May 2013
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One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with'; and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle. - Henry David Thoreau

In this edition...

  U.S. Consumer Reports rings alarm over turkey meat
  Poultry inspection: A deadly duty
  Fish - the most dangerous food on the planet?
  Beware of nutrition misinformation - plant-based diets can extend lifespan

Environment and World Hunger
  Video: Earth Institute's Jeffrey Sachs addresses UN on sustainable development
  Fishy stew
  Millions face starvation as world warms, say scientists
  5 ways 3D printing is changing the world for the better
  Industrial livestock production key threat to world's forests and biodiversity

Lifestyles and Trends
  NYC school subtracts meat from lunch menu in health push
  50 years young: The enduring vitality of vegans
  Vegan food for everyone
  Vancouver mayor decrees 'Meatless Monday'
  'Vegan,' 'plant-based,' 'starchivore': What do you call yourself?
  Are the days numbered for the egg?

Animal Issues and Advocacy
  How much is cheap meat really costing us?
  Feathers fly over chicken-slaughtering performance art
  Lincoln and the first step
  Pig cruelty video has the desired effect - Canadian grocers press for humane conditions
  Fish use sign language to 'talk' to other fish
  8 Celebrities who advocate for animals
  Goat escaped on trip to slaughterhouse now enjoying farm life

Books and Perspectives
  What the internet is doing to our brains
  Voices of the food revolution celebration
  Fast workouts you can do at home or at work
  Rise of the vegetarians

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

U.S. Consumer Reports rings alarm over turkey meat
Full story: Wall Street Journal

Some eye-opening numbers on the poultry in our supermarkets, released [April 30] by Consumer Reports: "In our first-ever lab analysis of ground turkey bought at retail stores nationwide, more than half of the packages of raw ground meat and patties tested positive for fecal bacteria. Some samples harbored other germs, including salmonella and staphylococcus aureus, two of the leading causes of foodborne illness in the U.S. Overall, 90 per cent of the samples had one or more of the five bacteria for which we tested." Not only were the germs common, but they showed a disturbing level of resistance to some conventional antibiotics, Consumer Reports wrote.   Read more...

Wall Street Journal - April 30

Poultry inspection: A deadly duty
Full story: Mercy for Animals Blog

A harrowing story in the Washington Post details the sad demise of Jose Navarro, a federal poultry inspector who died from lung complications at just 37 years old. Navarro's death triggered a federal investigation into poultry facilities that have increased the use of toxic, antibacterial chemicals. The US government is trying to determine whether, and to what extent, Navarro's death was hastened by dangerous agents he was exposed to on the job. The death of Jose Navarro is not only heartbreaking, but also draws attention to the fact that factory farming victimizes both humans and animals.   Read more...

Mercy for Animals Blog - May 1

Fish - the most dangerous food on the planet?
Full story: Care2

Did you know that a whopping 60 per cent of our fish are now factory farmed? How about that by 2050, our planet's oceans will be completely depleted? Or that fish live in water that is so polluted you would never dream of drinking it, yet you are ingesting all of these contaminants, bacteria and heavy metals every time you choose to eat it...   Read more...

Care2 - May 8

Beware of nutrition misinformation - plant-based diets can extend lifespan
Full story: Iowa Press-Citizen, U.S.

A [recent] letter ("Call 'Meatless Mondays' brainless Mondays") serves to remind us of how pervasive nutrition misinformation is in our culture - even among some health professionals. People are entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts. In my work as a dietitian, I have specialized in teaching vegetarian nutrition for the past 20 years. Research consistently shows a diet that includes animal products (meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs) promotes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and a host of others, while eliminating these foods can prevent and potentially reverse them. Research shows that the health benefits of a plant-based, whole-foods diet can extend a person's lifespan by an average of eight years.   Read more...

