December 2011

In this edition...

Editor's Note
  Happy Holidays

Featured stories
  Ad campaign challenges transit riders on meat-eating
  Turkey rescue 2011

  Common infections will be 'untreatable' if antibiotic misuse continues
  Drugs in feed: A fatal threat to Australia's live cattle trade?
  The how-to guide to going vegan

Environment and World Hunger
  Agnostic carnivores and global warming: Why enviros go after coal and not cows
  Australia setting up world's largest marine preserve
  Animal husbandry and the Horn of Africa famine
  Retailer says 'Don't buy our stuff'
  The first lab-grown hamburger will cost $345,000

Lifestyles and Trends
  New law school program unleashes animal rights
  Sir Paul McCartney attacks French school over vegetarian ban
  A rose by any other name? Psychology and the 'go veg' message
  Netherlands: Vegetarian butchers make a killing

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Bruno's story: A different perspective on 'happy' cows
  Animal sentience: Savanna chimps share like humans
  More animal sentience: Duck parents enlist human help to rescue their babies
  Opposition to dog meat traffic rises in China, Thailand, and Vietnam
  Horses could soon be slaughtered for meat in U.S.

Of Note - Recipes, Videos, Gift Ideas, 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    

Happy Holidays 'Santa Claus' decorated our tree every Christmas eve. We weren't allowed to peek until my father, who loved the tree as much as us kids, lit it on Christmas morning, carrying on a tradition from Russia, when candles lit the trees of his youth. All six of us waited in excited anticipation for my parents to drink their coffee - from cups that seemed bottomless to our young eyes. Finally, we were allowed into the room to marvel at the tree lights and decorations. Each year, it was the best tree ever!

Whatever your traditions, the season is all about family, friends, sharing and caring. We hope you and yours have the most joyous, compassionate holiday season ever and that the New Year will light the way to a more peaceful earth for all.

"It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." Chinese proverb

  Featured stories    

Ad campaign challenges transit riders on meat-eating
Full story: Huffington Post

Public transit riders in Toronto [Canada] have been coming face-to-face with farm animals thanks to an ad campaign that asks "Why love one but eat the other?" The 1,000 poster-sized ads juxtapose pictures of pets such as cats and dogs with images of animals most people equate with food, namely chickens, pigs, and cows. [The campaign, mounted with the help of the Toronto Vegetarian Association has elicited strong reactions]. Overall, this campaign demonstrates the role behavioural economics and human psychology can play in shaping important decisions that ultimately help people, animals, and the environment. [Watch the campaign video to see more ads and the reactions.]   Read more...

Huffington Post - December 6

Turkey rescue 2011
Full story: ABC News, CA

Karen Dawn, author of Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals, introduces Russell and Perry who were saved from the turkey slaughter industry. [Watch more on Karen's special guests in the related video below].   Read more...

ABC News, CA - November 19
Behind the scenes with Karen

YouTube (November 17)
'Adopt' your own turkey

Adopt-a-Turkey Project - Farm Sanctuary
From the archives: How your Thanksgiving turkey gets made
From conception to carcass, here's the short, hellish life-cycle of your industry-produced turkey. - Business Insider (November 23, 2009)

Common infections will be 'untreatable' if antibiotic misuse continues
Full story: The Ecologist

The world is being pushed towards the unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections, warns a new paper published in the medical journal Lancet, blaming a decline in new drug discoveries and the rising numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As well as investment into new antibiotics, there are growing calls for a crackdown on the misuse of existing antibiotics. The biggest problem is seen as unnecessary use in human medicine but, the excessive use of antibiotics in intensive farming units, particularly pig and poultry farms, is seen as a growing threat. Scientists say antimicrobial resistance may also be passing between animals and humans, making the need to cut unnecessary use in farming even more urgent. The World Health Organisation says drug use in farm animals plays a 'significant role' in spreading antibiotic-resistant salmonella and campylobacter infections in humans.   Read more...

The Ecologist - November 18

Drugs in feed: A fatal threat to Australia's live cattle trade?
Full story: Business Spectator, Australia

Allegations that feed additives, including drugs used to treat asthma, are being given to Australian cattle in Indonesian feedlots have the potential to again threaten the future of the live export industry. [Many readers would see this as a good thing, but the industry article naturally doesn't see it that way...]   Read more...

