Friday, February 11


This is quite a damning development for animal protein in this month's American Journal of Epidemiology: "Older women who eat a relatively large amount of protein from red meat or dairy products may have an elevated risk of dying from heart disease, the results of a large study suggest." Yep, pretty large - almost 30,000 postmenopausal women, and note that the difference wasn't in the amount of protein but where it comes from. "Those who reported the highest intake of protein from red meat and dairy products had a roughly 40 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease over the next 15 years compared with women with the lowest intake of these foods." It's spelled out even more clearly after the article suggests minimizing red meat and dairy and opting for, say, chicken or fish: "Better still, perhaps, would be vegetable protein sources, such as beans, nuts, tofu and peanut butter; the study found that women with the highest intakes of these foods had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease death than women with the lowest intakes." And in case you didn't get the "low-carb" connection, they spell that out too: "The findings, say researchers, call into question the long-term safety of high-protein diets -- at least the ones that don't distinguish the protein in steak and cream from that in tofu and nuts." The article also notes that "a woman who opts for two servings of red meat every day instead of a similar number of calories from carbs would have a 44 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease over the next 15 years. A similar pattern emerged when the researchers looked at dairy foods, including milk, cream, ice cream, yogurt and cheese."

Meat and Milk: Heart disease central. Could it be any clearer?

Thursday, February 10


Oh, this'll be good. Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines is proposing a three million dollar exhibit of farm animals to "teach about modern agriculture, including animal welfare practices and high-tech birthing and breeding techniques." Supposedly "the farm zoo will tell visitors how and why farm animals were domesticated, what they eat and why they are raised the way they are." The guy that answers that last question has the easiest job: He just stands there and every five seconds or so and says: "Greed."

Wednesday, February 9


Aside from the main point of this story - Sonoma Saveurs closing - the verbal gymnastics required to deny the reality of animal activists having an impact on foie gras consumption is entertaining in this article. "In the end, Sonoma Saveurs, the controversial foie gras emporium and restaurant that drew the ire of animal rights activists and was targeted by vandals, didn't close last week because of any organized boycott. The reason was purely economic -- slow business." Whether or not there existed an "organized boycott," the effect is the same as what was achieved: Slowing the business, making the place close. Good riddance.

Tuesday, February 8


It's no news to most of us that in addition to being hellish sanctums of death, America's slaughterhouses are exploiting immigrant labor. But now there's an official GAO report (PDF), and the International Herald Tribune introduces it with a bit of refreshing candor: "Most Americans do not want to know how the meat they eat is produced, if only so they can continue to eat it. Nearly every aspect of meat production in America is disturbing, from the way animals are raised, to inadequate inspection of the final product. When it comes to what happens in the slaughterhouse, most consumers mentally avert their eyes." Exactly. It's the fact that we are, as a whole, prissy scaredy-cats unwilling to confront what's going on there that allows animals, human and non-human, to be abused without limit.

The report finds that "some major players in the American meat industry prey upon a large population of immigrant workers who are either ignorant of their fundamental rights or are undocumented aliens who are afraid of calling attention to themselves. As a result, those workers often receive little or no compensation for injuries, and any attempt by them to organize is met with hostility." But their constant, institutionalized suffering of human-rights abuses isn't important - not compared to your ability to easily get cheap fast food that you're used to. Keep your priorities straight!

Monday, February 7


That's the same span of time for Japan's first human case of mad cow disease, which authorities last week said was probably contracted in 1989. "The confirmation - which was revealed after the man died of the fatal brain-wasting disease in December - is likely to further alarm a public skittish about food safety," says the AP story. Except that the public barely pays attention to anything, so we'll have to see if this has any effect whatsoever that way. But the fact remains that anyone who thinks they'll be safe from Mad Cow once the USDA and FDA actually start enforcing their new safety procedures is delusional.