Sunday, October 24, 2010
Health vs. Pork: Congress Debates the Farm Bill
The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation that will soon be up for congressional review, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.
The government also purchases surplus foods like cheese, milk, pork, and beef for distribution to food assistance programs—including school lunches. The government is not required to purchase nutritious foods.
Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac pyramid
In 2007, Congress did make some modest changes to the Farm Bill’s subsidy programs. But PCRM will need your help again to encourage the federal government to cut subsidies for unhealthy foods and increase support for fruits, vegetables, and vegetarian foods.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Bake sale could help save dolphins
PHOTO BY LINDSAY CHUNG
Published: October 12, 2010 3:00 PM
Taiji is a small village on the southeast coast of Japan’s Honshu Island.
While many people may not have heard of Taiji, 21-year-old Tarah Millen of Courtenay has, and she hopes to raise awareness of this small whaling village and a dolphin drive hunt that reportedly kills thousands of dolphins each year.
Millen is travelling to Taiji next month to try to help end the slaughter of dolphins and help draw attention to the hunt.
She is holding a Bake Sale for the Dolphins this Saturday in front of Zen Zero at 407B Fifth St. in Courtenay. The sale will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., and there will be a screening of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove — which follows a team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers as they covertly try to penetrate a remote cove in Taiji to report on the dolphin drive hunt — at 5 p.m.
Millen will sell cookies and cream cupcakes, double chocolate caramel muffins, raw treats from Zen Zero and more.
The film screening is by donation, and there will be free popcorn.
Millen became a “cove guardian” through the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization.
Millen has volunteered with Sea Shepherd before, spending three weeks in the Galapagos Islands trying to acquire illegal fishing buoys and monitoring an illegal marlin fishing derby.
“It really made me realize one person can make a difference if they put their mind to it,” she said. “It was my first experience doing something like that, and it was great.”
Scott West from the Sea Shepherd is already in Taiji, and about three weeks ago, the society put out a call to action asking people to come to Japan and document the dolphin hunt.
The dolphin drive hunt occurs from September to March, and fishermen herd the dolphins into a hidden cove, where the dolphins are killed by spears and knives, according to Millen.
Some of the dolphins are sold to dolphin trainers, which provides income for the fishermen to slaughter the other dolphins, she explained, adding they sell the dolphin meat, which is incorrectly labelled as whale meat so people don’t know they are eating dolphin.
Members of Sea Shepherd cannot jump in and cut the nets because they can be arrested, so they are in Taiji primarily to expose the dolphin hunt, explained Millen.
“Basically, it’s to raise awareness,” she said. “They’re called cove guardians because they’re guarding the coves. The main objective is to get it out there to the Japanese public because once they know, they can stop it. They’ve talked to some restaurants and gotten (the meat) out of stores. It may not seem like a lot right now, but it’s all we can do at this point. Any step is a step in the right direction.”
Millen became motivated to stop the dolphin hunt after seeing The Cove last year.
“If you see the movie, you understand,” she said. “You see it, and it just really motivates you. The end of it shows a bunch of inspirational things and the progress that’s been made. But it says the hunt is scheduled to continue from September until March unless you stop it. It gets you on a really deep level.”
Millen started a blog — www.coveguardian.blogspot.com — and a YouTube channel to start fundraising and raising awareness after she decided to respond to Sea Shepherd’s call to action.
“It’s been really successful so far; I’ve had a lot of support,” she said.
Millen plans to leave for Japan in early November, and she will stay 19 days.
Between now and then, she will be blogging and uploading videos, and she is hoping to continue to raise money and gain sponsorship and support — for her own journey and for the cause.
“It’s not just about me raising money to go to Taiji,” she said. “We need people to go too; to motivate others, that’s an objective just as much as raising money is.”
Donations boxes have been set up at Zen Zero and Bikram Yoga. People can also donate by visiting Millen’s blog.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The meat industry is one of the most destructive ecological industries
on the planet. The raising and slaughtering of pigs, cows, sheep,
turkeys and chickens not only utilizes vast areas of land and vast
quantities of water, but it is a greater contributor to greenhouse gas emissions
than the automobile industry.
The seafood industry is literally plundering the ocean of life and some
fifty percent of fish caught from the oceans is fed to cows, pigs,
sheep, chickens etc in the form of fish meal. It also takes about fifty
fish caught from the sea to raise one farm raised salmon.
We have turned the domestic cow into the largest marine predator on the
planet. The hundreds of millions of cows grazing the land and farting
methane consume more tonnage of fish than all the world's sharks,
dolphins and seals combined. Domestic housecats consume more fish,
especially tuna, than all the world's seals.
