The VivaVine
The Vegetarian-Issues Magazine

A publication of the VivaVegie Society, New York City's premier vegetarian-outreach organization.

(Fall 2001, Vol. 10, No. 4)



Go with the Acrobat Reader version and see the hard-copy VivaVine the way it was meant to be seen.

  If you don't have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it here.

Click here for the pdf file for the current (Fall 2001) issue of The VivaVine: The vegetarian-issues magazine published by The VivaVegie Society.

(There will be type substitutions in many cases, but visually this is the way to look at our VivaVine. Download Acrobat Reader from the Abode Web site. It's easy!

Table of Contents

Animals are people too, by Pamela Rice Commentary: Pamela Rice on those intimate and personal reasons to go vegetarian

Separation of meat and state, by Pamela Rice Subsidies to the meat industry abound

Meat and the environment, by Pamela Rice Hunted to extinction

Grapevine: Diet cured my acid reflux, and other letters

From the peapod gallery, by Pamela Rice Vegetarian news, by Pamela Rice Vegetarian Center programs

What our Vegetarian Center offers

Veggie Nuggets, by Pamela Rice For the health of it, by Pamela Rice Butchered, alive: Humane Farming Association sets the record straight about the slaughterhouse that gets government protection

INVESTIGATION...Upstate Hatchery, by Pamela Rice Ponds of hapless, confined trout, and a boondoggle for sport fishermen

Obituary: Louis Warter, NYC resident and 60-year vegetarian, dies at 101 years young

VivaVegie News Calendar




Robert Byrd: The animals' angel speaks out in the U.S. Senate

He's chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. As pro tem of the Senate, he's third in line to the presidency. A living legend already, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) can now consider himself a savior of the lowest of the low on Earth--the livestock that get turned into meat. The following excerpted speech accompanied the senator's actions to amend the supplemental appropriations bill in July, allowing it an extra $3 million for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter Act.

"Our inhumane treatment of livestock is becoming widespread and more and more barbaric. Six-hundred-pound hogs [are] raised in 2-foot-wide metal cages called gestation crates, in which the poor beasts are unable to turn around or lie down in natural positions....Veal calves are confined to dark wooden crates so small that they are prevented from lying down or scratching themselves. These creatures feel; they know pain. They suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain. Egg-laying hens are confined to battery cages. Unable to spread their wings, they are reduced to nothing more than an egg-laying machine.

"Last April, the Washington Post detailed the inhumane treatment of livestock in our nation's slaughterhouses....These animals are sometimes cut, skinned, and scalded while still able to feel pain. A Texas beef company, with 22 citations for cruelty to animals, was found chopping the hooves off live cattle. In another Texas plant with about two dozen violations, Federal officials found nine live cattle dangling from an overhead chain. Secret videos from an Iowa pork plant show hogs squealing and kicking as they are being lowered into the boiling water that will soften their hides, soften the bristles on the hogs, and make them easier to skin....

"The law clearly requires that these poor creatures be stunned and rendered insensitive to pain before this process begins. Federal law is being ignored. Animal cruelty abounds. It is sickening. It is infuriating. Barbaric treatment of helpless, defenseless creatures must not be tolerated even if these animals are being raised for food--and even more so, more so. Such insensitivity is insidious and can spread and is dangerous. Life must be respected and dealt with humanely in a civilized society."

To read the full text, go to: the Senate record for July 9, 2001.

Florida campaign rocks: HSUS now a champion for sows

For any long-term campaign one must first pick vulnerable targets and also have an excellent chance of winning successive battles. As soon as an initial victory is gained, one must move on to increasingly difficult targets while the success of the last effort still holds momentum.

A Florida campaign spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is currently operating using this textbook strategy for success. Activists there are using a state rule--which allows single issues to be put on the ballot--to get farrowing crates for sows outlawed. Crates cruelly force gestating sows to be pinned in place for weeks at a time so the commodity piglets can nurse without accidentally being smothered.

Florida has only 100 hog farms, with just a tiny number of these standing to be affected by a ban, so opposition should be minimal. The initiative is now only about 400,000 signatures away from being ballot-ready. (Click to see the January 18 calendar listing to help.) Once the bill is passed, it's on to the next state!

16,000 sows and piglets burned to death in Utah fire

A quick-moving fire took hold at a swine-farrowing ranch in Iron County, Utah, in late July. The fire tore through buildings so fast that employees were unable to save the 5,000 sows and 11,000 newborn piglets trapped inside. Firefighters from several communities were needed to put out the blaze, according to the Meating Place Web site. The company's director assessed the pigs to be worth about $1 million.

Just one sow can weight 450 pounds. After the fire was extinguished, the pressing environmental risk of thousands of decomposing corpses became a paramount concern to health officials. They first considered incineration but later opted to bury the bodies to avoid air pollution. A well is to be dug next to the landfill where the animals are now interned; it will allow the site to be monitored for deadly bacteria that could threaten the groundwater.

The facility was owned by Smithfield Foods of Virginia and is part of the Circle Four Farms, a 55,000-sow enterprise based in Milford, Utah.

Molting in the cross hairs

To stimulate egg laying in factory hens, as well as to facilitate the production of jumbo eggs, farmers force their spent flocks to molt. This is done by depriving the birds of food and water for extended periods of time--up to 2 weeks in some cases. A large percentage of the hens die from the cruel process. For humane reasons alone, forced molting has come under attack. But other considerations, such as the spread of a particular kind of salmonella bacteria, have entered what has become a heated debate in the egg business as well as in animal-rights circles.

McDonald's, for one, has told its suppliers it will not purchase eggs from those that utilize the practice. Now the U.S. government wants to get in on the act. According to Scripps Howard News Service, Senators Peter Fitzgerald, R-IL, and Patrick Leahy, D-VT, are working on a proposal that would bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from buying eggs from suppliers that force-molt their birds for use in the school lunch program.



