VEGETARIAN ACTION NEWSLETTER #20, August 12, 2015.
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.
(#4 Feb. 12, 2014; #5 March 12, 2014; #6 April 9, 2014; #7 May 14, 2014; #8, June 11, 2014; #9 July 9, 2014; #10, August 11, 2014; #11 September 10, 2014; #12 October 8, 2014; #13, November 12, 2014; #14, December 10, 2014; #15, January 14, 2015; #16, Feb. 11, 2015; #17, March 11, 2015; #18, April 8, 2015; #19, June 10, 2015). Thank you Marc.
Wed AUGUST 12 - 6:00 pm @ OMNI
Food-friendly faces with delicious dishes who want to meet you. You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this potluck. You just have to care about the well-being of animals and the planet. Hope to see you!
See: Animal Cruelty, Animal Friendship, Animal Rights, Critical Thinking, Education, Empathy/Compassion, Ecology, Ethics, Gandhi, Global Warming/Causes, Health, St. Francis, Torture, Vegetarianism, Violence, Wars, for starters.
OMNI NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL DAYS PROJECT
October World Vegetarian MONTH. Oct. 16, UN World Food DAY.
Contents #18 and #19 at end
Contents Vegetarian Action #20, August 12, 2015
“By the Pinch and the Pound” by Laura Miller and Emilie Hardman, in Protest on the Page. Tracks the evolution of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks and catalogues the arguments for not eating meat or using animal products. See Bill Lueders, “A Slogan in Every Pot: Cookbooks as Protest Literature.” The Progressive (July-August 2015).
This subject has been and is being thoroughly covered particularly by the corporate food industry, but you might want to read Michael Moss, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.
Rights and Protection of Animals
PETA’s Latest Number of Animal Times
Dick, Center for Human Well-being
Vegan Liberationist Gary Yurofsky, “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear”:
Global Warming, Climate Change
PETA’s Animal Times
BOOKS | BOOKS OF THE TIMES
You Really Can’t Eat Just One, and Here’s the Reason
‘Salt Sugar Fat’ by Michael Moss
By SCOTT MOWBRAYMARCH 17, 2013, The New York Times
Americans eat 33 pounds of cheese and cheese products per year, per person, which is triple the consumption rate of the 1970s. Fans of Humboldt Fog and Cabot Clothbound Cheddar may hope this signals the return of the artisan producer, but Michael Moss gives all credit to mighty Kraft and the other food giants.
“In the hands of food manufacturers, cheese has become an ingredient,” Mr. Moss writes. Thus we have cheese-injected pizza crusts and cheese-draped frozen entrees, cheesy chips and cheezy crackers. Cheese and its processed derivatives were deployed across a gazillion new products and line extensions during decades when Americans, as a fat-avoidance tactic, were actually cutting their milk consumption by 75 percent. From a fat-consumption point of view, he says, “trading cheese for milk has been a poor bargain indeed.”
And that is the nub of Mr. Moss’s case: By concentrating fat, salt and sugar in products formulated for maximum “bliss,” Big Food has spent almost a century distorting the American diet in favor of calorie-dense products whose consumption pattern has been mirrored by the calamitous rise in obesity rates. Entire food categories were invented to support this strategy (Mr. Moss is particularly fascinated by Kraft’s near-billion-dollar line of Lunchables snack trays), as processors bent the American appetite to Wall Street’s will.
Michael MossTony Cenicola/The New York Times
Mr. Moss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times who put the phrase “pink slime” into high rotation with a 2009 article on beef safety, deftly lays out the complicated marriage of science and marketing that got us where we are. Is that place a state of addiction? The book uses the language of addiction liberally — soldiers returned from World War II “hooked on Coke,” kids “lunge” for the sugar bowl, a typical salt lover is a “hapless junkie” — and it’s a metaphorical usage that must drive some research purists bananas.
But there is science too. Mr. Moss dives extensively into food-industry and academic research into the brain’s pleasure centers, where sugar and fat sing their siren songs. If not addiction, the love of hyper-processed foods may be what Dr. David A. Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration director, called “conditioned hypereating” in a 2009 book that covered some of the same ground.
Importantly, Mr. Moss reports deeply from inside the food companies: researchers, marketers, strategists, C.E.O.’s and many who have left their work, some with regrets about how good they were at leveraging the bliss point. “Salt Sugar Fat” is not a polemic, nor a raised platform for food purists to fire broadsides at evil empires. This is inside stuff, and the book is all the stronger for it.