So why is it that all the world's large environmental and
conservation groups are not campaigning against the meat industry? Why did Al
Gore's film Inconvenient Truth not mention the inconvenient truth that
the slaughter industry creates more greenhouse gases than the automobile
The Greenpeace ships serve meat and fish to their crews everyday. The
World Wildlife Fund does not say a word about the threat that meat
eating poses for the survival of wildlife, the habitat destroyed, the wild
competitors for land eliminated, or the predators destroyed to save
their precious livestock. .
When I was a Sierra Club director for three years, everyone looked
amused when I brought up the issue of vegetarianism. At each of our Board
meeting dinners, the Directors were served meat and only after much
prodding and complaining did the couple of vegetarian directors manage to
get a vegetarian option. At our meeting in Montana we were served
Buffalo and antelope, lobsters in Boston, crabs in Charleston, steak in
Albuquerque etc. But what else can we expect from a â€œconservationâ€� group
that endorses trophy hunting.
As far as I know and I may be wrong, but my organization, the Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society is the only conservation organization in the
world that endorses and practises vegetarianism. My ships do not serve
meat or fish ever, nor do we serve dairy products. We've had a
strictly vegan menu for years and no one has died of scurvy or malnutrition.
The price we pay for this is to be accused by other conservation
organizations of being animal rights. Like it's a bad word. They say
it with the same disdain that Americans used to utter the word
communist in the Fifties.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not an animal rights
organization. We are exclusively involved in interventions against illegal
activities that threaten and exploit marine wildlife and habitat. We are
involved in ocean wildlife conservation activities.
Yet because we operate our ships as vegan vessels, other groups, and
now the media dismiss us as an animal rights organization.
Now first of all I don't see being accused of as an animal rights
organization to be an insult. PETA was co-founded by one of my
crew-members and many of my volunteers come from the animal rights movement. But
it is not accurate to refer to Sea Shepherd as animal rights when our
organization pushes a strict conservation enforcement policy.
And secondly we do not promote veganism on our ships because of animal
rights. We promote veganism as a means of practising what we preach
which is ocean conservation.
There is not enough fish in the world's oceans to feed 6.6 billion
human beings and another 10 billion domestic animals. That is why all the
world's commercial fisheries are collapsing. That is why whales,
seals, dolphins and seabirds are starving. The sand eel for example, the
primary source of food for the comical and beautiful puffin is being
wiped out by Danish fishermen solely to provide fish meal to Danish factory
This is a solid conservation connection between eating meat and the
destruction of life in our oceans.
In a world fast losing resources of fresh water, it is sheer lunacy to
have hundreds of millions of cows consuming over 1,000 gallons of water
for every pound of beef produced.
And the pig farms in North Carolina produce so much waste that it has
contaminated the entire ground water reserves of the entire state. North
Carolinians drink pig shit with their water but its okay they say, they
just neutralize it with chemicals like chlorine.
Most people don't want to see where their meat comes from. They also
don't want to know what the impact of their meat has on the ecology.
They would rather just deny the whole thing and pretend that meat is
something that comes in packages from the store.
But because there is this underlying guilt always present, it manifests
itself as anger and ridicule towards people who live the most
environmentally positive life styles on the planet â€“ the vegans and the
This is demonstrated through constant marginalization especially in the
media. Any organization, like Sea Shepherd for example, that points out
the ecological contradictions of eating meat is immediately dismissed
as some wacko animal rights organization.
I did not set the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society up as an animal
rights organization and we have never promoted animal rights in the
organization. What we have promoted and what we do is oceanic wildlife and
habitat conservation work.
And the truth is that you can't practise solid and constructive
conservation work without promoting veganism and/or vegetarianism as
something that promotes the conservation of resources.
A few years ago I attended a dinner meeting of the American Oceans
Campaign hosted by Ted Danson. He opened the dinner by saying that the
choice he had to make was between fish and chicken for the dinner, and what
was the point of saving fish if you can't eat them?
Guest speaker, Oceanographer Sylvia Earle put Ted in his place by
saying she did not think that he was being very funny. She said that she
considered fish to be her friends and she did not believe in eating her
friends. So neither Sylvia nor I ate dinner that night.
I met Sylvia again at another meeting, this time of Conservation
International held at some ritzy resort in the Dominican Republic. Harrison
Ford was there and the buzz was what could be done to save the oceans. I
was invited as an advisor. I sat on a barstool in an open beachfront
dining plaza as the conservationists approached tables literally
bending from the weight of fish and exotic seafood including caviar. I
looked at Sylvia Earle and she just shook her head and rolled her eyes.
