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Dec 18, 2007
Focus: Health
Action Request: Various
Location: United States
Caution: Killing Germs May Be Hazardous to Your Health
Our war on microbes has toughened them. Now, new science tells us we should embrace bacteria.
By Jerry Adler
NEWSWEEK
Updated: 4:08 PM ET Oct 20, 2007

Behold yourself, for a moment, as an organism. A trillion cells stuck together, arrayed into tissues and organs and harnessed by your DNA to the elemental goals of survival and propagation. But is that all? An electron microscope would reveal that you are teeming with other life-forms. Any part of your body that comes into contact with the outside world—your skin, mouth, nose and (especially) digestive tract—is home to bacteria, fungi and protozoa that outnumber the cells you call your own by 10, or perhaps a hundred, to one.

Their ancestors began colonizing you the moment you came into the world, inches from the least sanitary part of your mother's body, and their descendants will have their final feast on your corpse, and join you in death. There are thousands of different species, found in combinations "as unique as our DNA or our fingerprints," says Stanford biologist David Relman, who is investigating the complex web of interactions microbes maintain with our digestive, immune and nervous systems. Where do you leave off, and they begin? Microbes, Relman holds, are "a part of who we are."

Relman is a leader in rethinking our relationship to bacteria, which for most of the last century was dominated by the paradigm of Total Warfare. "It's awful the way we treat our microbes," he says, not intending a joke; "people still think the only good microbe is a dead one." We try to kill them off with antibiotics and hand sanitizers. But bacteria never surrender; if there were one salmonella left in the world, doubling every 30 minutes, it would take less than a week to give everyone alive diarrhea. In the early years of antibiotics, doctors dreamed of eliminating infectious disease. Instead, a new paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association reports on the prevalence of Methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which was responsible for almost 19,000 deaths in the United States in 2005—about twice as many as previously thought, and more than AIDS. Elizabeth Bancroft, a leading epidemiologist, called this finding "astounding."

As antibiotics lose their effectiveness, researchers are returning to an idea that dates back to Pasteur, that the body's natural microbial flora aren't just an incidental fact of our biology, but crucial components of our health, intimate companions on an evolutionary journey that began millions of years ago. The science writer Jessica Snyder Sachs summarizes this view in four words in the title of her ground-breaking new book: "Good Germs, Bad Germs." Our microbes do us the favor of synthesizing vitamins right in our guts; they regulate our immune systems and even our serotonin levels: germs, it seems, can make us happy. They influence how we digest our food, how much we eat and even what we crave. The genetic factors in weight control might reside partly in their genes, not ours. Regrettably, it turns out that bacteria exhibit a strong preference for making us fat.

Our well-meaning war on microbes has, by the relentless process of selection, toughened them instead. When penicillin began to lose its effectiveness against staph, doctors turned to methicillin, but then MRSA appeared—first as an opportunistic infection among people already hospitalized, now increasingly a wide-ranging threat that can strike almost anyone. The strain most commonly contracted outside hospitals, dubbed USA300, comes armed with the alarming ability to attack immune-system cells. Football players seem to be especially vulnerable: they get scraped and bruised and share equipment while engaging in prolonged exercise, which some researchers believe temporarily lowers immunity. In the last five years outbreaks have plagued the Cleveland Browns, the University of Texas and the University of Southern California, where trainers now disinfect equipment almost hourly. The JAMA article was a boon to makers of antimicrobial products, of which about 200 have been introduced in the United States so far this year. Press releases began deluging newsrooms, touting the benefits of antibacterial miracle compounds ranging from silver to honey. Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, issued an ominous warning that teenagers were catching MRSA by sharing cell phones. Gerba is a consultant to the makers of Purell hand sanitizer, Clorox bleach and the Oreck antibacterial vacuum cleaner, which uses ultraviolet light to kill germs on your rug.

To be sure, MRSA is a scary infection, fast-moving and tricky to diagnose. Hunter Spence, a 12-year-old cheerleader from Victoria, Texas, woke up one Sunday in May with pain in her left leg. "I think I pulled a calf muscle," she told her mother, Peyton. By the next day, the pain was much worse and she was running a low-grade fever, but there was no other sign of infection. A doctor thought she might have the flu. By Wednesday her fever was 103 and the leg pain was unbearable. But doctors at two different community hospitals couldn't figure out what was wrong until Friday, when a blood culture came up positive for MRSA. By the time she arrived at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi—by helicopter—her temperature was 107 and her pulse 220. Doctors put her chance of survival at 20 percent.

Hunter needed eight operations over the next week to drain her infections, and an intravenous drip of two powerful new antibiotics, Zyvox and Cubicin. She did survive, and is home now, but her lung capacity is at 35 percent of normal. "We are seeing more infections, and more severe infections" with the USA300 strain, says Dr. Jaime Fergie, who treated her at Driscoll. In many cases, there's no clue as to how the infection was contracted, but a study Fergie did in 2005 of 350 children who were seen at Driscoll for unrelated conditions found that 21 percent of them were carrying MRSA, mostly in their noses. Then all it may take is a cut … and an unwashed hand.

And there are plenty of unwashed hands out there; Gerba claims that only one in five of us does the job properly, getting in all the spaces between the fingers and under the nails and rubbing for at least 20 seconds. Americans have been obsessed with eradicating germs ever since their role in disease was discovered in the 19th century, but they've been partial to technological fixes like antibiotics or sanitizers rather than the dirty work of cleanliness. Nancy Tomes, author of "The Gospel of Germs," believes the obsession waxes and wanes in response to social anxiety—about diseases such as anthrax, SARS or avian flu, naturally, but also about issues like terrorism or immigration that bear a metaphoric relationship to infection. "I can't protect myself from bin Laden, but I can rid myself of germs," she says. "Guarding against microbes is something Americans turn to when they're stressed." The plastic squeeze bottle of alcohol gel, which was introduced by Purell in 1997, is a powerful talisman of security. Sharon Morrison, a Dallas real-estate broker with three young daughters, estimates she has as many as 10 going at any time, in her house, her car, her purse, her office and her kids' backpacks. She swabs her grocery cart with sanitizing wipes and, when her children were younger, she would bring her own baby-seat cover from home and her own place mats to restaurants. Sales of Purell last year were $90 million, so she's clearly not alone. There's no question it kills germs, although it's not a substitute for washing; the Centers for Disease Control Web site notes that alcohol can't reach germs through a layer of dirt. Alcohol gels, which kill germs by drying them out, don't cause the kind of resistance that gives rise to superbugs like MRSA. But they're part of the culture of cleanliness that's led to a different set of problems.

In terms of infectious disease, the environment of the American suburb is unquestionably a far healthier place than most of the rest of the world. But we've made a Faustian bargain with our antibiotics, because most researchers now believe that our supersanitized world exacts a unique price in allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases, most of which were unknown to our ancestors. Sachs warns that many people drew precisely the wrong conclusion from this, that contracting a lot of diseases in childhood is somehow beneficial. What we need is more exposure to the good microbes, and the job of medicine in the years to come will be sorting out the good microbes from the bad.

