April 2013
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Isn't it interesting how many deep thinkers throughout history have been vegetarian - like Plato, Newton, Socrates, Voltaire, Leonardo da Vinci, Plutarch, Pythagoras, Epicurus, Einstein - and you?

In this edition...

Earth Day Focus
  'Concerned Kittens' explain the increasing greenhouse effect
  Equitable ethics vs. easy environmentalism: The essence of Earth Day
  Earth Day a time to mull what we eat
  Youth leaders, top litigation lawyers launch climate actions
  Study: Coal and cattle most damaging to nature
  Vegan for the planet

  A vegan diet for your skin
  Culprit in heart disease goes beyond meat's fat to bacteria - but vegans protected
  Bugs and drugs in pork
  WHO says new bird flu strain is 'one of most lethal' flu viruses

Lifestyles and Trends
  Changing tastes in Australia
  How Bill Gates is reinventing meat to feed the planet
  Veggie experiences: A vegetarian Muslim's personal journey
  On the lighter side: Five drawbacks to being a vegan
  News 2050: All meat sales banned

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  Video: Suffering is suffering
  Why are we still being deceived by egg labels?
  U.S. animal activist laws 'may impact globally'
  Animal sentience: The brains of the animal kingdom
  Do dolphins, whales, chimps and elephants deserve 'human' rights?

Books and Perspectives
  Fit Quickies book giveaway - we have a winner!

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(Excerpts are included from current news stories. Click on the "Full story" link to read the full article.)
  Earth Day Focus    

'Concerned Kittens' explain the increasing greenhouse effect
Video source: Minor Foundation for Major Challenges

We love this brilliant campaign to capture hearts and change minds and actions about climate change. This is the winning submission to the call from the Minor Foundation for Major Challenges to create the best idea illustrating the statement "Emissions from human fossile energy cause climate change." [1:56 - Scroll down at the link to read more about the initiative and watch all the Concerned Kittens episodes featuring the meaning, consequences and solutions of global warming.]   Read more/Watch video...

Minor Foundation for Major Challenges - November 21

Equitable ethics vs. easy environmentalism: The essence of Earth Day
Full story: Vegan Outreach Blog

What matters isn't this rock we call Earth. What matters are the sentient beings who call this rock home. We can't care about "the environment" as though it is somehow an ethically relevant entity in and of itself. Rather, what matters are the impacts our choices have for our fellow feeling beings. All creatures - not just wild or endangered animals - desire to live free from suffering and exploitation. Cruelty is wrong, whether the victim is an eagle or a chicken, a wolf or a pig. The rest is just noise and obfuscation. [As always, a thought-provoking essay from Matt Ball - the full article is highly recommended.]   Read more...

Vegan Outreach Blog - April 17

Earth Day a time to mull what we eat
Full story: Vancouver Sun

On Earth Day, April 22, we remind ourselves of what our actions do in this world. Usually we think about our driving and flying footprints, and perhaps our many gadgets. One thing most of us don't think about, though, is our food. But we should. This is especially true when it comes to meat, dairy and eggs. Animal agriculture is one of the biggest polluters on the planet. Both the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Worldwatch Institute have found that the livestock industry is among the biggest contributors to almost all major categories of environmental degradation: energy, land, and water use; soil depletion and erosion; pollution of our waterways; deforestation; biodiversity loss and global warming.   Read more...

Vancouver Sun - April 22

Youth leaders, top litigation lawyers launch climate actions
Full story: ENN

On Earth Day youth leaders from all over the world, backed up by top litigation lawyers, converged in Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines. Together, they launched a series of socio-political and legal actions to compel to the present generation to take action act on the impacts of climate change. [U.S. lawyer] Brook Meakins, representing the International Climate Legal Action Team, said, "This may seem like a small pebble that was tossed into a pond. Butthe ripples that it will create will start a wonderful wave of change that the young of the world can learn from and perhaps, emulate."   Read more...

ENN - April 22

Study: Coal and cattle most damaging to nature
Full story: EcoNews, Australia

A new United Nations-backed report says coal-fired power generation in Asia and cattle farming in South America are the most damaging businesses for nature with hidden costs that exceed the value of their production. The coalition's backers include the UN, World Bank, businesses and conservation groups. "The numbers in this report underline the urgency but also the opportunities for all economies in transitioning to a green economy," Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), said in a statement.   Read more...

