Diet & Health

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

The Council for Agricultural
Science and Technology reported March 21
that advances in farming methods and the
growing popularity of vegetarianism could
mean a 30% decrease in the amount of land
used for food crops during the next 50 years
even as the global human population doubles.
The 64-page CAST study, commissioned by
the Program for the Human Environment at
Rockefeller University, was authored by
Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station
agronomist Paul Waggoner, who explained
that the calories and protein produced on pre-
sent cropland are already sufficient to feed 10
billion vegetarians, rather than the five to six
billion people who now eat a diet including
varying amounts of meat.

The official Ethiopian news
agency reported on March 31 that more than
one million people and 3.3 million cattle were
in peril from drought in the severely over-
grazed southern part of the country. The
release noted shortages of dairy products and
predicted the deaths of 20% of the cattle, but
made no estimate of the human casualties.
Six months after winning control
of the city government in New Delhi, India,
the Hindu fundamentalist Bharatija Janata
Party has banned all slaughter of cows and the
sale or possession of beef. Poultry, sheep,
and water buffalo may still be slaughtered.
Under the former Prevention of Cow Slaughter
Act, passed in 1955, cattle could be killed if
diseased, disabled, or more than 15 years of
age. This allegedly inspired butchers––mostly
Moslems––to deliberately injure cattle. Aged
and unhealthy cattle are now to be taken to a
network of 10 cow shelters. About 150,000
cows dwell in New Delhi.
The Humane Society of the U.S.
marked Easter with $11,000 worth of full-
color ads in Tampa, Kansas City, and
Sacramento newspapers, asking readers to ask
their grocers to stock eggs laid by free-range
chickens. Free-range chickens are not kept in
cages, but are still often debeaked.
Egglund’s Best Inc., producers of a
purported low-cholesterol egg, has agreed to
place corrective labels on egg packages in 27
states for one year, acknowledging that no
studies show the eggs are different from any
others in their effect upon human blood cho-
lesterol levels. The agreement settles a charge
of deceptive advertising brought by the
Federal Trade Commission.
U.S. egg consumption is down to
232 per capita, from a peak of 321 per capita
in 1960.
Burger King has abruptly halted
test marketing vegetarian burgers at 39
upstate New York restaurants, a m i d
charges that the test was deliberately sabo-
taged by making the burgers hard for local
restaurants to stock and skimping on promo-
tion. Initially Burger King offered a Spicy
Beanburger that had already proved immense-
ly popular in England––and proved popular as
well in Watkins Glen, near the headquarters
of Farm Sanctuary, but was unprofitable even
at $2.25 because it had to be imported. Burger
King switched to the $1.59 U.S.-made Griller,
which is also successful in Watkins Glen, but
not, according to Burger King, at most other
outlets. It will still be offered where sales
have been strong. Suggest your local outlet at
The cover article in the March 28
edition of Newsweek pointed out the contribu-
tion of antibiotic residues in milk and meat to
creating a generation of antibiotic-resistant
bacteria that threatens to undo several genera-
tions of medical progress against infectious
diseases. The cost to the public is already
from $100 million to $200 million a year.
A week earlier, Newsweek report-
edthat pesticide residues in meat and milk that
mimic the effects of certain types of estrogen
are suspected of having a role in halving the
sperm counts of men in industrialized nations
and tripling the rate of testicular cancer––but
phytoestrogens in broccoli, soy products, and
other vegetarian staples may help fight cancer.
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