That's the goal of the Human Microbiome Project, a five-year multinational study that its advocates say could tell us almost as much about life as the recently completed work of sequencing the human genome. One puzzling result of the Human Genome Project was the paltry number of genes it found—about 20,000, which is only as many as it takes to make a fruit fly. Now some researchers think some of the "missing" genes may be found in the teeming populations of microbes we host.

And the microbe project—which as a first step requires sampling every crevice and orifice of 100 people of varying ages from a variety of climates and cultures—is "infinitely more complex and problematic than the genome," laments (or boasts) one of its lead researchers, Martin Blaser of NYU Medical School. Each part of the body is a separate ecosystem, and even two teeth in the same mouth can be colonized by different bacteria. In general, researchers know what they'll find— Escherechia (including the ubiquitous microbial Everyman, E. coli) in the bowel, lactobacilli in the vagina and staphylococcus on the skin. But the mix of particular species and strains will probably turn out to be unique to each individual, a product of chance, gender (men and women have different microbes on their skin but are similar in their intestines) and socioeconomic status and culture. (Race seems not to matter much.) Once the microbes establish themselves they stay for life and fight off newcomers; a broad-spectrum antibiotic may kill most of them but the same kinds usually come back after a few weeks. The most intriguing question is how microbes interact with each other and with our own cells. "There is a three-way conversation going on throughout our bodies," says Jane Peterson of the National Human Genome Research Institute. "We want to listen in because we think it will fill in a lot of blanks about human health—and human disease."

The vast majority of human microbes live in the digestive tract; they get there by way of the mouth in the first few months of life, before stomach acid builds to levels that are intended to kill most invaders. The roiling, fetid and apparently useless contents of the large intestine were a moral affront to doctors in the early years of modern medicine, who sought to cleanse them from the body with high-powered enemas. But to microbiologists, the intestinal bacteria are a marvel, a virtual organ of the body which just happens to have its own DNA. Researchers at Duke University claim it explains the persistence of the human appendix. It serves, they say, as a reservoir of beneficial microbes which can recolonize the gut after it's emptied by diseases such as cholera or dysentery.

Microbes play an important role in digestion, especially of polysaccharides, starch molecules found in foods such as potatoes or rice that may be hundreds or thousands of atoms long. The stomach and intestines secrete 99 different enzymes for breaking these down into usable 6-carbon sugars, but the humble gut-dwelling Bacterioides theta produces almost 250, substantially increasing the energy we can extract from a given meal.

Of course, "energy" is another way of saying "calories." Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University raised a colony of mice in sterile conditions, with no gut microbes at all, and although they ate 30 percent more food than normal mice they had less than half the body fat. When they were later inoculated with normal bacteria, they quickly gained back up to normal weight. "We are finding that the nutritional value of food is pretty individualized," Gordon says. "And a big part of what determines it is our microbial composition."

We can't raise humans in sterile labs, of course, but there's evidence that variations between people in their intestinal microbes correspond to differences in body composition. And other factors appear to be at work besides the ability to extract calories from starch. Bacteria seem able to adjust levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite and metabolism. Certain microbes even seem to be associated with a desire for chocolate, according to research by the Nestlé Research Center. And a tiny study suggests that severe emotional stress in some people triggers an explosion in the population of B. theta, the starch-digesting bacteria associated with weight gain. That corresponds to folk wisdom about "stress eating," but it is also a profoundly disturbing and counterintuitive observation that something as intimate as our choice between a carrot and a candy bar is somehow mediated by creatures that are not us.

But these are the closest of aliens, so familiar that the immune system, which ordinarily attacks any outside organism, tolerates them by the trillions—a seeming paradox with profound implications for health. The microbes we have all our lives are the ones that colonize us in the first weeks and months after birth, while our immune system is still undeveloped; in effect, they become part of the landscape. "Dendritic" (treelike) immune cells send branches into the respiratory and digestive tracts, where they sample all the microbes we inhale or swallow. When they see the same ones over and over, they secrete an anti-inflammatory substance called interleukin-10, which signals the microbe-killing T-cells: stand down.

And that's an essential step in the development of a healthy immune system. The immune reaction relies on a network of positive and negative feedback loops, poised on a knife edge between the dangers of ignoring a deadly invader and over-reacting to a harmless stimulus. But to develop properly it must be exposed to a wide range of harmless microbes early in life. This was the normal condition of most human infants until a few generations ago. Cover the dirt on the floor of the hut, banish the farm animals to a distant feedlot, treat an ear infection with penicillin, and the inflammation-calming interleukin-10 reaction may fail to develop properly. "Modern sanitation is a good thing, and pavement is a good thing," says Sachs, "but they keep kids at a distance from microbes." The effect is to tip the immune system in the direction of overreaction, either to outside stimuli or even to the body's own cells. If the former, the result is allergies or asthma. Sachs writes that "children who receive antibiotics in the first year of life have more than double the rate of allergies and asthma in later childhood." But if the immune system turns on the body itself, you see irritable bowel syndrome, lupus or multiple sclerosis, among the many autoimmune diseases that were virtually unknown to our ancestors but are increasingly common in the developed world.

That is the modern understanding of the "Hygiene Hypothesis," first formulated by David Strachan in 1989. In Strachan's original version, which has unfortunately lodged in the minds of many parents, actual childhood illness was believed to exert a protective effect. There was a brief vogue for intentionally exposing youngsters to disease. But researchers now believe the key is exposure to a wide range of harmless germs, such as might be found in a playground or a park.

The task is complicated, in part because some bacteria seem to be both good and bad. The best-known is Helicobacter pylori, a microbe that has evolved to live in the acid environment of the stomach. It survives by burrowing into the stomach's mucous lining and secreting enzymes that reduce acidity. Nobel laureates Barry Marshall and Robin Warren showed it could cause gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. But then further studies discovered that infection with H. pylori was protective against esophageal reflux and cancer of the esophagus, and may also reduce the incidence of asthma. H. pylori, which is spread in drinking water and direct contact among family members, was virtually universal a few generations ago but is now on the verge of extinction in the developed world. The result is fewer ulcers and stomach cancer, but more cancer of the esophagus—which is increasing faster than any other form of cancer in America—more asthma, and … what else? We don't know. "H. pylori has colonized our guts since before humans migrated out of Africa," says Blaser. "You can't get rid of it and not expect consequences."

Blaser questions whether eliminating H. pylori is a good idea. Someday, conceivably, we might intentionally inoculate children with a bioengineered version of H. pylori that keeps its benefits without running the risk of stomach cancer. There is already a burgeoning market for "probiotics," bacteria with supposed health benefits, either in pill form or as food. Consumers last year slurped down more than $100 million worth of Dannon's Activia, a yogurt containing what the Web site impressively calls "billions" of beneficial microbes in every container. The microbes are a strain of Bifidobacterium animalis, which helps improve what advertisers delicately call "regularity," a fact Dannon has underscored by rechristening the species with its trademarked name "Bifidus regularis." Other products contain Lactobacillus casei, which is supposed to stimulate production of infection-fighting lymphocytes. Many others on the market are untested and of dubious value. Labels that claim ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANT ought to be considered a warning, not a boast. Bacteria swap genetic material among themselves, and the last thing you want to do is introduce a resistant strain, even of a beneficial microbe, into your body.

