Author Archives: Vegetarians of Washington

Dogs are friends, not food

It’s very upsetting. In some regions dogs are used for food and slaughtered in an especially cruel manner. This was the case in the Nagaland region of India.

But there’s good news. Nagaland has just banned the import, trading and sale of dog meat, in a move celebrated by animal rights activists. The region’s  government announced the ban following a sustained campaign by animal welfare groups. They hailed the decision as a “major turning point” in ending cruelty to dogs in India.

Eating dog meat is illegal in parts of India, but some communities in north-eastern areas consider it a delicacy. Indian media said the ban came after a picture of dogs bound in sacks at a wet market was circulated widely on social media, provoking outrage.

An estimated 30,000 dogs a year are smuggled into Nagaland, where they are sold in live markets and beaten to death with wooden clubs. Horrible!  The eating of dogs does take place in some other countries, including regions of China, South Korea and Thailand. We hope that dog meat will be banned world wide.

New flu from pigs

Pigs confinedWhat if we stopped raising pigs?  Easy answer: we would stop the swine flu.

We pay a very high price from raising pigs and, of course, the pigs do as well. A big part of that price is the swine flu. U.S. health officials are tracking a newly discovered strain of swine flu in China they say has the characteristics of viruses with potential to cause another human pandemic. Although the virus has not yet been detected in the U.S. or shown human to human transition, doctors have reason to worry it could spell trouble.

Here’s why they’re worried. The new virus appears to grow well in the cells lining the human airway, and possesses all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans, according to a recent study.

Pigs are considered as important hosts or “mixing vessels” for the generation of pandemic influenza viruses. Systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is essential for early warning and preparedness for the next potential pandemic.

The virus, which scientists are calling G4 EA H1N1 is exhibiting “reassortment capabilities.” When you get a brand new virus that turns out to be a pandemic virus, it’s either due to mutations and/or the reassortment or exchanges of genes. This virus has characteristics of the 2009 H1N1 virus, and of the original 1918 Flu which some other flu viruses have, as well as segments from pigs.  The H1N1 swine flu and 1918 pandemic flu were both considered very dangerous viruses that spread across the globe.

Most pigs are raised in very harsh over crowded conditions on what’s known as factory farms. But if we didn’t raise pigs, almost all the threat of swine flu would disappear. How many people could be saved from sickness and death? Is bacon really worth all the suffering and death?  Learn more about the flu and how it arises on factory chicken and pig farms.

Tabitha Brown – vegan sensation

Tabitha Brown - modified

Tabitha Brown was working as a struggling part-time actress in 2018 when she did a review of a Whole Foods Market vegan TTLA sandwich (TTLA (tempeh bacon, tomato, lettuce, avocado) is a vegan take on the classic BLT sandwich) which went viral on Facebook.  Brown had discovered the benefits of a vegan diet when she started suffering from chronic pain and fatigue in 2016. She was in so much pain she was unable to work for more than a year and a half.  Her daughter suggested she watch a movie that indicated a vegan diet might help with her recovery.  She tried it for 30 days and the pain cleared up, so she decided to stick with it.

The lucky break of her viral posting landed her a job with Whole Foods as a brand ambassador, travelling the country to give presentations about her decision to adopt veganism.  In March of this year, she created a TikTok account where she began sharing vegan recipes, cooking tips, family moments and encouraging advice.  In the space of 5 weeks she gained 2 million followers, and she now has 3.8M followers on TikTok and 2.3M followers on Instagram. While her videos mostly include creating quick meals and spreading messages of hope, fans can’t seem to get enough of her soothing, comforting voice.

In late June, she was given her own regular series, All Love, on Ellen DeGeneres’ Digital Network.  On the show, Brown will talk about vegan cooking, social media, parenting, and self-care, making veganism cool.  Let’s hope you continue to go from strength to strength, Tabitha!

