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Home arrow Going Vegetarian arrow Veg News Archive
Veg News Archive - 2008 Print E-mail
News Archive - 2008

(To return to the main Veg News Archive page click here.)

Index to the articles on this page:

     HEALTH & NUTRITION
          (FR) Low-carb diets may reduce cognitive ability: Study (12/12/08)
          (US) Eating Red Meat Shown to Increase Cancer Risk (14/11/08)
          (AU/US) Red meat primes body for intestinal germ: study (30/10/08)
          (US) Study Finds Fountain Of Youth, Vegan Diet And Exercise (16/09/08)
          (US) Large study links meat consumption to increased cancer risk (02/07/08)
          (US) Ex-surgeon espouses a non-invasive cure for heart disease (09/06/08)
          (TW) Bird flu virus has mutated into form that's deadly to humans (06/03/08)
          (US) Diet Reduces Heart Attacks, Strokes (15/04/08)
          (US) Are Tumors, Abscesses, and Downed Cows in your Hamburger? (28/02/08)
          (US) Impact of beef recall widens (25/02/08)
          (US) USDA Recalls 143 Million Pounds of Beef Already Consumed... (18/02/08)
          (US) USDA Makes Nation's Largest Beef Recall (17/02/08)
          (US) Cloned animals miserable, but safe to eat (16/01/08)
          (US) US authorities approve cloned animal foods (15/01/08)
          (US) EU Food-Safety Agency Endorses Meat, Milk From Cloned Animals (12/01/08)
     ANIMAL WELFARE
          (US) Students' eyes and hearts opened in 'animals and society' course (28/11/08)
          (NZ) Lambs & Chickens Liberated For Farm Animal Day (02/10/08)
          (AU) Cruelty on a Plate (letter) (24/09/08)
          (BE) EU wants to improve animal welfare in slaughterhouses (18/09/08)
          (US) Video shows shocking farm cruelty to pigs (17/09/08)
          (AU) Chickens and eggs (09/09/08)
          (AU) Little Lucy threatens pig farmers' bacon (03/08/08)
          (US) Farm animal rights law would require room to roam (24/07/08)
          (US) Humane Society releases video of cattle being abused (26/06/08)
          (US) AVMA Condemns Abuse of Cattle Shown in New Video (25/06/08)
          (US) Report urges huge changes to factory-farming practices (30/04/08)
          (US) Measure would give food animals space (29/04/08)
          (AU) Egg farmer cruelty case fails in court (25/04/08)
          (CA/US) Factory Farm Fires Claim 10,000 Pigs in Three Weeks (07/04/08)
          (US) Report dubs humane slaughter 'low priority' in U.S. meat industry (26/03/08)
          (AU) Animal welfare group pushing for egg action (14/03/08)
          (AU) Battery-hen ban bid (11/03/08)
          (UK) Give it up, guys (01/03/08)
          (US) Who Drank The Milk From Hallmark/Westland Cows? (29/02/08)
          (UK) Shoppers care more about animals than climate (04/02/08)
          (AU) Animal cruelty laws lack punch (26/01/08)
          (US) Chefs' new goal: Looking dinner in the eye (16/01/08)
          (IN) Sensitising children towards animals (12/01/08)
          (UK) Why can't James just tell us to eat less meat? (12/01/08)
          (UK) Inside the battery chicken sheds (09/01/08)
          (AT) EU confirms 2012 date for ban on raising hens in small battery cages (08/01/08)
          (UK) UK film reveals the true cost of cheap chicken (04/01/08)
          (US) I Think; Therefore, I Don't Eat Meat (03/01/08)
     FOOD & PRODUCTS
          (AU) Call to alter labels for animals' sake (04/03/08)
     THE ENVIRONMENT
          (TW) The growing taste for meat is proving costly to the environment (11/12/08)
          (ZA) Animal farm emissions (07/12/08)
          (AU) Eating greens 'makes you greener' (22/09/08)
          (UK) Is our taste for Sunday roast killing the planet? (07/09/08)
          (TW) One million vow to reduce carbon by being vegetarian (06/04/08)
          (US) Boycott called for soybeans coming from the deforested Amazon (14/02/08)
          (AU) Here's the beef: meat-eating days may be numbered (04/02/08)
          (US) Eat less meat. Even carnivores are doing it (29/01/08)
          (US) Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler (27/01/08)
     MISCELLANEOUS
          (IT) [Press Release] More hunger in the world calls for more ethical living (17/12/08)
          (AU) Who needs meat? (02/12/08)
          (US) The Protein Pyramid (10/11/08)
          (UK) Dog Owners Swap Bones for Broccoli (06/11/08)
          (US) Humane Society asks the church: Where's your humanity? (18/10/08)
          (US) Feast or famine: Meat production and world hunger (09/08/08)
          (US) What Will We Eat in a Hungrier World? (24/07/08)
          (US) Meat habit is fueling world famine (18/07/08)
          (US) Personal values deceive taste buds (18/07/08)
          (US) 'End of Food' - It's the system, stupid (22/06/08)
          (US) Ultimate fighter kicks the meat habit (08/05/08)
          (US) Food Riots Begin: Will You Go Vegetarian? (21/04/08)
          (UK) Is changing our diet the key to resolving the global food crisis? (16/04/08)
          (UK) Credit crunch? The real crisis is global hunger. And if you care, eat less meat (15/04/08)
          (US) Grains gone wild - world food crisis (07/04/08)
          (UK) Increasing demand for meat contributes to world hunger and high prices (26/02/08)

----------

 

HEALTH & NUTRITION

(FR) Low-carb diets may reduce cognitive ability: Study (12/12/08)

Researchers at Tufts University have reported that low-carbohydrate diets may impair cognitive performance, following a study comparing an Atkins-type diet with a reduced-calorie regime. The study showed that dieters performed less well on cognitive tests when carbohydrates were restricted than if they reduced calories. The researchers said that this is because glucose, the brain's primary fuel, is not stored, but produced by the body when it breaks down carbohydrates. They are then converted to glucose, and the resulting energy is used immediately by nerve cells. Professor of Psychology and corresponding author Holly A. Taylor said: "The popular low-carb, no-carb diets have the strongest potential for negative impact on thinking and cognition." 
Full story:
www.nutraingredients.com

(US) Eating Red Meat Shown to Increase Cancer Risk (14/11/08)

Human consumption of red meat and milk products can contribute to the increased risk of cancerous tumors, according to a National Cancer Institute-backed study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A husband-and-wife team of physician-scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has newly demonstrated a mechanism for how this increase in risk occurs.
A non-human, cellular molecule absorbed into human tissues as a result of eating red meat and milk products could promote tumor growth, according to the team led by Ajit Varki, M.D. and his wife, Nissi Varki, M.D.
The molecule, called N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), is a type of glycan, or sugar molecule, that humans do not naturally produce, but that can be incorporated into human tissues as a result of eating red meat.
When foods containing Neu5Gc are eaten, the body then develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies - an immune response that could potentially lead to chronic inflammation, as first suggested in a 2003 paper by Aji Varki also published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 
The Varkis' research suggests that inflammation resulting from this molecule could promote tumor growth.
Full story:
www.ens-newswire.com

(AU/US) Red meat primes body for intestinal germ: study (30/10/08)

PARIS – A steady diet of red meat makes the body more susceptible to a virulent form of intestinal bug that can cause bloody diarrhoea and even death, according to a study to be published on Thursday.
Researchers in the United States and Australia said persistently eating red meat appears to prime the body for exposure to this potent form of Escherichia coli (E. coli).
The meat naturally contains sugar molecules called Neu5Gc that accumulate in cells lining the intestines and blood vessels.
These molecules also act as a sort of magnet for the toxins exuded by the E. coli strain, thus making it easier for the poisons to enter the blood stream, they said.
"Prior meat eating would set one up for the toxin to bind when it shows up," explained Ajit Varki, a researcher at the University of California at San Diego, one of the study's co-authors.
Full story:
www.abs-cbnnews.com

(US) Study Finds Fountain Of Youth, Vegan Diet And Exercise (16/09/08)

U.S. researchers have put out a new study in the journal Lancet Oncology, which gives details into the fountain of youth. The fountain of youth apparently lies in following a lifestyle that includes exercise, and a vegan diet.
A major lifestyle change may be needed if you truly want to find the fountain of youth for yourself.
Researchers were lef by Prof. Dean Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Institute in California.
He worked along with researchers from the University of California, San Francisco to study 24 men with prostate cancer.
The men all had to follow some major lifestyle changes for the study.
Their lifestyle they had to follow included 30 minutes of exercise 6 days a week for starters, as well as an hour of meditation or relaxing every day.
Full story:
www.dbtechno.com
Related story:
http://chattahbox.com

(US) Large study links meat consumption to increased cancer risk (02/07/08)