Cattlemen snivel for $12.2 billion to clean up manure pits

It was enough to make your vegetarian eyes pop out. In testimony before the Senate Agriculture committee in July, an official of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association explained that Congress needed to allocate $12.2 billion to aid farmers and ranchers over the next 10 years to control animal waste. Eric Davis, vice president of the NCBA, said that the government owed livestock producers this perk to cover costly antipollution regulations that have been passed in numerous states. Funny, these producers of meat and poultry products reckon taxpayers instead of their own consumers are the ones to pick up their costs of doing business--kind of like welfare.

U.S. fails to meet int'l trade obligations to declare the extent of farm subsidies

Governments love to hand out money to special interests. This is almost a truism. The problem is, when they do it, trade partners cry foul. Subsidized companies are able to charge less for their products--and so have a distinct advantage in the international marketplace.

A March story in Feedstuffs magazine, an industry publication, reported that since 1997 the United States has failed to notify the World Trade Organization, and in turn its trading partners, of how much money the U.S. government has delivered in all forms of subsidies to American farmers. Domestic figures reveal, however, that since 1996 the federal government has handed over more than $71 billion in direct payments, way beyond the amount that was budgeted by the groundbreaking Farm Agriculture Improvement Reform Act, which was to usher in an era of lower subsidies. The main excuse: "emergency payments" to compensate farmers in times of disaster and to counter low prices.

The bulk of these direct subsidies go to aid farms that grow feed. But even this huge amount doesn't include mountains of hidden support.

At the end of September, the 1996 F.A.I.R. Act expired. Proposals from the House and Senate agriculture committees called for more of the same--multi-billion-dollar give-aways, despite the post-September 11 air of sacrifice.

The U.S. not alone when it comes to agri-handouts

Agriculture policy in the European Union is facing a meltdown. Farm subsidies within the Union amount to $37 billion, a staggering half of the entire EU budget. Under attack is CAP, the Common Agricultural Policy, which keeps the huge subsidies percolating.

According to Lord Christopher Haskins, the head of a research group founded by the British government, as quoted in a Bloomberg release, CAP "was developed at a time of food shortage" in postwar Europe, when most people were rurally based. Today, "it is a policy which is delivering chronic food surpluses," he said. Haskins, who as head of the Foreign Policy Centre is due to issue a report detailing reforms to European agriculture in the spring of next year, was quoted as saying that though mad cow disease and hoof-and-mouth disease could not be attributed to CAP, the policy "has fueled them." In a BBC story posted on the Internet in mid-August, Lord Haskins was quoted warning those in agriculture, "If farmers want to rely on the past for handouts they are going to be living on borrowed time."

The "green" movement, which is gathering steam in Europe, is convinced that intensive farming is to blame for the virulence of recent animal diseases. Others, however, foresee the growing movement toward organic agriculture in Europe as resulting in even more subsidies and protections for farmers.



Humans and meat: The combo that was always bad for the environment

If you thought meat consumption has been disrupting the environment only since the advent of factory farming--perhaps 50 years ago or so--you may need to think again. Human hunters in prehistoric times drove many species of the Earth's largest animals to extinction in North America and Australia in relatively short periods of time, according to two recent studies. Don't blame advancing glaciers or ancient epidemics for the megafauna kill-offs that reveal themselves in the fossil record. Early man, with a fierce appetite for meat and armed simply with spears, fire, and "other primitive killing techniques"--as the San Francisco Chronicle put it--wiped clean more than half of the large animals of the Americas in just a thousand years--and all of the largest animals in Australia in just 10,000 years. Marsupials the size of hippos and armadillos the size of Volkswagens, among others, were their victims. The studies were reported on in the June 8 edition of Science.

Extinctions were "cataclysmic," according to researcher John Alroy of the National Center for Ecological Analysis at the University of Santa Barbara. Yet since they took place over generations, "the results show how much havoc our species can cause, without anyone at the time having the slightest idea of what was going on."

Overfishing and overhunting of marine habitats nothing new under the sun

Overfishing and overhunting in recent decades have been calamitous for the environment. But these are nothing new, according to a report compiled by a team of 19 scientists, published in the July 27 edition of Science. The report concluded that throughout history, overfishing and overhunting have had far worse effects on coastal marine habitats than pollution or global warming. "If you contrast what's out there now to what was there 200 years ago, it's just crumbs," said Steve Gaines, director of the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara, reacting to the study in a statement quoted in a midsummer story in the Los Angeles Times.

By poring over such physical evidence as sediment samples, archeological digs, and historical harvests, the scientists in the study learned that the world was at one time teeming with marine life, way beyond the upper levels that governments strive to attain today when instituting regulations to manage fisheries. Current fish population goals fall far short of the levels of life that once were. One researcher quoted in the LA Times article was awed by the study's results. The historical records have "exceeded all of our imaginations," he said.

The magnitude of the impacts may not have surprised students of the rules of ecological balance, however. Each of the mass die-offs of marine life the researchers found in habitat after habitat was associated with human destructiveness, sometimes the removal of a single species. Hunt otter near extinction, for instance, and you'll have an overabundance of sea urchins, which eventually graze away kelp habitats that harbor entire ecosystems.

At one time, turtles and oysters were so thick in American coastal waters that they presented a navigational hazard to the early explorers. Hunt or harvest them to a dwindling few and soon the critical place they hold in the food chain will be sorely missed. Without turtles in the Florida Bay, a fungus has taken over to deplete oxygen vitally needed by fish. Without the unique water-filtering abilities of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, the water has become cloudy and ultimately uninhabitable for manatees, sturgeons, whales, and alligators.



Reasons not in the "101 Reasons"

By Pamela Rice

In my time, I've expounded on a lot of good reasons to be a vegetarian, but my emphasis has always been on the social, economic, and ethical aspects of this food choice. Still, it occurs to me that there are some very important practical and personal--even intimate--reasons why being a vegetarian is a good idea. Many have never been touched on in this magazine, let alone in my pamphlet "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian," although perhaps they should have been.