Why, then, is the book a bit wearying? Partly it’s because this is not a new story, not surprising to anyone who has contemplated the list of 31 ingredients on a tiny packet of Cheez-It Gripz. Partly it’s because the book moves slowly, in wide eddies, first considering sugar, then fat, then salt, whose functions are nominally different but ultimately the same.
There is plenty here to make one’s blood pressure rise. (Must a child-targeted snack pack contain 830 milligrams of sodium and 39 grams of sugar? Really?) But the finer points of factory-to-table food formulation are not riveting. Nor does Mr. Moss consider that many of the techniques developed by food scientists — fat-globule dispersion, sugar-crystal manipulation — were cherished by Escoffier. Chefs have long played with the chemistry of food, intuitively hunting down the “bliss point” with as much gusto as any chip scientist at Frito-Lay.
Mr. Moss also strains to dramatize the preoccupations of marketers, describing a “hold your breath” moment when Kraft learned whether customers would lose interest in Lunchables after the company moved from yellow cardboard sleeve to a sleeveless box. One Lunchables team brainstormed the question of “what could a pizza be like that would fit into the Lunchables world?” “The Jungle” this isn’t, nor “Fast Food Nation.”
Still, Mr. Moss meticulously lands his punches. The result is the sinking realization that we’ve eaten like a nation of impulsive teenagers, happy to pay for a diet of carnival food. As one sensory researcher notes, everything on American food shelves that can be sweetened has been sweetened. Our adolescent food culture fell hard for the romance of industrial perfectibility and the “convenience doctrine”: the proposition that easy should define good in American eating.
Today, Mr. Moss says, the food companies have boxed themselves in, blessed and saddled with fattening foods that are “so tasty, people can’t resist eating them.” Healthier formulations of heavily processed food, he insists, simply don’t taste as good. (This may be true of the most highly processed foods, but, based on extensive tasting in my work, it’s not so for a wide range of new foods now flooding the supermarkets from both small companies and the giants.)
Mr. Moss does credit industry efforts to reduce salt, fat and sugar. He gives a lengthy account of debates and initiatives that followed Phillip Morris’s purchase of General Foods and Kraft in the 1980s, which left veterans of the tobacco wars mulling the possibility of lawsuits and legislation associated with obesity. There are, within these companies, people pushing to accelerate the reformulations, and Mr. Moss talks to them.
However, the market punishes those who let margins slip in the name of health — as PepsiCo, for example, has been punished. This is not an optimistic book. The only counsel Mr. Moss offers consumers dribbles in with the last two sentences: “After all, we decide what to buy. We decide how much to eat.”
By focusing relentlessly on the food giants, Mr. Moss presents them as hegemonic — dominating food supply, defining food culture, producing food that by their own (and their consumers’) definition has been as tasty as food can be. Arguably this was so. Is it so now?
Mr. Moss quotes a few experts who believe a consumer backlash is under way, a generational pulling away from the ersatz. But he barely glances in that direction. Missing is any consideration of the ferment now bubbling away in America’s food culture.
Consider the boom in farmer’s markets, the elevation of the chef, the proliferation of urban food trucks, the return of the artisan, the growth of craft beer at the expense of big corporate brewing, the admittedly high-end but notable success of Whole Foods, even the appearance of oatmeal and better coffee in McDonald’s, not to mention the appearance of healthy grains and nonfat Greek yogurts and myriad global-pantry products on Wal-Mart’s shelves.
Perhaps the teenager shows signs of growing up? If so, not even Wall Street could stop such a tectonic cultural shift. Mr. Moss’s book is a little like a plate of processed cheese: fresh, in its way, but behind the culinary curve.
SALT SUGAR FAT
How the Food Giants Hooked Us
By Michael Moss
446 pages. Random House. $28.
RIGHTS AND PROTECTION OF ANIMALS
Editorial in Peta’s Animal Times (#2, 2015), “Why Animal Rights?” The editor cites Peter Singer, Jeremy Bentham, and Peta founder and president, Ingrid Newkirk in the moral argument against deliberately causing suffering.
See Newkirk’s book, The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights.
Center for Food Animal Wellbeing to Host Fifth Annual Symposium on Current Issues and Advances June 11, 2015
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Center for Food Animal Wellbeing will host its fifth annual symposium Aug. 6 on current issues and advances in food animal wellbeing. The center is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
The one-day symposium will be in the Leland Tollet Auditorium inside the John W. Tyson Poultry Science Building on the University of Arkansas campus. Registration is $25.