A new large-scale study has provided more strong evidence linking the consumption of red and processed meats to an increased risk of cancer. Researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute examined data on 494,000 participants in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study. Red meat was defined in the study as any meat originating from a mammal, including beef, pork and lamb. Researchers found that people who consumed the most red meat had a 25 per cent higher risk of developing colorectal cancer in the study period compared with those who ate the least, and a 20 per cent higher risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of esophageal and liver cancer was increased by between 20 and 60 percent... Prior studies have also linked meat consumption to increased cancer risk, particularly the risk of colorectal and stomach cancer. Other studies have found associations between meat intake and the risk of bladder, breast, cervical, endometrial, esophageal, glioma, kidney, liver, lung, mouth, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers.
Full story:
www.naturalnews.com

(US) Ex-surgeon espouses a non-invasive cure for heart disease (a vegetarian diet!) (09/06/08)

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. has no qualms about stepping inside the [U.S.'s} No. 1 heart hospital and dishing on angioplasty. Invasive treatment is a mainstay of cardiac care, and it pays the bills. It's also what's wrong with medicine, says the retired Cleveland Clinic surgeon who has been affiliated with the hospital for 40 years. Esselstyn has turned his life's work to demonstrating that heart disease doesn't need to exist in the first place. And if it does, it can be reversed. The remedy is a plant-based diet, he says. Learn to live with no meat, no fish, no dairy or oils of any kind, and make yourself "heart-attack proof." One recent morning, Esselstyn slipped on a white lab coat and told a group assembled in a Clinic classroom that treating heart disease with stents and statins is not the answer. He implored them to accept that the body, given the right fuel, can restore coronary arteries damaged by the fatty Western diet.
Full story:
www.cleveland.com

(TW) Bird flu virus has mutated into form that's deadly to humans (06/03/08)

The avian flu has undergone a critical mutation making it easier for the virus to infect humans, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and published in the journal PLoS Pathogens... "We are rolling the dice with modern poultry farming practices," warned consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of the book How to Beat the Bird Flu. "By raising chickens in enclosed spaces, treating them with antibiotics, and denying them access to fresh air, clean water and natural sunlight, we are creating optimal conditions for the breeding of highly infectious diseases that can quickly mutate into human pandemics," Adams said. 
Full story:
www.naturalnews.com

(US) Diet Reduces Heart Attacks, Strokes (15/04/08)

CHICAGO (AP) - A large study offers the strongest evidence yet that a diet the government recommends for lowering blood pressure can save people from heart attack and stroke.
Researchers followed more than 88,000 healthy women for almost 25 years. They examined their food choices and looked at how many had heart attacks and strokes. Those who fared best had eating habits similar to those recommended by the government to stop high blood pressure.
The plan, called the DASH diet, favors fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and plant-based protein over meat.
Women with those eating habits were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 18 percent less likely to have a stroke than women with more typical American diets.
Those are meaningful reductions since these diseases are so common. About two in five U.S. women at age 50 will eventually develop cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attacks and strokes. Women in the study were in their mid-30s to late 50s when the research began in 1980.
Previous research has shown this kind of diet can help prevent high blood pressure and cholesterol, which both can lead to heart attacks.
The new study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.
Full story:
http://ap.google.com

(US) Are Tumors, Abscesses, and Downed Cows in your Hamburger? (28/02/08)

Local and national media are reporting on the recall of 143 million pounds of meat from a southern California slaughterhouse. More than 70 school districts and social service agencies in the Central Valley ended up with some of that meat. But, the issue of contaminated meat might be a lot more problematic and local than we have been told.
According to Steven Gomez*, who worked for six months at Cargill Regional Beef in Fresno, the practices that led to the current recall at the Hallmark Meat Company in southern California happens every day locally.
"They use downer cows all the time," Gomez told me in an exclusive interview. Gomez said it was common practice for workers in the southwest Fresno slaughterhouse to hit downed cows with sticks and eventually pick them up with a fork lift to get them onto the kill floor. According to Karen Stump*, who also worked at Cargill, "they would shoot the cow because it couldn't get up and then they would bring them into the kill room with a fork lift." Both Gomez and Stump said those downer cows would be processed and put into the food stream with all of the other cows.
According to a statement from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the group that uncovered the southern California incident that led to the current recall, "downer cows must not be used for food-plain and simple. As The HSUS video shows, this is necessary to protect animals from suffering. As science has made clear, this is necessary to protect food safety. The practice of slaughtering downed cows is especially troubling now that the link between downed cattle and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, has been firmly established. Of the 15 known cases of BSE-infected animals discovered in North America, at least 12 involved downed animals."
...
Senator Dean Florez's suggestion to put video surveillance cameras at all California slaughterhouses might not be a bad idea. Put the live video on the Internet so consumers can see for themselves that the cows being processed are being humanely treated and that no downer's go into onto the kill floor. Until consumers can trust the USDA again, this might be the best we can hope for.
(*Steven Gomez and Karen Stump are fictitious names. The author has changed the two whistle blowers names to protect their privacy.)
Full story:
www.indybay.org

(US) Impact of beef recall widens (25/02/08)

The nation's largest meat recall could grow into its largest food recall as companies destroy products with any amount of the 143 million pounds of beef recalled last week.
The recall's scope is unprecedented, says the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The value of foods affected including soups, sauces, burritos and bouillon cubes could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, a senior GMA official says.
"It's going to be very, very sizeable," says Craig Henry, the group's senior vice president. "We've never had a recall like this." He says it will take weeks to find out how many products the recalled beef went into.
Westland/Hallmark Meat of Chino, Calif., recalled the beef on Feb. 17 after federal officials found it had allowed cattle that could not walk to be slaughtered without notifying a federal inspector to do a required second inspection. Those cattle are generally prohibited from the food supply because they carry a higher risk of mad cow disease and bacterial contamination.
...
Much of the meat has likely been eaten, the USDA says. But canned products may be consumed years after they're made.
The breadth of affected products took even department critics by surprise. "It's almost overkill," says William Marler, a leading plaintiff's attorney in E. coli cases. Given the low risk, destroying so much food "is just an enormous waste of resources," he says.
Full story:
www.usatoday.com

(US) USDA Recalls 143 Million Pounds of Beef Products Already Consumed by Schoolchildren; Slaughterhouse Atrocities Shock World (18/02/08)

In case you were still curious to learn what really goes on behind the closed doors of beef slaughterhouses, the release of a secret video by the Humane Society (www.HSUS.org) silenced the skeptics and naysayers by revealing the horrifying atrocities committed against diseased cows by slaughterhouse employees (click here to see the Humane Society investigation). As the secret videos show, cows at the Westland slaughterhouse in California were forklifted, electrocuted with cattle prods, kicked and otherwise abused by workers in order to get them into the processing lines so they could be used as meat for the human food supply.
These actions, of course, were taken in violation of federal law. USDA regulations state that non-ambulatory cows (those that can't walk) should never be used in the human food supply due to the risk of disease (mad cow disease in particular). But given that non-ambulatory cows cause a financial loss for slaughterhouses, there is a strong financial incentive to drag, shove, shock or otherwise kick those cows into the processing line so that their flesh can be transformed into a few more bucks of profit for these beef processing companies (and all the companies downstream that use beef, too, like fast food chains, canned soup manufacturers, providers to school lunch programs and so on).
In reaction to the secret video, the USDA has issued a massive recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef. That's the largest ever in the history of the United States. Five felony counts of animal cruelty were charged to the pen manager who worked at the plant, and three misdemeanor charges were filed against another employee. The company has not yet been charged with anything. Note that this would have never happened unless the Humane Society video had brought all this to light.
Full story:
www.naturalnews.com

(US) USDA Makes Nation's Largest Beef Recall (17/02/08)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse, the subject of an animal-abuse investigation, that provided meat to school lunch programs.
Officials said it was the largest beef recall in the United States, surpassing a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats. No illnesses have been linked to the newly recalled meat, and officials said the health threat was likely small.The recall will affect beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, that came from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the federal agency said.
...
Two former employees were charged Friday. Five felony counts of animal cruelty and three misdemeanors were filed against a pen manager. Three misdemeanor counts - illegal movement of a non-ambulatory animal - were filed against an employee who worked under that manager. Both were fired.
Authorities said the video showed workers kicking, shocking and otherwise abusing "downer" animals that were apparently too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse. Some animals had water forced down their throats, San Bernardino County prosecutor Michael Ramos said.
Full story:
www.forbes.com

(US) Cloned animals miserable, but safe to eat (16/01/08)

Cloned animals may often be born deformed and die young but scientists, who have looked at every aspect of their biology to try to explain why, can find no evidence that it would be dangerous to eat them.
None of the more than 700 studies reviewed in detail showed any evidence to suggest that milk or organ or muscle tissue from cloned animals could harm someone who ate it, the US Food and Drug Administration said in its final report on the subject today.
"We have actually done a more in-depth analysis of the meat from cloned animals than has been done ever," said Mark Walton, president of Texas-based farm animal cloning firm ViaGen. In 2002, a National Academy of Sciences panel said there was no reason to believe that meat or milk from cloned animals may be unsafe. But it said the FDA should do a review, and because of the outpouring of opinions and fears about the subject, the agency extended its review for more than a year.
Cloned calves had died from respiratory, digestive, circulatory, nervous, muscular and skeletal abnormalities, as well as because they had abnormal placentas, the FDA said.
Full story:
www.news.com.au