Poultry and Pollution

Chicken factoryWhen it comes to the environment, the public’s attention has been understandably focused on global warming. However, the water pollution problem hasn’t gone away. While many people are aware of the water pollution caused by raising cattle, few are aware that raising chicken is just as bad if not worse. Sure, a cow produces more manure than a chicken does, but there are far more chickens in this country. In fact, we now raise over 9 billion chickens every year compared to only 95 million cows.

In addition to the water pollution that results from agricultural runoff from fertilizer while raising feed crops for all those chickens, the waste products from raising chickens cause an enormous amount of pollution. In fact, chicken manure is especially degrading to waterways because it contains 2 to 4 times more pollutants (particularly nitrogen and phosphorous) than the manure of other types of livestock and can also have disastrous effects on water and soil quality.
Read more

Ringo Starr stays young with broccoli

In an interview, Starr revealed he went vegetarian after attending a bullfight in Spain. Since then, the musician has been admired for his graceful aging. Former drummer for The Beatles, Ringo Starr, recently revealed the secret to “staying young” and maintaining high energy levels. Speaking to music and pop culture magazine Rolling Stone, Starr commended his vegetarian diet for helping him stay “so young and active.”  Starr says, “I am a vegetarian, I have broccoli with everything and blueberries every morning. I just do stuff that I feel is good for me.”

The musician, who is 80 years old, spoke about how he keeps up with his busy life, including the launch of his new coffee table photo book “Another Day in the Life,” and an upcoming tour with the All Starr Band, when the virus lifts.  The All Starr Band is 31 years old and still going strong as is fellow Beatle, Paul McCartney, also a vegetarian.

“You’re a busy man these days,” Rolling Stone interviewer Rob Sheffield said to Starr. He asked the rock star how he maintains the lifestyle. “I think staying active keeps you young,” Starr said, adding that he works out with a trainer. But diet also plays a role; the drummer highlighted that he follows a vegetarian diet and includes broccoli “with every meal.” Many have pointed out that he looks even younger than his son. Keep up the good work, Ringo!

Better future for Black health

doctor with patientMany people in the US are worried and upset about the life experience of blacks in America at the moment. And while attention is very understandably drawn to the abuse of their civil rights, there’s another problem that shouldn’t be forgotten. Black people face an increased risk for a number of chronic diseases.

Blacks in America have a 50% higher risk of obesity, 70% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, 40% higher prevalence of hypertension, a 25% increased risk of stroke, and 4 times the risk of kidney disease requiring dialysis. They also have a 75% higher risk of dying from a heart attack and a 10% increased risk of dying from cancer. Read more

Farm to Fork Strategy encourages plant-based diets

Cows eating

The European Commission (EU) recently published a “Farm to Fork Strategy” which aims to encourage a shift toward plant-based diets. The plan proposed that $11 billion be used for research into sustainable food sources, including meat substitutes and other plant-based protein foods.  This provides a major commercial opportunity for Europe to encourage these industries as part of the economic recovery from the Covid-19 recession. Read more

Covid-19 adds to stress on slaughterhouse workers

Meat packers Covid

COVID-19 is having a big impact on slaughterhouse workers, whose job is already considered the most dangerous in the country.  The rate of slaughterhouse worker injury is now triple that of other manufacturing and processing jobs. Slaughterhouse worker injuries run the gamut of everything from repetitive motion injuries, to serious cuts and amputations, to a high incidence of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases that are strongly associated with handling meat. Human Rights Watch concludes that slaughterhouse workers have the most dangerous job in America, and even the US Government Accountable Office (USGAO) says that they face much greater risks than other workers. Read more

Go veg to save money!

Beef for sale

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last month saw the biggest increase in grocery prices in nearly 50 years. Food prices rose across the board, but the sharpest increase­ – 4.3 percent from March to April – was for meats, poultry, fish and eggs.

This price spike, along with widespread shortages in stores (which are, of course, a factor contributing to the price increases), has forced many people to adjust their usual meal plans. When you can’t find ground beef or chicken breasts, you have to make something else, and in many cases that’s resulting in people choosing plant-based options. Read more

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