At Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana on March 24, 2007, we will have a screening of the documentary Peaceable Kingdom followed by discussion led by Matt Halteman, professor of philosophy at Calvin College.
12:30 pm Vegan potluck
2:00 pm Peaceable Kingdom Screening
Wegman's Cruelty screening (short documentary about the egg industry)
4:00 pm Matt Halteman will discuss the radical implications of animals for our lives.
Brianne Donaldson, student at AMBS, will discuss her work and how it affects AMBS.
Come and bring friends! Everything is free.
On another note, I was not just vsiting family that week. I was also with their three pug dogs named Julia, Buster and Liza. This is Julia:
Even though Julia and Buster cannot walk so well anymore (besides their whole host of other problems), they still have a high quality of life. It was with joy and admiration that I watched my uncles carry these dogs outside so they could enjoy the sun, walk Buster with a special leash for back leg support and respond to their cries in the night. Uncle #1 even holds up Buster's hind legs so Buster can eat and drink more easily. I have no doubt that as Buster (14), Liza (12) and Julia (7) continue to age, they will be taken care of well.Comments (1)
I went to visit family in the San Francisco Bay Area and got home a week ago. I know we try to speak locally on this blog, but I figure sometimes local people go on vacation and this would be a handy little restaurant guide for if/when you get there. My uncles there were very supportive about my vegan diet and borrowed a book on vegetarian restaurants of the area from a friend for the occassion. Of course, I looked online before I left as well. These are the highlights, as you can eat almost anywhere in SF. This is what we came up with:
1. Café Gratitude: Berkeley
Although the first Café Gratitude started in San Francisco, we went to the one in Berkeley first. Its funky atmosphere immediately made us feel comfortable. However, neither uncle #1 nor I were very comfortable with the mystical spirituality that permeated the menu, card games and staff (visit the website to see what I mean), but we were open to a new experience. After all, organic, raw and vegan cannot be bad. Both of us ordered "i am elated" which was the enchilada of the day. It had a live spinach tortilla filled with rice and sunflower seeds, topped with salsa verde. It came with a side of Mexican cole slaw and either steamed quinoa or Bhutanese red rice. I opted for the former while uncle #1 opted for the latter, especially after he heard it used to be forbidden to all people except emperors. We also got guac on the side. My drink was "i am refreshed" (lemonade) and my uncle got "i am charismatic" (ginger spiced carrot and lime juice). My uncle also poured us some "joy", which is water. All of the flavors complimented each other very nicely. We were impressed. I highly recommend this place.
2. Millennium Restaurant: Hotel California in San Francisco
One of the top-rated vegan restaurants, Millennium did not disappoint in food or service. They choose organic whenever they can as well as support sustainable agriculture and small farms. All of us got the same thing and unfortunately I have committed one of the most grievous sins that I can in food world and that is forget what we ordered. All I have written is Cartoccio, so you will have to bare with me. There was sausage-style seitan, baby artichokes and a rissoto. The food complimented itself very nicely. For dessert, I had the Chocolate Almond Midnight, uncle #1 had blood-orange, chai tea and chocolate sorbet and uncle #2 had rice pudding. All of us found them very delicious. I think the sorbets and rice pudding are self-explanatory, but I will explain the Chocolate Almond Midnight a little more. The crust was made of almonds and cashew. The filling was mocha chocolate and the sauces were raspberry and white chocolate mousse. It was very impressive, as it came with a fancy piece of dark chocolate sticking out of the middle. I recommend going to this restaurant; however, I think I built up the anticipation a bit too much. It was not as amazingly fantastic as I had anticipated, but it still did not disappoint.
On another note, Chef Eric Tucker from Millennium Restaurant will be at the Vegetarian Awakening Conference at GRCC on April 2 and 3. Registration is still open!
3. The Cafe at the de Young: San Francisco
I just wanted to highlight the use of "silver"ware in this cafe. Although what we got was silverware, they did have disposable cutlery as well. However, this was biodegradable cutlery made from potato starch--spudware. Pretty neat, huh?
4. Café La Vie: Santa Cruz
I went to visit a former roommate in Santa Cruz and she brought me here. The atmosphere is an eclectic mix of tropical, indian and american with decorative grass, indian music and mix and match dinnerware. They pride themselves on mostly raw, local, seasonal and organic food. My friend ordered the vegetarian rolls while I ordered a sprouted wrap with avocado, mushrooms, quinoa and various vegetables. While tasty, I preferred the food of Café Gratitude more.