(US) US authorities approve cloned animal foods (15/01/08)

Washington - The US food safety authority on Tuesday approved meat and milk from cloned animals, clearing the way for them one day to appear in shops despite opposition on ethical and health grounds.
"Meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, and goats, and the offspring of clones from any species traditionally consumed as food, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals," Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official Randall Lutter told a news conference.
Lutter said his agency would not require food made from cloned animals or their offspring to be specially labeled, but producers could apply for the right to label their foods "clone-free."
The FDA however said it did not have enough information to rule on whether cloned sheep and other cloned animals were safe to eat.
...
The ruling was delayed by strong resistance from food safety and animal rights groups, as well as the US dairy industry, which fears its image and exports will be damaged.
Full story:
http://afp.google.com

(US) EU Food-Safety Agency Endorses Meat, Milk From Cloned Animals (12/01/08)

Brussels - Europe's food-safety agency endorsed meat and milk derived from cloned animals, triggering what's likely to be a fierce political battle over whether to allow their sale to consumers.
Friday's decision came as the Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve cloned animal products for sale in the U.S. But unlike in the U.S., the endorsement by scientists at the European Food Safety Authority is only the start of a process that will be decided by the European Union's 27 governments.
Politicians are likely to respond to public fears about so-called Frankenfoods, and try to keep out cloned animal products, according to EU officials familiar with the process. If that happens, it would restrict growth at U.S. biotech companies and penalize European dairy farmers, say industry experts.
Full story:
http://online.wsj.com

ANIMAL WELFARE

(US) Students' eyes and hearts opened in 'animals and society' course (28/11/08)

"It shows you a lot," [a University of South Carolina Upstate student] said of professor Clif Lynn's upper-level sociology class ["animals and society"]. "I recognize that our food choices [are] very personal to each and every one of us, deeply rooted in our upbringing, in our culture and in our traditions," [guest lecturer Mercy for Animals' Nathan] Runkle told the students. "But I think that it's our moral obligation and every consumer's obligation to really take a hard look at the food practices and how animals are being treated, and ask ourselves if these practices are in line with our values and if we want to support these conditions." Lynn said that when students first take his class, "Most of them have no idea the conditions under which farm animals are raised." Lynn added that several students have become vegetarians after taking the class. "Once they learn about these conditions," he said, "it's hard for some to ignore it any longer."
Full story:
www.goupstate.com

(NZ) Lambs & Chickens Liberated For Farm Animal Day (02/10/08)

Animal rights activists have liberated two lambs, two broiler chickens and ten battery hens from pastoral and factory farms to mark both world vegetarian day (Oct 1st) and world farm animals day (Oct 2nd).
"The animals were rescued to spare them from slaughter and challenge the assumption that animals are food", states the communiqué Animal Liberation Aotearoa (ALA) received from the activists involved.
Spokesperson for ALA, Kali Sandbrook says, "This action is a timely reminder of where peoples' food comes from. As a society we are eating more flesh than ever with thousands of animals being mass produced and killed every day for human consumption.
...
In New Zealand every year, over 80 million animals are forced to live in horrendous conditions on factory farms, and over 100 million are slaughtered for food.
Full story:
www.scoop.co.nz

(AU) Cruelty on a Plate (letter) (24/09/08)

The real story behind the kangaroo steak you buy. Shooters now find it hard to find big roos to shoot and are forced to kill smaller animals. Pouch joeys of females that have been shot must be bludgeoned to death. Dependent joeys "at heel" flee when their mothers are shot and die slowly from starvation and stress.
It's not easy to kill a roo with a head wound, and too many animals with horrific injuries, such as having their jaws shot off, are able to hop away and die a painful death.
The code of practice shooters are supposed to adhere to (which is not policed) says a wounded animal must be found and shot before another animal is killed, but an RSPCA survey of kangaroo shooters reveals that it isn't cost or time-efficient for them to do this, so these animals are left to die.
I don't care how lean and healthy kangaroo meat is, the cruelty that occurs to get that meat to your plate is beyond belief and hidden by the industry. Easy to do when the killing goes on at night in the outback.
Joy Godkin, Longwood East
www.theage.com.au

(BE) EU wants to improve animal welfare in slaughterhouses (18/09/08)

Brussels - The European Commission on Thursday proposed tougher rules for slaughterhouses to ensure that farm animals "are humanely treated" before they are killed.
Each year almost 360 million pigs, sheep, goats and cattle as well as several billion poultry are killed in EU slaughterhouses for meat. Another 25 million animals are killed for their fur, according to official figures.
"As a society we have a duty of care to animals, which includes minimising distress and avoiding pain throughout the slaughtering process," said EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou.
"The current EU rules are outdated and need revision," she added.
Under the plans no method of stunning and slaughter would be banned, even though some have been identified as being less humane.
Full story:
www.eubusiness.com

(US) Video shows shocking farm cruelty to pigs (17/09/08)

Undercover animal activists have filmed horrific scenes of cruelty to farm pigs. The incidents include workers slamming piglets on floors and leaving them still wriggling to die, beating animals to death with metal rods and inserting rods into sows' hindquarters. Activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) posed as workers between June and September this year at a farm in the midwestern U.S. state of Iowa, the Associated Press (AP) reports. The video shows a worker viciously beating pigs with a metal rod while shouting to one of the PETA spies: "I hate them. These (expletives) deserve to be hurt. Hurt, I say!" "Hurt! Hurt! Hurt! Hurt! ... Take out your frustrations on 'em," the employee yells as he swings the rod. Workers are also shown slamming piglets on t he ground, to instantly kill those that aren't healthy enough. However, the video displays piglets surviving the treatment and lying wiggling in a bloodied pile... "Abuse on factory farms is the absolute norm, not the exception, and anyone eating factory-farmed meat is paying to support it," PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich said to AP.
Full story:
www.news.com.au

(AU) Chickens and eggs (09/09/08)

While scientists and philosophers continue to debate the age-old dilemma of "which comes first, the chicken or the egg", the answer for Australia's ten million caged layer or "battery" hens is patently clear. Despite increasing community awareness about the plight of battery hens, the vast majority of Australia's egg laying flock today
spend their short lives warehoused with hundreds of thousands of others, confined in small cages in which they are unable to preen, nest, stretch their wings or exercise the bulk of their natural behaviours. Many layer hens also live in a permanent state of disfigurement, following the forced removal of part of their beak, being the sensory organ with which they make sense of their world.
...
The continuing refusal by Australian State and Territory Ministers to take a leadership position with respect to the banning of battery cages stands in stark contrast to developments overseas. For example, in the European Union, the phase out of battery cages is in progress following the passing of a Council Directive in 1999. Under the EU Directive, the installation of new battery cages has been prohibited since January 2003. Additionally, EU member countries are required to phase out all battery cages by 2012. Certain nations such as Sweden and Austria for example, have taken proactive steps to ban battery cages prior to the Directive taking effect. Under the Directive, battery cages are to be replaced with alternative systems known as "enriched" cages, barn, or free-range systems.
The "enriched" cage system provides each hen with 600cm² of usable space per hen, which is 50cm² more than the current Australian standard for battery cages. Enriched cages also differentiate from battery cages in that they can contain nesting boxes, litter to enable foraging, and perches. While these are important symbolic
improvements, enriched cages still condemn hens to a life of confinement and fall short of meeting their behavioural needs.
...
Australia continues to lag shamefully behind when it comes to providing meaningful improvements in hen welfare. In light of this, increasing retail support for cage-free eggs in domestic markets should be construed as a message to our legislators that Australians care about the treatment of animals and that the time has come to
place the chicken before the egg.
Full story:
www.onlineopinion.com.au

(AU) Little Lucy threatens pig farmers' bacon (03/08/08)

Tomorrow in Canberra, senior executives of Australian Pork Ltd are meeting to draft a media battle plan -- in response to a sad-sounding little girl they had hoped would go away but now threatens the pig industry.
"We certainly could be hurt by this," says Australian Pork CEO Andrew Spencer. "We didn't want to come out and pour fuel on the flames, but I think it's got to a point where we have to make some sort of response."
What's got pig farmers squealing is a radio ad campaign by Animals Australia. It features a young child voicing the purportedly miserable life of a pregnant sow kept in confined quarters.
In one ad, with the sound of babies crying in the background, the girl says: "Everybody's crying today. It's the same every day. It never stops … I wish I could close my eyes and not wake up and then I wouldn't hear it any more."
Disturbing enough, but what's got talkback radio listeners complaining is the campaign's punchline, voiced by a deep-voiced man: "It is commonly accepted that a pig has the intelligence of a three-year-old child."
In fact, outrage is such that donations from horrified listeners are keeping the campaign running. "We only had enough money to pay for a week's worth of air time in the capital cities," says Glenys Oogjes, Animals Australia's executive director. "But the overwhelming public support means we are now in our fourth week … and I don't know how long it's going to last."
Full story:
www.theage.com.au

