March 2012
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In this edition...

Featured Video
  Melanie Joy: "Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat"

Health
  'The global food system is causing a public health disaster'
  Red meat definitively tied to increased mortality risk
  Happy to be vegetarian: Study shows vegetarians have better moods than omnivores

Environment
  Shrimp's carbon footprint is 10 times greater than beef's
  Water pollution from farming is worsening, costing billions
  Big food must go: Why we need to radically change the way we eat

Lifestyles and Trends
  Is vegan the new viagra?
  Mark Bittman: Finally fake chicken worth eating
  Is America beyond peak meat?
  Eating out: easier to find vegan options in U.S., UK than Australia

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  The fight to save a pig named Dragon
  New law makes it a crime to record cruelty
  Australia: More calls for live-export ban after 3000 cattle die
  More [good] news about [bad] gestation crates
  Livestock association buys Animals Australia websites

Books and Perspectives
  Are we 'comfortably unaware' while our diet is depleting the planet?
  The human cost of animal suffering
  Food activist and vegan chef Bryant Terry talks about his 'inspired' new book
  'Sexy vegan' turns comic videos into cookbook success story
 
Don't forget to visit:
(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
  Featured Video    

Melanie Joy: "Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat"
Full story: Dr. McDougall


A must-see enthralling and revealing presentation
that explores and explains our disconnect between animals as pets and meat.


  Read more...

Dr. McDougall - Advanced Study Weekend February 2012
 
  Health    

'The global food system is causing a public health disaster'
Full story: Guardian, UK

The global food system is making people sick in both rich and poor countries, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, warned, as he called for a range of dramatic measures to overhaul it and tackle what he described as an international "public health disaster." The report marks a significant increase in pressure on agribusiness. De Schutter has previously highlighted the way the system of global food trade marginalises farmers in developing countries and threatens food security. But it is the first time he has produced a full report on the burden of disease the system also inflicts on western consumers. One in seven people remain undernourished today while at the same time more than 1.3 billion people around the world are overweight or obese. The solutions offered by agribusiness of more hi-tech or fortified foods cannot solve the problems, which are systemic, according to De Schutter.   Read more...

Guardian, UK - March 9

Red meat definitively tied to increased mortality risk
Full story: ABC, U.S.

Eating a single serving of red meat per day [about the size of a deck of cards] may raise the risk of early death, a new study found. The study, which followed more than 120,000 American men and women, linked daily consumption of unprocessed red meat with a 13 per cent increase in mortality risk. A daily serving of processed meat carried an even bigger risk. Eating one hotdog or two strips of bacon per day was associated with a 20 per cent increased risk of death, according to the study. "I think the public health message is pretty straightforward," said [Harvard researcher] Hu. "We should switch from a red meat-based diet to a plant-based diet with healthier protein choices." [Editor's note: Unfortunately such studies can lead to an increase in the number of animals that suffer.]   Read more...

ABC, U.S. - March 13

Happy to be vegetarian: Study shows vegetarians have better moods than omnivores
Full story: This Dish is Veg

If you think you're happier than your non-vegetarian friends, there is new evidence to suggest that you may not be imagining it. A study conducted by Dr. Bonnie Beezhold, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Benedictine University, and Dr. Carol Johnston, Professor of Nutrition at Arizona State University School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, suggests that following a vegetarian diet free of meat, fish and poultry may reduce short-term mood disturbance in omnivores. [See also Dr. Michael Greger's article and video.]   Read more...

This Dish is Veg - March 12

More Health News:
Rawfully good eats
Whistler Question, Canada (March 15)
Many drugs 'non-vegetarian and need better labelling'
A survey in the "Postgraduate Medical Journal" shows a quarter of patients are unknowingly prescribed drugs containing gelatin derived from animals contrary to their beliefs. - BBC, UK (February 28)
5 more shocking reasons to avoid fast food [Infographic]
Care2 (March 5)
McGill University study: Fruit and veg 'counter heart risk genes'
Lurgan Mail, UK (March 21)
Finally, a smoking gun connecting livestock antibiotics and superbugs
Grist, U.S. (February 24)
How to have a balanced vegan diet
As a dietitian in private practice, I was hard-pressed to meet a vegan or would-be vegan 20 years ago. Thatís not no longer the case. More and more, I am asked to craft plant-based vegetarian meal plans for clients. - Globe and Mail, Canada (March 20)

