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.