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Voices (Issue 10, January 2012)

Welcome to the latest issue of Voices, Vegetarian Victoria's bi-monthly newsletter.

In this issue:
   01  Upcoming Events
   02  Win a Vegan Cooking & Yoga Retreat!!
   03  Restaurant of The Year Award 2011
   04  Business of the Month: Mister Nice Guy Cupcakes
   05  New Vegan Magazine for Australia
   06  Local Harvest - Launches February 2012!
   07  Accolades for Lyn White
   08  Demand CCTV in All Slaughterhouses
   09  Bobby calves to be restricted to 30 hours without feed before slaughter
   10  Dr Michael Klaper - Plant-Only Medicine Man!
   11  Vegan athlete crowned world's toughest woman
   12  US Congress to rule pizza sauce is a vegetable
   13  Farm Sanctuary's 25th Anniversary
   14  Vernon's Veg Facts: Potato
   15  What goes on in the mind of an octopus?
   16  Mourning the loss of Bella
   17  Live Export Updates
   18  Other Recent News Articles & Blog Posts
   19  About Vegetarian Victoria

Vegetarian Victoria
Promoting a healthy and compassionate lifestyle



Vegan cooking and yoga retreats with Alexis and Ostii.
Dates:  Saturday 10th to Monday 12th March (Labor Day long weekend)
            Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th April (School Holidays)
            Saturday 9th to Monday 11th June (Queen's Birthday long weekend)
            Retreats start at 10am on the first day and end after lunch on the final day.
Where:  Hepburn Retreat Centre, 9 Lone Pine Avenue, Hepburn Springs
Details:  Learn how to cook delicious vegan and vegetarian meals that promote health & vitality on these 2 day vegan cooking courses with Alexis and Ostii.
Explore the art of preparing and cooking grains, pulses and vegetables to create optimum nourishment, flavour and visual appeal.
Using local, seasonal organic produce, you will discover the secrets of how to prepare Hepburn Retreat Centreís famous vegan banquet.
The vegan cooking workshops will include:
* Hands-on vegetarian/vegan cooking classes
* Raw food preparation sessions with Zalan
* Gluten-free vegan baking sessions
* 1 or 2 yoga classes each day
* Feasting on the delicious, healthy vegan meals that you cook
* Discussions on nutrition, ayurveda, food, veganism, vegetarianism and yoga
* Recipe ideas and notes on yogic diet and nutrition
* Time in the retreat centre gardens, learning about growing vegetables and edible weeds
* An evening around the fire in the tipi
* Accommodation in twin-share or single rooms
* Time to explore the Hepburn National Park and the bush only a few minutes walk from the retreat
Massage and other treatments are available onsite (please book in advance).
For more information and to register visit www.yogacookingretreats.com.au
(Please note that these retreats are not organised by VegVic.)

For details on other upcoming events please refer to the listings on the VegVic website.



The organisers of the Vegan Cooking & Yoga Retreats, listed above, have kindly donated one FREE Vegan Cooking & Yoga Retreat ...... worth $400!!!!!!. This Retreat Package is to be given away to the first lucky VegVic Supporting member who answers the following questions:

Hepburn Retreat Quiz
   1. Hepburn Retreat Centre has another name, what is it?
   2. What is the name of the nearby national park?
   3. What is the approximate distance between Hepburn Springs and Daylesford?

Email your answers to voices@vegetarianvictoria.org.au.

First Prize - One FREE Vegan Cooking & Yoga Retreat ($400 value)
Second Prize - Two retreats for the price of one (i.e. two people can attend for the one $400 price)
Third Prize - Two retreats for the price of one (i.e. two people can attend for the one $400 price)

Please note that this competition is only available to Supporting Members.

Good luck!



Thanks to everyone who showed their support for the vegetarian restaurants in Victoria by voting in our 2011 'Vegetarian Restaurant of the Year' Award!

The winner is:

     421 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, ph: 03 9417 3338
     Opening hours: Tue-Sun 12noon-10pm

That's 2 years in a row!!

Congratulations go again to the dedicated and hard working sister team of Sun Ju and Sun Mi. Well done!!