Iowa Press-Citizen, U.S. - May 23

More Health News:
Video: Strawberries reverse esophageal cancer
Dr. Greger's (May 15)
Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy - People are desperate for change
Dr. McDougall (May 16)
Eat those white vegetables? Yes! - they're nutrition powerhouses
ENN (May 20)
Image: Plant-based food guide pyramid

  Environment and World Hunger    

Video: Earth Institute's Jeffrey Sachs addresses UN on sustainable development
Video source: UNTV

The Director of the Earth Institute, Jeffrey Sachs, tells a meeting on sustainable development and climate change that 21 years after the signing of the of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, "we haven't even begun to change direction." He added that in the United States, "politics has found a way" to keep the subject off the agenda. The world renowned economist spoke about the devastating effects of droughts, including to international peace and security. He said "all over the world draught leads to famine, leads to war" citing examples such as the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Central Asia and the Sahel. Sachs said "hungry people fall into violence, terrorists take over, demagogues, desperate people, that's what happens with drought and hunger, and we are going to have a lot more of this unless we start paying attention." [2:12]   Watch video...

UNTV - May 16

Fishy stew
Full story: James McWilliams Blog

Bring the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) together with Bumble Bee Foods (BBF), and then toss in the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the European Seafood Exposition (ESE), have them hawk a product called Wild Selections (WS) and you have more than just a bowl of alphabet soup. You have a roiling stew of corruption fueled by the fire of ersatz environmentalism. Fish stew to be precise. Forget all the acronyms and bedfellows and smarmy press release babble and just remember this: whenever an environmental group hooks up with an industrial producer of animals and seeks approval from an industry-funded certifying agency you have, mark these words, the pretext for financial gain under the guise of ecological correctness driven by a false sense of consumer responsibility.   Read more...

James McWilliams Blog - April 30

Millions face starvation as world warms, say scientists
Full story: Guardian, UK

Millions of people could become destitute in Africa and Asia as staple foods more than double in price by 2050 as a result of extreme temperatures, floods and droughts that will transform the way the world farms. As food experts gather at two major conferences to discuss how to feed the nine billion people expected to be alive in 2050, leading scientists have said food insecurity risks turning parts of Africa into permanent disaster areas. Rising temperatures will also have a drastic effect on access to basic foodstuffs, with potentially dire consequences for the poor.   Read more...

Guardian, UK - April 13

5 ways 3D printing is changing the world for the better
Full story: Care2

Think 3D printers and, because of all the recent press attention, you probably think of guns. Yet, this technology really could change the world for the better. It's certain that 3D printing, if it lives up to all it could be, will pose significant challenges for nations across the globe in terms of the manufacturing of illicit items, drugs and weapons. At the same time, it stands to offer us an opportunity at revolutionizing industry and, some analysts predict, ending world hunger, poverty and possibly even climate change issues. Here are 5 ways in which that's already starting to happen...   Read more...

Care2 - May 29
Related video:

How 3D printing works - TIME Magazine (4:58 - January)

Industrial livestock production key threat to world's forests and biodiversity
Full story: Yahoo!

A coalition of environmental NGOs has published a briefing paper to raise awareness of the negative impacts of rapidly expanding industrial livestock farming and large-scale cattle ranching on the world's forests and biodiversity. Industrial animal agriculture cuts across multiple sectors, affecting land use, water, food security, public health, and climate change. But too often these intersections are overlooked. The paper highlights the reality that large-scale cattle ranching and production of feed and fodder for the industrial livestock industry are by far the main causes of forest loss in Latin America, and play significant roles in biodiversity loss in other continents. The global livestock sector is also one of the main contributors to global warming, responsible for no less than 18 per cent of world-wide greenhouse gas emissions.  Read more...

Yahoo! - May 22

More Environment News:

Victory: EU bans pesticides killing bees - Reuters (1:53 - April 29)

EU bans three pesticides harmful to bees (May 24)
Why ‘RSPO Sustainable Palm Oil’ is not responsible
Rainforest Action Network (April 25)
Green Party calls Monsanto a top risk to public health and the environment
- urges a moratorium on genetically modified food crops - Green Party Watch (May 17)
Food justice: Monsanto, factory farming, and beyond
Trinicenter (May 28)
The giants of the green world that profit from the planet's destruction
Guardian, UK (May 13)
Freshwater abuse and loss: Where is it all going?
By Richard Oppenlander, D.D.S., author of the award-winning book, Comfortably unaware - Forks over Knives (May 20)
Millions face starvation as world warms say scientists
Guardian, UK (April 13)

  Lifestyles and Trends    

NYC school subtracts meat from lunch menu in health push
Full story: NBC

Braised black beans and plantains. Tofu roasted in Asian sesame sauce. Falafel and cucumber salad. These aren't menu items from a high-end restaurant; they're lunchtime grub for students at a Flushing, Queens, public school's all-vegetarian cafeteria, the first in New York City to nix meat and believed to be one of the first public school in the nation to serve only vegetarian fare. "We know that when students eat a healthy diet, they're able to focus better. Their immune systems are stronger, so they're sick less, and then they're in school more and they're able to focus and concentrate better, and therefore learn better. There's research about that," said Amie Hamlin, the executive director of New York Coalition for Healthy School Food.   Read more...

