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November / December 1998
The VivaVine is a publication of the VivaVegie Society, New York City's premier vegetarian-outreach organization.
COMMENTARY: Henry Spira had a way of changing lost causes into winning campaigns
THE X-CREMENT FILES: The government goes easy on agricultural waste
GRAPEVINE: "101 Reasons" continues to get the facts out
HOLIDAY MESSAGE: Peace on earth is a bitter pill for animals
VEGETARIAN NEWS: The news from our point of view
PROJECT FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR VEGETARIANS: Meat-monger bailout is bad news for taxpayers, farm animals
FOR THE HEALTH OF IT: An innovative school program makes kids love healthful vegan food
RECIPE: Three recipes to take death off your Thanksgiving table
BOOKS: Heavy & Lite
PATHOGEN CITY: No wonder eggs are contaminated
HOW TO MAKE A TURKEY: Start with a vacuum, a straw and some angry, desperate men
VEGGIE NUGGETS: Four little ditties from our sick-humor department
EXOTIC MEAT: Designer meals spreads animal suffering around
VIVA VEGIE SOCIETY NEWS: Devlopments on the home front
CALENDAR: Vegetarians meet and reach out
November / December, 1998
Eulogy for Henry Spria
By Pamela Rice
As soon as I finished reading the biography of Henry Spira, Ethics Into Action by Peter Singer I felt a strong desire to be with the protagonist of this extraordinary life story, if only for a few moments. I was overwhelmed by what I had just read. I had always known but never completely realized how remarkable a man Henry Spira really was.
If you see something that's wrong, you've got to do something about it.
--Henry Spira, 1927-1998
To see Henry wasn't going to be easy. I first had to get a weeklong trip out of the way. I knew he was gravely ill and a week might end my chances.
Indeed it did. In fact, on the morning of my departure, Henry died. I found out several days later when I called in to my phone machine. My heart sank a centimeter or two when I heard Henry's friend and colleague Joan Zacharias sob the news through the phone lines. You might say I felt a tremor in the Force. Soon, a deep feeling of loss came over me. An extraordinary person had just left this world, and though I would describe myself as no more than an associate to him, I felt a sudden sense of aloneness.
Henry was the simultaneous embodiment of profound compassion and strategic genius, a rare combination. He was an original, who had a habit of breaking ground that was supposed to be unbreakable. He regularly transformed lost causes on behalf of animals into successful campaigns; you came to expect it from him. If you define greatness as exceptional accomplishment in uncharted territory in a quest for a higher good, I would go so far as to say that Henry Spira was the greatest person I've ever known.
I urge everybody who seeks the joy of living for a higher purpose to read this chronicle of
Henry's life. You will gain inspiration from his story as you become privy to his simple but elegant formulas and techniques.
Be sure to read "Ten Ways to Make a Difference," which begins on page 184. Meditate on it, perhaps even once or twice a month.
Then, be sure not to let the genius of Henry Spira intimidate you. Learn whatever you can from him. And if your schedule permits you to do only a small part on behalf of animals, do that small part. A little is fine. A little is good, too.
November / December, 1998
THE X-CREMENT FILES
Manure Mess: Government goes easy on ag waste
By Alex Press
In September the Clinton administration released its draft strategy for stemming the tide of manure--1.4 billion tons of it yearly--that is washing over the nation, spilling into rivers and groundwater. Not surprisingly, the effort proved to be a weak one.
The report, entitled "Unified National Strategy for Animal Feeding Operations," states the problem: "40 percent of the Nation's waterways assessed by the States...do not meet goals for fishing, swimming or both.... Runoff from city streets, agricultural activities, including animal feeding operations (AFOs), and other sources continues to degrade the environment and put drinking water at risk."
At the heart of the government's strategy for controlling this pollution is a new requirement that certain animal feeding operations (i.e., factory farms) submit "Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans" (CNMPs)--plans for managing manure. The CNMPs will have to meet government standards, which are to be developed in the next few years. However, that requirement is expected to cover only the largest operations and those that are especially egregious in their damage to the environment, roughly 5 percent of the total. The other 95 percent of these 450,000 operations will be merely encouraged to develop plans, in many cases with government assistance paid for by taxpayers.
To make matters worse, the strategy will take a decade to implement--and that's if all goes as planned. According to the report, the desired outcome is that "all AFOs develop and implement [manure-management plans] by 2008."
The administration's strategy is the result of a collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a partnership intended to strike what some would call a "balance" between environmental and agricultural interests. Lest anyone doubt the drafters' solicitude toward animal agriculture, the report states in its introduction that "a strong livestock industry...is essential to the nation's economic stability, the viability of many rural communities, and the sustainability of a healthful [sic] and high quality food supply for the American public." It further states that one of the strategy's "guiding principles" is to "ensure that measures to protect the environment and public health complement the long-term sustainability of livestock production."
