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The VivaVine . November / December 1999
the vegetarian-issues magazine

The VivaVine is a publication of the VivaVegie Society, New York City's premier vegetarian-outreach organization.






COMMENTARY: Why we need a vegetarian center

CURRENT PROGRAMS: Lectures, workshops, screenings, and more

MEAT-EATER WOES: Heartburn and constipation cured by veg diet

GRAPEVINE Bitter barbecue: a reader submits poetry (and other stories)

VEGETARIAN NEWS Worst E. coli contamination in U.S. history (and other stories)

PROJECT FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR VEGETARIANS: Comprehensive rundown of the latest government giveaways

ANIMAL RIGHTS: Legal scholars spark new public debate

FLOYD'S FLOOD: Ag waste slimes North Carolina and marine nurseries

ANIMALS THEY CALL DOWNERS: What they are; what you can do

VEGGIE NUGGETS Eating his veggies allowed Homo erectus to become man's ancestor

ANIMAL COMPANIONS Pet-food slumgullion: Fluffy, Fido, it's time for dinner!

FAQS: Frequently asked questions about VivaVegie and the vegetarian center

VIVA VEGIE SOCIETY NEWS Vegetarian center is now open

MASTHEAD

CALENDAR








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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

THE FAQs


Frequently asked questions about VivaVegie and the vegetarian center

The FAQs: Everything you always wanted to know

Q.What are the general office hours of the new veggie center?

A.4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday. It is advisable to call ahead, [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00].

Q.I have a professional skill. How can I volunteer my services through VivaVegie?

A.VivaVegie is especially interested in your skills in publishing, publicity, bookkeeping, database management and html formatting for our Web site. In addition, if you have skills in law or accounting, consider donating time to VivaVegie. Otherwise, if you just want to be part of our periodic volunteers' open houses, give us a call! [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00]

Q.I want to donate books and/or magazines to the center.

A.We very much appreciate your generosity, but unfortunately, with only 120 square feet for the entire office, we have almost no room left for materials at this time. Much work needs to be done to gain financial support in order for us to have a larger facility that can house more materials.

Q.I don't have much time. Is there something on the low-commitment side I can do to help the center?

A.Sure. (1) Collect vegetarian-restaurant menus and send them to us. (2) Arrange to do filing at the office. (3) Call on short notice to ask if there may be an errand to run.

Q.I'm a journalist and want to write a feature for The Nation about a particular vegetarian subject. May I use the reference material at the vegetarian center?

A.Yes. VivaVegie is proud of its collection of catalogued news stories, books and magazines filled with information that backs up our claim that vegetarianism is the healthiest, most environmentally friendly and ethically conscious lifestyle to follow. Call [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00] to schedule your visit.

Q.I want to make a donation to VivaVegie's vegetarian center. Since I itemize my tax returns, I want to be sure to get a tax deduction.

A.No problem. VivaVegie is an educational, 501(c)3, tax-exempt, charitable organization. As long as your contribution is not in exchange for any merchandise--membership, "101 Reasons," T-shirts or sandwich boards--it will be tax-deductible. Gifts over $15 entitle you to a receipt from us, which you should save for the next time you make out your tax returns. And don't forget that donations designated for the center that are received before December 31, 1999, are doubled by our matching-fund grant. For instance, if you give $50, you're really giving $100! Keep the center strong and in the black. Checks should be made payable to the VivaVegie Society.

Q.I want to start a vegetarian ski club. May I use the conference room at the center to have meetings of core members?

A.Yes. This is precisely what the conference room is for. The same would go for your glee club, your poker club, your hiking club or your "vegetarian liberation army" club. The only requirement is that most of your members be vegetarians and that vegetarianism be a focus of your group.

Q.I would like to see "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian" at my local health-food store/vegetarian restaurant. How do I go about getting it stocked there?

A.If you're really dedicated to the idea, VivaVegie will give you a stack of sample "101 Reasons" to give to the retail establishment, free of charge, to test how they sell. Engage the owner/manager and keep in touch with him or her. After a period of time, ask if he or she wants to order more. See if a brochure holder is needed. In the end, do all the things that a sales rep would do to "service the account" on an ongoing basis. Ultimately, VivaVegie wants to get regular orders. An order blank is on page 15 of each copy of the "101 Reasons."

Q.I have some sales experience. I'd like to try my hand at selling advertising space in VivaVegie's journal, The VivaVine. How do I go about this?

A.If you're sincere in this goal, VivaVegie will outfit you with a portfolio of back issues and rate cards. Put your schmooze quotient to the test and let vegetarian restaurants and vegan-product companies know that advertising in The VivaVine is a good bet. A bonus of this job is that you are entitled to a 10 percent commission.

Q.How much are the vegetarian center T-shirts?

A.$12 (please add $3.20 for postage if you request one through the mail).

Q.How can I obtain multiple copies of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian," the "mighty convincer"?

A.Through mail order, your first copy is $2. (Visitors to the center may have their first copy free of charge.) Additional copies are 50 cents each. Fifty copies are $20. One hundred copies are $35. All orders through the mail come postage paid.

Q.Is there any way I can help make sure VivaVegie's journal is properly circulated?

A.You bet. Anytime you can make it to the vegetarian center during office hours (4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday), stop by to pick up a stack of our illustrious journal, The VivaVine. Keep watch over it at your favorite location.

Q.I'm interested in taking part in VivaVegie's famous vegetarian outreach.

A.The best way to get involved is to call the vegetarian information line at (212) 229-1506. Someone will get in touch with you with dates and times. Otherwise, consider coordinating an entire event, such as a street fair, representing VivaVegie. Feel the momentous satisfaction of seeing your efforts change people's lives.