(US) Farm animal rights law would require room to roam (24/07/08)

VACAVILLE, Calif. Kim Sturla began bringing goats, pigs, chickens and cows once slated for slaughter to the Animal Place sanctuary 20 years ago, before supermarkets offered eggs from cage-free hens and beef was advertised on menus as being hormone free.
Two decades later, the treatment of farm animals is a national issue being debated in state Legislatures and put before voters who want to have a say in how their food is raised. Footage circulated on the Internet of sick farm animals being kicked and beaten has intensified calls for reform.
"People want conditions to change," said Sturla, who co-founded the Animal Place sanctuary for abused and discarded farm animals, in 1989. "On this issue, you don't have to give propaganda. In fact, you have to downplay the conditions or people will shut down. They'll think you're embellishing."
This fall, California voters will consider the most comprehensive farm animal rights law in the country, a measure that would ban cramped metal cages for egg-laying hens, metal gestation crates for pregnant sows and veal crates for lambs?standard industry practices in which the animals are kept so confined that they can barely move.
Full story:
www.mercurynews.com

(US) Humane Society releases video of cattle being abused (26/06/08)

WASHINGTON - The group whose undercover slaughterhouse video last February prompted the largest beef recall in U.S. history alleged on Wednesday that cattle - some of them possibly bound for the National School Lunch Program - are still being abused, this time in livestock auctions.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), an animal rights group, said a new investigation shows dairy cattle being abused last May at a livestock auction in New Mexico. The group said an investigator watched three cows and calves "being mistreated and tormented in order to get them to stand and walk" into an auction ring in Portales, N.M. The group says state inspectors "were present at the auctions and apparently saw much of the abuse."
At HSUS's headquarters, Wayne Pacelle, the group's president, played for reporters a short video that showed, among other images, a stockyard worker kicking a cow, another cow struggling to pull itself forward by its front legs and another being dragged by a hind leg with a chain attached to a Bobcat-type tractor.
Full story:
www.usatoday.com

(US) AVMA Condemns Abuse of Cattle Shown in New Video (25/06/08)

Upon learning of disturbing new footage showing cattle abused at a Portales, N.M., livestock auction, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today strongly condemned the cruelty and issued a call for stricter adherence to humane animal handling guidelines and standards.
In a statement released on its website (www.avma.org), the AVMA labeled the abuse, which was shown in a video released publicly today by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and which included cows being repeatedly shocked with electric prods and dragged by chains while alive, as "inhumane" and "unacceptable."
"The food animal production system failed these animals," said Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "Everyone involved in animal agriculture, whether on farms or in processing facilities, shares an ethical responsibility to protect the health and welfare of animals used for food production."
Full story:
www.sunherald.com

(US) Report urges huge changes to factory-farming practices (30/04/08)

Factory farming takes a big toll on human health and the environment, is undermining rural America's economic stability and fails to provide the humane treatment of livestock, concludes an independent, 2 1/2-year analysis that calls for major changes in the way corporate agriculture produces meat, milk and eggs.
The report, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and released Tuesday, finds that the "economies of scale" long used to justify factory-farming practices are largely an illusion, perpetuated by a failure to account for associated costs.
Among those costs are human illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria associated with the rampant use of antibiotics on feedlots and the degradation of land, water and air quality caused by animal waste too intensely concentrated to be neutralized by natural processes.
Full story:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com

(US) Measure would give food animals space (29/04/08)

For a growing number of Californians, these meals are sparking a moral conundrum: Should they worry about how animals lived before their products hit the plate?
California voters will answer that question in November with a new animal welfare ballot initiative. If passed, the measure would require farmers to provide enough space for breeding sows, veal calves and laying hens to turn around and stretch their limbs.
The growing attention to the welfare of food animals is "a huge change," said Joy Mench, a University of California-Davis professor who studies the well-being of chickens. "When I started doing this in 1982, there was close to zero public awareness about this issue."
The nation's largest pork and veal producers are voluntarily phasing out tiny crates used to house veal calves and gestating sows. So the measure's main consequence would focus on California's 19 million egg-laying hens, most of which are housed in battery cages, crowded wire boxes used in conventional egg farming.
Critics of the proposal say it would effectively require egg farmers to switch to cage-free barns or move their operations out of California. Farmers say the measure won't make egg farming more humane, but will make California's eggs more expensive and less safe.
Full story:
www.mercurynews.com

(AU) Egg farmer cruelty case fails in court (25/04/08)

The owner of a controversial battery hen farm may never face trial on animal cruelty charges, stemming from visits to his egg factory.
Nicholas Pitt, of Pitt's poultry farm, has previously pleaded not guilty to 18 animal cruelty charges.
Yesterday in the Hobart Magistrates Court, Magistrate Peter Dixon adjourned the case indefinitely.
The court heard there was confusion over the code of practice governing egg production in Tasmania and whether the operations at Pitt's poultry farm were contrary to it.
...
In September, the RSPCA conducted visits to the egg farm and Pitt's was named as the facility where animal rights campaigners claimed to have filmed horrific images of dead and dying hens.
Full story:
www.news.com.au

(CA/US) Factory Farm Fires Claim 10,000 Pigs in Three Weeks (07/04/08)

One of the worst parts of incarceration, many say, is knowing if a fire breaks out the guards aren't going to save you. They're not going to rush back into the prison building and risk their lives. Why would they? If your life had any value, you wouldn't be locked up in the first place.
That's exactly what happened to 10,000 pigs who perished in factory farm fires in Canada and Indiana in the past month.
8,700 pigs burned alive at Netley Hutterite Colony in Manitoba, Canada about 30 miles north of Winnipeg on April 2.
...
On March 11, firefighters were called to Cardinal Farms Sow Farm, 55 miles northwest of Indianapolis, IN where 2,500 pigs were burned alive as fire engulfed a hog farrowing and nursery barn.
...
Of course factory farms, with their uninterrupted rows of confined animals and manure pits, are known to be harmful to the environment, animals and people who live or work near them.
For the Netley Hutterite Colony and similar communities often targeted by corporate farming interests, they are not even profitable.
Nor are barn fires new.
But only a factory farm can incinerate 10,000 pigs in a few hours in a fire-as they wait, in vain, for their guards to rescue them.
Full story:
http://newsblaze.com

(US) Report dubs humane slaughter 'low priority' in U.S. meat industry (26/03/08)

In the wake of controversy surrounding animal abuse at Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., the Animal Welfare Institute has released a report analyzing humane slaughter enforcement at U.S. meat processing plants.
Report author Dena Jones analyzed more than 1,000 documents, including approximately 500 humane handling and humane slaughter noncompliance records issued by USDA, covering a five-year period from 2002 through 2007.
Jones found that cattle were more likely to be victims of inhumane treatment than pigs and that large and small plants were more likely to be suspended for humane treatment violations than very small plants. 
The most common types of humane deficiencies were failure to provide water to animals in pens; failure to maintain pens and other facilities in good repair; and shackling, hoisting and/or cutting of conscious animals.
"As a result of this investigation, AWI has concluded that ensuring animals raised for food are handled and slaughtered in a humane manner is a low priority of U.S. agricultural enforcement agencies and of the U.S. animal agriculture industry," the report stated. "There are both legal and regulatory changes that need to be made in the current inspection system to better protect all animals who are slaughtered for food."
Full story:
www.cattlenetwork.com

(AU) Animal welfare group pushing for egg action (14/03/08)

The group Against Animal Cruelty says Tasmania's Primary Industries Minister has agreed to meet it again next month to discuss its concerns about battery hen farming.
The group has been embroiled in controversy after a member claimed to have filmed dead and dying chickens at the southern Tasmanian egg producer Pitt Poultry.
Representatives of the group presented the Minister David Llewellyn with a statutory declaration yesterday backing the claim, which has been queried by the egg industry.
Spokeswoman Emma Haswell says Against Animal Cruelty received a sympathetic hearing during the 90-minute meeting.
Full story:
www.abc.net.au

(AU) Battery-hen ban bid (11/03/08)

A bill to ban battery-hen farming in Tasmania will be tabled in Parliament today.
The Tasmanian Greens want farmers to be penalised with fines of up to $50,000 or a year's jail if they breach the proposed legislation.
But they also propose financial assistance for producers to move out of the practice.
The likelihood of winning support from the Labor and Liberal parties is slim given the failure of a similar Bill tabled by the Greens in 2000.
Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn has previously supported a national approach, although privately favouring free-range farming.
Full story:
www.news.com.au 

(UK) Give it up, guys (01/03/08)