The idea of a non-flesh-eating society clearly never crossed policy makers' minds. How else to explain Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman's strange comment that "we all need clean water, but we also all need food"? For the secretary, it seems, "food" has one definition: cheap beef, pork and chicken.
The fact that the government is ready to issue any new regulations for animal agriculture is a sign of the gravity of the problem. However, while hundreds of thousands of factory farms prepare--or don't prepare--their CNMPs, the manure continues to flow.
Pfiesteria: The "cell from hell" strikes again
An estimated 500,000 fish were killed in late July by an outbreak of pfiesteria, the "cell from hell," along North Carolina's lower Neuse River, a region that is home to many hog facilities. The microbe, whose toxicity is believed to be nourished by waste from animal feeding operations, is also harmful to people, according to a pair of studies released last summer. The preliminary results of an Environmental Protection Agency study indicated that North Carolina fishermen exposed to pfiesteria experienced a 30 percent reduction in sensitivity to visual patterns. And Maryland researchers, writing in The Lancet, a medical journal, said they had found impaired memory, disorientation and learning difficulties that persisted for several months among affected individuals.
Pfiesteria gained widespread attention last year when an outbreak forced Maryland officials to close three waterways near the Chesapeake Bay. The state has since passed legislation tightening restrictions on the disposal of poultry waste.
November / December, 1998
The "101": Getting the facts out
Appalling but true
Over the years, I have had an increasing conscience about cruelty to farm animals. But as a person who grew up loving roast beef, I didn't want to look at the issue too closely--the old "head in the sand" syndrome.
This afternoon I read your "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian" and was appalled by the information it contained. My first instinct was to discredit it. But then I realized I was trying to rationalize. Many thanks, and keep up the good work.Christine Ralfs
Does a steak really have "juice"?
Meat eaters are always telling me to "go eat a juicy steak sometime." I tell them, "There's no juice in a steak. That liquid you see is a combination of blood, pus and liquefied fat." That usually shuts them up!Kevin
I am a strict vegetarian and have been for eight years (since I was 12). I feel so strongly about it I even have VGTARIN on my license plates. When I read your "101 Reasons," it floored me. I thought I knew a lot about the topic, but I guess I did not know enough. Thank you for opening my eyes.Christine M. Caleo
Virginia Beach, Virginia
She'd rather be a peach
I have just read your wonderful "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." I was raised by a vegetarian mother, although I didn't go veggie myself until this year, when I heard that cows are fed chicken manure. If you are what you eat, I would rather be a peach!Kelly Thompson
Slaughterhouse field trip
Number 49 in your "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian" [1996 edition] concerning the horrors of slaughterhouses is exactly the reason my sister became a vegetarian. Before the day her FFA [Future Farmers of America] class toured a slaughterhouse in Kansas, she would call me and all other vegetarians stupid. But since then, even the smell of someone cooking a hamburger nauseates her. She says that it "smells like the slaughterhouse."KT
November / December, 1998
Peace on Earth
Isn't man an amazing animal?
He kills wildlife--birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes--by the millions in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed.
Then he kills domestic animals by the billions and eats them.
This in turn kills man by the millions, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative--and fatal--health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease and cancer.
So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases.
Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because the food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.
Meanwhile, some are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year sends out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."
--C. David Coats
The above passage is from the preface ofOld Mac-Donald's Factory Farm: The Myth of the Traditional Farm and the Shocking Truth About Animal Suffering in Today's Agribusiness by C. David Coats. Reprinted with permission.
November / December, 1998
By Alex Press
Dairy farm indicted for million-gallon sludge spill
A Nevada dairy farm was indicted by a federal grand jury in September for illegally dumping 1.7 million gallons of manure sludge, according to the Associated Press. The sludge, which was allowed to flow unchecked from a containment pond at the Ponderosa Dairy over several days in February, created a spill that stretched for 18 miles, oozing through a dry riverbed across the border into California. The parent company of the dairy and the dairy's manager each face a fine of $500,000 under the Clean Water Act. The manager could also go to jail if found guilty of illegally discharging pollutants into U.S. waters, AP reported. Ponderosa agreed earlier in the month to pay a $35,000 fine to the state of Nevada.
Egg factory uses prisoners
Good workers hard to find? Why not follow the lead of an Iowa egg factory owned by the Boomsma company and call your local warden? According to the Chicago Tribune, inmates are bused 60 miles from the state prison in Rockwell City to "pack eggs, pull dead hens from their cages, sweep, clean and help with other maintenance chores" while millions of not-yet-dead hens "keep conveyor belts loaded with eggs." It's not exactly slave labor--at least not for the humans, who are paid $6 an hour. However, the president of the Iowa Federation of Labor complained that "prisoners are being used to hold down wages." Boomsma argues that it tried to fill its labor needs with county residents and then with immigrants before turning to prisoners. As for paying higher wages to attract workers, the company's human-resources director responded, "If we did, we'd be out of business."