So I've taken it upon myself to come up with ten of these "hits home" reasons, but I'm sure there are many more.

1. Goodbye, Drano. Kitchen drains rarely get clogged in a vegetarian household. It helps that most vegetable oils are not solid at room temperature.

2. Stayin' alive. Choking on a bone is an unlikely event for a vegetarian.

3. Vegetarians make better lovers. It helps that we taste better, smell better, and last longer, thanks to the cleaner fuel we eat. Healthy blood flow is critical for good sex--not likely in an artery-clogged meat eater.

4. Vegetarianism is the only real cure for constipation. For some, this may be the best reason to be a plant eater.

5. Save money--no need to buy that Prozac. No, I never took the drug, but since becoming a vegan I rarely get the blues to begin with. When I was a meat eater I was frequently depressed, often picking a fight with the nearest warm body just after eating a hamburger; I attribute this to the chemical and drug residues in the meat! Thank God, that era in my life is ancient history now.

6. No PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and no menstrual cramps either, or at worst rarely. There's one downside to this: My period can come on unexpectedly.

7. Practically no more colds. This is a biggie. What meat eater--or more specifically, what milk drinker--does not count colds as a regular part of the anguish of being alive? As a meat eater I used to have chronic sinusitis; one time it had me in bed completely stuffed up for a week.

8. No more warts. This one's a bit dubious, but a friend swears he's forever wartless since going veg.

9. Be kosher with only one set of dishes. To be an observant Jew, one may not eat improperly slaughtered meat, and one must never mix milk and meat--not in the refrigerator, nor at a meal. Lucky for me, I never eat either.

10. Remain undetected when passing gas in public. Benjamin Franklin even commented on this one, after experimenting with a vegetarian diet for a time, according to vegetarian historian Rynn Berry. Gas still happens but, for some vegetarians, often with no accompanying smell.

So there you have it. If you don't care about the animals, the planet, world hunger, or your long-term health--those less-immediate reasons to become a vegetarian--maybe one of these little goodies will make things click for you. In any case, after a while you're sure to have a ton of personal reasons of your own that you can spout off at a moment's notice. In fact, come to our Rap 'n' Wrap session, November 12 (see column on the left), and do just that.



All events are at 121 East 27th Street, Suite 704. Where appropriate, participants may bring dinner with them. Information:646-424-9595.

Holiday party (6:00 p.m.)

Sun., Dec. 16

Call ahead for a suggestion of something to bring.

This is the big one, not to be missed. Time to enjoy a touch of the bubbly, which could mean the real thing or just a Fresh Samantha with a twist. Did we mention food? Yes, there will be goodies; we call them light refreshments. What did you expect, The Plaza?

Rap 'n' Wrap (6:30 p.m.)

Mon., Nov. 12

A time for vegetarians to shoot the breeze and sort things out from our own perspective: Jean Thaler, legend of Big Apple Vegetarians, has agreed to lead our Rap 'n' Wrap. Topic: What are your personal reasons (as opposed to social and ethical ones) for being a vegetarian? (See the essay on the right.) We'll compare lists, so bring one of your own! In general, if you have an opinion about something, we'll discuss it, and we'll order burritos. Suggested donation: $3.

Veg'n health workshop

By appointment: Getting started with your new veggie diet. What do you eat, now that you've decided to go vegetarian? Browse our files and take some literature. View videos that will have you saying, "Aha!" Donations appreciated.

Volunteers' open house (6:30 p.m.)

Tues., Nov. 13 & Dec. 4

Get involved with your favorite vegetarian advocacy organization, and learn marketable skills too! Can you stick to a task? Do you have clerical, computer, or promotional skills? Could we give you an E for enthusiasm? Then you're someone we want to see!



We hope VVS is a survivor

We members of the San Francisco Vegetarian Society are still in a state of horror and shock....We hope that VivaVegie is a survivor of this terrible tragedy. We were busily planning our celebration of World Vegetarian Day (October 1), but since September 11 we have become so dispirited that it is difficult to carry on with these plans.

T.G. Barnhill
San Francisco, California

Editor's reply: VivaVegie came away from the terrorist attack completely unscathed, at least physically. We New Yorkers are comforted by the compassion and concern that have come in from far and wide. Our hearts are now with the families of the victims.

Peace at the end of your fork

Work for peace on Earth, starting with your next meal....

André Cholmondeley
Proprietor, Second Nature, Red Bank, New Jersey, where you can purchase copies of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian"

Diet cured my acid reflux

I had acid reflux (heartburn) for ten years before I realized I could free myself of this miserable torment if I just started eating a lot more fruits and veggies. Lucky me, I also lost a huge amount of weight in the process.

Now, I figure, if I stay away from meat for an extended period of time, I'll find that digesting it will become harder and harder for me. Eventually, eating it won't be worth the hardship.

Tony Yarzagaray
Skokie, Illinois

Cajun conversion

My husband and I have been vegetarian since the end of January, and it has been great as far as health is concerned. Cooking has been hard, though. As we were raised Cajun, from Louisiana, our cooking has never resembled anything that could be called healthy. This has been a very big change for us, but with persistence we'll make it.

Melinda LeBlanc
Humble, Texas


Go with the Acrobat Reader version and see the hard-copy VivaVine the way it was meant to be seen.

  If you don't have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it here.

Click here for the pdf file for the current (Fall 2001) issue of The VivaVine: The vegetarian-issues magazine published by The VivaVegie Society.

(There will be type substitutions in many cases, but visually this is the way to look at our VivaVine. Download Acrobat Reader from the Abode Web site. It's easy!