Yong Green Food is a fantastic restaurant offering a great range of delicious vegetarian and vegan food with diverse Asian influences - Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese & Indian - as well as Italian and Mexican. Yong Green Food also offers a sumptuous RAW vegan menu including juices and smoothies, sushi, veggie burgers, lasagna and cheesecakes!

For more information on Yong Green Food please refer to their page on Facebook or the Restaurants page on our website.


The award voter who has won a dinner for two at their favourite veg restaurant is Kelly Goding from North Melbourne. Congratulations Kelly!



Our Business of the Month for January is Mister Nice Guy cupcakes. Husband and wife team Lucas and Deb have recently moved into their new shop at Prahran Market, offering an exciting range of vegan cupcakes, including Peanut Butter Cup, Ginger Snaps, Neapolitan, Apple Pie, Fuzzy Ewok, Peppermint Patty, Rosie Robot and Boo-berry Lemon! Read more about Mister Nice Guy in our interview here!




The first Australian Lifestyle Magazine for vegans was officially launched at World Vegan Day Melbourne 2011.

The magazine contains entertaining, informative and innovative articles which appeal to both vegans and those 'just browsing', advancing veganism as the compassionate, rational, healthy lifestyle it is.

To preview the latest edition and subscribe go to:



Local Harvest is a new project from the Ethical Consumer Group. It's a national initiative aiming to help people find local sources of food and grow their own.

Food choices make up 30% of the carbon footprint of an average household (ACF Consumption Atlas, 2007). Local Harvest will be key in helping people address issues of energy use, carbon impact, waste and efficiency hidden behind our food. Social benefits include the linking of individuals with providers of food, as well as helping integrate the existing networks that will assist in people growing their own or being involved in the processes connected with meeting the essential food needs.

Key features of the initiative:

A directory of sustainable food in Australia

A national directory for finding food co-ops, swap meets, community gardens, farmers markets, box systems, organic retailers and more by simply entering your postcode.

Helping to produce your own

DIY alternatives for food production and meeting essential needs, including resources for growing and making your own.

Local harvest challenge

Take up the Local Harvest Challenge, where for one week you attempt to reduce the 'degrees of separation' from your food. Based on the Household Action Challenge run in previous years.

For more information go to: www.localharvest.org.au



Formerly a South Australian police officer, Lyn White of Animals Australia easily won the 2011 Crikey 'Person of the Year'. Which just goes to show how much the story A Bloody Business made an impact this year - evidence obtained by Lyn in Indonesia was provided to the ABCís Four Corners, resulting in a Gold Walkley Award for Sarah Ferguson, Michael Doyle and Anne Worthington and the immediate suspension of the live exports to Indonesia along with public and political pressure to end the trade.

Lyn has also been named 2011's 'Newsmaker of the Year' by ABC News Radio. The announcement, made live on air on New Year's morning, reflects the growing public awareness and concern for animal welfare that is sweeping the country.

Read more: www.crikey.com.au & www.animalsaustralia.org



On Thursday 24 November, the Victorian authorities closed down an abattoir in Gippsland after Animals Australia provided footage of animal welfare breaches inside the facility. In just 90 minutes enough evidence of cruelty was captured of the final moments of a group of young pigs to have this abattoir's license withdrawn permanently.

Sadly, the nature of slaughterhouses is that animals will always experience fear and will suffer within their walls. Much of the deliberate cruelty inflicted on these animals was illegal, yet the failure of the auditing process allowed it to occur. The tragic final moments for this group of pigs serves as a wake up call that despite Australia's regulated abattoir system, without a watchful eye animals are at risk of even graver cruelty.

The UK Government is already considering the compulsory installation of CCTV cameras in slaughterhouses to help reduce breaches of animal protection laws.

Please call on your state meat authority and on the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS - responsible for monitoring export slaughterhouses), to establish greater accountability of slaughter practices by requiring inspectors to install and monitor CCTV cameras in all abattoirs.

Click here to take action!