Campaigning against battery-farming is all very well. But better by far not to eat chicken at all
...
The truth can no longer be dodged. Livestock farming gobbles up agricultural land, water and energy that could far more efficiently be devoted to growing food for people to eat directly. Meat, therefore, is a rich person's food and those who consume it - whether in India, Denmark or England - cause malnourishment and death among the world's poorest people.
When Animal Aid launched the first Veggie Month 15 years ago (the 2008 celebration begins March 1), hard evidence as to the impact of meat-eating on the lives of impoverished people was mainly confined to arcane journals. Today, the evidence showers down upon us like hailstones. Do we put up our umbrellas and disregard the signs or do we change direction?
The most recent storm warning was published in the Guardian this week. The UN's World Food Programme said that the rising price of grain means it no longer has enough money to keep global malnourishment at bay this year. Millions more people face starvation. Rising commodity prices have already caused food riots in Morocco, Yemen, Mexico, Senegal and elsewhere.
...
World hunger, climate change, animal disease epidemics and animal suffering are all reasons to abandon the meat habit. For those who do so, the news with respect to human health is encouraging: vegetarians are less likely to suffer from various cancers, or from diabetes, heart disease and obesity. They have a longer life expectancy.
Long ago, Morrissey proclaimed: "Meat is Murder". He had in mind the non-human victims of animal farming. Today, meat is killing large numbers of people too.
Full story:
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk

(US) Who Drank The Milk From Hallmark/Westland Cows? (29/02/08)

The Humane Society's recent slaughterhouse expose (www.hsus.org) which led to the biggest beef recall in US history was an ethical and hygienic shock to the public.
We're eating WHAT people asked.
But the downer cows viewers saw jabbed in the eyes with herding paddles and forklifted to slaughter were products of the US dairy industry not US beef industry.
An industry so efficient it chews up and spits out cows looking like they do in the video in three to four years.
Especially because from 17% to 33% of the industry still uses Monsanto's rBST.
rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) also called rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) was one of the first genetically modified substances approved for US consumption and intended to make dairies more profitable by increasing milk production of individual cow "units."
...
And Monsanto still bills its product as good for farmers -- and even the environment.
"The use of supplemental rBST allows dairy farmers to produce more milk with fewer cows, thereby providing dairy farmers with additional economic security as well as providing related environmental benefits," it says.
But national "omnivore" Michael Pollan says that's cow manure.
"The milk should all come from one Huge Giant Cow," he says if you extend the logic that super efficient cows are better. "That's the argument used for industrial agriculture all the time. And genetically modified food -- that maximizing productivity is the best use of resources."
Nor is rBST humane says Pollan. "It leads to a mode of production in which the animals get burnt out very quickly. It's a brutal way to treat animals and to do business."
And how much do rBST farmers make turning cows into the depleted downers seen in the Humane Society video?
An additional $100 a year per cow "unit" says one estimate.
Full story:
www.scoop.co.nz

(UK) Shoppers care more about animals than climate (04/02/08)

Animal welfare and fair trade are far bigger concerns to UK consumers than climate change, according to a huge new poll of UK shoppers. Only 4% rate climate change as their top ethical priority, compared with 21% who think animal welfare is the most important issue and 14% who rate fair trade as their key concern.
The findings come from a survey conducted by the Co-op grocery business that has been used to draw up a "responsible retailing" policy, designed to reflect shoppers' concerns. The Co-op claims the survey is the biggest poll of consumer ethics ever undertaken. The supermarket group analysed responses to a detailed, four-page questionnaire from more than 100,000 members and customers. It intends to use their responses to guide changes to the way it does business.
As a result of the survey the Co-op is halting the sale and use of eggs from caged hens with immediate effect. The 2,700-strong supermarket chain is also ensuring all its own-brand tea - including its 99 brand - becomes fair trade. The customer-owned grocery business, which made all of its coffee fair trade five years ago, intends to absorb the extra costs so that prices do not go up. 
Full story:
http://tinyurl.com

(AU) Animal cruelty laws lack punch (26/01/08)

Australians like to think of themselves as compassionate people who look after the welfare of animals. We hailed Steve Irwin as a national hero, expressed outrage when thousands of exported sheep died from dehydration and heat exhaustion aboard the Cormo Express, and reacted with horror at news of underground animal fight clubs in Victoria.
But few Australians realise that legally sanctioned acts of cruelty to animals happen every day. Annually, 420 million meat chickens are kept confined in sheds before slaughter - at 23 chickens per square metre. Many chickens endure unnaturally rapid growth, bone deformities, fractures, hip dislocations and diseases due to selective breeding and high-growth feed.
Every year, 11 million egg-laying hens are kept in wire cages, where they are unable to spread their wings or perform natural behaviours. Chicks have most of their beaks cut off to stop them pecking each other.
And 350,000 mother pigs are kept in individual sow stalls and farrowing crates, where they cannot turn around or take more than one step forward or back. As a result, they suffer lameness, foot injuries, lesions and weakened bones, as well as considerable mental distress.
The situation described above is permitted by section 6(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 Victoria, and its state and territory equivalents, which exclude "production" animals (the vast majority of animals in Australia) from the legislation's protection.
If production industries follow a code of practice for their particular animal, they are exempted from prosecution for cruelty, despite the fact the codes are barely enforced, or allow very cruel practices.
As a result, millions of factory-farmed animals daily endure conditions that would be illegal if they involved a companion animal such as a cat or dog.
As Katrina Sharman, corporate counsel for animal advocacy group Voiceless, says: "Most never see the light of day, feel the earth beneath their feet, walk freely, stretch their wings or limbs, forage for food or engage in normal socialisation."
Even the scant legislative protection we do offer animals is inadequately enforced.
Full story:
http://business.theage.com.au

(US) Chefs' new goal: Looking dinner in the eye (16/01/08)   (very interesting article)

Last Friday, in front of 4 million television viewers and a studio audience, the chef Jamie Oliver killed a chicken. Having recently obtained a United Kingdom slaughterman's license, Mr. Oliver staged a "gala dinner," in fact a kind of avian snuff film, to awaken British consumers to the high costs of cheap chicken.
"A chicken is a living thing, an animal with a life cycle, and we shouldn't expect it will cost less than a pint of beer in a pub," he said Monday in an interview.
"It only costs a bit more to give a chicken a natural life and a reasonably pleasant death," he told the champagne-sipping audience before he stunned the chicken, cut an artery inside its throat, and 
let it bleed to death, all in accordance with British standards for humane slaughter.
Mr. Oliver said that he wanted people to confront the reality that eating any kind of meat involves killing an animal, even if it is done with a minimum of pain.
How far will chefs go to display their empathy and respect for the animals they cook? All the way, it seems, to the barnyard and the slaughterhouse.
...
A very few American chefs, including John Besh of August in New Orleans and Dan Barber of Blue Hill in New York, have managed to raise animals for their own tables and oversee their slaughter. For 
most chefs, this level of intimacy with animals is unimaginable. "For years, all I saw in kitchens was Cryovac steaks, chops, never anything to remind you that this was once an animal," said Mr. 
McManus.
Full story:
www.nytimes.com

(IN) Sensitising children towards animals (12/01/08)

"Children are naturally compassionate and sensitive. They are going to be around much longer than most of us. If they are convinced about the need to protect animals and love them, they can make the world a better place for every one," says Ingrid E. Newkirk, president and co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Newkirk authored a book '50 Easy Ways Kids can Save Animals' to get children sensitised to the inhuman treatment meted out to them and turn their compassion into action. She participated in the
book-reading session for children at Crossword, a bookstore at City Centre in Banjara Hills, on Friday. Lending support to PETA and the cause of animals is noted animal welfare activist and Blue Cross founder Amala Akkineni.
...
Talking to children helps. They listen and take the message to others. "I also appeal to the children that if they love animals, they should not eat them and whether they would consider being vegetarians," some indeed turn vegetarian, " Amala said.
Full story:
www.hindu.com

(UK) Why can't James just tell us to eat less meat? (12/01/08)

Quote: According to the ethical farming champions, we should all spend more for better-cared-for animals. Yet isn't the answer to encourage us to eat fewer of these foul fowl in the first place? Which saintly chef is going to do that? Or are they all too chicken?
Full story:
www.dailymail.co.uk

(UK) Inside the battery chicken sheds (09/01/08)

A concerted campaign to raise the standards of chicken production has been launched by celebrity chefs, the RSPCA and the animal rights group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF).
They're trying to persuade shoppers that intensively-reared chicken meat and eggs affect animal welfare, and must be changed.
Broiler chickens are birds that have been selectively bred and reared for their meat rather than eggs.
The industry began in the late 1950s. About 75% of the world's food animals are broiler chickens and some 200 billion are produced annually - 800 million of them in the UK.
Full story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk

(AT) EU confirms 2012 date for ban on raising hens in small battery cages (08/01/08)

Brussels - A European Union-wide ban on keeping laying hens in small battery cages will come into force as planned in 2012, the European Commission said Tuesday.
The commission pointed to a new report showing the ban will benefit animal welfare benefits without significantly harming farmers' incomes.
"There is scientific and economic support for the ban on conventional battery cages," said EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou. "We are maintaining the deadline of 2012."
EU nations agreed in 1999 to phase out the cages by Jan. 1, 2012, after lengthy campaign by animal rights groups who claimed that farming hens in small cages was cruel.
Full story:
www.pr-inside.com

(UK) UK film reveals the true cost of cheap chicken (04/01/08)