NBC - May 1

50 years young: The enduring vitality of vegans
Full story: VegNews

Contemporary culture suffers from an anxiety of the hourglass, where people mourn their birthdays rather than perceive them as milestones and treat age as a burden to bear instead of the gift of extended life. But it doesn't have to be this way. In lieu of chasing the specter of eternal youth, we can ward off the debilitating health conditions that perpetuate the illusion that age equals antiquity by bolstering our physical and mental well-being - the true foundation of enduring vitality. At the base of this foundation is a healthful diet. Enter: veganism.   Read more...

VegNews - May 7

Vegan food for everyone
Full story: The Vegan R.D.

How I view veganism is not how my audience views it. I see it as (relatively) easy. Many people don't. Yet, some activist efforts seem aimed at making it as hard as possible. You don't just have to be vegan - you also have to shop locally, scrutinize labels to make sure that every six-syllable ingredient on the food label is vegan, and cook everything from scratch. Not everyone likes to cook. And not everyone can afford to buy local/organic food. With some guidance, though, everyone can be vegan or can at least start taking steps toward a more vegan lifestyle. We can build roadblocks to that or create paths.   Read more...

The Vegan R.D. - May 10

Vancouver mayor decrees 'Meatless Monday'
Full story: Vancouver Courier, Canada

Vancouver is set to become the first city in Canada to officially put the idea of giving up meat for a day on the table. Mayor Gregor Robertson will be proclaiming June 10 to be "Meatless Monday" in honour of a growing global campaign that encourages carnivores to take a break from consuming animal products one day a week for environmental and health reasons.   Read more...

Vancouver Courier, Canada - May 14
More on the Meatless Monday campaign:
Meatless Monday Canada
UK: Meat Free Monday campaign with Paul McCartney
Quebec: lundis sans viande
Join the Meatless Monday movement
Meatout Mondays - a terrific weekly recipe and info resource

'Vegan,' 'plant-based,' 'starchivore': What do you call yourself?
Full story: The McDougall Newsletter

Almost daily I receive an e-mail from someone struggling with a diet they describe as "vegetarian," "vegan," "nutrient-dense," and/or "plant-based." Fortunately, their struggles can be eliminated by one simple inexpensive exchange of foods. After adding starch into their diet - bread, pasta, rice, corn, beans, and/or potatoes - in generous amounts, they communicate a sense of relief, feelings of wellbeing, and a mind-set of self-control... Based on my extensive medical experience, your goal when asked, "What do you call yourself," should be to answer: a "starchivore," or a "starchitarian." [By Dr. John McDougall, author of The Starch Solution.]   Read more...

The McDougall Newsletter - April

Are the days numbered for the egg?
Full story: Huffington Post

There is a company that may very well be set to totally revolutionise the food manufacturing industry: come to the aid of the environment and improve our health. I met with the founder of Hampton Creek Foods, Josh Tetrick at his start-up company in the Soma district of San Francisco. Josh is the man behind the team that is fervently working to dislodge and displace the egg industry. He has an impressive background, having set up a UN business initiative in Kenya, worked for a time for President Clinton... Hampton Creek Foods is his debut venture into the world of food. He wanted to make a huge positive impact. He chose the egg industry as his target. Which methods are currently, in his words 'barbaric.'   Read more...