Q.I hear that VivaVegie has replicas of its famous "Ask me why I'm a vegetarian" sandwich boards. How can I obtain a set?

A.A set of sandwich boards is $30, which includes 20 copies of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." Please add $6.40 for postage if you request one through the mail.

The Vegetarian Center
[click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00]
THE MAILING ADDRESS IS:
VivaVegie Society
P.O. Box 1447
New York, NY 10276





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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

COMMENTARY


Why we need a vegetarian center

By Pamela Rice


 
There's no doubt that we vegetarians are in the middle of a renaissance. It's not long before we can expect to be considered a political force to reckon with.

On Tuesday morning, September 28, anyone listening to the local public radio station (WNYC) on either AM or FM was likely to hear me speaking about the new veggie center. The segment ran twice on both bandwidths. We vegetarians can consider it quite an accomplishment. The broadcast range of both stations extends to the entire tri-state area. In fact, WNYC boasts the largest audience of any public radio station in the country. We'll never know how many people heard the interview, but listenership was certainly in the hundreds of thousands.

This interview did not take place in a vacuum. If VivaVegie did not have the vegetarian center, we probably would not have gotten the air time. The producer of the show said that she'd been receiving our materials for years, but apparently not until now have we caught her interest.

So, why do I continue to get that question, why a center? I've often thought that our first virtue is in our existence. Every vegetarian can tell his or her meat-eating friends, family and colleagues that we have this "place of our own." It's a symbol of our belief in ourselves.

On a more practical level, we're a referral center for people looking for vegetarian resources, such as restaurants or events sponsored by local vegetarian groups. We're a meeting place and a reading room; we publish and fulfill orders for our publications out of the center offices. We provide space for local vegetarian groups to meet and do their mailings. We have a space for our workshops, lectures, video nights, clubs and support groups.

But there is more to the center than even all of this. In fact, the best way to answer the question of "why a center?" is just to begin reciting "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian"-type facts. We need a center because 9 out of 17 fisheries are collapsing thanks to overfishing. We need a center because bypass surgeries are an epidemic. We need a center because billions of factory-farmed animals suffer abject cruelty at the hands of farmers and butchers every day. We need a center because approximately one in eight Americans suffers from constipation). We need a center because so few people know these simple implications of the supermarket meat case.

Could we call ourselves a people? We certainly have our own faith. It's interesting to note that outside of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé, all of the books on the shelf at the veggie center have been written within the last 15 years. There's no doubt that we vegetarians are in the middle of a renaissance. It's not long before we can expect to be considered a voice, a constituency and a political force to reckon with. In the meantime, we have a place to talk about it till the wee hours of the morning.


Vegetarian Center Programs


1. Fortnightly Videos

Movies are chosen because they have content related to vegetarianism.

  Nov. 10: Diet for a New America
  Nov. 24: Doc Hollywood
  Dec. 8: One Man's Way
  Dec. 22: Vegan Health Videos

Alternating Wednesdays at the center, [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00].

Programs begin at 6:30 p.m. with vegetarian and AR videos. Feature presentations begin at 7:15. Reservations are strongly recommended. Suggested donation: $5. Bring your own dinner. After 7 p.m. [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00].


2. Big Apple Vegetarians' issues-discussion club

This event takes place at the center, [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00]. Discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation: $5. Bring your own dinner.


3. Lecture series

This event takes place at the center [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00]. Discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation: $5.


4. Workshop

Designated Tuesdays at the center [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00].

Workshop begins at 7. Information: (212) 229-1506 or email Alex Press at apress@nycbiz.com.

[click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00]



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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

FOR THE HEALTH OF IT


Ailments That Just Nag

By Pamela Rice & Alex Press


Sure, a meat-centered diet raises one's risk for the big killers: heart disease, stroke and cancer. But what about all of those common, nagging ailments that are bringing everyday misery to the average animal-product-saturated American? Here's a rundown of just two: heartburn and constipation.

Heartburn? Take a pill

Heartburn should really be called esophagus burn. Imbibing fatty (read meat-based) foods stimulates an overproduction of stomach acid, which, not unlike battery acid in its caustic properties, will painfully slosh up onto the underprotected esophagus. Assaulted over time, the esophagus tends to develop scar tissue, or even a patch of altered cells known to develop cancer.

But thanks to the availability of a new class of over -- the-counter remedies -- the H2 blockers or histamine-receptor antagonists Tagamet, Pepcid AC and Zantac 75 - Americans have kissed their heartburn goodbye and stimulated the economy at the same time! Heartburn has burgeoned to a $1.4 billion industry, according to an August story in the Los Angeles Times. Today, modern meat-eating man can down that pastrami special oozing with fat with virtual impunity. He has acquired a coveted license to binge. Now all he needs are pills to control his cholesterol, lower his blood pressure and make him thin again.

The meat-induced unmentionable

Approximately one in eight Americans suffers from constipation - many chronically so, producing less than two bowel movements per week. Sufferers endure embarrassment, buying up over-the-counter remedies to the tune of $700 million per year. Many become dependent on laxatives and herbal teas, which eventually lose their remedial effect. Other victims regularly inflict enemas upon themselves. Still others try taking bloating fiber powders.

What's a meat eater to do? Aside from becoming a vegetarian who eats an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, he or she may now sign up for a massive study being conducted at 80 leading medical centers across the country and involving 1,200 constipated participants, according to a press release from the study's facilitators. The researchers hope to test a new drug whose mechanism of action "actually causes bowel wall contractions, which may help move food through the system quicker," according to one of the study's principal investigators. Call (800) 57-STUDY for more information. Or go vegetarian; it's a lot easier...and cheaper.

