Farmed Animal Watch
A Project of Animal Place

July 31, 2003                                                     (To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
Number #25 Volume 2


CONTENTS


DOUBLE ISSUE
1.  Farmed Animal Sanctuaries
2.  Dietetic Associations Commend Vegetarianism
3.  Meat Alternatives: Better Than Ever
4.  Vegan Cuisine Moving Up
5.  Pro-Veg Television Ad Campaigns
6.  CCF Funding Revealed
SPECIAL REPORT: FISH
7.  Canadian, Worldwide Fish Situation
8.  Finite Fish
9.  Farmed Salmon Found High in PCBs
10 Fish as Food: Health Considerations
11 Fish Are Not Plants
 

1. FARMED ANIMAL SANCTUARIES
In mid-May, after 20 years of caring for unwanted, neglected and abused horses, pigs, geese, cows, chickens, sheep and others on their Muncie, In. "65-acre, seven-barn farm that looks like it leaped off the pages of a children's storybook," Monte Jackson and Dorothy Davies found themselves in need when Jackson was seriously injured in a trucking accident. A word-of-mouth request for volunteers led to recruitment efforts by animal protection groups via Internet. Davies was stunned upon her returned home from her hospital vigil. "I was in a daze," she said, "People were running around doing everything. They wouldn't let me do a thing. I needed that. It was amazing." The outpouring of help revealed another side of human nature to the couple who had seen so much human cruelty inflicted on animals. Sanctuary and Safe Haven for Animals (SASHA) was started two decades ago when Jackson and Davies moved to the farm and found sheep in a barn on mounds of manure that nearly reached the ceiling. Gradually, they took in injured race horses, unwanted "property" from divorce settlements, and cows and chickens destined for slaughter. The sanctuary became a registered nonprofit organization two years ago, receiving $7,000 in donations last year. See also issue #98 and: http://www.sashafarm.org    
 
Veg News is featuring farmed animal sanctuaries in its current issue. Farm Sanctuary founders Lorri and Gene Bauston are interviewed, and 5 other sanctuaries are profiled. A guide to over 70 farmed animal sanctuaries in the U.S. and Canada is also included. For a free sample issue, visit:
http://www.vegnews.com
 
"Farm Volunteers: Human Kindness to the Rescue," Detroit Free Press, Kim North Shrine, July 15, 2003.
http://www.freep.com/news/mich/nfarm15_20030715.htm
 

2.  DIETETIC ASSOCIATIONS COMMEND VEGETARIANISM
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) together with Dieticians of Canada (DC) recently released a position paper recognizing health benefits of a vegetarian diet. The paper states that appropriately planned vegan and other vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and appropriate for people of all ages, including infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant and lactating women. Disease prevention benefits of vegetarianism are also noted, with vegetarians reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians; lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer. According to the associations, 2.5% of adults in the U.S. and 4% of adults in Canada follow vegetarian diets. Interest is vegetarianism appears to be increasing, with many restaurants and college food services routinely offering vegetarian meals (see also: http://www.jg-tc.com/articles/2003/06/04/features/feat20.txt ). Dietetics professionals are said to have a responsibility to support and encourage those who express an interest in a vegetarian diet.
 
An initial, one-month study has found that a low-fat vegetarian diet including soy, eggplant and almonds can reduce cholesterol levels about as much as widely used statin drugs. If the results bear out in more comprehensive studies, they could have broad implications for the millions of people with high cholesterol. Statin drugs are said to be effective but costly. The vegetarian group averaged a 28.6% drop in the type of cholesterol that can increase heart disease risk. In contrast, a low-fat diet only group had a corresponding drop of 8%.
 
"Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada: vegetarian diets," Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice, Summer 2003.
http://bmj.com/cgi/external_ref?access_num=12826028&link_type=MED
"Vegetarian Diet May Cut Cholesterol As Well As Drugs," Associated Press, July 22, 2003.
http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/conditions/07/22/reducing.cholesterol.ap/
 

3. MEAT ALTERNATIVES: BETTER THAN EVER
What if you could indulge in all your favorite foods such as nachos, pizza, spaghetti sauce, burritos, deli sandwiches, bacon and chicken fingers, but with a fraction of the saturated fats, calories and cholesterol usually associated with those foods? That question is answered in "Soy Long, Meat," which tells that vegetarian "mock meats" are now widely available and better tasting than ever. Meat alternatives have come a long way since the early days of tofu in North America. Many now closely simulate the taste and texture of meat, while others provide a distinctly vegetarian eating experience. Annual sales of vegetarian burgers is estimated at $300 million in the U.S. and $33 million in Canada. Burger King, McDonald's and other fast-food chains now offer veggie burgers. (An article about Mr. Goodburgers, a nationally franchised vegetarian eatery, can be found at: http://starbulletin.com/2003/06/20/business/story2.html ) The FDA has declared that 25 grams of soy protein a day can reduce the risk of heart disease (see issue N.12, V.2). In contrast to meat, vegetarian alternatives don't put one at risk of E. coli 0157:H7 ("hamburger disease") or the carcinogens that form when flesh is grilled. The article gives quality comparisons of meat and soy products, and compares soy products to each other. A separate comparison of 5 major veggie-burger brands can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/ilsu         
"Soy Long, Meat," The Toronto Star, Kim Hughes, July 20, 2003.
http://tinyurl.com/ii9d
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1059476126172&call_pageid=970599119419
 