Business Spectator, Australia - December 7

The how-to guide to going vegan
Full story: Maclean's Magazine

When former U.S. president Bill Clinton gave up eating meat, he explained he'd done a lot of research into low-fat vegan diets, and had discovered that 82 per cent of people like him with heart disease who switch from meat to plant-based foods heal themselves without surgery or drugs. For those who want to try a Clinton-style vegan diet but feel daunted by the prospect, a new book by Dr. Neal Barnard gives meat eaters step-by-step instructions on how to make the switch from meat and cheese to kale and lentils. It's called 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health. Barnard insists that vegan cooking isn't any more time-consuming than preparing a meat-based meal. As for protein, Barnard says, "even if you ate nothing but pasta, you'd actually get enough protein. The Dieticians of Canada did a report on nutrition on a vegan diet and they said that as long as you're getting the beans and grains and vegetables, the protein comes along with it. Broccoli is 30 per cent protein!" [Find out how you can join Dr. Barnard's next '21-day vegan kickstart' in our "of note" section below.]   Read more...

Maclean's Magazine - December 1
  Environment and World Hunger    

Agnostic carnivores and global warming: Why enviros go after coal and not cows
Full story: Freakonomics

There's not a single person who's done more to fight climate change than Bill McKibben [founder of]. For all the passion fueling his efforts, though, there's something weirdly amiss in his approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions: neither he nor will actively promote a vegan diet. However, as a recent report from the World Preservation Foundation confirms, ignoring veganism in the fight against climate change is sort of like ignoring fast food in the fight against obesity. Forget ending dirty coal or natural gas pipelines. As the WPF report shows, veganism offers the single most effective path to reducing global climate change. Many consumers think they can substitute chicken for beef and make a meaningful difference in their dietary footprint. Not so... I don't mean to downplay the impact of [other] factors. But given that the documented power of veganism to directly confront global warming, I'd suggest McKibben,, and the environmental movement as a whole trade up their carnivorous agnosticism for a fire-and brimstone dose of vegan fundamentalism.   Read more...

Freakonomics - November 16

Australia setting up world's largest marine preserve
Full story: Reuters

Australia moved to set up the world's biggest marine park on November 25 to protect vast areas of the Coral Sea off the country's northeast coast and the site of fierce naval battles during World War Two. Environment Minister Tony Burke said the park would cover almost 1 million square km - an area the size of France and Germany combined - and would help protect fish, pristine coral reefs and nesting sites for sea birds and the green turtle. "The environmental significance of the Coral Sea lies in its diverse array of coral reefs, sandy cays, deep sea plains and canyons," Burke said. "It contains more than 20 outstanding examples of isolated tropical reefs, sandy cays and islands."   Read more...

Reuters - November 25

Animal husbandry and the Horn of Africa famine
Full story: Animal People News

Overwhelming as is the human suffering in the Horn of Africa, animals brought into the world for human use have already suffered and died there in far greater numbers than the projected worst-case scenarios for people. Much of this misery was manufactured by aid agencies which should have known better. The present disaster has had ever more frequent precedents, each time followed by the same mistakes in helping the region recover. The first and greatest mistake, time and again, has been rebuilding animal husbandry... The question before us is whether animal advocates will step forward to demonstrate viable alternatives to animal husbandry, especially where they are most urgently needed, or will continue to pretend that watering donkeys and keeping dairy cows in fields represents adequate leadership.   Read more...

Animal People News - October 18

Retailer says 'Don't buy our stuff'
Full story: Care2

In one of the most innovative advertising campaigns ever, outdoor clothing company Patagonia is asking us not to buy their products.This is not a recall or a come-on, but an acknowledgment by the company that we are all consuming more than the earth can comfortably provide, and that things need to change. The message: "Don't buy what you don't need. Think twice before you buy anything." Patagonia understands that its long-term sustainability depends on a healthy environment. This video on their website expands the message to praise experience over material goods, pointing out "We use one and a half planets, but have only one" and saying the time has come to "live within our means, do more with less, and pursue not what we vaguely want, but what we deeply need."   Read more...