5. Golden Lotus: Oakland
The Golden Lotus makes vegetarian and vegan chinese food. It is one of those foods that I don't feel like making for myself (beyond the casual stir fry, that is) and miss the most. I was not disappointed, as this place was in the top two of restaurants I ate in this vacation week. We were warned of the lax service before we went, so we were prepared for the worst. However, we were pleasantly surprised with the prompt arrival of our menus and food. The place was very busy, so it must be popular on a Friday night. We had the imperial rolls (which were good, but nothing out of the ordinary), spicy mongolian beef, ginger chicken and house rice claypot. We hesitated ordering for a while, since the restaurant still used the omnivore names for the food. Despite their veggie disclaimer on the back, it was hard to get used to. The spicy mongolian beef was easily the favorite of the night, as my omnivorous uncles noted they would not be able to tell the difference between it and actual spicy mongolian beef. The chicken was a little weird in the texture area, but otherwise everything was amazing. Most of the desserts are vegan (they even have vegan "milk"shakes) and the chocolate mousse torte was no exception. Deee-licious.
As you have just read, it's been quite the week of vegan, raw, organic and local food. One of the nights, my uncle made amazing four-bean chili that we ate while watching TV with their three pugs. I felt very welcome by family members whom I do not see often and was reminded again that food is a community building event.
For more info. see here.
Here's the transcript:
Next, there`s a new poll out on global warming. Now 83 percent of U.S. citizens now believe it`s a serious problem. That`s up from 70 percent in 2004. Everybody panic! We`re all going to burn to death in a flood!
But the polling geniuses didn`t ask the far more important question. Here it is. Who`s responsible? And what, if anything, can we do to fight it?
Well, I`ll answer both of them for you right now: Big meat is responsible. Become a vegan if you want to make a difference. Oh, now not so interested, huh?
"The Real Story" is that the U.N. report concludes that the world`s meat industry generates far more greenhouse gas than all of the worldwide transportation combined. Think about that. The U.N. is saying that the steak you ate for dinner last night did more harm to the environment than your drive in to work this morning.
Now, if you believe we`re all going to die in some sort of fiery flood, why wouldn`t you, you know, change? Why wouldn`t you stop eating meat? Yes, I`m talking to you, Al Gore. That`s exactly who I`m talking about. Why haven`t you made the adjustments to your personal diet?
I mean, I admire your passion, and congratulations on that little Oscar thing, but if you literally believe that the ocean will -- the ocean levels will rise by 20 feet, it`s not really unreasonable to wonder why you haven`t switched to a veggie burger is it?
Last week, a member of PETA was on the show, and afterwards I asked him to calculate how bad my meat-eating really is for the environment. It`s bad, I warn you. You know, what`s my meat footprint?
Matt Prescott from PETA is back now to give me the results. How bad is the footprint, Matt?
MATT PRESCOTT, PETA: Well, Glenn, I`ve got to say, your meat footprint is pretty deep, but I think I`ve got hope for you yet. When we talked earlier and you said that you opposed foie gras and veal because of the cruelty, I think that shows something. You know, most people just don`t realize that chickens, and cows, and pigs are abused in these hideous ways.
BECK: I realize, but I...
PRESCOTT: That they have their testicles cut off without painkillers, and they`re scalded alive, and have their throats slit...
BECK: Hang on just a second. Hang on, Matt. I want you to know, I realize that. It`s, for instance, foie gras, it bothers me when I eat it, but I still eat. Veal, because it`s a cute, little, cuddly cow, it bothers me. I don`t want to torture my food, you know, so it`s a little more tender, but chickens?
PRESCOTT: Anybody who`s ever had a dog or a cat knows that animals feel pain. They know that they don`t deserve to be tortured. Chickens and pigs and cows all feel pain in the same way that dogs and cats do. They`re intelligent animals. They`re individuals. Yet they`re abused in ways every single day that would warrant cruelty to animals charges if dogs and cats were the victims.
BECK: If chickens weren`t so darn yummy, I`d be with you. Actually, driving a Prius or going to an In and Out Burger, which does more damage to the environment?
PRESCOTT: Going to an In and Out Burger, by far. You know...
BECK: Let`s look at the damage that people do. Like me, we`ve put some charts together, and maybe you can take us through this here, Matt. First is my river pollution. What kind of damage -- what kind of damage am I doing?
PRESCOTT: Far more than a vegetarian. Rivers in people`s backyards and people`s own communities are grossly polluted by the meat industry. In California, the dairies throughout California wreak havoc on the waterways. This is water that children play in. This is water that, when your kids go outside, they swim in.
BECK: Well, wait a minute, why are you comparing me here to Kobayashi? That`s the guy who does the hot dog eating contest. That`s a little unfair.