And there's one more thing that microbes can do, perhaps the most remarkable of all. Mycobacterium vaccae, a soil microbe found in East Africa that has powerful effects on the immune system, was tested at the University of Bristol as a cancer therapy. The results were equivocal, but researchers made the startling observation that patients receiving it felt better regardless of whether their cancer was actually improving. Neuroscientist Chris Lowry injected mice with it, and found, to his amazement, that it activated the serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex—in other words, it worked like an antidepressant, only without the side effects of insomnia and anxiety. Researchers believe M. vaccae works through the interleukin-10 pathway, although the precise mechanism is uncertain. But there is at least the tantalizing, if disconcerting, suggestion that microbes may be able to manipulate our happiness. Could the hygiene hypothesis help explain the rise in, of all things, depression? We're a long way from being able to say that, much less use that insight to treat people. But at least we are asking the right questions: not how to kill bacteria, but how to live with them.

©   Newsweek Mag
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Posted: Dec 18, 2007 8:14am
Sep 21, 2007
Focus: Civil Rights
Action Request: Various
Location: Illinois, United States

My Lack of Courage

After reading today's Notmilk letter, you might be
motivated to send an email to a Chicago Tribune
reporter who wrote the story of a vegan teacher who
no longer teaches Chicago kids about milk's dangers.

jjlong@ tribune.com

You might also consider sending an email to today's
hero, a teacher by the name of Dave Warwak. Somebody
should make a movie about this man's exploits. I see
Robin Williams playing the feature role. Dave's email:

dave@ inslide.com

In past years, I have had the courage to walk into a
dairy class at Penn State university, facing two hundred
very angry sons and daughters of dairy farmers. Two
of them filed bogus charges against me with authorities.
One with the Penn State police, and one with the
United States Department of Agriculture anti-terrorism
squad who later showed up at my front door.

In past years, I have taken on Monsanto and gone to federal
court against The Company and their team of legal reps,
King & Spalding. In past years I have appeared on national
television and pointed my finger at USDA undersecretaries,
accusing them of conflicts of interests by working for the
dairy industry. I have accused congressmen and senators of
taking bribes. I have taken on two presidents, one of whom
enacted legislation (the Economic Espionage Act) directly
against me while I was in federal court seeking to get
Monsanto's smoking gun research (the Richard, Odaglia, &
Deslex study) legally released.

I have had dead animals accompanied by out of state
milk cartons thrown onto my lawn. The FBI has arrested
two people who made threats against me. One possessed
plastique explosives.

I have not feared many things, but there is one thing
above all which terrifies me, and I will forever avoid.

Local school systems.

Every mother has an agenda. Do I dare take on dairy in the
schools? No way! Been there, done that. One cannot beat
city hall or a local school system.

Not only do I fear local moms, but those spineless eunuchs
lacking principles, called principals.

Which brings me to this week's Chicago Tribune story.
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Vegan Teacher May Lose His Job
By Jeff Long and Carolyn Starks, September 7, 2007

Dave Warwak has taught art at Fox River Grove Middle School
for eight years, and for most of that time, he was happy to
eat meatloaf, hot dogs or whatever else the cafeteria workers
dished out.

But in January he became a vegan and started spreading the
word about the benefits of a meatless diet to students at the
McHenry County school. He even built an exhibit out of candy
that depicted animals in cages and as road kill.

On Thursday, Warwak said his crusade might cost him his job.
He said he was told to stay away from class this week by
administrators he described as "ardent meat-eaters.
"

Warwak, of Williams Bay, Wis., near Lake Geneva, said he is
scheduled to meet with Fox River Grove District 3 officials
Monday about the discussions he's had in class about
vegetarianism, which excludes meats, and veganism, which
excludes meats and other animal products such as milk. Officials
asked him to leave the school Tuesday because he refused to stop
talking about the harms humans cause animals, he said.

Principal Tim Mahaffy declined to comment Thursday, calling the
dispute a personnel issue. He would not discuss issues raised
by Warwak or verify the teacher's version of events.

The candy display came down after three days, when Mahaffy
decided it was too much of a "PETA advertisement,
" Warwak
said. The battle over diet lessons resumed this week after
Warwak distributed the book "The Food Revolution" to his
8th-grade students and talked to his classes about vegetarianism.

"It's probably one of the most life-changing books a person can
read," Warwak said of the book, written by John Robbins and
subtitled, "How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World."

"It's about how we're destroying the planet with pollution from
factory farming," Warwak said. "It's about health. It's about
living longer."

Neither the American Civil Liberties Union nor the Illinois
Education Association had an opinion on the case, but Warwak
drew support from animal rights advocates.

"We believe that in a time when there's so much violence,
especially in schools, that teachers who show kindness and
compassion for all life should be commended," said Nathan
Runkle, executive director of the Chicago-based Mercy for
Animals advocacy group, which lobbies against factory farms.

"It's appropriate for students to learn about the horrendous
cruelty that animals endure on factory farms, and about the
benefits of a healthy diet."

Runkle said his group plans to write a letter to the school
in support of Warwak.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is
giving Warwak its "Compassionate Educator" award, vice president
Bruce Friedrich said. The group is also sending the school a
letter in support of the teacher.

Warwak, meanwhile, sees no problem discussing the topic he cares
about passionately during art classes.

"It's art in every way," he said. "Art is something different
for everyone...Art is like philosophy."

District 3 Supt. Jacqueline Krause was out of the office
Thursday and unavailable for comment. Warwak, who said he
makes $55,000 per year, said he feels a responsibility to
warn his students about the dangers of what he calls an
unhealthy diet and to open their minds to new ideas.

"I'm telling kids, 'Don't believe everything you see and
everything you read,'" he said. "I'm trying to get them
curious enough to check things out for themselves."
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I lack the courage to do what this teacher has done. I
will never again try to take on my local school system.
My children went through years of ridicule and tireless
Gotmilk jokes after my first (successful) attempt to
change the milk from GMO to organic in 1994. I have
learned my lesson.

Your letter of support can be forwarded to Jeff Long,
the reporter.

jjlong@ tribune.com

and to Dave:

dave@ inslide.com

Dave's very cool website:

http://www.inslide.com
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Robert Cohen
http://www.notmilk.com
i4crob@ earthlink.net

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Posted: Sep 21, 2007 1:24pm
Apr 24, 2007
Focus: Civil Rights
Action Request: Visit - in person
Location: France
Veggie Pride: May 19th 2007 in Paris, France

Do you refuse to eat animals ?
Come to the Veggie Pride !
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/

Meeting in Paris, Saturday, May 19th 2007 at 2 pm, place Joachim du Bellay
(Fontaine des Innocents, Forum des Halles), métro Châtelet or les Halles,
R.E.R. Châtelet-les-Halles.

Precise details on the course of this day at the end of this message!