4. VEGAN CUISINE MOVING UP
In the past few months [perhaps partly in anticipation of the upcoming Animal Rights 2003 conference], some Los Angeles chefs have earnestly expanded their vegan selections while maintaining their creativity and style. This is noted as "proof that serious vegan cooking isn't some passing fad." Vegan dining has, in fact, become a draw of sorts for some restaurants, in part due to the presence of vegan celebrities. Notes Eric Tucker at San Francisco's Millenium restaurant "A lot of people think of [vegan cooking] as for ex-hippies who are eating granola and brown rice and overcooked vegetables somewhere. We are showing that you can do a lot of different textures and flavor combinations." Rather than mimicking animal-based foods -which is noted as being "passe"- chefs are optimizing fresh produce with simple dressings and purees, creating aesthetically pleasing plates. Numerous chefs from noted restaurants are interviewed and a few vegan cookbooks are mentioned.
 
"Nouveau Vegan," The Los Angeles Times, Valli Herman-Cohen, July 23, 2003.
http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-vegan23jul23,1,5534933.story  
 

5. PRO-VEG TELEVISION AD CAMPAIGNS
The Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN) has commenced Veg Seattle, "the first-ever sustained TV advertising campaign designed to promote and support vegan and vegetarian choices in a local region." Modeled on Compassion Over Killing's "Veg DC" ad campaign (see issue #78), the ads encourage viewers to "choose veg" for their own reasons and at their own pace. The series of 4 public service announcements (PSAs) began in late June and were broadcast on cable channels to more than 157,000 households in the Seattle area. Based on Apple computer's "switch" ads, each PSA features individuals relating their true personal experiences with vegetarianism. Free information and other resources are offered. NARN is inviting other animal protection organizations to make use of the PSAs in their area or on a national basis. The ads can be viewed at: http://www.VegSeattle.com/adcampaign.shtml   
 
"Behind Closed Doors" is a 60-second t.v. commercial aired in the Columbus, Ohio area by Mercy for Animals (see N.13, V.2). Viewers are shown "scenes of factory farms and slaughterhouses, exposing routine abuse of farmed animals." A previous ad showing graphic footage of animals being beaten and killed was rejected by Time Warner cable. The current campaign depicts "animals suffering from intensive confinement on factory farms." The ads began July 1st on MTV, BET and Animal Planet, and offer vegetarian starter kits. It can be viewed at: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/veg_commercial.asp
 
In July, members of Congress received the video "Meet Your Meat" from Senator Jim Moran (D, Va.). The video, narrated by actor Alec Baldwin, consists of graphic images of "the routine cruelty involved in raising animals for food." It can been seen at: http://www.meetyourmeat.com A July 19th editorial in The Capitol Times (Madison, Wi.) criticizes federal agencies for lagging behind industry in improving conditions for farmed animals: http://www.madison.com/captimes/opinion/editorial/53102.php
 
"Kill Kindly, Activists Tell Food Industry," The Associated Press, Nada El Sawy, July 7, 2003.
http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/07/07/biz_wwwbiz2food7.html
 

6. CCF FUNDING REVEALED
The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF, formerly the Guest Choice Network: GCN) is a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries, according to Disinfopedia, "the encyclopedia of propaganda" put out by the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch. The group actively opposes smoking bans and lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit, while criticizing studies on the hazards of meat consumption, intensive fishing and pesticides. Each year it gives out "nanny awards" aimed at advocacy organizations whom CCF says "try to tell consumers how to live their lives." It has also run radio ads targeting studies on the link between the consumption of certain foods and health problems [and anti-PETA ads]: http://www.consumerfreedom.com/ad_campaign.cfm
 
Per Disinfopedia, an affiliated organization, ActivistCash.com, also headed by lobbyist Rick Berman, "purports to expose the ‘hidden funding' of various activist groups." CCN claims to receive its funding from more than 30,000 U.S. restaurants and bar operators. IRS documents for 2000, however, show that almost all its financial support came from seven anonymous sources. The Center for Media and Democracy obtained information revealing that 2001/2002 corporate contributions to CCF/GCN included: $200,000 from Excel/Cargill, $200,000 from Monsanto, $164,600 from Outback Steakhouse, $100,000 from Pilgrim's Pride [poultry], $40,000 from Perdue Farms, $200,000 from Tyson Foods, and $200,000 from Wendy's. See: http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Center_for_Consumer_Freedom     
 