To prevent stroke, eat veggies

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in October provided strong evidence of the efficacy of fruits and vegetables in preventing strokes. Researchers at Harvard found that among the approximately 76,000 women and 39,000 men enrolled in two studies of health professionals, those who consumed five to six servings a day had a 31 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than those who consumed two to three servings. Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits were found to be especially protective.

...but not the french-fried kind

Unfortunately, Americans, particularly young Americans, appear to be eating the wrong kind of vegetable. A researcher at Louisiana State University calculated that potato chips and french fries make up more than a quarter of the vegetables eaten by children and nearly a third of the vegetables eaten by teenagers, the Associated Press reported in September. The researcher found that children younger than seven years old got 27.3 percent of their vegetables in this greasy, denatured form, a figure that rose steadily with age to 31.2 percent for those 13 to 18 and an alarming 40 percent for African-American teenagers.

Fat fuels diabetes explosion

Type-2, or adult-onset, diabetes has become a full-scale epidemic among Americans as they have become heavier and more sedentary. According to an expert quoted in the September 7 New York Times, "The incidence...has skyrocketed. This was a disease that 50 or 60 years ago was in 50- or 60-year-old people. Now we're starting to see teen-agers with it." Vegetarianism might well be a good way to reduce the prevalence of this health scourge. According to the American Dietetic Association position paper on vegetarianism, "Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for...diabetes mellitus." Or, as Johanna Dwyer of Tufts University Medical School, put it, "Evidence is good that [the risk] for type II diabetes...[is] lower" among vegetarians (FDA Consumer, October 1995). The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) argues that "low-fat, vegetarian diets are ideal for diabetics." Still, it may take some time before the mainstream, such as the American Diabetes Association, adopts this viewpoint: As PCRM notes, "The [association's] diet limits the amount of butter, eggs, and so forth, but it contains about 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day and about 30 percent fat."


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The VivaVine
September / October 1999

GRAPEVINE


A witness to murder & suicide: A reader submits poetry

I wrote this poem today after leaving a barbecue given where I work - at a high school in New Jersey. Perhaps you may find a place for it in your newsletter. I hope to visit your center in the near future. Thanks for your work to save lives.

Tragedy

Saw hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill
Silently I swallowed a bitter pill
"Thanks for inviting me to the barbecue"
I spoke the words and quickly flew
Away from the sadness welling up inside
A witness to murder & suicide
Am I being too dramatic
Have I turned into a fanatic
Or do I have the right to aspire
To a life of reverence and consciousness higher
Karma exacts the price to be paid
But when will this suffering begin to fade
When will we humans finally stop
Turning our bodies into burial plots

Sharleen Leahey
Clinton, New Jersey

Praise for veggie guide

Vegan guide Your material is great. I was especially happy to get your "Vegetarian Guide to New York City." You managed to put a lot of helpful information in there. The section on how to become a vegetarian is very well done, as is the list of helpful resources. I have made many copies of the guide to give to New York City Elderhostel visitors at Millennium. The majority of them have never been to a veggie restaurant.

Ann W. Wheat
Millennium Restaurant
San Francisco

Editor's note: A copy of VivaVegie's "Vegetarian Guide to New York City" (a.k.a. "The Easy Guide to Veganism") is free to members of the VivaVegie Society as well as to visitors to the vegetarian center.

Congrats on veg center

Congratulations on opening the Vegetarian Center of New York. Your work and dedication are an inspiration. May it be a model of what can be done in other cities!
Juan
Via E-mail

A global trend?

I always enjoy The VivaVine, but I especially enjoyed the May/June issue, which announced the existence of the Vegetarian Center of New York City. Hopefully, your perseverance will encourage other people. Hats off to you for all the great work you do. I hope that vegetarian centers "sprout" up all over the U.S., then the world.

Craig Cline
Salem, Oregon

VVS: Fun and serious

I'm writing to congratulate you on the tremendous job you've done with "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." It is truly a "mighty convincer" and, I think, excellent in every way - down to the color of the ink!

Also, I was impressed with what seems to be the fun/serious mix of VivaVegie's outreach actions.

Rhetta Barron
New York, New York

Cry, baby

If I had any doubt, I don't anymore. Your "101 Reasons" made me cry! I will never eat meat again! Thank you for the information. It will be useful for explaining to my friends and family why I am a vegetarian.

Valerie
Via E-mail

No more meat!

Although reading the "101 Reasons" broke my heart (I hate stories of animal cruelty), it was well worth it. I barely eat meat and have been considering becoming completely vegetarian, but this has made up my mind. No more meat! Thanks for putting the facts out.

Jackie
Via E-mail

Compassion for hunters

I loved the September/October VivaVine, but please make sure not to imply that the death of a hunter (also, surprisingly, a sentient being) is a time to rejoice or not grieve [Veggie Nuggets, "Dragging That Deer Could Bag You a Heart Attack"]. Still, you guys are great.

Jason M.
Fort Worth




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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

VEGETARIAN NEWS


MEAT CONTAMINATION: Worst E. coli contamination in U.S. history


Vegetarian News is compiled by the staff of The VivaVine using reference material gathered by Alan Rice


Worst E. coli contamination in U.S. history

September brought food-borne illness to the front pages with two massive outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7, one now described as the worst in U.S. history. The one of historic note took place in upstate New York and claimed the lives of a 3-year-old girl and an elderly man. These victims, along with a thousand others who were sickened, had consumed water that was traced to a well contaminated with feces from a single cow at a state fair. Sixty-two people were hospitalized.

The other outbreak, a week later, was traced to undercooked hamburgers served at an especially large Labor Day picnic in Illinois - dubbed Cornstock - that took place in a cow pasture, the setting of which was originally suspect.

A public health official explained in an Associated Press story late in September that the meat was probably contaminated when "the animal was butchered." No deaths resulted from the outbreak, but 300 people became ill and 22 people were hospitalized. At one point, local officials scrambled to contact 1,800 people who had attended the celebration to warn them to watch for symptoms of food poisoning.

New CDC numbers

On September 17, the Centers for Disease Control released their most comprehensive report to date on food-borne disease. They found that every year 76 million Americans, or one in four, get sick from something they ate.

Eighty percent of food-borne illnesses and 64 percent of related deaths result from unknown causes, according to a Bloomberg wire story the day of the CDC report. Of those identified, animal foods predominate. Noteworthy bacteria include campylobacter (a pathogen found primarily in chicken) and salmonella, together accounting for 3.3 million cases of illness, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. But leading the pack of known contributors to food-borne illness are the Norwalk-like viruses found in shellfish harvested from waste-polluted waters. These account for 9.2 million cases, according to the Chronicle.

For the moment, no fingers have been pointed at the practices of meat producers, restaurateurs and supermarkets, but, according to a bacteria specialist at the CDC quoted in a New York Times article, that could change when the study is updated.

Scientists issue new warning on antibiotics

Antibiotic use on the farm was criticized again in September, according to Reuters, when the Infection Control Advisory Network warned that the practice was incubating dangerous drug-resistant "superbugs." A prime worry is that the microbes are the same ones that infect humans. People can become infected by eating foods that carry the resistant pathogens.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Antwerp, in Belgium, found that samples of chickens, pigs and turkeys exhibited "alarmingly high" rates of antimicrobial resistance among strains of the pathogen campylobacter.

Xenotransplant this

Ruin your heart by eating high-cholesterol, high-sodium, no-fiber meat from pigs and other animals and you may become a candidate for an organ transplant. Unfortunately, you're going to be far from alone in your predicament - over 62,000 Americans are in line ahead of you, according to an August article in The New York Times. It's going to be difficult to find a crash victim to provide a healthy heart. Demand for transplantable organs of all kinds has outstripped supply. That's why the race is on to bioengineer animals, particularly pigs, that can "donate" organs. The fear of interspecies virus transfer has been the main stumbling block. But a study published in the journal Science in August - the largest to date on the subject - offered reassuring results for would-be xenotrans- planters, suggesting that pig organs might be safe for testing on humans.

Still, before these interspecies surgeons reach for their scalpels, they may want to read some of the reporting on the catastrophe that occurred in Malaysia earlier this year. (The August Scientific American has a particularly comprehensive account.) Over 100 Malaysians died from a virus they contracted directly from pigs. In a related story, it was determined in September that an AIDS victim who died in 1992 after having a baboon-liver transplant had contracted a strain of herpes virus from the animal.

Extinction Cuisine: Elephant, chimp, gorilla meat

Conservationists fear that gorillas and chimpanzees who dwell in natural habitats outside of preserves will soon go extinct. Thousands of hunters in central Africa earn their living by killing elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas and selling their flesh to city dwellers. Such animals are bunched under the broad term "bushmeat." One proposed solution, according to an August article on the CNN Web site, is wildlife watching for tourists. However, apes shy away from humans, associating them with danger.

Court upholds school's ban on vegan T-shirts

Last spring, a federal judge in Utah upheld a school district's ban on clothing with the word vegan. According to the Associated Press, the district prohibited displaying the word in school after suspending Spencer Merkley, a member of the Straight Edge movement, for wearing a vegan sweatshirt. Many Straight Edgers abstain from animal products, as well as from drugs, sex and smoking. Although police and school officials consider them to be a violent gang, linking them to the firebombing of a leather store and a murder, AP reported, Merkley refused to call the movement a gang and said his veganism is unrelated.

The student who challenged the ban in court, John Ouimette, said he is not a Straight Edger. After being suspended for wearing a vegan T-shirt in protest against the ban, Ouimette returned with one reading "Vegans Have First Amendment Rights." At a rally, Ouimette said, "Veganism is not gang-related any more than Mormonism or Christianity. Veganism is about compassion and justice for all living beings. Veganism is about promoting nonviolence."


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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

PROJECT FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR VEGETARIANS


Animal food producers wreck environment, U.S. taxpayers pay to fix it up again

By Pamela Rice

185 fishermen to catch sweet government bounty

In a move that would make any vegetarian shake her head in amazement, the federal government had, at press time, all but approved legislation that would give $15 million in aid to New England's fishing industry. Dressed up to look like a conservation measure, the legislation would distribute up to $1,500 to each fisherman for each day that he was prohibited‹for conservation purposes‹from fishing last spring. Part of the package is the continuation of a program that pays fishermen to help scientists study the methods that have essentially caused fishing grounds to collapse, i.e., overfishing. Legislators are assuming it is in the public interest to understand every nuance of the marine decimation in the hope of possibly "managing" the fisheries, a dubious notion according to many environmentalists. The legislation will affect a mere 185 fishermen from five states.

Taxpayers to pay $1.3 billion for pollution buffers for farmers

Farming is a dirty business, literally. Runoff of manure, fertilizers and pesticides into waterways has made agriculture a primary cause of water pollution in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just the solution, and it doesn't cost the perpetrators of the pollution a thing. In fact, farmers make money on this deal. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) rents buffer land between farms and waterways from the polluters at public expense to plant foliage that acts like a filter protecting the water. The program has been around since the mid '80s. This year's CRP appropriation was $1.3 billion.