EcoNews, Australia - April 16

Vegan for the planet
Video source: ALifeConnected.org

A clear and powerful message about how our food choices can make a real difference to the earth.   Watch video...

ALifeConnected.org - March 27

A vegan diet for your skin
Full story: Huffington Post

You already know that a healthy diet is synonymous with healthy skin. But what about vegan diets? Can you chalk up a youthful, glowing complexion to ditching chicken and ice cream? Whether you nix animal products for health reasons, ethical reasons or both, we got the lowdown from our experts on how this affects your pretty face. So what exactly does meat do to our skin?   Read more...

Huffington Post - March 24

Culprit in heart disease goes beyond meat's fat to bacteria - but vegans protected
Full story: Nature

Consumption of red meat has been found to increase the risk of death from heart disease, even when controlling for levels of fat and cholesterol. To find out why, Dr. Stanley Hazen, head of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and his colleagues gave the nutrient l-carnitine - found in red meat and dairy products - to 77 volunteers, including 26 who were vegans or vegetarians. Tests showed that consuming l-carnitine increased blood levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a compound that, evidence suggests, can alter the metabolism of cholesterol and slow the removal of cholesterol that accumulates on arteries' walls. But even when they took l-carnitine supplements, vegans and vegetarians made far less TMAO than meat eaters. [More on the study from the New York Times, and here from Lifehacker Australia - but we think the jury is still out on the details of these findings.]   Read more...

Nature - April 7

Bugs and drugs in pork
Full story: Dr. Greger's NutritionFacts.org

Consumer Reports recently released a study in which they analyzed U.S. retail pork and found trace levels of an adrenaline-like drug called ractopamine in about 20 per cent of the samples and a foodborne bacteria that sickens nearly 100,000 Americans every year called Yersina in two-thirds of pork samples. The National Pork Producers Council tried to address concerns about ractopamine by noting that the levels in meat of this muscle growth promoter, which is fed to pigs and turkeys, were below the limit set by the UN Codex Commission last summer. What they didn't mention was that due to outstanding safety concerns, the Commission's drug residue limit only passed by a single vote out of 143 ballots cast.   Read more...

Dr. Greger's NutritionFacts.org - April 25

WHO says new bird flu strain is 'one of most lethal' flu viruses
Full story: AlertNet

A new bird flu strain is "one of the most lethal" of its kind and transmits more easily from poultry to humans than another strain that has killed hundreds since 2003, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert said [recently]. The H7N9 flu has infected 108 people in China since it was first detected in March, according to the Geneva-based WHO. Although it is not clear exactly how people are being infected, experts say they see no evidence so far of the most worrisome scenario - sustained transmission between people. "When we look at influenza viruses, this is an unusually dangerous virus for humans," said Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director-general for health security.   Read more...

AlertNet - April 24

More Health News:
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria: Big ag washes its hands of any responsibility
Huffington Post (April 26)
Kangaroo meat not as healthy as you think
The Age, Australia (April 8)
Eggs, too, may provoke bacteria to raise heart risk
New York Times (April 24)
Eating more meat, dairy, and other unhealthful foods leads to worse aging
PCRM Breaking News (April 17)

  Lifestyles and Trends    

Changing tastes in Australia
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

Australians have always been among the world's most enthusiastic meat eaters [second only to the U.S. in per capita consumption]. But changing consumption patterns suggest health, environmental and ethical considerations are playing a greater role in decisions about what Australians put on their plates. Australia's overall meat consumption has plummeted from the high rates of the early 20th century. "A trend to watch is 'flexitarianism,' so anything from a 'part-time vegetarian' to someone who just likes more balance in their diet in terms of meat and non-animal proteins," Judith Friedlander, at the University of Technology, Sydney, says. [Lots of interesting stats, historical perspectives and viewpoints in this article.]   Read more...