"This year we have an incredible roster of speakers covering animal welfare topics and related issues of current interest to those of us in animal agriculture," said Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton, director for the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing. . . .
The goal for the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing is to improve animal health, animal handling, food safety and productivity by developing and defining objective measurements of wellbeing including measures of behavior, stress physiology, neurophysiology, immunology, microbiology and production efficiency. . . .
Registration information and the program are online atfoodanimalwellbeing.uark.edu/AnnualSymposium.
I welcome your announcement. I am a representative of the Center for Human Wellbeing for the Merciful Treatment of Old People and the Mentally Incompetent. The goal for the Center is to improve human health, and kinder human handling and productivity by developing and defining objective measurements of wellbeing, including measures of behavior, stress physiology, neurophysiology, immunology, microbiology and production efficiency.
Thank you for your invitation. I represent the Center for Human Wellbeing, the purpose of which is to prepare difficult people for a useful death. We provide efficient and painless methods for ending life; indeed, our clients are not killed until they are their healthiest and can provide the very best body parts. That they are not volunteers but must be compelled is to be expected, given the need for leather and the shortage of people, but our soothing surroundings and sedatives actually make the whole experience pleasurable.
Here is a letter I might have written:
I read about the conference and wish to ask your cooperation in our group's desire to demonstrate during the conference in an appropriate location. You see, “Food Animal Wellbeing” sounds like a euphemism for production efficiency to increase profit during mass slaughter of sentient beings. You see also, I am the founder of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology, and the founder of its Vegetarian group. I oppose the killing of animals, for many reasons, but particularly because I do not believe their well-being is promoted by their slaughter. And I am astonished you would choose August 6 for your Symposium, the day the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the civilian city of Hiroshima. But mass extermination does not seem to concern the Symposium.
“Best Speech You Will Ever Hear” – Animal Liberation Vegan Gary Yourofsky - YouTube, Google Search, July 14, 2015
Apr 1, 2014 - Uploaded by TheVeganZombie2
New and Updated version of Gary Yourofsky's 'Best Speech You Will ... Hear Gary talk about compassion and kindness to animalsand about ...
Jun 7, 2013 - Uploaded by Simone Reyes
BEST ANIMAL RIGHTS SPEECH by SIMONE REYES .... agree that animals need some more respect, I don't think they'll ever get equal rights.
Jul 11, 2014 - Uploaded by Bite Size Vegan
The BEST Speech You Will Ever Hear! ... hear gary talk about compassion and kindness to animals and about the horrors of the meat and dairy ...
May 16, 2012 - Uploaded by Kindness Trust
"This is the most amazing thing I've ever heard. ... This is the transcript to the speech: On behalf of St James Ethics Centre, the Wheeler ... Animal Rights is now the greatest Social Justice issue since the abolition of slavery.
Feb 6, 2015 - Uploaded by Gary Yourofsky
An inspirational life-changing speech by Gary Yourofsky, ananimal liberation activist, national lecturer ... +Cesar Ferradas This is sooo great!
Jul 11, 2014 - Uploaded by Bite Size Vegan
gary yourofsky answers questions about veganism, compassion, and animal rights at city college, new york on ...
ANIMALS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
From PETA’s Animal Times (#2, 2015)
Advocacy by Kelly Chin:
HELP CURB CLIMATE CHANGE: TRY VEGAN.
Choosing meat-free meals combats environmental destruction, saves animals from a miserable life and painful death, and is better for your health.
Meat and Water ad by Pamela Anderson:
“Meat And Dairy Farms Drain Half the Country’s Water.” The solution to water shortage is not taking shorter showers.
And this essay from the David Suzuki Foundation
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Food and climate change
(Credit: Loose Ends via Flickr.)
It's not only how we choose to travel or heat our homes that determines our carbon footprint. What we eat also has a climate impact. Understanding the resources that go into producing our meals can make us more aware of the relationship between food and climate change, and help us make better choices.
There are several factors that contribute to food's climate impact, including: how low on the food chain it is, how much energy is used to produce it (and whether the food is grown organically or with chemical inputs), and how far it has to travel before it gets to the table.
Meat and climate change
Meat production is a major contributor to climate change. It is estimated that livestock production accounts for 70 per cent of all agricultural land use and occupies 30 per cent of the land surface of the planet. Because of their sheer numbers, livestock produce a considerable volume of greenhouse gases (such as methane and nitrous oxide) that contribute to climate change. In fact, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that livestock production is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases.
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The growing of livestock and other animals for food is also an extremely inefficient process. For example, it takes approximately five to seven kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of beef. Each of those kilograms of grain takes considerable energy and water to produce, process, and transport.