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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

ANIMALS AND THE LAW


Animal Rights: A "far-out" idea finds new credibility

By Alex Press

On an otherwise unremarkable Saturday, July 10, members of New York City's animal rights community were startled to see a color photo of our own Joan Zacharias and Stuart Lerner on the front page of that old "gray lady" of journalism, The New York Times - above the fold. The occasion was a fishing
 
Mahatma Gandhi
VivaVegie's Penelo Pea Pod and friends (Scott Lustig, Steve Stein and Kim Downes) made a point of stopping at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Union Square during their promenade through Greenwich Village on World Farm Animals Day, October 2, Gandhi's birthday.
 
contest in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Zacharias held a clearly legible sign, reading, "Animal cruelty is not a sport." For the Times to have given such prominent play to an animal rights action after years of ignoring the movement seemed extraordinary and made one wonder whether something was afoot.

On August 18, the Times struck again, in a big way, with a front-page story on the emerging field of animal rights law. Despite the inevitable, slighting reference to "clients with names like Freckles and Muffin," the article was a serious treatment of an idea once considered too far-out for rational human beings to entertain: namely, that animals might be entitled to protection from human abuse and exploitation.

Predictably, the initial article, as well as a follow-up in the Sunday Times's Week in Review section, generated a flurry of commentary. Conservatives such as the New York Post's Maggie Gallagher suggested that any talk of animal rights is inherently absurd and that animal rights lawyers had to be in it for the money. The Wall Street Journal's Max Boot satirically imagined a future in which the end of vivisection has brought medical progress to a halt and filled hospitals, despite a presumably vegetarian society that has made such dubious pleasures as "juicy T-bones" illegal.

While tongues were still wagging over the Times articles, a New York City conference on September 25 brought together more than a dozen scholars and several hundred observers for a discussion of "The Legal Status of Non-Human Animals," sponsored by the New York City Bar Association's Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals.


 
When The New York Times sees fit to feature animal rights law on its front page, a once untouchable subject becomes an issue for serious mainstream debate.

Moderators Jane Hoffman and David Wolfson, author of Beyond the Law, a groundbreaking study of anticruelty statutes, drew insights from a panel including law professors from around the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Panelists grappled with the property status of animals - debating whether significant rights could be obtained for them while they continue to be "owned" by people - and explored the suitability of the courts and the legislature as arenas in the animal rights struggle. They contrasted the U.S. with the far more animal-friendly U.K. And they weighed the promise and perils of focusing first on rights for the great apes, humanity's closest relatives, an approach epitomized by the Great Ape Legal

Project. Would a victory for chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans lead to rights for other animals or to a new, unbreakable wall between primates on one side and the rest of the animal kingdom on the other?

In hearing the often high-level legal exchanges, an observer could take comfort in the fact that such acute legal minds had adopted animal rights as a cause. Still, a common theme was that this fight will have to be won in the court of public opinion. Before significant change can occur in the law, people's minds have to be swayed. And that, the panelists largely agreed, requires a mass movement.

Certainly the media have a key role in shaping popular views, and the Times's coverage of animal rights law lent the topic unexpected mainstream cachet (as did the announcement of new courses in animal law at Harvard and Georgetown Universities, mentioned prominently in the first Times article).

If one were to look at historical analogies, it wasn't long ago that the nation's "paper of record," an arbiter of respectable opinion, was fiercely homophobic. It has since made a nearly 180-degree turn on gay rights. Is it too much to hope that the recent animal rights coverage heralds a similar turnabout, even if the progress made by the Times, and society at large, is measured in decades rather than years?








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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

FECES FIASCO


Floyd: Animal waste cascades into waterways
By Pamela Rice

In the initial aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, official counts of farm animals drowned in North Carolina were ridiculously low. In the case of hogs, the count was a mere hundred thousand, despite the fact that flooding had occurred exactly where 7 million hogs are concentrated and imprisoned in long, one-story barns on North Carolina's coastal plain. (In the case of chickens and turkeys, casualties were similarly underreported.)


 
Pristine wetlands and estuaries off the North Carolina coast destroyed by overflowing hog-manure pits

Hogs produce two to four times the waste of the average human. North Carolina, like other states, allows farmers to store hog waste in what are called lagoons--a euphemism for gigantic cesspools of urine and feces. Typically, manure stays in lagoons until it is sprayed across fields that are often already saturated. Lagoons and spray fields threaten groundwater without the help of flooding. With Floyd, we didn't only have to worry about the slow leak and trickle of nitrogen and phosphorus edging toward water tables; we had a deluge on our hands.

The Associated Press ran a story in early October that said it all: "Across the state, [Floyd] inundated...more than 50 livestock lagoons." In 1995, just one lagoon that ruptured spewed 25 million gallons of parasite- and bacteria-ridden waste, the worst hog-manure spill in the state's history. By early October, as a result of Floyd, 350 square miles of brown sewage had spread across the Pamlico Sound, off North Carolina's coast.

Concealing evidence of ecological damage by those in animal agriculture is nothing new. For instance, farmers are not required to report the burial of livestock "mortalities," not even catastrophic ones, which also threaten groundwater. It's not likely that officials in North Carolina were eager to advertise the catastrophe that had occurred because of Floyd. Thankfully for them, the USDA sent portable incinerators to burn carcasses, which threatened to spread disease. Now, no one may ever know the true body count.

Environmentalists once again are calling into question something they warned about years ago, the wisdom of building so many factory farms on what amounts to a floodplain. Now there is nothing but regrets about fish extinction, red tides, pfiesteria outbreaks and mountains of dead marine life sure to come, not to mention the agony already experienced by North Carolina's residents, who had to endure the disgusting spectacle of urine, feces and animal carcasses floating in and around their homes. And as if all of this were not enough, at press time, Hurricane Irene was headed right for North Carolina's still-flooded areas.

