Sunday, July 27, 2008

all the news that is fit to print

I've been holding onto some news stories in order to do a "vegetarianism in the news" post, and I think I have enough now to provide you all with some interesting links to check out.

In the Huffington Post, Kathy Freston discusses why a vegan diet is much healthier for you than the infamous Atkins diet. I love this passage:
Basically, every reputable health agency knows that a mountain of evidence indicates that the saturated fat and cholesterol in animal flesh, eggs and milk clogs your arteries and increases your risk of heart disease, among an array of other problems.

Heart disease is of course just one meat-related health problem; eating animals also raises one's risk of cancer. For example, a massive Harvard study in 2006 found that people who frequently eat skinless chicken (often touted as the "healthy" way to cook chicken) had a whopping 52% higher rate of bladder cancer. The evidence that animal protein is carcinogenic is strong, and people who eat lots of it are raising their risk.

There's been a lot of coverage of the vegan "chicken" burger at KFC in Canada. I have to admit that I've found this story amusing since it first developed. Sure, it's great that KFC agreed to offer a veggie option at its restaurants, but am I not right in thinking that 99% of vegans wouldn't set foot in a KFC in the first place? I mean thanks for the veggie burger, but since I'm health conscious I don't really eat fast food, and since you still support the factory farming of chickens, I'm not giving you my money anyway.

Good for Johanna McCloy! But holy crap...
[Her efforts have] encountered pockets of hostile resistance.

Last month, after an article about McCloy appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle magazine, reader Marc Kimberly of Concord wrote: "For goodness' sakes, is there no limit to which annoying vegetarians won't go in their efforts to try to convert people from enjoying meat in favor of the bland mishmash of unappetizing and virtually tasteless 'food' these elitist snobs choke down their gullets?"

McCloy says she was equally dumbfounded when, during an appearance on a Denver radio station, her efforts were labeled un-American. Her only objective, she says, is to give fans a choice.

This one is a little boggling: A vegetarian named Jesse Simons won a hot dog eating contest in New York State. He gives up vegetarianism for contests like this one, and his prize was a gym membership and a voucher for 50 free hot dogs.

I can't be bothered to comment, but this article sympathizes with male vegetarians for being the absolute lowest forms of life. P.S. I haven't checked out the Harvard study that the writer mentions, but my own research on soy makes me think that everything will be okay.

Finally, from the U.S. News and World Report - Making meat without killing animals could fix a host of problems. This article mainly covers the scary prospect of creating "meat" in labs, instead of in factory farms, in order to solve the health and environmental problems of a meat based diet, without actually requiring people to go vegetarian. It's nice that the writer can quite happily make this statement:
It would make sense, of course, for the whole world to become vegetarian: A plant-based diet is more healthful, more economical, and more environmentally benign. (Cows are major contributors to global warming because they generate methane.)
But to otherwise imply that laboratory created meat is a better way to get away from the environmental and health consequences of factory farmed meat seems silly and scary to me. Not to mention unappetizing:
They used tissue engineering to grow two quarter-size disks of muscle on a polymer scaffold, then sautéed the steaks in a honey-garlic sauce, quartered them, and served dinner for eight. It was not a gourmet experience. The scaffold didn't degrade enough, Catts says, and the unexercised muscle had a texture reminiscent of snot. "It was fabric with jelly," he says. "Four people spit out the bits." That was five years ago, and he hasn't eaten meat since.

No comments: