Posts Tagged ‘dairy’

Radical Thoughts on Mother’s Day

May 9, 2013
Rescued cow at Animal Acres/Farm Sanctuary, CA

Rescued cow at Animal Acres/Farm Sanctuary, CA

Happy, happy Mother’s Day to all of you mamas (whether to kids or kittens) for you enduring love, which reproduces the day, every day, for those who depend on you.

Now, I know…flowers are dandy, but you’d prefer a revolution. I’m with you. In that spirit, here are some radical thoughts…

A mother cow carries her baby for 285 days—that’s even longer than the long human gestation period of 260 days. On Sunday, when we celebrate the mother archetype—the nurturer, the maker, the mender, the powerful and loving source of life—let’s hold a thought for the 9+ million dairy cows in the U.S., whose sole existence—creation, birth, and death—is premeditated for the purpose of extracting fluid from their postpartum bodies.

Imagine the life force it takes for a cow to produce an 80-pound baby in nearly the same amount of time it takes us to produce a 7.5-pound child. Imagine being repeatedly impregnated for the entirety of your adolescent and adult life; consider the chemical load that makes you produce twice the amount of milk a cow did 40 years ago. Your babies disappear, your milk is extracted by man or machine and then, whether you’ve lived on a grassy field or in a dark shed, you’ll be slaughtered once you’re spent.

These mothers endure an existence not unlike the one from which Ohio kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina De Jesus, and Michelle Knight just escaped.

Chains, ropes, life indoors, deprivation, isolation, rape, multiple pregnancies, fear, and beatdowns—as the facts emerge on the news, the nauseating descriptions are familiar—in a different context, they are the reasons we’re vegan.

If you’ve not yet gone vegan, Mother’s Day 2014 might be a great one-year anniversary to celebrate the day you did.

Take a deep breath! Forgive yourself any regrets and focus on the present and future. Mamas, have a dinner prepared by someone else. See the mess in your house as a happy sign that your loved ones are alive and within reach. Celebrate that your passion and love raises each new generation to do better than the last. Now please take action and share. Copy and paste any of the following to Twitter (or @ That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals on FB):

#MothersDay: Thinking of 9 million US cows whose sole existence is premeditated 2 extract fluid frm their postpartum bodies. Via @ruby_roth

A mama cow carries her baby for 285 days—longer than the long human gestation period of 260 days! #GoVegan #MothersDay via @ruby_roth

If you’ve not yet given up dairy, #MothersDay 2014 might b a great 1 year anniversary to celebrate the day you did. #GoVegan via @ruby_roth

Chain rope life indoors deprivation isolation rape multple pregnancies beatdowns: kidnap victims or the burger you just ate? via@ruby_roth

Love and protection to you and all mamas everywhere,


Fear, Ignorance, and Collusion: The Real Reasons Why Experts Dis’ Veganism

April 5, 2012

Available April 24, 2012


“Propaganda.”  “Brainwashing.”  “Child abuse!”

I’d never have guessed my children’s book would provoke such claims. That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, though well received, also caused some controversy, garnering attacks from the likes of animal agriculture trade magazines and even Farm Bureau CEOs. Though veganism is swiftly gaining momentum, it still provokes knee-jerk reactions—for me, each case of opposition a study of the invisible forces that shape our thinking about food, health, and animals. My upcoming children’s book, Vegan Is Love, was recently reviewed by Nicole German, a registered dietician on Diet Blog whose occupation and critique perfectly exemplify the real reasons why “experts” often dis’ veganism: fear, ignorance, and industry collusion.

“The main problem I have with this book,” German writes, “is that children are impressionable, and this is too sensitive of a topic to have a child read this book.”

We tend to shelter children from the “adult” world because we fear shattering the fragility we imagine they inherently possess. We follow this concept of childhood because we inherited it from the Victorian age—not because it is universally accepted. Throughout history and the world, various cultures consider their children to have capabilities beyond what we acknowledge here in the West. In some cultures kids are contributing members of the community by the time they’re four—watching siblings, pounding grain, helping collect firewood. Kids are more competent and sturdy than we think. Surprised parents have repeatedly told me that their child reacted with curiosity—not fear—when they learned about factory farming in my books. During readings, I’ve never once seen a child overwhelmed—only adults. Kids learn when we teach them.

I do, though, agree that kids are impressionable, which is exactly why they need information at an early age that will help them make educated choices. In my experience, when kids understand options, they choose wisely.

