San Francisco’s Shameful School Lunch Program

Perhaps the biggest crime perpetrated by the National School Lunch Program isn’t that nearly every meal is based around meat, but rather that the food is usually so disgusting that much of it gets thrown away.

Case in point: yesterday, San Francisco Chronicle blogger Michael Bauer visited a local public school to try out one of the lunches. While Bauer’s written description is troubling enough, the photos tell the real story. Nobody in their right mind would eat this crap, and the vast majority of this food — including thousands of pounds of meat every day — is likely getting tossed out uneaten.

More troubling still: the very same lunch Bauer sampled yesterday was served to 30,000 kids. You’ve got to click through and check out Bauer’s photos.

All it would take would be for one person to do a daily photo blog showcasing San Francisco’s school lunches, and I’ve no doubt the outcry for reform would become overwhelming. (Via allsfgate and Starkman.) Link.

Three Different Vegan Books Now in Amazon Top 100

I just updated the Vegan.com Top 10 books list. I’d bet a lot of money that never before have three items on this list been top 100 sellers on Amazon.com at the same time.

As I write this, Tal Ronnen’s The Conscious Cook is ranked #20, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals is ranked #37, and Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet
is at #85.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited this makes me. With big-time publishing successes like these, I expect us to soon see unprecedented growth in the percentage of Americans who are vegan.

CNN on Meat and Climate Change

Here’s a three minute CNN segment on animal agriculture and greenhouse gases. I can’t believe the media attention this issue is getting; it’s got to be the meat industry’s worst nightmare come true. (Thanks, Rachel.)

Bob Barker Endows Professorship in Animal Rights

Former “Price is Right” host Bob Barker has endowed a professorship in animal rights at his alma mater, Drury University, in Springfield Missouri. He’s given a million bucks to create this professorship. Funny, because I thought it would have cost $1.6 million.

Barker’s hoping that Drury will offer a major in animal rights, and that other universities will follow suit. (Thanks, Jake.) Link.

CNN Essay by Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer just contributed an article to CNN in which he runs through several main points from Eating Animals. He also talks about how he became interested in writing the book. I adore this paragraph:

I’m a novelist and never had it in mind to write nonfiction. Frankly, I doubt I’ll ever do it again. But the subject of animal agriculture, at this moment, is something no one should ignore. As a writer, putting words on the page is how I pay attention.

The article has some great stuff on antibiotic use in factory farms:

There is a glaring reason that the necessary total ban on nontherapeutic use of antibiotics hasn’t happened: The factory farm industry, allied with the pharmaceutical industry, has more power than public-health professionals.

What is the source of the industry’s immense power? We give it to them. We have chosen, unwittingly, to fund this industry on a massive scale by eating factory-farmed animal products. And we do so daily.

It’s looking like momentum for Eating Animals is growing; let’s each do what we can to make this a sleeper title. (Via Sullivan.) Link.


Methane Production by Animal

All animals produce some methane through digestive processes, but until now I had no idea of the absolutely staggering difference between people and cows. The BBC has published a terrific illustration of methane production per person or animal. Humans produce just 0.12 kilograms of methane each year. Pigs do about 1.5 kilos. A sheep will do eight kilos. And western cattle produce an astonishing 120 kilograms. In other words, just one cow produces as much methane as a thousand people.

If you click through the link, you’ll see a nice illustration of these numbers, and you’ll also have the chance to listen to an excellent BBC interview with climate change expert Lord Stern. (Thanks: Shell & Bate.) Link.

Jack Norris’ Personal Supplement Regimen

Here’s a cool and helpful article from vegan dietitian Jack Norris: he details the steps he personally takes to get enough nutrients without resorting to multivitamins.

It’s worth mentioning that nutritional needs can vary significantly between people, and what’s ideal for Jack may not be perfect for others. Link.

Pork Industry Under Pressure

A great article on how the pork industry is responding, both in farming practices and through PR, to mounting animal cruelty concerns. One pork producer says:

People need to look at the goal of the Humane Society of the United States. They want to end protein from animals, and they know it can be done by passing regulations.

Meanwhile, a farming trade group still doesn’t understand how to confront the issue:

It’s not the journalists’ fault. We haven’t done a good enough job telling them our story. For too long, we’ve let a handful of environmental extremists and coalitions bankrolled by big business define our industry in the news.

I keep hearing industry people talk about how they need to do a better job of telling their story, but it’s the cruelty, stupid. Until the worst factory farm cruelties are done away with, it doesn’t matter what kind of story meat producers attempt to tell. (Via Hawthorne.) Link.