Vegetarian Discussion: Tesco And Asda Urged To Go Cage-free!

Tesco And Asda Urged To Go Cage-free!
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Gloria
2007-11-03 15:32:13 EST
On Sat, 3 Nov 2007 18:22:51 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie>
wrote:

>"Gloria" <letsstandup2bullies@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message news:ogkhi39u70ofsiuco6nbef0fd46l6nlfp9@4ax.com...
>> On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 14:08:17 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie>
>> wrote:
><..>
>> >Government & big business' war on human & nonhuman rights.
>> >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaL8I8_iZz8
>>
>> Scary stuff. Just a shame the majority are too stupid, or ignorant to
>> care about their future.
>
>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for
>survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
>- Albert Einstein
>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>'Global food crisis looms as climate change and fuel shortages bite
>
>Soaring crop prices and demand for biofuels raise fears of political
>instability
>
> * John Vidal, environment editor
> * The Guardian
> * Saturday November 3 2007
>
>Algae stained mud carpets the drought ravaged Gayngaru wetlands
>of Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. Photograph Torsten
>Blackwood/AFP
>
>Empty shelves in Caracas. Food riots in West Bengal and Mexico.
>Warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan
>Africa. Soaring prices for basic foods are beginning to lead to political
>instability, with governments being forced to step in to artificially control
>the cost of bread, maize, rice and dairy products.
>
>Record world prices for most staple foods have led to 18% food price
>inflation in China, 13% in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10% or more in
>Latin America, Russia and India, according to the UN Food and
>Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Wheat has doubled in price, maize is
>nearly 50% higher than a year ago and rice is 20% more expensive,
>says the UN. Next week the FAO is expected to say that global food
>reserves are at their lowest in 25 years and that prices will remain high
>for years.
>
>Last week the Kremlin forced Russian companies to freeze the price
>of milk, bread and other foods until January 31, for fear of a public
>backlash with a parliamentary election looming. "The price of goods
>has risen sharply and that has hit the poor particularly hard," said
>Oleg Savelyev, of the Levada Centre polling institute.
>
>India, Yemen, Mexico, Burkina Faso and several other countries have
>had, or been close to, food riots in the last year, something not seen in
>decades of low global food commodity prices. Meanwhile, there are
>shortages of beef, chicken and milk in Venezuela and other countries
>as governments try to keep a lid on food price inflation.
>
>Boycotts have become commonplace. Argentinians shunned tomatoes
>during the recent presidential election campaign when they became more
>expensive than meat. Italians organised a one-day boycott of pasta in
>protest at rising prices. German leftwing politicians have called for an
>increase in welfare benefits so that people can cope with price rises.
>
>"If you combine the increase of the oil prices and the increase of food
>prices then you have the elements of a very serious [social] crisis in the
>future," said Jacques Diouf, head of the FAO, in London last week.
>
>The price rises are a result of record oil prices, US farmers switching
>out of cereals to grow biofuel crops, extreme weather and growing
>demand from countries India and China, the UN said yesterday.
>
>"There is no one cause but a lot of things are coming together to lead to
>this. It's hard to separate out the factors," said Ali Gurkan, head of the
>FAO's Food Outlook programme, yesterday.
>
>He said cereal stocks had been declining for more than a decade but now
>stood at around 57 days, which made global food supplies vulnerable to
>an international crisis or big natural disaster such as a drought or flood.
>
>"Any unforeseen flood or crisis can make prices rise very quickly. I do
>not think we should panic but we should be very careful about what
>may happen," he warned.
>
>Lester Brown, president of the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute
>thinktank, said: "The competition for grain between the world's 800
>million motorists, who want to maintain their mobility, and its 2 billion
>poorest people, who are simply trying to survive, is emerging as an epic
>issue."
>
>Last year, he said, US farmers distorted the world market for cereals by
>growing 14m tonnes, or 20% of the whole maize crop, for ethanol for
>vehicles. This took millions of hectares of land out of food production
>and nearly doubled the price of maize. Mr Bush this year called for steep
>rises in ethanol production as part of plans to reduce petrol demand by
>20% by 2017.
>
>Maize is a staple food in many countries which import from the US,
>including Japan, Egypt, and Mexico. US exports are 70% of the world
>total, and are used widely for animal feed. The shortages have disrupted
>livestock and poultry industries worldwide.
>
>"The use of food as a source of fuel may have serious implications for
>the demand for food if the expansion of biofuels continues," said a
>spokesman for the International Monetary Fund last week.
>
>The outlook is widely expected to worsen as agro-industries prepare to
>switch to highly profitable biofuels. according to Grain, a Barcelona-
>based food resources group. Its research suggests that the Indian
>government is committed to planting 14m hectares (35m acres) of land
>with jatropha, an exotic bush from which biodiesel can be manufactured.
>Brazil intends to grow 120m hectares for biofuels, and Africa as much
>as 400m hectares in the next few years. Much of the growth, the countries
>say, would be on unproductive land, but many millions of people are
>expected to be forced off the land.
>
>This week Oxfam warned the EU that its policy of substituting 10%
>of all car fuel with biofuels threatened to displace poor farmers.
>
>The food crisis is being compounded by growing populations, extreme
>weather and ecological stress, according to a number of recent reports.
>This week the UN Environment Programme said the planet's water, land,
>air, plants, animals and fish stocks were all in "inexorable decline".
>According to the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) 57 countries,
>including 29 in Africa, 19 in Asia and nine in Latin America, have been hit
>by catastrophic floods. Harvests have been affected by drought and
>heatwaves in south Asia, Europe, China, Sudan, Mozambique and Uruguay.
>
>This week the Australian government said drought had slashed predictions
>of winter harvests by nearly 40%, or 4m tonnes. "It is likely to be even
>smaller than the disastrous drought-ravaged 2006-07 harvest and the worst
>in more than a decade," said the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource
>Economics.
>
>According to Josette Sheeran, director of the WFP, "There are 854 million
>hungry people in the world and 4 million more join their ranks every year.
>We are facing the tightest food supplies in recent history. For the
>world's most vulnerable, food is simply being priced out of their reach."
>
>Food for thought Possible scenarios
>
>Experts describe various scenarios for the precarious food supply balance
>in coming years. An optimistic version would see markets automatically
>readjust to shortages, as higher prices make it more profitable once again
>to grow crops for people rather than cars.
>
>There are hopes that new crop varieties and technologies will help crops
>adapt to capricious climactic conditions. And if people move on to a path
>of eating less meat, more land can be freed up for human food rather than
>animal feed.
>
>A slowdown in population growth would naturally ease pressures on the
>food market, while the cultivation of hitherto unproductive land could also
>help supply.
>
>But fears for even tighter conditions revolve around deepening climate
>change, which generates worsening floods and droughts, diminishing
>food supplies. If the price of oil rises further it will make fertilisers and
>transport more expensive, and at the same time make it more profitable
>to grow biofuel crops.
>
>Supply will be further restricted if fish stocks continue to decline due
>to overfishing, and if soils become exhausted and erosion decreases the
>arable area.
>
>http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/nov/03/food.climatechange