With constant media and technological stimulation, kids are being “impressed” upon by biased messaging up to hundreds of times a day—by whom? Follow the money. Seventy-five percent of government subsidies go to meat and dairy while less than half a percent goes to fruits and vegetables. The Milk Mustache campaign, driven by the National Milk Processor Board (administered by the USDA) spent $190 million in 1998.  Colluding industry-led campaigns like these cause massive increases in demand, in this case, billions of pounds of fluid milk. These profit-seeking systems are the ones we should be concerned about influencing our kids—not a picture book about choices. If we don’t intercept the all-pervasive, concerted efforts between Big Ag, Big Pharma, and federal nutrition programs, today’s youth will inevitably join in the animal cruelty and the dysfunctional cycle of disease and medication we are experiencing in this country at an all-time high. The most important message to teach kids is that we don’t have to fear anything we have the power to change.

“[This book] could easily scare a young child into eating vegan, and without proper guidance that child could become malnourished.” writes German.

Typical of doctors and nutritionists educated through conventional programs, German’s paternalistic, cautionary advice is based on remedial knowledge of veganism. Yes, everyone needs protein (some more, some less). But this warning perpetuates the most common myth about veganism—that it leads to deficiencies. Even without science, this is an issue long disqualified by the nations of people who have thrived on plant-based diets throughout history—the Essenes, many Buddhists, Hindus, Rastafari, Seventh Day Adventists, and Jainists among others. With all the supporting evidence—from scientific research to factory farm exposés—we should really be warning people that going from a plant-based diet to an omnivorous one is the path that more likely to lead to disease—and positively, to violent consent. Studies continue to show the link between animal products and chronic disease (which, on a side note, one might interpret as the physical or even spiritual manifestation of consuming ill, abused, and terrified animals).

The highest quality proteins—the most absorbable and least toxin-accumulative—come from plant-sources like spirulina and chlorella, for example, which contain approximately 60-70 percent protein with 40 percent absorbability. The protein in red meat, fish, and chicken is less than 20 percent absorbable, especially because amino acids like tryptophan are heat sensitive, destroyed during cooking. It takes a lot of animal flesh to supply sufficient amounts of protein, meanwhile, we’re building a toxic load not worth its weight in nutrients. When 80+ percent of cows on American farms have bovine leukemia, isn’t it in our best interest to regularly eat almonds for calcium instead of pus-filled milk? There may be nutrients in milk from a cow untainted by environmental toxins, but that’s not what’s for sale—anywhere. It doesn’t exist.

German also writes, “The worldly problems presented in this book …are meant for the government, businesses, and large groups of adults to conquer.”  The problems presented in my book are caused by government, big business, and large groups of consenting adults. They will not be the ones to fix them. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

In U.S. history, social and legislative change has always been achieved from the bottom of the ladder up, not the top down. Most of the rights we experience as part of daily existence—from the 40-hour work week to equal opportunity housing—are due to the activism of regular citizens, specifically the working class, people of color, and women, who led until government and big business were forced to follow.

We can’t afford to wait for the next generation to grow up before teaching them to live consciously. Sugarcoating or avoiding truths only hinders what children are actually capable of, psychologically, spiritually, and physically. And hindering their capabilities delays the potential we have to green our society, improve our health, and do best for all living things.

Unless one works behind the scenes or actively seeks out the truth, it is unlikely one would know the degree of collusion between government and big pharma, agriculture, and food corporations in getting us to abide by their guidelines and consume the products. When the level of their organization and calculation becomes clear, the reality is dizzying.The revolving door between “watchdog” institutions like the FDA, the USDA, the Department of Health and Monsanto, large processed food corporations, and pharmaceuticals ensures the alignment of public services and education with industry interests.The very Dietetics program at the University of Georgia where German received her degree is accredited by the American Dietetic Association, which regularly receives sponsorship from corporate giants like Monsanto, the National Dairy Council, Aramark, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo. [1, 2, 3]From elementary school to graduate programs, everything from school events and lectures to vending machines and curriculums are known to be organized for potential gain by colluding industries. Medical students are routinely influenced and educated by pharmaceutical-sponsored events and learn to deal with disease by prescribing medication, not advising changes in diet. What they prescribe will often depend simply on whichever brand got a hold on their school first.

In Western medicine, there is little connection between food and health—and these corporate alliances aim to keep it that way. In 2002, Pharmacia merged with Monsanto to become one of the top-tier companies in both agriculture and pharmaceuticals. They want us to think we can eat whatever we want without consequence. When we become ill, we go to doctors who prescribe their medications. It’s win-win.