The problem is that people like Carl Pope, the Executive Director of
the Sierra Club, or the heads of Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund,
Conservation International and many other big groups just refuse to accept
that their eating habits may be just as much a part of the problem as all
those things they are trying to oppose.
I remember one Greenpeacer defending his meat eating by saying that he
was a carnivore and that predators have their place and he was
proud to be one.
Now the word predator in relationship to human beings has a rather
scary connotation having nothing to do with eating habits, but for any
human being to describe themselves as a carnivore is just plain ridiculous.
Humans are not and have never been carnivores. A lion is a carnivore as
is a wolf, as is a tiger, or a shark. Carnivores eat live animals. They
stalk them, they run them down, they pounce, they kill, and they eat,
blood dripping, meat at body temperature. Nature, brutal red in tooth
I've never met a human that can do that. Yes we found ways to run
down animals and kill them. In fact we've come to be rather efficient at
the killing part. But we can't eat the prey until we cut it up and
cook it and that usually involves some time between kill and eating. It
could be an hour or it could be years.
You see our meat eating habits are more closely related to the vulture,
the jackal or other carrion eaters. This means that we can't be
described as carnivores. We are better described as necrovores or eaters of
Consider that some of the beef that people eat has been dead for months
and in some cases for years. Dead and hanging in freezers, full of
uritic acid and bacteria. It's a corpse in a state of decomposition. Not
much that can be said to be noble about eating a cadaver.
But a little dose of denial allows us to bite into that Big Mac or cut
into that prime rib.
But that one 16 ounce cut of prime rib is equal to a thousand gallons
of fresh water, a few acres of grass, a few fish, a quarter acre of corn
etc. What's the point of taking a shorter shower to conserve water as
Greenpeace is preaching if you can sit down and consume a 1000 gallons
of water at a single meal?
And that single cut of meat would have cost as much in vegetable
resources equivalent to what could be fed to an entire African village for a
The problem is that we choose to see our contradictions when it is
convenient for us to see them and when it is not we simply go into a state
of suspended disbelief and we eat that steak anyway because, hey we
like the taste of rotting flesh in the evening.
Have you ever thought why it is that with a person, itâ€™s an abortion
but when it comes to a chicken, it's an omelette?
Does anyone really know what's in a hot dog? We do know that the
government health department allows for an acceptable percentage of bug
parts, rodent droppings and other assorted filth to go into the mix.
And now tuna fish comes with a health warming saying it should not be
eaten by pregnant women or small children because of high levels of
mercury. Does that mean mercury is good for adults and non-pregnant women?
What are they telling us here?
Eating meat and fish is not only bad for the environment it's also
unhealthy. Yet even when it comes to our own health we slip into denial
mode and order the whopper.
The bottom line is that to be a conservationist and an
environmentalist, you must practise and promote vegetarianism or better yet veganism.
It is the lifestyle that leaves the shallowest ecological footprint,
uses fewer resources and produces less greenhouse gas emissions, it's
healthier and it means you're not a hypocrite.
In fact a vegan driving a hummer would be contributing less greenhouse
gas carbon emissions than a meat eater riding a bicycle.
May be freely distributed, reproduced and published with permission of
Sunday, September 26, 2010
The Top 10 anti-cancer foods
The most powerful anti-cancer food of all is, of course, a daily helping of seafood - for the complete range of the 72+ natural trace elements, without which we cannot help but sicken - and worse.
The complete natural range of the 72 trace elements is the best anti-cancer food there is. This is the reason why the breast cancer rate is 21 times lower, the lung cancer rate is 36 times lower, the prostate cancer rate is 137 time lower, and the colon cancer rate 187 times lower among the Sinhalese, and most likely, the people of India as well. Unlike Sri Lanka, India does not have a public health care system, hence the lack of figures for India.
Nevertheless, the nutritional customs are all but identical in these two countries, and while some Indian agriculture has switched to the trace element deficient Western chemical methods, much of their agriculture still returns all life wastes to the soil - and with them, the 72 trace elements. And China is not far behind the Sinhalese, with basically the same agricultural situation.
So, since seafood is the only readily available food hereabouts which still contains the complete natural range of the 72 nutritional elements, a daily helping of seafood is your most powerful and most effective weapon against cancer. For further confirmation see "THE OKINAWA DIET" in these pages - the typical diet of the longest living and healthiest people on this Earth.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Why Am I Vegan
By Walter Bond
PO Box 16700
Golden, CO 80402-6700
Monday, July 19, 2010
With so many wonderful alternatives to wool, fur, and leather, there's simply no need to use animal skins to cover your own skin. For every wool sweater, leather belt or jacket, or bit of fur trim, animals are tortured and mutilated in ways that would make any compassionate person's skin crawl. Sheep, cows, foxes, rabbits, minks, and other animals used for their fleece, fur, or skins feel pain and suffer just like the dogs and cats in our own homes, yet chunks of their flesh are hacked off, they are electrocuted, their necks are snapped, and their throats are slit open, often without any painkillers. Join kind people everywhere and shed your skins-wear only compassionate, animal-free clothing.