 
  Environment    

Shrimp's carbon footprint is 10 times greater than beef's
Full story: Mother Jones

It turns out, not surprisingly, that plates mounded with cheap shrimp float on a veritable sea of ecological and social trouble. In his excellent 2008 book Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, the Canadian journalist Taras Grescoe took a hard look at the Asian operations that supply our shrimp. His conclusion: "The simple fact is, if you're eating cheap shrimp today, it almost certainly comes from a turbid, pesticide- and antibiotic-filled, virus-laden pond in the tropical climes of one of the world's poorest nations." Lest anyone think otherwise, these factory farms generate poverty in the nations that house them, as Grescoe demonstrates; they privatize and cut down highly productive mangrove forests that once sustained fishing communities, leaving fetid dead zones in their wake.   Read more...

Mother Jones - February 22

Water pollution from farming is worsening, costing billions
Full story: Bloomberg

Water pollution from agriculture is costing billions of dollars a year in developed countries and is set to rise in China and India as farmers race to increase food production, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said. Costs from agricultural pollution include money spent treating water to remove nitrates, phosphates and pesticide chemicals as well as paying farmers to store manure safely [very difficult with large factory farm operations] and block contamination from reaching waterways, according to the study. Environmental contamination such as algal blooms also adds to the bill. In Australia, the cost of algal blooms may be as high as $155 million while the price of eutrophication of surface and coast waters in France could reach as much as $1.4 billion, according to the study.   Read more...

Bloomberg - March 12

Big food must go: Why we need to radically change the way we eat
Full story: AlterNet

[By Christopher D. Cook, author of Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis.] It is time for an end to Big Food, and a societal shift to something radically different. Big Food has attained phenomenal and destructive power over what we eat - our diets, our health and the planet. Consider a few quick facts: Four corporations control more than half of grocery sales [in the U.S.]. Three companies own 47 per cent of the world's seeds. Nearly every major commodity - wheat, corn, soy - is controlled by just four corporations. This corporate occupation of our food isn't just unfair and wrong; it's impractical and destructive. It's ruining farmers, the land and our future food supply. We cannot solve this simply by going vegetarian or vegan, or buying organic and fair trade. To truly "occupy the food system" we will need nothing less than a fundamental restructuring of the economics and policies that currently enable our corporate food system.   Read more...

AlterNet - February 26

More Environmental News:
Overfishing the Mediterranean
ENN (March 8)
Farms or industry pollution?
ENN (March 7)

 
  Lifestyles and Trends    

Is vegan the new viagra?
Full story: Fox40 News

It seems almost natural; the older we get, the more health problems we have. One of the peskier problems though happens in the bedroom: sexual and erectile dysfunction. While many have turned to the little blue pill, author Ruben Guzman said that doesn't have to be the case. Guzman says ditch meat and dairy and go vegan. If it sounds crazy, Guzman said there is science behind the madness.   Read more...

Fox40 News - March 19

Mark Bittman: Finally fake chicken worth eating
Full story: New York Times

Really: Would I rather eat cruelly raised, polluting, unhealthful chicken, or a plant product that's nutritionally similar or superior, good enough to fool me and requires no antibiotics, cutting off of heads or other nasty things? Isn't it preferable, at least some of the time, to eat plant products mixed with water that have been put through a thingamajiggy that spews out meatlike stuff, instead of eating those same plant products put into a chicken that does its biomechanical thing for the six weeks of its miserable existence, only to have its throat cut in the service of yielding barely distinguishable meat? Why, in other words, use the poor chicken as a machine to produce meat when you can use a machine to produce "meat" that seems like chicken? [Video at the link. Also see Vegan Outreach, Vegan.com and Mother Jones reactions. MJ suggests eating "whole food" alternatives like falafels, tempeh, and tofu instead.]   Read more...

New York Times - March 9

Is America beyond peak meat?
Full story: TriplePundit

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average meat intake for Americans peaked at 184 pounds (84.5 kilograms) a person in 2004. By 2011, that amount dropped to 171 pounds, and projections for 2012 indicate even more of a decrease to 166 pounds per person this year. So what is going on? A convergence of forces are at work: a bad economy has forced families to cut back on their food expenditures; concurrent rising prices due to the increased costs of energy and commodities; and concerns over health, the environment, animal welfare and industrial meat production. [Unfortunately other countries are increasing consumption with increased wealth.]   Read more...