Poultry trade group touts customer "satisfaction"
Chicken Eaters: Content with bird-meat bacteria
Good news for chicken sellers: In a nationwide survey of 1,015 people conducted on behalf of the National Broiler Council, a poultry trade group, 43 percent of respondents were "extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied" with chicken safety. An additional 33 percent were "somewhat satisfied." Only 13 percent were "not satisfied." Nothing like looking on the bright side: In a nationwide Consumer Reports study last fall, 71 percent of the chicken the magazine tested contained salmonella, campylobacter or both. That leaves a slender 29 percent of chicken relatively untainted, but, it seems, more than two-to-one odds of contamination are good enough for the satisfied consumers.
And the odds of buying uncontaminated chicken may even be improving. Preliminary statistics released in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service indicated that the percentage of broiler chickens testing positive for salmonella had been nearly halved in the first six months of a new food-inspection system known as HACCP--from 20 percent to 10.4 percent. If the statistic holds, and the rate of campylobacter contamination is similarly reduced, a mere one in three broiler chickens will pose an immediate threat to consumers' health.
For those hard-to-please people who are still not "satisfied" with chicken safety, a new cleanser may provide a solution. Bio Rinse, produced by American Food Safety Products in Georgia, "greatly reduces the risk of consumers acquiring E. coli from chicken," according to a press release. Simply mix Bio Rinse powder in water and allow the chicken to soak for five minutes. Then you're good to go.
Thanks to cultural conditioning, there are some animal foods that many if not most Americans look on with disgust, even as they happily chomp down their cow burgers, chicken nuggets and pig sandwiches. Among them: horses. In November Californians voted on an initiative that would make it a felony to knowingly participate in the trade of horses for human consumption and a misdemeanor to sell horsemeat. (The results were unavailable at press time.)
Each year thousands of California horses are auctioned and shipped to slaughterhouses out of state, many of them destined for dinner plates in other countries. According to the Associated Press, "the horses are crammed into trucks without water and food and driven on long road trips. They show fear and terror before they are killed." Of course, the same can be said of so-called "food" animals, whom many horse lovers have chosen to exclude from their circle of compassion.
The odd double standard embodied in this otherwise admirable campaign was captured by Cathleen Doyle, a leader of the pro-horse initiative. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News last year, she said that though killing horses for food is "the ultimate betrayal," she has no problem with the slaughter of traditional "food" animals: In her words, "There's obviously no doubt, no question as to the fate of cattle and hogs and poultry and sheep and goats." Nice of her to clarify that point.
Ranchers vs. prairie dogs: The killing continues
Cattle Ranchers: Wasters 'n' whiners of the West
Out in the West, ranchers hate prairie dogs. The animals, whom the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary describes as "gregarious burrowing rodents of the squirrel family," live in extensive networks of tunnels, which, according to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), "connect to special-use rooms such as bedrooms, nurseries and latrines." The animals have a "complex social structure" and use a "sophisticated form of communication," with at least 11 different calls and "physical contact, such as nuzzling and kissing." Now the NWF has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the animals as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
The problem is, although prairie dogs were on the land long before ranchers and cattle and are an integral part of the West's natural ecosystem, they earned ranchers' enmity by eating grass and creating a hazard for livestock, who can break their legs when they step into the prairie-dog holes.
As a result of their interference in the profit-making enterprise, prairie dogs were subjected to what Lynn Jacobs describes in his book Waste of the West as "a lustful, massive campaign of genocide." Since the arrival of ranchers, Jacobs says, "tens of billions" of prairie dogs have been killed, and their population has been reduced to "perhaps 0.25 percent" of the pre-ranching number." At the same time, they have lost more than 99 percent of their historic grassland habitat.
An Associated Press report described how one rancher and his neighbors have dealt with prairie dogs: "They tried poisoning [them]. Drowning them. Even yanking them out of the ground with their bare hands." One man invented a vacuum device for sucking them from their homes. Many ranchers use them for target practice.
Through the years, the government has not only made no effort to prevent the bloodbath, it has actively joined the killing, squandering taxpayer dollars in the process. In 1991 alone, the Animal Damage Control program working with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture produced 150,000 pounds of poisoned oats for the purpose of killing prairie dogs, according to the NWF.
If the NWF's petition is accepted, the prairie dogs will join some 90 other animal species that, according to the National Resources Defense Council, have ended up on the endangered or threatened list because of livestock grazing. AP reported that "some Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association officials have vowed to resist the effort."
Court upholds new ranching policies
Ranchers who graze their cattle on 270 million acres of federal land suffered a setback in September when an appeals court upheld three of four government policies they had sought to overturn. In Public Lands Council v. Babbitt, the court ruled that the policies, issued by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt in 1995, did not violate the law, as a U.S. District Court had determined in 1996.