PRESCOTT: Now, come on, I mean, you`re not eating 100 hot dogs in one sitting, at least I hope you`re not.
BECK: Well, I might try.
PRESCOTT: Kobayashi should try to switch to veggie dogs. They`re delicious and they don`t do any of the environmental harm. They`re better for his health and better for the animals.
BECK: Water waste, here`s the chart on water waste, what my meat footprint is on water waste. Look at this. And what are we talking about on water waste?
PRESCOTT: Well, we`re talking about not just the rivers; we`re talking about the oceans, if you eat fish. When we talk about water pollution, we`re talking about all of the trawling that the commercial fisheries are doing. They cast these giant nets into the ocean that rip up the coral reefs, and they spew out tons of ground-up animals. The nets catch porpoises, they catch dolphins, they catch birds and turtles. They grind them up on the ship and then they spew them back out.
BECK: And the final chart -- and I don`t even understand this one, help me out -- is manure waste. How am I exactly responsible for wasting - - what are we saving the manure for? How am I wasting manure?
PRESCOTT: We`re not talking about wasting it. We`re talking about generating it.
BECK: Oh, generating it.
PRESCOTT: Generating it. So by eating meat, you`re supporting an industry that raises and kills, in the U.S. alone, about 10 billion animals a year. All those animals are creating massive amounts of manure that`s going into our land, and that`s also going into our waterways, the same water that...
BECK: So, Matt, an honest question for you. Can you actually believe in, you know, we`re all going to die in some horrible flood because of global warming and not be a vegetarian or a vegan?
PRESCOTT: Well, for a long time, I myself wasn`t a vegetarian when I believed in environmental causes, but when I learned about the fact that eating meat is the number-one worst thing a person can do for the environment and for their own health and for the animals, I became vegetarian.
BECK: If I had to choose Whoppers and a Prius or carrots and a Hummer, which would you do, because I`m only doing one?
PRESCOTT: Well, I`d go with the carrots and the Hummer, you know. Gore, I think, is genuine. I think other environmentalists are genuine in their concern and in their efforts.
PRESCOTT: But they miss a big component, and that is that, by encouraging people to go to vegetarian, to go to Web sites like goveg.com, people can do far more good than they can by buying a Prius or switching to energy-saving light bulbs, which are all good things.
BECK: Matt, thank you very much. That is the "Real Story" tonight.Comments (1)
KEN DIXON firstname.lastname@example.org
Connecticut Post Online
Article Last Updated:03/10/2007 12:40:48 AM EST
HARTFORD — Connecticut egg farmers warned Friday that they could be put out of business if state lawmakers ban cages for hens.
But the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States charged that factory-farming tactics that put as many as nine hens in a living space no bigger than a sheet of newspaper are wrong and are being phased out in the European Union.
During a daylong public hearing, members of the General Assembly's Environment Committee on Friday seemed conflicted over the economic and moral aspects of the legislation, which was opposed by state Agriculture Commissioner F. Philip Prelli.
Prelli said there's no scientific evidence that says cage-free hens lead better lives than those in cages, where state agriculture inspectors can have an easier time monitoring their condition, and cages keep chicken manure off the eggs.
"The concept of housing laying hens in cages is necessarily inhumane is based on conjecture and not supported by scientific evidence," Prelli said. "Hens that are contented tend to lay more eggs [a question: maybe nervious, stressed out hens actually lay more eggs?], and in all the studies we're seen, caged hens lay more eggs than free-roving hens. So to say they're not content is incorrect."
"Connecticut consumers should be able to make their own choices in purchasing food products," Prelli said. "If chickens weren't, in effect — I don't want to say happy — but if they weren't somewhat satisfied in the conditions they were in, they wouldn't lay eggs." [This is not true.]
Prelli said that if the egg industry were to end, the economic ripple effect, according to a 2002 study, would be more than $161 million, including $90 million in direct effects and $71 million in indirect losses including a spillover into the dairy industry. [question: what would the economic (and non-economic) benefits be? if the "costs" are mentioned, so must the "benefits," unless one wants to be "one-sided."]
The legislation would also prohibit the state Department of Administrative Services from buying eggs from farms that use cages. "There's virtually no commercial cage-free layer production in Connecticut," Prelli said.
Connecticut ranks 29th in the nation for egg production.
Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, a member of the committee, said constituents of his believe the bill is a good measure to give hens some space to spread their wings.
"The science says that that's not true," Prelli replied. "Whether it's humane or not, and a lot of the time in the way we treat animals, it's people's perception on what they need."