Alpaca farms are a growing business in North America, though these gentle creatures naturally reside 14,000 feet up in the Andes Mountains of South America. Alpacas stand about four feet tall, grow to approximately 150 pounds and are undeniably adorable; envision Bambi with shaggy fur and a mop top.
Removed from their natural habitat and forced into confinement, alpacas face a host of health issues compounded by intolerance to moderate weather; loss of appetite due to warm temperatures often leads to fatty liver disease, and the stress of living in confinement can lead to ulcers. Alpaca are prone to parasites and respond poorly to overcrowding, travel and improper diet.
Prized for their soft, delicate fur, most Alpacas are unnaturally shorn, but many are also killed for their fur and meat. Some companies claim their products are derived from Alpacas that "died of natural causes." This is extremely unlikely.
These docile rabbits are gentle, sociable animals with long, silken hair. Though angoras are not killed for their fur, they are shorn regularly and kept in cramped cages for the duration of their eight-year life span. Since males generate only about 75% of the wool that females produce, males are considered an industry byproduct and most are routinely killed at birth. The surviving females are treated much the same as rabbits raised for meat and endure confined lives of loneliness and boredom. Rabbits require regular exercise, and angoras confined to cages can develop painful bone deformities.
A valued and expensive fiber, cashmere is the fine hair that originally came from the underbelly of the Asiatic goat. Today, cashmere is derived from 68 breeds of goats in 12 countries. Cashmere goats generate fine hair with a diameter below 19 microns (in contrast, human hair has a diameter of 75 microns). These goats are kept in conditions that vary from extensive grazing to factory farm-like conditions. In some countries, the goats are hand combed to remove the fibers; in most, the terrified animals are shorn months prior to their natural shedding, leaving the goats exposed to cold temperatures and the chance of illness and death. Cashmere goats are often ear-notched and de-horned, and males not suitable for breeding are castrated without anesthesia and sold for meat after their first fiber harvest.
There are varying qualities of cashmere: At 12-14 microns thick, pashmina, which comes from goats in Kashmir and Tibet, is classified as the finest cashmere. Shahtoosh shawls, popular fashion symbols throughout the world, come from the endangered Tibetan antelope, Chiru. Referred to as "shawls of death" by the government of India, the burgeoning worldwide demand for shahtoosh shawls is leading to the extinction of the Chiru, which is always killed for its fur. At least five animals are slaughtered to produce a single shawl.
Down and Feathers:
If you look around your home, chances are you will find items filled with down. Many jackets, vests, coats, comforters, pillows, and sleeping bags are down-filled, and manufacturers boast of its insulating qualities. They neglect to tell you that down, the very soft feathers from the breasts of geese and ducks, is either purchased as a slaughterhouse byproduct or violently plucked from live animals. The geese unlucky enough to be plucked alive are later slaughtered or force-fed to make pate de foie gras.
Feathers from ostriches, peacocks and other exotic birds frequently adorn hats, handbags and other fashion items. Contrary to what you would like to think, these feathers do not fall out naturally; the feathers are either plucked while the bird is still alive or removed after the bird is slaughtered.
Ostriches, raised for their meat, leather, eggs, and feathers, naturally roam the open plains and live upwards of 75 years. Farmed ostriches are confined to small spaces, often indoors, and slaughtered at only 12 to 14 months.
The horrors of the fur industry are far-reaching: Farmed fur animals are imprisoned in tiny wire cages, raised under brutally cold conditions (to thicken the coat) and anally-electrocuted or gassed to death. Some are skinned while they are still alive. Larger fur-bearing animals are ensnared in the wild in steel-jawed leghold traps and left to await their trapper. In a desperate attempt to flee, some animals chew off their own leg or paw to escape. Since the traps do not discriminate, up to 50% of the trapped animals, many domestic cats and dogs, are discarded as "trash animals."
Leather is more than just a byproduct of the meat industry; it's a manufactured good essential to the meat trade, so buying leather directly supports the meat industry. The animals on the leather industry hit list include cow, deer, sheep, snake, alligator, crocodile, ostrich, lizard, kangaroo, and toad. The more desirable soft and supple leathers come from baby animals-calves, lambs and even unborn calves.
