell is becoming vegetarian for Leona Lewis. The music mogul has been persuaded by the Bleeding Love singer - who he mentored on UK TV talent show The X Factor in 2006 - to support Sir Paul McCartney's Meat Free Mondays campaign, in which people give up eating animal products once a week. Leona - who met the Beatles legend at the end of last year to discuss getting Simon involved - said: "Anything I ask Simon to get involved in regarding my charity and environmental concerns he always does. He's cool like that." Simon joins other committed vegetarian stars Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, Kevin Spacey and Woody Harrelson in supporting Paul's cause.

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - February 23

Veg*ism in Africa
Full story: VegSource Blog

I was recently asked "Why do Africans go vegetarian?" - it was an unexpected question but the reply was simple enough: "For the same reason as everyone else, health, animals, environment or religion, according to their personal priorities." Though many Africans are also more aware than most of us that vegetarianism can make a difference to world hunger problems. Many Africans of course do not have much choice, just finding anything at all to eat is their priority. But most of us know that far more people could be fed directly on plant food, than if it is processed through animals to provide meat. Add to that the fact that an alarming proportion of the food that is grown in Africa is exported to the richer countries, and we can begin to see the underlying problems. [By John Davis, International Vegetarian Union.]

VegSource Blog - March 3

More Lifestyles and Trends News:
A push to start the NY school week without meat
If this goes forward, it will be a major gain for the Meat Free Mondays campaign. - New York Times (February 22)
Meatless Monday Canada
Toronto Vegetarian Association joins the Meatless Monday movement (scroll down)
Quebec: lundis sans viande
UK: Meat Free Monday campaign with Paul McCartney
Paul sings about it!

 
  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

A lawyer with a cause to stamp out cruelty to all animals - including fish
Full story: Montreal Gazette, Canada

Antoine Goetschel is the first to admit that the concept of lawyers for animals at first strikes most people as frankly bizarre. "It's to be expected," he said."It's part of the game that new ideas aren't taken seriously at first, but in the end they wind up being adopted." [As in] Zurich in Switzerland, which created the official post of "lawyer for animal welfare in criminal matters," and Goetschel is currently that lawyer. His "clients" have for the most part been cats and dogs and cattle, but he hasn't shied from pushing the envelope as he did by taking on the case of a pike who was dragged for 10 minutes on the end of an angler's line. He lost that case, but says it was a way of making the point that cruelty to an animal is cruelty, period, no matter if the species is uncuddly. Goetschel was in Montreal for a symposium at the McGill law faculty on animal law, a field that has steadily gained at least academic respectability in recent years... Goetschel and others in the animal welfare movement make the point that societies that respect the dignity of non-human creatures are healthier societies and less prone to cruelty toward people.

Montreal Gazette, Canada - March 14

To meat or not to meat
Full story: The Current, Nova University, FL, U.S.

[During a recent lecture to Florida university students from animal rights activist, Gary Yourofsky a four-minute video was shown]. The audience was warned that the images would be graphic. With the anticipation that many would look away, Yourofsky told the audience to ask themselves, "If it's not good enough for your eyes, why is it good enough for your stomach?" The video started with little, pink baby pigs being thrown onto the ground. As they hit the ground, many struggled to move around but there was no escape from the torture that would eventually result in death... These animals were tortured and left to suffer until their last breath. Soon after that, their meat is sold and later served on a plate for people to eat. Several people in the audience turned their eyes from the video. Many placed their hands over their mouths. The question remains, will the audience now hold their hands over their mouths when it comes to being served food derived from animals? [Visit Gary's website here.]

The Current, Nova University, FL, U.S. - February 9

Inside the cruel cat and dog meat market in China - but there's a glimmer of hope
Full story: CNN

Dogs bark and whine behind high chain-link fences, some of them gnawing the wire so hard they bleed at the mouths while cats packed into crowded cages cower in fear if anyone approaches. This isn't a pet store - it's a meat market in Guangzhou, a city in southern China where eating cats and dogs is common practice. But local restaurants may have to find a new specialty. The Chinese government is considering legislation that would make eating cats and dogs illegal. The ban on eating dog and cat meat is part of a larger proposal to toughen laws on animal welfare. Individual violators could face up to 15 days in prison and a small fine. Businesses found guilty of selling the meat risk fines up to 500,000 yuan ($73,500.)