"An animal rights activist is an environmentalist is a food safety activist is a factory farm opponent." So states an article in the July 1st Pork magazine about how "Today's animal rights activists challenge the food system's passive stance. " Mr. Berman and other CCF spokespersons give their take on how activists are influencing the public on animal agriculture issues. When asked if activists can really win, Berman responds "Yes, unless there's a push back from the other side. You have to de-legitimize them in the consumer's eyes." That is said to be #1 on CCF's "to-do list." Industry reaction is considered and organizations promoting animal agriculture are listed along with their web sites, three of which are briefly described. See also the links section of http://www.FarmedAnimal.net      
 
"Oh, What a Tangled Web They Weave," Pork, Marlys Miller, July 1, 2003.
http://www.vancepublishing.com/FSI/articles/0307/0307activists.htm
 

7. CANADIAN, WORLDWIDE FISH SITUATION
The global seafood business is a $90 billion industry. Canada's $600 million fish farming industry has grown by about 19.5% per year since 1986, nearly twice the world rate. (China, which has practiced types of aquaculture for thousands of years, produces 70%.) Some 142 million metric tons of aquatic animals and plants are fished (95 million) or farmed each year. With the human population expected to increase by 2 billion in the next couple of decades, an additional 52 million metric tons of seafood will be required to meet demand. With wild-caught fish decreasing, aquaculture is expected to increase. Up from 3.9% in 1970, aquaculture now supplies nearly a third of the world's seafood and by 2020 is anticipated to exceed 40%.
 
About 300 fish species are farmed, with carp, salmon, shrimp and talapia being the most common. The article explains the production process for salmon, who are ultimately killed by electrical shock, bludgeoning, or a needle in the brain. They might otherwise be left to suffocate on ice or are smothered with carbon dioxide. Critics say the industry is cruel, wasteful and environmentally destructive. Farmed fish are often contaminated with residual drugs or toxic chemicals. Fish are said to be prone to stress, with low tolerance of overcrowded or dirty conditions. Those in the business say they have to take care of the animals in order to be successful. The article offers a point-counterpoint about antibiotics, overcrowding, slaughter and feed efficiency. It takes about a pound of protein to produce the same amount of whole fish, compared to 1.5 to 2.5 pounds for shrimp, 2 for chickens, 3.5 for pigs and 7 for cattle. Canada is now experimenting with farming shellfish under salmon cages.  
 
"Growing Pains in Canada's Fish Farms," The Toronto Star, Peter Gorrie, July 19, 2003. http://tinyurl.com/il5j or
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1058566209879
 

8. FINITE FISH
The July 29th issue of The New York Times (NYT) contained 3 articles on the global decimation of ocean species by industrial fishing. More than 70% of commercial fish "stocks" are now considered fully exploited, overexploited or collapsed. Sea birds and mammals are endangered, marine ecosystems are being devastated, and an increasing number of marine species are nearing extinction. Fishing technology, subsidies (about $15 billion annually worldwide) and a booming demand for fish are blamed. Nearly a billion people rely primarily on fish for protein. Many consider it healthier than chicken or other meat. Most fisheries in international waters are rarely monitored, and laws and international agreements are skirted, resulting in chronic illegal markets. Seafood industry spokespersons say the problems are exaggerated and that things are improving.
 
Each year, about a quarter of the total catch, some 27 million tons of sea life, are unintentionally caught, termed "bycatch." As many as 300,000 dolphins, porpoises and whales are killed, along with about 100,000 albatrosses. Rallying concern for lower profile but ecologically important species is difficult. A conservationist explains: "[t]hey're ugly, and they don't taste good." Less desired species such as jellyfish and krill, called "biomass," are now being used in farmed animal feed and other products. Falling catches have accelerated the growth of fish farms and other aquaculture.
 
Different remedies are proposed, including fishing less. The director of the Center for Sustainable Aquatic Resources states, "Now the focus has to be on surgically removing fish from the ocean." A recent report from a university fisheries scientist to the European Union urged "Yes, we should have the underwater equivalent of intensive agriculture - the muddy seabed plowed by trawls," but he urged other parts of the ocean be preserved. Change will require "a huge shift in consciousness," a fisheries service official says. "Worldwide awareness is the root of the solution," declares Richard Ellis, author of "The Empty Ocean": http://www.motherjones.com/arts/books/2003/28/ma_464_01.html The NYT site features an educational animated presentation which includes graphic photographs. See also: http://tinyurl.com/ikpy
 