Specifically, the appeals-court decision affirmed the secretary's right to reduce the amount of grazing allowed on a parcel of land and gave the government full title to future range "improvements" (such as fences and wells) it helps ranchers to build. It also eliminated a requirement that applicants for grazing permits be in the livestock business. However, a fourth policy, which would have established "conservation use" grazing permits that exclude livestock, was overturned--a loss for environmental groups hoping to preserve public lands by obtaining such permits.
Overall, the decision appeared to be only a minor defeat for ranching interests. But that didn't stop them from complaining bitterly. Reacting to the decision, Chuck Schroeder, chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, told a Denver paper, "We have a nation that seems to be increasingly numb to the needs and rights of folks that are grazing on public lands."
Tanker spills "mad cow" blood on highway
It was a bloody mess in central England when a tanker carrying 22 tons of cow blood spilled on a highway, splashing eight people. An anonymous official told the Associated Press that the blood, which came from cows killed in the government's mad-cow eradication program, posed little danger. Cold comfort for the splashees and cleanup crew, not to mention the cows themselves.
"Bug juice" might well be
While scrupulous vegans are generally aware of the origins of carmine and cochineal extract, red coloring agents used in foods and beverages such as Campari, ordinary people are often surprised to learn that they come from the crushed bodies of beetles. The additives received attention in August when the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumers' group, petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban them or at least require clear labeling of affected products. Currently, carmine and cochineal extract may be listed only as "artificial color" or "color added." CSPI's recommendation, which is not likely to go over well with the food industry, is that labels identify the two by name and specify that they are "insect-based."
The petition notes that the colorings have been found to cause allergic reactions, sometimes severe ones, in a number of people and also that "many vegetarians, Jews, and others who observe dietary restrictions" will want to know about these secret ingredients. We suspect that other people would prefer not to.
FDA boosts irradiation, antibiotics
FDA: Thumbs-up to antibiotic residues, irradiation
In a series of moves that no doubt brought smiles to the meat and dairy industries, the Food and Drug Administration gave its seal of approval to easy-to-miss irradiation labeling, higher levels of the antibiotic tetracycline in milk and the use of a powerful fluoroquinolone antibiotic in cattle.
As reported last August in The New York Times, the FDA has decided that producers may label irradiated meats with the relatively small type size used in ingredient lists instead of the larger type size consumers' groups had called for. The National Food Processors Association applauded the move, saying it "will help advance the use of this important safety tool." Currently, the association is trying to eliminate the labeling requirement altogether.
As for the antibiotics, the new standard for tetracycline allows residues of 300 parts per billion in milk, more than twice the previous ceiling of 140 parts per billion. And as of August 5, a fluoroquinolone, one of a family of drugs that have already produced resistant forms of campylobacter and salmonella in chicken, can now be administered to cattle. According to the Times, the drug's manufacturer, Bayer, is expected to voluntarily limit or stop its sale if the FDA determines its use does in fact pose a danger to human health.
We can hardly wait to find out.
Fishermen up in arms
Around the world, as overfishing sends species hurtling toward extinction, fishermen are reacting with grief and anger, and scarcity is raising tensions between nations. In August, fishermen protesting government quotas for cod and salmon, respectively, seized a Canadian Coast Guard vessel in Quebec and briefly blockaded Vancouver Island, according to the Vancouver Sun.
In May, Russian border guards fired on a Chinese fishing boat in the Bering Strait, killing two crew members and wounding five. The guards found 50 tons of fish and about 60 miles of nets onboard. That spring Russia had detained three Japanese fishing-boat captains for a month after seizing their ships.
Makes you wonder: What if Arthur Treacher ever got ahold of the bomb?
Vegetarian News is compiled by Alex Press and Alan Rice.
November / December, 1998
PROJECT FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR VEGETARIANS
Ag Bailout: Meat mongers on perpetual life support
By Pamela Rice
Part three of a series
The Depression ushered in many agricultural-support policies that unfortunately never went away. Government programs that were arguably necessary during that time have long since outlived their usefulness. In 1990 Congressman Dick Armey of Texas put it best when he observed that agriculture today is not unlike a fat man in need of perpetual life support.
This year Armey's remark could not be ringing truer. As The VivaVine goes to press, lawmakers in Washington are considering near-record-high subsidies to farmers totaling up to $20 billion for the year. This despite the goal set in the 1996 Farm Bill of sharply reducing the dependency of farmers on government payments. The reason for all this generosity? Depressed prices in the farm sector, decreased foreign demand and a slew of weather-related losses. However, the fact that we're in an election year certainly has something to do with it.
That agriculture is kept fat and happy by our government wouldn't necessarily bother me. However, I know that the primary end product of American farms is beef, poultry, pork and cows' milk, substances that I consider to be worthless, inedible and harmful. These "foods," I believe, should be categorized as luxury items, entirely unworthy of taxpayer support. Moreover, for all the environmental and health damage they cause, animal foods ought to be taxed just as tobacco is.