Huffington Post - May 23

More Lifestyles and Trends News:
Australia: Animal rights party would fight against cruelty in Senate
A fledgling animal rights party will field up to 12 Senate candidates in the Federal Election, as it fights against what it sees as animal brutality in Australia. - Coolum News, Australia (May 14)
What goes into a good meat substitute?
Shape (May 17)
Healthy and humane vegan athletes on the rise
Mercy for Animals blog (April 23)
New international social network site promotes a vegan lifestyle - launch video

  Animal Issues and Advocacy    

How much is cheap meat really costing us?
Video source: Voiceless Animal Protection Institute, Australia

Voiceless is an independent, non-profit think tank dedicated to alleviating the suffering of animals in Australia established in 2004. The organization's patron, retired High Court Justice Michael Kirby, presents a very thoughtful, informative and reasoned viewpoint on pertinent issues and introduces a panel who respond to a series of questions. With a passion for social justice and years of experience in senior roles at the UN, World Bank and World Health Organisation, Michael brings his considerable skills to bear as a patron of Voiceless and advocate for animals.   Watch video...

Voiceless Animal Protection Institute, Australia -

Feathers fly over chicken-slaughtering performance art
Full story: Care2

Last month a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design [Canada] slaughtered a chicken in the cafeteria for an art project that resulted in the police being called and a teacher getting fired. "He just decided to slowly slit its throat while it's wiggling, wriggling and screaming and then drained it out, popped its head off, strung it up, washed it, plucked it," Breydon Stangland, a student who witnessed the act, said... Our right to free expression shouldn't trump another living being's right to exist free from harm, regardless of the species. You don't need to shoot someone in the head to start a conversation about gun violence and certainly don't need to torture or kill an animal to start a conversation about the ways we're already torturing and killing them ...and attempt to justify it by calling it art.   Read more...

Care2 - May 22

Lincoln and the first step
Full story: Vegan Outreach Blog

We finally watched Lincoln, and found it amazingly relevant. The hero is clearly Thaddeus Stevens (played by Tommy Lee Jones). More than anyone, he had reason to preach no compromise on equality, demand full abolition of any and all discrimination, and insist on nothing less than full and total rights immediately. Yet Rep. Stevens didn't give in to his understandable anger. Instead of being "true to himself" - justified and righteous, and on the losing side - he chose possible progress over personal purity, incremental advance over impotent anger... If we really care about the animals first and foremost, we can abolish our personal desires and demands, and focus on making real, practical progress for the animals who are suffering to death every day. [Editor's note: As always, a thoughtful advice on effective advocacy from Matt Ball of Vegan Outreach - well worth the read along with links to previous essays. See also this May 25 post on vegan club vs. vegan world.]   Read more...

Vegan Outreach Blog - April 18

Pig cruelty video has the desired effect - Canadian grocers press for humane conditions
Full story: Vancouver Sun

Eight of Canada's biggest grocery chains announced [April 29] that they would phase out pork raised in facilities employing restrictive gestation crates. The chains agreed to phase out pork produced with outdated practices by the end of 2022. "The Retail Council of Canada believes that sows should be housed in an environment where their pregnancy, health and well-being are taken into highest consideration," the council said in a statement. An undercover video [at the link] shot last year by an investigator for the animal rights group Mercy for Animals depicted workers at Puratone's Manitoba hog farm euthanizing piglets by slamming them against poles or the floor to shocking effect [and other atrocities]. [Also watch this excellent special from CTV Canada on the undercover investigation.]   Read more...

Vancouver Sun - April 29

Fish use sign language to 'talk' to other fish
Full story: Care2

Great apes and ravens have been known to use sign language. In a first, scientists from the University of Switzerland and Cambridge University have found that a reef fish, the coral grouper, does too. Moreover, coral groupers use their communication skills to help other types of fish. The scientists discovered that three types of fish cooperate to hunt for food. Each contributes specific abilities: the grouper uses its "burst speed" to capture prey in the water. The eels are able to insert themselves into crevices where smaller fish are to be found. The wrasses use their powerful, and extendable, jaws to suck out prey in a hole or to simply smash the reef that a fish has taken refuge in.   Read more...

Care2 - April 25

8 Celebrities who advocate for animals
Full story: Care2

With all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, much of the incredible animal advocacy work that our favorite celebs are getting involved in can easily be missed. Thankfully, some stars use their fame and fortune to go above and beyond for animals everywhere...   Read more...

Care2 - May 29

Goat escaped on trip to slaughterhouse now enjoying farm life
Full story: New Jersey Chronicle, U.S.