So, veganism, relatively new to the mainstream, is bound to remain extra-curricular. Neither moral nor ethical imperatives, nor environmental toxins, may ever be addressed as part of nutritional science, nor taken into consideration in the nutritional profiles of different foods. Neither will the cognitive and emotional lives of animals.

And so, conventional nutrition degree programs produce advisors like German, who suggest that you can’t get full unless you include animal protein in a meal. Her idea of a healthy choice salad dressing contains 30+ processed ingredients including 6+ kinds of milk products fortified with vitamin A (protocol for replacing nutrients lost in processing). But look, no added sugar! It’s healthy. Calorie-counting, trans-fats, and Trader Joe’s-informed “health” (TJ’s private label foods come from companies like PepsiCo, Frito-Lay, Danone, and Tasty Bite, by the way), are all fine distractions from understanding true health and the consequences of animal agriculture.

I am not attacking German personally, but the system that produces views like hers. Like most, she trusted that system. But at this point, “experts” like German should either find new occupations or take their knowledge up about 600 notches, because what they’re really doing is harm—in German’s case, the extent of which is masked by her inclusion of small bits on truly healthful, cruelty-free foods.

It may seem maniacal to have built a grand case against such a small critique, but this is truly what comes to my mind when I know that on flipside of a pebble hides a mountain. It is the underbelly of things I’ve always been interested in. It’s why I write children’s books. I want the next generation to be exposed to alternative thinking, educational experiences that will allow them to compete with “expert” opinions about health, animals, and the environment as they grow into adulthood. I believe in the capabilities of children. They need but little guidance in learning to love deeply, think critically, and act responsibly. No corporation or industry can interrupt this kind of education.

U.S. gets punked: Mad Cow in America

December 1, 2011

Photo from Farm Sanctuary collection

Just when we think that nothing else about animal agriculture can shock us…The following post is summarized from Gabe Kirchheimer’s incredible, must-read article Bovine Bioterrorism and the Perfect Pathogen.

While the US government continues to deny the existence of mad cow disease in America, autopsies, studies, statistical probabilities, and private research proves—as usual, that the USDA serves to protect agricultural and financial interests rather than protect the American public (expected from an entity notorious for corroborating with their buddy-lobbyists, for example, at the National Cattleman’s Beef Association). Meanwhile, a massive epidemic is brewing. Just another goddamn good reason we don’t eat animals to begin with. Here’s the deal:

The parent group of chronic wasting diseases that turn brain tissue to sponge in cows, deer, sheep, goats, and humans is called TSE, transmissable spongiform encephalopathiess. BSE aka “Mad Cow” disease is the bovine form; in humans it’s called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), in sheep and goats Scrapie, and in deer Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). In humans, it is a devastating disease, starting with tremors and memory loss and increasing with violent seizures, hysterical breakdowns, mental deterioration, and loss of speech and faculties.

The disease is caused by forced cannibalism (routine in U.S. animal ag), feeding cattle corpses back to animals. These animals become infected with abnormal “prions”—malformed proteins that comprise an entirely new class of pathogens. With no genetic material, and able to withstand routine sterilization (scary! Even HIV is neutralized in boiling temps), these abnormal prions spread upon contact causing a cellular domino effect until the host loses nervous system function, suffers fatal holes in the brain, and dies.

•Some autopsies of patients who had Alzheimers/dementia have tested positive for actually having CJD. With upwards of 2 million Alzheimers cases in the U.S., there could be a “hidden epidemic,” even if only a fraction of Alzheimers turned out to be CJD.

•On animal farms, BSE “mad” cows, who behave just like downer cows (thought to be just too sick to stand), are often rendered into animal feed without testing, possible leaving thousands of infected animals unchecked as they are processed and distributed.

•In 1985, a Wisconsin investigation of a mink encephalopathy outbreak revealed that the minks’ diet was primarily downer cows.

•One in a million cows develop BSE naturally. With 100 million cows in the U.S., approximately 100 cows could be infectious carriers at any given time.

•Leading researchers from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control’s National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center, the Consumer Policy Institute of the Consumer’s Union, and a Nobel Prize winner who discovered prions all contend that mad cow exists in the U.S.

•Meat: The USDA has banned feeding cows to cows. But concentrated in brains and spinal tissue, TSE can not easily be kept out of the human food supply because of modern slaughter practices. AMR (advanced meat recovery) machines, widely used in modern slaughterhouses, mechanically strip flesh from spines, often leaving spinal cord fragments and nervous system tissue in the meat. AMR meat paste (which looks like pink ice cream) is used to make hundreds of millions of pounds of hot dogs, nuggets, hamburgers, pizza toppings, and taco fillings.