"Has the Sea Given Up Its Bounty?" The New York Times, William J. Broad & Andrew C. Revkin, July 29, 2003.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/science/29OCEA.html
"Conservation as the Catch of the Day for Trawlers," NYT, Andrew C. Revkin, July 29, 2003.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/science/29TRAW.html
"Challenge to Fishing: Keep Unwanted Species Out of Its Huge Nets," Otto Pohl, NYT, 7/29/03.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/science/29BYCA.html     
 

9. FARMED SALMON FOUND HIGH IN PCBS
After tuna and shrimp, salmon is the most popular seafood in the U.S.  Farmed salmon accounts for 60% of the salmon consumed in this country. A recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, found 10 samples of farmed salmon to be more contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) than any other protein source. PCBs are industrial byproducts and suspected human carcinogen. Though they were banned in the U.S. in 1976, they persist in the environment and accumulate in animal fat and are transferred through meat and milk. The tested salmon came from 5 countries, including the U.S. and Canada. Three previous studies of farmed salmon found similarly high PCBs levels. Two studies, including the latest, found farmed salmon to be 5-10 times higher in PCBs than were wild salmon. Given U.S. consumption patterns for salmon (which are included in the article), the EWG assessment estimates that 800,000 people face an increased lifetime cancer rate of 1 in 10,000 from eating farmed salmon, and 10.4 million people face an increased risk of 1 in 100,000 from it. According to EPA guidelines, such highly contaminated food should not be consumed more than once a month.
 
The salmon industry is dismissing the studies as having sample sizes too small to be reliable. One spokesperson argues that, given the relatively small amount of salmon Americans eat (2 pounds a year) compared to beef and chicken, the latter pose a much greater source of PCBs. The industry further counters that the levels found in salmon do not exceed those set by the FDA. Determined in 1984, the FDA standards are substantially lower than those in the EPA guidelines, which were set in 1999. The FDA is considering revising its PCBs standards. 
 
"Farmed Salmon is Said to Contain High PCB Levels," The New York Times, Marian Burros, July 30, 2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/30/dining/30WELL.html
"Salmon Farmers Reject PCB-Taint Claim," The Vancouver Sun, Scott Simpson, July 31, 2003.
http://www.canada.com/search/story.aspx?id=2582d7f4-0449-4578-ad52-311bb5c8611f
 

10. FISH AS FOOD: HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
"Does Mercury Matter?," a 7/29 New York Times article by James Gorman, details the controversy around methylmercury, the form of mercury which accumulates in fish. Gorman claims "At least all the experts agree that fish is good for you" (see: http://www.pcrm.org/health/Commentary/commentary9807.html ), noting that it is high in protein, low in fat, and contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Fish also contain concentrated levels of methylmercury, which is known to damage human neurons, particularly developing ones. The FDA has warned that, due to methylmercury, women of childbearing age and young children should limit their intake of certain species of fish. Tuna is not included among the specified fish, and the agency is being criticized for this omission. It is currently working on a joint methylmercury advisory with the EPA, and is separately considering canned tuna. The article can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/health/nutrition/29MERC.html
 
Noted New York Times health columnist Jane E. Brody (see issue #84) laments the decrease in seafood consumption, which, in the U.S., fell from 16.2 pounds in 1987 to 14.8 pounds in 2001. She says evidence suggests that eating 2 3-ounce servings of fish weekly can significantly reduce the risk of developing certain afflictions, like heart attacks and strokes. More importantly than being a matter of displacing "red meat" in one's diet, Brody says evidence suggests that the omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish consumption may help prevent cardiovascular disease. She notes plant-based sources of one of the two omega-3's but says eating fish is a far more efficient way of accessing them (see: http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/essential_fatty_acids.html and http://www.veganhealth.org/shv/#omega6 ). Brody also considers health risks of eating fish, including mercury, toxins from sewage and other sources, viruses and allergies. Raw fish is identified as the most common source of food poisoning.
 
"Tip the Scale in Favor of Fish: The Healthful Benefits Await," The New York Times, Jane E. Brody, July 29, 2003.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/29/health/nutrition/29BROD.html
 
   
11. FISH ARE NOT PLANTS
In Australia, the Vegetarian Society will launch its "Fishconception" campaign in mid-August. The campaign is an effort to educate restaurants and caterers that serving fish is not a vegetarian option. It will comprise good-spirited advertising and encourage direct customer feedback to ignorant eating establishments. Wallet-size cards have been printed to be left on tables. They define vegetarianism and tell how free recipes and advice can be obtained. The Society will also be publishing a survey about how vegetarians feel about establishments that offer fish as a vegetarian dish.
 
"That's No Vege - That's A Fish," Hospitality Magazine, July 25, 2003.
http://www.hospitalitymagazine.com.au/articles/e2/0c0188e2.asp