In 1996 the Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act (nicknamed "Freedom to Farm") was signed into law. With a stroke of a pen, Depression-era laws were overturned. The law designates 2002 as the year that subsidies to farmers are to be terminated. Theoretically, farmers are to prepare for the cutoff. As a concession, the legislation allows farmers to plant what they want; before 1996, farmers grew specific crops as a condition of receiving government payments. To help farmers through the weaning process, the government is now handing over fixed payments, which are to diminish as the years go by. The total budget for the program averages in the neighborhood of $5 billion per year. Incidentally, farmers qualify for payment by virtue of having received a government subsidy in the past. And--a key point--payments are made despite the level of prices in the marketplace.
In its own strange way, Congress is trying to force agriculture to heed the laws of a free market, and as far as animal agriculture is concerned, rightly so. However, reversing over 60 years of agricultural dependency is not going to be easy.
This year's proposed $20 billion farm budget, which is about $15 billion over what Freedom to Farm designates, is especially egregious in view of the fact that during 1996 and 1997 farmers received a total of $7.5 billion more than they would have under the old Depression-era legislation. This is due to the high market prices in those years. Theoretically, farmers should have socked away at least some of their good fortune for a rainy day, the rainy day that was to be the 1998 harvest season. They were supposed to get used to the ups and downs of the market and should have appreciated the windfall that came at the expense of American taxpayers.
Apparently they didn't, and now taxpayers are very likely to get hit again.
November / December, 1998
FOR THE HEALTH OF IT
Vegan Kids: Education is key to healthful eating
By Alex Press
According to the common wisdom, kids naturally are drawn to junk food and recoil from anything healthful. Mainstream doctors and nutritionists often play on this thinking to warn against vegan diets for children, insisting that kids must eat meat and dairy--saturated fat, cholesterol, hormones and all--because parents will never get them to eat a balanced diet of grains, legumes and vegetables.
But are kids and good foods really natural enemies? Research by Antonia Demas demonstrates that the problem may well lie with the adults. Demas, the director of a nonprofit group that works with schools to teach kids about food, conducted the research as part of her doctoral thesis at Cornell University. In her study, she developed a curriculum for elementary school students in which they were introduced to 16 dishes from around the world (all but one of them vegan). These were foods that, as Demas puts it, "kids are not supposed to like"--things like Indian curry, blackeyed peas with greens, and whole-wheat couscous with African vegetable stew. The students then had a chance to prepare the foods in class. In the course of the year, the same foods were served as side dishes in the lunchroom.
As might be expected, a control group of students, who had not participated in the program, showed little interest in the vegan cuisine. But, strikingly, the kids who had been exposed to it in the classroom (the "intervention" group) went for it in a big way. Overall, they ate 20 times as much of it as the control kids did. In fact, questionnaires indicated that the intervention kids were asking parents to help them cook the dishes at home.
How does one explain this role reversal--kids pushing parents toward healthier eating? "When children have a positive experience with healthful food, they'll eat it, especially if they help to make it," Demas says. "They take ownership of it."
Demas conducted her research initially in Trumansburg, New York, a rural community north of Ithaca. But she has achieved similar results in an elementary school on Manhattan's Lower East Side and in about a dozen other schools nationwide.
Demas's efforts are set against the background of the U.S. school-lunch program, which serves 26 million kids each day, more than half the total who eat lunch in school. In past years, the meals served typically derived 40 percent of their calories from fat. Current guidelines require a reduction to 30 percent, but the Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, continues to buy fatty animal foods for schoolkids. The purchases serve to prop up meat and dairy prices for the industry. In theory, wholesome foods such as bulgur wheat, brown rice and lentils are also available, but, Demas says, "I have yet to find a school in the U.S. that uses them." The common excuse is that "kids won't eat them."
"There's truth in that," Demas says. "The kids won't eat them because they don't know what they are. It's an education problem."
For more information on Antonia Demas's curriculum, call the Food Studies Institute at (607) 387-6884.
November / December, 1998
Three recipes to take death off your dinner table
We'll be thankful if we never again have to celebrate this holiday in the company of a glazed carcass. Here are some recipes, courtesy of United Poultry Concerns, that will make you say grace-and mean it. (For more ideas, visit the Recipe Directory at www.vegweb.com/food)
Mrs. Gobble-Good's Golden Brown Pie
uncooked pie crust for top of pie
2/3 cups lentils
8 cups water
2 to 3 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 packets vegan
3 to 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 t sage
1-1/2 t salt
1/4 t parsley
3 T vegan margarine
3 T flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lentils in 2 cups water on low heat till tender. Put prepared vegetables in large saucepan with 6 cups water plus bouillon. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add prepared potatoes to cooking vegetables. Cook all vegetables for 20 minutes while seasoning the lentils with sage, salt and parsley. Prepare a thickener by melting margarine in a frying pan, adding flour and then 1 cup liquid from cooking vegetables. Drain vegetables, reserving liquid, and put in an oven-proof bowl. Add lentils and thickener. Stir. If mixture is too thick, add more liquid. Place pie crust on top and bake till brown (about 1 hour). Serves 4 to 6.
small potatoes (or large ones
cut in pieces), scrubbed
fresh rosemary leaves
salt to taste
Scrub potatoes. Place in a baking dish. Drizzle with desired amount of olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with rosemary. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, turning occasionally and basting frequently. Remove from oven when golden brown. Season with salt.