Pretty grim already.

Pearl
2007-11-04 07:19:26 EST
"Gloria" <letsstandup2bullies@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message news:74jpi3ppi4gv06dbua54jfb089rl8qu48j@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 3 Nov 2007 18:22:51 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie>
> wrote:
>
> >"Gloria" <letsstandup2bullies@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message news:ogkhi39u70ofsiuco6nbef0fd46l6nlfp9@4ax.com...
> >> On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 14:08:17 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie>
> >> wrote:
> ><..>
> >> >Government & big business' war on human & nonhuman rights.
> >> >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaL8I8_iZz8
> >>
> >> Scary stuff. Just a shame the majority are too stupid, or ignorant to
> >> care about their future.
> >
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for
> >survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
> >- Albert Einstein
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >'Global food crisis looms as climate change and fuel shortages bite
> >
> >Soaring crop prices and demand for biofuels raise fears of political
> >instability
> >
> > * John Vidal, environment editor
> > * The Guardian
> > * Saturday November 3 2007
> >
> >Algae stained mud carpets the drought ravaged Gayngaru wetlands
> >of Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. Photograph Torsten
> >Blackwood/AFP
> >
> >Empty shelves in Caracas. Food riots in West Bengal and Mexico.
> >Warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan
> >Africa. Soaring prices for basic foods are beginning to lead to political
> >instability, with governments being forced to step in to artificially control
> >the cost of bread, maize, rice and dairy products.
> >
> >Record world prices for most staple foods have led to 18% food price
> >inflation in China, 13% in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10% or more in
> >Latin America, Russia and India, according to the UN Food and
> >Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Wheat has doubled in price, maize is
> >nearly 50% higher than a year ago and rice is 20% more expensive,
> >says the UN. Next week the FAO is expected to say that global food
> >reserves are at their lowest in 25 years and that prices will remain high
> >for years.
> >
> >Last week the Kremlin forced Russian companies to freeze the price
> >of milk, bread and other foods until January 31, for fear of a public
> >backlash with a parliamentary election looming. "The price of goods
> >has risen sharply and that has hit the poor particularly hard," said
> >Oleg Savelyev, of the Levada Centre polling institute.
> >
> >India, Yemen, Mexico, Burkina Faso and several other countries have
> >had, or been close to, food riots in the last year, something not seen in
> >decades of low global food commodity prices. Meanwhile, there are
> >shortages of beef, chicken and milk in Venezuela and other countries
> >as governments try to keep a lid on food price inflation.
> >
> >Boycotts have become commonplace. Argentinians shunned tomatoes
> >during the recent presidential election campaign when they became more
> >expensive than meat. Italians organised a one-day boycott of pasta in
> >protest at rising prices. German leftwing politicians have called for an
> >increase in welfare benefits so that people can cope with price rises.
> >
> >"If you combine the increase of the oil prices and the increase of food
> >prices then you have the elements of a very serious [social] crisis in the
> >future," said Jacques Diouf, head of the FAO, in London last week.
> >
> >The price rises are a result of record oil prices, US farmers switching
> >out of cereals to grow biofuel crops, extreme weather and growing
> >demand from countries India and China, the UN said yesterday.
> >
> >"There is no one cause but a lot of things are coming together to lead to
> >this. It's hard to separate out the factors," said Ali Gurkan, head of the
> >FAO's Food Outlook programme, yesterday.
> >
> >He said cereal stocks had been declining for more than a decade but now
> >stood at around 57 days, which made global food supplies vulnerable to
> >an international crisis or big natural disaster such as a drought or flood.
> >
> >"Any unforeseen flood or crisis can make prices rise very quickly. I do
> >not think we should panic but we should be very careful about what
> >may happen," he warned.
> >
