Friday, December 17


Once again, animal agriculture manages to threaten children's very lives: "A State Fair petting zoo was the likely source of the E.coli bacteria that gave 15 children a life-threatening kidney ailment earlier this fall, state health officials said Thursday. The final report by investigators with the North Carolina Division of Public Health said North Carolina's largest outbreak of E. coli in three years, involving 108 cases, apparently originated at the Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo exhibition at the October fair. Though most people suffered milder symptoms, including diarrhea, 15 children suffered serious reactions to toxins that collected in their kidneys. The complication can lead to kidney failure and possible death. Four of the 15 children continue to receive dialysis, said Debbie Crane, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services. The report said more than half of the 108 people infected with E. coli were 5 years old or younger; two-thirds were under 18. Most had come into contact with animal manure, Crane said." Uh, yeah. "Most" had. In other words, "all of them" had. "Most" of them could remember and pinpoint exactly how.

Thursday, December 16


Here's one of those interesting cognitive-dissonance things I failed to get when I was a vegetarian, but not vegan: Consuming dairy products is personally paying for the killing of cows. Dairy cows are not only milked dry, but then slaughtered and turned into meat, whether you happen to personally eat that meat or not. And here's a perfect example of how well-appreciated those hard-working cows are: Dairy farmers to slaughter more cows to get prices up. "The National Milk Producers Federation will pay farmers to send nearly 52,000 cows to slaughter over the next couple of months. That will remove 931 million pounds of milk, or 0.55 percent, from the nation's supply, according to the group. This is the second year that the milk group is paying farmers to reduce the amount of milk on the market." Well, at least they're doing it to benefit you, the consumer, so... what's that? Huh? "The dairy reduction effort was one of several factors that helped push milk prices to record highs this year, following 25-year lows the previous year." Oh. OK.

The obligatory contrasting quote comes from Tamiko Thomas, an HSUS animal scientist who says it's a disturbing example of "the callousness of industrialized agriculture," noting the truism that the industry "considers farm animals as expendable." Then there's a priceless rebuttal: "The milk group's Galen disagreed. 'The animals aren't expandable; they're going into the food supply,' he said. 'And they will be used to contribute to the meat supply.'" See? It's not like they're cutting the cows' lives short just to pump up their own profit margin and then throwing them on a landfill or something. Sheesh.


Further evidence of "low-carb" circling the drain: The creator of the South Beach Diet is going to great lengths to distance it from Atkins, saying it's not "low-carb" at all. (And more importantly, emphasizing that it's not "high-fat" like Atkins.) "The South Beach diet is no fad, its creator says, rejecting the notion that his eating plan would fizzle out with the rest of the low-carb craze. 'We are not low carb. We are good carb,' Dr. Arthur Agatston." And failing to "endorse the South Beach diet in its entirety," Marion Nestle adds, "It's pretty mainstream, but not totally. To tell people that they can't eat pasta or potatoes is just silly."

Wednesday, December 15


"A year after the first U.S. case of mad cow disease was reported, Sen. Maria Cantwell says the Food and Drug Administration still has not fulfilled its promise to tighten animal feed rules to help prevent future cases." This is almost non-news, a dog-bites-man story - FDA refusing to take the steps that could conceivably end the threat of further BSE cases - but it's worth pointing out now and again in case anyone lapses into the viewpoint that our government is really serious about food safety.

Tuesday, December 14


At least, they're likely to have better vision as they get older - as long as they're eating (and I think most of us are) a lot of dark, leafy greens like kale. This is according to the December issue of the Journal of Nutrition. "New research provides further evidence that substances in kale, spinach and other green vegetables help protect aging eyes from cataracts. In an experiment, investigators found that human eye cells treated with antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin showed less damage after being exposed to ultraviolet rays, the sunlight ingredient considered a major contributor to cataracts."


The NYT repurposed Hardee's slogan as the headline for its editorial bashing the 1,420-calorie artery-clogging Monster Thickburger, and I'm repurposing it again for this post about how meat can hurt you even if you don't eat it!

Now, we're not talking here about assults with meat by-products (or over meat-eating etiquette) but with meat itself. Tony Carr of Maine managed to seriously burn a store clerk's face with a freshly-microwaved hamburger after getting annoyed by store procedures, and Devlin B. Nelson got so upset about the temperature of a steak-and-cheese sandwich that he threw the sandwich at the manager, then threatened to kill her and blow up the restaurant. (All three new stories via Vegan Porn.)

Is it just me, or does all this overreacting and meat-shoving sound reminiscent of McBeth in the climactic rooftop scene from Scotland, PA? At any rate, it seems like some of these people should try dropping meat for a while and see if that doesn't improve their outlook.

UPDATE 12/17: Another from Vegan Porn: A punk named Ryan Cushing caused a crash that left Victoria Ruvolo in critical condition by heaving a 20-pound turkey through her windshield as the two cars passed each other on a 2-lane highway. Folks, please, we get the point. Meat's dangerous and stupid enough as is, you don't need to gin it up with supplemental violence.

Monday, December 13


Well, it ain't gone yet, of course, but there a couple of interesting stories by the BBC that I just came across, and let's just say that the bobber is wiggling for now: For one thing, environmental experts in the UK have argued for major, even "radical," fishing bans in many area waters to protect threatened species. For instance: "A scientific report by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) said no cod should be caught next year in the North Sea, Irish Sea or off the west coast of Scotland because of depleted stocks." So there's commercial fishing - meanwhile, sport fishermen "could find themselves prosecuted under plans to crack down on animal cruelty, a committee of MPs has warned. Sloppy wording of the draft animal welfare bill could leave anglers facing court even though it was not intended, the environment select committee said." Intended or not, making fishermen think twice about the cruelty inherenet in their "sport" seems like a good idea to me.