North Carolina's coast is the marine nursery for aquatic wildlife for much of the eastern seaboard. When the ABC evening news predicted early in the story that Floyd's environmental destruction would be of biblical proportions, vegetarians were given yet one more reason to be happy about their eating habits.






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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

FOR THE HEALTH OF IT


Ailments that just nag

Sure, a meat-centered diet raises one's risk for the big killers: heart disease, stroke and cancer. But what about all of those common, nagging ailments that are bringing everyday misery to the average animal-product-saturated American? Here's a rundown of just two: heartburn and constipation.

Heartburn? Take a pill

Heartburn should really be called esophagus burn. Imbibing fatty (read meat-based) foods stimulates an overproduction of stomach acid, which, not unlike battery acid in its caustic properties, will painfully slosh up onto the underprotected esophagus. Assaulted over time, the esophagus tends to develop scar tissue, or even a patch of altered cells known to develop cancer.

But thanks to the availability of a new class of over-the-counter remedies--the H2 blockers or histamine-receptor antagonists Tagamet, Pepcid AC and Zantac 75--Americans have kissed their heartburn goodbye and stimulated the economy at the same time! Heartburn has burgeoned to a $1.4 billion industry, according to an August story in the Los Angeles Times. Today, modern meat-eating man can down that pastrami special oozing with fat with virtual impunity. He has acquired a coveted license to binge. Now all he needs are pills to control his cholesterol, lower his blood pressure and make him thin again.

The meat-induced unmentionable

Approximately one in eight Americans suffers from constipation--many chronically so, producing less than two bowel movements per week. Sufferers endure embarrassment, buying up over-the-counter remedies to the tune of $700 million per year. Many become dependent on laxatives and herbal teas, which eventually lose their remedial effect. Other victims regularly inflict enemas upon themselves. Still others try taking bloating fiber powders.

What's a meat eater to do? Aside from becoming a vegetarian who eats an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, he or she may now sign up for a massive study being conducted at 80 leading medical centers across the country and involving 1,200 constipated participants, according to a press release from the study's facilitators. The researchers hope to test a new drug whose mechanism of action "actually causes bowel wall contractions, which may help move food through the system quicker," according to one of the study's principal investigators. Call (800) 57-STUDY for more information. Or go vegetarian; it's a lot easier...and cheaper.

To prevent stroke, eat veggies

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in October provided strong evidence of the efficacy of fruits and vegetables in preventing strokes. Researchers at Harvard found that among the approximately 76,000 women and 39,000 men enrolled in two studies of health professionals, those who consumed five to six servings a day had a 31 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than those who consumed two to three servings. Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits were found to be especially protective.

...but not the french-fried kind

Unfortunately, Americans, particularly young Americans, appear to be eating the wrong kind of vegetable. A researcher at Louisiana State University calculated that potato chips and french fries make up more than a quarter of the vegetables eaten by children and nearly a third of the vegetables eaten by teenagers, the Associated Press reported in September. The researcher found that children younger than seven years old got 27.3 percent of their vegetables in this greasy, denatured form, a figure that rose steadily with age to 31.2 percent for those 13 to 18 and an alarming 40 percent for African-American teenagers.

Fat fuels diabetes explosion

Type-2, or adult-onset, diabetes has become a full-scale epidemic among Americans as they have become heavier and more sedentary. According to an expert quoted in the September 7 New York Times, "The incidence...has skyrocketed. This was a disease that 50 or 60 years ago was in 50- or 60-year-old people. Now we're starting to see teen-agers with it." Vegetarianism might well be a good way to reduce the prevalence of this health scourge. According to the American Dietetic Association position paper on vegetarianism, "Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for...diabetes mellitus." Or, as Johanna Dwyer of Tufts University Medical School, put it, "Evidence is good that [the risk] for type II diabetes...[is] lower" among vegetarians (FDA Consumer, October 1995). The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) argues that "low-fat, vegetarian diets are ideal for diabetics." Still, it may take some time before the mainstream, such as the American Diabetes Association, adopts this viewpoint: As PCRM notes, "The [association's] diet limits the amount of butter, eggs, and so forth, but it contains about 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day and about 30 percent fat."






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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

ANIMAL COMPANIONS


Pet-food slumgullion: Fluffy, Fido, it's time for dinner!

Ever wonder what's in the food you feed your pet? It's not something most people think about much. But

 
Pet food today is a witch's brew of dubious slaughterhouse byproducts, flavorings, pesticides, preservatives, coloring agents, rancid oils and even rendered cats and dogs.

according to a 1996 article by Tina Perry published in Animals' Agenda, there are quite a few aspects to modern pet food that should raise eyebrows and prompt concerned animal lovers to consider alternatives for their companion animals. According to the article, pet food today is a witch's brew of dubious slaughterhouse byproducts, flavorings, pesticides, preservatives, coloring agents, rancid oils and even rendered fellow cats and dogs. Ms. Perry writes, "Rendering plant workers say it would be impossible for [rendering company] purchasers to know the exact contents of what they buy."

Pet food has become a great way for giant food multinationals to dump their byproducts. What really are "meat byproducts," that catch-all phrase, for that matter? According to Perry, the term refers to "heads, feet, entrails, lungs, spleens, kidneys, brains, livers, stomachs, bones, blood and intestines." These parts can easily be marred by cancerous tissue or caked-on spoiled meat. Pet food is also a great use of condemned meat from downed animals.

In addition, according to Perry, any grains in pet food are likely to have been stripped of nutritional value during milling, leaving little more than roughage. In the end, manufacturers are forced by minimal nutrition standards to fortify their product with vitamins and minerals. Bon Appétit!






