Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Yeah, as I look at it, maybe it is spelled "spiel"......?

Today's Obligatory Speel (is that spelled right?) about the Virtues of a meatless World

VegFamily Presents
From the Editors of E/The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: Vegetarians and vegans are so self-righteous about not eating meat and how meat eating is so bad for the environment. How true are these claims? -- Frank Doolittle, Sudbury, MA There has never been a better time to go vegetarian. Mounting evidence suggests that meat-based diets are not only unhealthy, but that just about every aspect of meat production—from grazing-related loss of cropland, to the inefficiencies of feeding vast quantities of water and grain to cattle, to pollution from 'factory farms'—is an environmental disaster with wide and sometimes catastrophic consequences. There are 20 billion head of livestock on Earth, more than triple the number of people. According to the Worldwatch Institute, global livestock population has increased 60 percent since 1961, and the number of fowl being raised for food has nearly quadrupled in the same time period, from 4.2 billion to 15.7 billion. The 4.8 pounds of grain fed to cattle to make one pound of beef represents a colossal waste of resources in a world teeming with hungry and malnourished people. According to Vegfam, a 10-acre farm can support 60 people growing soy, 24 people growing wheat, 10 people growing corn—but only two raising cattle. Food First's Frances Moore LappĂ© says to imagine sitting down to an eight-ounce steak. Then imagine the room filled with 45 to 50 people with empty bowls... For the feed cost of your steak, each of their bowls could be filled with a full cup of cooked cereal grains. Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer says that reducing U.S. meat production 10 percent would free grain to feed 60 million people. U.S. animal farms generate billion of tons of animal waste every year, which the Environmental Protection Agency says pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. The infamous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Prudoe Bay, but the relatively unknown 1995 New River hog waste spill in North Carolina poured 25 million gallons of excrement into the water, killing 14 million fish and closing 364,000 acres of shell fishing beds. Hog waste spills have caused the rapid spread of Pfiesteria piscicida, which has killed a billion fish in North Carolina alone. Other than polluting water, beef production alone uses more water than is used in growing our entire fruit and vegetable crop. And over a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the U.S. are used in animal production. Meat also increases our carbon footprints. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock around the world contribute more greenhouse gases (mostly methane) to the atmosphere—18 percent of our total output—than emissions from all the world's cars and trucks. "There is no question that the choice to become a vegetarian or lower meat consumption is one of the most positive lifestyle changes a person could make in terms of reducing one's personal impact on the environment," says Christopher Flavin of the Worldwatch Institute. "The resource requirements and environmental degradation associated with a meat-based diet are very substantial."

Ranting on Wednesday after posting about Ethical Veganism

In a U.S. Supreme Court case (Gillette v. U.S., 1970), the court recognized that conscience and belief are the "bedrock of religion." In an Alabama Supreme Court case (Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County, 1987), the court wrestled with whether secular humanism was the functional equivalent of a religion, for like Buddhism and Humanistic Judaism, secular humanists have no belief in god. Russel Kirk, one of the experts testifying before the Alabama court, said: "Modern definitions of religion encompass those religions which do not believe in a transcendent order or in a divine power, but which are primarily ethical in content rather than transcendent or supernatural."

I argue that ethical veganism should be treated as a religion for those who adhere to it. Vegans should not be discriminated against in the workplace or in public; we should not lose employment or housing opportunities; nor should we be persecuted in any way because of it. I have endured mild harassment on the job before, which I accept because being vegan is unusual.

Bottom line is both a shame and a testament to our values that "reverence for life" can be laughed off as an inconvenience.

Ethical Veganism Explored-Part One

What is a Vegan?From the Vegan Outreach Website:
People are interested in veganism for the same reasons as vegetarianism -- not participating in practices that cause suffering, supporting more environmentally-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices, and improving their health.
With such a diversity of reasons, it is not surprising that there are many definitions of veganism. Like other philosophies, the specific meaning of vegan varies from person to person. A plurality of people who call themselves vegetarian state that their motivation is health, but the majority of vegans state ethics as the primary reason for their chosen lifestyle. An ethical vegan realizes that not only can animals suffer, but they also value their lives in many of the same ways as humans. Thus, animals are neither tools nor objects for our use, but rather individuals with inherent worth. From this understanding follows a set of specific actions; namely, choosing products that do not require using animals. Or, by the more common definition, not eating meat, dairy, or eggs; not buying leather or wool; trying to avoid products made by companies that test on animals. Beyond this basic definition, each individual has different opinions about and experiences with being vegan; there is no set list of rules to follow.
By not consuming the products that come from animal exploitation, each individual is making a statement against inhumane practices, undertaking an economic boycott, and supporting the production of vegan products with their subsequent choices. These decisions, and the message they send to others, help to move society away from industries that use animals as a means to human ends.
Although the end goal is generally the same, the path an individual takes towards veganism is a unique one. Some people follow a methodical process of cutting out foods in the order that they consider to be the most cruel, or the foods they find the most easiest to avoid. Others initially concerned with health eventually cut out "healthy" products (chicken and fish, low-fat dairy products) as they become more aware of the suffering involved in the production of these goods. Others go "cold-tofu," giving up all animal foods, donating their leather goods to charity, returning their Procter & Gamble products to the company, etc.