The environmental implications of processing leather are devastating: The production of leather requires the use of formaldehyde, lead, zinc and cyanide-based products. Leather products are 'tanned' with chemical agents that stabilize the fibers so that the leather is no longer biodegradable. Over 95% of all leather produced in the U.S. is chrome tanned, and all wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
If we care about the environment, we'll forgo leather for the wide selection of faux leather shoes, belts and coats available in most stores. And if we don't eat animals for ethical reasons, we shouldn't wear them.
Mohair comes from the white Angora goat, a small and delicate animal prized for its soft and lustrous fiber. The original Angora goats came from Asia Minor, in what is now modern Turkey. The goats were even smaller than they are today and were crossed with larger, meat-type goats to increase body size and fiber production. Very large herds of Angora goats are isolated on farms, purely for mohair production. Intolerably sensitive to cold and parasites, the goats need protection from the cold and chills for several days after their fleece is removed.
Silk comes from the caterpillars of the silk moth, which protect themselves by spinning silk strands to form a cocoon. Each worm may produce up to a mile and a half of continuous thread. When metamorphosis is complete and the moth is prepared to exit the cocoon, a naturally secreted chemical eats its way through the silk strands, freeing the moth. To retain a single, unbroken thread, the moth is killed before it is ready to emerge, typically by boiling, baking or steaming the worm alive. Nearly 1,500 pupas are killed to produce just 100 grams of silk.
The very fact that sheep are sheared for their wool is an unnatural act: Left to themselves without human interference, sheep would grow just enough wool to protect themselves from the weather. Scientific interference, however, has created wool-producing machines with an unnatural overload of wool that often encompasses half their body weight, bringing misery and death from heat exhaustion during warmer months.
At just a few weeks old, lamb's ears are punched, their tails are amputated and males are castrated with no sedative. Most wool comes from Merino sheep, bred to have excessive, wrinkly skin. More skin means more wool, but the wrinkles attract urine, moisture and flies, which lay eggs in the folds of skin, called 'flystrike.' The hatched maggots literally consume the sheep alive, sometimes eating down to the bone in the hind legs or even into the abdomen. Using no anesthetic, farmers carve out large folds of skin from the sheep's back and legs to discourage flystrike, an operation called mulesing.
Sheep are shorn before they would naturally and slowly shed their winter coats. Shearers, paid by volume, work quickly and often carelessly, frequently shearing off the flesh of terrified sheep. Once shorn, many sheep die of exposure. Aging sheep are transported long distances to slaughterhouses without food or water, and spent Australian sheep are sent to the Middle East in ships much like those used during the slave trade. The sheep who survive the trip have their throats slit in Moslem ritual slaughter.
Wool pulled from the skin of slaughtered sheep and lambs is known as 'skin wool.'
Felt is an extension of the wool and fur industries and is produced using a technique that compresses and hardens the wool or fur fibers into pliable material. Fur felt hats are made from a blend of tame and wild rabbits, but "better quality" fur felt hats also include some beaver hair in them. Historically, X markings were used in fur felt hats to indicate the blend of fur incorporated into the hat: The more wild fur included in the blend, the higher the X marking for the hat. Generally, 2X was the lowest rating and 100X was the highest.
I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, you found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear.
"Its me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here"
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea.
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, your arms were getting sore.
I want to take your parcels, I wished I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, you tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you that I'm not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house as you fumbled for the key,
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "It's me".
You looked so very tired and then you sank into a chair,
I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.
Its possible for me to be so near you everyday,
to say to you with certainty "I never went away".
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew
That in the stillness of that evening I was very close to you.
The day is over.... I smile and watch you yawning
and say, " Good Night, Sweet Dreams, God Bless,
I'll see you in the morning".
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide
I'll rush to greet you and well stand together side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there's much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out; then come home and be with me.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The Dalai Lama addressed a crowd of well-wishers in Dharamshala, his adopted hometown in India, where he has lived in exile since 1959. The Buddhist monk said when looking at the pictures and posters depicting his life, he realizes his life has not been wasted.
In neighboring Nepal, exiled Tibetans celebrated the Dalai Lama's birthday in a camp on the outskirts of the capital, Kathmandu.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Knights of Consequences
Defending and Honoring Captain Pete Bethune and the Principles of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Accusations that Sea Shepherd, and I specifically, ordered Captain Bethune to board the Shonan Maru 2 in the Southern Ocean are untrue. Captain Bethune at one point in his interrogation told the Japanese Coast Guard that he acted under my orders. This accusation resulted in the Japanese Coast Guard issuing a warrant for my arrest. Captain Bethune sent me a letter a few weeks afterwards apologizing for this and saying he would retract the statement, and he did so.