Friday, January 14


I don't have anything to add to this. "The gruesome task of retrieving the bodies of tsunami victims has turned many Thai rescue workers vegetarian, the Matichon newspaper said on Friday. ...Matichon said vegetarian food was all the rage in one nearby village, where a makeshift relief kitchen produced about 1,000 boxes of meatless food a day. The newspaper quoted a survivor as saying that the smell of death had put her off meat."

Thursday, January 13


Hey. That estimate of how many people got bird flu in the 2003 Netherlands outbreak? It was off the mark. Turns out bird flu is thirty times more dangerous than previously suspected.

Before, they reported 69 cases. But a new Dutch investigation shows it was closer to 2,000 people, meaning that this flu is much more contagious than we had understood it to be. "Even more ominous is the finding that person-to-person spread was vastly more efficient than ever before seen with bird flu. Nearly 60 percent of infected poultry workers' household contacts showed signs of infection."

Are those poultry workers lives, in addition to those of the poultry, really so worthless that an impulse buy of crispy fried chicken is more important? Then what about all the lives globally that are being put at risk? When does the obvious correlation become important enough to do act upon?


"People should limit eating liver to once a week and be careful about other sources of vitamin A, say food experts. Too much is toxic and increases the risk of bone fractures, according to advisers to the Food Standards Agency." That's the word from the BBC. So... liver and other sources of vitamin A are dangerous, huh? Well, no. Liver and Vitamin A supplements are. Plant sources, we discover further down in the story, are, in fact, the answer. "Preformed vitamin A, called retinol, is found only in foods of animal origin and is particularly plentiful in liver. Plant foods, such as carrots and spinach, contain compounds that are converted to vitamin A in the body, but it is unlikely that these levels can become toxic."

Vitamin A from plants: Pretty obvious, really, unless you're a Weston Price fanatic.

Wednesday, January 12


Three's a charm for Canada - Canadian officials have found a third animal infected with mad cow disease -- an almost 7-year-old beef cow with no known connection to the other infected cattle, reports the Washington Post. And note that "the cow was born after Canada banned the use of cattle feed that includes animal parts to try to keep the deadly infection from spreading. But officials of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said use of contaminated feed was the most likely source of infection." Gee, how would that work? If the feed was banned, how could... ? Mystifying, huh? And comically, the USDA is still standing firm in its plan to reopen the border to hihg-risk Canadian beef. Wonder how many confirmed Mad Cows would change that decision. Five? Twenty? A thousand?

Tuesday, January 11


I don't highlight each of these stories, but I've noticed they're growing more common, and it's indicatative of a general shift in perception: "Officials in Barren County are working to save the lives of more than 200 cattle today as they gather and move animals from farms owned by Tom Holmes Sr." This is the second time that Holmes has been charged with cruelty to animals relating to the condition of his cattle. What's noteworthy is that farming animals inherently involves cruelty to them, yet food animals have routinely been seen as exempt from concern, at least up to the moment they're killed. More and more, even if on a case-by-case basis, this wall of apathy is being dismantled.

Monday, January 10


A piece in New Scientist tells how rats showed they could distinguish between Dutch and Japanese. "Toro's team trained rats to recognise either Dutch or Japanese - by pressing a lever in response to a short sentence - and then exposed them to sentences they had not heard before, in both languages." Not to belabor the point, but I'm certain there are literally millions of human beings who would be unable to succeed at this task.