•Blood donations, transfusions, etc: CJD can take decades to incubate. Meanwhile, infected blood donors, whose donations are fractioned and sent around the globe (in one particular case to 46 different countries), could be responsible for spreading CJD to thousands of people around the world.  Because the USDA denies mad cow’s domestic existence, entities like the American Red Cross don’t test their blood collections for CJD.

•Vaccines: Vaccines use and are grown in human/animal embryonic fluids, for example fetal cow serum, which cannot be guaranteed free from abnormal prions. These vaccines include polio, diptheria, tetanus, flu shots, and hepatitis.

•Drugs: Many drugs contain bovine by-products including growth hormones, adrenaline products, cortisone, insulin, ulcer medication, and common blood coagulants used in surgery.

•Supplements: A currently popular supplement (especially in Eastern medicine and popping up in the non-vegan raw food world) is Deer Antler, which may be high risk for CWD as velvet is collected from growing antlers that contain nerve tissue and blood.

Even if the USDA does officially “discover” that BSE exists in the U.S., they would most likely try and avoid an industry collapse by suppressing the information. The revolving door between the government, the USDA, the FDA, and animal agricultural lobbyists is always in full effect. They don’t like to let each other down.  If you still think the USDA is like a good parent watching out for us, you’re getting punked. Your best bet? Stop eating animals, use 100% vegan supplements only, and get help to wean yourself from unnecessary medications. We don’t even think it’s a crazy idea to bank your own blood in case of emergency.


August 22, 2011

Whether animals are “free-range” organic or raised on a factory farm, there’s no such thing as humane slaughter. Even most small, local farms must “process” their animals at USDA slaughterhouses in the end.  Check this short overview of standard practices in the pork, poultry, dairy, beef, and seafood industries. If you eat meat and dairy, you’ve had this in your belly:

We know that on a plant-based diet, Diabetes is being reversed (1) and people are living healthfully into their 100s (2); we know that an average MD gets less than 20 hours of nutritional training (3, 4), that Big Pharma literally has hires cheerleaders to rep their meds (5) and provides their loyal doctors with trips to Hawaii (6, 7); we know that the masses fighting for  healthcare plans—eating the way they do, will continue to be sick unless they aim for health instead. We’re over getting played. We now have access to the most innovative information and the best foods and natural medicines on Earth…and it turns out, the keys to health and longevity are simple.

What we eat is linked to every major political issue there is: world hunger, environment and climate change, energy, water waste, civil and labor rights, healthcare, oppression, wildlife and endangered species, and more. By going vegan, you push and pull your support of these issues more directly and more often than you can at the voting booth. Put your money where you mouth is and use the most powerful political tool we have to influence change.

The U.N. reported in 2006 that animal agriculture causes more pollution than all forms of transportation combined. Both eating and wearing animals is dirty business, directly contributing to global land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water waste and contamination, and loss of biodiversity. This is not the trail we wish to leave behind.

If we hear one more animal-eating yogi utter “Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu” (May all beings everywhere be happy and free); if we are solicited by one more Greenpeace street-volunteer who still eats fish; if we’re invited to one more hot-dog barbeque in celebration of Juneteenth…you get the picture.

Milk: Got toxins?

July 5, 2011

This video will blow your mind.

After, if you’re first thought is “But I only buy organic dairy,” consider this:
Every environmental pollutant in the world’s air, including radioactive particles, bioaccumulate up the food chain, becoming more concentrated the higher you go. The pollutant dioxin (a by-product of plastic production), for example, is found concentrated in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream at 200 times the safe exposure level. So even if you’re drinking milk from organic, grass-fed cows, you’re still dosing yourself with toxins. After the 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine nuclear disaster, there was a 900% increase in newborn deaths in Boston, MA. Unknowingly,  pregnant and nursing mothers drinking dairy (including dairy from grass-fed cows) were poisoning their babies with I-131 concentrated in their breastmilk. Sarcastically, it is said that the “best” way for women to detox is to breastfeed.

Proof enough? Your best bet is to eat low on the food chain. And lucky for us, there’s ridiculous options. A few of our favorites: Dr. Cow Seed Cheese (treat yourself, it’s craaaazy! Historical note: before dairy cheese existed, there was seed cheese), Daiya cheese,  Coconut Bliss, and KindKreme (if you’re in  L.A., it’s a must).

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