A covertly filmed video of factory-farmed chickens struggling to walk and enduring distressing and unnatural conditions is set to ignite a growing campaign to improve the lives of Britain's 800 million "broiler" chickens. The animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) shot the film at a farm which supplies meat to the country's leading supermarkets to illustrate the grim life inside chicken "coops" designed for 25,000 to 50,000 birds. The RSPCA called on supermarkets to stop selling mass-produced standard chickens, whose lives are short, featureless and often racked with pain.
Full story:
www.independent.co.uk

(US) I Think; Therefore, I Don't Eat Meat (03/01/08)

Do you believe animal cruelty is wrong? Chances are you do, if you're like 96 percent of people living in the United States. And if you're like an estimated 97 percent of this same population, you also eat animals. Deep down, you may feel uneasy about this, especially when confronted by the abundance of evidence demonstrating that consuming animal flesh is bad for human health, is bad for the environment and is especially bad for the billions of animals raised and killed every year for food. In fact, you may feel downright conflicted.
Psychologists call this feeling "cognitive dissonance," which is defined as the discomfort we experience when holding two incompatible thoughts (cognitions) at the same time. For example, millions of people smoke tobacco in this country, despite knowing that smoking is bad for them.
Activists in the animal-rights movement frequently discuss cognitive dissonance, musing about people who insist they love animals yet eat pigs, cows, chickens, fish, turkeys and sheep as if these beings
somehow don't qualify as animals. We even wonder what could be going on with animal shelters and humane societies that offer meat at fundraisers. They serve hot dogs at dog walks (cute, huh?), sausage at their pancake breakfasts and corpses of all kinds at their annual dinners (well, perhaps no dogs or cats are on the menu). If these "animal advocates" cannot make the connection - if they can't see they are supporting the very abuse they claim to be fighting - what hope is there for the rest of the world?
...
The good news is we can all do something right now to improve the lives of animals, as well as help the planet and benefit our health. All we need to do is keep meat, eggs and dairy products off our
plates. Yes, that requires we have an open mind and rethink some personal choices. It may mean facing the state of tension that characterizes cognitive dissonance. But before you cut into your next animal-based meal, I challenge you to "meet your meat" at www.meat.org and then ask yourself if your taste for flesh outweighs the terror a cow feels as she's led to slaughter. Fortunately, it has never been easier to eat delicious, nutritious plant-based foods.
Full story:
www.opednews.com

FOOD & PRODUCTS

(AU) Call to alter labels for animals' sake (04/03/08)

Food labels should be overhauled to include information on the treatment of animals, says [Australia's] chief law reform commissioner, David Weisbrot, who believes a push for animal rights could be the next great progressive movement in Australia. Professor Weisbrot said labelling laws have not kept up with demand for organic and free-range products and could include a "trustmark" logo to show animals had been treated ethically... Professor Weisbrot told the Herald consumers were likely to begin pushing for environmental labelling and governments should consider law reform in the area.
Full story:
www.smh.com.au

THE ENVIRONMENT

(TW) The growing taste for meat is proving costly to the environment (11/12/08)

Meliton Ramirez grew up surrounded by the Interior Atlantic Forest, listening to the sound of bare-throated bellbirds and saffron toucanets.
Before the advent of commercial farming, the forest covered 85 per cent of eastern Paraguay. Now, with roughly 12 per cent of it still standing, silence fills the air. It is a story that starts on the dinner tables of rich nations, where a global hunger for meat and dairy products is fueling an ever-rising demand for the industrial farming of animals that depend on high-protein feed [like soya]. Millions of hectares of intensively cultivated soya plants are fueling the destruction of tropical forests and savannah - displacing farmers and communities, leading to poverty, ill health and even violence, ruining habitats and exacerbating global warming.
Full story:
www.taipeitimes.com

(ZA) Animal farm emissions (07/12/08)

Here is a real farting conundrum. Trillions of farm animals around the world are generating 18 percent of the emissions responsible for global warming, more than cars, buses and aeroplanes. These animals are being bred to feed the ever-growing number of carnivores in the world. As the world population has grown and become richer, more meat is eaten - by 37 percent in the last decade.
This week, and last, 187 environmental ministers have gathered from all over the world in Poland to discuss what to do about animal emissions. It's 'an area that's been largely overlooked' says Dr Rajeendra Pachauri, head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Some of the discussion will be about how to reduce meat consumption.
Methods to trap methane emissions usefully will be presented. Since many of these animals feed from pastures where rain forests once grew, more efficient ways of feeding them will be suggested. The world cannot cope with the double whammy of more farts and fewer carbon absorbing trees.
Full story:
http://blogs.thetimes.co.za

(AU) Eating greens 'makes you greener' (22/09/08)

Vegetarians save 20 per cent at the checkout and have sixfold lower greenhouse gas emissions than carnivores, a new study shows.
Research comparing diets heavy, light and free of meat has found that vegetarianism is cheaper, healthier and easier on the environment.
But dieticians urge caution with the study, produced by the manufacturer Sanitarium, which is owned by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, saying going meat-free is not necessarily better.
The findings show it costs $508 a week to feed four adults on a traditional meat diet. A reduced meat diet costs $418 a week, while a vegetarian diet costs $394.
"A massive 20 per cent reduction in costs can be achieved by maintaining the vegetarian diet," the company said in a statement.
The analysis also showed the plant-based diet used 50 per cent less water, led to 12 times less land being cleared and had six times lower greenhouse gas emissions than a meat rich diet similar to the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.
It also contained almost 50 per cent lower saturated fat and 25 per cent more fibre and folate.
"The findings will shock most Australians and should cause a rethink about what we eat every day," Sanitarium said.
Full story:
www.theaustralian.news.com.au

(UK) Is our taste for Sunday roast killing the planet? (07/09/08)

Your Sunday roast stands accused. According to the United Nation's chief climate expert, Rajendra Pachauri, that tasty piece of top rump resting on your dining table is the source of many of the world's environmental woes, in particular those involved in the dangerous warming of the planet's climate. 
Our appetite for animal flesh is boosting fertiliser production, pollution and emission of greenhouse gases to dangerous levels, Pachauri has told The Observer. Give up meat - at least for one day a week - and we can help to save the Earth, he added.
Nor is Pachauri, the chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, alone in his complaints. A host of campaigners have united to condemn meat-eaters for bringing environmental mayhem to the world. 'The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilisation of communities and the spread of disease,' the Worldwatch Institute has warned.
...
'The average meat eater in the US produces about 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide more than a vegetarian every year. That's because animals are hungry and the grain they eat takes energy, usually fossil fuels, to produce,' he says.
...
On top of these ecological headaches, there is the issue of rainforest clearance. Despite all efforts to halt their destruction, rainforests are still being cut down at an alarming rate. Every year, 32 million acres - an area the size of England - is destroyed or degraded. Some of this land is used to provide pasture for cows. Other areas are given over to fields for the growing of soya beans which are then used to feed cows.
Full story:
www.guardian.co.uk
Related story:
http://news.bbc.co.uk

(TW) One million vow to reduce carbon by being vegetarian (06/04/08)

More than one million people in Taiwan have pledged to help cut carbon emissions by being a vegetarian. Taiwan's population is about 23 million, and the one million vegetarians would reduce at least 1.5 million tons of carbon emissions in Taiwan in one year.
The Union of NoMeatNoHeat made the announcement during its anti-global warming drive. Many prominent politicians, such as the legislative speaker, the environment minister, and Taipei and Kaohsiung Mayors all pledged to become vegetarians.
Full story:
http://english.rti.org.tw

(US) Boycott called for soybeans coming from the deforested Amazon region of Brazil (14/02/08)

The greatest emerging threat to Amazon rainforests and communities is industrial soy plantations. Huge mechanized, soy monocultures destroy tropical ecosystems, accelerate climate change and cause human rights abuses primarily to produce agrofuel and livestock feed. The soya industry wipes out biodiversity, destroys soil fertility, pollutes freshwater and displaces communities. Soybean production expands the agricultural frontier not only through fire and deforestation to clear ancient rainforests, but more importantly by pushing cattle ranches and displacing forest peoples further into natural rainforest ecosystems.
Full story:
www.enn.com

(AU) Here's the beef: meat-eating days may be numbered (04/02/08)

A sea change in the consumption of a resource that Americans take for granted may be in store — something cheap, plentiful, widely enjoyed and a part of daily life. And it isn't oil.
It's meat.
Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations.
These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swathes of the world's tropical rainforests.
The world's total meat supply was 71 million tonnes in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tonnes. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) World meat consumption is expected to double again by 2050.
Americans eat about the same amount of meat as they have for some time, about 230 grams a day, roughly twice the global average. At about 5% of the world's population, Americans "process" (that is, grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than 15% of the world's total.
An estimated 30% of the earth's ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world's greenhouse gases — more than transportation.
A study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that one kilogram of beef was responsible for an amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to that emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres.
Full story:
www.theage.com.au

(US) Eat less meat. Even carnivores are doing it (29/01/08)