Care2 - November 28

The first lab-grown hamburger will cost $345,000
Full story: Gizmag

How much would you pay for a hamburger? How about US$345,000? No, it's not wrapped in edible gold leaf and held together with a skewer made out of a diamond stick pin that you get to keep. It's an ordinary burger that doesn't include the bun, lettuce, pickles or onions. It isn't even super-sized. This may seem like price gouging on a monumental scale, but it's actually the cost price for this particular burger. That's because even though it is a real hamburger made from real meat, it doesn't come from a cow at all. Dr. Mark Post, a vascular biologist in the Netherlands, is one of a handful of scientists around the world working on the problem of cultivating meat artificially in a laboratory. Dr. Post says when the technique is perfected and scaled up to industrial levels, economies of scale should kick in and make lab-grown beef (or pork or chicken or fish) as cheap, if not cheaper, than its four-legged counterpart. He also believes that the advantages of in vitro meat, as it is called, are such that it will go a long way toward alleviating world hunger and saving the environment. A look at the past, present and future of in vitro meat.   Read more...

Gizmag - November 27
  Lifestyles and Trends    

New law school program unleashes animal rights
Full story: Portland Tribune, Oregon, U.S.

Lewis & Clark Law School [Oregon, U.S.] professor Pamela Frasch doesn't think her views are radical, and maybe they aren't, anymore. Lewis & Clark [recently announced] that it will become the first law school in the world to offer an advanced degree in animal law. The degree is new, but for years the law school has been gaining a reputation as a national center for training attorneys to help society work out these issues, at least legally. What started the shift, say Frasch and others, has been a growing body of evidence showing that animals are a lot smarter, and maybe even a lot more capable of feelings, than had previously been assumed. "The law is lagging behind what science is telling us," she says.   Read more...

Portland Tribune, Oregon, U.S. - November 24

Sir Paul McCartney attacks French school over vegetarian ban
Full story: The Telegraph

There will be no meat-free days in French schools for six million children following a new decree from their government that all students will have to eat meat if they want lunch at school. Taking a packed lunch is not an alternative as they are also banned. The ban will shortly be extended to kindergartens, hospitals, prisons, colleges and old people's homes. But writing on his website, Sir Paul said: "The French Government's recent decree effectively enforcing the consumption of animal products in public institutions is a backward step for France. It goes against the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union by prohibiting individuals' right to express their beliefs. No one needs to eat animals - and we can combat climate change and lessen the risk of suffering from heart disease and other ailments by reducing the amount of meat we eat."   Read more...

The Telegraph - December 1

[The Association Végétarienne de France in a press release (pdf, French) says that meeting with its president before a Paris concert November 30, Sir Paul called the ban "un retour en arričre" - a step backward.]

A rose by any other name? Psychology and the 'go veg' message
Full story: Vegan Outreach

Studies on empathy avoidance aren't the only ones that suggest that [Vegan Outreach's] Compassionate Choices and Even If You Like Meat booklets should be significantly more effective at changing people's diets than the Why Vegan and Why Vegetarian ones. For example, communication researchers have found that when people learn someone is about to try to convince them of something important, they become less likely to be persuaded. Why is this the case? Researchers theorize that knowing a particular message is coming gives people the opportunity to drum up counter-arguments in their heads, and to look for biases the speaker may have. Whatever the reason, the takeaway is that Vegan Outreach booklets with more vague titles are likely to be more persuasive. People who receive one aren't immediately sure of what they're being encouraged to do, so they don't have the ability to automatically start discrediting the message.   Read more...

Vegan Outreach - October

Netherlands: Vegetarian butchers make a killing
Full story: Radio Netherlands

Fake meat chicken, fake meat gyros and fake meat sausages - all this and much more is available from the Vegetarian Butcher. Not only do the foods on sale look exactly like their real meat counterparts, but according to many a meat eater, they taste very similar as well. Eating meat is on the decline in the Netherlands. These days some 75 per cent of people no longer eat meat on a daily basis. Animal welfare, scary infections in cattle and the presence of antibiotics in chicken meat may be the reasons for people to cut down on eating meat. That's probably why Vegetarian Butcher shops are mushrooming. The chain is the first of its kind in the world. "In fact Ferran Adria, aka the best chef in the world, wouldn't believe it wasn't chicken he was tasting after being presented with our chicken substitute," says Niko Koffeman, one of the founders of the Vegetarian Butcher chain. The first Vegetarian Butcher shop opened its doors in October 2010, in The Hague. Now, less than a year later, there are thirty, spread all over the country. [As this December 15 article (in Dutch) says, most regular butcher shops are now carrying meat substitutes, perhaps as a result of the success.]   Read more...

