News of Note


‘Meatless Monday’ too hot a potato for USDA
The rationale behind an idea like “Meatless Monday” is crystal clear. It’s exactly the kind of step USDA should be endorsing. The reality is that it takes massive amounts of land, water, fertilizer, oil and other resources to produce meat, significantly more than it requires to grow other nutritious and delicious kinds of food. Because meat production is so resource intensive, livestock farming actually accounts for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cattle farming alone consumes nearly 8% of global human water use.My own organization, Oxfam, an international relief and development organization, recently endorsed the idea of eating less meat and dairy as part of our GROW campaign to fight global hunger. We did a study and found that if a family of four decided to swap burgers or other beef for lentils just one meal a week, they could save about 12½ Olympic-size swimming pools of fresh water over the course of a year.


Was Jesus a pioneer of animal-rights, vegetarian activism?
The late U.S. Senator Richard Neuberger, an animal advocate, explained, “I have always believed cruelty to animals is a black mark in Heaven — I realized animals do not vote. They do not make campaign contributions to enrich the coffers of politicians. But I will be their friend. I imagine he who spoke the Sermon on the Mount would want it that way, too.”…Jesus frequently condemned “partaking of benefits gotten by wronging one of God’s creatures,” including human consumption of animals.


Ore. court rules animals aren’t just property
Animals can be considered victims of crime, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled on a neglect case from Umatilla County.  “In short,” the court found, “based on the text and context of ORS 167.325 (second-degree animal neglect), it appears that the Legislature’s primary concern was to protect individual animals as sentient beings, rather than to vindicate a more generalized public interest in their welfare.” Thus, the court concluded, each animal identified in each count for which Nix was found guilty qualified as a separate victim for purposes of sentencing, and Wallace shouldn’t have merged the counts.

Republican Congressman Gloats About Bill To Enable Animal Torture
Representative Steve King (R-IA), who is the sponsor of an amendment to the House Farm Bill that is both astonishingly hypocritical and devastating to food safety laws that protect millions of Americans from illness, recently gave an interview to the Daily Caller to brag about what he had accomplished. The King Amendment would essentially prevent states from developing strong independent health, safety, and cruelty standards, even if local voters want them.


FAO Yields to Meat Industry Pressure on Climate Change
Livestock are not only harmed by human-caused global-warming greenhouse gas, but also cause about 18 percent of it, according to “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” a 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report by FAO livestock specialists (who normally promote livestock)…One might expect the FAO to work objectively to determine whether the true figure is closer to 18 percent or 51 percent. Instead, Frank Mitloehner, known for his claim that 18 percent is much too high a figure to use in the U.S., was announced last week as the chair of a new partnership between the meat industry and FAO.


Knesset cries foul on battery eggs
In addition to prohibiting hen starvation, the cabinet now requires that all battery cage sizes be a minimum of 750, meeting the European standards for minimum cage size, a measure to be instituted within seven years at the request of the Agriculture Ministry.  Meanwhile, the cabinet also authorized a requirement for adding essential furniture for egg-laying to cages, to be implemented within four years – a compromise between the Environment Ministry’s request that it be carried out within two years, and the Agriculture Ministry’s seven.


Rome: Drivers of horse-drawn carriages clash with animal rights activists
Tourists and shoppers in central Rome looked on in astonishment at the weekend as horse-drawn carriage drivers traded blows with animal rights activists in the busy Piazza di Spagna.  Three people were arrested – reportedly including the president of a European animal rights group – and five were taken to hospital. The other two arrested were drivers of botticelle, the horse-drawn carriages that have become an increasingly anachronistic sight on the streets of the Italian capital.


Fake Meat So Good It Will Freak You Out
Beyond Meat is going down a different path than its predecessors. The company is pushing for stores to stock its meat at the meat counter, alongside real chicken, instead of next to the tofu. “Our goal is to see that category redefined—instead of having it be called ‘meat,’ it would just be called ‘protein,’ whether it’s protein coming from a cow or chicken or from soy, pea, quinoa, or other plant-based sources,” says Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat’s founder. As the firm ramps up production, Brown expects to sell Beyond Meat for less than the price of real meat, too.

House cats kill more critters than thought
While only 30% of roaming house cats kill prey — two animals a week on average — they are still slaying more wildlife than previously believed, according to research from the University of Georgia.  Cats aren’t just a danger to others, they’re also a danger to themselves. The cats in the study were seen engaging in such risky behavior as crossing roadways (45%), eating and drinking things they found (25%), exploring storm drains (20%) and entering crawl spaces where they could become trapped (20%).

A Horse That Enjoys the Spoils of Defeat
Once their racing or breeding days are over, some horses are retrained for riding programs, and others end up at retirement farms like Old Friends. Adoption programs seek good retirement homes. Some racetracks help to match retired racehorses with people wanting thoroughbreds. The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation sponsors several farms where retired horses are cared for by prisoners.  But the need outpaces available space for the retirees. And some still end up in slaughterhouses outside the United States.


Trends in Meat Consumption in the United States
This study examined historical meat consumption trends in the US and other developed countries. Although there has been a slight shift from red meat to poultry consumption, red meat remains the most consumed meat. Overall meat consumption is still on the rise in the developed world, and is highest in the US. The authors suggest there is an urgent need to better understand the determinants of meat consumption in the US.