> >Lester Brown, president of the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute
> >thinktank, said: "The competition for grain between the world's 800
> >million motorists, who want to maintain their mobility, and its 2 billion
> >poorest people, who are simply trying to survive, is emerging as an epic
> >issue."
> >
> >Last year, he said, US farmers distorted the world market for cereals by
> >growing 14m tonnes, or 20% of the whole maize crop, for ethanol for
> >vehicles. This took millions of hectares of land out of food production
> >and nearly doubled the price of maize. Mr Bush this year called for steep
> >rises in ethanol production as part of plans to reduce petrol demand by
> >20% by 2017.
> >
> >Maize is a staple food in many countries which import from the US,
> >including Japan, Egypt, and Mexico. US exports are 70% of the world
> >total, and are used widely for animal feed. The shortages have disrupted
> >livestock and poultry industries worldwide.
> >
> >"The use of food as a source of fuel may have serious implications for
> >the demand for food if the expansion of biofuels continues," said a
> >spokesman for the International Monetary Fund last week.
> >
> >The outlook is widely expected to worsen as agro-industries prepare to
> >switch to highly profitable biofuels. according to Grain, a Barcelona-
> >based food resources group. Its research suggests that the Indian
> >government is committed to planting 14m hectares (35m acres) of land
> >with jatropha, an exotic bush from which biodiesel can be manufactured.
> >Brazil intends to grow 120m hectares for biofuels, and Africa as much
> >as 400m hectares in the next few years. Much of the growth, the countries
> >say, would be on unproductive land, but many millions of people are
> >expected to be forced off the land.
> >
> >This week Oxfam warned the EU that its policy of substituting 10%
> >of all car fuel with biofuels threatened to displace poor farmers.
> >
> >The food crisis is being compounded by growing populations, extreme
> >weather and ecological stress, according to a number of recent reports.
> >This week the UN Environment Programme said the planet's water, land,
> >air, plants, animals and fish stocks were all in "inexorable decline".
> >According to the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) 57 countries,
> >including 29 in Africa, 19 in Asia and nine in Latin America, have been hit
> >by catastrophic floods. Harvests have been affected by drought and
> >heatwaves in south Asia, Europe, China, Sudan, Mozambique and Uruguay.
> >
> >This week the Australian government said drought had slashed predictions
> >of winter harvests by nearly 40%, or 4m tonnes. "It is likely to be even
> >smaller than the disastrous drought-ravaged 2006-07 harvest and the worst
> >in more than a decade," said the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource
> >Economics.
> >
> >According to Josette Sheeran, director of the WFP, "There are 854 million
> >hungry people in the world and 4 million more join their ranks every year.
> >We are facing the tightest food supplies in recent history. For the
> >world's most vulnerable, food is simply being priced out of their reach."
> >
> >Food for thought Possible scenarios
> >
> >Experts describe various scenarios for the precarious food supply balance
> >in coming years. An optimistic version would see markets automatically
> >readjust to shortages, as higher prices make it more profitable once again
> >to grow crops for people rather than cars.
> >
> >There are hopes that new crop varieties and technologies will help crops
> >adapt to capricious climactic conditions. And if people move on to a path
> >of eating less meat, more land can be freed up for human food rather than
> >animal feed.
> >
> >A slowdown in population growth would naturally ease pressures on the
> >food market, while the cultivation of hitherto unproductive land could also
> >help supply.
> >
> >But fears for even tighter conditions revolve around deepening climate
> >change, which generates worsening floods and droughts, diminishing
> >food supplies. If the price of oil rises further it will make fertilisers and
> >transport more expensive, and at the same time make it more profitable
> >to grow biofuel crops.
> >
> >Supply will be further restricted if fish stocks continue to decline due
> >to overfishing, and if soils become exhausted and erosion decreases the
> >arable area.
> >
> >http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/nov/03/food.climatechange
>
> Pretty grim already.