Now is as good a time as any to extend a call for a full-time backup person who could, in the event of an emergency, take over the reins to keep things running at the VivaVegie Society. Such a person would need to become intimately familiar with VivaVegie operations. Serious volunteers, please call 646-424-9595.



Oil and war do mix

By Pamela Rice

Macy's-Parade Whale proves a mighty burden

Determining how many people the Earth can feed is a subject essayist Bill McKibben has ventured to examine, even though he believes that anyone with any sense would want to refrain from speculating on such a thing. Surely Thomas Malthus was proved wrong, wasn't he? Still, the author asks in a May 1998 Atlantic Monthly essay on the carrying capacity of planet Earth, who's to say that the classic doomsayer can't be proved right in the next 50 years? Evidence is everywhere that we do indeed live, as he puts it, "in a special moment in history."

The key, McKibben believes, is in consumption. These days, the impact of population numbers can get lost pretty quickly when the amount of Earth's resources each person uses is added to the equation.

McKibben offers a compelling image: In hunter/gatherer times, the amount of energy a person needed was roughly equivalent to the amount of energy required for a dolphin, about 2,500 calories per day. Today, the worldwide average for energy use is about 31,000 calories, mostly in the form of fossil fuel, or the amount of energy required for a pilot whale to live. (Okay, so we live in a motorized world filled with laborsaving mechanization.) But then we get to the zinger: "The average American uses six times that--as much as a sperm whale....It's as if each of us were trailing a big Macy's-parade balloon around, feeding it constantly."

We in the United States do love our SUVs; Detroit can't seem to make enough of them. Meanwhile, as Cornell University ecologist David Pimentel explains, "Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy as production of plant protein."

Now keep imagining that sperm whale. The next question is, could our extraordinary consumption of fossil fuel have anything to do with antagonizing a certain band of Middle Eastern religious fanatics, namely the al-Qaeda network? Would this unstable bunch care a hoot about us--"infidels" though we may be--if we did not interfere in their part of the world, mainly for the purpose of keeping those barrels of oil rolling?I think not.

Think love first before social change

By Evelyn Gilbert

At a recent veggie event I attended, I told someone that I eat fish. To my utter amazement, someone who overheard me from across the room shouted "EEEWWW," and then got up and actually left. Okay, I eat fish, but even if you hate me, don't berate me! At one time I ate red meat and poultry too, but enlightened people's love and kindness helped me change my ways.

It's ironic but true: Often the hard-core vegans are nicer to animals than they are to other humans. Being kind to animals is a beautiful thing, but guess what? Omnivorous people are animals too, and we also need love! Next time you meet someone who doesn't share your dietary lifestyle, open your heart first, and then explain your point of view. Once love is flowing freely, other people are more likely to open their minds to your message.

Taking a gentle, loving approach is not only the right thing to do but also the most efficient way to effect social change. How on earth did the person I recently encountered expect to accomplish anything for his cause, when all he did was embarrass and hurt me? Instead of seizing a great opportunity to tell me why eating fish is disgusting, he let that chance slip by. Instead of teaching me about the negative health effects, as well as the dramatic environmental impacts of consuming fish, he chose to say something negative.

Why would an animal lover want to wound another human being? The power of love is mighty. It can create change--and bring more vegetarians into the world.

Meat eaters need apply

Would VivaVegie accept a meat eater as a member?

Gersh Kuntzman, columnist
New York Post

Editor's reply: Certainly! But it would probably be like John Ashcroft joining the American Civil Liberties Union.

Not really. On the contrary, we at the VivaVegie Society would often prefer a dialog with a meat eater to one with just another vegetarian. After all, it's the meat eaters who need to listen to what we have to say. And we need to listen to their reasoning as well.

With VivaVegie officially incorporated as an educational organization, we more than welcome nonvegetarians to come to the Veggie Center, read our publications, and yes, even become card-carrying members of our group. And we hope the reception they'll receive is pleasant enough that their eyes and minds will remain open to the information we pass on.

In short, we're for any movement toward veganism, however incremental and by whomever it might be.

So no, we don't require a person to be a vegetarian to be a member. Then again, I can't say how we would check!



Spinal-cord slurry still a filler for dogs 'n' burgers

"U.S. cattle are not allowed to eat cattle spinal cord, and neither should people," declared Caroline Smith DeWaal, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in mid-August (as quoted in a Bloomberg story). The group is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to prevent meat producers from using tissue pressure-blasted from around tight corners of bones as a filler in meat products such as hamburgers, tacos, and hot dogs (we call them dirty-water dogs). Such tissue--sometimes described as slurry--could contain parts of the spinal cord, implicated in the spread of the human version of mad cow disease.

In 1997, federal rules outlawed animal protein in cattle feed and required spinal cords to be removed before animals were butchered. The question remains: Are the rules being adhered to, and anyway, who's checking? Only 100 samples of mechanically deboned meat have been checked by USDA inspectors since 1998, according to Smith deWaal, and of those, 9 tested positive for spinal cord.

Meanwhile, U.S. regulators do not consider tiny shards of bone that shatter during the recovery process to be a meat contaminant. The American Meat Institute argues that such bones are harmless to consumers, because the United States is free of mad cow disease.

So-called advanced meat recovery equipment retrieves 186 million pounds of beef and pork filler in the United States per year. It's "safe and nutritious," assured J. Patrick Boyle, the president of the American Meat Institute, according to the Bloomberg story.

Farmed fish in Maine and Scotland falling to disease, jellyfish, and algal blooms

A virus that has in past years attacked salmon in aquaculture pens in Europe and Canada has this year come in a big way to farmed fish in the United States. Since March, fish farmers in Maine have been forced to destroy nearly a million fish to stem the spread of the disease, according to an early September article in The New York Times. The impact on the local $100 million industry, not to mention the fish, has been dire. But with the spread of the virus, all hope may be lost for the preservation of those few truly wild salmon that may still be worth saving via the Endangered Species Act.