Braised Vegetable Medley
1 T olive oil
6 T water
1 T fresh thyme (or
1 t dried)
2 cups baby carrots (or large ones
cut into 2-inch sticks)
2 cups brussels sprouts
2 cups snow peas
1/4 pound oyster
salt and pepper to taste
Place olive oil, water, thyme, carrots and brussels sprouts in covered pan. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 5 minutes until just tender. Add snow peas and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add oyster mushrooms. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
We can work it off.
A University of Alabama-Birmingham nutritionist told CNN the typical southern Thanksgiving meal contains 130 grams of fat and more than 2,500 calories. To work off such a meal, a 150-pound person would have to run for four hours or walk for 12. We suspect a northern turkey binge isn't much better.
November / December, 1998
Two to put under your belt
The Perfectly Contented Meat-Eater's Guide to Vegetarianism
Of course, nearly all of us were "perfectly contented meat-eaters" at some point, which is why Mark Warren Reinhardt's book of that title might be the right approach to take with the people in our lives who still are.
Reinhardt presents substantial arguments with a light, satirical touch, laying out the case for vegetarianism--health, environment, ethics--in a friendly, nonthreatening way. Then, presumably having won the argument, he tells the reader how to go about becoming a vegetarian, answering the traditional "What do I eat now?" question at length and even exploring "The Great Vegetarian Dating Game." If earnest appeals and sermonizing haven't worked with friends and relatives, perhaps Reinhardt's nutty sense of humor will. (Continuum, $17.95)
Ethics Into Action
In this moving tribute, Peter Singer, the author of Animal Liberation, tells the life story of animal rights pioneer Henry Spira, from his childhood in Europe to his winning campaigns on behalf of animals used in labs, in cosmetic testing and on farms. Perdue, Revlon, even Procter & Gamble and McDonald's--no target was too ambitious for him. Spira's brilliance lay in the fact that he never allowed victories to be squandered. They were building blocks for the next ones.
This is a story of a life well lived, but it is also a guide for anyone who'd like to make a difference in the world. (Rowman & Littlefield, $22.95)Additional commentary on this issue.
November / December, 1998
Battery Eggs: It's no wonder they're contaminated
The "incredible edible egg" has become a food-safety headache for government agencies.
In May the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration jointly proposed new rules, including establishing a program to track the spread of SE among flocks and requiring egg cartons to carry safe-handling instructions. In August the USDA required that eggs be stored and transported at temperatures of 45 degrees or less after being packed. In April, after a TV exposé, it had banned the dubious practice of repackaging old eggs in cartons bearing the USDA shield.
How serious is the problem? The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated in June that eggs contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis (SE) bacteria make 661,663 Americans sick each year, hospitalizing 3,300 and killing 390. And yet it also estimated that only one in 20,000 eggs is infected. Perhaps it's the potential for death that explains the government's apparent concern. It's also possible that the infection rate is considerably higher than the estimate, since food poisoning numbers are notoriously hard to pin down.
Unfortunately, the problem of salmonella in eggs is not so much one of "improper handling" as it is of the battery-cage system itself. According to studies cited by United Poultry Concerns (UPC), "chronic stress weakens birds' immune response, inviting primary and secondary pathogens to colonize their systems." Among the factors that contribute to this stress are the "concentrated excretory ammonia gases" in henhouses, frustration of basic hygienic behaviors, crowding, debeaking, antibiotics, artificial light/dark manipulations and forced molting--the deliberate starvation of hens for days and weeks at a time.
Packed in so tightly that they can't assume a normal posture, 98 percent of hens are "locked in a state of unrelieved suffering," UPC says, and they become easy prey to salmonella spread in feeding troughs by rodents.
As long as such conditions persist, it seems, people will continue to get sick from eggs no matter what other steps are taken.
November / December, 1998
HOW TO MAKE A TURKEY
Down on the factory farm, you start with a vacuum
By Alex Press
How do you make a turkey? For those unfamiliar with modern farming, the answer seems obvious: Put two birds together and let nature take its course. But now that Americans are eating 4.7 billion pounds of turkey a year, nature won't cut it anymore. In any case, today's top-heavy male turkey, the product of years of selective breeding, is incapable of mating on his own. The upshot: "almost complete integration of artificial insemination into commercial production," according to a cheerful story in the U.S. government's Agricultural Research magazine.
How is this done? Jim Mason, coauthor of the book Animal Factories, spent a day at a midwestern Butterball Turkey Company facility and reported his findings in the winter '97 issue of Farm Sanctuary News. First you need the sperm. Workers catch the male turkeys (toms) by the legs, hold them upside down and squeeze their "vent" until it opens and releases semen, which is then vacuumed up. In the henhouse, two men grab a hen from a chute and hold her for a third man, who inserts a tube into her vent and "delivers a 'shot' of semen"--all at the rate of five to 10 hens a minute. Each tom or hen is thus painfully "milked" or "inseminated" once or twice a week, the toms for about 16 months, the hens for about a year, until they are killed and ground into lunch meat, pot pies and pet food. Mason says the inseminator crew--"all silent, surly-looking...men in their 20s"--worked on 6,000 hens over the course of a 10-hour shift, with no formal breaks. He concludes, "I have never done such hard, fast, dirty, disgusting work in my life."
November / December, 1998
Junk-bond baddie goes veg
Junk-bond king Michael Milken, who once adored fatty hot dogs, is eating tofu dogs these days. The '80s notable, whose financial shenanigans cost him two years in prison and $1 billion in fines, switched to a diet that's "98 percent vegetarian" in 1993 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Now, at age 52, he's pitching The Taste for Living Cookbook: Mike Milken's Favorite Recipes for Fighting Cancer, in which meat is absent, fat is scarce, and soy protein abounds. Maybe he should change his name to Soy-Milken.
Organ meats regain luster
They may once have been scorned, but "variety" meats are appearing in fashionable restaurants. "I've sensed a real shift lately in the public perception of offal," Waldy Malouf, the chef at Manhattan's Rainbow Room, told Bloomberg News Service. He said diners are more willing to try sweetbreads and tripe (glands and stomach). Also on the menu: skewered pigeon hearts with raisins. The offal was part of a dinner priced at $125 per person including wine but not tax or tip.
That clammy feeling
Despite the popularity of clams, clam-
flavored juice has been a tough sell in the United States. To gain wider acceptance for their product, the makers of Mott's Clamato juice advertise it as, of all things, "99.9 percent clam free." That's still one-tenth of 1 percent too much for us.
Vegetarian dies at 114
Suekiku Miyanaga, Japan's oldest person, a vegetarian who played guitar until she was 107, died in June at the age of 114.
In April, Marie-Louise Febronie Meilleur of Canada, who had been listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest person, died at 117. According to the Associated Press, she, too, was a vegetarian.
They must have needed more protein.
November / December, 1998
DESIGNER MEATS ALL THE RAGE
Exotic Exploitation: Wildlife is what's for dinner
By Scott Lustig
A growing trend in the meat industry today is the marketing of "exotic" meats. These foods, also known as designer meats, come from formerly undomesticated animals. In the guise of "stylish new dishes," buffalo burgers, ostrich steaks and other preparations are showing up on menus and in markets across the country.
As consumer attention to limiting dietary fat has caused sales of cattle to decline, some ranchers have sought to adapt by investing in nontraditional species. The meat that is carved from these animals' bodies tends to be much lower in fat and cholesterol than beef while having a similar taste. The reduced grazing requirements of some of the new "food" animals compared with those of cattle is another selling point for ranchers.
One major source of exotic meat is ratites--a group of flightless birds that includes emus and ostriches. According to the American Emu Association, there are currently 6,000 to 8,000 emu producers in the United States. Emus are promoted not just for their meat but also as a source of "upscale" leather and feathers, oil for cosmetics and medications, and eggshells and toenails for decorative items.
At seven to nine feet in height and 350 pounds, ostriches are the largest birds on earth. Emus can grow to six feet and 140 pounds. Like other animals mass-produced for food today, these birds are subjected to stressful confinement and deprivation. According to Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns, ostriches, which in the wild typically cover 15 to 20 miles a day, are crowded within an acre of space or less. One investigator's visit to a Maryland emu farm found the birds confined in pens that permitted them at most 10 strides. The imposing size and strength of the birds present particular difficulties for producers. One slaughterer said it took him "two hours of violent struggle to kill a single ostrich."
In recent months, reports have appeared of failed emu ranchers' simply abandoning the animals. In one case, a Texas producer left a flock of 600 emus behind to starve. In another case, ranchers savagely beat the birds in a clumsy attempt to kill them. Sheriffs in rural towns around Dallas and Fort Worth have had to round up loose packs of the birds. Some residents have taken it upon themselves to shoot the emus. Nevertheless, the American Emu Association remains upbeat in its pronouncements, claiming that these incidents reflect only a temporary break in the steadily growing acceptance of emu products. The association says it is encouraged by new studies showing the effectiveness of emu oil as a skin softener, growing awareness of emu as a low-fat alternative to beef and interest from Japan and other countries in importing emu products.