That's for sure. The way out? We know well what that is..

'Non-animal magnetism

Vegetarianism has lost its ability to provoke. Try veganism instead -
you have nothing to lose but your elevated blood cholesterol.

Andrew Tyler

Twenty years ago, if you told a colleague that you were a vegetarian,
he might have prodded and tugged at you to make sure you were real.
Then would come the generous advice about getting sufficient protein
and vitamins because it was a well-known fact that vegetarians are
self-harming, pasty-faced weaklings.

These days if the subject comes up, people will tend to say something
like "I eat much less meat than I used to, and mostly free range or organic."

We are now a nation of "meat reducers", with only National Farmers'
Union regional reps prepared to argue in public that you need meat to
stay alive; that the livestock industry does not place a heavy burden on
the environment; and that chickens, cows, sheep and pigs - nearly 1,000
million of them every year - are content in their stinking sheds and in the
killing factories.

Since vegetarianism has lost much of its capacity to provoke, is veganism
the new vegetarianism? Animal Aid believes so. That is why - on November 1
- we launched what we believe to be the world's first ever Vegan Month
<http://www.veganmonth.com/events.html>. It will be an annual event and
will promote, through a variety of attention-seeking stunts, as well as printed
and online resources, the merits of a totally animal free diet. That means no
dairy, no eggs, no honey and, of course, no meat or fish. Let's not call it
abstinence. We vegans love our Thai stir-frys and our hearty casseroles. We
relish proud vegetables, "cheating" meat substitutes, ice cream, chocolate
and yoghurt ... all without recourse to any animal parts, or secretions.

The data shows we tend to be slimmer, and we are less prone to a range of
illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and colorectal and some other
cancers. Veganism is also kinder to the environment; it requires considerably
less land <http://www.vegsoc.org/environment/land_use.html>, water and
energy. Yes, we are guilty of eating lots of soya from faraway places but
then 75% of the world's soya crop is fed to livestock. It is non-vegans who
consume the great bulk of soya.

My principal consideration, however, is the poor old dairy cow, as well as
the egg-producing hen and her offspring. Male chicks are useless to the egg
industry and so, every year, 30 million of them are gassed or tossed alive
into giant industrial shredders. The milk-producing cow is now selectively
bred to carry in her udders so much milk that she can barely stand upright.
Increasing numbers are confined all year round under "zero grazing"
<http://www.sac.ac.uk/research/animalhealthwelfare/dairy/housing/zerograzing>
regimes, where they are deprived of everything that makes life tolerable.
Once again, their male offspring are regarded as a waste by-product.
Scores of thousands every year are shot or slaughtered within days of birth.