A debate has been raging in recent years as to whether any salmon that spawn in Maine's rivers and streams are wild at all. The vast majority of salmon one finds in many habitats are hatchery fish (click to read a related story in this issue). Those in the logging and aquaculture industries argue that if any wild salmon are left, their numbers are too few to warrant being listing as endangered(!). Such a declaration, they say, would economically impact their industries with unreasonable force.

In a somewhat related story unfolding in Scotland, hundreds of thousands of farmed salmon have been killed by stinging jellyfish and algal blooms, according to a Bloomberg release in early September. The attacking jellyfish trigger the fish themselves to produce fatal amounts of histamines. Separately, according to the story, algal blooms have been suffocating countless penned fish from seven farms there. The total weight of the carcasses amounted to 2 million pounds.

Economic fallout:Hoof-and-mouth takes toll on U.K.

To date, the stats on the hoof-and-mouth disease epidemic that hit the United Kingdom in February 2001.

Cost: $6 billion, or 0.5 percent of the gross domestic product.

Animals destroyed: 5.1 million sheep, cattle, and hogs:

Number of animals actually found to have the disease: 2,000.

Tourism hit: Four-fifths of accommodation providers were hurt. Bookings declined by 15 percent, which is likely to cause revenues to decline by $2.9 to $4.4 billion and 30,000 people to lose their jobs.

Number of U.K. companies hurt: One out of four.

Compensation to farmers for losses: $1.6 billion so far.

Source: Bloomberg, August 29, 2001.

Allegations: U.K. farmers helped spread HMD

Hoof-and-mouth disease happens to be highly contagious. You wouldn't think it needed help in being spread. But in July evidence began mounting that certain people in the United Kingdom, probably farmers, were actually respreading the disease once the epidemic began to slow.

To realize why, all one has to do is look at the economics. The government was compensating farmers for destroyed animals, paying well over the usual market price. The government believes it needs to be more than fair; otherwise, the fear is, farmers might be reluctant to report an outbreak.

Terrorism and meat

Along with anthrax, sarin, smallpox poisoning, and explosive-bearing trucks, antiterrorism experts are now considering hoof-and-mouth disease, salmonella, and E. coli bioterrorism as possible threats to the nation, especially since September 11. The spread of hoof-and-mouth disease is considered potentially the most harmful and the easiest to perpetrate, according to TIME magazine.



121 East 27th Street, Suite 704, in Manhattan

Office hours: 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., M-F

Always call ahead to confirm your visit: 646-424-9595


VEGGIE NUGGETS, by Pamela Rice

Minks find swimming as important as food

When researchers in London put food, drinking water, swimming pools, and tunnels for burrowing on the other side of gates that were geared to be increasingly difficult to open, they found that minks gave water just as much importance as food. But not just to drink. According to an article in a March edition of The Economist, the minks showed that they were just as determined to go swimming as to eat for survival (as measured in gate weight they were willing to lift). It sure would be interesting to find out what farm animals find as important as food:Space? Sunlight? Dirt? Companionship? Fresh air? Secluded nests? Surely the list could go on.

Hope looms for an end to livestock cruelty: Test-tube "meat" holds promise

Taking collagen particles and muscle cells from unharmed animal donors, a Dutch dermatologist says he has perfected a method to grow lumps of meat in 50-kilogram containers. Wiete Westerhof says he has successfully created pork, beef, chicken, kangaroo, whale, and shellfish flesh using nourishment from a Frankensteinian brew of 62 amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes. A September 20 story posted to the Ananova Web site quotes the scientist: "The product will have the structure and taste of lean meat, but animals won't have to suffer for it."

Ken Midkiff, anti-hog-farm activist and head of the Sierra Club, Missouri Chapter, commented, "This is just too weird. I have this image of some scientist dude sitting in a darkened room watching lumps of meat grow in glass containers, giggling maniacally, and rubbing his hands: 'My pretties, my pretties, mmmmm, how good you will taste...!' No, thanks, I'll stick to soy-based protein."

Not many poachers of sturgeon in Iran

It is estimated that in Russia illegal fishing for caviar is over ten times what is officially permitted. The United Nations has warned the country--as well as other states that border the Caspian Sea--that nations need to crack down to prevent the extinction of sturgeon. Iran, however, is a case unto itself. Supply is officially limited to legal numbers by a state-owned monopoly. The penalty for poachers? Death, or if you're lucky, getting your hands chopped off.

Compare: HSUS vs. NRA

Do you ever feel the animal-rights effort is futile? Consider this: Even the Humane Society of the United States has farm-animal issues clearly on its radar screen. And few people probably know that the HSUS actually has many more members than the National Rifle Association. According to Feedstuffs magazine, an industry standby, the NRA has 3.8 million members; the HSUS, 7 million.


FOR THE HEALTH OF IT, by Pamela Rice

Diabetes study heralds diet and exercise

Researchers recently cut short a large clinical study that looked at the effects of lifestyle changes on people with Type 2 diabetes. The results had become just too obvious to prolong the study and withhold the results. It's now overwhelmingly established that a low-fat diet, exercise, and losing weight are immensely therapeutic in reversing the disease. But what constitutes a low-fat diet? A caption in the New York Times story on the subject was telling: It showed a participant admitting that before the study she "didn't have a clue what three ounces of meat looked like."

Veg'ns embody anti-heart-attack chemical

During a recent look at the inner workings of our ilk, Scottish researchers discovered a piece of the vegetarian good-health puzzle. Our blood contains high levels of the active ingredient in aspirin, salicylic acid. The chemical acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, which may be an important reason vegetarians are less likely to suffer from certain cancers, as well as hardening of the arteries--the precursor of cardiovascular disease.