Sydney Morning Herald - April 16

How Bill Gates is reinventing meat to feed the planet
Full story: Inside Toronto

Bill Gates might just change the future of food as we know it. The billionaire software pioneer and influential philanthropist asks - how do we feed a world that eats like North Americans? How can we satisfy growing demand for meat without sacrificing the health of the planet? ... "Put simply, there's no way to produce enough meat for nine billion people," Gates said. His Future of Food report suggests alternatives to meat and eggs that "are just as healthful, and produced more sustainably and taste great." [By David Alexander, executive director of the Toronto Vegetarian Association.]   Read more...

Inside Toronto - April 23

Veggie experiences: A vegetarian Muslim's personal journey
Full story: Huffington Post

My reasons for moving towards a plant-based diet didn't happen overnight. As I gained awareness of the different issues involved in getting that piece of steak on my plate my dietary choices slowly changed. First went the red meat then dairy, chicken, fish and finally eggs. Interestingly enough, the idea of Muslims being vegetarian or vegans has prompted some debate... For me a plant-based diet was one way I could bridge the spiritual mandate to protect animals and the environment.   Read more...

Huffington Post - April 23

On the lighter side: Five drawbacks to being a vegan
Full story: VegSource

What do vegans complain about when they are among themselves? I thought it was time to go public with the private thoughts of many vegans...   Read more...

VegSource - April 18

News 2050: All meat sales banned
Full story: BBC, UK

As part of the BBC's What If? season of programmes, we commissioned a week of news reports that take a light-hearted look at the future. In the second of instalment, all sales of meat have been banned and the last prison on Earth is about to close. (Actually they "predict" people will still eat meat - it will just come from non-sentient sources.)   Read more...

BBC, UK - March 26

More Lifestyles and Trends News:
11 spicy vegan dishes for hot sauce lovers
VegNews (April 10)
The pros and 'cons' of veganism
Vegan Outreach Blog (April 3)
Air passengers opting for healthier mid-air meals
Between 2008 and 2012 the demand for vegetarian meals rose by almost 14 percent. - eTravel Blackboard (April 26)
Intersecting oppressions: Perspectives from a Muslim vegan feminist
The Scavenger, Australia (April 11)
UK Equality and Human Rights Commission recognizes vegetarian workplace rights
CathNews (April 7)
Is China ready to go vegetarian?
Despite some shift due to the latest bird flu scare... the desire to eat meat is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture and given the struggle it’s taken to get here, they’re not about to give it up. - Independent, UK (April 7)
Vegetarian caucus' grows in U.S. capitol
Roll Call (April 23)
Being vegetarian helps in martial arts: Actor Vidyut Jamwal
Deccan Herald, India (April 12)
Home of last Jew in Auschwitz to be vegetarian cafe
Jewish Chronicle (April 10)

  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

Video: Suffering is suffering
Video Source: BiteSizeVegan

Performance artist Emily Moran Barwick experienced what it is like to be branded... From her reflections... It has been two months since I was bound with chains, dragged across jagged rocks in the freezing rain, shorn of my mid-back-length hair, and branded with a cattle iron heated to over 500°F. I am now bald, scarred and permanently marked. But I'm alive. Others are not so lucky. Unlike me, billions worldwide do not get to return to their homes, nurse their wounds, and move on. Unlike me, they have no choice in the matter. Unlike me, they lose their lives. [More article links at the video link.]   Watch video...

BiteSizeVegan - March 1

Why are we still being deceived by egg labels?
Full story: Care2

Every year, hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens are forced to spend their lives in cages so small they can't move, while producers continue to dupe consumers into believing they're making compassionate choices with misleading labels and getting them to pay more for products they believe are humane. [Recently] the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and Compassion Over Killing (COK) filed a complaint in a federal district court in Oakland against [several federal agencies] for failing to regulate animal welfare labeling on egg cartons... If making compassionate and ethical food choices is a priority, the only way to seriously support the end of suffering inflicted on animals used in agriculture is to pass on animal products. [Videos at the link.]   Read more...

Care2 - April 3

U.S. animal activist laws 'may impact globally'
Full story: BBC News, UK

Around a dozen U.S. states have passed or are proposing legislation banning undercover investigations on factory farms by campaigning groups. While the "ag-gag" laws are primarily designed to have impact within the U.S., many feel they will also have an impact outside the country. "As factory farming spreads like a plague around the world," said Matt Rice from Mercy for Animals, "international agribusiness interests will certainly attempt to import America's ag-gag laws along with its tainted meat and animal abuse. "The UK and other nations should be on high alert."   Read more...