CNN - March 9

UK food agency moves to install video in slaughterhouses
Full story: Times, UK

Every abattoir in Britain should have closed-circuit television cameras installed to ensure the highest health, hygiene and animal welfare standards, the [UK] food watchdog has said. Tim Smith, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency, said he intended to develop a detailed plan for the industry within six months. The agency was set up almost ten years ago in the aftermath of the BSE scandal, but there are still concerns about standards in the meat industry. The agency has been embarrassed by a recent European Union veterinary inspection report that exposed poor hygiene at UK abattoirs and meat-cutting plants. Animal Aid, a welfare campaign group, also secretly filmed cruelty to pigs and sheep at an organic certified abattoir in Devon. The agency cannot force meat companies to install surveillance cameras, but he hoped agreement would emerge. "Where we find resistance it is from operators with something to hide," Mr Smith said.

Times, UK - March 1

More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:
Thanks to Vegan Outreach for bringing a new Ethical Food Report to our attention. Highlights: 69% of people are willing to pay more for "ethical" food, and 91% of those include animal welfare in their criteria for considering food "ethical." Also, 21% said "vegetarian" is important or very important to them, and 14% said "vegan" is important or very important to them. Full Report (pdf)
Meat-Free Santa Cruz
Includes a discussion of agribusiness cruelty and veganism - City on a Hill Press, CA, U.S. (March 17)
Animal rights and wrongs
"Off the Pulpit" blog by Rabbi Wolpe (February)

 
  Books and Perspectives    

Vegan book hits #1 on Amazon.com
Full story: PRWeb

In the space of a single weekend [March 12-14], Dr. Will Tuttle and his partners took The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony from an Amazon.com sales rank somewhere around 20,000 all the way to the number one spot - without traditional advertising or celebrity endorsements. Tuttle relied on the tight-knit vegan and vegetarian community to help propel his title to the top. "The vegan community is small compared to mass culture, and when we work together like this, we build unity and solidarity," Tuttle explains. "We have a message that's vital to the health and well-being of all of us..." Strong community and connections, Tuttle believes, are precisely what the world needs now for human beings to fulfill our responsibility to the Earth that is our home. [Book review from EmaxHealth.]

PRWeb - March 17
 
  Of Note - Recipes, Videos and More    


Cruelty-free Easter Recipes and Going Veggie Tips
The European Vegetarian Union says: Hundreds of thousands of lambs are killed at Easter every year, along with many other innocent animals, for traditional festive celebrations. So why not try something different this year, with this complete Easter menu, using 100 per cent vegetable ingredients, from starter to dessert (from the VeganHome Italian site). You can also check out the recipes on VegE-News' own Green Gourmet pages, along with tips for making the transition to a vegan diet - or staying on one.
Easter Menu
VegE-News recipes and tips

Have you been following the 21-day vegan kickstart?
If you missed the start, you can catch up in the archives. A great way to kick-start your health!
Short video about the program
21-day vegan kickstart details

Video shorts
This month: John Robbins tells the story of taking Julia Child, ultimate non-vegetarian advocate, to a veal farm; "Vegan Outreach: Changing Lives" highlights the work of VO volunteers to educate people about the truth of factory farming; Dr. McDougall on gladiators' - and other historical fighters' - diet (vegan!); a profile of vegan 'Bizarro' cartoonist Dan Piraro (we've also included a link to Dan's blog).
John Robbins on Julia Child
Vegan Outreach: Changing Lives
Gladiators were vegan
Comic Belief with Dan Piraro
Dan's blog

Second Annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale
The second annual worldwide vegan bake sale will take place April 24 through May 2, when groups from across the world will hold vegan bake sales. Be part of a fun global event that helps people, animals, and the planet. You can raise money for your cause and promote delicious, cruelty-free food. Each participating group gets to choose its venue, what to sell, and how it uses the proceeds. Be sure to sign up on the site. VegFund.org will also help with funding if you want to give the food away rather than sell it!
Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale
VegFund.org

Support appreciated
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.
Support VegE-News
The VegE-Store

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.
Meatout

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
Promo video
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

Attention veggie organizations and members
If you are a vegetarian organization that would like your own customized version of VegE-News, let us know. We are pleased to produce customized versions of VegE-News for the Australian Vegetarian Society, the New Zealand Vegetarian Society, Vegetarians of Alberta, and the Toronto Vegetarian Association. Members receive the regular VegE-News PLUS listings of their local events. If you are a member of one of those organizations, but not receiving the customized version, just drop us an email and ask us to switch you to the specific list.
Email VegE-News


 
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