When Mark Bittman publishes a 2,000-word piece in The New York Times that puts meat consumption on a par with peak oil, it's a sign that the zeitgeist has migrated sideways a couple degrees. In the article, the (meat-eating) author of the recent, massive recipe-book "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" tears into feedlots, manure, and over-consumption.
As Bittman points out, in 1961, the world's total meat supply was 71 million tons; today, with help from our "improved" feedlot technologies, we're producing 284 million tons of meat. Livestock production creates more than 20 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, even more than transportation (also a necessary component of livestock production).
American grain-fed beef requires ten times more grain to produce equal calories as people would glean from eating the grain itself. Then there's the waste management problem—Iowa's hog farms alone are responsible for more than fifty million tons of excrement annually. We have them and the other confined animal feeding operations in the US to thank for nearly three-quarters of our water-quality problems.
"Factory farming is 'optimal' only as long as degrading waterways is free," Bittman quotes a geophysicist as stating. "If dumping this stuff becomes costly, the entire structure of food production will change dramatically."
...
Our animals are bursting with hormones and antibiotics. When we eat the meat from these animals, we gorge on hormones and antibiotics, too. Now, we have not only man-boobs, but super-strength E. coli. It's enough to interest even the most carnivorous amongst us in vegetables.
Full story:
www.plentymag.com

(US) Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler (27/01/08)

A sea change in the consumption of a resource that Americans take for granted may be in store - something cheap, plentiful, widely enjoyed and a part of daily life. And it isn't oil.
It's meat.
The two commodities share a great deal: Like oil, meat is subsidized by the federal government. Like oil, meat is subject to accelerating demand as nations become wealthier, and this, in turn, sends prices higher. Finally - like oil - meat is something people are encouraged to consume less of, as the toll exacted by industrial production increases, and becomes increasingly visible.Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to 
the destruction of vast swaths of the world's tropical rain forests....
Growing meat (it's hard to use the word "raising" when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it's a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth's ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world's greenhouse gases - more than transportation.
Full story:
www.nytimes.com

MISCELLANEOUS

(IT) [Press Release] More hunger in the world calls for more ethical living (17/12/08)

For people with compassion and a sense of responsibility the FAO warning that another '40 million people have been pushed into hunger this year' came as a shock. 
How could that happen given that our international leaders are so committed to universal values: In December 2008, the UN celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, and also a "UN Climate Change Conference" took place in Poland. Only in September 2008, world leaders discussed the Millennium Development Goals with the aim of reversing "the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people". Last year the World Food Programme (WFP) gave assistance to 86.1 million people in 80 countries.
Yet the world hunger problem is exploding. Almost one billion people are now affected, even though the veg protein given to the beef herd alone would feed them all, and many more.
A grim scenario
Without a radical change of course, the future is looking dark: The FAO expects that the demand for feed will double by 2050 because of growing meat and dairy consumption, WWF warns that "two planets" would be required to sustain current lifestyles within a generation", and only very few countries do remain within their "biocapacity". 
So there will be more suffering if we don't stop living beyond our means. Even a new kind of colonialism may develop when affluent countries satisfy their meat and biofuel needs by buying up and exploiting poor far-away regions, pushing local populations into poverty and starvation and polluting their soil, water and air.
Complete press release:
www.evana.org

(AU) Who needs meat? (02/12/08)

The sophisticated vegetarian palate no longer needs to miss out, writes Nikki Fisher.
WHEN trainee book editor Jane Winning first stopped eating meat eight years ago, she was motivated by a concern for animals and the way they died. Today it is a way of life for Winning, a keen cook who lives in Melbourne's inner north and shops for fresh produce regularly at Footscray and Preston markets.
More recently, she has become aware of the toll that meat consumption takes on the environment. She says that after being a vegetarian for a couple of years, she discovered the work of Australian ethicist Peter Singer, who wrote the influential book Animal Liberation and later co-wrote The Ethics of What We Eat.
"After reading this book, I felt even stronger in my conviction to not eat meat, knowing that by doing so I was greatly reducing my CO2 emissions (less land-clearing for cattle), reducing the amount of pollution going into waterways through animal waste, reducing the amount of water required to produce my food (many animal farms use lots of water) and not contributing to the degradation of our oceans through harmful fishing practices," she says.
Winning typifies a growing awareness of how our food choices have a global impact. Coupled with the health benefits of reducing meat consumption, it is changing perceptions of vegetarian cuisine and who eats it. The mung-bean-munching whiff of hippiedom has gone; today's vegetarians match pinot gris with terrine of baby heritage tomatoes and sage and goat's cheese mousse. And they satisfy their consciences to boot.
Restaurateurs have changed their attitudes too. Meat-free dining has even become, dare we say, alluring.
Full story:
www.theage.com.au

(US) The Protein Pyramid (10/11/08)

Per capita meat consumption more than doubled over the past half-century as the global economy expanded. It is expected to double again by 2050. Which raises the question, what does all that meat eat before it becomes meat?
Increasingly the answer is very small fish harvested from the ocean and ground into meal and pressed into oil. According to a new report by scientists from the University of British Columbia and financed by the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, 37 percent by weight of all the fish taken from the ocean is forage fish: small fish like sardines and menhaden. Nearly half of that is fed to farmed fish; most of the rest is fed to pigs and poultry.
The problem is that forage fish are the feedstock of marine mammals and birds and larger species of fish. In other words, farmed fish, pigs and poultry - and the humans who eat them - are competing for food directly with aquatic species that depend on those forage fish for their existence. It’s as if humans were swimming in schools in the ocean out-eating every other species.
The case is worse than that. When it comes to farmed fish, there is a net protein loss: it takes three pounds of fish feed to produce one pound of farmed salmon. This protein pyramid - small fish fed to farmed fish, pigs and poultry that are then fed to humans - is unsustainable. It threatens the foundation of oceanic life.
The report’s authors suggest that it would be better if humans ate these small fish, as many cultures once did, instead of using them as feed. That is one way of addressing the problem of net protein loss. The real answers are support for sustainable agriculture in the developing world and encouraging healthy, less meat-based eating habits as a true sign of affluence everywhere.
Full story:
www.nytimes.com

(UK) Dog Owners Swap Bones for Broccoli (06/11/08)

London - The latest report from insurance provider LV= has shown that health concerns have led to a surge in pet owners changing their pets' diets and swapping meat for vegetables and fruit.
40% of pet owners now feed their pets up to three portions of fruit and veg a day and according to the new research by pet insurer LV= there are now more than 145,000 cats and dogs in the UK on a vegetarian diet.
In turning their animals vegetarian, these pet owners are following celebrity dog-owners such as Alicia Silverstone and Paul McCartney who feed their dogs a vegan and vegetarian diet respectively.
One of the main reasons for the trend in vegetable heavy diets is the perceived health benefit, with 42% of pet owners who have increased the number of vegetables in their pets' diet saying they have done so to improve the health of their animal.
Full story:
www.24-7pressrelease.com

(US) Humane Society asks the church: Where's your humanity? (18/10/08)

The Humane Society of the United States released a film called Eating Mercifully as part of its new "All Creatures Great and Small" campaign. In the film, Dale and Elaine West share how their Christian faith led them to give up their meat consumption. The couple lives on a farm that has been turned into an animal sanctuary. The film examines Christian perspectives on factory farming. Some of those featured in the film call for humane treatment of farm animals and some, like the Wests, advocate not eating animals at all. Eating Mercifully is part of the Human Society's Animals and Religion program, which started a year and a half ago, said Christine Gutleben, spokeswoman for the society. The emphasis of this new campaign is to encourage religious people to promote the good stewardship of animals, Gutleben said.
Full story:
www.jacksonsun.com

(US) Feast or famine: Meat production and world hunger (09/08/08)

[A] report released July 29 from the Center for Strategic and International Studies [recommends] urgent action for long-term relief [of] the global food crisis. . . Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, DC, states it succinctly: "People go hungry because much of arable land is used to grow feed grain for animals rather than people." He offers as one example the Ethiopian famine of 1984, which was fueled by the meat industry. "While people starved, Ethiopia was growing linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rapeseed meal for European livestock," he says."Millions of acres of land in the developing world are used for this purpose. Tragically, 80 per cent of the world's hungry children live in countries with food surpluses which are fed to animals for consumption by the affluent... We are long overdue for a global discussion on how to promote a diversified, high-protein, vegetarian diet for the human race," says Rifkin, whose book Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture addresses the moral paradoxes of eating meat. Are those steaks and cheeseburgers really worth all the lives they take - human and non-human?
Full story:
www.opednews.com

(US) What Will We Eat in a Hungrier World? (24/07/08)