BBC News, UK - April 12

Animal sentience: The brains of the animal kingdom
Full story: Wall Street Journal

New research shows that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence. Primatologist Frans de Waal on memory-champ chimps, tool-using elephants and rats capable of empathy... Aristotle's ladder of nature is not just being flattened; it is being transformed into a bush with many branches. This is no insult to human superiority. It is long-overdue recognition that intelligent life is not something for us to seek in the outer reaches of space but is abundant right here on earth, under our noses.   Read more...

Wall Street Journal - March 22

Do dolphins, whales, chimps and elephants deserve 'human' rights?
Full story: TreeHugger

Andy Revkin at Dot Earth quotes the mission statement of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies: Owing to advances in several fields, including the neurosciences, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the human species no longer can ignore the rights of non-human persons. A number of non-human animals... exhibit characteristics and tendencies consistent with that of a person's traits like self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, symbolic communication, and many others. It is a moral and legal imperative that we now extend the protection of 'human rights' from our species to all beings with those characteristics. We promote vegetarianism on TreeHugger because of the carbon footprint of meat; that's why we can justify the concept of the weekday vegetarian. But reading Revkin makes me wonder whether that is really good enough anymore.   Read more...

TreeHugger - April 11

More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:
New York state Senate unanimously passes bill to ban shark fin trade
New York Daily News (April 23)
Eating with our eyes closed
New York Times editorial (April 9)
Taping of farm cruelty is becoming the crime
New York Times (April 7)
Ag gag bills backfire - result in increased media exposure of factory farm cruelty
MFA Blog (March 21)
Ag Gag bill introduced as turkey farm worker convicted of cruelty
Care2 (April 12)
When is a person not a human? When it's a dolphin or a chimp...
New York Times Blogs (April 10)
Scientists assess cruelty in Japan's dolphin roundup
New York Times Blogs (April 6)
Would you be willing to endure what farm animals do?
Care2 (April 9)

  Books and Perspectives    

Fit Quickies book giveaway - we have a winner!

Thanks to Lani Muelrath, the plant-based fitness expert, and to all of you who responded to her generous offer of a free copy of her new book Fit Quickies. One very happy VegE-News subscriber will soon have a chance to read how Lani makes fitness fun and accessible - check out the great reviews and visit Lani's website for more info about the book.

Also of interest:


The Food Revolution Summmit, April 27 - May 5
You can spend an inspiring and life-changing week with revolutionary thinkers and visionaries at this online summit hosted by John and Ocean Robbins. Last year the speakers were informative, thought-provoking, inspiring and this year's lineup is just as impressive. You can listen in to some or all for free or sign up for ongoing access for a modest fee. Don't worry if you start late - lots of chance to catch up on the interviews you missed.
The Food Revolution Summit

Vegan Outreach's Team Vegan fundraising events, to June 30
Team Vegan is a fundraiser for Vegan Outreach to help raise money to support Vegan Outreach's very effective Adopt a College program. Lots of ways to get involved...
Team Vegan

International Veggie Pride, Geneva, May 16-20, March May 18
Originally held in France in 2001, it will be an international event this year and activists from many countries are expected. It will include conferences, a demonstration in front of the UN, another at the World Health Organization, an initiative asking society to recognize legal rights for animals, and more. More info and petition at the links below:
veggiepride.ch - info in English and French
Petition: Respect of the rights of vegans and vegetarians - to be presented to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief of the United Nations during the event.

Can't make Geneva? How about marching in Toronto or Chicago in June?
Toronto Canada Veggie Pride parade
Chicago Veggie Pride parade

For inspiration, check out pictures from the New York City Veggie Pride parade - March 24

World Weeks for the Abolition of Meat, May 18-25, September 21-29
The World Weeks for the Abolition of Meat (WWAMs) are intended as a means of promoting a political debate around the idea of abolishing the production and consumption of the flesh of sentient beings. Check out more info, list or find an event at the link below.
World Weeks for the Abolition of Meat (WWAMs)

More Tidbits:

Full list of famous vegetarians
From Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals, UK

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