Saturday, March 5


A new study says that "basic changes in diet and exercise can lead to a dramatic drop in a person's risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart disease in as little as six weeks." Appearing in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the study "also explains that participants experienced significant reductions in body fat, cholesterol levels and blood pressure as they adopted a diet emphasizing unrefined 'food-as-grown' -- like grains, legumes and fresh fruits and vegetables -- and implemented a 30-minute-a-day cardiovascular exercise program." Really. Food as grown, eh? Guess that rules out meat for all but the hardiest steak tartare fans.

Friday, March 4


A roundup of all those ornery Mad-Cow-related stories currently galumphing across the prairie:

  • U.S. Senate Votes to Block Canada Cattle Imports
    The U.S. Senate voted to overturn a Bush administration plan on Thursday to allow imports of Canadian cattle, the second defeat in two days for the administration's efforts to normalize beef trade roiled by mad cow disease in North America.
  • Does your state have Mad Cow? You may never know.
    Lawmakers across the country are working on ways to keep livestock disease investigations secret until absolutely necessary. Proposals already have passed in Idaho and Wyoming, while lawmakers in Colorado, Maryland and Utah are considering bills this spring.
  • Welsh school deaths linked to mad cow
    Meat contaminated with mad cow disease has been linked to the deaths of three Welsh students who died in the late 1980s.
  • Morocco Says CJD Death Not Linked to Mad Cow
    "He died of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which first appeared in 1922, which has nothing to do with the new variant of CJD that affects humans when they eat meat tainted with BSE," Health Minister Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah told Reuters. Well, it has many things to do with vCJD, actually, and more to the point, it's now been proven that vCJD can look exactly like sporadic. So is this a definitive "no"? Dunno.
  • And BSE may have entered baby food in 70s
    Scientists are to test a hypothesis that young people who have died from the human form of BSE were infected by contaminated baby foods as far back as 1970. Gee, wonder what Lindsay Allen would have to say about that?

  • Thursday, March 3


    Even if you don't give a rat's posterior about animal or meat issues, you may want to pay attention to this if you are someone who drinks water: "A federal appeals court on Monday agreed with environmentalists that new federal clean-water rules were not protecting the nation's waters from the manure pollution of large farms. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said it agreed with environmentalists who claimed in lawsuits that the rules failed to provide meaningful review of plans developed by the farms to limit the pollution." The article goes on to quote Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who as president of the Waterkeeper Alliance says "these regulations were the product of a conspiracy between a lawless industry and compliant public officials in cahoots to steal the public trust."

    Wednesday, March 2


    ...but it looks like there is something bananas are good for after all. Here's a BBC story on a new alternative to practicing surgery on animals - practicing it on fruit!

    "In medicine, letting teenagers loose on operating theatres and surgical equipment sounds dangerous. But a hospital consultant believes it is worth the risk and invites sixth formers to find out at first hand what it is like to work in the health industry. The closest they get to surgery is stitching up a banana or dissecting an orange - but they get a real insight into life in a busy hospital."

    Tuesday, March 1


    If so, milk is a likely culprit - especially that skim milk that's soooooo very healthful, dontchaknow - according to a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. "Women who reported drinking more than three servings of any type of milk each day were 22 percent more likely to report having had severe acne than those who drank only one or fewer servings daily. Women who drank two or more daily servings of skim milk were 44 percent more likely to report having had severe acne. The abstract of the article notes that "Previous studies suggest possible associations between Western diet and acne" and concludes: "We found a positive association with acne for intake of total milk and skim milk. We hypothesize that the association with milk may be because of the presence of hormones and bioactive molecules in milk."

    Monday, February 28


    "Another Pittsburgh restaurant [dunno what the previous one was in Pittsburgh] has decided to stop selling foie gras after more than a month of weekly protests by an animal rights group. Every week, usually on Friday, about a half-dozen people from Voices for Animals would picket outside Le Pommier for about 45 minutes, said Jeremy Carlisle, part-owner of the French bistro on the South Side." Again, the role of the protesters in affecting the decision must be played down if not discounted entirely. "'It did play a slight factor in our decision,' Carlisle said. But he added that the restaurant was probably going to get rid of the dish anyway. 'We (the three owners) don't necessarily like it ourselves.'" The article also mentions another area restaurant that sounds suspiciously like it whisked the tortured goose off the menu as soon as it was advised that the picketing was about to start. You be the judge.


    Depending on how the credentials of these researchers shake out (from the sketchy reporting - all of it from Australia, BTW - "professor of Animal Welfare" is all I can make out), this could either be a comical little tidbit or the start of a snowball. But two scientists claim that "cows have a complex mental life in which they bear grudges, nurture friendships and become excited by intellectual challenges." These people are prepared to demonstrate that "cows are capable of strong emotions such as pain, fear and even anxiety about the future." The red flag is that "the findings have emerged from studies of farm animals that have found similar traits in pigs, goats and chickens. They suggest such animals may be so emotionally similar to humans that welfare laws need to be reconsidered." Well, yeah, that would be great, but if the actual researchers are saying that, it sounds like they'll be easily dismissed by the mainstream - their experiments were pre-arranged to prove a point, and only the USDA can get away with that.