As meat consumption has grown around the world, so has its climate impact.
The problems with chemical agriculture
Other agricultural practices can impact the climate. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are widely used in agriculture, and are often made from fossil fuels. Manufacturing and transporting these chemicals uses significant quantities of energy and produces greenhouse gases. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that chemical farming uses considerably more energy per unit of production than organic farms, which do not use these chemical inputs. In addition, the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers in soils produces nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is approximately 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Organic farms, on the other hand — which rely on natural manure and compost for fertilizer — store much more carbon in the soil, keeping it out of the atmosphere.
Food that's closer to home
Where your food comes from is also a factor. Currently, the average meal travels 1200 km from the farm to plate. Food that is grown closer to home will therefore have fewer transportation emissions associated with it, and also be fresher and support local farmers. And as the distance food travels decreases, so does the need for processing and refrigeration to reduce spoilage.
Local or organic: which is better for the climate?
While it's good to buy locally grown food for many reasons, 'food miles' (the distance food is transported from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer) actually make up a relatively small percentage of the overall carbon footprint of food — approximately 11% on average, according to studies. How the food is grown makes up a much larger percentage — roughly 83%.
For example, one study showed that lamb raised in New Zealand and shipped 18,000 kilometers to the UK still produced less than one quarter of the greenhouse gases than local British lamb. Why? Because local flocks were fed grains, which take a lot of energy to grow, while the New Zealand flocks were grazed on grass. Shipping the lamb to the UK was responsible for only 5% of the overall greenhouse gases, whereas 80% of the emissions were from farm activities. Similar lifecycle assessments have found the same results for other foods. One assessment done for packaged orange juice found that over a third of the lifecycle emissions came from just the synthetic fertilizer used on the orange groves.
Choosing to buy food that is organically grown can therefore be a better choice for the climate. But if possible, buy food that that is organic and local.
So what can you do to reduce your impact when you eat?
Eat meat-free meals
• Try to eat at least one meat-free meal per day. If you're already doing that, gradually increase the number of meat-free meals you eat.
• Plan ahead. If going meatless means changing your habits drastically, you'll enjoy it more if you do some research and find really yummy recipes before you go shopping.
• Choose veggie restaurants and meatless menu alternatives when you go out — they're sprouting up all over the place!
Buy organic and local whenever possible
• Vote with your fork. Let your local farmers know organic is the way to grow! In addition to being better for the climate, organic food has many other advantages. First, it is grown without genetically modified organisms. As well, organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy come from animals that are not fed antibiotics or growth hormones. And because organic foods are grown in healthy soils, they are typically more nutritious, containing more vitamins and minerals. Finally, organic farms promote genetic biodiversity, create less water pollution and soil damage, and result in fewer poisonings of farm workers, and less harm to wildlife.
• Read labels when you shop. Choose food that is organically grown and locally produced.
• Talk to the produce manager at your grocery store. Tell them what you want and why.
Other things you can do
• Don't waste food. Close to half of all food produced worldwide is wasted after production, discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens. When people throw food out, all the resources to grow, ship, package and produce it are wasted, too, including massive amounts of water. Click here to find out how you can help end food waste.
• Grow some of your own food. Growing vegetables at home eliminates some of the transport required to get food to your table. It also lets you grow your food without chemicals. You can grow some great vegetables in even the smallest of spaces such as a balcony or patio space. Try growing herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and other veggies.
• Do an inventory of how you look after your garden and lawn. Get rid of toxic substances (but discard them appropriately so those poisons don't end up in landfills). For information on how to do this, check out Product Care and the Georgia Strait Alliance Toxic Smart page. Find safe alternatives, and learn how to garden organically. It's easy!
Contents of Vegetarian Action Newsletter #18, April 8, 2015
PBS, Frontline, “The Trouble with Chicken”
VegNews, the Vegan Magazine
Fighting for the Future of Food
Animal Rights and Protection
Stein and LaVeck. Film Peaceable Kingdom.
Namit Arora. Ethical Arguments Against Eating Animals
Mercy for Animals Film
Contents Vegetarian Action #19
Remembering Donna and Kelly’s DON’T FENCE ME IN
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
The Trouble with Chickens, PBS, Frontline Film
Living Downstream Film
Rights and Protection of Animals
Three Books for Christians
Global Warming, Climate Change
Food Not Lawns, Food Not Lawns
END VEGETARIAN ACTION NEWSLETTER #20, AUGUST 2015