Vegan Month is the uninhibited offspring of Veggie Month <http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/vegetarianism/ALL/568/>,
which Animal Aid also initiated - 15 years ago. Veggie Month remains a
successful enterprise and we will continue to promote it every March, but
the shock and awe it once engendered has faded.

The fundamental question, of course, is this: how cool is veganism?

A useful measure is that the uncool and bellicose Gordon Ramsay - who
has gone public
<http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/vegetarianism/ALL/522/>
about the pleasure he gets from boiling lobsters alive - has already exhibited
his violent distaste for vegetarians, and so think how much he must be irked
by vegans. In the opposing corner is kickboxing poet Benjamin Zephaniah <http://www.benjaminzephaniah.com/content/biography.php>,
dedicated
vegan and a man who said "up yours" to the government for recommending
him for an Order of the British Empire. The Empire, he wrote
<http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1094011,00.html>, reminded
him of how "my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised".

Morgan Spurlock, who force-fed himself McDonald's fare in the ghoulishly
unputdownable Supersize Me, is not a vegan. But he did detox and repair
his wounded liver on a vegan diet. The president of Slovenia, Dr Janez
Drnovsek
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1950341,00.html>,
is a vegan. Dale Vince is vegan. He's the founder of Ecotricity, the world's
first renewable energy company and the largest alternative electricity
supplier in Europe. And did you spot that all the communal catering at
this summer's climate change camp near Heathrow was vegan?

More startling is that reporters from two hard-boiled news gathering
organisations, the Daily Mail and BBC's Newsnight, recently took a
month-long vegan challenge. I expected low-grade mockery but both
were impressed by their experience. The Mail's Edward Batha reported
<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=471918&in_page_id=1774>,
after his July 2007 adventure, that he'd lost two kilos, saw a reduction in
his blood pressure, and a 23% drop in his cholesterol level.

Is veganism a growing phenomenon? Data
<http://www.imaner.net/panel/statistics.htm> on the number of UK vegans
is sparse but the indicators are clear. A 1993 food company survey put the
figure at 100,000. A 2005 Food Standards Agency estimate offered a total
of 345,000.

Non-dairy equivalents can now be found in regular food stores and coffee
shops across the country. And an Animal Aid survey (pdf)
<http://www.animalaid.org.uk/images/pdf/booklets/supermarket.pdf>
earlier this year of 600 supermarkets found that vegan cheese, "meats",
ice cream, milk, yoghurt and chocolate are now widely available (with
Waitrose and Sainsbury's leading the pack). The news on the restaurant
front is encouraging too. There are now at least 15 exclusively vegan
restaurants in London, including the superb VegVeg chain, specialising
in Buddhist-influenced south-east Asian buffets. And 100% vegan
restaurants can also be found around the country, including Bournemouth,
Nottingham and Glasgow.

So enjoy. You've nothing to lose but your elevated blood cholesterol levels.

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/andrew_tyler/2007/11/non-animal_magnetism.html



John
2007-11-04 12:11:19 EST
On Sun, 4 Nov 2007 12:19:26 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie>
wrote:

>"Gloria" <letsstandup2bullies@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message news:74jpi3ppi4gv06dbua54jfb089rl8qu48j@4ax.com...
>> On Sat, 3 Nov 2007 18:22:51 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie>
>> wrote:
>>
>> >"Gloria" <letsstandup2bullies@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message news:ogkhi39u70ofsiuco6nbef0fd46l6nlfp9@4ax.com...
>> >> On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 14:08:17 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie>
>> >> wrote:
>> ><..>
>> >> >Government & big business' war on human & nonhuman rights.
>> >> >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaL8I8_iZz8
>> >>
>> >> Scary stuff. Just a shame the majority are too stupid, or ignorant to
>> >> care about their future.
>> >
>> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for
>> >survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
>> >- Albert Einstein
>> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >
>> >'Global food crisis looms as climate change and fuel shortages bite
>> >
>> >Soaring crop prices and demand for biofuels raise fears of political
>> >instability
>> >
>> > * John Vidal, environment editor
>> > * The Guardian
>> > * Saturday November 3 2007
>> >
>> >Algae stained mud carpets the drought ravaged Gayngaru wetlands
>> >of Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. Photograph Torsten
>> >Blackwood/AFP
>> >
>> >Empty shelves in Caracas. Food riots in West Bengal and Mexico.
>> >Warnings of hunger in Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines and sub-Saharan
>> >Africa. Soaring prices for basic foods are beginning to lead to political
>> >instability, with governments being forced to step in to artificially control
>> >the cost of bread, maize, rice and dairy products.
>> >
>> >Record world prices for most staple foods have led to 18% food price
>> >inflation in China, 13% in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10% or more in
>> >Latin America, Russia and India, according to the UN Food and
>> >Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Wheat has doubled in price, maize is
>> >nearly 50% higher than a year ago and rice is 20% more expensive,
>> >says the UN. Next week the FAO is expected to say that global food
>> >reserves are at their lowest in 25 years and that prices will remain high
>> >for years.
>> >
>> >Last week the Kremlin forced Russian companies to freeze the price
>> >of milk, bread and other foods until January 31, for fear of a public
>> >backlash with a parliamentary election looming. "The price of goods
>> >has risen sharply and that has hit the poor particularly hard," said
>> >Oleg Savelyev, of the Levada Centre polling institute.
>> >
>> >India, Yemen, Mexico, Burkina Faso and several other countries have
>> >had, or been close to, food riots in the last year, something not seen in
>> >decades of low global food commodity prices. Meanwhile, there are
>> >shortages of beef, chicken and milk in Venezuela and other countries
>> >as governments try to keep a lid on food price inflation.
>> >
>> >Boycotts have become commonplace. Argentinians shunned tomatoes
>> >during the recent presidential election campaign when they became more
>> >expensive than meat. Italians organised a one-day boycott of pasta in
>> >protest at rising prices. German leftwing politicians have called for an
>> >increase in welfare benefits so that people can cope with price rises.
>> >
>> >"If you combine the increase of the oil prices and the increase of food
>> >prices then you have the elements of a very serious [social] crisis in the
>> >future," said Jacques Diouf, head of the FAO, in London last week.
>> >
>> >The price rises are a result of record oil prices, US farmers switching
>> >out of cereals to grow biofuel crops, extreme weather and growing
>> >demand from countries India and China, the UN said yesterday.
>> >
>> >"There is no one cause but a lot of things are coming together to lead to
>> >this. It's hard to separate out the factors," said Ali Gurkan, head of the
>> >FAO's Food Outlook programme, yesterday.
>> >
>> >He said cereal stocks had been declining for more than a decade but now
>> >stood at around 57 days, which made global food supplies vulnerable to
>> >an international crisis or big natural disaster such as a drought or flood.
>> >
>> >"Any unforeseen flood or crisis can make prices rise very quickly. I do
>> >not think we should panic but we should be very careful about what
>> >may happen," he warned.
>> >
>> >Lester Brown, president of the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute
>> >thinktank, said: "The competition for grain between the world's 800
>> >million motorists, who want to maintain their mobility, and its 2 billion
>> >poorest people, who are simply trying to survive, is emerging as an epic
>> >issue."
>> >
>> >Last year, he said, US farmers distorted the world market for cereals by
>> >growing 14m tonnes, or 20% of the whole maize crop, for ethanol for
>> >vehicles. This took millions of hectares of land out of food production
>> >and nearly doubled the price of maize. Mr Bush this year called for steep
>> >rises in ethanol production as part of plans to reduce petrol demand by
>> >20% by 2017.
>> >
>> >Maize is a staple food in many countries which import from the US,