After the havoc that one little brown goat - aptly named "Sky" by the Jersey City police officers who helped corral her - caused on the Pulaski Skyway [bridge], the animal is settling in nicely at a rescue farm. "Even though she was skittish at first, she did great on the farm," Jersey City police Lt. Kelly Chesler said. "When I got her there they have some sheep and a few horses, but she ran right into a stall with one of their older horses named Woody."   Read more...

New Jersey Chronicle, U.S. - May 22

More Animal Issues and Advocacy News:

Animal sentience: Touching video of two elephants reunited after 20 years

Also of interest:
Hero dog rescue
Another touching video showcasing animal sentience/compassion
The 5 best moms of all time
VegNews (May 8)
Powerful image to answer the 'what's wrong with dairy?' question
Animal Rights Media
Sneaky U.S. farm bill amendment has far-reaching implications to hurt animals
Care2 (May 29) - petition
Hope for hens in India as country moves toward battery free production
Humane Society International has persuaded most Indian states to declare that the use of battery cages violates the country's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. - Farming UK (May 29)
- See also HSI India blog and video

  Books and Perspectives    

What the internet is doing to our brains
Watch video: Epipheo

Most of us are on the Internet on a daily basis and whether we like it or not, the Internet is affecting us. It changes how we think, how we work, and it even changes our brains. This thought-provoking video is based on an interview with Nicholas Carr, the author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, about how the Internet is influencing us, our creativity, our thought processes, our ideas, and how we think.   Video source...

Epipheo - May 6

Voices of the food revolution celebration
Video source: YouTube/Food Revolution Summit

Ocean Robbins introduces Voices of the Food Revolution: You Can Heal Your Body and Your World with Food!, a collection of interviews his father and best-selling author John Robbins conducted with some of the world's most brilliant scientists, doctors and nutritionists during the 2012 Food Revolution Summit. From the Amazon introduction: "Together they make one rallying cry: for a healthy, sustainable, humane, and delicious revolution in what we choose as food. Robbins' work started a revolution, and these scientists, activists, teachers, farmers, bloggers, doctors, and others have taken up the torch and run with it."   Watch video...

YouTube/Food Revolution Summit - May 28

Fast workouts you can do at home or at work
Video source: ABC's The List

Who has time to work out these days? One fitness coach says you just need 5 minutes. Really? We put her to the test for your summer tune up on The Fit List. [Plant-based fitness expert] Lani Muelrath's new book Fit Quickies says you can get fit with 5 minute targeted body-shaping workouts.   Watch video...

ABC's The List - May 15

Rise of the vegetarians
Full story: Illawarra Mercury, Australia

Deborah Madison, whose cookbook Vegetable Literacy is the most recent in her 30-year career of writing about vegetables, says she has always struggled with the vegetarian label. "When I began writing [vegetarianism] was so much about a lifestyle. You were or you weren't and people didn't cross that line." Today that line is fluid. Meatless Mondays, and concerns about food quality and a tighter economy, have more people treating meat as the side dish. Shifting attitudes about what and how we eat also come into play. Today we eat more casually than previous generations. The idea of a "centre of the plate" - a large piece of meat - has loosened.   Read more...

Illawarra Mercury, Australia - May 15

Also of interest:


Veggie Pride Parades, June 1
Strut your best stuff and celebrate veggie pride...
Toronto Canada Veggie Pride parade
Chicago Veggie Pride parade

March to close slaughterhouses, June 15
Paris & Toulouse (France), London (England), Istanbul (Turkey), Houston & San Diego (USA), Zagreb, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo (Brazil), Perth (Australia) and Florence (Italy), Toronto (Canada).
As a society, we have marched against sexism, racism, and homophobia. Now, join the march against another oppression: speciesism.
March info (English)
Marche info (francais)

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

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

39th Annual Vegetarian Summerfest, July 3-7, Johnstown, PA, U.S.
Over 60 informative and inspiring speakers on health and nutrition, lifestyle issues, cooking, recipes, exercise and fitness, animal rights, compassionate living, Earth stewardship, and even more! Over 700 attendees of all ages. Great natural-food vegan meals designed to meet a variety of diets, including gluten free and raw food under the direction of Chef Mark Reinfeld of Vegan Fusion.
Vegetarian Summerfest

World Week for the Abolition of Meat - 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)

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