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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

VEGGIE NUGGETS


Our slightly jadded perspective

Eating his veggies allowed Homo erectus to become man's ancestor

A study sure to irk raw foodists but to please vegetarians in general is scheduled to be published in the December issue of the journal Current Anthropology. It posits that early humans got smart not because meat was introduced into their diet but because fire was used to cook vegetables. The large-brained human ancestor Homo erectus, as the theory goes, is identified by a larger body and smaller teeth than earlier ancestors, which suggests that his food had to become more nutritious per bite. The only foods that become more nutritious with processing, the researchers suggest, are vegetables--in this case with cooking. In addition, cooking allowed a greater variety of vegetables to become viable food sources. Gregory Laden, one of the scientists involved in the study, was quoted in a story posted to CNN's Web site as saying, "Humans started to use fire just at the time their bodies changed. Meat is just as nutritious whether it is raw or cooked, but plant food is not."

Nothing but a moon dream

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service launched a mini crusade in May about food safety. It presented a comprehensive framework for achieving risk-free meat, poultry and egg products to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. Food-safety deputy secretary Thomas J. Billy acknowledged that risk-free food was in fact not technically possible today and compared the new goals of the FSIS to President Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon.

Ultrasound to grade living animal flesh

In a development that might make the kidnapper in the movie The Silence of the Lambs smile with appreciation, university researchers have teamed up with the American Angus Association to perfect ultrasound techniques on live animals. A sound-emitting probe is now able to transmit cross-sectional images to a floppy disk, later to be viewed on a computer monitor. Producers will soon be able to peruse databases full of images. According to animal scientist Doyle Wilson, the direct measurements will be "cheaper, easier and faster, without having to wait for slaughter."






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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

SLAUGHTERHOUSE BYPRODUCT


Immobile Animals: The industry calls them downers

By Scott Lustig

In 1986, Gene and Lorri Bauston, two environmental and animal rights advocates, came upon Lancaster Stockyards while traveling through Pennsylvania. In the backyard, the couple witnessed a large pile of dead

 
Sick, injured, and utterly neglected

sheep. These were the animals who were killed by the intense filth, overcrowding and manhandling of their living conditions and transport before they could reach the slaughterer. Maggots crawled around the carcasses in the intense heat. Suddenly, Gene and Lorri spotted one woolly ball within the pile whimpering faintly. One sheep was still alive, though crippled and severely dehydrated. With no time to lose, they rescued her from the stockyard, brought her home and rehabilitated her.

Hilda

Gene and Lorri's jarring experience with this suffering sheep, whom they named Hilda, led them to form Farm Sanctuary, an organization that rescues animals from agribusiness and rehabilitates them. As the organization grew, it continually discovered animals in the same conditions as Hilda. In fact, the industry has a name for such animals--"downers." The problem is, too many stockyards allow a cattle raiser to make at least some money on these animals. If this were not the case, ranchers would euthanize downers themselves, long before they would otherwise be brought to market. Since downed animals carry some worth, livestock owners might as well keep sick and crippled animals alive, despite their suffering.

In fact, if it is necessary for such an animal to be moved, he or she is likely to be chain-dragged, kicked,

 
Since cattle raisers know they can make money on downers, there's no reason for them to stop bringing such animals to market.

whipped with electrical prods and shoved with tractors and forklifts. According to Farm Sanctuary, "Downed animals frequently lay in alleyways, without food, water, or veterinary care, until it's convenient to take them to slaughter. In many cases, the animals die of neglect."

Efforts to prosecute downed-animal abusers are often frustrated. In many states, farm animals have been formally excluded from anticruelty statutes, but even where they are theoretically covered, law enforcement officers generally reject complaints. Such was the case with Lancaster Stockyards in 1986, when Farm Sanctuary protested the large numbers of downed sheep, pigs, cows and goats there. Local law enforcement claimed nothing could be done under the law. Similarly, Texas did nothing when workers were caught unloading a disabled cow from a truck by fastening one end of a chain around the cow's neck and the other end to a post--not an atypical remedy for an immobile animal. As the truck moved on, the cow was yanked to the ground.

While the fight against downed-animal abuse has been daunting, there have been successes. In 1992, despite a stated policy of no longer accepting downed animals (the result of massive public protest), investigators at Lancaster Stockyards witnessed a severely weakened cow lying in a dead pile. It became the first stockyard in the United States to be convicted of animal cruelty. Also, Cincinnati has passed the first-ever "no downers" city ordinance.

Major policy initiatives being pursued by Farm Sanctuary need our support. In Congress, legislators have introduced the Downed Animal Protection Act. It would amend the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, which addresses stockyard practices and is enforced by the USDA, to prohibit "any stockyard owner, market agency, or dealer to buy, sell, give, receive, transfer, market, hold, or drag any nonambulatory livestock unless the livestock has been humanely euthanized." The bill has over 100 cosponsors. In New York, a similar downed-animal protection bill has been introduced.

Contact Farm Sanctuary at (607) 583-2225 to find out if your representatives support these bills. Please thank them if they have; if not, urge them to sign on as cosponsors.






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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

VIVA VEGIE NEWS


Vegetarian center is now open
   
Thomas Thompson  
Thomas Thompson at VivaVegie's vegetarian center, adeptly conquering the rigors of bulk mail  
   

With the aid of federal 501(c)3, nonprofit status, obtained in 1998, the VivaVegie Society received a substantial anonymous donation that allowed it to open an office in March 1999, in Manhattan's bustling Flatiron district. VivaVegie has named this new space the Vegetarian Center of New York City.

A foundation to build on

The challenge for us as a community is for vegetarians to come together and build this center into a place we can be proud of, one that represents a large, active and influential constituency.

Donations to be doubled

Don't forget that our anonymous donor has offered a generous matching grant. Donations--totaling up to $10,000--that are received before December 31, 1999, will be matched.