>> >including Japan, Egypt, and Mexico. US exports are 70% of the world
>> >total, and are used widely for animal feed. The shortages have disrupted
>> >livestock and poultry industries worldwide.
>> >
>> >"The use of food as a source of fuel may have serious implications for
>> >the demand for food if the expansion of biofuels continues," said a
>> >spokesman for the International Monetary Fund last week.
>> >
>> >The outlook is widely expected to worsen as agro-industries prepare to
>> >switch to highly profitable biofuels. according to Grain, a Barcelona-
>> >based food resources group. Its research suggests that the Indian
>> >government is committed to planting 14m hectares (35m acres) of land
>> >with jatropha, an exotic bush from which biodiesel can be manufactured.
>> >Brazil intends to grow 120m hectares for biofuels, and Africa as much
>> >as 400m hectares in the next few years. Much of the growth, the countries
>> >say, would be on unproductive land, but many millions of people are
>> >expected to be forced off the land.
>> >
>> >This week Oxfam warned the EU that its policy of substituting 10%
>> >of all car fuel with biofuels threatened to displace poor farmers.
>> >
>> >The food crisis is being compounded by growing populations, extreme
>> >weather and ecological stress, according to a number of recent reports.
>> >This week the UN Environment Programme said the planet's water, land,
>> >air, plants, animals and fish stocks were all in "inexorable decline".
>> >According to the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) 57 countries,
>> >including 29 in Africa, 19 in Asia and nine in Latin America, have been hit
>> >by catastrophic floods. Harvests have been affected by drought and
>> >heatwaves in south Asia, Europe, China, Sudan, Mozambique and Uruguay.
>> >
>> >This week the Australian government said drought had slashed predictions
>> >of winter harvests by nearly 40%, or 4m tonnes. "It is likely to be even
>> >smaller than the disastrous drought-ravaged 2006-07 harvest and the worst
>> >in more than a decade," said the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource
>> >Economics.
>> >
>> >According to Josette Sheeran, director of the WFP, "There are 854 million
>> >hungry people in the world and 4 million more join their ranks every year.
>> >We are facing the tightest food supplies in recent history. For the
>> >world's most vulnerable, food is simply being priced out of their reach."
>> >
>> >Food for thought Possible scenarios
>> >
>> >Experts describe various scenarios for the precarious food supply balance
>> >in coming years. An optimistic version would see markets automatically
>> >readjust to shortages, as higher prices make it more profitable once again
>> >to grow crops for people rather than cars.
>> >
>> >There are hopes that new crop varieties and technologies will help crops
>> >adapt to capricious climactic conditions. And if people move on to a path
>> >of eating less meat, more land can be freed up for human food rather than
>> >animal feed.
>> >
>> >A slowdown in population growth would naturally ease pressures on the
>> >food market, while the cultivation of hitherto unproductive land could also
>> >help supply.
>> >
>> >But fears for even tighter conditions revolve around deepening climate
>> >change, which generates worsening floods and droughts, diminishing
>> >food supplies. If the price of oil rises further it will make fertilisers and
>> >transport more expensive, and at the same time make it more profitable
>> >to grow biofuel crops.
>> >
>> >Supply will be further restricted if fish stocks continue to decline due
>> >to overfishing, and if soils become exhausted and erosion decreases the
>> >arable area.
>> >
>> >http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/nov/03/food.climatechange
>>
>> Pretty grim already.
>
>That's for sure. The way out? We know well what that is..
>
>'Non-animal magnetism
>
>Vegetarianism has lost its ability to provoke. Try veganism instead -
>you have nothing to lose but your elevated blood cholesterol.
>
>Andrew Tyler
>
>Twenty years ago, if you told a colleague that you were a vegetarian,
>he might have prodded and tugged at you to make sure you were real.
>Then would come the generous advice about getting sufficient protein
>and vitamins because it was a well-known fact that vegetarians are
>self-harming, pasty-faced weaklings.
>
>These days if the subject comes up, people will tend to say something
>like "I eat much less meat than I used to, and mostly free range or organic."
>
>We are now a nation of "meat reducers", with only National Farmers'
>Union regional reps prepared to argue in public that you need meat to
>stay alive; that the livestock industry does not place a heavy burden on
>the environment; and that chickens, cows, sheep and pigs - nearly 1,000
>million of them every year - are content in their stinking sheds and in the
>killing factories.
>
>Since vegetarianism has lost much of its capacity to provoke, is veganism
>the new vegetarianism? Animal Aid believes so. That is why - on November 1
>- we launched what we believe to be the world's first ever Vegan Month
><http://www.veganmonth.com/events.html>. It will be an annual event and
>will promote, through a variety of attention-seeking stunts, as well as printed