Vegan : The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus.
A fresh look at issues addressed a decade ago by Frances Moore Lappe (Diet for a Small Planet), Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating shines a strong light on the unhealthful, inhumane, and destructive aspects of the typical American diet. Vegan is packed with documented research, nutritional information, and telling photos. Features leading heart specialist Dean Ornish, M.D. Forward by Howard Lyman, Humane Society of the U.S.

The possibilities inherent in our food are sometimes not visible

Make Your Own Slideshow More Slideshows

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A look at a short video

NYC with Family

Just Purchased "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair

I interrupted my reading to perform a quick search ,via Google, just to see if a film was ever made based on his book. I have not learned if there ever was a movie made, but I'd like to share with you an odd post I came across during this search which speaks more about the practises then in Chicago, where Sinclairs story takes place.:

Legacy of "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair
GrapeKoolaid posted on Mar 03, 2008 views: 89 Tags: meat, Chicago, life
Over the weekend, I hung out with a friend of mine that works for a environmental consulting firm. He's the staff geologist for the company and basically, whenever a lot is sold, he goes and tests soil samples to see what kind of buildings can be built in the area, measures the toxicity of the sample, and so on. This is something that he told me the other night over a few drinks. "I get to this new job site, right? It's a vacant lot filled with truck trailers. First of all, I didn't even know how to get into this place. There were truck trailers stacked on top of each other, like eight tall, all over the place, forming a maze. I drive around for a while in this maze, and I almost get lost a few times, but I finally find the entrance to this place and I get in there. It's just an empty lot, on the south west side(of Chicago) and it looks pretty grim. A picture of urban desolation, you know? The lot was just recently purchased by this company that's planning to build a row of condos in there. So I'm at this site and we start digging. About twelve feet down, we hit this layer and there's just something not right about this layer, you know? We hit this layer and it just stinks. So I have the foreman of the crew bring me a sample and I take it to the lab. When I look at it, it's got like animal hairs in it, and it smells like death. This girl that I work with almost threw up when she smelled the sample(chuckles) When the analysis from the lab comes back, I realize that what's in the jar is not dirt at all. It's actually animal remains. A whole acre of it, at least three feet deep. Just twelve feet beneath the ground, where people walk and push baby carriages and stuff was the largest mass grave I've ever dug up. It turns out the site was once the dumping grounds of the Chicago stockyards way back in the day. After butchering the cows, they'd just dump the left over parts of the carcass in this huge pit, and that's what we unearthed the other day. Pretty messed up, huh? I can still smell that wretched smell of death even now. It haunts me. What really messes me up is that people have no idea that just twelve feet beneath their home are remains of hundreds of thousands of dead cows. I shudder to think what it sounds like out there when the wind is howling. (laughs) Perhaps the wind moos out there". In our blind march forward towards progress, we somehow forgot our ugly past and pretend that it never existed. However, just twelve feet below the ground, the truth still exists and it stinks to high heaven. With animal hairs and all. Thanks for stopping by...Grape.

Change is Inevitable

We are a generation given over to delusions.

Our American society has had to give up on several lifestyles valued as cultural mandates for proper behaviour.

We had an early obsession about race and the superiority of one over another and so we accepted slavery and incorporated it into our daily living as a normal way to treat those of a different colored skin. It became an industry with business as usual. It has been phased out and is illegal. Society frowns upon it.

We had an early obsession with tobacco, and are smoking still today, but with major concessions to the needs of others to breathe without our fumes invading their spaces. It became an industry with business as usual. It has been phased out of restaurants, bars, catering halls, theaters, planes, offices, etc. The many addicted have become the lonely few hanging outside in any kind of weather to puff themselves into black lung oblivian. Society frowns upon it.

We had an early obsession with gender and the romantic assignment of the roles attached to each. Females were not allowed to vote. Here's an interesting quote, "Realism was in many respects an effort to revive masculine virtues in the face of declining virility." David E. Shi from Facing Facts: Realism in American Thought and Culture. Men never could stand being caught in the web of circumstances.

Mindless routines, given little thought about their consequences, kept us hypnotized with mass complacency. Someone had to wake up and tell us we needed to wear seatbelts!

As is obvious, from the above examples, change will occur in many more arenas we are a part of willingly or not. I would love to see all slaughterhouses closed down and society live as healthy vegans respecting the ideology of ahimsa and a reverence for all life. Many think I'm asking too much of us. I would , however, like to think it will come to pass. Changes have occurred before. Sometimes it takes a long, long time.
Wake up. Vow to be a zombie no more.
Take control of your life today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Long Island Cat Killer

The Sayville man who flung his girlfriend's cats across their bedroom in a fit of rage last month, killing one of them, pleaded guilty and began serving a jail sentence Thursday.David Wrigley, 24, pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court to misdemeanor animal cruelty in the Feb. 23 outburst that killed Maddeline, age 8, and injured Jynx, 6.