Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vegan bits in the news

Jane Glen Haas, health columnist for the Orange County Register, has decided to embark up on a 21-day vegan cleanse à la Oprah. She wrote about it yesterday, mentioning Kathy Freston's Quantum Wellness book as her source of inspiration. The article is mostly about her cravings for animals products and her dealing with the gas and bloating she's experiencing 4-5 days into the cleanse. Unfortunately, she presents some misinformation in the column when she defines veganism by stating that a ''vegan, for the uninitiated, eats no meat, dairy or eggs. Also no sugar, gluten, alcoholic beverages or caffeine''. Veganism is about eschewing animal products, which in no way whatsoever automatically rules out sugar, gluten, alcoholic beverages or caffeine. Someone's mentioned this in the reader comments below her column, so hopefully she'll clarify this in a future column. (By the way, her column can be found here).


PETA's been grossing people out again. They've recently started campaigning to purportedly convince Ben & Jerry's to use human breast milk in their ice cream instead of cow's milk. It obviously isn't going to happen, and PETA is just trying to shock people into thinking about the issue. The thing is that aside from maybe an increased risk in the transmittal of human pathogens, using breast milk would hardly be any more unnatural than using cow's milk. The knee-jerk reactions to the story don't reflect any understanding of this, of course, since in North American culture anyway, we view human breast milk as baby food and cow's milk as human kid / grown-up food. A typical response:

''I understand the health benefits of breast babies. I understand that a mother's milk is usually the best thing for her NEWBORN to consume.

But...I am FAR from a baby, and even further from being anyone's newborn anything.''

What this particular blog writer for South Carolina's Island Packet doesn't get is that using his own logic, cow's milk -- which is produced for baby cows -- would be even less appropriate for him.

The newspaper's blogger also dismisses the fact that there is any cruelty involved in the dairy industry:

''These people REALLY need to find something better to do with their time...and the donations that they receive. Like...rescuing lab animals. Saving whales. Helping protect the rights of animals...that are being abused! I've worked on dairy farms. And I can tell you, there have often been times when I've envied the life of a cow. How can the milking of a cow be considered abuse? Isn't that what these nut-jobs are all about???''

Someone needs to do some research before making uninformed statements.
Dairy cows are probably worse off than most other factory farmed animals.

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