>and online resources, the merits of a totally animal free diet. That means no
>dairy, no eggs, no honey and, of course, no meat or fish. Let's not call it
>abstinence. We vegans love our Thai stir-frys and our hearty casseroles. We
>relish proud vegetables, "cheating" meat substitutes, ice cream, chocolate
>and yoghurt ... all without recourse to any animal parts, or secretions.
>
>The data shows we tend to be slimmer, and we are less prone to a range of
>illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and colorectal and some other
>cancers. Veganism is also kinder to the environment; it requires considerably
>less land <http://www.vegsoc.org/environment/land_use.html>, water and
>energy. Yes, we are guilty of eating lots of soya from faraway places but
>then 75% of the world's soya crop is fed to livestock. It is non-vegans who
>consume the great bulk of soya.
>
>My principal consideration, however, is the poor old dairy cow, as well as
>the egg-producing hen and her offspring. Male chicks are useless to the egg
>industry and so, every year, 30 million of them are gassed or tossed alive
>into giant industrial shredders. The milk-producing cow is now selectively
>bred to carry in her udders so much milk that she can barely stand upright.
>Increasing numbers are confined all year round under "zero grazing"
><http://www.sac.ac.uk/research/animalhealthwelfare/dairy/housing/zerograzing>
>regimes, where they are deprived of everything that makes life tolerable.
>Once again, their male offspring are regarded as a waste by-product.
>Scores of thousands every year are shot or slaughtered within days of birth.
>
>Vegan Month is the uninhibited offspring of Veggie Month <http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/vegetarianism/ALL/568/>,
>which Animal Aid also initiated - 15 years ago. Veggie Month remains a
>successful enterprise and we will continue to promote it every March, but
>the shock and awe it once engendered has faded.
>
>The fundamental question, of course, is this: how cool is veganism?
>
>A useful measure is that the uncool and bellicose Gordon Ramsay - who
>has gone public
><http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/vegetarianism/ALL/522/>
>about the pleasure he gets from boiling lobsters alive - has already exhibited
>his violent distaste for vegetarians, and so think how much he must be irked
>by vegans. In the opposing corner is kickboxing poet Benjamin Zephaniah <http://www.benjaminzephaniah.com/content/biography.php>,
>dedicated
>vegan and a man who said "up yours" to the government for recommending
>him for an Order of the British Empire. The Empire, he wrote
><http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1094011,00.html>, reminded
>him of how "my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised".
>
>Morgan Spurlock, who force-fed himself McDonald's fare in the ghoulishly
>unputdownable Supersize Me, is not a vegan. But he did detox and repair
>his wounded liver on a vegan diet. The president of Slovenia, Dr Janez
>Drnovsek
><http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1950341,00.html>,
>is a vegan. Dale Vince is vegan. He's the founder of Ecotricity, the world's
>first renewable energy company and the largest alternative electricity
>supplier in Europe. And did you spot that all the communal catering at
>this summer's climate change camp near Heathrow was vegan?
>
>More startling is that reporters from two hard-boiled news gathering
>organisations, the Daily Mail and BBC's Newsnight, recently took a
>month-long vegan challenge. I expected low-grade mockery but both
>were impressed by their experience. The Mail's Edward Batha reported
><http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=471918&in_page_id=1774>,
>after his July 2007 adventure, that he'd lost two kilos, saw a reduction in
>his blood pressure, and a 23% drop in his cholesterol level.
>
>Is veganism a growing phenomenon? Data
><http://www.imaner.net/panel/statistics.htm> on the number of UK vegans
>is sparse but the indicators are clear. A 1993 food company survey put the
>figure at 100,000. A 2005 Food Standards Agency estimate offered a total
>of 345,000.
>
>Non-dairy equivalents can now be found in regular food stores and coffee
>shops across the country. And an Animal Aid survey (pdf)
><http://www.animalaid.org.uk/images/pdf/booklets/supermarket.pdf>
>earlier this year of 600 supermarkets found that vegan cheese, "meats",
>ice cream, milk, yoghurt and chocolate are now widely available (with
>Waitrose and Sainsbury's leading the pack). The news on the restaurant
>front is encouraging too. There are now at least 15 exclusively vegan
>restaurants in London, including the superb VegVeg chain, specialising
>in Buddhist-influenced south-east Asian buffets. And 100% vegan
>restaurants can also be found around the country, including Bournemouth,
>Nottingham and Glasgow.
>
>So enjoy. You've nothing to lose but your elevated blood cholesterol levels.
>
>http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/andrew_tyler/2007/11/non-animal_magnetism.html
>

Slowly but surely the world is listening. Some great comments in the
follow-up as well. A very good response to a very good article.
--


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