Obesity kills; Mayo gives us the numbers

Vegans need proof that demonstrates what we already know: Our ranks suffer lower incidences of being overweight. In the meantime, it might be well to take note of a survey done at the Mayo Clinic. The famed hospital found that overweight heart-attack victims were, on the average, 3.6 years younger than their normal-weight counterparts when brought into its emergency room, according to an early-August Reuters story posted on the CNN Web site. Obese patients were on the average 8.2 years younger than their normal-weight counterparts.

Soy a no-no for kids? Udder rubbish!

Epidemiological studies point to the phytoestrogen in soy as an antidote to menopausal symptoms. In recent years, however, health researchers have denounced soy for babies, saying that it could affect their reproductive systems once they become young adults. There's no evidence whatever for that now, say University of Pennsylvania researchers, who have found no differences in reproductive health between young adults whose parents gave them soy and those who were given cows' milk.

Well-done meat now on carcinogen blacklist

Chemicals that form when meat and poultry are cooked to "well done" have recently been listed--alongside asbestos, DDT, arsenic, and cigarettes--as carcinogenic by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Heterocyclic amines can cause cancer, the scientists announced in July, but in what quantities they could not say. Future researchers will have to determine that. In any case, the development--though not surprising, since these chemicals have long been implicated--should have meat eaters in a quandary. Isn't thorough cooking mandatory to kill meat's myriad deadly bacterias?



IBP:One slaughterhouse that gets gov't protection

The following tract comes about one year after workers at a cattle-slaughtering plant in Wallula, Washington, were broadcast on television dismembering sentient animals who had not been properly stunned. The gathering of footage from this IBP slaughterhouse was spearheaded by the Humane Farming Association, which, along with a host of animal-rights and public-interest groups, petitioned the attorney general of Washington to prosecute IBP--the nation's largest meatpacker--for violations of the Humane Slaughter Act as well as the state's own animal protection laws. Twenty employees at the slaughterhouse, at the risk of losing their jobs, signed affidavits vouching that at least 30 percent of the animals are dismembered while still fully sentient, after inadequate stunning, as a result of breakneck line speeds.

"I have seen thousands and thousands of cows go through the slaughter process alive since I have been at the plant," one IBP worker asserted. Another complained: "The chain goes too fast, more than 300 cows an hour....If I can't get the animal knocked right, it keeps going....The chain doesn't stop. It keeps running. It never stops. The cows are getting hung alive or not alive. They keep coming, coming, coming."

"The chain doesn't stop. It keeps running. The cows are getting hung alive or not alive. They keep coming, coming, coming."

From the Humane Farming Association,
San Francisco, California | 9/26/01

In what can only be described as a scandal, Washington state officials are currently refusing to prosecute IBP for the illegal and torturous mishandling, skinning, and dismembering of live cows, even though it was handed the strongest cruelty case ever assembled against a major U.S. slaughterhouse.

Following the Humane Farming Association (HFA) exposé of animal abuse at the IBP slaughterhouse in Washington state, Governor Gary Locke promised that if violations were found, criminal charges would be filed. Gross violations of state law were, in fact, verified. Even the local prosecutor conceded this point. But there has yet to be a single charge of animal cruelty filed.

It's important to remember that when HFA first exposed the atrocities at IBP, the reflexive response of the state's attorney general was to claim that the state had "no jurisdiction." It was only after the television broadcast of HFA's undercover videotape that public outcry forced state officials to admit finally that, yes, they do have jurisdiction over violations of state law occurring at IBP.

Governor Locke finally instructed state officials to investigate the crimes at IBP. The so-called investigation, however, was simply a taxpayer-funded exercise in public relations. No longer able to claim that they had "no jurisdiction," state officials set out to find another excuse for not prosecuting IBP.

The biggest challenge state officials have faced is explaining away all the undercover videotape and worker affidavits obtained by HFA that documented the torture taking place at IBP.

Acting like IBP's own attorneys, state officials finally came up with a plan. They decided to claim that HFA provided KING 5 television in Seattle with an "edited" version of the undercover footage from IBP. State officials knew this was not true. KING 5 television had even informed them that HFA had provided the station with hours of unedited videotape. Ignoring this and the other information in their possession, state officials went ahead and issued their false public statements anyway.

What did it accomplish for state officials to have lied in this way? Well, not only could state officials claim that the videotape broadcast by KING 5 had been "edited" by HFA (which officials knew to be untrue) but IBP could then argue that all of the evidence given to the state had been manufactured. Using this bogus pretext, state officials then proceeded to disregard all of the sworn statements from IBP's own workers who had verified the company's illegal torture of animals.

In short, the situation at IBP is not only a case study of the institutionalized abuse of animals, it is also a study of just how far some state officials are willing to go in order to avoid prosecuting the world's largest meat company.

What's important to understand is that, regardless of the prosecutor's capricious decision regarding the Humane Slaughter Act violations at IBP, felony animal cruelty charges can still be filed. The statute of limitations for felony animal cruelty at IBP has not expired. And the evidence HFA has gathered remains as solid as ever.

Action Requested:

Washington's laws prohibit the skinning and dismembering of conscious animals. Shoving an electric prod into a cow's mouth, as captured on videotape at IBP, is also clearly illegal. Abuses such as these are punishable as either misdemeanors or felonies.

Please contact Governor Gary Locke by writing the Office of the Governor, State of Washington, P.O. Box 40002, Olympia, WA 98504-0002. Call 360-902-4111, or fax 360-753-4110. E-mail: governor.locke@governor.wa.gov. Point out that the videotape and sworn affidavits from slaughterhouse workers obtained by HFA provide irrefutable evidence of animal abuse and torture at the IBP plant in Wallula, Washington. Demand that he use his authority to make sure that state officials act upon the evidence they have been provided and that criminal charges are filed against IBP.



Upstate Hatchery: Ponds of hapless, confined trout

By Pamela Rice

We approached the factory farm with trepidation. No vegetarian is happy about the prospect of seeing intensively confined animals.