TriplePundit - March 14

Eating out: easier to find vegan options in U.S., UK than Australia
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

How easy is to find vegetarian food on restaurant menus? That depends on where you are and what kind of vegetarian you are - and it helps to be in love with quiche, risotto or pasta with tomato sauce, the standard veggie options in many places. If you eat eggs and dairy products, the choices are wider, but for vegans it's trickier - unless you're in a big U.S. [or Canadian] city. On a trip to Chicago, Ondine Sherman, managing director of the [Australian] animal protection organisation Voiceless, found so many vegan friendly restaurants she was spoilt for choice. But while Australian restaurants increasingly offer a vegetarian option and are happy to 'vegetarianise' dishes by removing ingredients like prosciutto, many meatless offerings rely heavily on cheese, she says - and the term 'vegan' can leave the wait staff scratching their heads. [Happy Cow helps you find veg eateries all over the world.]   Read more...

Sydney Morning Herald - March 20

More Lifestyles and Trends News:
EU meat consumption and production falls
WorldPoultry.net (February 29)
Test tube meat coming, but biologist hails new meat alternative
Huffington Post (February 19)
Industry considers getting on meat-free bandwagon
Vegan Outreach (March 8)
Meatfree Moscow
Moscow News (March 19)

 
  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

The fight to save a pig named Dragon
Full story: Care2

I received an early morning call from an animal welfare group that needed someone to rescue a 4H pig named Dragon, who was about to be auctioned off for slaughter. Apparently, this pig was a 4H project for a group of special needs students that had no idea of the impending fate of their beloved pig. Well, this sounded like a job for me. The group wired me enough money to win the bid on Dragon, and I left... The bidding became a bidding war that I could not win.   Read more...

Care2 - March 3

New law makes it a crime to record cruelty
Full story: Huffington Post

Iowa became the first [U.S.] state to make it a crime to surreptitiously get into a farming operation to record video of animal abuse. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed the law despite protests, letters and campaigns launched on Twitter and Facebook by animal welfare groups that have used secretly taped videos to sway public opinion against what they consider cruel practice. But Branstad's action wasn't a surprise. Iowa is the nation's leading pork and egg producer, and the governor has strong ties to the state's agricultural industry. [See Mercy for Animal's reaction. Also at the link: Scroll down for an informative talk on animal law by Kathy Hessler, Director Animal Law Clinic, Lewis & Clark Law School.]   Read more...

Huffington Post - March 2

Australia: More calls for live-export ban after 3000 cattle die
Full story: Stock & Land, Australia

An animal welfare disaster resulting in the death of more than half the 5000 cattle on board a Brazilian-owned live export ship bound for Egypt over the past fortnight has prompted renewed calls to ban the industry. Animals Australia has described the incident as one of the worst shipboard disasters the live export industry has seen in many years. The animal rights group has also pleaded with the Australian industry and government sources to provide emergency assistance for the surviving cattle, utilising its vast overseas resources.   Read more...

Stock & Land, Australia - March 8

More [good] news about [bad] gestation crates
Full story: New York Times

Another significant victory in the fight to ban sow gestation crates: Compass Group USA whose UK parent company is the largest food service company in the world - announced that it plans to eliminate the crates from its U.S. pork supply chain by 2017. Last month, McDonald's announced that it is requiring all of its pork suppliers to submit plans for phasing out gestation crates. Compass-owned Bon Appétit Management Company also committed last month to eliminate gestation crates (and hen battery cages) by 2015. Critics of the crates oppose them for obvious reasons (watch for yourself, if you like), while advocates - usually those in the industrial livestock business - suggest that the alternative system, group housing pens, often leads to fighting and the unequal distribution of food. Group pens may be more labor- and capital-intensive, but I have a hard time believing that they could possibly be more cruel.   Read more...