   
Yichun Lin w/VivaVegie T-shirt on  
Stop by VivaVegie's vegetarian center at [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00], and pick up one of our new T-shirts, modeled here by Yichun Lin. The khaki shirts, silkscreened in navy, are available in most sizes (S, M, L, XL) and are yours for only $12 each, plus $3.20 for mail order. (Send checks to VivaVegie Society, P.O. Box 1447, New York, NY 10276.) On the back are the words "The Vegetarian Center of New York City, [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00] so you can give us a plug on the run.  
   
Year 2000 Fund

Our current center is just a start. Ultimately, we need to grow into a facility at the storefront level. Call Pamela Rice at the vegetarian center [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00] for more information on our streetlevel fund drive.





Marching to the Millennium: Veg'ns on the move

VVS 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 (add $6.40 for postage), which includes a starter kit of 20 copies of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." Send orders to our post-office address. (Send checks to VivaVegie Society, P.O. Box 1447, New York, NY 10276.)

Volunteer spirit

The volunteers keep coming; it's so easy now with our vegetarian center [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00]. The location makes it convenient for people to stop by for an hour or two after work or even fit us into their weekend schedule. Special thanks to the following people who helped further the cause of vegetarianism: Tom Thompson, Jean Thaler, April Salazar, Diane Beeny, Ron Montano, Susan Kalev, Lenny Morgenstern, Bobbie Flowers, Scott Lustig, Duane Cornella, Irene Poelz and Rochelle Goldman.

VivaVegie wish list

Vegan guide

Thank you for the help

Thank you, Alan Snyder, Jason Mallory, Norbert Banholzer, Eileen Weiss, Joe Passaretti, Paul Sheridan, Amy Deutsch, Dan Convissor and Athena Angelus, for your contributions of $25 or more to the Vegetarian Center of New York City. All of your donations have already been doubled by the matching-fund grant designated by our anonymous donor in support of the center. Call [click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00] for more information about Viva-Vegie's matching-fund grant.

Obtain VivaVegie's "Vegetarian Guide to New York City" free! To receive a copy, send an SASE to our post-office box, indicating your interest in the vegetarian guide.






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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

CALENDAR


Veggie community awaits you
See also our listing of four on-going activities sponsored by the VivaVegie Society: Fortnightly videos, Big Apple Vegetarians' discussion club, VivaVegie's lecture series and vegetarian workshops. Please call to confirm details. Events are in Manhattan unless otherwise noted.

Fri, Nov 12

Big Apple Vegetarians' "Battle of the Diets," featuring a panel on raw foods, macrobiotics, ayurveda and other health-oriented approaches to eating, plus vegan dinner, 6:30 p.m., at the Sanctuary restaurant, 25 First Avenue (1st Street). RSVP required: (212) 715-8642.

Sat, Nov 13

Thurs, Nov 18

Central Jersey Vegetarian Group presents "Me Get Cancer? How a Reluctant Vegetarian Regained Her Health and Happiness," featuring Sally Miller, 7 p.m., in Somerville, NJ. Info: (908) 281-6388.

Fri, Nov 19

Vegetarian Vision Thanksgiving celebration featuring Howard Lyman, music and a cruelty-free dinner, 7 to 11:30 p.m., at Bombay Palace, 30 W. 52nd Street. Cost: $29, $55 for a couple. Info: (212) 971-0653.

Sat, Nov 20

Vegan Thanksgiving potluck feast hosted by United Poultry Concerns, 2 to 6 p.m., 12325 Seaside Road, Machipongo, VA. Info: (757) 678-7875.

Sun, Nov 21

VivaVegie consulting editor Richard Schwartz on "What's Jewish about Vegetarianism?" followed by kosher vegan luncheon, 11 a.m., at Temple Beth Ahavath Sholom, 2166 Benson Avenue, Brooklyn. Cost: $5. RSVP: (718) 743-7967.

Sun, Nov 28

VegOut vegan potluck, 5 p.m., at theLesbian and Gay Community Center, One Little West 12th Street (at Hudson and Gansevoort). Info: (212) 802-8655.

Sat, Dec 11

Holiday cooking workshop, 9 a.m. to noon, at Sivananda Yoga Center. (See Nov 13.)

Sun, Dec 26

VegOut vegan potluck. (See Nov 28.)

Fri, Dec 31

Big Apple Vegetarians' Y2K dinner, at the Greens restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. Info: (212) 715-8642.

Wed, Jan 26

Pamela Rice speaks on vegetarianism, 7:30 to 9 p.m., at Integral Yoga, 227 W. 13th Street. Info: (212) 929-0586.

For more NYC-area vegetarian events, contact: For cooking classes, contact: To add an event, receive calendar updates or learn about VivaVegie outreach activities, contact Alex Press at apress@nycbiz.com.




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The VivaVine
November / December 1999

MASTHEAD

The VivaVine
is a publication of
VivaVegie Society, Inc.
Issue: Vol. 8, No. 5
November / December 1999

P.O. Box 1447
New York, NY 10276

[click here for new address and contact information as of 12/28/00] (vegetarian center)

E-mail: pamela@vivavegie.org
Publisher: Pamela Rice
Editor: Alex Press
Reference editor: Alan Rice
Copy consultant: Glen Boisseau Becker
Contributing writer: Scott Lustig
Gaggle of veg-evangelists: Bobbie Flowers, Jean Thaler, Michelle Fornof, Scott Lustig, Dean Milan, Rochelle Goldman, Julie Tuesday, Anne Borel


Editorial consultants:
Special thanks to:

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 "Vegetarian Guide to New York City," which includes a directory of restaurants.