But the finding of fact, as always, held a higher purpose for my husband and me for many years now. This investigation was an unlikely one: a state fish hatchery in the Catskills, one of 12 in New York that all together produce millions of fish. The exact number cannot be known, since fish are measured in pounds--a million per year in the case of our state.

Almost immediately we saw the intensive confinement of the animals, thousands of brown trout that appeared as one dark mass in the long narrow ponds before us. The areas just below would clear as the fish instinctively moved away from any shadows cast from above.

As our guide--a key employee of the facility--put it, the pressure on stocks by anglers is so hard in New York that such facilities are an absolute necessity. "On opening day of the fishing seasons," he told us, "fishermen are shoulder to shoulder at fishing holes."

But as the brochure on the facility explained, many anglers are not aware that most of the fish they catch have been artificially introduced. The question for vegetarians is, what purpose could there possibly be for such elaborate systems? And at what cost to the environment and to the taxpayer?

It's incredible to see what needs to be in place to keep hatchery fish alive, from the moment they are conceived to the time of their release. Keeping the fish free from stress is of paramount importance. Water quality, temperature, and oxygen levels are critical components in the task at hand, all of which must constantly be monitored so disease does not take hold.

Reproduction, of course, is artificial. By rubbing the bellies of the females just so, the staff is able to force eggs to ooze out of them. Semen is extracted from the males, which is then put over the eggs. Thankfully, neither procedure kills the fish. Still, these designated breeders could hardly take too kindly to either process.

Spawning would normally take place in November, but brood stock are tricked into reproducing two months earlier through artificial light manipulation. Early spawning gives the offspring a head start on growth. It also makes things easier on the staff members, who are able to avoid handling the fish in thigh-deep water in colder weather later in the year.

Massive amounts of water must be available to the fish hatchery at all times. Three thousand gallons a minute from nearby streams and wells must be fed into it every day of the year. In dry times, the water is recirculated. Fish waste must be filtered out of the water before the water is returned downstream. The manure is carted away and distributed over fields in need of fertilizer twice a year.

Ultimately, according to our guide, the entire process costs out at 74¢ per fish--one gigantic giveaway to the state's sport fishermen. Surely there are better ways to stimulate the state's economy, ways that don't disrupt the environment or cause cruelty to animals.



Obituary: Louis Warter, NYC resident and 60-year vegetarian, dies at 101 years young

By Jean Thaler

Louis Warter--whom I called the Big Apple Vegetarian of the Century, because his life spanned three centuries--died on Sunday, July 29, this year. Having this unique longevity was a goal he mentioned to me every time I saw him. Indeed, Louis was born in the 19th century and lived through the invention of the car, the horrors of two world wars, and the arrival of the 21st century. Many of his nonvegetarian friends attributed his long life to his diet.

A vegetarian for some 60 years, Louis was a 21st-century vegetarian for most of the 20th. Jewish by birth, he also embraced Eastern religions, believed fervently in reincarnation, and was active in a Masonic lodge. Louis did a six-month circuit around the world. He wrote and published a ten-page poem advocating the rescue of the redwood forests in California. He was already 80 when he tried to meet with President Carter to push an environmental agenda.

For many years Louis attended meetings of the vegetarian organizations in New York City, right up to the time of the 1995 Vegetarian Art Show in Soho. VivaVegie members may remember meeting him at his 100th-birthday party, held by Big Apple Vegetarians.

Louis was 94 by the time I met him. He then lived in his own apartment in the Bronx, got around town on his own, and wrote letters without the use of eyeglasses. I always found favor with him as a "Friend of Pamela."

Louis did not decline until he broke his hip several years ago, and this after suffering through numerous surgeries after being hit by a car. Incidentally, medical staff would always be taken aback by the strength and health of his circulatory system.

He entered a nursing home at his own request. As he began to suffer memory lapses, he always thought he had to remind me he would not eat flesh! One night when Louis, Pamela, and I looked up at the moon, he mused at the wonder of man's "recent" landing there.

In accordance with his will, Louis was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea. In line with the wish he often expressed for his friends and fellow vegetarians, may Louis "be ensconced in the bosom of God's love."

http://www.VegeCyber.com to benefit VivaVegie

VegeCyber.com offers organic, vegetarian, and vegan international food products, including a large selection of frozen gourmet foods. Enter code VV2085 during checkout to have 5 percent of the sale go to the VivaVegie Society as a donation. If you don't like buying online, you can always visit the store at 210 Centre Street in Manhattan.

Park Slope Coop: And then there was beef

In our last issue, we reported on a pending decision by the Park Slope Coop to carry "organic" beef. The resolution indeed passed a vote by the coop membership. At least one person, however, now counts herself as a former member. She wrote this letter to the coop:

Please note I will not be rejoining the coop because of your decision to carry beef. You are fast becoming no different from the regular supermarkets. Bad enough you had chicken. Please do your research.

Rachel Friend
Brooklyn, NY

No survivors in modern-day holocaust

The great 20th-century Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote in one of his stories, "In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka." Inspired by this quote, local author and VivaVegie member Charles Patterson has written a forthcoming book: Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. United Poultry Concerns president Karen Davis has said that it "promises to be one of the most influential books of the 21st century." For more information, send e-mail to eternaltr@earthlink.net.

Jewish vegetarian message on audiotape

Hear one of our most important voices--Dr. Richard Schwartz, author of Judaism and Vegetarianism and a consulting editor of The VivaVine--summarizing his message on an audiotape produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The noncopyrighted tape includes an introduction by the former chief rabbi of Ireland, David Rosen, who is today one of the strongest proponents of vegetarianism. Obtain a copy for only $5 by calling PETA at 800-483-4366.