The world's appetite is growing, and the global larder is suddenly looking bare. The oceans are all but fished out. New arable land is scarce. People now compete with ethanol-slurping cars for corn. And the population will hit 9 billion by 2050, 2.5 billion more than now.
No wonder food costs are soaring.
At the same time, meat eating is more popular than ever, with newly affluent people in China and India chowing down on pork, beef, and chicken. Yet the factory-farming practices that feed that global appetite are increasingly criticized for generating vast amounts of greenhouse gases and toxic waste, and for being inhumane. And despite centuries of breeding, animals remain woefully inefficient at converting feed into meat: The ratio of plant protein in for meat protein out varies from 4 to 1 for chicken up to 20 to 1 for feedlot beef. Given all the problems with ani-mal husbandry, maybe it's time
to put Bossie out to pasture and grow animal-free flesh. Welcome to the future of in vitro meat.
...
It would make sense, of course, for the whole world to become vegetarian: A plant-based diet is more healthful, more economical, and more environmentally benign. (Cows are major contributors to global warming because they generate methane.) But it has proved to be a difficult sell in a world of committed omnivores. "It's hard to convince 6 billion people to be vegetarian forever," says Matheny. Although about one third of the people in India eat no meat, only about 3 percent of Americans are vegetarians, according to a 2008 Harris Interactive survey for Vegetarian Times. Meat, it seems, will remain on the menu.
...
Even if lab-grown meat can soon be grown in abundance, it will still have to taste good. That may prove to be the biggest challenge of all.
Full story:
www.usnews.com

(US) Meat habit is fueling world famine (18/07/08)

Approximately 854 million people do not have enough to eat.
Thirty-three countries are facing food crises, according to the World Bank, and food riots have recently erupted in Egypt, Haiti, Yemen, Malaysia and other poor nations. This is hard for most Americans to comprehend. The closest many of us will ever come to a food riot is when someone cuts in line for more nachos and hot dogs at the baseball-stadium concession stand.
But we need look no further than our own shores to figure out what's causing food crises overseas: While millions of people are starving, a billion more--many of them Americans--are overweight. Our addiction to meat is largely to blame for both problems.
...
It takes 3 1/4 acres of land to produce food for a meat-eater; food for a vegan--someone who eats no animal products, including dairy and eggs--can be produced on just 1/6 acre of land. Vegfam, a U.K.-based charity that funds sustainable plant-food projects, estimates that a 10-acre farm can support 60 people by growing soy, 24 people by growing wheat or 10 people by growing corn--but only two by raising cattle. While some are blaming developing nations like China and India for creating food shortages, Americans should look in the mirror before pointing fingers. According to The New York Times, Americans eat twice as much meat as the average person worldwide.
Full story:
www.opednews.com

(US) Personal values deceive taste buds (18/07/08)

Many heavy meat eaters believe they eat a lot of meat because of the taste. But according to groundbreaking new research the reason that a beef burger tastes better than a veggie burger to some people has more to do with values than actual taste. Authors Michael W. Allen (University of Sydney), Richa Gupta (University of Nashville), and Arnaud Monnier (National Engineer School for Food Industries and Management, France) conducted a series of studies that examined the symbolic meaning of foods and beverages. They found that when it came to tasting meat or soft drinks, what influenced participants was what they thought they had eaten rather than what they actually ate. The authors note that meat has an association with social power, and people who scored high in the authors' Social Po wer Value Endorsement measure believed that a meat-containing item tasted better than a vegetarian alternative, even when both products were actually identical [both veggie!].
Full story;
www.sciencedaily.com

(US) 'End of Food' - It's the system, stupid (22/06/08)

The real culprit [in the global food crisis]? The global food system itself: its inherent vulnerability, lack of democracy and increasingly concentrated power. Sure, droughts and biofuels have affected global supplies, but in Paul Roberts' new book, The End of Food, we hear the "It's the system, stupid" argument. Though its ink was drying before this current crisis hit CNN's news cycle, The End of Food helps us connect the dots. Roberts takes particular aim at factory-farmed meat, with its inherent squandering of abundance: Feedlot cattle, for example, require 20 pounds of grain to make a single pound of beef... Roberts is strongest when he discusses, at the book's end, what we can do. With the industrial food system responsible for as much as on e-third of global greenhouse-gas emissions (and livestock production alone accounting for 18 per cent of emissions), now is not the time for half-measures... And he writes that "if we're to have any chance of meeting future food demand in a sustainable fashion, lowering our meat consumption will be absolutely essential."
Full story:
www.sfgate.com

(US) Ultimate fighter kicks the meat habit (08/05/08)

Ultimate Fighter Mac Danzig has no problem beating up his fellow man in the ring, but draws the line when it comes to animals.
Danzig, who stands 5-9 and weighs 155 pounds, keeps in fabulous shape even though he is on a strict vegetarian diet. Danzig spoke to PETA about his commitment to animal rights.
...
Danzig, who won his most recent fight April 19, says he does not need meat to compete in his sport. "When I decided to go vegan, I was able to make the 155-pound weight class much easier, and I haven't lost an ounce of muscle," he said. "I'm leaner than I used to be, and I have much more energy than I used to."
Full story:
http://outsports.com

(US) Food Riots Begin: Will You Go Vegetarian? (21/04/08)

As food riots break out around the globe, vegetarianism seems like more than a way of being kind to animals. It's about eating as efficiently as possible, so that grains destined for livestock will reach people instead.
A bit of background: I love meat. It's a part of the human biological heritage that I've never managed, or really even tried, to shake... As I grew older and my palate more sophisticated, I learned to appreciate the joys of vegetables and grains and fruits. I ate more of these, and after reading Michael Pollan's "This Steer's Life" tried to make sure that the animals I consumed lived and died as decently as possible. But going non-meat was a non-starter. Even when environmentalists pointed to the extraordinary greenhouse gas burden of global livestock, I put it out of mind.
I'm not sure if I can sustain that willful blindness anymore. In the last month, something largely ignored by the public but long predicted in organizational white papers and academic studies has come to pass: widespread food shortages. Ballooning prices. Outright riots. Neighbor fighting neighbor. Countries scrambling to feed themselves, export partners be damned.
...
Even before this crisis, food experts said the world could not feed itself in coming decades if growing populations in developing countries insisted on a meat-rich western diet. That time may already have arrived - and largely without climate-change induced agricultural disruption. Add droughts and years of failing harvests, and things get seriously scary.
So maybe it's time for taste to take a back seat to conscience. I know that sacrificing meat for veggies won't solve the problem on its own, but it's certainly just as meaningful as using compact fluorescent bulbs or cloth shopping bags, and I do that without hesitation. And it might take a while to reduce my meat consumption to zero, but at the very least I can start cutting back. Starting tonight.
Full story:
http://blog.wired.com

(UK) Is changing our diet the key to resolving the global food crisis? (16/04/08)

People are dying because of the global food shortage, which has sparked a sudden surge in food prices... How does eating meat cause hunger? Because it is a very inefficient way of producing food. It takes 8kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef, and large tracts of forest have been cleared for grazing land that might have been used to grow crops. To maximise food production it is best to be vegan. According to Simon Fairlie, in his magazine The Land, it would take just 3 million hectares of arable land to meet Britain's food needs, half the current total, if the population were vegan... So what diet should we be aiming for? One that does not eschew meat alt ogether - if that seems too difficult - but that puts more emphasis on the vegetarian elements. In many countries meat is regarded as a relish, with the bulk of the meal coming from carbohydrates - corn, rice, pasta or potatoes - and vegetables. We should get used to thinking of meat as a treat - it could help to save the world's poor from starvation. 
Full story:
www.independent.co.uk

(UK) Credit crunch? The real crisis is global hunger. And if you care, eat less meat (15/04/08)

Quote: The only reasonable answer to the question of how much meat we should eat is as little as possible. Let's reserve it - as most societies have done until recently - for special occasions. For both environmental and humanitarian reasons, beef is out. Pigs and chickens feed more efficiently, but... you encounter another ethical issue: the monstrous conditions in which they are kept.
Full story:
www.guardian.co.uk

(US) Grains gone wild - world food crisis (07/04/08)

These days you hear a lot about the world financial crisis. But there's another world crisis under way - and it's hurting a lot more people. I'm talking about the food crisis. Over the past few years the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled, with much of the increase taking place just in the last few months. High food prices dismay even relatively well-off Americans - but they're truly devastating in poor countries, where food often accounts for more than half a family's spending. There have already been food riots around the world. How did this happen? The answer is a combination of long-term trends, bad luck - and bad policy. First, there's the march of the meat-eating Chinese - that is, the growing num ber of people in emerging economies who are, for the first time, rich enough to start eating like Westerners. Since it takes about 700 calories' worth of animal feed to produce a 100-calorie piece of beef, this change in diet increases the overall demand for grains.
Full story:
www.nytimes.com

(UK) Increasing demand for meat contributes to world hunger and high prices (26/02/08)

A record was set on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange [recently], when U.S. spring wheat surged above $20 a bushel. Interest in such news would not normally reach beyond the ranches of the mid-western prairies. But it is only the latest sign that the long era of cheap food is finally over. It arrives at the end of a month when the implications have started to be felt around the world... Demand, not supply, is the motor of the current food inflation. A growing taste for meat and dairy in newly prosperous parts of the world is one important factor. When it takes 10 kilos of feed to make one of beef, farming animals swallows land that might otherwise be feeding people. But the new middle classes of Beijing and Shanghai will not easily be persuaded that eating meat is a bad idea, especially if the persuasion comes from western countries that are far from vegan.
Full story:
www.guardian.co.uk

 
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