Radio Netherlands - September 11

More Lifestyles and Trends News:
Meatless Monday: Communist plot? Or terrorist trick?
Chow (September 29)

  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Bruno's story: A different perspective on 'happy' cows
Full story: Gentle World

The story I truly want to tell you though is about one cow in particular, a cow to whom I owe a great deal: Bruno. The first time I met this funny cow, I had to jump out of the way as he attempted to lick my jacket. Once, when I was distracted, his tongue caught me on the arm. I would later compare the sensation to being licked by a wet Brillo Pad... A day later, his body came home in pieces. Being a vegetarian at the time, my host did not ask if I wanted to try the meat I had helped to "raise," but my fellow volunteers were asked if they wanted to have hamburgers that night. They hesitated, which was one of the few things at the time that made the acid in my stomach turn. If they could eat meat in general, why couldn't they eat an animal they had helped to raise? They finally relented and dined on Bruno that night. This is not the story of a factory farm; it is the story of a beautiful farm with "free range" animals who seemed to be "happy." They were labeled "happy" because someone cared enough about them to "minimize" the abuse of their bodies before they were killed. I know these were animals capable of being happy and that they had this chance stolen from them. [See Jeffrey Masson's video on the issue of "humane meat" in our "of note" section below.]   Read more...

Gentle World - August 10

Animal sentience: Savanna chimps share like humans
Full story: Science Daily

Sharing food has widely been considered by scholars as a defining characteristic of human behavior. But a new study by Iowa State University anthropology professor Jill Pruetz now reports that chimpanzees from her Fongoli research site in Senegal also frequently share food and hunting tools with other chimps. "There are aspects of human behavior, and I think that's interesting because it's not exactly the same, but it may give you an idea of how it [sharing among early humans] started," Pruetz said.   Read more...

Science Daily - December 1

More animal sentience: Duck parents enlist human help to rescue their babies
Full story: Care 2

[Two ducks I had been feeding for a few days] didn't stop quacking when I came out the way they normally did. In fact, they quacked more. When I threw the first little piece of bread to them, the male actually picked it up and threw it back at me and resumed his frantic quacking. I took a few steps toward them then to see if they would back away how they usually did, but only the female moved this time. This puzzled me, but the way they were acting reminded me of movies I had seen when an animal wanted someone to follow them. I followed them to the corner of the yard, down the road, around the corner, across a street, and then the lake was in sight. The female flew down near the lake then, but the male led me down by foot. When we got to the lake, they both went to a storm drain at the edge of it and started quacking down into it. I came over and looked down, and what I saw shocked me. I saw seven ducklings about eight feet straight down at the bottom of this drain, just looking up at us.   Read more...

Care 2 - December 14

Opposition to dog meat traffic rises in China, Thailand, and Vietnam
Full story: Animal People News

Public outrage on September 21, 2011 brought the abrupt cancellation of the eighth annual dog meat festival in Zhejiang, China, which had been scheduled for October 18. "It was part of our cultural history, but not all culture should be inherited," Small Animal Protection Society Rescue of Hangzhou director Chen Manhong said. In Thailand, meanwhile, calls for stiffer anti-dog trafficking legislation rose in response to the August 11, 2011 seizure of more than 1,000 dogs from trucks on route to Vietnam via Laos... There are hints from Vietnam that the non-dog-eating majority of the public there may be losing their tolerance of dog-eaters.   Read more...

Animal People News - November 19

Horses could soon be slaughtered for meat in U.S.
Full story: USA Today

[The U.S.] Congress has lifted a de facto ban on the slaughter of horses, a move hailed by farmers who say the prohibition had inadvertently caused more harm to the animals than good. But some animal-rights activists decried the little-noticed provision, and they vowed to keep the issue alive, pressing for an outright prohibition of horse slaughtering in the U.S. There is no U.S. market for the human consumption of horse meat. But it is seen as a delicacy overseas, especially in some European and Asian countries. In addition, horse meat has been used in the U.S. to feed zoo animals, because it's a good source of protein. Farmers and some policymakers say the ban resulted in old horses being abandoned and neglected. [A government] report concluded that the slaughter of American horses didn't stop because of the ban, but simply shifted to Mexico and Canada. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, agreed that the federal USDA ban has not stopped horse slaughtering. But he questioned the contention that it has led to more abandonment or neglect of horses. [See calls to action in the "of note" section for action you can take.]   Read more...