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Manifesto of the Veggie Pride


Veggie Pride, festival of
vegetarian and vegan pride
Our aims :
To declare our pride for refusing to have animals killed for our consumption
To refuse to rob sentient beings of their sole possessions, of their very
flesh, of their very lives; to refuse to take part in a concentration camp
system which turns their short lives into perpetual torment; to refuse to do
all of this for the mere satisfaction of our tastebuds, for the satisfaction
of a habit, of tradition: To refuse to do such things should be just plain
decency.

However, history does show how difficult it is, when barbarity is the social
norm, to simply say No.

We wish to declare our pride of saying No.

To denounce vegephobia
Instead, they want us to feel ashamed. Vegetarianism is concealed, ignored,
mocked, marginalized and even defamed.

Vegetarianism challenges the legitimacy of the confinement and slaughter of
billions of animals. Just by existing it breaks the law of silence. This is
the reason behind vegephobic mockery and hatred.

Of course vegetarianism is tolerated when it is the harmless sort that
claims to be no more than a private choice, a matter of distaste for meat or
of concern for personal health or for the environment. But woe betides us if
we openly challenge the barbarous order!

At first we are laughed at. Caring about chickens and cows is supposed to be
ridiculous. Laughing at a disturbing idea is a way to get rid of it without
having to find logical arguments against it.

But if we do not give in, the laughter turns sour. At first they found us
funny, now they're calling us monsters. We are traitors to the human species
since we would limit its rights. We are unworthy parents for not teaching
our children the joys of dead flesh. If we care for animals we must be Nazi
sympathizers since Hitler too loved dogs. Our ideas are those of an
intolerant cult since they are different from what others believe.

We are called terrorists; accused of worshipping nature or of breaking its
laws. No argument is too far-fetched when it comes to misrepresenting our
ideas, putting us to shame and symbolically rejecting us from society.

We refuse to apologize for our compassion. We are proud to declare that we
are vegetarians. We are no longer willing to feel shame for refusing to
kill. We are here; we are well alive and thinking and will speak out.

To proclaim our existence
All over the world we are millions of humans saying No to this carnage. Few
civilizations have actually taken for granted that eating animals is
justified. But when do you hear about those debates? Mentions of
vegetarianism are systematically missing in textbooks and biographies.

"The man who eats meat or the hunter who agrees with the cruelties of
Nature, upholds with every bite of meat or fish that might is right." -
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel prize in Literature.

By stepping forth we also prove that it is possible to live without meat. We
live without eating cows or pigs, chicken or fish or prawns. And we are as
alive and healthy as anyone else, despite those media-promoted "specialists"
whose science consists in denying the facts. Neither vegetarianism nor
Veganism (which rejects all animal products, including milk and eggs) has
any particular negative effects on health - indeed, current studies tend to
show the opposite!

There is nothing that says that to live one must kill. We are not obliged to
do so, neither individually nor collectively. Animal husbandry does not
provide food, since farm animals eat much more than their dead flesh can
render. Despite this, massive public funding supports animal farming and
fishing.

To defend our rights
No rights are granted to the animals that are raised and killed for food;
but we who stand on their side do have rights, in principle. We are
determined to exercise our rights in full, because they are our rights, and
because they are theirs - the only rights that they may today, indirectly,
enjoy.

We have the right to receive decent meals at school, at work and wherever
meals are served to groups of people. We have the right to raise our
children without forcing upon them the products of the slaughterhouse.

We are not willing to have our taxes used to support the raising and killing
and the fishing for the tastes of others.

We are no longer willing for our actions and ideas to be systematically
silenced. We no longer accept that the only public voices should be those of
the corporations and intellectuals who defend the consumption of flesh.

We demand an open debate.

"We are the mirror of your guilty consciences
and this mirror will no longer hide"
Faced with images of heaps upon heaps of animals "destroyed" for case of
bird flu, BSE or foot-and-mouth disease, we alone felt no shame. We were not
shameful for ourselves. But we felt shame for all others.

Above all, we were sad. No matter how much we insist on asserting our pride
in saying No to barbarity, this brings us no satisfaction. The animals are
slaughtered by the billions. They are held to be dumb, their cries do not
count. We shall speak out for them until the massacre halts.

We are animals
and stand in solidarity with all animals!

Practical details and other informations

The Veggie Pride is a demonstration open to any person who does not eat the animals. Concerning this restriction, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/faq.php#23

2.30 pm : start of the demonstration

We ask that the slogans, signs and streamers be exclusively centered on the vegetarianism or vegetarianism for the animals. The Veggie Pride being a demonstration of individuals expressing their pride to be vegetarians or vegans for the animals, we ask that no initials or name of organization be reproduced on the streamers and signs.

4 pm : Arrival at the « Fontaine des Innocents » (fountain of the innocent ones). End of the procession and installation of a "happening" symbolizing the ocean of suffering and death imposed daily on the animals.

4.30 pm - 5 pm : Happening.

The demonstration and the happening will be declared in prefecture, in accordance with the law.

From 5.30 pm : Various activities.

8 pm : Start of the after-pride: A party will take place,
at l'Ecobox, 37 rue Pajol, Paris 18ème (métro la Chapelle).
Further details will be given subsequently on our website. Possibility of accommodation or housing among inhabitants of Paris.

To come to the Veggie Pride :

A small ads service is also at your disposal for your requests of car sharing, accommodation, etc. Do not hesitate to use it.

Sign the Manifesto of the Veggie Pride ! Independently of your participation in the Veggie Pride, we invite you to read the text of the Manifesto (see below) and, if you agree with it, to declare that by signing it.

You can sign it on the Web:
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/signer.php
You will also be able to sign it yonder, during the demonstration.

To make a donation to the Veggie Pride (international voucher only):
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/dons.php
Any donation, even minor, will be very welcome.

Help us to make known the Veggie Pride by broadcasting this message to your contacts!

By wishing you numerous with us on May the 19th,

The steering committee of the Veggie Pride
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Posted: Apr 24, 2007 3:31am
Dec 1, 2006

Drought may see meatworks drop shifts

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200612/s1802209.htm

Australian Meat Holdings has warned it may have to cut shifts at its Townsville abattoir next year, with predictions of reduced kill rates.

Chief executive John Keir says Meat and Livestock Australia has predicted next year's drought will cut the number of cattle available for slaughter by up to 10 per cent.

Mr Keir says some meatworks in southern states could close, while production is likely to be cut in Queensland.

"There's more slaughter capacity than there is ... animals to kill and that will put increasing pressure on people in the processing sector, ourselves included," he said.

"We'll continue to run the plants that we currently run, the four plants that we run in Queensland, we'll continue to attempt to run them at capacity, but there are some difficult times ahead. We may drop shifts or we may in fact drop days."

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Posted: Dec 1, 2006 6:53am
Nov 16, 2006
Focus: Consumer Rights
Action Request: Read
Location: United States
i think the idea is very good. Of course, it will take them forever to figure out what is healthy or not, but health foodstores should use this method.

The Package May Say Healthy, but This Grocer Begs to Differ


by Andrew MartinThe New York Times
November 6th, 2006
http://corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14218


For many grocery shoppers, the feeling is familiar: that slight swell of virtue that comes from dropping a seemingly healthful product into a shopping cart.