In addition to emus, other animals now being exploited for their meat include rabbits, bison, crocodiles, elk, alligators, and goats. These victims still form only a small minority of the billions of animals reared and slaughtered to satisfy an imaginary need for animal protein. Yet the introduction of new animals into the industrial farming system is cause for concern because it widens the circle of suffering. Animals once considered wildlife have been transformed into consumer products.
In the years ahead, more and more people are bound to encounter advertisements for these foods, with sleek come-ons promising "healthful" and "low-fat" meats. Ostriches, emus and buffalo--and indeed all animals slaughtered for food--are feeling, complex beings. They deserve our respect, and more important, they deserve to be left alone.
November / December, 1998
VIVA VEGIE SOCIETY NEWS
Go Vegan: New VivaVegie brochure tells you how
Our guide to veganism
Now available free from VivaVegie: "The Easy Guide to Veganism." This valuable leaflet includes a dietary-transition plan, a directory of veg and veg-friendly restaurants and health-food stores in New York City, and lists of Web sites, cookbooks and places to take cooking classes. To receive the leaflet, send an SASE to our post-office box (see page 4), indicating your interest in the Vegan Guide.
Campaign for veg center continues
We almost started it. A good deal on shared office space in midtown Manhattan came our way and we almost took it! We declined because we didn't quite have the start-up funds to make it happen. Regardless, the dream is alive. For more information about our plans, send inquiries to our post-office box (see page 4). Ask for our vegetarian-center brochure.
VivaVegie sandwich boards
Take your passion to the street. It's easy. Now you can obtain brilliant, full-color 11" x 17" replicas of the famous VivaVegie sandwich boards for only $30, which includes a starter kit of 20 copies of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." Send checks to the VivaVegie Society in care of the post-office address on page 4. (See also page 2.)
Vegan help line
Where do I get my protein? How do I make a tofu scrambler? What, exactly, is spirulina? No question is too basic. Just call the VivaVegie vegan help line at (212) 229-1506 (business hours only) or send your question to email@example.com.
Thank you for the help
Thank you, Helayne Gaither, for sponsoring our table at the North American Vegetarian Society Summerfest in July. Your support is much appreciated.
November / December, 1998
Saturday, November 21
- Turkey-free Thanksgiving potluck dinner featuring Howard Lyman, Robert Cohen and Shelton Walden, presented by EarthSave Long Island, 6 p.m., at Gloria Dei Church in Huntington, NY. Information: (516) 421-3791.
Sunday, November 22
- Author Rynn Berry discusses vegetarianism in religion at a turkey-free Thanksgiving feast, sponsored by Big Apple Vegetarians, in NYC. Information: (212) 715-8642.
- Turkey-free Thanksgiving potluck dinner featuring singer Carol Moon, presented by EarthSave Hudson Valley, 5 p.m., at United Methodist Church in Pleasantville, NY. Information: (914) 472-7392.
Tuesday, November 24
- A free program on First Amendment rights for activists, sponsored by the Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals of the NYC Bar Association, 6:30 p.m., at 42 W. 44th Street. Information: (212) 382-6600, ext. 6613.
- Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Agenda, featuring Gary Francione, director of the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Center, 7 p.m., at Wetlands Preserve, 161 Hudson Street, NYC. Information: (212) 966-4225. (Call to confirm.)
Saturday, November 28-Sunday, November 29
- Second International Food Festival, sponsored by Vegetarian Vision, in NYC. Food and speakers. Information: (212) 971-0653.
Sunday, November 29
- Hike to Pine Meadow Lake in Harriman State Park, sponsored by Sierra Club NYC Vegetarian Outings. Information: (212) 744-4491.
Thursday, December 24
- Christmas Eve leafleting with VivaVegie. Information: (718) 934-3267.
Sunday, December 27
- VegOut vegan potluck, 5 p.m., at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, One Little West 12th Street. Information: (212) 802-8655.
Monday, January 4-Sunday, January 10
- Thirty-third World Vegetarian Congress in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Information:+44-(0)181-265-3277 (United Kingdom); E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
November / December, 1998
A PUBLICATION OF:
VivaVegie Society, Inc.
ISSUE: VOL.. 7, NO. 4
November / December, 1998
P.O. Box 1447
New York, NY 10276
(212) 871-9304 (hot line)
- Publisher: Pamela Rice
- Editor: Alex Press
- Reference editor: Alan Rice
- Advertising: Pamela Rice
- Copy Editing: Glen Boisseau Becker
- Contributing artist: Juan Torcoletti
- Contributing writer: Edmund Klein
- Gaggle of veg-evangelists: Bobbie Flowers, Dean Milan, Rochelle Goldman, Lenny Morgenstern, Jean Thaler
- Karen Davis: United Poultry Concerns
- Richard Schwartz: author, Judaism and Vegetarianism
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
- Craig Filipacchi and Nadine Miral of Earthbase
To become a member of the VivaVegie Society for one year, send $15 to the above address. Membership entitles you to a membership card, five issues of The VivaVine, a copy of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian" and VivaVegie's "Easy Guide to Veganism."