New York Times - March 9

Livestock association buys Animals Australia websites
Full story: Weeklytimesnow, Australia

Animals Australia is describing Meat and Livestock Australia's move to buy web domains containing the words animals and Australia as "bizarre." The move has lead Animals Australia to question MLA's motives and in a tongue and cheek game the group launched a competition asking people what they think the peak livestock meat group plans to do with the sites. Animals Australia spokeswoman Lisa Chalk [said] MLA's motives were yet to be seen. She said the organisation was surprised at first and then flattered. "This is clear recognition that the work we are doing to expose and address animal cruelty is having an impact." She said if MLA chose to donate the sites to Animals Australia the group would be "very grateful."   Read more...

Weeklytimesnow, Australia - March 14

More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:
Animal activists outraged by U.S. "ag gag" law
This comes as one Indonesian importer has vowed to install closed circuit television in all the processing facilities it supplies following the surfacing of more damaging video footage shot for Animals Australia early this year. In Australia, major processor, Teys, has installed cameras in its plants in a bid to offer greater assurances over animal welfare to the public. - Weeklytimesnow, Australia (March 9)
Thailand pet-owners on high alert for dog-nappers stealing animals to export for meat
BBC (March 16)
Australia labor party votes to establish independent office of animal welfare
If this policy becomes a reality, it would be a major victory for animals - other countries should follow suit, instead of having Agriculture Ministers, too often beholden to 'big ag' interests, responsible for animal welfare - Animals Australia (February 10)
Feathers fly over egg raid - cruelty exposed by activists
Canberra Times, Australia (March 14)

 
  Books and Perspectives    

Are we 'comfortably unaware' while our diet is depleting the planet?
Full story: Care2

As vast as Global Warming may seem, it is only a small piece in the growing puzzle of Global Depletion, which refers to the loss of all of Earth's renewable and non-renewable resources. One of the few books that captures the whole scope of Global Depletion is Comfortably Unaware, by Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander. This book reaches deep into the heart of the issue, where society seems to avoid looking. The animal industry simultaneously destroys our planet's air, water, diversity, soil, atmosphere, and our own health. "Please understand: this book is not about animal rights, although this is a very noble concern." says Oppenlander. The book simply lays on the table the bare facts that everyone has a right to know about what is being done to the place we live without our knowledge.   Read more...

Care2 - March 14

The human cost of animal suffering
Full story: New York Times

If we want a not-too-damaged planet to live on, we're better off eating less meat. But if we also want a not-too-damaged psyche, we have to look at how we treat animals and begin to change it. We can start by owning up to the fact that our system is industrialized. Those who haven't seen this, or believe it to be a myth perpetrated by PETA, might consider reading Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight by Timothy Pachirat. [The book] shatters any belief you might have about the system treating animals with a shred of decency. What makes Every Twelve Seconds different from (for example) a Mercy for Animals exposé is, says Pachirat, "that the day-in and day-out experience produces invisibility. Industrialized agriculture perpetuates concealment at every level of the process, and rather than focusing on the shocking examples we should be focusing on the system itself."   Read more...

New York Times - March 13

Food activist and vegan chef Bryant Terry talks about his 'inspired' new book
Full story: Bet.com

For the past 10 years, Bryant Terry has been a vocal part of a food justice movement whose goal is to fight for better access to quality and sustainable foods in communities of color and low-income communities. Whether he is giving lectures, teaching cooking classes or writing books, Terry is trying to better our health, one recipe at a time. BET.com sat down with Terry to discuss his new book, The Inspired Vegan, why white people didn't invent healthy eating and why the key to better health begins with the food we eat.   Read more...

Bet.com - March 14

'Sexy vegan' turns comic videos into cookbook success story
Full story: OregonLive, U.S.

"I started out doing a little thing to entertain my friends," Brian L. Patton, a Los Angeles chef, says. "I decided to do a little cooking demo and to make it a spoof in some ways of regular cooking shows. I called it 'The Sexy Vegan' because I thought people would click on it. It was ironic and funny because people think, 'Oh, this must be a girl in a bikini.' And then they click on it and it's this guy." From there, Patton's videos took off, prompting more videos and bigger audiences as social media helped them catch fire. The popularity of the videos got the attention of publishers, leading to this month's publication of The Sexy Vegan Cookbook. We caught up with Patton recently to find out how eating plants changed his life, why more men are now considering veganism, and how to make truly killer mashed potatoes.   Read more...

OregonLive, U.S. - March 20


Also of interest: Who Stole My Religion? Applying Jewish values to help heal our imperiled planet
By Richard Schwartz

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