But at one New England grocery chain, choosing some of those products may induce guilt instead.

The chain, Hannaford Brothers, developed a system called Guiding Stars that rated the nutritional value of nearly all the food and drinks at its stores from zero to three stars. Of the 27,000 products that were plugged into Hannaford’s formula, 77 percent received no stars, including many, if not most, of the processed foods that advertise themselves as good for you.

These included V8 vegetable juice (too much sodium), Campbell’s Healthy Request Tomato soup (ditto), most Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice frozen dinners (ditto) and nearly all yogurt with fruit (too much sugar). Whole milk? Too much fat — no stars. Predictably, most fruits and vegetables did earn three stars, as did things like salmon and Post Grape-Nuts cereal.

At a time when more and more products are being marketed as healthy, the fact that so many items seemed to flunk Hannaford’s inspection raises questions about the integrity of the nutrition claims, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration — or possibly about whether Hannaford made its standards too prissy or draconian. Either way, the results do seem to confirm the nagging feeling that the benefits promoted by many products have a lot more to do with marketing than nutrition.

Furthermore, the rating system, introduced in September, puts the grocery store in the awkward position of judging the very products it is trying to sell, not to mention the companies that supply the foods. In fact, most of Hannaford’s own store-branded products did not get stars.

Hannaford says it is not trying to be preachy or to issue a yes-or-no checklist, just to offer guidance to shoppers who want it — and if the average consumer’s reliance on the United States Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid system is any yardstick, many do not. Furthermore, the company said, there is a place for no-star foods in every balanced diet.

“We are saying there are no bad foods,” said Caren Epstein, a Hannaford spokeswoman. “This is a good, better and best system.”

Food manufacturers, she said, were apprehensive at first but relaxed when they learned that neither they nor their products would be penalized. “The people who represented salty snacks and cookies understood that they weren’t going to get any stars,” Ms. Epstein said.

Hannaford’s nutritionists acknowledge that their system is more stringent than the guidelines used by the F.D.A. The food agency sets standards that food manufacturers must use when they define a product as, say, low in fat or high in fiber, and companies may use those designations even if the product is loaded with less desirable ingredients. Hannaford’s panelists said their formula was more balanced, taking into account all the positives and negatives.

The store chain, with 158 supermarkets in five states, is believed to be the first grocery retailer to have developed such a comprehensive assessment program, and it is trying to have its food-rating algorithm patented.

Not surprising, the food industry still is not entirely happy, and it disputes Hannaford’s conclusions.

“We don’t like the idea that there are good and bad foods out there, and these sort of arbitrary rating systems,” said John Faulkner, director of brand communication at the Campbell Soup Company. The Healthy Request line of soup, he said, was “aligned with the government definition of what healthy is.”

Similarly, a spokeswoman for ConAgra Foods, Stephanie Childs, said that her company would like to know how Hannaford concluded that many items in its Healthy Choice line did not merit any stars.

“This is surprising to us,” Ms. Childs said. Healthy Choice, which offers a range of items from frozen meals to pasta sauces and deli meats, “has to use F.D.A.’s very stringent requirements for what is healthy.”

Admirers of Guiding Stars say the ratings illustrate how nutrition claims on packages can mislead consumers even if they are technically true. Many packages trumpet the benefits of a few attributes — high fiber, for instance, or no trans fats — while ignoring negatives like too much sodium, they said.

“You look at a General Mills product and it looks like the bee’s knees, but it may be nutritionally flawed,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group based in Washington. “It may be high in sugar even though it has fiber in it.”

Many products that are marketed as healthy received zero stars from Hannaford because they contain too much salt or sugar or not enough nutrients, said Lisa A. Sutherland, an assistant professor of pediatrics and a nutrition scientist at Dartmouth Medical School who was part of the advisory panel that developed Hannaford’s formula.

V8, for instance, which says it has “essential antioxidants” and is “vitamin rich,” is “like drinking a vitamin with a lot of salt on it,” she said. Ms. Sutherland said that the F.D.A.’s guidelines for labeling, including its definition of “healthy,” were simply too lenient. Even the low-sodium version of V8 got no stars under the Hannaford system.

The F.D.A., for its part, points to its specific requirements for foods that make health claims as well as their labels. It also acknowledges that its policing abilities go only so far.

“The thing is, a lot of claims we see out there are puffery,” said Joseph R. Baca, director of the office of compliance at the F.D.A.’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “But they don’t get to the point where we can call them fake or misleading.”

Although Hannaford’s star ratings are posted on the same shelf tags that display prices, the chain has not changed the way it shelves products or markets them. This may have kept food manufacturers from rebelling, but it has not stopped them from questioning whether Hannaford is qualified to be the arbiter of healthiness.

“You end up with a lot of consumer confusion,” said Mr. Faulkner of Campbell Soup, which makes V8 as well as Healthy Request. “Do you defer to the Hannaford Brothers? The federal government?”

The label of Campbell’s Healthy Request Tomato soup, for instance, boasts that it is 98 percent fat-free, has zero grams of trans fat, low cholesterol and 30 percent less sodium than Campbell’s standard tomato soup. “I don’t know what their system is,” Mr. Faulkner said, referring to Hannaford. “What are they calling too much salt?”

Hannaford, part of Delhaize America, a division of the Delhaize Group in Brussels, started Guiding Stars after customer surveys indicated that people were confused about the nutritional information available to them. Hannaford formed a seven-member advisory panel of nutritionists and a physician to develop a formula for evaluating the healthiness of food.

That algorithm evaluates a 100-calorie serving of each product using only the information that is available on the “nutrition facts” panel and the ingredients list. A product receives credit for vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, but is docked points for trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, added salt and added sugar.

People who choose to adhere closely to the Hannaford ratings will have Spartan diets indeed. Not only did cookies and potato chips rate poorly, but so did whole milk (although skim milk received three stars) and products with nourishing-sounding names like Healthy Choice Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup.

Indeed, the “three star” lunches and snacks recommended on Hannaford’s Web site probably bear little relation to the meals most Americans are accustomed to eating. Hannaford suggests snacking on grapes, apple slices, raisins, plain yogurt, celery sticks, carrots and one to two ounces of popcorn — presumably without salt. A good lunch would be grilled chicken on a bed of spinach with a multigrain roll and an apple.

A. Elizabeth Sloan, president of Sloan Trends, which tracks the food industry, said that food manufacturers deserve credit for reformulating their products to make them healthier. But she said it was unrealistic for the manufacturers to remove all the fat, sugar and salt because nobody would buy the result.

“They have to keep the taste,” she said. “Look at all those super-duper healthy products that are in those healthy food stores. They don’t taste good.”

She added, “Nothing is healthy if you get right down to it, except mother’s milk, and that’s probably got too much fat.”

It is hard to tell whether Hannaford’s nutrition index has had any impact on what consumers are buying. The chain declined to provide sales data.

At a Hannaford store in New Windsor, N.Y., several customers said they had heard about Guiding Stars in radio advertisements or seen it in the store, but that it had not influenced their purchasing. Several shoppers said they did not see the point.