Hugh Mathews, an egg farmer for the sprawling KofKoff Egg Farm Co., based in the state's southeastern town of Bozrah, said the egg industry would simply close up shop if the law were enacted. He said the operation is using the industry standard for raising eggs in the state.
But Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, which has 168,000 members in Connecticut, said the so-called battery cage, which holds up to nine chickens, is cruel.
"We're seeing the moral floor of this industry taken out from under it," Pacelle said, suggesting that lawmakers, at very the least, should consider a multi-year phase out of battery cages. "This is about giving these birds a little more space. All this asks is to give these animals a chance to extend their wings. We're talking about showing these animals a little humanity." [Of course, perhaps a lot more needs to be done than this, but I guess we've gotta start somewhere.]
On average, each caged laying hen is afforded 67 square inches of space, less than a single sheet of letter-sized paper, on which to live her entire life, Pacelle said. "The animals are also denied any opportunity to engage in numerous important, natural behaviors, including nesting, dust bathing, perching, and foraging."
Rep. Robert W. Megna, D-New Haven, a member of the committee, said he notices the difference in eggs.
"I buy cage-free organic eggs," he said. "I find they taste better. They're a little more expensive and you can actually find them everywhere."
Stores including Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's and Wild Oats Natural Marketplace decline to sell the battery-cage eggs, and in the last Congress, U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4, sponsored legislation that would have required the federal government to purchase eggs only from cage-free hens.
Here are some talks that speak to the issue of animal compassion from a Christian perspective.
Word on the street is that animal agribusiness is really worried about rising opposition from religious groups. Someone should let them know about these talks and invite a response.Comments (1)
Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau
Animal agriculture is under fire. I call it “animal warfare.” Special interest groups campaigning around the nation under the banner of animal rights, and using emotion to trump fact-based science, are changing the way the livestock industry has legally and humanely operated for years. While wrapping themselves in a warm and fuzzy flag, these groups employ sophisticated, big-money tactics to misinform the uninformed.
The campaign is spreading across the country. Animal activists are rallying throughout the nation behind ballot initiatives, legal action and lobbying to shut down animal agriculture. These groups are going state-by-state campaigning on emotion, leaving many producers concerned with who will be the next target.
Because of these animal warfare efforts it is now illegal in Arizona for livestock producers to use veal and gestation stalls – scientifically proven, humane animal-care methods. In Arizona’s Proposition 204, millions of dollars were spent by activist groups to basically shut down one hog operation. There are no veal producers in the state. In terms of those two sectors of livestock production, and in spite of valiant opposition from Arizona Farm Bureau and others, the voters of Arizona were low-hanging fruit for our foes.
Another example of the trend can be seen with recent business decisions by Smithfield Foods and Maple Leaf Foods to switch from gestation stalls to group housing. Both companies clearly stated their decisions were based on marketing. One has to question the logic of any meat company that attempts to satisfy the meat-unfriendly mission of an animal rights group.
Part of the animal rights campaign is being waged on Capitol Hill. Legislation in Congress (HR 661 and S394) would stop the slaughter of non-ambulatory livestock. It is essentially a ban on the slaughter of fatigued hogs since it is already illegal for non-ambulatory cattle to be used for human consumption. During transport hogs become tired and lie down. There is nothing medically wrong with the animals, a fact supported by veterinary science, but when they are barred from processing it can be a costly matter for producers.
A Slippery Slope
Horses are another target in the animal rights campaign. There are approximately 100,000 unwanted horses slaughtered each year and sent overseas for human consumption. But legislation in Congress (HR 503 and S311) would ban equines from being slaughtered, which would open the door for neglect. Animal rights organizations are preying on people’s emotion and touting their devotion to horses, but still offer no alternatives for what to do with these animals. The existing horse shelters are full and there is no funding for new ones. This is another extreme animal rights position that hitches a ride on the coattails of our national love for horses.
If this legislation passes, however, it will not only infringe on constitutional property rights, but it will set up a slippery slope for animal agriculture. If horse slaughter can be banned without being based on food safety, science or facts, what’s next?
The anti-horse slaughter activists are gaining momentum. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court in Texas just decided that an archaic, outdated, nearly 60 year old law should be enforced that makes it illegal to slaughter horses in that state. These groups have also pressured airlines to stop transporting horse meat overseas.
When it comes to animal rights issues, activist groups are taking it to the extreme – promoting their special interests instead of science and facts. PETA and other groups have shown they are willing and able to spend millions of dollars to advocate their cause.