USA Today - November 30
  Of Note - Recipes, Videos, Gift Ideas, More    

Delicious - and fair - holiday fare...
Holiday recipes, healthy tips, for a fair, compassionate holiday for all - just click below. Plus visit the VegE-News recipe section for veggie versions of traditional French-Canadian holiday fare such as tortière, a delicious meat pie (search for 'French-Canadian').
Toronto Vegetarian Association Holiday Survival Guide
New York Times: Vegetarian Holiday Recipes
Gentle Thanksgiving
Bryanna Clark Grogan's Vegan Feast holiday recipes
VegE-News recipes and tips

Holiday survival strategies - advice from Farm Sanctuary
It can be hard when others are blissfully indulging in eating foods that you know involve horrendous cruelty - what to do? Here's some sage advice from Farm Sanctuary: This holiday season, be a role model. Remember that compassion begins with you. Though there is no one right way to effectively advocate on behalf of farm animals, communicating in a kind, empathetic and understanding way is key to inspiring change in others. The likelihood is that there was a time when you didn’t know either, when you ate animals, and when you didn’t know about the egregious cruelty inherent in factory farming. Someone or something inspired you, and now you have the opportunity to inspire others. Read more.....
Farm Sanctuary Activist Holiday Survival Guide

Just in time....
For your New Year's resolution, a new 21-day vegan kickstart from PCRM starts January 2. Get support, wonderful advice, recipes - everything you need to make a difference in your life - and the life of countless animals while you're at it.
21-day Vegan Kickstart

Eco, veg, animal, and people friendly gift ideas
In case you're still looking for that perfect gift, we repeat a few of our fave sources (with a few additions)....
Feed More International
A Well-Fed World's new gift-giving campaign feeds people without harming animals. Your gift will support animal-free hunger relief projects, both those that provide immediate assistance and those that provide long-term community solutions.
Healthy Lifestyle Expo DVD
Give the gift of health with this DVD of informative, inspiring, motivating - life changing - speeches from VegSource's 2011 Healthy Lifestyle Expo.
Farm Sanctuary
25 gifts under $25 - plus adopt a farm animal program
World Wildlife Fund
Adopt a species and more ideas
Humane Society U.S.
Loads of humane gift ideas - even Santa's pants
Lots of gift ideas - or be an 'angel' and give a doghouse for a cold, lonely dog
Born Free Primate Sanctuary
Adopt a rescued primate
VegE-News Store
Books galore - when you buy any item at Amazon, using our link to enter the Amazon site, your purchase helps support this free newsletter - so thanks!


Bestselling author of many books on animals, Jeffrey Masson, discusses the concept of humane meat - in his always profound and entertaining way. He says even though he was a vegetarian, for many years he really didn't think about the suffering aspect of eating animal products. When someone tells you they only eat animals that have had a good life, they're lying he says.

Also this month:
John Robbins is always thought-provoking and inspiring...
John Robbins: Don't Choose Despair

Calls to action
The American Whitehouse has created a system to let citizens petition the administration to review issues - you can sign a petition to ask the Whitehouse to review policy re factory farming...
Factory Farming Whitehouse Petition - you may have to search for the appropriate petition

You can help to declare New Zealand's food and environment GE-Free by signing the petition at the link below.
Declare NZ GE-Free

The city of Berlin has a plan to shoot wild boars that have become wandering into the city from nearby woods - petition at the link below.
Tell Berlin to Scrap Boar Hunting Plan

To support the banning of horse slaughter for meat in the U.S. and Canada, click on the links below.
HSUS - anti-horse slaughter campaign
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

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Vegan Retreat at Sthitaprajna, India, Nature Camp Dec 29 - Jan 2
The Indian Vegan Society says that at Sthitaprajna one learns to live life in a state of constant happiness with good health and in harmony with nature using minimum resources. Sounds good!
Vegan retreat in India

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