“I buy whatever it is on my list,” said Karen Wilson, 43. “If my kids want Cheerios, I buy them Cheerios and don’t look at the stars.”

LiseAnne Deoul, 34, said she liked the idea of Guiding Stars even though the system had not helped her narrow her choices during a quick stop last week to buy pasta.

“All of it was the same,” she said. “They all had two stars.”

Hannaford officials and members of the advisory panel emphasized that foods with no stars were not meant to be shunned.

“They are not everyday foods,” said Ms. Sutherland. “They are great sometimes foods.”

Nutritionists and food industry analysts said that Hannaford’s findings highlight some unpleasant truths about Americans and their eating patterns. People want to be healthier but do not want to change their behavior, and so marketers have stepped in with products that improve on the originals but still leave something to be desired.

The poor marks doled out by Hannaford show “what happens when an independent group sets the criteria,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University.

“As for health claims, expect to see more and more and more,” she said. “It’s the only thing that sells food these days.”
Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: Nov 16, 2006 8:11am
Jun 14, 2006
Focus: Consumer Rights
Action Request: Protest
Location: United States
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/19/nlinda19.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/04/19/ixhome.html


Linda McCartney's vegetarian food range could soon become the latest ethical business to sell out to Nestlé, one of the most boycotted companies in the world.

The ready meals brand, which was launched by Sir Paul McCartney's first wife 15 years ago, has been put up for sale by its owner, Heinz.

Heinz is understood to be in talks with the Israel-based vegetarian food company Tivall, which is partly owned by Nestlé.

If the sale goes ahead it would be the second blow to Britain's ethical consumers within a few weeks.

Last month Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop, was criticised for agreeing to sell the company to L'Oréal, which is also partly owned by Nestlé.

Nestlé and Heinz are declining to comment on the sale, but a spokesman for Heinz said: "We continue to explore options to maximise the value of the frozen food business."

Linda McCartney, who died from breast cancer in 1998, was a committed vegetarian.

Her range of meat-free meals was an instant success on its launch in 1991 and quickly became the market leader.

Heinz won the licence to produce the range when it bought United Biscuits Frozen and Chilled Foods in 1998.

However, the fashion for fresh food has hit demand in the frozen market.

Heinz has been keen to sell off the division for some time. Last September, Heinz put its frozen food business, including the Linda McCartney range, on the market for around £200 million.

Tivall, which is based in northern Israel, makes most of the own-label vegetarian frozen meals for Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons.

It is a subsidiary of the Israeli food company Osem - in which Nestlé owns a 50.1 per cent stake.

Nestlé is one of the most boycotted companies in the UK.

Campaigners have claimed Nestlé is responsible for the "aggressive'' marketing of baby foods and powdered baby milk in the developing world and undermines the benefits of breast-feeding.

Nestlé denies aggressive marketing and insists it follows international guidelines on selling food and milk for babies.

Helen Middleton, from the Ethical Consumer magazine, said multinational companies were increasingly looking to adopt "green" brands that give them respectability.

"It is very difficult for the vast majority of consumers to keep on top of the ever-changing purchases and developments in the business world," she said.

According to a survey by YouGov, The Body Shop's reputation suffered after it was bought by L'Oréal in March for £652 million.

The Body Shop built up much of its customer base on the back of its opposition to animal testing.

L'Oréal, however, still uses ingredients that have been tested on animals "for safety reasons".


27 May 2002: Authors quit Hay-on-Wye festival over Nestlé links
8 June 2001: Roddick to make £43m from sale of Body Shop
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted: Jun 14, 2006 10:57am
May 14, 2006
Focus: Education
Action Request: Visit - in person
Location: United States
Health Science 1 Workshop - May 19-21, 2006 in New Jersey
Presented by Dr. Timothy Trader, NMD (retired), PhD, DD

Are you ready to have the truth revealed?
Find out what the medical industries do not want you to know, and why.
See the evidence: treating illness is not working…but building health always works!

For those who are experienced health enthusiasts who want the evidence to show others real health,
For those who want to take their health practices up a notch or two,
For those who want to learn about true health and have no idea where to start,
Journey with Dr. Tim on a whirlwind weekend of science and knowledge— a multimedia experience that will Rock Your World!

If raw food is the healthiest diet on the planet, then why do so many raw foodists fail in health or fail to maintain their diet? Find out the truth that will set you free!
Explore the science: see the journal articles, textbooks, and newest research that doctors do not even know about!
* How does the digestive tract really work?
* Why cooked foods don’t work.
* Vitamins, minerals, and caloronutrients—what do they do in our bodies?
* The truth about what we do to our food and how it affects our health.
* How we unknowingly sabotage our health practices.
* What are the ignored nutrients?
* Protein: how much do you really need? Can too much harm you?
* What’s all the hype about enzymes?
* Supplements are not needed! That’s right…not needed!
* What poisons are in our “health foods”?
* Antioxidants, free radicals—what do they have to do with our food?
…and much MORE!

Be prepared for an entertaining and an accidentally educational time!
Return home with tools in hand to create Extreme Health in your own life.
With every subject presented, you will have the scientific proof to take home with you.
On Saturday, you will receive a workshop manual, with ample space for personal note-taking.

Times: Friday, May 19th, 7–9 pm
Saturday, May 20th, 9 am–5 pm;
Sunday, May 21st, 1–5 pm
    
Location: At the Ranzi family home, Ramsey, NJ. Address will be given to registrants.
40 minutes from New York City

Investment: $250. Includes lunch Saturday + a manual to take home.
Please pre-register! (We must have a lunch count!) Please ensure your check arrives by Tuesday, May 16th.
To register or for information, Call Karen Ranzi: 201-934-1758, or e-mail khranzi@aol.com

Dr. Tim Trader is a retired naturopathic physician who has a doctorate in nutrition as well as other advanced degrees. Most of his education Dr. Trader has found to be false, disproven by the very textbooks that he was taught from—and by the leading edge of today’s science. Today, Dr. Trader no longer &ldquoractices medicine,” but he coaches “health partners” to recover their own health.

With the same methods he teaches in this workshop Dr. Tim long ago eradicated his own severe allergies and asthma. Today at 45 years old, as a 15-year “living foodist,” Tim can keep up with or outperform athletes half his age.

No treatment of disease is necessary; all we need to do is build health. Then, the body’s own intrinsic healing powers take over—repairing, rebuilding, reversing illness and trauma. There are no pills to pop, no tinctures to drink…just science, and common sense.
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted: May 14, 2006 7:40am
Apr 15, 2006
Focus: Civil Rights
Action Request: Visit - in person
Location: United States

Veggie Pride : May 20th 2006 in Paris

Are you veggie for the animals ? Come to the Veggie Pride !

 

http://www.veggiepride.org/en/

 

Meeting in Paris, Saturday the 20th of May 2006 at 2 pm, in front of the Beaubourg Centre
(Centre G. Pompidou, Paris 4th city district ; Subway station Rambuteau, Line 11).

Details on the course of this day are at the end of this message!

