Get Healthy, Marshall Texas

My thanks to Get Healthy, Marshall for sponsoring this week’s Vegan.com feed. This is an incredibly great three-day immersion event designed to get you off the couch and whip your diet into shape. You will learn how to shop for and prepare heart-healthy vegan meals, and to embrace an active vegan lifestyle. You’ll get one-on-one contact with Rip Esselstyn and other top vegan health experts who will teach you how to break out of the Standard American Diet and become Plant Strong.

The event runs from August 26th to 28th. Nice nearby accommodations are available. Find out more here.

Canadian Farmers’ Union Chapter Backs Gestation Crate Ban

HSUS Farm Animal Protection Director Paul Shapiro just emailed:

The Manitoba chapter of Canada’s National Farmers Union (note: Manitoba is the big pork production province up there) just issued a resolution calling on pork producers to stop using gestation crates.

This is significant news, since the province of Manitoba is Canada’s largest pork producer. I’ve no doubt this news establishes precedent that will help Paul push for similar measures in the United States. Link.

UK Government Refuses to Prosecute Extreme Cruelties Uncovered in New Pig Investigation

Sky News reports:

Footage given exclusively to Sky News shows staff at a UK abattoir punching pigs and burning them with cigarettes.

Animal Aid secretly installed four cameras inside Elmkirk (Cheale Meats) Ltd, an Essex slaughterhouse that claims to uphold high standards of animal welfare.

The pictures show pigs hit in the face with bats, incorrectly stunned and dragged by their ears to slaughter

But the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced it will not prosecute Cheale Meats, in Brentwood, because campaigners trespassed to obtain the footage.

And how else could they have obtained this footage?

So basically, if you don’t trespass, you can’t discover or document abuse. If you do trespass and find abuse, the government will not prosecute because that abuse was obtained through trespassing.

Still, charges or not, this is another black eye for animal agribusiness, and yet another reason why the industry can never be trusted to exercise decent animal care.

One last infuriating item: the slaughterhouse at the center of this investigation has gone to the police, in an attempt to press criminal charges against the activist who installed the cameras. Yet at the same time, the company’s attorney denies the footage depicts their facility.

If you can stand to see it, the video’s here.

Andy Bellatti on Soy vs. Dairy Risk

Newly-minted Registered Dietitian Andy Bellatti wrote the following guest blog entry. I love Andy’s work, and I follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his blog.

Critics of soy often vilify its estrogen content. At the ridiculous end of the spectrum, some mainstream men’s fitness magazines consider it a “feminizing” food, while—at the more evidence-based side of the spectrum—women with a history of breast cancer are advised to limit their intake.

Strangely, we hear very little about high levels of estrogen in commercial dairy products. Unlike plant-based soy estrogens, the estrogen in cows’ milk is estrone sulfate, a hormone that has been linked to increased risks of breast cancer.

Some research suggests one possible factor in the rise of hormone-related cancers may be that “modern dairy cows are usually pregnant and continue to lactate during the latter half of pregnancy, when the concentration of estrogens in blood, and hence in milk, increases.”

That same study—which correlated incidence rates for breast, ovarian, and corpus uteri cancers with food intake in 40 countries—concludes that:

Milk was most closely correlated with incidence[s] of ovarian cancer”, likely due to elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone. Meat was most closely correlated with breast cancer incidence, followed by milk and cheese.

Men are also affected. As this study points out, “estrogen levels in prostate fluid are also correlated very well with…prostate cancer.”

While data that encompasses all soy estrogens and prostate cancer risk appears inconclusive, some research theorizes that a specific estrogen called deidzein may offer a degree of protection from prostate cancer.

If estrogen in foods is a concern, commercial dairy products merit greater concern than soy.

Morrissey Compares Norway Massacre to KFC

He’s not doing animal advocates any favors. Lisa Eckert’s response is exactly right:

There might be a point in there that’s worth making, but framing it like that just gives fuel to the “everyone who avoids meat is sanctimonious and irritating” fire. Those flames really don’t need any fanning.

Let’s hope it’s Morrissey’s last cringe-inducing statement of the year. Link.

Animal Angels’ 8 Hours Campaign

In light of his organization’s transport investigation that occurred last week, Philip Lymbery argues that it’s time for Europe to outlaw all slaughter transport lasting more than eight hours. You can learn more at 8hours.eu.

This is something that any reasonable person can get behind, and it would eliminate a tremendous amount of cruelty. Let’s hope this can be won quickly, since it would also set important precedent that would be useful to activists in North America. Link.

228,596 Pounds Beef Recalled for E. Coli

The stuff was produced less than two weeks ago. Not so long ago, it seemed like every recall involved meat that had been shipped months before. (Thanks, Bea.) Link.

E6 Cattle Owner Gets Off with $4,000 Fine

The prosecution against Kirt Espenson, the owner of E6 Cattle, has ended with a $4,000 fine and a year of probation. Though welfare standards at some factory farms have improved somewhat in the past few years, this is yet another sign that—at least in agriculture communities—you can still do pretty much anything to a farmed animal with no serious legal repercussions.

Considering what went on during Espenson’s watch, a lifetime ban on working with farmed animals would have been the minimal acceptable outcome. But now he’s on the way to getting this behind him with no criminal conviction. Sickening. Link.