Thursday, June 3


Oddly, no major newspaper seems to see the connection (as of 10:00 tonight, anyway), but you may recall that just two weeks ago, the Detroit Zoo freed its elephants on ethical grounds, becoming the first zoo in the nation to do so. Today the San Francisco Zoo announced it's sending its two remaining elephants to a sanctuary, get this, ignoring the recommendation of the national organization that accredits it. This is interesting, as the SF Zoo was willing to ship the two elephants (two others died recently, causing the outrage and turmoil that got the zoo here) off to another zoo, but not to the ones that wanted them. So the SF Zoo defied the big boys. "I have a lot of respect for the AZA. This could jeopardize our accreditation," said the director, who has never gone against the organization before. "I'm hoping it doesn't. This is extremely serious." It is, and it may be a harbinger of revolution in clear-eyed zoo management vs. the Olde-Tyme ideals of the institution, as represented by the AZA. If we get another one of these this summer, it's definitely a trend - and a boon for elephants and justice.


Matthew Wiant, chief marketing officer of Atkins Nutritionals, predicts that, of at least 2,000 low-carb products flooding the marketplace now, "I bet 500 won't be on the shelf by the end of the year." Less than that, if this study gets more publicity:  A new study has found that repeatedly losing, then regaining weight - "yo-yo dieting" - may harm a woman's immune system. (Though no men participated in the study, the piece says, the immune systems of male dieters would likely be affected the same way.) So which eating pattern is this? Who's the Yo-Yo behind that lose-weight-gain-weight-lose-weight plan? Hmmmm. Fortunately, we don't have to guess, as ADA spokeswoman Katherine Tallmadge spells it out. "People should avoid popular low-carb and low-fat diets that can produce initial weight loss but rarely work in the long term, Tallmadge said. 'Study after study shows that more moderate restrictions are more likely to last permanently,' Tallmadge said. 'That's why we registered dietitians are urging people not to do the fad diets, and just try small changes that they're more likely to be able to live with - even if the weight loss is slower.'"

An example of this more gradual, stable and permanent weight loss - and in many ways the antithesis of Mr. Yo-Yo's diet - is Weight Watchers, which is being commended for most of its adherents keeping weight off over the long term. Similarly,  a new set of U.S. government dietary guidelines being written by nutrition experts was unveiled on Thursday. The preliminary version of the rules for healthful eating flatly tells Americans to cut consumption of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. The only fat you want to strive for more of, of course, is Omega-3s, and as usual the mainstream dieticians stumble over the fish problem: "the panel noted there should be a general warning about mercury in fish. The government said in March that shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish contain too much mercury to be eaten" by folks with... uh oh... weakened immune systems, still trying to put a happy face on it by greenlighting, for everybody else, "up to 12 ounces (340 grams) a week of seafood lower in mercury." Oh, except that theoretically includes Salmon, which if you're in the Northeast, you'll need to limit it to half a serving a month, federal officials said Thursday, due to dioxin "and other pollutants." Gee, I hope all the fishermen and people who eat Northeast hatchery salmon get this message... The Salmon Mousse, indeed.

Wednesday, June 2


That's what it looks like, even though I'm always a little leery of news coming out of wacked-out New Zealand. Still, it seems to be on the up and up: "In a comparison with the general population, a group of 6647 meat workers was found to have a higher risk of developing all cancers and almost double the risk of getting lung cancer. The risk was increased when workers were exposed to biological material in animal urine, faeces or blood. The new Massey University research, which supports previous international studies that showed an increased risk of leukaemia, lymphoma and cancers of the lung and larynx among butchers and slaughterhouse workers, has alarmed the meat union," the article goes on to say. (Via Vegan Porn.) So that's promoting cancer. Meanwhile, soy has been shown once again to fight cancer: A study of 1,700 women by the Shanghai Cancer Institute suggested the more soya they ate, the lower their chance of developing womb cancer.

Tuesday, June 1


At least, what's being called "animal rights" by the media. More like anti-cruelty welfare measures, but I'll take 'em. The point is that they're all based on a shared ethic, which is at least a step toward applying such ethics consistently. The law "forces farmers to uncage chickens and bars pet owners from clipping their dogs' ears or tails. The law, enacted by a unanimous vote in parliament, outlaws the use of lions and other wild animals in circuses and makes it illegal to restrain dogs with chains, choke collars or 'invisible fence' - devices that administer mild electric shocks." Hear, hear.