-------------------------------------------------------------------


Manifesto of the Veggie Pride

Veggie Pride, festival of vegetarian and vegan pride

Our aims :
To declare our pride at refusing to have animals killed for our consumption
To refuse to rob sentient beings of their sole possessions, of their very flesh, of their very lives; to refuse to take part in a concentration camp system which turns their short lives into perpetual torment; to refuse to do all of this for the mere pleasure of the palate, for the satisfaction of a habit, of a tradition: To refuse to do such things should be just plain decency.

However, history does show how difficult it is, when barbarity is the social norm, to simply say No.

We wish to declare our pride at saying No.

To denounce vegephobia
Instead, they want us to feel ashamed. Vegetarianism is concealed, ignored, mocked, marginalized and even defamed.

Vegetarianism challenges the legitimacy of the confinement and slaughter of billions of animals. Just by existing it breaks the law of silence. This is the reason behind vegephobic mockery and hatred.

Of course vegetarianism is tolerated when it is the harmless sort that claims to be no more than a private choice, a matter of distaste for meat or of concern for personal health or the environment. But woe betides us if we openly challenge the barbarous order!

At first we are laughed at. Caring about chickens and cows is supposed to be ridiculous. Laughing at a disturbing idea is a way to get rid of it without having to find logical arguments against it.

But if we do not give in, the laughter turns sour. At first they found us funny, now they call us monsters. We are traitors to the human species since we would limit its rights. We are unworthy parents for not teaching our children the joys of dead flesh. If we care for animals we must be Nazi sympathizers since Hitler too loved dogs. Our ideas are those of an intolerant cult since they are different from what others believe.

We are called terrorists; accused of worshipping nature or of breaking its laws. No argument is too farfetched when it comes to misrepresenting our ideas, putting us to shame and symbolically
rejecting us from society.

We refuse to apologize for our compassion. We are proud to declare that we are vegetarians. We are no longer willing to feel shame for refusing to kill. We are here; we are well alive and thinking and
will speak out.

To proclaim our existence
All over the world we are millions of humans saying No to this carnage. Few civilizations have actually taken for granted that eating animals is justified. But when do you hear about those debates? Mentions of vegetarianism are systematically missing in textbooks and biographies.

"The man who eats meat or the hunter who agrees with the cruelties of Nature, upholds with every bite of meat or fish that might is right." - Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel prize in Literature.

By stepping forth we also prove that it is possible to live without meat. We live without eating cows or pigs, chicken or fish or prawns. And we are as alive and healthy as anyone else, despite those media-promoted "specialists" whose science consists of denying the facts. Neither vegetarianism nor Veganism (which rejects all animal products, including milk and eggs) has any particular negative effects on health - indeed; current studies tend to show the opposite!

There is no spell that says that to live one must kill. We are not obliged to do so, neither individually nor collectively. Animal husbandry does not provide food, since farm animals eat much more than their dead flesh can render. Despite this, massive public funding supports animal farming and fishing.

To defend our rights
No rights are granted to the animals that are raised and killed for food; but we who stand on their side do have rights, in principle. We are determined to exercise our rights in full, because they are our rights, and because they are theirs - the only rights that they may today, indirectly, enjoy.

We have the right to receive decent meals at school, at work and wherever meals are served to groups of people. We have the right to raise our children without forcing upon them the products of the
slaughterhouse.

We are not willing to have our taxes used to support the raising and killing and the fishing for the tastes of others.

We are no longer willing for our actions and our ideas to be systematically silenced. We no longer accept that the only public voices should be those of the corporations and intellectuals who defend the consumption of flesh.

We demand an open debate.

"We are the mirror of your guilty consciences
and this mirror will no longer hide"

Faced with images of heaps upon heaps of animals "destroyed" for case of bird flu, BSE or foot-and-mouth disease, we alone felt no shame. We were not shameful for ourselves. But we felt shame for all
others.

Above all, we were sad. However much we insist on asserting our pride in saying No to barbarity, this brings us no satisfaction. The animals are slaughtered by the billions. They are held to be dumb, their cries do not count. We shall speak out for them until the massacre halts.

We are animals
and stand in solidarity with all animals!

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Practical details and other informations


The Veggie Pride is a demonstration open to any person who does not eat the animals. Concerning this restriction, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/faq.php#23

• 2.30 pm : start of the demonstration
We ask that the slogans, signs and streamers be exclusively centred on the vegetarianism or vegetarianism for the animals. The Veggie Pride being a demonstration of individuals expressing their pride to be vegetarians or vegans for the animals, we ask that no initials or name of organization be reproduced on the streamers and signs.

• 4 pm : Arrival at the « Fontaine des Innocents » (fountain of the innocent ones).
End of the procession and installation of a "happening" symbolizing the ocean of suffering and death imposed daily on the animals.

• 4.30 pm - 5 pm : Happening.
The demonstration and the happening will be declared in prefecture in accordance with the law.

• From 5.30 pm : Various activities.

• 7.30 pm : Start of the after-pride.
A party will take place, further details will be given subsequently on our website. Possibility of accommodation or housing amongst inhabitants of Paris.


To come to the Veggie Pride :

The SNCF (the French Railway company) proposes worthwhile tariffs for the tickets taken two months in advance.

To know if a grouped departure is planned from your area, you can contact our regional delegates.

A small ads service is also at your disposal for your requests of car sharing, accommodation, etc. Do not hesitate to use it.


Sign the Manifesto of the Veggie Pride ! Independently of your participation in the Veggie Pride, we invite you to read the text of the Manifesto (see below) and, if you agree with it, to declare that
by signing it.


You can sign it on the Web:
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/signer.php
You will also be able to sign it yonder, during the demonstration.

To make a donation to the Veggie Pride:
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/dons.php
Any donation, even minor, will be very welcome.


You can also subscribe to the circulation list by sending a blank email to vp-Fr-subscribe@yahoogroupes.fr or on the website http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/vp-Fr

Help us to make known the Veggie Pride by broadcasting this message to your contacts!

By wishing you numerous with us on May the 20th,

The organizers of the Veggie Pride.

www.veggiepride.org/en
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted: Apr 15, 2006 5:31am
Feb 6, 2006
Focus: Racism
Action Request: March
Location: France

Veggie Pride : May 20th 2006 in Paris

Are you veggie for the animals ? Come to the Veggie Pride !
 

 

Meeting in Paris, Saturday the 20th of May 2006 at 2 pm, in front of the Beaubourg Centre
(Centre G. Pompidou, Paris 4th city district ; Subway station Rambuteau, Line 11).

Details on the course of this day are at the end of this message!

-------------------------------------------------------------------


Manifesto of the Veggie Pride

Veggie Pride, festival of vegetarian and vegan pride

Our aims :
To declare our pride at refusing to have animals killed for our consumption
To refuse to rob sentient beings of their sole possessions, of their very flesh, of their very lives; to refuse to take part in a concentration camp system which turns their short lives into perpetual torment; to refuse to do all of this for the mere pleasure of the palate, for the satisfaction of a habit, of a tradition: To refuse to do such things should be just plain decency.

However, history does show how difficult it is, when barbarity is the social norm, to simply say No.