My message for Farm Bureau members and all of animal agriculture is: Do not underestimate the efforts of these heavily funded and highly organized groups. Be a proactive voice for agriculture and be ready to combat the animal warfare propaganda when it reaches your state. Don’t let these groups go uncontested when they provide misinformation to the uninformed.Comments (1)
Here are a few highlights from the last month...
RAW Pad Thai and Hand Rolls
RAW Monster Salad with Creamy Ranch Style Dressing
Heart Shaped Beet Dill Waffles with Ranchero Style Tofu
Heart Shaped Pear Ginger Waffles
Fettucini Alfredo Style
Quinoa with Veg Coconut Curry and Tofu
(1) Animal Suffering
Non-human animals used for food, clothing, entertainment, and commercial research are sentient beings who are fully capable of feeling pain and experiencing psychological trauma; the conditions under which they are raised subject them to merciless suffering and untimely and often painful deaths. Since medical research has discredited the popular claim that animal products are indispensable for good nutrition (quite the contrary!), this suffering and death is entirely unnecessary in the overwhelming majority of cases, unless one is prepared to interpret mere aesthetic enjoyment on the part of human beings as a necessity. Read all about it in Tom Regan's Empty Cages.
(2) Poor Environmental Stewardship
Animal husbandry, especially in its modern industrial form, has devastating consequences for the environment: it requires wasteful allocation of land to grow grain to feed animals (when it could be feeding people); it requires astronomical amounts of water, and fossil fuels for herbicides, pesticides, and transportation; it generates massive amounts of waste (manure) and greenhouse gasses (cow flatulence produces almost 20% of the methane), and animal and chemical waste runoff causes air and water pollution. Read all about it in Michael Jacobson's Six Reasons for a Greener Diet.
(3) Exploitation of the Disenfranchised
Factory farms and slaughterhouses are among the most dangerous and degrading places to work (not to mention to live): the stench is unbearable, the work environment is filthy and full of peril (physically and psychologically), the acts of cruelty that workers must perform are horrific, and these operations prey on illegal aliens and other disenfranchised persons who have limited employment options.Read all about it in Gail Eisnitz's Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment inside the U.S. Meat Industry.
(4) Global Injustice
International companies exploit arable land in the developing world (which could be used to grow food for the undernourished people who live there) in order to grow grain to feed animals that only the richest countries in the world can afford to eat. More importantly, in order to keep grain prices low, the government pays billions of dollars per year in subsidies which harm the global poor (i.e., the 20% of people in the world who live off of less than what a $1/day would buy in the USA, and the 50% that live off of less than $2). The Economist, The Lancet and other publications have estimated that discontinuing the subsidies and reallocating these resources more responsibly could save millions of people a year from unnecessary suffering and death. Read all about it in John Robbins's The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World.
(5) Local Injustice
Industrial agriculture has destroyed rural communities, putting family farmers either out of business or into servitude to large, unscrupulous corporations who take virtually all of the profits and none of the risks; the result is that land which, when wisely stewarded, can support the growth of hundreds of species of plants (a practice that has a regenerative effect on the soil) is now used to grow genetically modified corn and soybeans to feed factory farmed animals. Read all about it in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.
(6) Poor Stewardship of Personal Health
The most current scientific and nutritional findings provide substantive evidence that eating animal products is a direct cause of “diseases of affluence” such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, breast and intestinal cancers, Alzheimers, and many others; meanwhile, the same studies show that the consumption of a whole foods, plant based diet not only reduces one’s risk of getting these illnesses, but can mitigate and even reverse them when they’ve already taken hold. Read all about it in Dr. Kerrie Saunders's The Vegan Diet As Chronic Disease Prevention.
(7) Poor Stewardship of Public Resources
Personal health crises lead to public health crises, and this is proving true in the United States, where we spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on medication and invasive surgical procedures to treat “diseases of affluence” that can be prevented by the more responsible consumption of a whole foods, plant based diet. Read all about it in Dr. T. Colin Campbell's The China Study.
THE BLOODLESS REVOLUTION
The truth is often stranger than fiction. Would you believe, for example, that Rene Descartes-a philosopher often maligned for his ostensibly inhumane view of animals as unfeeling machines-was actually an advocate of vegetarianism? Did you know that Adam Smith, the world renowned Enlightenment economist, believed that the integrity of the northern European economy depended on switching from wasteful animal husbandry practices to a more efficient potato-based agriculture? Could you have imagined that Hindu Brahminism was a key influence on 17th century Christian sects seeking to restore the lost harmony of Eden through English gardening practices? Learn more about these and many more surprising facts heretofore lost to history in Tristram Stuart's The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times
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