The dairy industry has agreed to a national standard for the slaughter of bobby calves, the unwanted calves (usually males) from Australia's dairy herd.
In response to animal welfare concerns, the maximum time between a bobby calf's last feed and its slaughter will be set at 30 hours.
About 700,000 bobby calves are slaughtered in Australia each year, and used for lower-grade meat.
David Basham, from Australian Dairy Farmers, says the national standard of 30 hours without feed was agreed to by groups representing transporters, farmers, butchers and livestock agents.
"The industry really can't, at this stage, I mean maybe in time, work out a way to manage a shorter time off feed," he said.
"Just the sheer logistics of how the system works - to change that in any way, it's really very difficult."
Glenys Oogjes, from Animals Australia, says the standard doesn't change anything. She says bobby calves are the dairy industry's long-held secret.
"I think many in the community are simply not aware that for a cow to continue to provide milk, she must have a calf each year," she said. "At least half of those calves are going to be sent off for slaughter."

Source: www.abc.net.au



Meet Dr Michael Klaper. He prescribes a healthy diet, not pills - listen to him explain why...




Vegan athlete Juliana Sproles was recently crowned the "toughest woman on the planet" after finishing the "The World's Toughest Mudder" competition, a 24-hour, mud-filled obstacle race in below-freezing temperatures. Sproles credits diligent training and a plant-based diet for her victory.

Tough Mudder competitions are gruelling endurance tests, typically 10-12 miles in length and featuring 20-30 challenging obstacles designed by the British Special Forces. The competitions test all-round strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. At the end of each year, the top 5 percent of participants from previous Tough Mudder competitions are eligible to compete in the World's Toughest Mudder series final in order to "find the toughest man and woman on the planet."

Read more: www.mfablog.org



US lawmakers prodded by the frozen food industry have moved to protect schools' ability to count pizza sauce as a vegetable in lunches for students.
In an annual spending bill covering the US Department of Agriculture, which has oversight over subsidised school meals, a joint House-Senate panel voted to prevent the agency from restricting pizza, hot chips, and starchy vegetables.

A Republican summary of the legislation cheered the defeat of "overly burdensome and costly regulations" and hailed "greater flexibility for local school districts."
The American Frozen Food Institute industry lobby group hailed the measure, which it said "recognises the significant amounts of potassium, fibre and vitamins A and C provided by tomato paste and ensures that students may continue to enjoy healthy meals such as pizza and pasta."
But Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, said the legislation was about protecting pizza makers, not nutrition.
"Pepperoni pizza is not a vegetable," Ms Wootan said.
Ms Wootan said existing rules defined a full serving of vegetables as eight tablespoons, except for a "loophole" that set the amount of tomato paste required at two tablespoons, roughly what goes on a slice.
The USDA had proposed early this year to require eight tablespoons of tomato paste in one vegetable serving and limit school lunches to two servings per week of french fries or other starchy vegetables.
"The Congress basically stepped in to protect industry's ability to continue to sell two of the most unhealthy foods in the school lunch program: pizza and french fries," Ms Wootan said.

Read more: www.abc.net.au



Farm Sanctuary celebrates 25 years of progress for farm animals and reflects on some of the most pivotal moments that have propelled the issue of farm animal welfare into the public eye. We remember some of the thousands of animals we have rescued over the years whose stories have touched countless hearts. We are proud of the many accomplishments that have brought significant and lasting change for farm animals. We celebrate the amazing steps taken toward ending farm animal suffering and look forward to many more years of success.

Farm Sanctuary's 25th Anniversary




By Vernon Terrill

From its origins in the Andes the potato, Solanum tuberosum, has gone on to become the world's third most important food crop, after rice and wheat. One advantage is that it takes 500 litres of water to produce one kilogram of potatoes, as against 900 litres for one kilogram of wheat and 1910 litres for one kilogram of rice. Some valuable things were left behind in the Andes. For instance, anthocyanins are the pigments in various red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables. They are potent and valuable antioxidants. Anthocyanins are not in your potatoes, but one dark purple-fleshed Andean variety has high levels of total anthocyanins. Levels of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, in Andean potato tubers varied from 2.73 to 20.80 mg/gm dry weight, far above the commercial average.

Potatoes are carbohydrate-rich and provide energy with little fat. Protein content is fairly low but I read that the protein content has an excellent biological value of 90-100. I also found a mention that in potato fruit juice the essential amino acid index is about 82%. I think that means that 82% of the amino acids in potato proteins are essential ones. They are still relatively poor in one such amino acid, methionine. But then, the cholesterol-lowering effects of soybean, rice and potato proteins depend on their low methionine content.

Potatoes have low levels of carotenoids, mainly lutein and violaxanthin, which do not convert to vitamin A. Beta-carotene, which does convert to vitamin A, is rarely reported in potato tubers, but sixteen native Andean varieties have remarkable levels of 0.42 to 2.19 mcg/gm dry weight. Potatoes are particularly rich in riboflavin, vitamin B2. They also have thiamin, vitamin B1 and are a good source of vitamin B6. Potatoes are also an important source of vitamin C.

Potatoes in the diet contribute significantly to antioxidant intake worldwide. On the other hand, while potatoes are low on the list of foods most likely to produce an allergic response such responses do sometimes happen. Most children with a potato allergy develop a tolerance at the mean age of four. Allergy to cooked potatoes is a risk factor for the development of pollen allergy.



Orion Magazine's Sy Montgomery has written a wonderfully funny, informative and heartfelt article about the enigmatic octopus and its mysterious mind.

If you've ever wondered how these alien-like cephalopods manage to demonstrate levels of intelligence unmatched by most other creatures on Earth, despite having a lifespan of just three years; how they know to change colour when mimicking objects and other animals, even though they're likely colourblind; or why each of an octopus's arms often seems to have a mind of its own (hint: it's because each arm pretty much does), then this is definitely something you'll want to check out.

Source: http://io9.com



Advocates everywhere have been feeling the loss of Bella, the little dog who was the beloved best friend of the elephant, Tarra.

Their friendship was a gift to both of them as well as to the world - Tarra, once a performing elephant whose guardian (Carol Buckley) had co-founded The Elephant Sanctuary in Howenwald, Tennessee and Bella, a stray dog who had wandered onto the grounds there and decided to make it her home. Both considered by most standards to be "damaged goods", they'd known hard lives before finding each other. The inseparable friends were incredible in their devotion to each other and the story of their unique bond warmed the hearts of everyone who heard their story.

Bella trusted Tarra so completely, she would let the giant elephant stroke her stomach with her foot and caress her with her trunk. Bella and Tarra found sanctuary together in the 2,200 acres of The Elephant Sanctuary; swimming in ponds, exploring new paths, and resting side by side in the sunshine.

Bella passed away on 26 October 2011.

Read more: www.elephants.com



(AU) First boatload of cattle leaves for Indonesia in 2012 (06/01/12)
The first boatload of 7,500 Australian cattle to Indonesia has left the port of Darwin in the Northern Territory.
The Indonesian government has issued import permits for 60,000 head of cattle for the first quarter of 2012.
Late last year Indonesia announced a significant cut to the amount of live cattle it would import from Australia, down from 510,000 to 283,000.
CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters Council, Lachlan MacKinnon, says the number of 60,000 permits is what the industry had expected.

(AU) Indonesia to slash Aussie beef imports (16/12/11)
The Indonesian government says it is planning to ban all live cattle imports from Australia within a few years.
But officials say the plan is not related to the Federal Government's temporary ban on exporting live cattle to Indonesia earlier this year.
The Indonesian agriculture minister has confirmed reports the country's government will begin drastically cutting the amount of beef it imports from Australia next year.
Minister Suswono has told the ABC that Indonesia is moving towards having a completely self-sufficient beef industry, meaning that Australian exports to Indonesia will be phased out over the next three or four years.
He has confirmed that next year Indonesia will only allow about 280,000 Australian cows to be brought into the country, down from 520,000 permits this year.
Full story:

(AU) Live exports ban: drugs in cattle feed could threaten industry again (06/12/11)
Allegations that feed additives, including drugs used to treat asthma, are being given to Australian cattle in Indonesian feedlots have the potential to again threaten the future of the live export industry.
According to Indonesian Beef Producer and Lot Feeder Association chairman Dayan Antoni, during the past year there has been a spike in the use of Salbutamol in cattle feed, which enhances muscle growth and reduces fat in affected animals.
Salbutamol is most commonly known for treating asthma, marketed as Ventolin among other brand names. It has also been used by body builders for fat-burning purposes.
When consumed by humans the poisoned meat can have serious side effects ranging from muscle cramps, vision changes, eye pain, and irregular heartbeat. It can also result in difficulties during pregnancy causing birth defects and can prove fatal.
Full story:

(AU) Time to kill off cruel live cattle and sheep exports (06/12/11)
It was a rare treat last weekend to see the internal workings of Labor's national conference laid bare on television.
What a scandalous cop-out, then, for a party of natural justice to squib an opportunity to ban totally and for all time live animal exports - a practice that not only surrenders to foreign powers Australia's sovereign right to monitor how our own animals are slaughtered, but one that causes untold misery to the creatures.
Australia, so geographically distant from many of its export markets, is an unusual case.
Our livestock must endure unconscionable conditions for far greater lengths of confinement than, say, European animals. And that leaves aside the often terrible fate awaiting these feeling creatures that often die slowly in unmonitored slaughterhouses.
Indeed, Europe is an interesting case. From exporting millions of live head a decade ago, the continental trade has slowed to a trickle, and will soon phase out altogether - all on the strength of changing public opinion.
Interestingly, an opinion poll this year found 55 per cent of Australians also want to end live exports.
Given the grief this trade has caused both sides of politics - remember the 2003 debacle under John Howard when 57,000 live sheep were stranded in the Middle East on the Cormo Express? - one would think that, even for base political purposes, the major parties would seize every opportunity to extricate themselves from a practice that causes acute international embarrassment.
Full story:

(AU) Labor rejects push to ban live exports (04/12/11)
The Labor Party's national conference has rejected a push to phase out live cattle exports.
The Federal Government suspended the trade to Indonesia earlier this year after a Four Corners program sparked animal welfare concerns.
The trade was later reinstated with stricter regulations.
A large number of conference delegates were supporting amendments to the party's platform that would see live trade phased out after four years.
But the motion was defeated 215 votes to 173.
Labor left faction member Melissa Parke moved a separate motion calling for mandatory stunning to be a minimum requirement for international animal live exports.
She also said thousands more jobs would be created if meat was processed first in Australia.
"It is entirely logical when you look at the industry, when you consider the trends in international markets which are overwhelmingly away from live export and towards chilled and frozen meat to chart the end of a trade that is simplistic, low yielding, with low associated Australian employment and inherently brutal," she said.
Her call was rejected by delegates.
Full story:

(AU) Indonesian abattoirs failed to lift standards (04/01/11)
The first independent audits of Indonesian abattoirs wanting to import and process Australian cattle have found local workers initially failed to meet animal welfare standards, killing cows incorrectly and using blades that were not sharp enough.
More than 100 audit reports required under the Gillard government's tough new industry regulations have been published online for major companies upgrading abattoir facilities so they can import and process Australian cattle.
One inspection conducted on an abattoir that Elders-owned North Australian Cattle Company wanted to use found "animal welfare standards were not acceptable" in the initial audit to determine whether it could comply with the regulations.
"The cattle throats were not cut using a single uninterrupted stroke of a knife, and the knives were not always sharpened between animals," the auditor found.
"In addition to it, the lack of corneal reflex to confirm death was not always assured after slaughter."
But the report, one of 46 done by Indonesian audit firm SAI Global for the company, concluded that "corrective action" was taken and therefore the company did not officially breach standards and could import cattle.
"The corrective action taken was effective and . . . therefore the non-conformance has been concluded as closed out," it said.
"The conclusion is, findings were acceptable for traceability, supply chain control and animal welfare aspects."
Later reports found the company had complied with the regulations, which required exporters to trace Australian animals from feedlot to abattoir and ensure they were treated humanely.
Animals Australia executive director Glenys Oogjes said the initial audit report findings did not surprise her and it showed animals should be stunned prior to slaughter.
"That these abuses even continued in the presence of auditors is quite shocking, and is yet further evidence that every single animal must be stunned unconscious prior to the throat cut," she said.
Full story:

(AU) Indonesia resumes processing Aussie cattle (30/11/11)
Indonesian abattoirs have begun processing the first Australian cattle shipped to the country under the Federal Government's new live export regulations.
The government banned live exports in June after evidence of animal cruelty was shown on the ABC's Four Corners program.
The footage showed animals in Indonesia dying slow and painful deaths and undermined previous assurances that cattle from Australia were slaughtered humanely.
It prompted outrage from animal rights groups and some in the cattle industry and placed pressure on Indonesian slaughterhouses to raise welfare standards.
The ban came at the peak of the cattle export season, costing the industry millions of dollars and causing anger among primary producers.
It was lifted in July and the first shipment is now ready for processing.
Full story:

(AU) Live cattle shipment leaving Broome set to be the biggest ever (29/11/11)
A livestock carrier owned by Wellard Rural Exports is expected to break its own world record this week, with the company hopeful of exporting more than 26,000 cattle to Indonesia.
The MV Ocean Shearer is due to leave Broome in Western Australia today with 9,000 head on board, and then head to Darwin to be topped up.
Livestock agent Andrew Stewart says the big shipment has allowed pastoralists to sell left-over cattle at a high price, helping them recover from the mid-year trade suspension.
"It's been a great finish to the year money-wise for all of those who managed to get some cattle onto a boat," he said.
"To start a season with high prices, and to finish one with high prices, has been a good result, and obviously the hiccup in between (suspension of trade to Indonesia) has been about the only downside, I believe."
Full story:

(AU) 500 sheep die on ship to Middle East (14/11/11)
More than 500 sheep died from starvation and infections during an interrupted two-month journey from South Australia to the Middle East.
However, the federal Agriculture Department says the number of deaths was relatively low and veterinarians had declared the animals "fit to travel".
The shipment of about 67,000 sheep left Port Adelaide in August on-board the live-export ship Al Messilah, which broke down shortly after leaving Australia.
Documents obtained under freedom of information law show that, in the 10 days at sea, 298 of the animals died before the ship returned to port.
The livestock were then divided into two shipments on-board the Al Messilah and another vessel, the Al Shuwaikh, but a further 206 sheep died before they reached their final destinations.
Agriculture Department executive Jenny Cupit said in a letter last month that, in each instance, the death rate was below the Governmentís reportable level of 2 per cent of all animals on-board.
"The sheep were healthy, well-rested and fully adapted to the diet that they would receive on-board the vessel. There was no basis to conclude that their delivery to the Middle East would be anything other than satisfactory," she said in the letter.
Full story:



(UK) I'm on five cucumber and kale smoothies a day: Dallas legend Larry Hagman tells how he is fighting cancer - by turning into a 'vegan nut' (08/01/12)
As J.R. Ewing, he was known the world over for dodging that bullet. Now, veteran star Larry Hagman believes he is well on the way to surviving a life-or-death battle of his own.
The actor has spoken for the first time about his struggle to survive cancer, revealing that he has overhauled his life to fight the disease - becoming vegan in the process - and that his doctors are delighted with the response so far.
ĎIím feeling great and Iím back on track. Iíve finished treatment and the doctors are thrilled with my progress,í he said.
ĎMy outcome looks very positive. Itís my firm intention to whop cancer into submission and I truly believe Iíve given myself the best start possible by radically overhauling my diet and by staying true to my motto, which is: Donít worry, be happy, feel good.
Full story:

(US) As Americans Eat Less Beef, Interest in Prime Meat, Veggie Diets Grow (07/01/12)
Where's the beef? It is becoming less and less of a dominant presence in the meals of Americans.
The United States Department of Agriculture recently estimated that per capita beef consumption in this country in 2011 was 57.4 pounds. That's a 13 percent drop from a decade ago and a 25 percent decrease from 1980. In 2010, the consumption level was 59.7, which the Daily Livestock Report says had been lowest since 1958.
There are other factors. Vegetarian and vegan diets, considered to be the province of the perpetually weird just a few years ago, have become more mainstream. Throw in the mad cow disease scare, numerous recalls of flawed beef in recent years, and a dinner of beets, broccoli and brown rice might sound appealing to a lot of folks.
Just ask Jennifer Shultz, who works for El Cajon-based Sunfood Superfoods. Since 1995, Sunfood has been a purveyor of organic and raw food, as well as other products designed to promote better health, such as minerals, supplements and herbs. The double bacon cheeseburger and fries crowd doesn't show up here, though they'd most certainly be welcomed.
"We see it every day," said Shultz. "People are becoming more interested in plant-centred diets. They want to connect more with the food, how it's affecting your body, your environment, your planet. People are starting to want to know where food comes from and (if it has) nutritious quality."
Full story:

(US) Where's the Beef: U.S. beef consumption in decline (22/12/11)
(Reuters) - For the past decade, cattle ranchers and meat packers watched with despair as America's beef consumption steadily declined, ceding ground to leaner meats as well as vegetarian trends among the health-conscious.
Most recently, high unemployment in the world's wealthiest nation had cash-strapped Americans avoiding restaurants where beef is a common entree and had them switching to lower cost non-meat dishes at home.
USDA estimates 2011 U.S. per capita beef consumption at 57.4 lbs, down 13 percent from 10 years ago and down about 25 percent from 1980. In 2012, USDA predicts, Americans will eat 54.1 lbs of beef on average.
The beef industry is coping with these changes by developing new cuts that will satisfy appetites for steaks but at a lower cost. Also, it has benefited from a huge recovery in beef exports particularly to Asia and Russia, where consumers are upgrading their diets and concerns about mad cow disease fade.
Full story:

(UK) Sir Paul McCartney attacks French school over vegetarian ban (01/12/11)
There will be no meat-free days in French schools for six million children following a new decree from their government that all students will have to eat meat if they want lunch at school. Taking a packed lunch is not an alternative as they are also banned.
The ban will shortly be extended to kindergartens, hospitals, prisons, colleges and old people's homes.
French agriculture minister, Bruno Lemaire, said in January that the Government's aim for nutrition was to defend the French agricultural model and counter initiatives such as those by vegetarian campaigners like Sir Paul - who has called for a reduced consumption of meat.
But writing on his website, Sir Paul said: "The French Government's recent decree effectively enforcing the consumption of animal products in public institutions is a backward step for France. It goes against the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union by prohibiting individuals' right to express their beliefs.
"No one needs to eat animals - and we can combat climate change and lessen the risk of suffering from heart disease and other ailments by reducing the amount of meat we eat."
Full story:

(UK) Common infections will be 'untreatable' if antibiotic misuse continues (18/11/11)
The world is being pushed towards the unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections, warns a new paper published in the medical journal Lancet, blaming a decline in new drug discoveries and the rising numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. As well as investment into new antibiotics, there are growing calls for a crackdown on the misuse of existing antibiotics. The biggest problem is seen as unnecessary use in human medicine but, the excessive use of antibiotics in intensive farming units, particularly pig and poultry farms, is seen as a growing threat. Scientists say antimicrobial resistance may also be passing between animals and humans, making the need to cut unnecessary use in farming even more urgent. The World Health Organisation says drug use in farm animals plays a 'significant role' in spreading antibiotic-resistant salmonella and campylobacter infections in humans.
Full story:


"If one person is unkind to an animal, it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people."

     - Ruth Harrison, author of Animal Machines



Vegetarian Victoria Inc. (VegVic) is a not-for-profit organisation based in Melbourne, Australia. It is run by people who care about human health, animal welfare and the environment. VegVic is devoted to promoting the many benefits of vegetarianism and providing quality service, support and up-to-date information to vegetarians, vegans and the general community.

Vegetarian Victoria
Promoting a healthy and compassionate lifestyle
Suite 6, Kindness House, 288 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
PO Box 12029 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne VIC 8006, AUSTRALIA
Telephone: 0430 201 167 (+61 430 201 167)
Web: www.vegetarianvictoria.org.au

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