Friday, August 6


I'll be taking a looong weekend, so if you need up-to-the-minute meat news in the interim, you can probably count on Vegan Porn for that.

Thursday, August 5


A New York Times article about the apparently increased use of clinical testing of drugs on humans happens to drop this bombshell: "[S]cientists and industry executives, while acknowledging the potential for ethical issues, say that experiments on people are more reliable, because animal tests often fail to accurately predict whether a drug will work on people." Really. Often, you say? Then maybe... could it be... we shouldn't be sacrificing animals to such unreliable research. (via Vegan Porn)


Although it's widely known that consuming large amounts of protein (as in products like, oh, milk) compromises bone strength, and also that most Americans eat way more protein than advised, here's yet another fresh study from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism to confirm the correlation: "In this 2-wk study, decreasing dietary protein from ad libitum to RDA levels decreased net renal acid excretion, calciuria and estimates of bone resorption, suggesting that decreased U.S. protein consumption might reduce bone loss." Leafy greens like kale and collards are a great low-protein source of calcium and they're also rich in other nutrients. Just sayin'.


Two revelations this week point to a wider scope for Mad Cow's impact: First, "Mad cow disease has been detected in two English cows born years after protective safeguards were put in place. The cases raise questions about whether the safeguards, which banned the inclusion of infectious animal parts in cattle feed, were strictly followed. The U.S. government has relied on similar safeguards to protect U.S. herds and consumers." If by "relied on" you mean "gently suggested and then implemented a handful as actual rules while dragging its feet on the others." Second, "Scientists have found evidence suggesting that the human form of mad cow disease might be infecting a wider group of people than seen so far," as some people who have it might not exhibit symptoms on the same timeline as others. "The latest finding means that forecasts need to be radically revised because they were based on the assumption that the disease only affects people with a particular genetic profile found in about 35 percent of Caucasians... In new research, an autopsy found the disease in a person whose genetic signature is shared by about 50 percent of Caucasians." So if I'm reading this right, that means almost half again as many people as previously thought are at risk, no?

Meanwhile, the USDA is changing their Mad-Cow testing announcement system as follows: "Until now, the USDA reported to the public whenever a sample of brain tissue yielded an inconclusive result from a screening test and sent the sample to a USDA lab in Ames, Iowa, for a final round of tests. Under the new protocol, two additional rapid tests would be conducted and only if one of them were inconclusive would the results be announced." This confused me for a while, as it seems intuitive that you'd want to announce the results only if they were conclusive, but in this case "inconclusive" means "in agreement with the initial inconclusive." I know, it's a little confounding, but maybe that's the idea.

UPDATE: Shhhhhhhhhh!! Don't look now, but there's another one of those quietly declared emergencies, this time in Alberta.

Wednesday, August 4


A Carneco meat processing plant in Columbus, Nebraska has recalled 497,000 pounds of beef feared contaminated with E. coli and distributed to Sam's Club stores in 10 states. The three products -- ground sirloin patties, 80 percent lean beef patties and 90 percent lean fresh ground beef -- all were processed at the Nebraska plant June 21 and sent to stores in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin. The processing plant has been the source of two other meat recalls since 1997.


According to a new series of reports derived from an EPA study, there's generally even more mercury in fish than previously reported. And the previous reports were alarming enough. With about 2,500 fish collected from 260 bodies of water nationally, more than half of the fish samples were contaminated above safety limits for women of childbearing age, and more than three-quarters exceeded limits for children under 3 who eat fish twice a week. In some states it's even worse than that - "Almost 90 percent of the fish from Maine lakes that were tested in a federal study contained unsafe levels of mercury." I'm willing to bet you won't have to worry about same in flax seeds.

Tuesday, August 3


This Plain Dealer article once again draws out, almost accidentally, how the disregard of animal interests is bound up with a disregard for both the natural world and fellow human beings. "But the cows in mega-dairies farms with many hundreds of cows never set foot on grass, never feel the sun or rain on their backs. They never leave the confines of their concrete-floored barns until their milk production falters and they are slaughtered for the nation's ground-beef industry." Not coincidentally, it goes on to explain, they produce massive amounts of manure far too concentrated to be anything but toxic to their immediate surroundings.

Monday, August 2


Newsday reports that New York City officials are considering whether to ban the Cole Bros. Circus from its parks after one of its tigers escaped for "a 20-minute stroll in Queens" on Saturday. "They are terrorizing the neighborhood," said Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn), who has been increasingly critical of the Florida-based circus because of an attraction that Kruger and some animal rights activists term animal cruelty: making a cat dive about 50 feet into a pillow held by a trainer. "This [tiger incident] is a wake-up call for the parks department and Mayor Bloomberg not to let them use our public parks," Kruger said. "I don't think they have the capacity to conduct business safely." And for good measure, Newsday gets out in front of the "but think of all the revenue we'll lose!" whine: "The city receives 15 percent of the circus' gross receipts at four city parks, which is as much as $80,000 annually for the city, said Ron Lieberman, parks department's director of revenue and concession. The Cole Bros. contract is one of more than 600 deals the parks department strikes with vendors and dealers every year, which bring the city $63 million annually, he added." Yes, taking a life-saving ethical stance would possibly forfeit a full one-twelfth of one percent of the city's parks department revenue!


"A government study found that though many people say cost prevents them from eating more produce, consumers can get the recommended three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables daily for just 64 cents." So let's not kid ourselves - it's simple laziness, nothing more, that prevents people in this country from eating right.

But this part is kind of odd: "That's a lot of good nutrition for only 64 cents, only 225 calories and less than 1 gram of fat," said the study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "That leaves 88 percent of their food dollar left for the other three food groups." OK, first of all, I'm not sure why a "food dollar" apparently equals US$5.33, but more to the point, WHAT YEAR IS THIS, USDA? The [four] food groups? Did whoever wrote up this report completely sleep through the 1990s or something? Or is it an intentional attempt by the meat-&-dairy-lovers to pretend that meat and dairy are still nutritionally important?