We wish to declare our pride at saying No.

To denounce vegephobia
Instead, they want us to feel ashamed. Vegetarianism is concealed, ignored, mocked, marginalized and even defamed.

Vegetarianism challenges the legitimacy of the confinement and slaughter of billions of animals. Just by existing it breaks the law of silence. This is the reason behind vegephobic mockery and hatred.

Of course vegetarianism is tolerated when it is the harmless sort that claims to be no more than a private choice, a matter of distaste for meat or of concern for personal health or the environment. But woe betides us if we openly challenge the barbarous order!

At first we are laughed at. Caring about chickens and cows is supposed to be ridiculous. Laughing at a disturbing idea is a way to get rid of it without having to find logical arguments against it.

But if we do not give in, the laughter turns sour. At first they found us funny, now they call us monsters. We are traitors to the human species since we would limit its rights. We are unworthy parents for not teaching our children the joys of dead flesh. If we care for animals we must be Nazi sympathizers since Hitler too loved dogs. Our ideas are those of an intolerant cult since they are different from what others believe.

We are called terrorists; accused of worshipping nature or of breaking its laws. No argument is too farfetched when it comes to misrepresenting our ideas, putting us to shame and symbolically
rejecting us from society.

We refuse to apologize for our compassion. We are proud to declare that we are vegetarians. We are no longer willing to feel shame for refusing to kill. We are here; we are well alive and thinking and
will speak out.

To proclaim our existence
All over the world we are millions of humans saying No to this carnage. Few civilizations have actually taken for granted that eating animals is justified. But when do you hear about those debates? Mentions of vegetarianism are systematically missing in textbooks and biographies.

"The man who eats meat or the hunter who agrees with the cruelties of Nature, upholds with every bite of meat or fish that might is right." - Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel prize in Literature.

By stepping forth we also prove that it is possible to live without meat. We live without eating cows or pigs, chicken or fish or prawns. And we are as alive and healthy as anyone else, despite those media-promoted "specialists" whose science consists of denying the facts. Neither vegetarianism nor Veganism (which rejects all animal products, including milk and eggs) has any particular negative effects on health - indeed; current studies tend to show the opposite!

There is no spell that says that to live one must kill. We are not obliged to do so, neither individually nor collectively. Animal husbandry does not provide food, since farm animals eat much more than their dead flesh can render. Despite this, massive public funding supports animal farming and fishing.

To defend our rights
No rights are granted to the animals that are raised and killed for food; but we who stand on their side do have rights, in principle. We are determined to exercise our rights in full, because they are our rights, and because they are theirs - the only rights that they may today, indirectly, enjoy.

We have the right to receive decent meals at school, at work and wherever meals are served to groups of people. We have the right to raise our children without forcing upon them the products of the
slaughterhouse.

We are not willing to have our taxes used to support the raising and killing and the fishing for the tastes of others.

We are no longer willing for our actions and our ideas to be systematically silenced. We no longer accept that the only public voices should be those of the corporations and intellectuals who defend the consumption of flesh.

We demand an open debate.

"We are the mirror of your guilty consciences
and this mirror will no longer hide"

Faced with images of heaps upon heaps of animals "destroyed" for case of bird flu, BSE or foot-and-mouth disease, we alone felt no shame. We were not shameful for ourselves. But we felt shame for all
others.

Above all, we were sad. However much we insist on asserting our pride in saying No to barbarity, this brings us no satisfaction. The animals are slaughtered by the billions. They are held to be dumb, their cries do not count. We shall speak out for them until the massacre halts.

We are animals
and stand in solidarity with all animals!

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Practical details and other informations


The Veggie Pride is a demonstration open to any person who does not eat the animals. Concerning this restriction, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/faq.php#23

• 2.30 pm : start of the demonstration
We ask that the slogans, signs and streamers be exclusively centred on the vegetarianism or vegetarianism for the animals. The Veggie Pride being a demonstration of individuals expressing their pride to be vegetarians or vegans for the animals, we ask that no initials or name of organization be reproduced on the streamers and signs.

• 4 pm : Arrival at the « Fontaine des Innocents » (fountain of the innocent ones).
End of the procession and installation of a "happening" symbolizing the ocean of suffering and death imposed daily on the animals.

• 4.30 pm - 5 pm : Happening.
The demonstration and the happening will be declared in prefecture in accordance with the law.

• From 5.30 pm : Various activities.

• 7.30 pm : Start of the after-pride.
A party will take place, further details will be given subsequently on our website. Possibility of accommodation or housing amongst inhabitants of Paris.


To come to the Veggie Pride :

The SNCF (the French Railway company) proposes worthwhile tariffs for the tickets taken two months in advance.

To know if a grouped departure is planned from your area, you can contact our regional delegates.

A small ads service is also at your disposal for your requests of car sharing, accommodation, etc. Do not hesitate to use it.


Sign the Manifesto of the Veggie Pride ! Independently of your participation in the Veggie Pride, we invite you to read the text of the Manifesto (see below) and, if you agree with it, to declare that
by signing it.


You can sign it on the Web:
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/signer.php
You will also be able to sign it yonder, during the demonstration.

To make a donation to the Veggie Pride:
http://www.veggiepride.org/en/dons.php
Any donation, even minor, will be very welcome.


You can also subscribe to the circulation list by sending a blank email to vp-Fr-subscribe@yahoogroupes.fr or on the website http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/vp-Fr

Help us to make known the Veggie Pride by broadcasting this message to your contacts!

By wishing you numerous with us on May the 20th,

The organizers of the Veggie Pride.

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted: Feb 6, 2006 8:03am

 

 
 
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Feb
16
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\\n\\r\\n“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”\\r\\n\\r\\ n \\r\\n\\r\\nSpence r Johnson\\r\\n\\r\\n  \\r\\n\\r\\nMany years ago, when I was in high school chemistry lab, I was assigned to do a litm...
Feb
15
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
13
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New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Jan
29
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\\nI have recently posted some BlogSpot radio interviews and YouTube videos, publicizing my two new books,\\r\\n1) Deepening Your Personal Relationships: Developing Emotional Intimacy and Good Communication.\\r\\n2) Psychological Healing Through Creative S...
Jan
24
by Ys A.
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\\nCoretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the ...
Jan
23
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\\nWe declare that no man nor nation nor race have a greater right than others to enjoy the fruits of their work, as the ecological sphere is our common condition of life http://www.beat s4change.org/aims.htm Nous déclarons qu\\\'auc...
Jan
18
by Ys A.
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\\nauthor: Ralph Nader\\r\\n\\r\\nAn epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with t...
Jan
13
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\\nDear Friends:\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\ n\\r\\nMy two current books have been published and are available for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the publisher’s website, http://sbprabooks.com/Max Hammer. Reading these books can be very helpful for anyone...
by Fred H.
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\\nA stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming poo...
by Fred H.
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\\r\\nThe Olympic Peninsula is home to important state-owne d forests and many of our state’s most iconic creatures. To keep these forest ecosystems healthy, WEC and our partners at Conservation Northwe st and Olympic Forest Coal...