Seminal work on cattle destruction housed at the Veggie Center

Thank you, Ken Lyle,of Vegetarians of Colorado Springs, for your generous contribution of Lynn Jacobs's magnificent volume Waste of the West. The book comes from Public Lands Without Livestock (a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs). We received it via consulting editor Mike Hudak, who was surprised to hear that the Veggie Center lacked a copy. The book is one of the definitive looks at the environmental destruction wrought by cattle on the American West, compliments of the government give-aways that allowed such devastation to happen.


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Click here for the pdf file for the current (Fall 2001) issue of The VivaVine: The vegetarian-issues magazine published by The VivaVegie Society.

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VIVA VEGIE NEWS, by Pamela Rice

Thanks aplenty for these contributions

Since our last issue, donations of $25 or more were received from Glen Boisseau Becker, Stephen Kaufman, Marcio Zalcsztajn, Eva Povelko, Eileen and Jerry O'Shea in memory of Louis Warter (Click to read obituary in this issue), Jason Mallory, and Celia Harary. Also, thanks to Bernie Goetz, who purchased a refrigerator for the Vegetarian Center.

Volunteers are VivaVegie heroes

There are many ways to make a difference if spreading knowledge about the virtues of vegetarianism is your calling. Special thanks to the following people who helped the VivaVegie Society since the last issue of The VivaVine: Roy Vanegas, Elena Romanova, Tom Thompson, Murray Schechter, Bobbie Flowers, Melissa Goldstein, Evelyn Gilbert, Judea Johnson, Jessie League, Seth Asher, Maureen Cauthen, Mike Marinelli, and Goeff Watland.

VivaVegie wants you!

VivaVegie is looking for a few good volunteers.

Or even just one! And we're even willing to part with one of our computers to sweeten the deal, but only if you show uncommon commitment and see yourself being with us for the long term. Can you stick to a task? Do you relish the idea of helping VivaVegie help people become vegetarian? Then you're someone we want to speak with. Give a damn, and give us a call: 646-424-9595.

Get the "101 Reasons" stocked at your neighborhood store.

VivaVegie will give you a stack of sample "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian" to give to a retail establishment, free of charge, to test how they sell. Engage the owner/manager and keep in touch with him or her. Essentially, do all the things that a sales rep would do to service the account. Ultimately, VivaVegie wants to get regular orders. An order blank is on the 15th page of each copy of "101 Reasons."

VivaVegie wish list

Correction: VivaVegie volunteer and certified public accountant Elena Romanova was erroneously described as a lawyer in our previous issue. Currently she is in law school.

VivaVegie featured in Time Out New York and on Metro TV's "Natural Health Show"

VivaVegie enjoyed some great publicity in the June 7-14 edition of Time Out New York. The events-listings magazine extraordinaire dedicated nearly a full page to us, including a brilliant full-color photograph of Pamela Rice and Penelo Pea Pod. The coverage wasn't even entirely unsympathetic. And Metro TV's "Natural Health Show" featured Pamela Rice in a 15-minute interview in September.

McDonald's class-action lawsuit

VivaVegie recently reported that McDonald's has been adding beef extract to its French fries, unbeknownst to its customers. Be part of the class-action suit that has resulted. Pick up the forms at the Vegetarian Center.



To get your event listed, contact Evelyn Gilbert at Evhotstory@aol.com.

Click to see program listings for events that take place at the Vegetarian Center. The following events are in Manhattan unless otherwise noted.

Sun., Nov. 4 Thurs., Nov. 15 Sat., Nov. 17 Tues., Nov. 20 Thurs., Nov. 22 Sun., Nov. 25 Mon., Nov. 26-Sun., Dec. 9 Sat., Dec. 8-Sun., Dec. 9 Fri., Jan. 18-Fri., Jan. 25 Outreach back on track:


Accent on Wellness Natural Hygiene support group meets every Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Hygeia Center, 18 East 23rd St. A raw potluck is held the first Saturday of the month at 6:00 p.m. 212-253-2262, PlanetHealth@aol.com.

Brooklyn Raw holds a potluck the third Friday of each month, 7:30 p.m. at Eco Books. 718-623-2698, info@ecobooks.com

Central Jersey Vegetarian Group has a monthly potluck. 908-281-6388.

Earthsave NYC holds a dinner/lecture in Manhattan on the second or third Thursday of every month. A plant-based buffet is included with the lecture. 212-696-7986, nyc@earthsave.org.

International African Vegetarian Network and Friends. 718-241-5763.

Iron Vegans' Raw Food Connection holds a potluck the second Saturday of the month. 718-263-7160.

NYC Vegetarians holds monthly dinners, potlucks, and other activities. Call Les Judd at 718-805-4260 (Mon.-Thurs., before 10:00 p.m.), or write celiaveg@ aol.com.

VegOut (a social group for lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender vegetarians and friends) holds a potluck the fourth Sunday of the month. 212-802-8655, vegout1@juno.com.



The VivaVine
a publication of the VivaVegie Society, Inc.
Vol. 10, No. 4

FALL 2001

P.O. Box 1447 |
New York, NY 10276
646-424-9595 (Vegetarian Center)
212-871-9304 (information line)

Publisher:Pamela Rice

Editor: Alan Rice

Copy editor: Glen Boisseau Becker

Contributors:Jean Thaler, Evelyn Gilbert, and the Humane Farming Association

Calendar editor: Evelyn Gilbert

Gaggle of veg-evangelists:
Judea Johnson, Rachel Summerose, John V. Ciprio, Joan Zacharias, Rochelle Goldman, Tom Lyons (as Penelo Pea Pod), and Cassandra Wimbs

Karen Davis, Ph.D., United Poultry Concerns
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., author, Judaism and Vegetarianism
Michael Greger, M.D.
Mike Hudak, Ph.D.

Special thanks to:
David Sielaff | NALITH

Join VivaVegie
To become a member of the VivaVegie Society for one year, send $15 to the above address. Membership entitles you to a membership card, four issues of The VivaVine, and a copy of "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian."