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WHITE LIES The Dark Side of Dairy.1
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2006-07-03 14:48:22 UTC
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WHITE LIES
By: Dr Justine Butler, Health Campaigner, Vegetarian & Vegan
Foundation (VVF)
Edited by: Juliet Gellatley BSc DipDM, Founder & Director, VVF

CONTENTS
Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation
Foreword
Introduction
What is a healthy diet?

PART ONE: THE HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY AND BIOLOGY OF MILK
The origins of dairy farming
Dairy farming today
Who drinks milk?
A comparison between human milk and cow’s milk
Protein
Fat
Calcium
Iron
The composition of cow’s milk
Water
Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat
Minerals and vitamins
Fibre
The undesirable components of milk and dairy products
Breast is best
Infant formula
Milk in schools

PART TWO: DAIRY CONSUMPTION AND HEALTH
Acne
Allergies
Asthma
Eczema
Hay fever
Gastrointestinal bleeding
Arthritis
Bovine Somatotrophin (BST)
Cancer
Breast cancer
Colorectal (bowel) cancer
Ovarian cancer
Prostate cancer
Colic
Constipation
Coronary heart disease
Crohn’s disease
Diabetes
Dementia
Ear infection
Food poisoning
Gallstones
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
Kidney disease
Lactose intolerance
Migraine
Multipe sclerosis and autoimmunity
Overweight and obesity
Osteoporosis

Conclusion

APPENDICES
Appendix I THE SAFETY OF SOYA
Appendix II BODY MASS INDEX

REFERENCES

WHITE LIES
VEGETARIAN & VEGAN FOUNDATION
The Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) is a science-based charity
that promotes human health through the promotion of a vegetarian or
vegan diet. The VVF monitors and interprets research that links diet
to health – explaining in simple terms how what we eat affects us, in
both positive and negative ways. The VVF communicates this information
to the media, the public, health professionals, schools and food
manufacturers so providing accurate information on which to make
informed choices.

Please note: the welfare aspects of dairy farming are not covered
here. For information on British dairy farming and its impact on cow
welfare please see Viva!’s referenced report The Dark Side of Dairy
(T: 0117 944 1000).

FOREWORD
Professor T. Colin Campbell
There is hardly another controversy in health science more contentious
than the role of cow’s milk and its products in our daily diet. Some
wonder why we would even dare to question whether there are adverse
health effects. For them, cow’s milk is Nature’s most perfect food. It
builds strong bones and teeth and is a good source of calcium and
protein. Besides, it represents a bucolic side of life where gentle,
lowing cows, black and white, roam in lush green pastures. I know
this, for I was raised on a family dairy farm, milking cows and
walking those green pastures, then combining grain and putting up hay
for the winter. I drank the milk, lots of it, and we often made our
own ice-cream and butter.

Early in my research career at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and Virginia Tech, I worked to promote better health by eating more
meat, milk and eggs, what I believed to be ‘high-quality animal
protein’. It was an obvious sequel to my own life on the farm and I
was happy to believe that the American diet was the best in the world.

However, later I was the Campus Coordinator at Virginia Tech of a
project in the Philippines working with malnourished children. The
primary goal of the project was to ensure that the children were
getting as much protein as possible.

In this project, however, I observed something quite unusual. Children
who ate the highest protein diets – and particularly animal protein –
were the ones most likely to get liver cancer. I began to review other
reports from around the world that reflected the findings of my
research in the Philippines.

Although it was heretical to say that animal protein wasn’t healthy, I
started an in-depth study into the role of nutrition in the cause of
cancer.

The research project culminated in a 20-year partnership of Cornell
University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive
Medicine, a survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China
and Taiwan. More commonly known as the China Study, this project
eventually produced more than 8,000 statistically significant
associations between various dietary factors and disease.

This opportunity arose from a Chinese government survey of cancer
mortality rates in 2,400 Chinese counties that showed remarkable
concentrations of cancer in certain counties and much less so in
others. We then organised an additional and unusually comprehensive
and unique survey of diet and lifestyle characteristics that might
help to explain these unusual geographic concentrations of cancer.
Personally, I was interested in the broad based hypothesis that animal
and plant-based foods, as characterised by their nutrient profiles,
have opposing effects on the chronic, so-called Western diseases like
cancer.

The results from this massive study, when considered in relation to
our earlier research and that of others, convinced me that the diet
having the broadest range of health benefits is one that is comprised
of a variety of whole plant-based foods, but one that is also low in
added fat, salt, sugar and highly processed foods. Remarkably,
relatively low intakes of animal-based foods (such as dairy products
and meat) in rural China were associated with biological conditions
that favour the occurrence of the chronic diseases typically found in
Western industrialised countries.
Then it was on to discovering how broad might be this dietary effect.
My son, Tom, and I turned our attention to the research investigations
of others. The published literature of these investigations is
unimaginably huge. Moreover, the breadth of the health benefits of a
plant-based diet is even far greater than our own research had
indicated, with it reducing the risk of additional cancers, various
cardiovascular diseases, diabetes (types I and II), multiple
autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, psycho-neural diseases (eg
attention deficit disorder, clinical depression, Alzheimer’s,
cognitive dysfunction), eye disorders, kidney diseases, skin ailments
and obesity amongst others.

Importantly, animal-based foods, as a group, have substantially
different nutritional characteristics from plant-based foods and it is
these nutritional characteristics, highly integrated at the metabolic
level, that are chiefly responsible for the opposing effects of plant
and animal-based foods on health and disease. Moreover, these effects
involve countless food chemicals and exist throughout the range of
consumption of these foods.

Of course, dairy foods have nutritional characteristics and disease
associations that are consistent with other animal-based foods.
Indeed, if anything, cow’s milk and its products appear to be even
more problematic than other animal-based foods.

Unfortunately the scientific literature on the characteristics and
associations of dairy with health and disease seem to have been more
obscured from public view than is the case for other animal-based
foods. For example, research 40-60 years ago had shown that cow’s milk
proteins (casein and lactalbumin) markedly elevated blood cholesterol
and its parallel formation of atherosclerotic plaques. More recently,
much more evidence on the adverse health effects of cow’s milk have
accumulated, and much of it has been ably reviewed in this excellent
report which is timely, broad in scope and profound in its
consistency.

And finally, two other observations need attention. First, it is
likely that the adverse dairy effects observed in many studies are
underestimated because they have been observed in humans where the
dairy-like nutritional effect already has been maximised by other
animal-based foods. Second, imprecise measurement of risk factors and
outcomes will mathematically attenuate the real effect.

It is not that these various dairy effects are independently proven to
be true beyond doubt, any more than tobacco use is independently
proven to cause lung cancer and heart disease. Rather, it is the
weight and breadth of the evidence, along with its biological
plausibility, that should determine the reliability of the evidence.
Using these criteria, there is no doubt that this evidence on dairy is
sufficient, at a minimum, to question the rather specious claims of
health for cow's milk that have been made by the industry and its
supporters and apologists.

I know well that this information deeply troubles many people, as it
did me. But, at some point, we must give public voice to these
observations and, if necessary, to sponsor discourse that is candid,
openly transparent and, as much as possible, free of commercial bias.

T. Colin Campbell, PhD
Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
April 2006

Professor Jane Plant CBE (DSc)
I was delighted to be asked to write a foreword for this excellent and
well-researched report into the adverse health impacts of dairy
consumption on human health. My book, Your Life in Your Hands,
describes how giving up dairy produce has helped me and other women to
overcome metastatic breast cancer. When it was first published in
2000, I faced a barrage of criticism from orthodox doctors, charities
and nutritionists. All of them, for whatever reason, poured scorn on
the idea that consuming dairy could be bad for health. This may have
been because, as Dr Justine Butler shows in this report, we have all
been subjected to relentless publicity from the industry that tries to
persuade us that dairy is wholesome, natural and good for our health.
It is a measure of how far medical opinion has changed in the last few
years that in 2005 I was awarded a life fellowship of the Royal
Society of Medicine in recognition of my contribution to science
through my books. We have a long way to go, however, until the truth
about dairy is generally accepted, so this report is both timely and
very welcome.

When I was carrying out the research for Your Life in Your Hands,
which includes more than 500 references from the peer reviewed
scientific literature, I was astonished at just how much information
was available on the role of dairy produce in promoting disease – not
only breast, prostate, ovarian and other cancers but also other
conditions ranging from eczema and other allergic conditions to heart
disease and diabetes. Despite all the criticism of my books, no one
has presented a single scientific fact that persuades me to change one
sentence of what I wrote in 2000 – and as a trained scientist I would
have done that had I been given convincing evidence that I was wrong
or had misunderstood some issue. Instead, the evidence against
consuming dairy produce has continued to mount, as I detailed in the
second and third editions of Your Life in Your Hands, and in my other
books, Prostate Cancer, Osteoporosis (yes – there is even a compelling
case against dairy produce, especially cheese, in the development of
this crippling bone disease) and Eating for Better Health. This new
report takes the evidence on the adverse human health impacts of dairy
further.

What I had not appreciated until I attended the excellent and
thought-provoking lecture given by Juliet Gellatley of Viva! and the
Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation at the Incredible Veggie Show in London
last year was the true nature of the modern dairy industry. It is hard
to forget some of the images of cruelty that she presented then. This
report exposes the nature of the modern industrialised dairy industry
and the serious implications that this has for our health. I do hope
that White Lies receives the recognition it deserves and that this
will embolden politicians to take a stand against the dairy industry.
To do so would improve human health, improve the environment, address
serious issues of animal welfare and save the taxpayer a great deal of
money spent in subsidising an industry that was the centre of the BSE
crisis, the foot and mouth disease disaster and now the bovine
tuberculosis problem.

Cow’s milk is a perfect food for a rapidly growing calf but that
doesn’t mean it is good for human babies – or adults! If you want to
improve your health by making just one change to your diet, I
recommend you eliminate all dairy from the diet.

Professor Jane Plant CBE (DSc, CEng)
Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine
Professor of Applied Geochemistry
Imperial College, London
March 2006


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Published by: Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation, Top Suite, 8 York Court,
Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH
T: 0117 970 5190
E: ***@vegetarian.org.uk
W: www.vegetarian.org.uk
© Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation 2006
Registered charity 1037486
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2006-07-03 14:50:59 UTC
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Introduction
The foods we consume are of immense importance to our health and
well-being. The recent increase in television and media coverage of
food and health issues has improved our understanding of the links
that exist between diet and health. The types of food that we eat are
strongly linked to our culture and food issues can cause emotional
responses. In the UK and other northern European countries as well as
North America, we have developed a strong emotional attachment to the
idea that milk is a natural and healthy drink for us, even as adults.

Milk is the first food that we consume, our mother’s breast milk if we
are fortunate, if not then specially formulated substitutes based on
cow’s or soya milk are generally used in the UK. We associate milk
with comfort and nurturing and consider milk to be a wholesome
nutrient-rich component of the diet that is essential for normal
growth and development, which for a baby it is. However, all other
mammals on the planet are weaned off milk at an early age, whereas
some humans continue drinking milk into adulthood. Not only that, we
drink the milk of another species, something no other mammal does. To
be fair, contrary to popular belief, most people in the world do not
drink milk; it would make many of us ill. But in the UK, we are a
nation of milk drinkers, along with most other northern European
countries and North America. Infants, the young, adolescents, adults
and the aged all consume large quantities of milk, cheese, butter and
yogurt every year. But why are we so convinced that milk is some kind
of wonder food?

Milk, it seems, can help you lose weight; it can also make you gain
weight. Milk promotes healthy skin; it may also cause acne. You need
milk for good bone health, but the incidence of osteoporosis is
highest in countries that consume the most milk. These conflicting
reports leave us confused and unsure who to believe. The dairy
industry invests millions in milk advertising and promotion. It could
be argued that they present a biased view motivated by financial
interest. An increasing amount of scientific evidence now shows that
cow’s milk is not the wonder food the dairy industry would have us
believe. This research goes further in linking the consumption of
cow’s milk to a wide range of health problems. Many people, even
health professionals, may find it hard to be objective about the
detrimental impact of dairy products on health described in this
report because of the emotional attachment many of us have to the idea
that milk is natural and healthy.

The aim of this report is to redress the balance by presenting and
reviewing the research on the health effects of cow’s milk and dairy
products.

What is a healthy diet?
A healthy diet contains a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables,
whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. It is rich in important
disease-busting antioxidants that protect against a number of
illnesses and diseases including certain cancers and cardiovascular
disease (Genkinger et al., 2004; Joshipura et al., 2001; Liu et al.,
2000). It has been suggested that the high concentration of
antioxidants in blood may be one of the reasons for the lower
incidence of chronic diseases in people consuming a plant-based diet
rich in fruit and vegetables (Waldman et al., 2005). A healthy diet
provides plenty of fibre protecting against a range of diseases
including colorectal cancer. It is rich in vitamins and minerals,
again protecting health. A healthy diet should contain a good source
of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids including the omega-3 fatty
acids known to protect heart health.

On the other hand, a healthy diet should be low in saturated fat,
animal protein and cholesterol for which we have no dietary
requirement. Indeed the Government now advises that it is more
important to replace saturated fat with unsaturated than to cut down
on total fat (FSA, 2005). This means eating more avocados, nuts and
seeds and plant-based oils and spreads such as flax seed oil and soya
spread.

Cow’s milk, cheese, butter, cream, ice-cream and milk chocolate all
contain the unhealthy saturated kind of fat associated with an
increased risk of heart disease. Some of these foods contain
considerable amounts of saturated fat. For example, Cheddar cheese
contains around 35 per cent fat, of which over 60 per cent is
saturated. Similarly, butter contains over 80 per cent fat, of which
over 60 per cent is saturated (FSA, 2002). This means that a 10 gram
serving of butter contains over five grams of saturated fat! The Food
Standards Agency describes five grams of saturated fat per 100 grams
as ‘a lot’ (FSA, 2005), so the five grams of saturated fat contained
in just 10 grams of butter makes this food remarkably unhealthy.
Plant-based polyunsaturated fat spreads contain less total fat (around
60 per cent) of which less than 20 per cent is saturated. They tend to
contain more of the valuable polyunsaturated fatty acids and so
provide a much healthier option.

Saturated fats from animal foods such as whole milk, cream and butter
increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood which in turn
increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Research shows that
a plant-based diet contains significantly less saturated fat. The
extensive EPIC Oxford study comprising 33,883 meat-eaters, 10,110
fish-eaters, 18,840 vegetarians and 2,596 vegans showed that while the
total fat intake was highest in the meat-eaters and lowest in vegans,
the difference between the groups was relatively small. However, the
percentage of energy from saturated fat was strikingly different
across the four diet groups: saturated fat intake was highest in
meat-eaters, almost identical in fish-eaters and vegetarians and
significantly lowest among the vegans (Davey et al., 2003). So
significant is the lower saturated fat content of a plant-based diet
that it can be used to control weight without worrying about calorie
counting. In one clinical trial, adoption of a low-fat vegan diet was
shown to help weight loss despite the absence of prescribed limits on
portion size or energy intake (Barnard et al., 2005). Other research
confirming that vegetarians and vegans have a lower risk of being
overweight or obese than meat-eaters shows that consuming more plant
foods and less animal products may help individuals control their
weight (Newby, et al., 2005). Being overweight or obese increases the
risk of many health problems including type 2 diabetes, heart disease,
asthma, infertility, high blood pressure and many cancers.

Milk and other dairy products contain many biologically active
molecules including hormones and growth factors. Cow’s milk has been
shown to contain over 35 different hormones and 11 growth factors
(Grosvenor et al., 1992). Some researchers are particularly concerned
about the oestrogen content of cow’s milk (Ganmaa and Sato, 2005),
suggesting that cow’s milk is one of the important routes of human
exposure to oestrogens. The milk consumed now is very different to the
milk consumed a century ago. Unlike their pasture-fed counterparts of
old, modern dairy cows are usually pregnant and continue to lactate
during the latter half of pregnancy, when the concentration of
oestrogens in blood, and hence in the milk, increases. Although there
is a paucity of research in this field, early evidence suggests the
increase in exposure to cow’s oestrogen may be linked to an increased
incidence of certain cancers. In one study, cancer incidence was
correlated with food intake in 40 countries (Ganmaa and Sato, 2005).
Results showed that both cow’s milk and cheese increased the risk of
hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer. Among the
dietary risk factors identified, these researchers were most concerned
with milk and dairy products because, as already stated, the milk
drunk today tends to come from pregnant cows among whom oestrogen and
progesterone levels are markedly elevated.

Another bioactive component of cow’s milk receiving an increasing
amount of attention is the growth factor called insulin-like growth
factor 1 (IGF-1). The amount of IGF-1 present is higher in milk
produced by pregnant cows. The concern is that because IGF-1 in cows
is identical to human IGF-1, this growth factor could cross the gut
wall and trigger an abnormal response, for example increasing the risk
of certain cancers. Indeed, over the last decade IGF-1 has been linked
to an increased risk of childhood cancers, breast cancer, lung cancer,
melanoma and cancers of the pancreas and prostate (LeRoith et al.,
1995; Chan et al., 1998) and gastrointestinal cancers (Epstein, 1996).

Interestingly, one study observed a 10 per cent increase in blood
serum levels of IGF-1 in subjects who increased their intake of
non-fat milk (Heaney, 1999) while another study noted that vegan men
had a nine per cent lower serum IGF-1 level than meat-eaters and
vegetarians (Allen et al., 2000). Whether the consumption of cow’s
milk and dairy products raises IGF-1 levels directly (by crossing the
gut wall), or indirectly (by triggering an increased production of
human IGF-1 in the body), evidence suggests that some component of
milk causes an increase in blood serum levels of IGF-1. It has even
been suggested that IGF-1 may be used as a predictor of certain
cancers, in much the same way that cholesterol is a predictor of heart
disease (Campbell and Campbell, 2005).

In summary, a diet containing saturated fat, cholesterol, animal
protein, hormones and growth factors is not a healthy diet. Cow’s
milk, butter, cheese, cream, ice-cream and other dairy products
contain all these unhealthy components whereas substantial evidence
shows that a plant-based diet rich in fruit and vegetables, whole
grains and unsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids) offers
significant health benefits. By adopting a healthy diet, together with
regular physical exercise and avoiding smoking, many of the so-called
modern Western diseases can be prevented. As part of its global
strategy on diet, physical activity and health, the World Health
Organisation (WHO) claims that up to 80 per cent of cases of coronary
heart disease, 90 per cent of type 2 diabetes cases and one-third of
cancers can be avoided by changing to a healthier diet, increasing
physical activity and stopping smoking (WHO, 2006c
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PART ONE: THE HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY AND BIOLOGY OF MILK
The origins of dairy farming
Although sheep, cattle and goats are thought to have been domesticated
in parts of the Middle East and central Asia over 9,000 years ago
there is no direct evidence that these animals were used to supply
milk. Written texts, paintings and drawings from around 6,000 years
ago provide the earliest firm evidence of dairy farming (Pringle,
1998). Molecular and stable isotope evidence for dairy fat residues in
pottery suggests that the exploitation of animals for milk was already
an established practice in Britain when farming began in the fifth
millennium BC (Copley et al., 2003). Although this sounds like a long
time ago, in evolutionary terms it is very recent history and early
dairy farming would have been practised on a relatively small scale.
Hominid (modern humans and our forerunners) fossils date back to
nearly seven million years ago (Cela-Conde and Ayala, 2003). If seven
million years were represented as a twelve-hour clock, starting at
midday, humans would have started dairy farming 37 seconds before
midnight.

Furthermore, it is important to note that around 70 per cent of people
in the world do not consume cow’s milk, even if they wanted to, it
would make them ill due to lactose intolerance (see Lactose
intolerance).

Dairy farming today
Milk production today is big business. Currently in the UK 2.2 million
cows are held in 22,000 dairy holdings. The total value of the
production of milk in the UK is estimated to be £2.7 billion. This is
more than the value of production of beef, lamb, pig or poultry meat
and around three times the value of the production of fresh vegetables
(Defra, 2005). Excluding suckled milk, each cow now produces around 20
litres of milk per day, which equates to around 7,000 litres of milk
yearly (Defra, 2005). Selective breeding and high protein feed has
increased the average yield per cow from nine litres (16 pints) per
day to 22 litres (39 pints) per day in just a few cattle generations.

A common misconception is that it is natural for cows to produce milk
constantly. This is not the case; just like us, cows only produce milk
after a nine-month pregnancy and giving birth. Today’s large-scale
intensive dairy farming employs a highly regulated regime of cycling
pregnancy and lactation concurrently, meaning that cows are both
pregnant and being milked at the same time for most of each year. This
intensive physical demand puts a tremendous strain on the dairy cow
and, as she gets older, infertility and severe infections causing
mastitis and lameness cuts short her economic and productive life (The
Dairy Council, 2002). The average lifespan of a modern dairy cow is
only about five years – that is after three or four lactations, when
naturally she may live for 20 to 30 years.

Who drinks milk?
Since 1960, global milk production has nearly doubled (Speedy, 2003).
Around three-quarters of the world’s population do not drink milk, but
among those who do, the pattern of consumption varies widely between
countries. Data collected by the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organisation (UNFAO) in 2002 provides figures for the consumption of
milk (excluding butter) in kilograms per capita per year for over 170
countries (FAOSTATS, 2002).


Figure 1.0 Consumption of milk in selected countries compared to world
consumption. Data from FAOSTATS, 2002.

As shown in Figure 1.0 the level of milk consumption varies widely
between countries, even between neighbouring countries in the same
continent. For example, in Portugal 219.7kg of milk is consumed per
person per year whereas in Spain the figure is considerably lower at
just 158.3kg per person per year.

The highest levels of consumption are seen in Europe. In Sweden for
example, a massive 369.4kg of milk is consumed per person per year,
with Finland close behind at 350.6kg. Other countries consuming large
volumes of milk include the Netherlands (345.7kg), Switzerland
(332.4kg), Albania (298.8kg), Austria (293.3kg), Ireland (279.5kg),
France (275.5kg) and Norway (275.1kg). In the US 261.8kg of milk is
consumed per person per year, and in the UK the figure is 230.9kg.
Whereas the average amount of milk consumed per person per year on a
global scale is just 79kg.

The lowest levels of consumption are seen in Africa and Asia. In the
Democratic Republic of the Congo a mere 1.6kg of milk is consumed per
person per year. Other countries consuming small volumes of milk
include Liberia (1.8kg), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
(3.9kg), Mozambique (4.5kg), Vietnam (5kg), China (13.3kg) and
Thailand (18.8kg). With levels this low, it is reasonable to assume
that many people in these countries and others do not consume any milk
or milk products at all.

It could be argued that the low level of milk consumption seen in
developing countries just reflects the fact that people cannot afford
to buy milk. However, in Japan for example (not a developing country),
milk consumption is very low at only 67.1kg. Most people in the world
do not drink milk; their reasons may be cultural, economical,
historical or biological. For example, most of the world’s population
are lactose intolerant (see Lactose intolerance). But many of us think
of milk as a fundamental component of a healthy diet. Why is this? Is
milk the only source of some obscure essential nutrient? Or is milk
unique in that it contains all the nutrients that we require?
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A comparison between human milk and cow’s milk
The composition of milk varies according to the animal from which it
comes, providing the correct rate of growth and development for the
young of that species, thus for human infants, human milk is obviously
more suitable than cow’s milk. Indeed, the popular consensus among
health care professionals is that ordinary cow’s milk, goat’s milk,
condensed milk, dried milk, evaporated milk, or any other type of milk
should not be given to a child under the age of one. This is because
of differences in the composition of milk that have been revealed by
research over the last decade or so. While cow’s milk and human milk
contain a similar percentage of water, the relative amounts of
carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals vary widely.


Figure 2.0 A comparison of the carbohydrate (black), protein (white)
and fat (grey) components of whole cow’s milk and human milk. Source:
FSA, 2002.

Protein
The carbohydrate, protein and fat content of milk from one species is
finely tuned to meet the nutritional requirements of that particular
animal whether human, elephant, buffalo, camel or dog. Figure 2.0
shows that the protein content in 100g of whole cow’s milk (3.3g) is
more than double that of human milk (1.3g); this is because the amount
of protein in milk is linked to the amount of time it takes that
particular species of animal to grow in size. Growing calves need more
protein to enable them to grow quickly. Human infants on the other
hand need less protein and more fat as their energies are expended
primarily in the development of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

The proteins in milk can be divided into two categories: caseins and
whey proteins. Human milk contains these in a ratio of 40:60
respectively; while in cow’s milk the ratio of casein to whey proteins
is 80:20. Given that the amount of total protein in cow’s milk is more
than double that of human milk, cow’s milk clearly contains
considerably more casein than human milk. Casein can be difficult to
digest, in fact it is used as the basis of some glues! Infant milks
are formulated to contain more whey than casein (the ratio of whey to
casein in these milks is similar to that of human milk), and this is
why it is thought to be easier for new babies to digest. Casein has
been linked to a range of diseases and allergies, including type 1
diabetes (see Diabetes).

Fat
The amount and type of fat present in the milk similarly reflects the
requirements of the species of animal producing that milk. Whole milk
from a cow contains around four per cent fat whereas milk from the
grey seal contains over 50 per cent fat (Baker, 1990); this is because
baby seals need more body fat to survive in cold water. Figure 2.0
shows that 100g of whole cow’s milk and human milk contain similar
amounts of fat (3.9g and 4.1g respectively). While these values are
close, the types of fat vary. Figure 3.0 shows that cow’s milk
contains more saturated fat while human milk contains more unsaturated
fat.


Figure 3.0 The fatty acid composition of whole cow’s milk and human
milk.
Source: FSA, 2002.

Figure 3.0 shows that 100g of whole cow’s milk contains 2.5g saturated
fat, 1.0g monounsaturated and 0.1g polyunsaturated fat, while human
milk contains 1.8g saturated fat, 1.6g monounsaturated fat and 0.5g
polyunsaturated fat (FSA, 2002). These figures demonstrate the higher
level of saturated fat in cow’s milk compared to human milk, and the
higher level of unsaturated fat in human milk compared to cow’s milk.
This imbalance contributes to the unsuitability of cow’s milk for
human infants.

The higher level of unsaturated fatty acids in human milk reflects the
important role of these fats in brain development. In humans the brain
develops rapidly during the first year of life, growing faster than
the body and tripling in size by the age of one. The brain is largely
composed of fat and early brain development and function in humans
requires a sufficient supply of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.
The omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) and the omega-3 fatty
acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are both essential for brain
development and functioning. Both are supplied in human milk but not
in cow’s milk (currently AA and DHA-enhanced infant formulas are
available, although not mandatory, throughout most of Europe).

A review of 20 studies of cognitive function of breast fed infants
compared to that of formula fed infants concluded that the nutrients
in breast milk may have a significant effect on neurological
development in infants (Anderson et al., 1999). Cow’s milk tends to be
low in the types of fat essential for human brain development; a rapid
increase in body size is more of an imperative for cows than rapid
brain development, so cows produce milk that is high in body-building
saturated fats to help their calves grow rapidly in size.

Similarly, the fatty acid composition of cow’s milk is more suited to
a calf than to a person. Attempts to alter the fatty acid composition
of cow’s milk, and so increase the nutritional value of cow’s milk to
humans, have involved experiments feeding cows fish meal and soya
beans (AbuGhazaleh et al., 2004) and flax seed (Petit, 2002). Feeding
flax seed resulted in a lower omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio,
which is thought might improve the nutritional value of milk from a
human health point of view by reducing the potential risk of disease.
Of course you could just eat the flax seed oil yourself to improve the
balance of omega-3 and omega-6 oils in your diet while avoiding the
undesirable components of milk.

Table 1.0 Comparison of the mineral and vitamin components of cow’s
milk and human milk.
Cow's Milk (semi-skimmed, pasteurised) per 100g Human Milk(mature)
per 100g
Sodium (mg) 43 15
Potassium (mg) 156 58
Calcium (mg) 120 34
Magnesium (mg) 11 3
Phosphorus (mg) 94 15
Iron (mg) 0.02 0.07
Copper (mg) Trace 0.04
Zinc (mg) 0.4 0.3
Chloride (mg) 87 42
Manganese (mg) Trace Trace
Selenium (µg) 1 1
Iodine (µg) 30 7
Retinol (µg) 19 58
Carotene (µg) 9 (24)
Vitamin D (µg) Trace Trace
Vitamin E (mg) 0.04 0.34
Thiamin (mg) 0.03 0.02
Riboflavin (mg) 0.24 0.03
Niacin (mg) 0.1 0.2
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.06 0.01
Vitamin B12 (µg) 0.9 Trace
Folate (µg) 9 5
Pantothenate (mg) 0.68 0.25
Biotin (µg) 3.0 0.7
Vitamin C (mg) 2 4

( ) = estimated value. Source: FSA, 2002.

Calcium
The calcium content of cow’s milk (120mg per 100ml) is nearly four
times that of human milk (34mg per 100ml). This discrepancy occurs for
good reason; calves grow much more quickly and have a larger skeleton
than human babies and therefore need much more calcium (FAO, 1997).
Cow’s milk is specifically designed to meet this high demand.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on
calcium requirements of infants, children and adolescents, the
available data demonstrates that the bioavailability of calcium from
human milk is greater than that from both infant formulas and cow’s
milk (Baker et al., 1999). So although human milk contains less
calcium than cow’s milk, the calcium in human milk is better absorbed
into the body than the calcium in cow’s milk, again illustrating why
human milk is the best source of nutrition during the first year of
life.

Iron
Cow’s milk contains very little iron (FSA, 2002) which is another
reason why cow’s milk is deemed to be unsuitable for infants under the
age of one. Indeed a one-year-old attempting to meet the reference
nutrient intake (RNI) of 5.3mg of iron would have to drink over 30
pints of cow’s milk per day if it were to be used to meet their iron
requirement. Furthermore, cow’s milk is low in vitamin C and vitamin D
(Department of Health, 1994), and contains less vitamin A than human
milk.

The high protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and chloride content
of cow’s milk present what is called a high renal solute load; this
means that the unabsorbed solutes from the diet must be excreted via
the kidneys. This can place a strain on immature kidneys forcing them
to draw water from the body thus increasing the risk of dehydration.
The renal solute load of infants fed cow’s milk has been shown to be
twice as high as that of formula fed infants (Martinez et al., 1985).

Allergic reactions to the proteins in cow’s milk are common among
infants, and cow’s milk-induced intestinal bleeding as an allergic
response is a well-recognised cause of rectal bleeding in infancy
(Willetts et al., 1999). This blood loss can affect the iron
nutritional status of the infant (Ziegler et al., 1990) and in many
cases may lead to anaemia. This condition will deteriorate if
iron-rich foods are excluded by the continued consumption of milk, a
food very low in iron (see Allergies – Gastrointestinal bleeding).
The health problems caused by the early consumption of ‘normal’
off-the-shelf cow’s milk are so well documented now that parents and
caregivers are actively encouraged to delay the introduction of cow’s
milk until at least nine months of age or older in many countries
including the UK (Department of Health, 1994), the US (American
Academy of Pediatrics, 1992), Denmark (National Board of Health,
Denmark, 1998) Canada (Canadian Paediatric Society, 1998), Sweden
(Axelsson et al., 1999) and New Zealand (Soh et al., 2004).
Ice
2006-07-03 14:53:56 UTC
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The composition of cow’s milk
Cow’s milk composition can vary widely between different breeds and
during different stages of lactation. In the first few days after
birth, a special type of milk called colostrum is excreted which is
rich in fats and protein. Colostrum also contains important
infection-fighting antibodies which strengthen the immune system of
the young mammal. The transition from colostrum to true milk occurs
within a few days following birth.

Water
All milk produced by animals contains carbohydrate, protein, fat,
minerals and vitamins but the major component is water. Water dilutes
the milk allowing its secretion from the body; without water it would
be impossible to express milk. Additionally, the water in milk is
essential to the newborn for hydration. Cow’s milk contains a similar
amount of water to human milk – around 87 per cent.

Carbohydrate
The major carbohydrate in mammalian milk is a disaccharide (or sugar)
called lactose. For lactose to be digested, it must be broken down in
the intestine by the enzyme lactase to its component monosaccharides
glucose and galactose. Glucose can then supply energy to the young
animal. Many people are unable to consume cow’s milk and dairy
products because they are unable to digest lactose after weaning. Most
infants possess the enzyme lactase and can therefore digest lactose,
but this ability is lost in many people after weaning (commonly after
the age of two). In global terms lactose intolerance is very common,
occurring in around 90-100 per cent of Asians, 65-70 per cent of
Africans, but just 10 per cent of Caucasians (Robbins, 2001).
Therefore most of the world’s population are unable to digest milk
after weaning.

Protein
Protein provides energy and is required for the growth and repair of
tissue such as skin and muscle. Caseins are the primary group of
proteins in cow’s milk, making up around 80 per cent of the total
protein content. The remaining portion is made up from whey proteins.
There are four types of casein (alpha-, beta-, gamma- and
kappa-casein) that combine to make up a structure known as a casein
micelle. The micellar structure of casein is important in the
production of cheese; it also plays a significant role in cow’s milk
allergies (see Allergies).

Fat
The principal fat in milk is a complex combination of lipids called
triglycerols (esters of three fatty acids with one molecule of
glycerol). There are more than 400 fatty acids in cow’s milk ranging
in carbon atom chain length from four carbon atoms to 26 (National
Dairy Council, US, 2005). Fatty acids are described as saturated or
unsaturated depending on the amount of hydrogen in the carbon chain of
the molecule; milk contains both saturated and unsaturated fatty
acids. Unsaturated fatty acids may be further classified as
monounsaturated or polyunsaturated (depending on the number of double
bonds in the carbon chain of the fatty acid molecule). Again, milk
contains fatty acids from both groups but most of the fat in whole
cow’s milk (around 65 per cent) is the saturated type.

Polyunsaturated fats include fatty acids called the omega-6 and
omega-3 fatty acids (these names refer to the position of the double
bond in the carbon chain of the fatty acid molecule). Milk contains
the omega-6 essential fatty acid linoleic acid and the omega-3 fatty
acid linolenic acid. These are called essential fatty acids because
they are essential to health but cannot be made within the body and so
must be obtained from the diet. While milk does contain linoleic acid
and linolenic acid (both with chains of 18 carbon atoms) it does so at
relatively low levels.

There has been much excitement recently about the so-called conjugated
linoleic acids (CLAs) in cow’s milk. The term ‘conjugated’ refers to
the molecular arrangement of the molecule. CLAs are described as
positional and geometric isomers of linoleic acid; this means that
CLAs are made up of exactly the same components as normal linoleic
acid, just in a different arrangement. CLA in one particular
configuration (cis-9, trans-11 CLA) is believed to possess a range of
potential health benefits for humans (McGuire and McGuire, 2000).
However, the majority of studies on weight loss, cancer,
cardiovascular disease, insulin sensitivity and diabetes and immune
function have been conducted on animals and it has been acknowledged
that variations exist between different animals’ responses to CLAs. A
recent review of 17 studies on humans concluded that CLA does not
affect body weight or body composition and has a limited effect on
immune function (Tricon et al., 2005). Furthermore some detrimental
effects of CLA have been observed in mice and some reports suggest
that CLAs can elicit pro-carcinogenic effects (Wahle et al., 2004).
Despite warnings from researchers that until we know more, CLA
supplementation in humans should be considered with caution, the dairy
industry sees this molecule as a new marketing opportunity and
research into producing CLA-enriched milk by manipulating the diet of
dairy cows has already begun (Lock and Garnsworthy, 2002).

In addition to the fatty acids discussed there are small amounts of
phospholipids and other fats present in milk including fat soluble
vitamins.

Minerals and vitamins
Minerals found in cow’s milk include sodium, potassium, calcium,
magnesium, phosphorus and chloride, zinc, iron (although at extremely
low levels), selenium, iodine and trace amounts of copper and
manganese (FSA, 2002). Vitamins in cow’s milk include retinol,
carotene, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin
B12, folate, pantothenate, biotin, vitamin C and trace amounts of
vitamin D (FSA, 2002). In the US, milk is fortified with additional
vitamin D; this has important implications as we shall see later (see
Osteoporosis).

Although cow’s milk contains all these nutrients it is important to
note that these vitamins are contained at very low levels.
Furthermore, the mineral content is so out of balance with human
biochemistry that it is difficult for us to absorb the optimum amounts
required for health.

Fibre
Milk contains no dietary fibre.

The undesirable components of milk and dairy products
Whole milk, cheese, butter and many other dairy products contain high
levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein all of which
are not required in the diet and have been linked to a wide range of
illnesses and diseases. For example, excess saturated fat and
cholesterol in the diet is associated with an increased risk of heart
disease and stroke. Cross cultural studies show that as the
consumption of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein increases
from country to country, so does the incidence of the so-called
diseases of affluence such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes,
osteoporosis and certain cancers. It has been suggested that this is
because of genetic differences between different races. However, when
people migrate from an area of low incidence of the so-called affluent
diseases to an area of high incidence, they soon acquire the same high
incidence shared by the population into which they have moved. This
correlation must then be attributed, at least in part, to
environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle. So if you can
increase the risk of disease by changing your diet and lifestyle, it
stands to reason that you can reduce the risk of disease by changing
your diet and lifestyle. The WHO state that there are major health
benefits in eating more fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts and
whole grains and moving from saturated animal fats to unsaturated
vegetable oil-based fats (WHO, 2006c).

In addition to saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein, a wide
range of undesirable components occur in cow’s milk and dairy
products. The modern dairy cow is prone to both stress and disease. In
the UK, cows suffer from a range of infectious diseases including
brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, foot and mouth disease, viral
pneumonia and Johne’s disease. As a result of an infectious disease a
wide range of contaminants can occur in milk. Mastitis (inflammation
of the mammary gland) is a widespread condition affecting cattle in
the UK in which all or part of the udder suffers from an infection
caused by bacteria entering through the teat (MDC, 2004). Mastitis may
be referred to as subclinical (no symptoms) or clinical whereby
symptoms include swelling, pain, hardness, milk clots or discoloured
milk. The cow responds to the infection by generating white blood
cells (somatic cells) which migrate to the affected area in an effort
to combat the infection. These cells, along with cellular debris and
necrotic (dead) tissue, are a component of pus and are excreted into
the milk.

The number of somatic cells in the milk (the somatic cell count)
provides an indication of the level of infection present. The somatic
cell count usually forms part of a payment structure to farmers with
defined thresholds of concentration determining the qualification for
bonus payments or penalty charges (Berry et al., 2003). In the
European Union the somatic cell limit is a maximum of 400,000 cells
per ml in bulk milk (Dairy Products (Hygiene) Regulations, 1995). This
means that milk containing 400 million pus cells per litre can be sold
legally for human consumption. So one teaspoonful of milk could
contain up to two million pus cells! It could be even worse, as
concerns have been raised about the efficiency of cell counting
techniques (Berry et al., 2003).

Mastitis effects the quality of milk in many ways; the total protein
content is decreased, the amounts of calcium, phosphorus and potassium
content are decreased, the taste deteriorates (becomes bitter), and
the levels of undesirable components rise. These include enzymes such
as plasmin and lipase, immunoglobulins (Blowey and Edmondson, 2000)
and microbes. Mastitis is treated with antibiotics delivered directly
into the udder. These drugs can also end up in the milk, so milk from
treated cows must not be marketed until the recommended withholding
period has elapsed (MDC, 2004). Mastitis occurs in around 50 per cent
of cows in the UK (Blowey and Edmondson, 2000).

Milk contains many biologically active molecules including enzymes,
hormones and growth factors. In 1992, Pennsylvania State University
endocrinologist Clark Grosvenor published an extensive review of some
of the known bioactive hormones and growth factors found in a typical
glass of milk in the US. The list included seven pituitary (an
endocrine gland in the brain) hormones, seven steroid hormones, seven
hypothalamic (another brain endocrine gland) hormones, eight
gastrointestinal peptides (chains of two or more amino acids), six
thyroid and parathyroid hormones, 11 growth factors, and nine other
biologically active compounds (Grosvenor et al., 1992). Other
biologically important proteins and peptides in milk include
immunoglobulins, allergens, enzymes, casomorphins (casein peptide
fragments) and cyclic nucleotides (signalling molecules). The concern
here is that these signalling molecules that have evolved to direct
the rapid growth of a calf into a cow may initiate inappropriate
signalling pathways in the human body that may lead to illnesses and
diseases such as cancer.

All milk produced by mammals is a medium for transporting hundreds of
different chemical messengers. It has been suggested that milk
actively communicates between the maternal mammary epithelia and the
infant’s gastrointestinal system directing and educating the immune,
metabolic and microflora systems within the infant (German et al.,
1992). Indeed, research indicates that many of these molecules survive
the environment of the infant’s gut and are absorbed into the
circulation where they may exert an influence on the infant’s immune
system, gastrointestinal tract, neuroendocrine system, or take some
other effect. This has evolved as a useful mechanism between mothers
and infants of the same species, but the effects of bioactive
substances in milk taken from one species and consumed by another are
largely unknown. The concern is that the bioactive molecules in cow’s
milk may direct undesirable regulation, growth and differentiation of
various tissues in the human infant. Of particular concern for example
is the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which occurs naturally in
milk and has been linked to several cancers in humans (see IGF-1).

Breast is best
The WHO states that as a global public health recommendation, infants
should be exclusively breast fed for the first six months of life to
achieve optimal growth, development and health (WHO, 2001). They
conclude that in general this is the healthiest start to life for a
baby. It is interesting to note that when given the choice between
human breast milk and cow’s milk infant formula, newborn babies
demonstrate a preference (by turning their head and mouthing) for
human milk regardless of their individual postnatal feeding experience
(Marlier and Schaal, 2005).

Breast feeding is important for many reasons. Babies receive an
important boost to their immune system in the first few days of breast
feeding as important antibodies are passed from the mother to the
infant in the colostrum (the fluid expressed before the so-called true
milk). These antibodies protect the baby from infection. Breast fed
babies are less likely to suffer many serious illnesses including
gastroenteritis, respiratory and ear infections, eczema and asthma as
children. Adults who were breast fed as babies are less likely to have
risk factors for heart disease such as obesity, high blood pressure
and high cholesterol levels (UNICEF, 2005). This was confirmed
recently in a study of over 2,000 children from Estonia and Denmark.
It was found that that children who were breast fed as infants had
lower blood pressure than those who were not; the longer the child was
breast fed, the greater the difference (Lawlor et al., 2005). The
implications are that breast feeding plays a role in reducing heart
disease in adults.

Furthermore, breast feeding is free! You do not need to wash and
sterilise an endless number of bottles. You will not be up in the
night mixing and testing the milk to see if it is cool enough; breast
milk comes ready mixed at the perfect temperature. The act of breast
feeding is also important for bonding the mother and baby
relationship. Yet British breast feeding rates are amongst the lowest
in Europe. At birth, only 69 per cent of UK babies are breast fed and
this figure falls rapidly to 55 per cent at one week (Hamlyn et al.,
2002).
The use of formula milk while in hospital is a strong indicator for a
mother giving up breast feeding after leaving hospital; 40 per cent of
breast feeding mothers whose babies had been given formula milk in
hospital stopped breast feeding within two weeks compared to only 13
per cent of breast feeding mothers whose babies had not been given
formula milk (Hamlyn et al., 2002). Regrettably, at six months of age,
just one in five babies in the UK are still receiving breast milk,
despite the fact that the WHO, UNICEF and the UK Government all
recommend that babies should be fed only breast milk for their first
six months of life.

Infant formula
Some mothers are unable to, or choose not to, breast feed and in these
circumstances infant formula milk is used. Formula milk is designed to
meet the nutritional requirements of the infant and must comply with
strict UK and EC legislation which specifies the nutritional
composition of the feeds. Soya-based infant formulas provide a safe
feeding option for most infants that meet all the nutritional
requirements of the infant with none of the detrimental effects
associated with the consumption of cow’s milk formulas. Under no
circumstances should a child under 12 months be given ‘normal’ cow’s,
goat’s, soya or any other milk that is not specifically formulated for
an infant (for a review on the safety of soya see Appendix I).

Milk in schools
In 1924, local education authorities (LEAs) in the UK were permitted
to provide children with free milk. This was the start of the movement
to introduce milk to school-aged children that would continue to this
day. In a recent paper published in the Economic History Review, Dr
Peter Atkins of Durham University reviewed the motivations behind the
introduction of cow’s milk in schools during the first half of the
twentieth century (Atkins, 2005). Atkins stated that the nutritional
benefits of school milk were debatable, possibly even negative in
those areas where it replaced other foods, but noted that the dairy
industry did well, creating new markets at a time of depression
(Atkins, 2005).

In 1946, the School Milk Act provided free milk to all school
children. A third of a pint of milk was provided to all children under
the age of 18 years until 1968 when Harold Wilson’s Government
withdrew free milk from secondary schools. This policy was extended in
1971 when Margaret Thatcher (then secretary of state for education)
withdrew free school milk from children over seven. This was an
economic decision, not one based on a nutritional assessment of the
value of milk, and for this she earned the nickname ‘Thatcher,
Thatcher, milk snatcher’ – although many children were delighted at
not having to drink the warm sickly odorous milk at school anymore!

The school milk scheme was introduced in 1977 by the European Union
(EU) to encourage the consumption of milk in schools. The scheme
requires member states to make subsidised milk available to primary
and nursery schools wishing to take part, but participation is
entirely a matter for the school or LEA. The European Commission had
originally indicated that it wished to abolish the subsidy because the
scheme was not providing value for money. The UK did not accept these
conclusions and fought hard to retain the scheme. A compromise was
secured whereby in 2001 the subsidy rate was reduced from 95 to 75 per
cent. The UK Government tops up the subsidy to its original level in
England, up to a maximum total expenditure of £1.5 million each year.
In the academic year 2003 to 2004, around one million school children
in England drank 34.9 million litres of subsidised milk at a cost of
around £7 million (Defra, 2005a).

The move to increase milk consumption in schools is gathering
momentum; the School Milk Project (TSMP), set up in 1998 by the
Women’s Food and Farming Union, aims to increase the uptake of milk in
primary schools. It receives funding from the Milk Development Council
(MDC) which was established following the re-organisation of the milk
industry in 1994. The MDC is funded by a statutory levy on all milk
sold off farms in Great Britain; the annual income from the levy is
over £7 million (MDC, 2005). Primarily the MDC funds research and
development into milk production methods, it also funds TSMP which
employs ‘facilitators’ to promote the uptake of school milk through
direct contact with LEAs, schools and dairy suppliers.

The charity Milk For Schools (MFS) was founded in 1994. Set up to
educate the public in the field of school based nutrition, MFS is a
registered member of the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organisation (UNFAO) School Milk Network, which initiated the first
World School Milk Day on 27th September 2000. In October 2004 Dairy UK
was established as a cross-industry body representing processors and
distributors of liquid milk and dairy products, as well as milk
producer co-operatives. In 2005 the EU and Dairy UK joined forces with
the MDC to promote milk consumption in primary schools (Dairy UK,
2005). Schools were targeted with ‘Teacher’s Guides to Health and
Fitness’ and School Milk Week commenced on 10th October 2005. Previous
school milk weeks have generated over 6,000 new school milk drinkers
or as Dairy UK put it “over one million new serving opportunities per
annum” (Dairy UK, 2005).

There is undoubtedly some very clever marketing going on here, in fact
the 30-year decline in milk consumption may be coming to an end. Liz
Broadbent, director of market development at MDC, points out that this
growth (worth £4 million to Britain’s dairy farmers), is the first
credible and seemingly sustainable rise in the past three decades.
Research indicates the extra milk is being in used in porridge, tea
and coffee. Evidence suggests this rise is due to successful promotion
and marketing of specific products. This explains the industry’s
recent move to abandon generic promotions (just telling everyone to
drink more milk) instead choosing to focus on specific products for
specific groups, hence the MDC’s latest campaign specifically
targeting teenage girls. The research has also discovered a growing
number of low milk consumers among the more affluent members of the
population including single professionals and young parents who did
not receive free milk themselves at school.

This group, that are not passing on a milk-drinking habit to the next
generation the MDC notes, account for around half of the population
but consume only a quarter of the volume. The MDC targets particular
groups in an attempt to generate new consumers, who will, in turn,
make new consumers of their children. Broadbent states that
convenience, innovation and habit are the key, and while cost is not
an issue for this group, providing milk in a form they like is. The
other route Broadbent suggests is through the school milk programmes
which are redeveloping the milk drinking habit at an early age.

MDC’s school milk project and match-funded school milk bar initiative
have generated half a million new milk drinkers and accounts for 20
million litres of milk. But its real value to the dairy industry is
the reinstatement of milk as a ‘normal’ commodity for regular family
consumption now and in the future. The policy of introducing school
milk begs the question, are the dairy industry nurturing our children?
Or simply nurturing a future loyal adult consumer base?
Ice
2006-07-03 14:58:26 UTC
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PART TWO: DAIRY CONSUMPTION AND HEALTH
The suggestion that the consumption of cow’s milk can lead to a wide
range of health problems, illnesses and diseases strikes at the core
of many people’s thinking. How can such a natural food be unhealthy?
Well the answer lies in the question; milk is not a natural drink for
adults. Furthermore, cow’s milk is not a natural drink for humans. In
nature, milk is consumed from a mother up until weaning, which is when
the mother normally stops producing milk. Consuming milk from a
pregnant mother is not the normal course of events. Furthermore, in
nature, mammals consume the milk of their own species, not that of
another. In a commentary published in the Journal of the American
Academy of Dermatology, New Hampshire dermatologist Dr F.W. Danby
states that the human consumption of large volumes of another species’
milk, especially when that milk comes from pregnant cows during the
human’s normally post-weaned years, is essentially unnatural (Danby,
2005).

As previously stated, cow’s milk is designed to help a small calf grow
into a big cow in less than a year. In order to sustain this rapid
physical growth, the composition of cow’s milk has evolved to contain
the specific types of nutrients required, at the specific levels
required. These are not necessarily natural or healthy for humans. For
example, whole milk and certain dairy products such as butter and
cheese, contain considerable amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol and
animal protein, the detrimental health effects of which are now
well-documented. In addition to this, the vitamin and mineral content
of cow’s milk is not well-suited to human requirements, especially
those of the human infant. To meet the rapid skeletal growth
requirements of a calf, cow’s milk contains four times the amount of
calcium as human milk. This does not mean that cow’s milk is a good
source of calcium for the human infant, far from it; this level of
calcium coupled to the high levels of other minerals in cow’s milk
represents what is called a high renal solute load which means that
the young human infant’s kidneys cannot cope with ‘off the shelf’
cow’s milk.

In addition to the unsuitable nutritional composition of cow’s milk,
there are many other reasons why cow’s milk and dairy products are not
natural foods for humans, for example, the increasing body of evidence
linking bioactive molecules in milk (hormones and growth factors) to
disease. While the dairy industry would have us believe that milk is
an essential part of the diet, much of the research used to promote
this view is industry-sponsored. Furthermore, given that around 70 per
cent of people in the world do not drink milk, just how essential can
it be? The list of illnesses and diseases associated with the
consumption of milk and dairy products is quite extensive. These
health problems tend to occur at levels that relate directly to how
much milk is drunk in a particular region or country. Furthermore, as
milk consumption spreads to areas where previously it was not drunk,
these diseases follow. Some of these problems are discussed in detail
below.

Acne
Acne is a skin condition that affects many teenagers and in a small
number of cases it may occur in adulthood. About 80 per cent of people
will have some degree of acne between the ages of 11 and 30 (NHS
Direct, 2005). Acne can be a very serious problem causing distress and
depression in some sufferers who report feeling suicidal because of
bullying or lack of self-confidence.

Acne is caused by a combination of factors. Hormonal changes can
increase the secretion of an oily substance called sebum from the
skin’s sebaceous glands which are frequently located adjacent to hair
follicles. If skin cells build up and block the opening of hair
follicles, subsequent clogging of the sebaceous gland can contribute
further to the development of acne. The problem is often made even
worse by the colonisation of the skin by the bacterium
Propionibacterium acnes which can become trapped in the hair
follicles. Inflammation then may lead to the eruption of large
pus-filled spots characteristic of acne. Acne tends to occur on the
face, upper arms, upper back and chest.

In general doctors tend to dismiss the possibility of a causal link
between the diet and the incidence of acne. However, a large body of
scientific evidence now supports such a link. A recent review
published in the US journal Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery
linked diet (either directly or indirectly) to these principal causes
of acne (Cordain, 2005). Further to this, a study of 47 acne patients
confirmed a causal link between diet and acne. Results suggest that
refined grains, sugars, potatoes, processed foods, milk, yogurt and
ice-cream together with diets characterised by a high omega-6 to
omega-3 fatty acid ratio underlie the development of acne. In these
dietary intervention tests all dairy foods, virtually all processed
foods, refined grains and sugar were eliminated from the diet which
was then comprised primarily of lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and
vegetables. Subjects who followed this diet showed immediate
improvement in symptoms and eventually became completely clear of
acne. The results of this year long experiment will be published in a
series of papers in the next year (Cordain, 2005a).

A report linking teenage acne directly to the consumption of dairy
foods was published in the Journal of the American Academy of
Dermatology in 2005 (Adebamowo, 2005). A link between the intake of
milk during adolescence and the incidence of acne was observed in
47,355 women who completed questionnaires on high school diet and
teenage acne (as diagnosed by a doctor). Because the link between
teenage acne and milk consumption was strongest for skimmed milk, it
would seem that the saturated fat content of milk is not the causal
factor. The authors hypothesise that the hormonal content of milk may
be responsible for causing acne in teenagers. Cow’s milk contains the
hormones oestrogen and progesterone along with certain hormone
precursors (androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate, and
5ª-reduced steroids like 5ª-androstanedione, 5ª-pregnanedione and
dihydrotestosterone), some of which have been implicated in the
development of acne. The levels of these hormones in cow’s milk vary
depending on whether the cow is pregnant or not, and if so at what
stage of the pregnancy she is. At least two-thirds of cow’s milk in
the UK is taken from pregnant cows (Danby, 2005).

Milk also contains bioactive molecules that act on the sebaceous
glands and hair follicles (such as glucocorticoids, IGF-1,
transforming growth factor-ß (TGF-ß), neutral thyrotropin-releasing
hormone-like peptides, and opiate-like compounds), some of which
survive pasteurisation. The bioavailability of the factors involved
may be altered during pasteurisation. In other words, heat-induced
changes in the shape or structure of the molecule may alter the way it
behaves in the body and, until we know more, it is difficult to say
exactly what role these bioactive molecules play in causing acne and
other health problems.

Allergies
The body’s immune system has to constantly discriminate between many
different unfamiliar molecules, some of which may be toxic substances
while others are harmless components of food. An allergy results from
an inappropriate immune response to such a substance (or allergen)
such as dust, pollen or a component of food. An allergic reaction
occurs as the body attempts to launch an attack against the foreign
‘invader’ perceived to be a threat to health. In such an attack, the
body releases a substance called histamine, which dilates and
increases the permeability of the small blood vessels. This results in
a range of symptoms including local inflammation, sneezing, runny
nose, itchy eyes and so on. These types of reactions may give rise to
the so-called classic allergies: asthma, eczema, hay fever and
urticaria (skin rash). These responses are called anaphylactic
reactions and they vary widely in their severity. The most severe type
of reaction (anaphylactic shock) may involve difficulty in breathing,
a drop in blood pressure and ultimately heart failure and death.

Initial sensitisation to the allergen precedes an allergic reaction
and this first exposure may not generate any perceivable symptoms. In
fact initial sensitisation may result not from the direct exposure to
an allergen but from exposure to dietary allergens during breast
feeding. Evidence suggests that this process, known as atopic
sensitisation, can occur in exclusively breast fed infants whose
mother’s breast milk contains dietary allergens. For example, a
Finnish study reported that a maternal diet rich in saturated fat
during breast feeding might be a risk factor underlying the later
development of allergies (Hoppu et al., 2000). More recently the same
research group reported that breast milk rich in saturated fat and low
in omega-3 fatty acids might be a risk factor for eczema (Hoppu et
al., 2005). While numerous studies now show that breast feeding can
protect against the development of allergies, and the majority of
studies are strongly in favour of breast feeding, it may be prudent to
avoid suspected allergens in the diet while breast feeding especially
if allergies such as asthma, eczema and hay fever run in the family.

Allergies are now so common in the UK, affecting around one in three
people, that the increasing occurrence is referred to by some as an
epidemic (Royal College of Physicians, 2003). Food allergy is
increasingly widespread and the most common of these is cow’s milk
allergy, affecting around two per cent of all infants under the age of
one. Symptoms include excessive mucus production resulting in a runny
nose and blocked ears. More serious symptoms include asthma, eczema,
colic, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Asthma
Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease characterised by
recurrent breathing problems. Asthma is a common condition that
affects around one in eight children and one in 13 adults in the UK
(NHS Direct, 2005). The number of children with asthma has risen
steeply over the last decade; in the 1970s just one in 50 children had
asthma. During an asthma attack, the lining of the airways becomes
inflamed and the airways become narrower causing the characteristic
symptoms of asthma: coughing, wheezing, difficulty in breathing and
tightness across the chest. Asthma can start at any age and the causes
are thought to include a combination of factors including a genetic
predisposition (asthma in the family), diet and environmental triggers
such as cigarette smoke, chemicals and dust mites.

As stated previously, allergies tend to run in families, so asthma,
eczema or hay fever in some family members may increase the risk of
others developing the same or another allergy. But a genetic
predisposition is not the only cause, as stated asthma is caused by a
combination of factors. In the past, the rise in childhood asthma has
been attributed to an increase in air pollution. However, this seems
unlikely as many of the most polluted countries in the world, such as
China, have low rates of asthma, whereas countries with very good air
quality, such as New Zealand, have high rates of asthma (ISAAC, 1998).
The ‘hygiene hypothesis’ has gained popularity as a causal factor for
the increase in asthma. This hypothesis blames the increasing asthma
rates on the extreme levels of cleanliness found in many homes.
Increased hygiene means that our immune systems are being challenged
less and less. It has been suggested that this causes us to overreact
to allergens such as dust mites.

It has been estimated that food allergies are responsible for
approximately five per cent of all asthma cases (James et al., 1994)
and as cow’s milk is a primary cause of food allergies, it may
therefore be useful to consider the possibility of cow’s milk allergy
in the treatment of asthma.
Eczema
Cow’s milk allergy is a risk factor for many allergic conditions
including asthma and eczema (Saarinen, 2005). There is an increasing
amount of interest in the role of the diet in the development of
eczema. Over the last decade, the links between certain foods and
eczema has become better understood. Eczema can be caused by several
environmental factors including dust mites, grasses and pollens,
stress and certain foods. It is thought that in about 30 per cent of
children with eczema, food may be a trigger, and in a smaller group
(about 10 per cent), food is the main trigger (National Eczema
Society, 2003). The most common foods linked to eczema are cow’s milk
and eggs, other foods associated include soya, wheat, fish and nuts
(National Eczema Society, 2003).

Hay fever
Hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) is an allergic reaction to
grass or hay pollens. A minority of cases may be caused by later
flowering weeds or fungal spores, and some research suggests pollution
can worsen symptoms. In response to exposure to pollen, the immune
system releases histamine which gives rise to a range of symptoms
including a runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes and throat. Again, you
are more likely to get hay fever if there is a history of allergies in
the family, particularly asthma or eczema (NHS Direct, 2005). Some
evidence suggests that altering the diet can help some people with
asthma and allergic rhinitis (Ogle and Bullock, 1980). However, the
effects of diet on hay fever symptoms have not yet been well studied.

Gastrointestinal bleeding
As stated previously cow’s milk-induced gastrointestinal bleeding as
an allergic response is a well-recognised cause of rectal bleeding in
infancy (Willetts et al., 1999). One of the main causes of
gastrointestinal bleeding is dietary protein allergy, the most common
cause of which is cow’s milk protein (casein). Gastrointestinal
bleeding from milk allergy often occurs in such small quantities that
the blood loss is not detected visually, but over prolonged time these
losses can cause iron-deficiency anaemia in children. In one trial of
52 infants, 31 of whom had been breast fed, and 21 fed formulas up to
the age of 168 days of age, the introduction of cow’s milk (rather
than formula milk) was associated with an increased blood loss from
the intestinal tract and a nutritionally important loss of iron
(Ziegler et al., 1990).

Frank Oski, former paediatrics director at Johns Hopkins School of
Medicine, estimates that half the iron-deficiency in infants in the US
results from cow’s milk-induced gastrointestinal bleeding (Oski,
1996). This represents a staggering figure since more than 15 per cent
of US infants under the age of two suffer from iron-deficiency
anaemia.

The only reliable treatment for cow’s milk allergy is to avoid all
cow’s milk and dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter and
cream. Also products with hidden milk content should be avoided, these
include products labelled as skimmed milk or skimmed milk powder, milk
solids, non-fat milk solids, milk sugar, whey and casein. Casein is
difficult to avoid as it is commonly used in the production of bread,
processed cereals, instant soups, margarine, salad dressings, sweets
and cake mix. Calcium-enriched soya, rice and oat milks can be used as
alternatives to cow’s milk. (For other gastrointestinal problems
associated with cow’s milk see Lactose intolerance).
Ice
2006-07-03 15:01:42 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:58:26 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html

Cancer
One in four people in England will die of cancer. More than one in
three people will develop cancer at some stage in their lives. Over
200,000 people are diagnosed each year with the disease; that is 600
new cases each day. Cancer is now the single most common cause of
death in men and women in the UK (Department of Health, 2000).
Whichever way the statistics are presented cancer remains the disease
that people fear most.

Mortality from cancer over the last 50 years has remained fairly
constant (Department of Health, 2000). This is very worrying when you
consider the vast improvement in both cancer diagnosis techniques and
cancer treatment methods. It means that even more people are getting
cancer and the medical profession are running just to stand still.

Most people now recognise that smoking is the biggest single
preventable risk factor for cancer. Indeed smoking causes one third of
all cancers including cancers of the lung, mouth, nasal passages,
larynx, bladder and pancreas. Smoking also plays a role in causing
cancers of the oesophagus, stomach, kidney and in leukaemia. Smoking
kills around 120,000 people in the UK per year (Department of Health,
2000). Stopping smoking, even when middle-aged, can dramatically
reduce the risk of developing cancer.

However, it is less well known that a poor diet is the second largest
preventable risk factor for cancer, coming close behind smoking. It is
becoming clearer as research continues that nutrition plays a major
role in cancer (Donaldson, 2004). A diet rich in saturated animal
fats, cholesterol, animal protein, sugar, salt and processed foods has
been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers. Indeed a poor diet
may be responsible for up to a third of all cancer deaths (Department
of Health, 2000). Cancers specifically linked to diet include cancers
of the bowel, stomach, mouth, larynx and oesophagus. A poor diet can
also greatly contribute to the risk of many other cancers including
breast and prostate cancer (Cancer Research UK, 2005). There is an
increasing amount of evidence linking the consumption of cow’s milk to
certain cancers. One of the reasons for this is the increasing levels
of hormones and other bioactive compounds present in the milk that
result from intensive farming practices (taking milk from pregnant
cows). In other words, in an effort to increase milk production, the
dairy industry has intensified farming techniques to such a high level
that between 75 per cent and 90 per cent of marketed milk and milk
products are derived from pregnant cows (Danby, 2005). (See The
undesirable components of milk and dairy products)

A plant-based diet containing less saturated animal fats, cholesterol,
animal protein, sugar, salt and processed foods protects against
cancer. Confirmation of the protective role of a vegetarian diet came
in 1994 in a landmark study published in the British Medical Journal
(Thorogood, 1994). Researchers found that vegetarians suffer 40 per
cent less cancer mortality than the population average, even with
controls for smoking, body weight and socio-economic status. The
authors of this study stated that while their data do not provide
justification for encouraging meat-eaters to change to a vegetarian
diet, those who do might expect reductions in premature mortality due
to cancer. In other words, you might choose not to give up eating meat
but if you do, you will probably live longer.

In Professor T. Colin Campbell’s extensive China Study (one of the
largest studies in the world on the effects of diet on health) a
startling observation is made. Based on previous work and his own
studies, Campbell saw a direct link between dietary protein intake and
cancer; the more protein in the diet, the higher the risk of certain
cancers, such as liver cancer. But this was not all protein, just
animal protein. Campbell decided to look at the relationships between
animal protein intake and the incidence of cancer in different
cultures.
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world; it is
the second most common in the US. Campbell notes that while North
America, Europe, Australia and wealthier Asian countries such as Japan
and Singapore have relatively high rates of colorectal cancer, Africa,
Asia and most of Central and South America have much lower rates. For
example the Czech Republic has a death rate of 34.19 per 100,000
males, while in Bangladesh the figure is just 0.63 per 100,000 males
(Campbell and Campbell, 2005). Campbell is not alone in revealing the
enormous differences in the incidences of certain cancers between
countries. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
provides startling figures comparing the incidence of breast cancer
and prostate cancer in England and Wales to that in rural China. In
1997, in England and Wales, the IARC reported the incidence rate of
breast cancer in women was 68.8 per 100,000 compared to just 11.2 per
100,000 in rural China. Similarly the incidence of prostate cancer in
men in England and Wales was 28.0 per 100,000 compared to just 0.5 per
100,000 in rural China (IARC, 1997).


Figure 4.0 A comparison of animal protein intake in the US, the UK and
rural China.
Source: Campbell and Campbell, 2005; FSA, 2003a.

It is widely acknowledged that the incidence of certain cancers is
much greater in some countries than others, what intrigued Campbell
was the relationship between these cancers and dietary animal protein.
Figure 4.0 shows the differences in animal protein intake between the
US, the UK and rural China. In the US, over 15 per cent of total
energy intake comes from protein of which 70 per cent is animal
protein (Campbell and Campbell, 2005). In the UK, over 16 per cent of
food energy comes from protein, and of this, 62 per cent comes from
animal foods (FSA, 2003a). While in rural China, the figures are quite
different; nine to 10 per cent of total energy comes from protein and
only 10 per cent of that is from animal protein (Campbell and
Campbell, 2005).

It could be argued that the difference in cancer incidence between
cultures reflects genetic differences between ethnic groups rather
than environmental (dietary) effects. However, migrant studies have
shown that as people move from a low-cancer risk area to a high-cancer
risk area, they assume an increased risk within two generations
(WCRF/AICR, 1997). Therefore these vast differences in cancer rates
must be largely attributable to environmental factors such as diet and
lifestyle. Campbell concludes that animal-based foods are linked to an
increased cancer risk whereas a whole grain plant-based diet including
fibre and antioxidants is linked to lower rates of cancer (Campbell
and Campbell, 2005). One possible mechanism for this may be the
different composition of animal and plant proteins.

Plant proteins contain a different balance of amino acids than animal
proteins. More specifically, plant proteins contain less of the
essential amino acids methionine and lysine than animal protein and
more of the non-essential amino acids arginine, glycine, alanine and
serine. It has been suggested that consuming mostly a plant-based diet
has a knock-on effect of limiting the biological activity of certain
chemical substances involved in cancer development and that a
sufficient consumption of plant proteins has a protective role against
cancer (Krajcovicova-Kudlackova, 2005). So a vegetarian diet is a
healthier option, not just because it excludes meat and other animal
foods but because of the range of beneficial, protective factors
present. Vegetarian diets contain less saturated fats and more of the
good fats (omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids), more complex
carbohydrates, more fibre and more vitamins, minerals and
antioxidants. These factors help to explain the reduced risk of cancer
in vegetarians.

Increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption is considered the
second most effective strategy to reduce the risk of cancer (after
stopping smoking). Indeed, one of the most important messages of
modern nutrition research is that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
protects not only against cancer, but against many other diseases too
including heart disease and diabetes (Donaldson, 2004). It has been
estimated that eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a
day could reduce the risk of death from chronic diseases such as heart
disease, stroke and cancer by up to 20 per cent (Department of Health,
2000). In 1998, the Department of Health’s Committee on Medical
Aspects of Food Policy and Nutrition reviewed the evidence and
concluded that a higher vegetable consumption would reduce the risk of
both colorectal and gastric cancer. There was also some evidence that
higher fruit and vegetable consumption would reduce the risk of breast
cancer (Department of Health, 1998). According to the WHO, low fruit
and vegetable intake is estimated to cause about 31 per cent of
ischaemic heart disease and 11 per cent of stroke worldwide.
Furthermore, they estimate that up to 2.7 million lives could
potentially be saved each year if fruit and vegetable consumption was
sufficiently increased (FAO/WHO, 2004). This is particularly important
for children who eat even more unhealthily than adults in the UK
(Cancer Research UK, 2004). Children’s consumption of fruit and
vegetables is generally low, with children from disadvantaged families
consuming far less than those from high income families. One in five
children does not eat any fruit in a week, and three in five eat no
leafy green vegetables (Department of Health, 2000).

In a joint report the American Institute for Cancer Research and the
World Cancer Research Fund estimate that recommended diets, together
with maintenance of physical activity and appropriate body mass, can
in time reduce cancer incidence by 30 to 40 per cent. At current
rates, on a global basis, this represents between three to four
million cases of cancer per year that could be prevented by altering
diet and lifestyle (WCRF/AICR, 1997). Increasing our understanding and
awareness of the importance of diet and influencing the choices people
make about their own diets may significantly reduce the risk of
cancer.

There are a number of other factors that can contribute to the
development of cancer, including obesity (breast and endometrial
cancer), alcohol (mouth, throat, liver and breast cancer), sunlight
(skin cancer), radon (lung cancer) and physical activity can protect
against some cancers (colorectal).

Cancers of the breast, lung, colorectum and prostate constitute around
50 per cent of all cases of and deaths from cancer in the UK
(Department of Health, 2000). The role of cow’s milk and dairy
products in breast, colorectal, ovarian and prostate cancer is
discussed in more detail.

Breast cancer
One in nine women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some point
in their lives. In 2003 nearly 40,000 new cases were diagnosed,
representing a third of all cancers in women, and in the same year
around 10,500 women died from this disease. Between 1971 and 2003, the
incidence rates of breast cancer have increased by 80 per cent
(National Statistics, 2005). Figure 5.0 shows that while the incidence
of breast cancer has risen sharply, mortality from breast cancer has
remained fairly constant over the same period thanks largely to
improved diagnostic methods and more efficient treatment.


Figure 5.0 Incidence of and mortality from breast cancer in England
and Wales
between 1971 and 2001. Source: National Statistics, 2005.

Much has been made of the link between genes and breast cancer. The
genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have received the most attention since they were
first discovered in 1994 and 1995 respectively. There are two other
very rare genes which probably only account for less than two per cent
of all breast cancers: the P53 gene and the AT (ataxia telangiectasia)
gene. These recent discoveries linking genetics to cancer has given
rise to a certain degree of genetic fatalism. However, current
estimates are that only about five per cent of breast cancers are due
to abnormal genes (BACUP, 2005). This means that the vast majority of
cancers (95 per cent) are not caused by abnormal genes. Secondly, it
is important to remember that having an abnormal gene does not mean
that a person will definitely develop breast cancer, but does mean
they are considerably more at risk of developing the condition than
someone who does not have one of the abnormal genes (BACUP, 2005).

The age-adjusted incidence rates per 100,000 for breast cancer differ
markedly from one country to another. For example, Uruguay has a very
high rate at 114.9, followed by 92.1 in the US and 87.1 in Israel.
Much lower rates are seen in Korea at just 12.7, 20.0 in Mali and 16.1
in Thailand (Ganmaa and Sato, 2005). In response to this discrepancy,
an increasing amount of attention is now focusing on the links between
diet and breast cancer, particularly the relationship between the
consumption of cow’s milk and dairy products and breast cancer.

Studying cancer incidence among particular groups of people can
provide useful insights into the links between diet and disease.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
recently reported breast cancer incidence is substantially lower, and
survival rates higher, in South Asians living in the UK than other
women (Farooq and Coleman, 2005). No data on diet was collected but
the authors of this study suggested that differences in diet and
lifestyle could explain the different rates observed. Earlier research
published in the British Journal of Cancer also showed that South
Asian women living in the UK are less likely to be diagnosed with
breast cancer than other women, but found that the risk varied
according to their specific ethnic subgroup. This research showed that
Muslim women from India and Pakistan are almost twice as likely to
develop breast cancer as Gujarati Hindu women. This study did examine
the diet and found that the Gujarati Hindu women were more likely to
be vegetarian and therefore had more fibre in their diet due to their
higher intake of fruit and vegetables (McCormack et al., 2004). There
are several mechanisms by which the diet might influence breast cancer
risk. One possible mechanism is through an effect on hormones:
increasing the amount of fibre in the diet may reduce breast cancer
risk by altering the levels of female hormones (oestrogens)
circulating in the blood (Gerber, 1998).

A number of studies show that women with breast cancer tend to have
higher levels of circulating oestrogens. Prospective studies follow
groups of people over time. Generally these people are alike in many
but not all ways (for example, young women who smoke and young women
who do not). The prospective cohort study will then look for a link
between their behaviour and a particular outcome (such as lung
cancer). A prospective study conducted on the island of Guernsey
examined serum levels of the oestrogen hormone oestradiol in samples
taken from 61 postmenopausal women who developed breast cancer an
average of 7.8 years after blood collection. Compared to 179
age-matched controls, oestradiol levels were 29 per cent higher in
women who later developed breast cancer (Thomas et al., 1997). Another
prospective study (this time from the US), compared oestrogen levels
in 156 postmenopausal women who developed breast cancer, after blood
collection, with two age-matched controls for each cancer patient.
Results showed increased levels of the hormones oestradiol, oestrone,
oestrone sulphate and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate in women who
subsequently developed breast cancer thus providing strong evidence
for a causal relationship between postmenopausal oestrogen levels and
the risk of breast cancer (Hankinson et al., 1998). A review of
studies carried out over a 10 year period in the Department of
Clinical Chemistry at the University of Helsinki in Finland suggested
that the Western diet (characterised by milk and meat products)
increases levels of these types of hormones and concluded that the
hormone pattern found in connection with a Western-type diet is
prevailing in breast cancer patients (Adlercreutz, 1990).

While some research has identified dietary factors that reduce the
risk of breast cancer, such as fibre, other studies have identified
dietary factors that increase the risk, such as dietary fat.
Case-control studies use a group of people with a particular
characteristic (for example older women with lung cancer). This
particular group is selected and information collected (for example,
history of smoking), then a control group is selected from a similar
population (older women without lung cancer) to see if they smoked or
not, then a conclusion is drawn (smoking does or does not increase
risk of lung cancer). A combined analysis of 12 case-control studies
designed to examine diet and breast cancer risk found a positive
association between fat intake and this disease. The reviewers
estimated that the percentage of breast cancers that might be
prevented by dietary modification in the North American population was
24 per cent for postmenopausal women and 16 per cent for premenopausal
women (Howe et al., 1990).

In 1999 researchers at the Department of Preventive Medicine at the
University of Southern California Medical School in Los Angeles
published a review of 13 dietary fat intervention studies that were
conducted to investigate the effect of fat intake on oestrogen levels.
The results showed decreasing dietary fat intake (to between 10 and 25
per cent of the total energy intake) reduced serum oestradiol levels
by between 2.7 and 10.3 per cent. It was concluded that dietary fat
reduction can result in a lowering of serum oestradiol levels and that
such a dietary modification may offer an approach to breast cancer
prevention (Wu at al., 1999).

However, other studies of fat intake and the incidence of breast
cancer have yielded conflicting results. The discrepancy in results
may reflect the difficulties of accurately recording fat intake. Dr
Sheila Bingham of the Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge has
developed a data-collection method which may overcome these problems.
Bingham used food frequency questionnaire methods with a detailed
seven-day food diary in over 13,000 women between 1993 and 1997. The
study concluded that those who ate the most animal saturated fat
(found mainly in whole milk, butter, meat, cakes and biscuits) were
almost twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those who ate the
least. It was also concluded that previous studies may have failed to
establish this link because of imprecise methods (Bingham et al.,
2003).

In a subsequent prospective cohort study involving over 90,000
premenopausal women, researchers from Harvard Medical School confirmed
that animal fat intake was associated with an elevated risk of breast
cancer. Red meat and high-fat dairy foods such as whole milk, cream,
ice-cream, butter, cream cheese and cheese were the major contributors
of animal fat in this cohort of relatively young women. Interestingly,
this research did not find any clear association between vegetable fat
and breast cancer risk; the increased risk was only associated with
animal fat intake. It has been suggested that a high-fat diet
increases the risk of breast cancer by elevating concentrations of
oestrogen. However, the author of this study, Dr Eunyoung Cho,
suggests that if this were true a diet high in animal fat and a diet
high in vegetable fat should both lead to higher rates of cancer, and
that was not the case in this study. Cho suspects that some other
component such as the hormones in cow’s milk might play a role in
increasing the risk of breast cancer (Cho et al., 2003).

Such conclusions have led many research groups to focus on the
endogenous hormonal content of milk (hormones produced by the cow and
excreted in the milk), which has not been widely discussed. The milk
produced now is very different from that produced 100 years ago;
modern dairy cows are frequently impregnated while still producing
milk (Webster, 2005). Two-thirds of milk in the UK is taken from
pregnant cows with the remainder coming from cows that have recently
given birth. This means that the hormone (oestrogen, progesterone and
androgen precursor) content of milk varies widely. It is the high
levels of hormones in milk that have been linked to the development of
hormone-dependent cancers such as ovarian and breast cancer.

In a review of the relationship between breast cancer incidence and
food intake among the populations of 40 different countries, a
positive correlation was seen between the consumption of meat, milk
and cheese and the incidence of breast (and ovarian) cancer. Meat was
most closely correlated with breast cancer incidence, followed by
cow’s milk and cheese. By contrast, cereals and pulses were negatively
correlated with the incidence of breast cancer. This review concluded
that the increased consumption of animal foods may have adverse
effects on the development of hormone-dependent cancers. Among dietary
risk factors of particular concern were milk and dairy products,
because so much of the milk we drink today is produced from pregnant
cows, in which oestrogen and progesterone levels are markedly elevated
(Ganmaa and Sato, 2005).

In addition to animal fat and various chemical contaminants, cow’s
milk and dairy products contain hormones and growth factors, which
have been implicated in the proliferation of human breast cancer
cells. In a review of the evidence linking dairy consumption with
breast cancer risk, researchers from Princeton University in New
Jersey concluded that milk may promote breast cancer by the action of
the growth factor IGF-1, which has been shown to stimulate the growth
of human breast cancer cells in the laboratory (Outwater et al.,
1997). In another review, examining the role of IGF-1 in cancer
development, Yu and Rohan state that IGFs play a critical role in
regulating cell growth and death. This function has led to speculation
about their involvement in cancer development. Laboratory experiments
demonstrate the ability of IGFs to stimulate growth of a wide range of
cancer cells and to suppress cell death or apoptosis (Yu and Rohan,
2000). The concern here is that if IGF-1 can cause human cancer cells
to grow in a Petri dish in the laboratory, they might have a
cancer-inducing effect when consumed in the diet. IGF-1 is present in
all milk and is not destroyed during pasteurisation. Dr J.L. Outwater
of the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in
Washington, DC, warns that IGF-1 may be absorbed across the gut and
cautions that regular milk ingestion after weaning may produce enough
IGF-1 in mammary tissue to encourage cell division thus increasing the
risk of cancer (Outwater et al., 1997).

In her book Your Life in Your Hands, Professor Jane Plant CBE, the
chief scientist of the British Geological Survey, describes a very
personal and moving story of how she overcame breast cancer by
excluding all dairy products from her diet (Plant, 2000). Plant was
diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. She had five recurrences of the
disease and by 1993 the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system. She
could feel the lump on her neck, and was told that she had just three
months to live, six if she was lucky. However, Plant was determined to
use her scientific training to find a solution to this ‘problem’. She
began researching breast cancer in other cultures and found a much
lower incidence in China. The data showed that in rural China breast
cancer affects just one in 10,000 women compared to one in 10 British
women (now one in nine). However, Plant observed that among wealthy
Chinese women with a more Western lifestyle (for example in Malaysia
and Singapore), the rate of breast cancer is similar to that in the
West. Furthermore, epidemiological evidence shows that when Chinese
women move to the West, within one or two generations their rates of
breast cancer incidence and mortality increase to match those of their
host country. This suggested that diet and lifestyle (rather than
genetics) must be a major determinant of cancer risk.

Plant decided to investigate the role of diet in breast cancer risk.
She examined the results of the China-Cornell-Oxford project on
nutrition, environment and health (Campbell and Junshi, 1994). This
project was based on national surveys conducted between 1983 and 1984
in China. The project was a collaboration between T. Colin Campbell at
Cornell University in the US, Chen Junshi from the Chinese Academy of
Preventative Medicine, in Beijing, China, Li Junyao at the Chinese
Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, and Richard Peto from Oxford
University in the UK. The project revealed some surprising insights
into diet and health. For example, it showed that people in China tend
to consume more calories per day that people in the US, but only 14
per cent of these calories come from fat compared to a massive 36 per
cent in the West. This coupled to the fact that Chinese people tend to
be more physically active than people in the West, is why obesity
affects far more people in the West than in China. However, Plant’s
diet had not been particularly high in fat; indeed she describes it as
very low in fat and high in fibre. Then Plant had a revelation: the
Chinese don’t eat dairy produce. Plant had been eating yogurt and
skimmed organic milk up until this time, but within days of ceasing
all dairy, the lump on her neck began to shrink. The tumour decreased
and eventually disappeared, leading her to the conviction that there
is a causal link between the consumption of dairy products and breast
cancer. Although Plant received chemotherapy during this time, it did
not appear to be working and so convinced was her cancer specialist
that it was the change in diet that saved her life, he now refers to
cancer mortality maps in his lectures and recommends a dairy-free diet
to his breast cancer patients.

Plant eventually defeated cancer by eliminating dairy products from
her diet, replacing them with healthy alternatives and making some
lifestyle changes. Plant advises that if you do only one thing to cut
your risk of breast cancer, make the change from dairy to soya (Plant,
2000). Providing breast cancer patients with sound dietary advice
could greatly increase survival rates. Taken together, these
observations show that a plant-based diet can reduce many of the risk
factors associated with breast cancer.

Colorectal (bowel) cancer
Cancers of the colon and rectum account for around one in every eight
newly diagnosed cancers in the UK and one in every nine deaths from
cancer (National Statistics, 2005a). In the UK it is the third most
common cancer in men, and the second most common cancer in women
(Cancer Research UK, 2005). Colorectal cancer occurs when the process
of cell renewal in the bowel goes wrong. Abnormal cells can form
polyps (small growths) which may develop into cancer. Risk factors for
colorectal cancer include poor diet, obesity, alcohol and smoking.

Although the causes of colorectal cancer are not known, it is thought
that there may be a link with a diet high in animal fats and protein
and low in fibre (NHS, 2006). To reduce the risk of developing
colorectal cancer, the Government recommends a healthy, balanced diet
including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (NHS, 2006). It is also
important to take regular physical exercise, maintain a healthy weight
and avoid alcohol and smoking.

The protective role of a whole grain plant-based diet containing
plenty of fruit and vegetables (and therefore fibre) is
well-documented. Two large-scale studies (both published in the
Lancet) have examined the relationship between diet and colorectal
cancer; both confirmed that as dietary fibre intake increases, the
risk of colorectal cancer decreases. In the first of these two
studies, a research team from the National Cancer Institute in the US
compared fibre intake of 3,591 people with at least one bowel adenoma
or polyp (a benign growth that may or may not transform to cancer),
with that of 33,971 people without polyps. They found that the
participants in the top 20 per cent for dietary fibre intake had 27
per cent lower risk of adenoma than people in the lowest 20 per cent
(representing a difference in fibre intake of 24 grams per day). It
was concluded that dietary fibre, particularly from grains, cereals
and fruits, was associated with a decreased risk of colorectal adenoma
(Peters et al., 2003). In the second even larger study, researchers
from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition
(EPIC) prospectively examined the association between dietary fibre
intake and incidence of colorectal cancer in 519,978 individuals aged
between 25 and 70 years-old, recruited from 10 different European
countries. Participants completed a dietary questionnaire between 1992
and 1998 and were followed up for cancer incidence on average 4.5
years later. Again, people with the highest fibre intake (35 grams per
day) had a 40 per cent lower risk of colorectal cancer compared to
those with the lowest intake (15 grams per day). In populations with
low average intake of dietary fibre, an approximate doubling of total
fibre intake from foods could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by
40 per cent (Bingham et al., 2003a). These studies provide convincing
evidence that increasing the amount of whole grains and fruit and
vegetables in the diet reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.

While it has been demonstrated that dietary fibre can protect again
colorectal cancer, evidence suggests that animal foods (animal fat and
animal protein) may be associated with increased colorectal cancer
risk. In another EPIC study, researchers prospectively followed
478,040 men and women from 10 European countries that were free of
cancer between 1992 and 1998. Information on diet and lifestyle was
collected and after a mean follow-up of 4.8 years, 1,329 cases of
colorectal cancer were documented. An investigation of the
relationship between intakes of red and processed meat, poultry and
fish revealed that colorectal cancer risk was positively associated
with intake of red and processed meat (Norat et al., 2005).

In a recent study, the association between the consumption of dairy
foods and calcium and colorectal cancer risk was assessed in a pooled
analysis of 10 cohort studies from North America and Europe (Cho et
al., 2004). In this study the authors concluded that the consumption
of milk and calcium were related to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
However, the inverse association between calcium (and by inference,
dairy) intake and colorectal cancer was only statistically significant
among those with the highest vitamin D intake. This may be either
because vitamin D enhances calcium absorption, or because vitamin D
itself may decrease colorectal cancer incidence (Garland, 1999). In
contrast to these findings, most prospective studies show only a
moderate and not statistically significant decrease in the risk of
colorectal cancer with increased dietary calcium intake (Ma et al.,
2001).

Furthermore, as with breast cancer, there are growing concerns that
the consumption of cow’s milk raises levels of IGF-1 in the blood
(either directly or indirectly). For example, in a study of 204
healthy men and women aged 55 to 85 years, three servings of non-fat
milk per day over 12 weeks increased blood serum levels of IGF-1 by 10
per cent (Heaney, 1999). Because elevated levels of IGF-1 are
associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer (Ma et al., 1999;
Giovannucci et al., 2000; Kaaks et al., 2000), an increase in IGF-1
attributable to the consumption of milk could potentially counter any
protective effect conferred by dietary calcium (and vitamin D in US
fortified milk). It may be that plant-based sources of calcium,
including non-oxalate dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, nuts,
seeds and pulses as well as fortified foods such as calcium-set tofu
(soya bean curd) and calcium-enriched soya milk, provide a safer
source of calcium. Vitamin D can be either obtained from the diet or
synthesised in the skin following exposure to sunlight.

Ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in the UK.
Around 6,900 new cases are diagnosed each year (Cancer Research UK,
2006). The ovaries are two almond shaped organs located on either side
of the uterus. They produce eggs and the reproductive hormones
(oestrogen and progesterone). The cause of ovarian cancer is unknown
however some risk factors have been identified. There may be an
increased risk for this disease among women: over the age of 65; who
have never been pregnant; who started having periods at an early age;
who had their first child after the age of 30 or who go through the
menopause after the age of 50. Furthermore, the prolonged use of
fertility drugs might increase the risk of ovarian cancer (Cancer
Research UK, 2006). Taking the combined contraceptive pill reduces the
risk of ovarian cancer: the longer you take the pill, the more the
risk is reduced (NHS Direct, 2006). Taken together, these risk factors
suggest that hormonal factors are involved in the development of
ovarian cancer although the precise mechanisms remain unclear.
Additional risk factors include a genetic component; a small number of
ovarian cancers (five to 10 per cent) are caused by an inherited
faulty gene (NHS Direct, 2006). The use of talcum powder in feminine
hygiene (direct application to the genital area) has also been
implicated (Cramer et al., 1999).

It has been suggested that the milk sugar lactose is a risk factor for
ovarian cancer. A positive relationship between ovarian cancer and
dairy products was first reported in the Lancet in 1989 when it was
suggested that lactose consumption may be a dietary risk factor for
ovarian cancer (Cramer et al., 1989). More recently, data collected
from the Harvard Nurses Health Study was used to assess the lactose,
milk and milk product consumption in relation to ovarian cancer risk
in over 80,000 women. Over 16 years of follow-up, 301 cases of one
particular type of ovarian cancer were confirmed in this study group.
Results showed that women who consumed the most lactose had twice the
risk of this type of ovarian cancer than women who drank the least
lactose. It was suggested that galactose (a component of lactose) may
damage ovarian cells making them more susceptible to cancer (Fairfield
et al., 2004).

In the same year, Susanna Larsson and colleagues of the Karolinska
Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, published a study in the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition that examined the association between
intakes of dairy products and lactose and the risk of ovarian cancer.
In this study of 61,084 women aged 38 to 76 years, the diet was
assessed over three years and after 13.5 years 266 participants had
been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Results showed that women
consuming four or more servings of dairy a day had double the risk of
ovarian cancer compared to low or non-dairy consumers. Milk was the
dairy product with the strongest positive association with ovarian
cancer. The authors of this study observed a positive association
between lactose intake and ovarian cancer risk and concluded that high
intakes of lactose and dairy products, particularly milk, are
associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer (Larsson et al.,
2004).

Larsson subsequently compared two groups of studies: three prospective
cohort studies and 18 case-control studies. The results of the three
prospective cohort studies showed a strong link between the intake of
total dairy foods, low-fat milk and lactose and the risk of ovarian
cancer. In contrast, the data from the 18 case-control studies failed
to show such a link. It was a stalemate with no clear conclusion
(Larsson et al., 2005). The differences between the findings of the
cohort and case-control studies might be explained by a number of
factors including selection bias (choosing individuals that are not
representative of the norm) or changes in the diet following cancer
diagnosis. Alternatively, the differences between the findings may be
due to the time interval between diet assessment and cancer diagnosis.
Cohort studies frequently record dietary practices many years before
illness occurs, which may make the data more likely to be accurate
compared to data collected in case-control studies which tends to be
collected at the time of diagnosis.

In a study examining the link between diet and ovarian cancer, ovarian
cancer incidence between 1993 and 1997 in different geographical
locations was coupled to food consumption data from FAOSTAT Database
Collections. The food items used for this study were animal fats, meat
(beef, pork, poultry, mutton and goat meat), eggs, butter, milk,
cereals, pulses, beans, soya beans, peas, fruits, vegetables, coffee,
tea and alcoholic beverages. Results showed that Iceland had the
highest rates of ovarian cancer affecting 16.2 women per 100,000,
followed by 15.2 in Sweden and 13.7 in the UK. The lowest rate per
100,000 was 1.6 for Korea, followed by 2.1 in Mali and 4.0 in both
China and Brazil. Again, results showed a strong link between dairy
foods and cancer: milk was most closely correlated with the incidence
of ovarian cancer, followed by animal fats and cheese. Conversely,
pulses were negatively correlated with the incidence of this cancer
(Ganmaa and Sato, 2005). This provides yet more evidence that
animal-based foods tend to increase the risk of disease while whole
grain plant-based diets reduce the risk.

In conclusion, the consumption of animal-based foods is associated
with an increased risk of certain hormone-dependent cancers. Milk and
dairy products are of particular concern: as already stated, most milk
drunk today is produced from pregnant cows, in which oestrogen and
progesterone levels are markedly elevated (Ganmaa and Sato, 2005).
While there are several candidate components of milk that may increase
the risk of ovarian and other hormone-dependent cancers, the precise
mechanisms underlying their action remain unclear. However, as milk
and dairy products have been identified as a risk factor for ovarian
cancer, it stands to reason that this particular risk can be reduced
by switching to a plant-based diet.

Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second most
common cause of male cancer deaths after lung cancer. Although it
rarely occurs in younger men, one in 14 men in the UK will be
diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives (Cancer
Research UK, 2005). Prostate cancer develops from cells within the
prostate gland which is the size of a walnut and lies directly under
the bladder. The prostate produces a protein called prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) which turns semen into liquid form (NHS Direct, 2006).
The majority of prostate cancers are slow growing and it may be some
time before any symptoms are noticed, which can make this disease less
treatable. Prostate cancer risk is associated with increasing age and
is higher in people whose father or brother suffered the disease at an
early age. Exposure to radioactive substances may increase the risk of
prostate cancer. As for other hormone-dependent cancers, the highest
incidence rates of prostate cancer occur in the developed world and
the lowest rates in Africa and Asia (however, African-American men are
more affected than white American men). This suggests that prostate
cancer risk is mainly determined by dietary and lifestyle factors.
This notion is supported by the observation that vegetarians are half
as likely to get prostate cancer as meat-eaters (NHS Direct, 2006).
This protection may be partly due to the protective role conferred by
selenium and lycopenes (found in vegetables, particularly tomatoes).


Figure 6.0 Incidence of and mortality from prostate cancer in selected
countries in 2002. Source: Cancer Research UK, 2005a.

Figure 6.0 shows how the incidence of prostate cancer varies widely
around the world with the highest incidence rates seen in the
developed world and the lowest rates occurring in Africa and Asia. The
lowest European rates are seen in southern Europe while the highest
occur in Finland and Sweden (Cancer Research UK, 2005a). Research
shows that prostate cancer rates are lower in countries with low
consumption rates of typical Western foods such as meat and dairy.

One of the earliest reports linking dairy consumption to prostate
cancer was published in the 1980s when a study of over 27,000
Californian Seventh-Day Adventists who had completed dietary
questionnaires 20 years earlier concluded that milk consumption was
positively associated with prostate cancer mortality (Snowdon, 1988).
Since then many more reports have confirmed an increased risk from the
consumption of dairy foods, although the mechanism underlying this
action remains unclear.

One possible mechanism for the action of milk in increasing prostate
cancer risk may involve the calcium in milk. Researchers from Harvard
Medical School have shown that high consumption of calcium is linked
to advanced prostate cancer (Giovannucci et al., 1998). However,
research on the roles of calcium and vitamin D in prostate cancer are
inconsistent. It has been suggested that calcium increases prostate
cancer risk by suppressing circulating vitamin D. In a study of 3,612
men observed between 1982 and 1992, 131 prostate cancer cases were
identified and dietary intake analysed (Tseng et al., 2005). Results
confirmed that dietary calcium was associated with an increased risk
whereas vitamin D was not associated.

Another study considered the oestrogen content of milk as a causal
factor, having noted that the typical Western diet (characterised by
milk and meat products) contains higher levels of oestrogen than the
foods eaten by Asian men who suffer much less from prostate cancer.
This study measured the hormone contents of two kinds of commercial
milks (from Holstein and Jersey cows) and found that levels were
markedly higher than they were 20 years ago. This was attributed to
modern dairy farming methods whereby around 75 per cent of commercial
milk comes from pregnant cows (Qin et al., 2004).
The growth factor IGF-1 has been associated with increased prostate
cancer risk in some epidemiologic studies, and as stated previously
the diet can influence IGF-1 concentrations in the blood. In a Swedish
study, levels of IGF-1 were measured in blood samples from over 800
men, 281 of whom were later diagnosed as having prostate cancer
(Stattin et al, 2004). A strong correlation between IGF-1 and prostate
cancer was observed and it was concluded that circulating IGF-1 levels
are associated with an increased risk for this disease. Campbell
suggests that IGF-1 is turning out to be a predictor of certain
cancers, including prostate, in much the same way that cholesterol is
a predictor of heart disease (Campbell and Campbell, 2005).

Interestingly, a study published in the British Journal of Cancer
noted that vegan men had a nine per cent lower serum IGF-1 level than
meat-eaters and vegetarians (Allen et al., 2000). In terms of
follow-up on cancer incidence it is still relatively early days, but
the EPIC-Oxford researchers intend to follow the long-term health of
participants of this and other studies based in the UK and Europe over
the next 10 years to identify any associations with dietary factors,
with particular emphasis on cancer incidence and mortality rates
(Davey et al., 2003).

While the precise molecular mechanism underlying the development of
prostate cancer remains unclear, the effects of changing diet have
produced positive results. Researchers at the Preventative Medicine
Research Institute in California evaluated the effects of dietary
changes in 93 volunteers who had chosen not to undergo conventional
treatment for early prostate cancer. This was a unique opportunity to
observe the effects of diet and lifestyle changes without the
confounding effects of radiation or surgery. Participants in the
lifestyle-change group were placed on a vegan diet consisting
primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes supplemented
with soya, vitamins and minerals. Two standard tests were used to
assess disease status. The first was a routine blood test measuring
PSA levels; this protein produced by the prostate gland can be used to
assess disease progression. The second test relied on differences in
the growth rates of a human prostate cancer cells (LNCaP) treated with
patient serum. This is a standard laboratory test used for evaluating
the effects of conventional treatments of prostate cancer.

While none of the experimental (vegan) patients underwent conventional
treatment during the study, six control patients underwent treatment
due to an increase in PSA and/or progression of the disease on
magnetic resonance imaging. PSA decreased four per cent in the
experimental group but increased six per cent in the control group.
Although the magnitude of these changes was relatively modest, the
direction of change may be clinically significant since an increase in
PSA predicts clinical progression in the majority of men with prostate
cancer. In the second test, the growth of LNCaP prostate cancer cells
was inhibited almost eight times more by serum from the experimental
than from the control group. Changes in serum PSA and also in LNCaP
cell growth were significantly associated with the degree of change in
diet and lifestyle. It was concluded that intensive lifestyle changes
may affect the progression of early, low grade prostate cancer (Ornish
et al., 2005).

Well over a decade ago, increasing the consumption of beans, lentils,
peas, tomatoes, raisins, dates and other dried fruit was associated
with a significantly decreased risk of prostate cancer (Mills et al.,
1989). A more recent study of over 47,000 men confirmed an inverse
link between fructose and prostate cancer indicating that eating fruit
offers some protection against prostate cancer (Giovannucci et al.,
1998). More recently, in a review of diet, lifestyle and prostate
cancer it was observed that while meat and dairy are associated with
an increased risk, the consumption of tomato products (which contain
the antioxidant lycopene), vitamin E and selenium supplements have all
been shown to decrease risk. A high level of physical activity was
also identified as a factor decreasing the risk of prostate cancer
(Wolk, 2005).
In summary, the data linking the consumption of cow’s milk and milk
products to cancer provides a convincing argument for eliminating
animal foods from the diet while increasing the intake of whole
grains, pulses, fruit and vegetables.
Ice
2006-07-03 15:02:48 UTC
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:58:26 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html

Colic
Colic was first mentioned in recorded history by the ancient Greeks
(Cirgin Ellett, 2003) yet in 2005 the cause remains unknown. Colic
occurs in around one in five newborn babies, it is characterised by
acute abdominal pain and the associated heart-wrenching crying that
any parent of a child with colic will recognise. An otherwise healthy
baby who cries excessively or inconsolably is often diagnosed as
suffering from colic. While the exact cause is unknown several factors
are thought to contribute including poor digestion, lactose
intolerance and wind. Colic tends to start at around two to four weeks
of age and has usually disappeared by around four months. In spite of
all the distress colic can cause to the baby and the parents, babies
with colic tend to feed and gain weight normally.

Since the 1970s, numerous studies have indicated that certain
components of cow’s milk may lead to colic. In a clinical trial to
test the effects of cow’s milk whey proteins, 24 out of 27 infants
with colic showed no symptoms of colic after whey protein was removed
from their diet. In fact crying hours per day dropped from 5.6 hours
to 0.7 hours (Lothe and Lindberg, 1989). In transient lactose
intolerance, the enzyme lactase is not produced while there is illness
in the gut, but is manufactured again once the gut has recovered. In a
review investigating transient lactose intolerance as a cause of
colic, a range of studies showed that crying time was reduced when
formula or breast milk was incubated with the enzyme lactase (Buckley,
2000). It has been suggested that infant colic has a multiple
aetiology; in other words, colic may be caused by a number of
different factors including whey proteins, lactose and others.

The fact that the incidence of colic is similar in formula fed and
breast fed infants has led scientists to investigate the role of the
maternal diet in this condition and many reports now link the maternal
intake of cow’s milk to the occurrence of colic in exclusively breast
fed infants. The breast milk of mothers who consume cow’s milk and
milk products has been shown to contain intact proteins from these
foods. To test the possible role of cow’s milk proteins in breast
milk, researchers have investigated the effects of eliminating all
dairy products from the mothers’ diet. An early report linking cow’s
milk proteins in human breast milk to infantile colic date back to a
letter published in the Lancet in the late 1970s (Jakobsson and
Lindberg, 1978). The letter described how the symptoms of colic
disappeared in 13 out of 19 infants whose mothers eliminated cow’s
milk from their diet. In a subsequent clinical trial designed by the
same researchers, 66 breast feeding mothers of infants with colic were
put on a diet free from cow’s milk. The colic disappeared in 35 of the
infants and subsequently reappeared in 23 of them when cow’s milk
protein was reintroduced to the mothers’ diet (Jakobsson and Lindberg,
1983). The authors suggest that a diet free of cow’s milk may be
useful as a first trial of treatment of infantile colic in breast fed
infants.

Researchers at the Washington School of Medicine in Missouri US found
that mothers of infants with colic had significantly higher levels of
the cow’s milk antibody immunoglobulin G (IgG) in their breast milk
than mothers of infants without colic (Clyne and Kulczycki, 1991). The
authors of this study suggest that bovine IgG present in breast milk
may be involved in the development of colic. This link was confirmed
more recently and again it was suggested that the maternal avoidance
of milk and dairy products may be an effective treatment for colic in
some breast fed infants (Estep and Kulczycki, 2000).

In a substantial review of 27 controlled trials published in the
British Medical Journal, the elimination of cow’s milk protein was
deemed to be a highly effective treatment for infantile colic. The
reviewers remained uncertain about the effectiveness of low lactose
formula milks and the effectiveness of substitution with soya-based
formula milks (although no adverse events were reported) while
supporting the substitution of normal cow’s milk formula for whey or
casein protein hydrolysate (hypoallergenic) formulas, in which the
milk protein is partially broken down to ease digestion (Lucassen,
1998).

Interestingly, Dr Benjamin Spock, author of the hugely popular book
Baby and Child (over 50 million copies sold worldwide) warns that the
proteins in cow’s milk formulas can cause colic (Spock and Parker,
1998). Spock acknowledges that some infants that are allergic to cow’s
milk formula may be allergic to soya-based infant formula as well and
that these infants are often given expensive hydrolysate formulas.
However, he states that soya formulas have an important advantage over
cow’s milk formulas in that they contain none of the animal proteins
linked with colic (and type I diabetes) and are free of lactose.

This said, it should be emphasised to parents who breast feed, it is a
good idea to continue breast feeding as weaning on to formula milk may
make the colic worse. If eliminating cow’s milk and milk products from
the maternal diet does not help, cutting out other foods may help.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota tested a range of foods
including cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts and
broccoli) in an elimination diet in mothers of babies with colic.
While the results showed that cow’s milk had the strongest association
with colic, other foods more weakly associated included onions,
chocolate, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower (Lust et al., 1996).
Constipation
Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements are infrequent or
incomplete. While it is normal for some people to go to the toilet
several times a day, others go less frequently. A change in the normal
frequency of trips to the toilet can be an indicator of constipation.
Similarly if you are going as frequently but having trouble passing
stools, having to strain, this too may indicate constipation. Common
symptoms include stomach ache and cramps, feeling bloated, nausea, a
sense of fullness, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue and depression
(NHS Direct, 2005).

Constipation may be caused by a range of factors including
insufficient fluid in the diet, lack of fibre (fruit, vegetables and
cereals) in the diet, lack of physical exercise, certain drugs
(diuretics or painkillers, antidepressants and antacids that contain
iron, calcium or aluminium), too much calcium or iron in the diet,
pregnancy, an excessive intake of tea or coffee (this increases urine
production and so decreases the amount of fluid in the bowel). Other
factors include surgery, haemorrhoids (piles) and psychological
problems such as anxiety. Constipation may be a symptom of another
medical condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The link between constipation and milk intolerance was first made in
medical literature in 1954 (Clein, 1954). More recently there have
been several studies published confirming that this link exits.
Researchers at the University of Palermo in Italy studied 65 children
(aged from 11 to 72 months) suffering from chronic constipation
(Iacono et al., 1998). All of these children had been treated with
laxatives without success. After 15 days of observations (in a
double-blind crossover study) each child received either cow’s milk or
soya milk for two weeks, and then had a week off when they could eat
and drink anything they wanted. Then the feeding order was reversed,
so that the group that had previously drunk cow’s milk switched to
soya and vice versa. The researchers (and children) were unaware of
the order of treatment. Careful recordings of the bowel habits were
made and a response to the treatment was defined as eight or more
bowel movements during the two week treatment period. Results showed
that 44 of the 65 children (68 per cent) had a response while
receiving soya milk compared to none of the children receiving cow’s
milk. The results were most dramatic in children who had frequent
runny noses, eczema or wheezing, which may have been a symptom of milk
allergy in these children. Sometimes however, constipation can be the
only symptom of cow’s milk intolerance or allergy. More recently
further research has confirmed the link between the consumption of
cow’s milk and constipation (Daher et al., 2001; Andiran et al., 2003;
Turunen, 2004).

Cow’s milk may lead to constipation by two distinct modes of action:
cow’s milk intolerance or cow’s milk allergy. In either case, studies
suggest that cow’s milk intolerance or allergy should be considered as
a cause of constipation although the underlying mechanism still
requires further investigation. In general it should be noted that
dairy products supply children with unnecessary saturated fat while
providing no dietary fibre whatsoever. Fibre is essential in the diet
to maintain good bowel health through regular movements.

Coronary heart disease
Diseases of the heart and circulatory system are collectively called
cardiovascular disease (CVD) and are the main cause of death in the
UK, killing one in every three people. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is
one of the two main forms of CVD along with stroke. CHD is the most
common cause of death in the UK; around one in five men and one in six
women die from this disease (Petersen et al., 2005).

CHD occurs when there is a build up of fatty deposits (plaques) along
the walls of the arteries that supply the heart with oxygenated blood.
These plaques build up and clog the arteries making them narrower and
restricting the blood flow. Blood clots can form at the site of a
plaque in the coronary artery and cut off the blood supply to the
heart. This can result in heart attack and sudden death. The plaques
that block the arteries are made up of a fatty substance that contains
cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for cells but too much can lead
to CHD. Lipoproteins carry cholesterol to and from the cells in the
blood. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) takes cholesterol from the liver
to the cells, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries excess
cholesterol back to the liver for excretion. HDL is known as the ‘good
fat’ while LDL (‘bad fat’) tends to build up on the walls of the
arteries increasing the risk of CHD.


Figure 7.0 Death rates from CHD for people aged under 65 from 1970 to
2002.
Source: BHF, 2005.

Figure 7.0 shows how the number of deaths from CHD has fallen markedly
since the 1970s. This may be because of improvements in treatment and
lifestyle. For example a vast improvement has been made in the speed
at which so-called clot-busting drugs are applied, which has had a
huge impact in preventing death. Furthermore, nearly two million
people receive drugs called statins that lower cholesterol levels and
reduce the risk of heart disease. Many people have given up smoking,
which has a significant effect on lowering the risk of heart disease.


Figure 8.0 Prevalence of CHD in England in 1994 and 2003.
Source: BHF, 2005a.

However, while fewer people are dying from CHD, the number of people
living with this disease is rising. Figure 8.0 shows that over ten
years, between 1994 and 2003, the number of women with CHD increased
from 4.1 per cent to 4.5 per cent, and the number of men with CHD
increased from 6.0 per cent to 7.4 per cent. There are now an
estimated 2.6 million people in the UK facing life with CHD (BHF,
2005a). Furthermore, concerns remain that the decline in deaths from
heart disease may be short lived due to the increasing levels of
inactivity, the rise in obesity, the increase in cholesterol levels
and the rise of type 2 diabetes.

The quest to identify the risk factors for CHD dates back over five
decades. In 1946 Los Angeles physician Dr Lester Morrison began a
study to determine the relationship of dietary fat intake to the
incidence of CHD (Morrison, 1960). He reduced the dietary fat intake
of 50 heart attack survivors and compared their health to 50 other
heart attack survivors whose fat intake was left unchanged. After
eight years, 38 of the control group had died compared to 22 of the
low-fat group. After 12 years, the entire control group had died but
19 of the low-fat diet group were still alive. Around the same time,
the residents of Framingham, just outside Boston Massachusetts in the
US, took part in a study to investigate the role of diet and lifestyle
in CHD. The study began in 1948, and by observing who suffered from
CHD and who did not, the Framingham Study established the concept of
risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension),
lack of physical exercise, smoking and obesity (Kannal et al., 1961).

In 1985, research published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association suggested that dairy products are a major source of
dietary saturated fat and cholesterol and that ingestion of high-fat
dairy products raises both total and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels
(Sacks et al., 1985). It is now widely accepted that diets high in
animal fats are unhealthy and that reducing the saturated fat intake
is very important for reducing the risk of CHD. The UK Government
recommends avoiding or cutting down on fatty foods including egg
yolks, red meat, butter, whole milk, cheese, cakes and chips to reduce
the intake of saturated fat (NHS Direct, 2006).

Dietary risk factors for CVD do not just apply to adults. A review on
infant feeding practices published in the US journal Pediatrics
suggested that the consumption of whole milk should be discouraged in
infants because of its potential role in atherosclerotic heart disease
(Oski, 1985). More recently the WHO stated that the current evidence
indicates undesirable effects of formula milk on CVD risk factors;
this is consistent with the observations of increased mortality among
older adults who were fed formula as infants (WHO/FAO, 2002).

A number of risk factors are now firmly associated with CHD including
high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, family history of
heart disease, diabetes, obesity and smoking. Additionally, there is
much evidence linking CHD to poor dietary practices, including the
high consumption of saturated fats, salt and refined carbohydrates,
and the low consumption of fruits and vegetables (WHO/FAO, 2002).

A certain amount of cholesterol is essential for good health, but high
cholesterol levels in the blood are associated with an increased risk
of CHD (and stroke). This is because cholesterol contributes towards
the build up of fatty plaques on the artery walls which results in the
narrowing of the arteries and can lead to a blockage and subsequent
failure or death of the organ that the artery provides blood to. The
organs affected often include the heart (heart attack) and brain
(stroke), but may affect other organs such as the kidneys (kidney
failure). But what determines blood cholesterol levels? Contrary to
popular belief, most of our cholesterol does not come from the diet
but is produced within the body by the liver. Only a small amount of
our cholesterol (estimates vary from 15 to 20 per cent) comes from the
diet. Cholesterol is found only in animal foods and is particularly
concentrated in eggs and organ meats. Even high-fat plant foods, such
as avocados, nuts and seeds, contain no cholesterol whatsoever, so a
plant-based vegan diet is cholesterol-free. We have no actual dietary
requirement for cholesterol, in other words we do not need to eat
foods that contain cholesterol as the liver can manufacture as much as
is required. However, there is no mechanism limiting the amount of
cholesterol produced by the liver and cholesterol production can rise
to unhealthy levels.

So what causes high cholesterol production in the liver? The answer
lies in the types of foods we eat: diets high in animal protein and
saturated animal fats have been shown to increase cholesterol. In The
China Study, Campbell observes that animal protein intake correlates
directly with heart disease incidence, which he attributes to the
cholesterol-raising effect of animal protein. Conversely, Campbell
notes that eating plant protein lowers cholesterol (Campbell and
Campbell, 2005). Studies have shown that replacing animal protein
(casein) with soya protein reduces blood cholesterol, even when the
fat intake remains unchanged (Lovati et al., 1987; Sirtori et al.,
1999). Exactly how soya protein lowers cholesterol is uncertain,
although a range of theories have been proposed. One hypothesis
suggests that the amino acid composition of soya protein causes
changes in cholesterol metabolism (possibly via the endocrine system).
Others propose that non-protein components (such as saponins, fibre,
phytic acid, minerals and isoflavones) associated with soya protein
affect cholesterol metabolism either directly or indirectly (Potter,
1995). The most popular theory currently accepted is that soya protein
reduces cholesterol metabolism in the liver by increasing the removal
of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. The precise mechanism is thought to involve
enhanced LDL-degradation and increased binding of LDL to receptors
(Sirtori et al., 1977).

The cholesterol-raising effects of saturated fat have received far
more attention than animal protein. In a review of the current
literature, researchers from the Department of Nutrition at the
Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, found
compelling evidence that the types of fat are more important than
total amount of fat in determining the risk of CHD (Hu et al., 2001).
Here the culprit is saturated fat, and controlled clinical trials have
shown that replacing this type of fat with polyunsaturated fat is more
effective in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of CHD than
reducing total fat consumption. Foods high in saturated fat include:
meat pies, sausages and fatty cuts of meat, butter, ghee, lard, cream,
hard cheese, cakes and biscuits and foods containing coconut or palm
oil (FSA, 2006). Like saturated fats, trans fats can also raise
cholesterol levels. Trans fats are found in foods that contain
hydrogenated fats, including processed foods such as biscuits, cakes,
fast food, pastry, margarines and spreads (FSA, 2006).

The good news is that there are foods that can reduce blood
cholesterol. Eating a diet that contains plenty of soluble fibre could
also help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Good
sources of soluble fibre include oats, beans, peas, lentils,
chickpeas, fruit and vegetables (FSA, 2006). Dr Dean Ornish, best
known for his Lifestyle Heart Trial, investigated the role of a
low-fat, high-fibre diet coupled to lifestyle changes in heart disease
patients. Ornish treated 28 heart disease patients with diet and
lifestyle changes alone. They followed a low-fat plant-based diet
including unrestricted amounts of fruits, vegetables and grains. They
also practised stress management techniques and exercised regularly.
After one year 82 per cent of the test group experienced regression of
their heart disease, including a 91 per cent reduction in the
frequency of heart pain compared to 165 per cent increase in the
control group (Ornish et al., 1990). No conventional drug or surgery
related therapies compare with these results (Campbell and Campbell,
2005).

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition
investigating the risk factors associated with CHD found that
African-American vegans exhibit a more favourable serum lipid profile
(a healthier balance of fats in the blood) compared to vegetarians who
ate milk, milk products and eggs (Toohey et al., 1998). This means
that the vegans had healthier levels of total cholesterol, LDL and HDL
in their blood compared to the vegetarians. The major factors
contributing to this result were thought to be the lower saturated fat
intake and higher fibre intake of vegans.

Examining the incidence of CHD in other cultures allows us to draw
conclusions about the role of diet in disease. Several studies have
shown that certified death rates from CHD are linked
country-by-country with milk consumption (Moss and Freed, 2003).

In The China Study, Campbell was astonished at the low rates of CHD in
the southwest Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou; between 1973
and 1975 not one single person died of CHD before the age of 64 among
246,000 men and 181,000 women (Campbell and Campbell, 2005). Campbell
suggests these figures reflect the important protective role of low
blood cholesterol levels observed in rural China.

A joint report between the Medical Research Council and the British
Heart Foundation states that the average blood total cholesterol level
for people aged 16 and above in the UK is about 5.5mmol/l. In China
(where there is much less heart disease), mean total cholesterol
levels in the cities are about 4.5mmol/l for men and women aged 35-64,
and levels in the countryside are even lower (MRC/BHF, 2006).
According to the WHO, about 56 per cent of global heart disease is
attributable to total cholesterol levels above 3.2mmol/l (WHO, 2006).
It could be argued that genetic differences between races may affect
the risk factors for CHD and other diseases. However, Campbell’s
observations that Japanese men in Hawaii and California have much
higher levels of blood cholesterol and incidence of CHD than Japanese
men in Japan confirms that some risk factors are environmental rather
than genetic.

Since the early 1990s the amino acid homocysteine has become the
subject of much interest among the scientific community. Evidence
suggests that homocysteine damages the lining of blood vessels and
enhances blood clotting. Elevated concentrations of homocysteine in
the blood have been linked to an increased risk for both heart disease
and stroke. Some studies suggest it may have an even more important
role in determining the health of individuals than cholesterol (Walsh,
2003). Homocysteine is converted into the amino acid methionine in the
presence of B12. In the same reaction, methyltetrahydrofolate is
converted to folate which is used in the synthesis of DNA. This entire
reaction relies on sufficient supplies of B12, B6 and folate. In B12
deficiency, the amount of homocysteine in the body can escalate to
potentially dangerous levels and has been linked to a range of
disorders including depression, dementia, damage to the inner lining
of the artery walls and may be a trigger for CHD. While increased
homocysteine levels have been observed in vegetarians and vegans they
do not occur in those ensuring an adequate B12 intake of three
micrograms per day, whereas elevated homocysteine levels are not
uncommon among meat-eaters due to a low folate intake (Walsh, 2003).
Additionally, elevated serum homocysteine levels tend to increase in
the elderly as incidence of B12 deficiency occurs more frequently.
Interestingly, a recent study showed how a daily serving of breakfast
cereal fortified with folic acid, B6 and B12 not only contributed to
the plasma status of these vitamins but significantly reduced
homocysteine concentrations in a randomly selected group of relatively
healthy 50-85-year-olds (Tucker et al., 2004).

The role of a vegetarian and vegan diet in nutrition and health was
examined among a large group of vegetarians in the Oxford Vegetarian
Study (Appleby et al., 1999). This was a prospective study of 6,000
vegetarians and 5,000 non-vegetarian controlled subjects recruited in
the UK between 1980 and 1984. In this study vegans had lower
cholesterol levels than meat-eaters (vegetarians and fish-eaters had
intermediate or similar values). Meat and cheese consumption were
positively associated, and dietary fibre intake was inversely
associated, with cholesterol levels. After 12 years of follow-up,
mortality from heart disease was positively associated with estimated
intakes of total animal fat, saturated animal fat and dietary
cholesterol. A subsequent review of the literature comparing the
health of Western vegetarians to non-vegetarians found that
vegetarians had lower cholesterol levels (by about 0.5mmol/l) and a
lower mortality from heart disease (by about 25 per cent). It was
suggested that widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet could prevent
approximately 40,000 deaths from heart disease in Britain each year
(Key et al., 1999).

Taken together, the evidence shows that a plant-based diet reduces the
risk of CHD. This may be for a range of reasons including the
cholesterol-lowering effect of fibre. It has been suggested that the
antioxidants (beta-carotene and vitamins C and E) contained in fruit
and vegetables and cereals prevent saturated fats from being converted
into cholesterol in your body (NHS Direct, 2006). Whatever the precise
mechanism, the evidence is clear: a plant-based diet containing plenty
of fruits and vegetables and whole grains reduces the risk of CHD.
There is much speculation about how the consumption of animal foods
increases the risk of CHD. Again, the precise mechanisms involved may
be unresolved, but it is clear that the more animal foods a person
eats, the higher their risk. In summary, animal protein and saturated
animals fats increase blood cholesterol and the risk of CHD while
plant protein and fibre lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk.
Therefore, to reduce the risk of CHD we should reduce the amount of
animal foods in the diet and eat more whole grain, plant-based foods.

There are of course other factors that can contribute to the risk of
CHD. Exercise is extremely important as it increases HDL cholesterol
levels, which in turn helps keep LDL cholesterol levels down. Exercise
also helps control weight. As stated, smoking is a major risk factor
of CHD as it hardens the arteries, causing them to narrow. Alcohol
consumption can increase the risk so it should be limited and binge
drinking avoided.

Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Its
symptoms are similar to other bowel conditions such as irritable bowel
syndrome (IBS) and another IBD ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease
commonly occurs in the ileum (the lower part of the small intestine),
but it can affect any part of the bowel. In fact it can occur anywhere
along the entire alimentary tract from the mouth to the anus. In most
cases though, Crohn’s disease occurs in sections of the bowel which
become inflamed, ulcerated and thickened. Symptoms include diarrhoea,
abdominal pain, weight loss and tiredness. According to the National
Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, the disease affects about
one in every 1,600 people in the UK. Other studies have reported
higher figures; up to one in 690 in one regional study. A reasonable
ballpark figure may be around one in every 1,000 people (FSA, 2002a).
Crohn’s disease affects men and women equally but occurs more commonly
in white than black people. It usually occurs in the age group between
15 and 40 although it can affect people of any age.

Although the cause of Crohn’s disease remains unclear, it may be due
to a combination of factors including a genetic predisposition, an
abnormal immune response and environmental factors, probably relating
to a response to microorganisms in the bowel but also possibly related
to other dietary factors (FSA, 2002a).

It has been proposed that an environmental factor leading to Crohn’s
disease is a pathogenic bacterium. The most popular candidate is the
infectious bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis
(MAP). MAP infection is widespread in domestic livestock and is
present in commercial pasteurised cow’s milk in the UK. There are
concerns that water supplies may also be contaminated. MAP is a robust
and versatile pathogen which has been shown to cause chronic
inflammation in the intestines of many species of animal, including
primates. MAP causes a chronic gastrointestinal infection called
Johne’s disease in cattle and other ruminants. However, the link
between MAP and Crohn’s has remained somewhat controversial.

An increasing amount of evidence now supports the causal link between
MAP and Crohn’s disease. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin
used a range of modern molecular techniques to search for and confirm
the presence of MAP in patients with IBDs including Crohn’s (Collins
et al., 2000). The results showed MAP was present in around 20 per
cent of Crohn’s patients compared to less than seven per cent of
controls (without Crohn’s). Although these results may not have
provided the substantive evidence initially anticipated the
researchers concluded that MAP (or some similar species) infects a
subset of IBD patients.

More recently, Professor John Hermon-Taylor and colleagues at St
George’s Hospital Medical School in London tested a group of patients
with and without Crohn’s disease for MAP (Bull et al., 2003). Using
improved molecular methods that increased the sensitivity of the
tests, this time 92 per cent of patients with Crohn’s disease tested
positive compared to 26 per cent of the controls. These patients were
from the UK, Ireland, US, Germany and United Arab Emirates, suggesting
exposure to this pathogen occurs on an international basis. The
discovery that MAP is present in the majority of Crohn’s patients
would suggest a causal link between this bacterium and the condition.
Since then, additional reports have confirmed MAP as a predominant
feature of Crohn’s disease (Autschbach et al., 2005; Sechi et al.,
2005).

But how does MAP infection occur? The answer may lie under our very
noses, depending on what we are drinking. MAP can survive the
pasteurisation process, indeed an FSA-commissioned survey in 2002
found MAP in two per cent of pasteurised milk on sale in the UK (FSA,
2002a). However, researchers from the Department of Surgery at St
George’s Hospital Medical School in London detected MAP in 22 of 312
(seven per cent) of samples of whole pasteurised cow’s milk obtained
from retail outlets throughout central and southern England from
September 1991 to March 1993. Alarmingly this study revealed the
presence of peak periods in January to March and in September to
November, when up to 25 per cent of samples tested positive for MAP
(Millar et al., 1996). Taken together with data on the prevalence of
MAP infection in herds in the UK, the known secretion of MAP in milk
from infected animals, and the inability of laboratory conditions
simulating pasteurisation to ensure the killing of all these
slow-growing organisms, the authors of this study concluded that there
is a high risk, particularly at peak times, that residual MAP will be
present in retail pasteurised cow’s milk in England. In response to
concerns about the presence of MAP in retail milk, the FSA devised a
strategy to control MAP in milk at all stages of the food chain (FSA,
2003). This strategy aims to ensure hygienic milking practices and
effective pasteurisation of milk and reduce the level of MAP in dairy
herds. Of course the overall aim is to reduce the likelihood of
consumers being exposed to MAP. However, this strategy does not
consider alternative routes of exposure.

MAP is a robust organism which can survive for months or even years in
the environment which is a cause of much concern as infected animals
excrete huge numbers of MAP in their faeces. In South Wales,
researchers sampled river water from the Taff which runs off the hills
and through the city of Cardiff and detected MAP in 32.3 per cent of
the samples (Pickup et al., 2005). The hills are grazed by livestock
in which MAP is endemic. Previous research in Cardiff has shown a
steep increase in the incidence of Crohn’s disease. Given that
inhalation is a probable route of MAP infection in cattle, it was
suggested that the pattern of clustering of Crohn’s disease in Cardiff
may be due to people inhaling aerosols carrying MAP from the river.
Avoiding dairy products alone may not be enough to ensure avoiding
exposure to MAP (although if everyone reduced their intake of animal
products there would be fewer cattle and therefore less MAP present in
the environment).

For patients that have developed Crohn’s disease avoiding foods that
precipitate the symptoms has proved to be a successful way of avoiding
drug (corticosteroid) therapy. In the Lancet in 1993, researchers from
a Cambridge hospital reported that altering the diet was as effective
in producing remission of Crohn’s disease as corticosteroid treatment
thus providing an alternative therapeutic strategy to treating
Crohn’s. The research showed that the food intolerances were
predominantly to cereals, dairy products and yeast (Riordan et al.,
1993). Manipulating the diet rather than relying on drug therapy may
be particularly important as corticosteroid treatment in patients with
Crohn’s disease has been linked to osteoporosis (Dear et al., 2001).
Ice
2006-07-03 15:03:48 UTC
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:58:26 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html

Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by too much sugar
(glucose) in the blood. Blood sugar levels rise when there is not
enough insulin in the blood or the insulin that is in the blood does
not work properly. Insulin is an important hormone secreted by the
beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. It regulates
blood sugar levels by, for example, promoting the uptake of glucose
into the cells. When things go wrong, high levels of glucose in the
blood can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels. Without
treatment diabetes can lead to long-term health problems including
kidney failure, gangrene, sensory loss, ulceration, blindness,
cardiovascular disease and stroke.

There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 (insulin-dependent
diabetes) occurs when the body produces little or no insulin. People
who have type 1 diabetes must check the levels of glucose in their
blood regularly and will need treatment for the rest of their lives.
Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile-onset diabetes because it
tends to develop before the age of 40, often in the teenage years. The
peak age for diagnosis in the UK is between 10 and 14 years but is
becoming younger with a steep rise in the under fives (Williams and
Pickup, 2004). Symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate, extreme
thirst and hunger, weight loss, fatigue, irritability and nausea. The
cause of type 1 diabetes is poorly understood, but some evidence
suggests it involves a combination of genetic factors and
environmental triggers. Type 1 diabetes is usually treated with
regular injections of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes occurs either when the body does not produce enough
insulin or when it cannot use the insulin produced. This type of
diabetes is linked with obesity. Over 80 per cent of people with type
2 diabetes are overweight (NHS Direct, 2005). Type 2 diabetes occurs
mostly in people over the age of 40, but is now increasingly affecting
people at a much younger age. Symptoms include tiredness,
irritability, nausea, hunger, weight loss, recurrent skin infections,
blurred vision, tingling sensations in the hands and feet and dry,
itchy skin. Not all symptoms occur and those that do might be subtle
and may go unnoticed for years. Blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes
can be controlled by lifestyle changes including regular exercise
coupled to diet control and weight loss. Type 2 diabetes accounts for
over 80 per cent of all cases of diabetes seen. While rising obesity
levels have contributed to the increase in the incidence of type 2
diabetes, the increase in obesity does not explain the threefold
increase in the number of cases of type 1 diabetes seen over the last
30 years. This is the most common form of the disease in children;
over 90 per cent of children under the age of 16 with diabetes have
type 1.

A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, develops in some women
during pregnancy but usually disappears after giving birth.

Diabetes affects over one million people in the UK but there may be as
many as a million others who have the disease but do not know it yet.
The WHO describes the global rise in diabetes as epidemic (WHO,
2006a). In 1985 an estimated 30 million people worldwide had diabetes;
a decade later this figure had increased to 135 million and by 2000 an
estimated 171 million people had diabetes. It is predicted that at
least 366 million people will have diabetes by 2030 (WHO, 2006a). The
increase in diabetes is attributed to a range of factors including
population growth, ageing, unhealthy diets that are high in saturated
fat and cholesterol, obesity and lack of physical exercise.

Diabetes has become one of the major causes of premature illness and
death in many, but not all, countries. Indeed, diabetes occurs much
more in some parts of the world, principally in developed countries.
Diabetes tends to occur more in cultures consuming diets high in
animal fats and less in cultures consuming diets high in complex
carbohydrates. As carbohydrate intake increases and saturated animal
fat intake decreases from country to country, the number of deaths
from type 2 diabetes plummets from 20.4 to 2.9 people per 100,000
(Campbell and Campbell, 2005).

In England and Wales, the rates of diabetes fell markedly between 1940
and 1950. This is because during the Second World War, and in the
period following it, people tended to eat less fat and sugar and more
plant foods, and therefore more fibre, antioxidants, complex
carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals (Trowell, 1974). All available
land was used; many people grew their own vegetables and vegetable
patches were cultivated all over the country. Gardens, flowerbeds and
parks were dug up and planted with vegetables; even the moat around
the Tower of London (drained in 1843) was used for growing vegetables.
Then as rationing came to an end and people moved away from whole
grains towards a more processed diet, rates of diabetes increased
again (Trowell, 1974). The conclusion must be that a
high-carbohydrate, low-fat plant-based diet offers some protection
against type 2 diabetes.

The risk factors for type 2 diabetes (obesity, poor diet and lack of
exercise) are well-documented and there are many steps people can take
to limit their chances of developing type 2 diabetes. One obvious step
is to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the diet, this means
cutting down on meat and dairy and increasing the intake of fruit,
vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. Large,
population-based studies in China, Canada, USA and several European
countries suggest that even moderate reduction in weight and half an
hour of walking each day reduces the risk of diabetes considerably
(WHO, 2006a).

A study of the relationship between diet and chronic disease in a
cohort of 34,192 California Seventh-day Adventists revealed that the
vegetarian Adventists were much healthier than their meat-eating
counterparts: the meat-eaters were twice as likely as the vegetarians
to suffer from diabetes (Fraser, 1999). This study also revealed that
obesity increased as meat consumption increased; the difference
between vegetarian and non-vegetarian men and women was 6.4kg and
5.5kg respectively (Fraser, 1999).

The importance of high-fibre diets in diabetes has been studied
extensively since the 1970s by James Anderson, Professor of Medicine
at the University of Kentucky. Anderson used a high-fibre,
high-carbohydrate low-fat diet to treat 25 type 1 and 25 type 2
diabetics (Anderson, 1986). The experimental diet consisted mostly of
whole plant foods (although it did contain a small amount of meat).
After three weeks, Anderson measured blood sugar levels, weight and
cholesterol levels and calculated their medication requirements. The
results were astounding. Remember in type 1 diabetes no insulin is
produced so it seems unlikely that a change in diet would help.
However, Anderson’s patients required 40 per cent less insulin
medication than they had needed before the trial. In addition to this,
their cholesterol levels dropped by an average of 30 per cent too.
This is just as important in lowering the risk factors for secondary
outcomes of diabetes such as heart disease and stroke. Type 2 diabetes
is generally more treatable and the results among the type 2 patients
were even more impressive: 24 out of the 25 participants consuming the
high-fibre, low-fat diet were able to stop taking their insulin
medication completely! These benefits were not of a temporary nature,
indeed they were sustained over time in a group of 14 diabetic men
continuing on the high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet for four years
(Story et al., 1985). The evidence is overwhelming: a
high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet provides effective, positive and
safe treatment for diabetes and lowers the associated risk for
coronary artery disease (Anderson et al., 1990). Of course it should
be noted that this is not a special diet for diabetics; most people
would benefit from increasing their fibre intake while reducing the
amount of fat they consume.

In 2000 an extensive study of children from 40 different countries
confirmed a link between diet and incidence of type 1 diabetes
(Muntoni et al., 2000). The study set out to examine the relationship
between dietary energy from major food groups and incidence of type 1
diabetes. The total energy intake was not associated with type 1
diabetes incidence. However, energy from animal sources (meat and
dairy foods) was associated and energy from plant sources was
inversely associated with diabetes. This means that the more meat and
milk in the diet, the higher the incidence of diabetes and the more
plant-based food in the diet, the lower the incidence.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system’s
‘soldiers’, known as T-cells, destroy the body’s own insulin-producing
beta cells in the pancreas. This type of response is thought to
involve a genetic predisposition (diabetes in the family) coupled to
an environmental trigger. The trigger may be a virus or some component
of food. In the early 1990s a Canadian research group suggested that
cow’s milk proteins might be an important environmental trigger
providing specific peptides that share antigenic epitopes with host
cell proteins (Martin et al., 1991). This means that the proteins in
cow’s milk look the same as proteins in our own bodies; these
similarities can confuse our immune system and initiate an
inappropriate (autoimmune) response that can lead to diabetes.

The milk protein casein is similar in shape to the insulin-producing
cells in the pancreas. Because the body may perceive casein as a
foreign invader and attack it, it may also start to attack the
pancreas cells having confused them for casein, again leading to
diabetes (Cavallo et al., 1996). Some studies have suggested that
bovine serum albumin (BSA) is the milk protein responsible. In a study
of 142 children with type 1 diabetes, all the diabetic patients had
higher serum concentrations of anti-BSA antibodies compared to 79
healthy children (Karjalainen et al., 1992). These antibodies may
react with proteins on the surface of the beta cells of the pancreas
and so interfere with insulin production.

Other studies suggest it is the cow’s insulin present in formula milk
that increases the risk of type 1 diabetes in infants (Vaarala et al.,
1999). Research shows that some infants may be more vulnerable to type
1 diabetes later in life if exposed to cow’s milk formula while very
young. A Finnish study of children (with at least one close relative
with type 1 diabetes) examined whether early exposure to insulin in
cow’s milk formula increased the risk of type 1 diabetes. Results
showed that infants given cow’s milk formula at three-months-old had
immune systems which reacted far more strongly to cow’s insulin
(Paronen et al., 2000). This raises concerns that exposure to cow’s
insulin plays a role in the autoimmune process leading to type 1
diabetes.

A review of the clinical evidence suggests that the incidence of type
1 diabetes is related to the early consumption of cow’s milk; children
with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have been breast fed for less
than three months and to have been exposed to cow’s milk protein
before four months of age (Gerstein et al., 1994). The avoidance of
cow’s milk during the first few months of life may reduce the risk of
type 1 diabetes. Infants who cannot breast feed from their mothers may
benefit more from taking a plant-based formula such as soya-based
formula rather than one based on cow’s milk. Other studies support the
finding that both early and adolescent exposure to cow’s milk may be a
trigger for type 1 diabetes (Kimpimaki et al., 2001; Thorsdottir and
Ramel, 2003).

Taken together, the evidence suggests that avoiding milk and milk
products may offer protection from diabetes (types 1 and 2).

Dementia
Obesity is epidemic in Western societies and constitutes a major
public health concern. A recent study published in the British Journal
of Medicine reports that being obese during middle-age can increase
the risk of developing dementia later in life (Whitmer et al., 2005).
The research is based on data collected from detailed health checks
made on 10,276 men and women between 1964 and 1973 (when they were
aged 40 to 45). Dementia was diagnosed in seven per cent of
participants between 1994 and 2003. Results showed that being obese
increased the risk of dementia by 74 per cent while being overweight
increased it by 35 per cent. The link between obesity and dementia in
women was stronger than that in men. This is in agreement with a
Swedish study which found that the higher a woman’s body mass index
(BMI), the greater the risk of dementia (Gustafson et al., 2003). In
this study the relationship between BMI and dementia risk was
investigated in 392 Swedish adults who were assessed between the ages
of 70 and 88. During the 18-year study, 93 participants were diagnosed
as having dementia. Women who developed dementia had a higher average
BMI compared to women without dementia. For every one unit increase in
BMI at age 70 years, the risk of dementia increased by 36 per cent.
This raises concerns that the current obesity epidemic could lead to a
steep rise in the numbers of people suffering from dementia in the
future. The evidence suggests that leading a healthy lifestyle could
help to reduce the risk of dementia (See Overweight and obesity).

Ear infection
The most common type of ear infection (otitis media) affects the
middle ear, the space between the eardrum and the inner ear. The
middle ear is usually filled with air but it can fill up with fluid
(during a cold for example) and ear infections happen when bacteria,
viruses or fungi infect the fluid and cause swelling in the ear. Ear
infections are common in childhood and can be extremely painful,
causing a considerable amount of distress. Chronic otitis media is
when ear infections keep recurring, for example Glue ear is a type of
chronic otitis media. Ear infection is the most common health problem
doctors see in young children with around one in 10 children having an
ear infection by the time they are three months old (NHS Direct,
2005). It can be a serious problem; otitis media is the most common
cause of hearing loss in children today (Bernstein, 1993).

Ear infections are often linked to colds or other problems of the
respiratory system. However, recent reports link ear infections to
food allergies (Hurst, 1998; Aydogan et al., 2004; Doner et al.,
2004). Researchers from Georgetown University in the US examined the
role of food allergy in ear infection in 104 children with recurrent
ear problems (Nsouli et al., 1994). The children were tested for food
allergies and those who tested positive excluded that particular food
for 16 weeks, then reintroduced it. Results showed that 78 per cent of
the children with ear problems also had food allergies, the most
common allergenic foods were cow’s milk (38 per cent), wheat (33 per
cent), egg white (25 per cent), peanut (20 per cent) and soya (17 per
cent). 86 per cent of these children responded well to eliminating the
offending food, and of these, 94 per cent suffered a recurrence of ear
problems on reintroducing the offending food.

A different approach was taken in a Finnish study of 56 children with
cow’s milk allergy and 204 children without cow’s milk allergy. These
researchers examined the occurrence of ear infection in children known
to have cow’s milk allergy. Results showed that 27 per cent of those
with the allergy suffered from recurrent ear infections compared to
just 12 per cent of those who did not have the allergy (Juntti et al.,
1999). It was concluded that children with cow’s milk allergy
experience significantly more ear infections.

Dr John James of the Colorado Allergy and Asthma Centres in the US
suggests that food allergies can cause inflammation in the nasal
passages and lead to the build up of fluid in the middle ear, but he
acknowledges that the link between food allergy and ear infection may
be hard to prove (James, 2004). The possibility of cow’s milk allergy
should be considered in all cases of ear infection, particularly in
children.

Food poisoning
Food poisoning is a common, often mild, but sometimes deadly illness
(NHS, 2006). It is caused by the consumption of food or drink that is
contaminated with bacteria, parasites or viruses. Most cases result
from bacterial contamination. Food poisoning happens in one of two
ways: either in the food (for example in undercooked meat or
unpasteurised milk), or on the food (if it is prepared by someone who
has not washed their hands). The length of the incubation period (the
time between swallowing the bacteria and symptoms appearing) varies
from hours to days, depending on the type of bacteria and how many
were swallowed. The most common symptoms of food poisoning are
sickness, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. According to the
Food Standards Agency, it is estimated that over five million people
in the UK are affected by food poisoning each year (NHS Direct, 2006).
It usually lasts for less than three days, but can continue for up to
a week. The greatest danger lies in the loss of fluids and salts from
prolonged diarrhoea. The results can be deadly in infants and over
60s. Also, in these patients, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream
infecting other parts of the body and may cause death unless the
person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Most cases of food poisoning are related to the consumption of animal
products (meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy) as plants tend not to
harbour the types of bacteria capable of causing food poisoning in
humans. Intensive animal husbandry technologies, introduced to
minimise production costs, have led to the emergence of new zoonotic
diseases – animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans (WHO,
2006b). Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 was identified for the first
time in 1979 and has since caused illness and deaths (especially among
children) owing to its presence (in several countries) in minced beef,
unpasteurised cider, cow’s milk, manure-contaminated lettuce and
alfalfa and manure-contaminated drinking-water (WHO, 2006b). In a
joint report between the FSA Scotland and the Scottish Executive it
was noted that the main source of E. coli O157 is from cattle and
sheep, but that more cases of E. coli O157 are now associated with
environmental contamination, including contact with animal faeces or
contamination by faeces of water supplies, than with food (FSA/SE,
2001). If plants do cause food poisoning it is generally because they
have been contaminated with animal excreta, human sewerage or handled
with dirty hands during preparation. Safe disposal of manure from
large-scale animal and poultry production facilities is a growing food
safety problem in much of the world (WHO, 2006b).

The most common cause of food poisoning in the UK is the bacterium
Campylobacter, which has been found in poultry, unpasteurised milk,
red meat and untreated water. The next most common cause is
Salmonella, which has been found in unpasteurised milk, eggs, meat and
poultry (NHS Direct, 2005). Salmonella causes the greatest number of
deaths: 119 deaths England and Wales in 2000 (POST, 2003). In a small
number of cases, people infected with Salmonella will go on to develop
pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes and painful urination;
this is called Reiter’s syndrome and can last for months or years and
may lead to chronic arthritis (Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 2006). Listeria, sometimes found in soft cheeses and
pates, can cause severe illness (listeriosis) in vulnerable groups
such as pregnant women, babies, the elderly and people with reduced
immunity. The Government advises pregnant women to avoid soft
mould-ripened cheese, such as Camembert and Brie, blue cheese and all
types of meat pâté. Other bacteria that can cause food poisoning
include species of Staphylococcus and Clostridium. Certain strains of
otherwise normal intestinal bacteria can cause food poisoning. For
example, E. coli is usually harmless but the strain E. coli O157 can
cause kidney failure and death.

The majority of food poisoning cases in the UK are caused by consuming
contaminated meat or dairy products. For example, of the
Staphylococcal food poisonings reported in the UK between 1969 and
1990, 53 per cent were due to meat products (especially ham), 22 per
cent were due to poultry, eight per cent were due to milk products,
seven per cent to fish and shellfish and 3.5 per cent to eggs (Wieneke
et al., 1993).

While most cases of food poisoning are associated with meat and
poultry, the link between milk products and food poisoning should not
be discounted: 20 separate outbreaks of food poisoning in England and
Wales associated with the consumption of milk and dairy products were
reported to the Public Health Laboratory Service Communicable Disease
Surveillance Centre between 1992 and 1996 (Djuretic et al., 1997). 600
people were affected and over 45 were admitted to hospital. Salmonella
species were responsible for 11 of the outbreaks, Campylobacter
species for five, E. coli O157 for three and Cryptosporidium parvum
for one. Outbreaks were associated with hotels, a psychogeriatric
hospital, schools, a Royal Air Force base, a farm visit, an outdoor
festival and milk supplied directly from farms. Milk was implicated in
16 of the outbreaks, 10 of which were associated with unpasteurised
milk. Two outbreaks were associated with eating contaminated ice-cream
and two with eating contaminated cheese.

Food poisoning may result from milk and milk products if they have not
been properly heated (pasteurised) or if they have become contaminated
following pasteurisation. A report published in the New England
Journal of Medicine reported how 142 cases of listeriosis in Los
Angeles in 1985 led to 48 deaths (Linnan, 1988). An extensive
investigation traced the source to a cheese factory where it was found
that a Mexican-style soft cheese had been contaminated with
unpasteurised milk.

Bacteria are too small to see and they do not taste or smell of
anything so it is difficult to detect their presence. The risk of food
poisoning can be minimised by following some basic hygiene rules. This
means washing hands before handling food, washing salads thoroughly
(to remove contaminating bacteria from manure for example), making
sure all food is covered and chilled. If meat is to be consumed it
must be thawed and cooked properly to kill harmful bacteria. It is
important to keep raw meat (and its juices) away from other foods.
Avoiding unpasteurised milk, raw eggs and undercooked meat further
reduces the risk of food poisoning. Of course the safest option is to
follow a plant-based diet free of red meat, poultry, fish, milk and
eggs. Excluding animal foods from the diet will dramatically decrease
the risk of food poisoning.

Gallstones
Gallstones are solid pieces of stone-like material that form in the
gall bladder, which is a small organ on the right hand side of the
body, below the liver. It stores a green liquid called bile, which is
produced by the liver to help the body digest fats. As we eat, bile is
released from the gall bladder into the intestines through a thin tube
called the bile duct.

Gallstones are formed when some of the chemicals stored in the gall
bladder harden into a solid mass. They may be as small as a grain of
sand or as large as a golf ball. Some people may have one large stone
while others may have many small ones. About one in 10 people over 50
in the UK have gallstones.

Gallstones are made up from a mixture of water, cholesterol and other
fats, bile salts and the pigment bilirubin. They occur when the
composition of the bile is abnormal, the outlet from the gall bladder
is blocked (perhaps by infection), or if there is a family history of
gallstones. Gallstones can cause inflammation of the gall bladder
(cholecystitis), which may then block the bile duct leading to
obstructive jaundice. The passage of a gallstone along the bile duct
to the duodenum can be extremely painful.

Obesity is a major risk factor for gallstones, especially in women,
who are twice as likely as men to develop gallstones. Risk increases
with age; people over 60 are at a higher risk. Diet is also a causal
factor. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 1985
reported that meat-eaters are twice as likely to develop gallstones as
vegetarians (Pixley et al., 1985). Since then the low incidence of
gallstones in vegetarians compared to meat-eaters has been well
documented (Key et al., 1999). Indeed vegetarian diets have been shown
to be beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of gallstones
(Leitzmann, 2005). The main risk factors appear to be low fibre
intake, high saturated fat and cholesterol intake and obesity. A
recent Australian study reported an inverse association between
dietary fibre and gallstones (Segasothy and Phillips, 2000). In other
words, the more fibre in the diet, the lower the risk of gallstones.
Polish researchers examined the diets of patients suffering from
gallstones and found that they were characterised by their low fibre
diet (Ostrowska et al., 2005). Patients with gallstones ate less
wholemeal products, fruit and vegetables and pulses. Furthermore,
obese women with gallstones ate significantly more milk, yogurt, meat
and meat products.

It is important is to eat as healthily as possible. If you are
overweight, losing some weight may help. A well-balanced diet, which
includes vegetables, fruit, and whole wheat cereals including bread
and is low in animal fat, is considered the best for most people
(British Liver Trust, 2005).
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone produced in the
liver and body tissues of mammals. One important role for IGF-1 is to
promote cell growth and division, this is important for normal growth
and development. IGF-1 from cows is identical to human IGF-1 in that
the amino acid sequence of both molecules is the same (Honegger and
Humbel, 1986). Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and
there are 20 different amino acids. All proteins consist of amino
acids joined together like beads on a string and the nature of the
protein (how it behaves) is determined by the order in which the amino
acids occur along the string. In both human and bovine IGF-1 the same
70 amino acids occur in exactly the same order, which would suggest
that bovine IGF-1 behaves the same way in humans as it does in cows.
As previously stated, the use of recombinant bovine somatotrophin
(rBST) in cows increases levels of IGF-1 in their milk, however, it
should be noted that cow’s milk from cows that are not treated with
rBST also contains IGF-1.

It has been suggested that IGF-1 is not destroyed during
pasteurisation. Furthermore it has also been suggested that it is not
completely broken down in the gut and that it may cross the intestinal
wall in the same way that another hormone, epidermal growth factor
(EGF), has been shown to do. EGF is protected from being broken down
when food proteins (such as the milk protein casein) block the active
sites of the digestive enzymes (Playford et al., 1993). This allows
the molecule to stay intact and cross the intestinal wall and enter
the blood. This raises concerns that IGF-1 from cow’s milk could
increase normal blood IGF-1 levels and so increase the risk of certain
cancers linked to IGF-1.

As stated, IGF-1 regulates cell growth, development and division; it
can stimulate growth in both normal and cancerous cells. Even small
increases in serum levels of IGF-1 in humans are associated with
increased risk for several common cancers including cancers of the
breast, prostate, lung and colon (Wu et al., 2002). The link between
IGF-1 and cancer is becoming increasingly apparent in the scientific
literature.

In the first prospective study to investigate the relationship between
the risk of breast cancer and circulating IGF-1 levels, researchers at
Harvard Medical School analysed blood samples originally collected
from 32,826 women aged between 43 and 69 years during 1989 and 1990.
From this group, 397 women were later diagnosed with breast cancer.
Analysis of IGF-1 levels in samples collected from these women
compared to samples from 620 controls (without breast cancer) revealed
a positive relationship between circulating IGF-1 levels and the risk
of breast cancer among premenopausal (but not postmenopausal) women.
It was concluded that plasma IGF-1 concentrations may be useful in the
identification of women at high risk of breast cancer (Hankinson et
al., 1998a).
To investigate the link between prostate cancer risk and plasma IGF-1
levels, a study was conducted on 152 men with prostate cancer and 152
men without the disease. Analysis revealed a strong positive
association between IGF-1 levels and prostate cancer risk (Chan et
al., 1998). In agreement, a Swedish study compared IGF-1 levels in 210
prostate cancer patients with those in 224 men without the disease and
found that there was a strong positive correlation between the risk of
prostate cancer and raised serum levels of IGF-1. It was concluded
that high levels of IGF-1 may be an important predictor for risk of
prostate cancer (Wolk et al., 1998).

In a study into the link between the risk of lung cancer and IGF-1,
serum IGF-1 levels were measured in 204 lung cancer patients
registered at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre and
compared to those in 218 people without lung cancer. Results showed
that high levels of IGF-1 were associated with an increased risk of
lung cancer (Yu et al., 1999).

In order to assess colorectal cancer risk in relation to IGF-1, a
research group at Harvard Medical School analysed blood plasma samples
originally collected from a pool of 14,916 men. In a 14-year follow-up
of these men, 193 had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Analysis
of IGF-1 levels in samples taken from these men and 318 controls
revealed an increased risk for colorectal cancer among the men who had
the highest levels of circulating IGF-1 and it was concluded that
circulating IGF-1 is related to future risk of colorectal cancer (Ma
et al., 1999).

In summary, the literature strongly supports a link between high
circulating IGF-1 levels and cancer, but what has this to do with the
consumption of cow’s milk and dairy products? The answer is a lot:
circulating IGF-1 levels are higher in people who consume milk and
dairy products. Researchers at Bristol University investigating the
association of diet with IGF-1 in 344 disease-free men found that
raised levels of IGF-1 were associated with higher intakes of milk,
dairy products and calcium while lower levels of IGF-1 were associated
with high vegetable consumption, particularly tomatoes. In their
study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, it was concluded
that IGF-1 may mediate some diet-cancer associations (Gunnell et al.,
2003).

US researchers from Harvard Medical School and Bringham and Women’s
Hospital in Boston also investigated the link between IGF-1 levels and
diet. They examined circulating IGF-1 levels in 1,037 healthy women.
The most consistent finding was a positive association between
circulating IGF-1 and protein intake; this was largely attributable to
cow’s milk intake (Holmes et al., 2002). In another study, researchers
at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Washington
investigated the link between plasma levels of IGF-1 and lifestyle
factors in 333 people thought to be representative of the general
population. They too found that milk consumption was linked to IGF-1
levels (Morimoto et al., 2005). One study actually quantified the
effect of cow’s milk on circulating IGF-1 levels in 54 Danish boys
aged 2.5 years. In this study an increase in cow’s milk intake from
200 to 600ml per day corresponded to a massive 30 per cent increase in
circulating IGF-1. It was concluded that milk contains certain
compounds that stimulate IGF-1 concentrations (Hoppe et al., 2004).
Cow’s milk contains many other bioactive compounds such as hormones
and cytokines, growth factors, and many bioactive peptides (Playford
et al, 2000), which may also affect IGF-1 levels.

In conclusion, the research shows that nutrition has an important role
in determining serum IGF-1 levels (Yaker et al., 2005). Whether the
increase in IGF-1 caused by cow’s milk occurs directly (by IGF-1
crossing the gut wall), or indirectly (as a result of the action of
other factors), the research is clear. The consumption of cow’s milk
and milk products is linked to increased levels of IGF-1, which in
turn are linked to various cancers.
George
2006-07-03 21:43:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ice
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html
Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by too much sugar
(glucose) in the blood. Blood sugar levels rise when there is not
enough insulin in the blood or the insulin that is in the blood does
not work properly. Insulin is an important hormone secreted by the
beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. It regulates
blood sugar levels by, for example, promoting the uptake of glucose
into the cells. When things go wrong, high levels of glucose in the
blood can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels. Without
treatment diabetes can lead to long-term health problems including
kidney failure, gangrene, sensory loss, ulceration, blindness,
cardiovascular disease and stroke.
I had it, stopped milk and it went.
Post by Ice
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 (insulin-dependent
diabetes) occurs when the body produces little or no insulin. People
who have type 1 diabetes must check the levels of glucose in their
blood regularly and will need treatment for the rest of their lives.
Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile-onset diabetes because it
tends to develop before the age of 40, often in the teenage years. The
peak age for diagnosis in the UK is between 10 and 14 years but is
becoming younger with a steep rise in the under fives (Williams and
Pickup, 2004). Symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate, extreme
thirst and hunger, weight loss, fatigue, irritability and nausea. The
cause of type 1 diabetes is poorly understood, but some evidence
suggests it involves a combination of genetic factors and
environmental triggers. Type 1 diabetes is usually treated with
regular injections of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes occurs either when the body does not produce enough
insulin or when it cannot use the insulin produced. This type of
diabetes is linked with obesity. Over 80 per cent of people with type
2 diabetes are overweight (NHS Direct, 2005). Type 2 diabetes occurs
mostly in people over the age of 40, but is now increasingly affecting
people at a much younger age. Symptoms include tiredness,
irritability, nausea, hunger, weight loss, recurrent skin infections,
blurred vision, tingling sensations in the hands and feet and dry,
itchy skin. Not all symptoms occur and those that do might be subtle
and may go unnoticed for years. Blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes
can be controlled by lifestyle changes including regular exercise
coupled to diet control and weight loss. Type 2 diabetes accounts for
over 80 per cent of all cases of diabetes seen. While rising obesity
levels have contributed to the increase in the incidence of type 2
diabetes, the increase in obesity does not explain the threefold
increase in the number of cases of type 1 diabetes seen over the last
30 years. This is the most common form of the disease in children;
over 90 per cent of children under the age of 16 with diabetes have
type 1.
A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, develops in some women
during pregnancy but usually disappears after giving birth.
Diabetes affects over one million people in the UK but there may be as
many as a million others who have the disease but do not know it yet.
The WHO describes the global rise in diabetes as epidemic (WHO,
2006a). In 1985 an estimated 30 million people worldwide had diabetes;
a decade later this figure had increased to 135 million and by 2000 an
estimated 171 million people had diabetes. It is predicted that at
least 366 million people will have diabetes by 2030 (WHO, 2006a). The
increase in diabetes is attributed to a range of factors including
population growth, ageing, unhealthy diets that are high in saturated
fat and cholesterol, obesity and lack of physical exercise.
Diabetes has become one of the major causes of premature illness and
death in many, but not all, countries. Indeed, diabetes occurs much
more in some parts of the world, principally in developed countries.
Diabetes tends to occur more in cultures consuming diets high in
animal fats and less in cultures consuming diets high in complex
carbohydrates. As carbohydrate intake increases and saturated animal
fat intake decreases from country to country, the number of deaths
from type 2 diabetes plummets from 20.4 to 2.9 people per 100,000
(Campbell and Campbell, 2005).
In England and Wales, the rates of diabetes fell markedly between 1940
and 1950. This is because during the Second World War, and in the
period following it, people tended to eat less fat and sugar and more
plant foods, and therefore more fibre, antioxidants, complex
carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals (Trowell, 1974). All available
land was used; many people grew their own vegetables and vegetable
patches were cultivated all over the country. Gardens, flowerbeds and
parks were dug up and planted with vegetables; even the moat around
the Tower of London (drained in 1843) was used for growing vegetables.
Then as rationing came to an end and people moved away from whole
grains towards a more processed diet, rates of diabetes increased
again (Trowell, 1974). The conclusion must be that a
high-carbohydrate, low-fat plant-based diet offers some protection
against type 2 diabetes.
The risk factors for type 2 diabetes (obesity, poor diet and lack of
exercise) are well-documented and there are many steps people can take
to limit their chances of developing type 2 diabetes. One obvious step
is to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the diet, this means
cutting down on meat and dairy and increasing the intake of fruit,
vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. Large,
population-based studies in China, Canada, USA and several European
countries suggest that even moderate reduction in weight and half an
hour of walking each day reduces the risk of diabetes considerably
(WHO, 2006a).
A study of the relationship between diet and chronic disease in a
cohort of 34,192 California Seventh-day Adventists revealed that the
vegetarian Adventists were much healthier than their meat-eating
counterparts: the meat-eaters were twice as likely as the vegetarians
to suffer from diabetes (Fraser, 1999). This study also revealed that
obesity increased as meat consumption increased; the difference
between vegetarian and non-vegetarian men and women was 6.4kg and
5.5kg respectively (Fraser, 1999).
The importance of high-fibre diets in diabetes has been studied
extensively since the 1970s by James Anderson, Professor of Medicine
at the University of Kentucky. Anderson used a high-fibre,
high-carbohydrate low-fat diet to treat 25 type 1 and 25 type 2
diabetics (Anderson, 1986). The experimental diet consisted mostly of
whole plant foods (although it did contain a small amount of meat).
After three weeks, Anderson measured blood sugar levels, weight and
cholesterol levels and calculated their medication requirements. The
results were astounding. Remember in type 1 diabetes no insulin is
produced so it seems unlikely that a change in diet would help.
However, Anderson’s patients required 40 per cent less insulin
medication than they had needed before the trial. In addition to this,
their cholesterol levels dropped by an average of 30 per cent too.
This is just as important in lowering the risk factors for secondary
outcomes of diabetes such as heart disease and stroke. Type 2 diabetes
is generally more treatable and the results among the type 2 patients
were even more impressive: 24 out of the 25 participants consuming the
high-fibre, low-fat diet were able to stop taking their insulin
medication completely! These benefits were not of a temporary nature,
indeed they were sustained over time in a group of 14 diabetic men
continuing on the high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet for four years
(Story et al., 1985). The evidence is overwhelming: a
high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet provides effective, positive and
safe treatment for diabetes and lowers the associated risk for
coronary artery disease (Anderson et al., 1990). Of course it should
be noted that this is not a special diet for diabetics; most people
would benefit from increasing their fibre intake while reducing the
amount of fat they consume.
In 2000 an extensive study of children from 40 different countries
confirmed a link between diet and incidence of type 1 diabetes
(Muntoni et al., 2000). The study set out to examine the relationship
between dietary energy from major food groups and incidence of type 1
diabetes. The total energy intake was not associated with type 1
diabetes incidence. However, energy from animal sources (meat and
dairy foods) was associated and energy from plant sources was
inversely associated with diabetes. This means that the more meat and
milk in the diet, the higher the incidence of diabetes and the more
plant-based food in the diet, the lower the incidence.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system’s
‘soldiers’, known as T-cells, destroy the body’s own insulin-producing
beta cells in the pancreas. This type of response is thought to
involve a genetic predisposition (diabetes in the family) coupled to
an environmental trigger. The trigger may be a virus or some component
of food. In the early 1990s a Canadian research group suggested that
cow’s milk proteins might be an important environmental trigger
providing specific peptides that share antigenic epitopes with host
cell proteins (Martin et al., 1991). This means that the proteins in
cow’s milk look the same as proteins in our own bodies; these
similarities can confuse our immune system and initiate an
inappropriate (autoimmune) response that can lead to diabetes.
The milk protein casein is similar in shape to the insulin-producing
cells in the pancreas. Because the body may perceive casein as a
foreign invader and attack it, it may also start to attack the
pancreas cells having confused them for casein, again leading to
diabetes (Cavallo et al., 1996). Some studies have suggested that
bovine serum albumin (BSA) is the milk protein responsible. In a study
of 142 children with type 1 diabetes, all the diabetic patients had
higher serum concentrations of anti-BSA antibodies compared to 79
healthy children (Karjalainen et al., 1992). These antibodies may
react with proteins on the surface of the beta cells of the pancreas
and so interfere with insulin production.
Other studies suggest it is the cow’s insulin present in formula milk
that increases the risk of type 1 diabetes in infants (Vaarala et al.,
1999). Research shows that some infants may be more vulnerable to type
1 diabetes later in life if exposed to cow’s milk formula while very
young. A Finnish study of children (with at least one close relative
with type 1 diabetes) examined whether early exposure to insulin in
cow’s milk formula increased the risk of type 1 diabetes. Results
showed that infants given cow’s milk formula at three-months-old had
immune systems which reacted far more strongly to cow’s insulin
(Paronen et al., 2000). This raises concerns that exposure to cow’s
insulin plays a role in the autoimmune process leading to type 1
diabetes.
A review of the clinical evidence suggests that the incidence of type
1 diabetes is related to the early consumption of cow’s milk; children
with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have been breast fed for less
than three months and to have been exposed to cow’s milk protein
before four months of age (Gerstein et al., 1994). The avoidance of
cow’s milk during the first few months of life may reduce the risk of
type 1 diabetes. Infants who cannot breast feed from their mothers may
benefit more from taking a plant-based formula such as soya-based
formula rather than one based on cow’s milk. Other studies support the
finding that both early and adolescent exposure to cow’s milk may be a
trigger for type 1 diabetes (Kimpimaki et al., 2001; Thorsdottir and
Ramel, 2003).
Taken together, the evidence suggests that avoiding milk and milk
products may offer protection from diabetes (types 1 and 2).
Dementia
Obesity is epidemic in Western societies and constitutes a major
public health concern. A recent study published in the British Journal
of Medicine reports that being obese during middle-age can increase
the risk of developing dementia later in life (Whitmer et al., 2005).
The research is based on data collected from detailed health checks
made on 10,276 men and women between 1964 and 1973 (when they were
aged 40 to 45). Dementia was diagnosed in seven per cent of
participants between 1994 and 2003. Results showed that being obese
increased the risk of dementia by 74 per cent while being overweight
increased it by 35 per cent. The link between obesity and dementia in
women was stronger than that in men. This is in agreement with a
Swedish study which found that the higher a woman’s body mass index
(BMI), the greater the risk of dementia (Gustafson et al., 2003). In
this study the relationship between BMI and dementia risk was
investigated in 392 Swedish adults who were assessed between the ages
of 70 and 88. During the 18-year study, 93 participants were diagnosed
as having dementia. Women who developed dementia had a higher average
BMI compared to women without dementia. For every one unit increase in
BMI at age 70 years, the risk of dementia increased by 36 per cent.
This raises concerns that the current obesity epidemic could lead to a
steep rise in the numbers of people suffering from dementia in the
future. The evidence suggests that leading a healthy lifestyle could
help to reduce the risk of dementia (See Overweight and obesity).
Ear infection
The most common type of ear infection (otitis media) affects the
middle ear, the space between the eardrum and the inner ear. The
middle ear is usually filled with air but it can fill up with fluid
(during a cold for example) and ear infections happen when bacteria,
viruses or fungi infect the fluid and cause swelling in the ear. Ear
infections are common in childhood and can be extremely painful,
causing a considerable amount of distress. Chronic otitis media is
when ear infections keep recurring, for example Glue ear is a type of
chronic otitis media. Ear infection is the most common health problem
doctors see in young children with around one in 10 children having an
ear infection by the time they are three months old (NHS Direct,
2005). It can be a serious problem; otitis media is the most common
cause of hearing loss in children today (Bernstein, 1993).
Ear infections are often linked to colds or other problems of the
respiratory system. However, recent reports link ear infections to
food allergies (Hurst, 1998; Aydogan et al., 2004; Doner et al.,
2004). Researchers from Georgetown University in the US examined the
role of food allergy in ear infection in 104 children with recurrent
ear problems (Nsouli et al., 1994). The children were tested for food
allergies and those who tested positive excluded that particular food
for 16 weeks, then reintroduced it. Results showed that 78 per cent of
the children with ear problems also had food allergies, the most
common allergenic foods were cow’s milk (38 per cent), wheat (33 per
cent), egg white (25 per cent), peanut (20 per cent) and soya (17 per
cent). 86 per cent of these children responded well to eliminating the
offending food, and of these, 94 per cent suffered a recurrence of ear
problems on reintroducing the offending food.
A different approach was taken in a Finnish study of 56 children with
cow’s milk allergy and 204 children without cow’s milk allergy. These
researchers examined the occurrence of ear infection in children known
to have cow’s milk allergy. Results showed that 27 per cent of those
with the allergy suffered from recurrent ear infections compared to
just 12 per cent of those who did not have the allergy (Juntti et al.,
1999). It was concluded that children with cow’s milk allergy
experience significantly more ear infections.
Dr John James of the Colorado Allergy and Asthma Centres in the US
suggests that food allergies can cause inflammation in the nasal
passages and lead to the build up of fluid in the middle ear, but he
acknowledges that the link between food allergy and ear infection may
be hard to prove (James, 2004). The possibility of cow’s milk allergy
should be considered in all cases of ear infection, particularly in
children.
Food poisoning
Food poisoning is a common, often mild, but sometimes deadly illness
(NHS, 2006). It is caused by the consumption of food or drink that is
contaminated with bacteria, parasites or viruses. Most cases result
from bacterial contamination. Food poisoning happens in one of two
ways: either in the food (for example in undercooked meat or
unpasteurised milk), or on the food (if it is prepared by someone who
has not washed their hands). The length of the incubation period (the
time between swallowing the bacteria and symptoms appearing) varies
from hours to days, depending on the type of bacteria and how many
were swallowed. The most common symptoms of food poisoning are
sickness, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. According to the
Food Standards Agency, it is estimated that over five million people
in the UK are affected by food poisoning each year (NHS Direct, 2006).
It usually lasts for less than three days, but can continue for up to
a week. The greatest danger lies in the loss of fluids and salts from
prolonged diarrhoea. The results can be deadly in infants and over
60s. Also, in these patients, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream
infecting other parts of the body and may cause death unless the
person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
Most cases of food poisoning are related to the consumption of animal
products (meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy) as plants tend not to
harbour the types of bacteria capable of causing food poisoning in
humans. Intensive animal husbandry technologies, introduced to
minimise production costs, have led to the emergence of new zoonotic
diseases – animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans (WHO,
2006b). Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 was identified for the first
time in 1979 and has since caused illness and deaths (especially among
children) owing to its presence (in several countries) in minced beef,
unpasteurised cider, cow’s milk, manure-contaminated lettuce and
alfalfa and manure-contaminated drinking-water (WHO, 2006b). In a
joint report between the FSA Scotland and the Scottish Executive it
was noted that the main source of E. coli O157 is from cattle and
sheep, but that more cases of E. coli O157 are now associated with
environmental contamination, including contact with animal faeces or
contamination by faeces of water supplies, than with food (FSA/SE,
2001). If plants do cause food poisoning it is generally because they
have been contaminated with animal excreta, human sewerage or handled
with dirty hands during preparation. Safe disposal of manure from
large-scale animal and poultry production facilities is a growing food
safety problem in much of the world (WHO, 2006b).
The most common cause of food poisoning in the UK is the bacterium
Campylobacter, which has been found in poultry, unpasteurised milk,
red meat and untreated water. The next most common cause is
Salmonella, which has been found in unpasteurised milk, eggs, meat and
poultry (NHS Direct, 2005). Salmonella causes the greatest number of
deaths: 119 deaths England and Wales in 2000 (POST, 2003). In a small
number of cases, people infected with Salmonella will go on to develop
pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes and painful urination;
this is called Reiter’s syndrome and can last for months or years and
may lead to chronic arthritis (Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 2006). Listeria, sometimes found in soft cheeses and
pates, can cause severe illness (listeriosis) in vulnerable groups
such as pregnant women, babies, the elderly and people with reduced
immunity. The Government advises pregnant women to avoid soft
mould-ripened cheese, such as Camembert and Brie, blue cheese and all
types of meat pâté. Other bacteria that can cause food poisoning
include species of Staphylococcus and Clostridium. Certain strains of
otherwise normal intestinal bacteria can cause food poisoning. For
example, E. coli is usually harmless but the strain E. coli O157 can
cause kidney failure and death.
The majority of food poisoning cases in the UK are caused by consuming
contaminated meat or dairy products. For example, of the
Staphylococcal food poisonings reported in the UK between 1969 and
1990, 53 per cent were due to meat products (especially ham), 22 per
cent were due to poultry, eight per cent were due to milk products,
seven per cent to fish and shellfish and 3.5 per cent to eggs (Wieneke
et al., 1993).
While most cases of food poisoning are associated with meat and
poultry, the link between milk products and food poisoning should not
be discounted: 20 separate outbreaks of food poisoning in England and
Wales associated with the consumption of milk and dairy products were
reported to the Public Health Laboratory Service Communicable Disease
Surveillance Centre between 1992 and 1996 (Djuretic et al., 1997). 600
people were affected and over 45 were admitted to hospital. Salmonella
species were responsible for 11 of the outbreaks, Campylobacter
species for five, E. coli O157 for three and Cryptosporidium parvum
for one. Outbreaks were associated with hotels, a psychogeriatric
hospital, schools, a Royal Air Force base, a farm visit, an outdoor
festival and milk supplied directly from farms. Milk was implicated in
16 of the outbreaks, 10 of which were associated with unpasteurised
milk. Two outbreaks were associated with eating contaminated ice-cream
and two with eating contaminated cheese.
Food poisoning may result from milk and milk products if they have not
been properly heated (pasteurised) or if they have become contaminated
following pasteurisation. A report published in the New England
Journal of Medicine reported how 142 cases of listeriosis in Los
Angeles in 1985 led to 48 deaths (Linnan, 1988). An extensive
investigation traced the source to a cheese factory where it was found
that a Mexican-style soft cheese had been contaminated with
unpasteurised milk.
Bacteria are too small to see and they do not taste or smell of
anything so it is difficult to detect their presence. The risk of food
poisoning can be minimised by following some basic hygiene rules. This
means washing hands before handling food, washing salads thoroughly
(to remove contaminating bacteria from manure for example), making
sure all food is covered and chilled. If meat is to be consumed it
must be thawed and cooked properly to kill harmful bacteria. It is
important to keep raw meat (and its juices) away from other foods.
Avoiding unpasteurised milk, raw eggs and undercooked meat further
reduces the risk of food poisoning. Of course the safest option is to
follow a plant-based diet free of red meat, poultry, fish, milk and
eggs. Excluding animal foods from the diet will dramatically decrease
the risk of food poisoning.
Gallstones
Gallstones are solid pieces of stone-like material that form in the
gall bladder, which is a small organ on the right hand side of the
body, below the liver. It stores a green liquid called bile, which is
produced by the liver to help the body digest fats. As we eat, bile is
released from the gall bladder into the intestines through a thin tube
called the bile duct.
Gallstones are formed when some of the chemicals stored in the gall
bladder harden into a solid mass. They may be as small as a grain of
sand or as large as a golf ball. Some people may have one large stone
while others may have many small ones. About one in 10 people over 50
in the UK have gallstones.
Gallstones are made up from a mixture of water, cholesterol and other
fats, bile salts and the pigment bilirubin. They occur when the
composition of the bile is abnormal, the outlet from the gall bladder
is blocked (perhaps by infection), or if there is a family history of
gallstones. Gallstones can cause inflammation of the gall bladder
(cholecystitis), which may then block the bile duct leading to
obstructive jaundice. The passage of a gallstone along the bile duct
to the duodenum can be extremely painful.
Obesity is a major risk factor for gallstones, especially in women,
who are twice as likely as men to develop gallstones. Risk increases
with age; people over 60 are at a higher risk. Diet is also a causal
factor. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 1985
reported that meat-eaters are twice as likely to develop gallstones as
vegetarians (Pixley et al., 1985). Since then the low incidence of
gallstones in vegetarians compared to meat-eaters has been well
documented (Key et al., 1999). Indeed vegetarian diets have been shown
to be beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of gallstones
(Leitzmann, 2005). The main risk factors appear to be low fibre
intake, high saturated fat and cholesterol intake and obesity. A
recent Australian study reported an inverse association between
dietary fibre and gallstones (Segasothy and Phillips, 2000). In other
words, the more fibre in the diet, the lower the risk of gallstones.
Polish researchers examined the diets of patients suffering from
gallstones and found that they were characterised by their low fibre
diet (Ostrowska et al., 2005). Patients with gallstones ate less
wholemeal products, fruit and vegetables and pulses. Furthermore,
obese women with gallstones ate significantly more milk, yogurt, meat
and meat products.
It is important is to eat as healthily as possible. If you are
overweight, losing some weight may help. A well-balanced diet, which
includes vegetables, fruit, and whole wheat cereals including bread
and is low in animal fat, is considered the best for most people
(British Liver Trust, 2005).
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone produced in the
liver and body tissues of mammals. One important role for IGF-1 is to
promote cell growth and division, this is important for normal growth
and development. IGF-1 from cows is identical to human IGF-1 in that
the amino acid sequence of both molecules is the same (Honegger and
Humbel, 1986). Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and
there are 20 different amino acids. All proteins consist of amino
acids joined together like beads on a string and the nature of the
protein (how it behaves) is determined by the order in which the amino
acids occur along the string. In both human and bovine IGF-1 the same
70 amino acids occur in exactly the same order, which would suggest
that bovine IGF-1 behaves the same way in humans as it does in cows.
As previously stated, the use of recombinant bovine somatotrophin
(rBST) in cows increases levels of IGF-1 in their milk, however, it
should be noted that cow’s milk from cows that are not treated with
rBST also contains IGF-1.
It has been suggested that IGF-1 is not destroyed during
pasteurisation. Furthermore it has also been suggested that it is not
completely broken down in the gut and that it may cross the intestinal
wall in the same way that another hormone, epidermal growth factor
(EGF), has been shown to do. EGF is protected from being broken down
when food proteins (such as the milk protein casein) block the active
sites of the digestive enzymes (Playford et al., 1993). This allows
the molecule to stay intact and cross the intestinal wall and enter
the blood. This raises concerns that IGF-1 from cow’s milk could
increase normal blood IGF-1 levels and so increase the risk of certain
cancers linked to IGF-1.
As stated, IGF-1 regulates cell growth, development and division; it
can stimulate growth in both normal and cancerous cells. Even small
increases in serum levels of IGF-1 in humans are associated with
increased risk for several common cancers including cancers of the
breast, prostate, lung and colon (Wu et al., 2002). The link between
IGF-1 and cancer is becoming increasingly apparent in the scientific
literature.
In the first prospective study to investigate the relationship between
the risk of breast cancer and circulating IGF-1 levels, researchers at
Harvard Medical School analysed blood samples originally collected
from 32,826 women aged between 43 and 69 years during 1989 and 1990.
From this group, 397 women were later diagnosed with breast cancer.
Analysis of IGF-1 levels in samples collected from these women
compared to samples from 620 controls (without breast cancer) revealed
a positive relationship between circulating IGF-1 levels and the risk
of breast cancer among premenopausal (but not postmenopausal) women.
It was concluded that plasma IGF-1 concentrations may be useful in the
identification of women at high risk of breast cancer (Hankinson et
al., 1998a).
To investigate the link between prostate cancer risk and plasma IGF-1
levels, a study was conducted on 152 men with prostate cancer and 152
men without the disease. Analysis revealed a strong positive
association between IGF-1 levels and prostate cancer risk (Chan et
al., 1998). In agreement, a Swedish study compared IGF-1 levels in 210
prostate cancer patients with those in 224 men without the disease and
found that there was a strong positive correlation between the risk of
prostate cancer and raised serum levels of IGF-1. It was concluded
that high levels of IGF-1 may be an important predictor for risk of
prostate cancer (Wolk et al., 1998).
In a study into the link between the risk of lung cancer and IGF-1,
serum IGF-1 levels were measured in 204 lung cancer patients
registered at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre and
compared to those in 218 people without lung cancer. Results showed
that high levels of IGF-1 were associated with an increased risk of
lung cancer (Yu et al., 1999).
In order to assess colorectal cancer risk in relation to IGF-1, a
research group at Harvard Medical School analysed blood plasma samples
originally collected from a pool of 14,916 men. In a 14-year follow-up
of these men, 193 had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Analysis
of IGF-1 levels in samples taken from these men and 318 controls
revealed an increased risk for colorectal cancer among the men who had
the highest levels of circulating IGF-1 and it was concluded that
circulating IGF-1 is related to future risk of colorectal cancer (Ma
et al., 1999).
In summary, the literature strongly supports a link between high
circulating IGF-1 levels and cancer, but what has this to do with the
circulating IGF-1 levels are higher in people who consume milk and
dairy products. Researchers at Bristol University investigating the
association of diet with IGF-1 in 344 disease-free men found that
raised levels of IGF-1 were associated with higher intakes of milk,
dairy products and calcium while lower levels of IGF-1 were associated
with high vegetable consumption, particularly tomatoes. In their
study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, it was concluded
that IGF-1 may mediate some diet-cancer associations (Gunnell et al.,
2003).
US researchers from Harvard Medical School and Bringham and Women’s
Hospital in Boston also investigated the link between IGF-1 levels and
diet. They examined circulating IGF-1 levels in 1,037 healthy women.
The most consistent finding was a positive association between
circulating IGF-1 and protein intake; this was largely attributable to
cow’s milk intake (Holmes et al., 2002). In another study, researchers
at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Washington
investigated the link between plasma levels of IGF-1 and lifestyle
factors in 333 people thought to be representative of the general
population. They too found that milk consumption was linked to IGF-1
levels (Morimoto et al., 2005). One study actually quantified the
effect of cow’s milk on circulating IGF-1 levels in 54 Danish boys
aged 2.5 years. In this study an increase in cow’s milk intake from
200 to 600ml per day corresponded to a massive 30 per cent increase in
circulating IGF-1. It was concluded that milk contains certain
compounds that stimulate IGF-1 concentrations (Hoppe et al., 2004).
Cow’s milk contains many other bioactive compounds such as hormones
and cytokines, growth factors, and many bioactive peptides (Playford
et al, 2000), which may also affect IGF-1 levels.
In conclusion, the research shows that nutrition has an important role
in determining serum IGF-1 levels (Yaker et al., 2005). Whether the
increase in IGF-1 caused by cow’s milk occurs directly (by IGF-1
crossing the gut wall), or indirectly (as a result of the action of
other factors), the research is clear. The consumption of cow’s milk
and milk products is linked to increased levels of IGF-1, which in
turn are linked to various cancers.
Shiver
2006-07-03 22:27:14 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by George
I had it, stopped milk and it went.
A one line, eight word response, and for that you quote
560 lines of crap.

George you are truely dumber than a sack of hammers.
Alan
2006-07-04 06:40:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Shiver
Post by George
I had it, stopped milk and it went.
A one line, eight word response, and for that you quote
560 lines of crap.
George you are truely dumber than a sack of hammers.
What this?

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Subject: Re: WHITE LIES The Dark Side of Dairy. PART TWO: DAIRY
CONSUMPTION AND HEALTH Diabetes
Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2006 22:43:13 +0100
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Post by Shiver
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html
Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by too much sugar
(glucose) in the blood. Blood sugar levels rise when there is not
enough insulin in the blood or the insulin that is in the blood does
not work properly. Insulin is an important hormone secreted by the
beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. It regulates
blood sugar levels by, for example, promoting the uptake of glucose
into the cells. When things go wrong, high levels of glucose in the
blood can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels. Without
treatment diabetes can lead to long-term health problems including
kidney failure, gangrene, sensory loss, ulceration, blindness,
cardiovascular disease and stroke.
I had it, stopped milk and it went.
Post by Shiver
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 (insulin-dependent
diabetes) occurs when the body produces little or no insulin. People
who have type 1 diabetes must check the levels of glucose in their
blood regularly and will need treatment for the rest of their lives.
Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile-onset diabetes because it
tends to develop before the age of 40, often in the teenage years. The
peak age for diagnosis in the UK is between 10 and 14 years but is
becoming younger with a steep rise in the under fives (Williams and
Pickup, 2004). Symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate, extreme
thirst and hunger, weight loss, fatigue, irritability and nausea. The
cause of type 1 diabetes is poorly understood, but some evidence
suggests it involves a combination of genetic factors and
environmental triggers. Type 1 diabetes is usually treated with
regular injections of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes occurs either when the body does not produce enough
insulin or when it cannot use the insulin produced. This type of
diabetes is linked with obesity. Over 80 per cent of people with type
2 diabetes are overweight (NHS Direct, 2005). Type 2 diabetes occurs
mostly in people over the age of 40, but is now increasingly affecting
people at a much younger age. Symptoms include tiredness,
irritability, nausea, hunger, weight loss, recurrent skin infections,
blurred vision, tingling sensations in the hands and feet and dry,
itchy skin. Not all symptoms occur and those that do might be subtle
and may go unnoticed for years. Blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes
can be controlled by lifestyle changes including regular exercise
coupled to diet control and weight loss. Type 2 diabetes accounts for
over 80 per cent of all cases of diabetes seen. While rising obesity
levels have contributed to the increase in the incidence of type 2
diabetes, the increase in obesity does not explain the threefold
increase in the number of cases of type 1 diabetes seen over the last
30 years. This is the most common form of the disease in children;
over 90 per cent of children under the age of 16 with diabetes have
type 1.
A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, develops in some women
during pregnancy but usually disappears after giving birth.
Diabetes affects over one million people in the UK but there may be as
many as a million others who have the disease but do not know it yet.
The WHO describes the global rise in diabetes as epidemic (WHO,
2006a). In 1985 an estimated 30 million people worldwide had diabetes;
a decade later this figure had increased to 135 million and by 2000 an
estimated 171 million people had diabetes. It is predicted that at
least 366 million people will have diabetes by 2030 (WHO, 2006a). The
increase in diabetes is attributed to a range of factors including
population growth, ageing, unhealthy diets that are high in saturated
fat and cholesterol, obesity and lack of physical exercise.
Diabetes has become one of the major causes of premature illness and
death in many, but not all, countries. Indeed, diabetes occurs much
more in some parts of the world, principally in developed countries.
Diabetes tends to occur more in cultures consuming diets high in
animal fats and less in cultures consuming diets high in complex
carbohydrates. As carbohydrate intake increases and saturated animal
fat intake decreases from country to country, the number of deaths
from type 2 diabetes plummets from 20.4 to 2.9 people per 100,000
(Campbell and Campbell, 2005).
In England and Wales, the rates of diabetes fell markedly between 1940
and 1950. This is because during the Second World War, and in the
period following it, people tended to eat less fat and sugar and more
plant foods, and therefore more fibre, antioxidants, complex
carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals (Trowell, 1974). All available
land was used; many people grew their own vegetables and vegetable
patches were cultivated all over the country. Gardens, flowerbeds and
parks were dug up and planted with vegetables; even the moat around
the Tower of London (drained in 1843) was used for growing vegetables.
Then as rationing came to an end and people moved away from whole
grains towards a more processed diet, rates of diabetes increased
again (Trowell, 1974). The conclusion must be that a
high-carbohydrate, low-fat plant-based diet offers some protection
against type 2 diabetes.
The risk factors for type 2 diabetes (obesity, poor diet and lack of
exercise) are well-documented and there are many steps people can take
to limit their chances of developing type 2 diabetes. One obvious step
is to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the diet, this means
cutting down on meat and dairy and increasing the intake of fruit,
vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. Large,
population-based studies in China, Canada, USA and several European
countries suggest that even moderate reduction in weight and half an
hour of walking each day reduces the risk of diabetes considerably
(WHO, 2006a).
A study of the relationship between diet and chronic disease in a
cohort of 34,192 California Seventh-day Adventists revealed that the
vegetarian Adventists were much healthier than their meat-eating
counterparts: the meat-eaters were twice as likely as the vegetarians
to suffer from diabetes (Fraser, 1999). This study also revealed that
obesity increased as meat consumption increased; the difference
between vegetarian and non-vegetarian men and women was 6.4kg and
5.5kg respectively (Fraser, 1999).
The importance of high-fibre diets in diabetes has been studied
extensively since the 1970s by James Anderson, Professor of Medicine
at the University of Kentucky. Anderson used a high-fibre,
high-carbohydrate low-fat diet to treat 25 type 1 and 25 type 2
diabetics (Anderson, 1986). The experimental diet consisted mostly of
whole plant foods (although it did contain a small amount of meat).
After three weeks, Anderson measured blood sugar levels, weight and
cholesterol levels and calculated their medication requirements. The
results were astounding. Remember in type 1 diabetes no insulin is
produced so it seems unlikely that a change in diet would help.
However, Anderson"s patients required 40 per cent less insulin
medication than they had needed before the trial. In addition to this,
their cholesterol levels dropped by an average of 30 per cent too.
This is just as important in lowering the risk factors for secondary
outcomes of diabetes such as heart disease and stroke. Type 2 diabetes
is generally more treatable and the results among the type 2 patients
were even more impressive: 24 out of the 25 participants consuming the
high-fibre, low-fat diet were able to stop taking their insulin
medication completely! These benefits were not of a temporary nature,
indeed they were sustained over time in a group of 14 diabetic men
continuing on the high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet for four years
(Story et al., 1985). The evidence is overwhelming: a
high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet provides effective, positive and
safe treatment for diabetes and lowers the associated risk for
coronary artery disease (Anderson et al., 1990). Of course it should
be noted that this is not a special diet for diabetics; most people
would benefit from increasing their fibre intake while reducing the
amount of fat they consume.
In 2000 an extensive study of children from 40 different countries
confirmed a link between diet and incidence of type 1 diabetes
(Muntoni et al., 2000). The study set out to examine the relationship
between dietary energy from major food groups and incidence of type 1
diabetes. The total energy intake was not associated with type 1
diabetes incidence. However, energy from animal sources (meat and
dairy foods) was associated and energy from plant sources was
inversely associated with diabetes. This means that the more meat and
milk in the diet, the higher the incidence of diabetes and the more
plant-based food in the diet, the lower the incidence.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system"s
"soldiers", known as T-cells, destroy the body"s own insulin-producing
beta cells in the pancreas. This type of response is thought to
involve a genetic predisposition (diabetes in the family) coupled to
an environmental trigger. The trigger may be a virus or some component
of food. In the early 1990s a Canadian research group suggested that
cow"s milk proteins might be an important environmental trigger
providing specific peptides that share antigenic epitopes with host
cell proteins (Martin et al., 1991). This means that the proteins in
cow"s milk look the same as proteins in our own bodies; these
similarities can confuse our immune system and initiate an
inappropriate (autoimmune) response that can lead to diabetes.
The milk protein casein is similar in shape to the insulin-producing
cells in the pancreas. Because the body may perceive casein as a
foreign invader and attack it, it may also start to attack the
pancreas cells having confused them for casein, again leading to
diabetes (Cavallo et al., 1996). Some studies have suggested that
bovine serum albumin (BSA) is the milk protein responsible. In a study
of 142 children with type 1 diabetes, all the diabetic patients had
higher serum concentrations of anti-BSA antibodies compared to 79
healthy children (Karjalainen et al., 1992). These antibodies may
react with proteins on the surface of the beta cells of the pancreas
and so interfere with insulin production.
Other studies suggest it is the cow"s insulin present in formula milk
that increases the risk of type 1 diabetes in infants (Vaarala et al.,
1999). Research shows that some infants may be more vulnerable to type
1 diabetes later in life if exposed to cow"s milk formula while very
young. A Finnish study of children (with at least one close relative
with type 1 diabetes) examined whether early exposure to insulin in
cow"s milk formula increased the risk of type 1 diabetes. Results
showed that infants given cow"s milk formula at three-months-old had
immune systems which reacted far more strongly to cow"s insulin
(Paronen et al., 2000). This raises concerns that exposure to cow"s
insulin plays a role in the autoimmune process leading to type 1
diabetes.
A review of the clinical evidence suggests that the incidence of type
1 diabetes is related to the early consumption of cow"s milk; children
with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have been breast fed for less
than three months and to have been exposed to cow"s milk protein
before four months of age (Gerstein et al., 1994). The avoidance of
cow"s milk during the first few months of life may reduce the risk of
type 1 diabetes. Infants who cannot breast feed from their mothers may
benefit more from taking a plant-based formula such as soya-based
formula rather than one based on cow"s milk. Other studies support the
finding that both early and adolescent exposure to cow"s milk may be a
trigger for type 1 diabetes (Kimpimaki et al., 2001; Thorsdottir and
Ramel, 2003).
Taken together, the evidence suggests that avoiding milk and milk
products may offer protection from diabetes (types 1 and 2).
Dementia
Obesity is epidemic in Western societies and constitutes a major
public health concern. A recent study published in the British Journal
of Medicine reports that being obese during middle-age can increase
the risk of developing dementia later in life (Whitmer et al., 2005).
The research is based on data collected from detailed health checks
made on 10,276 men and women between 1964 and 1973 (when they were
aged 40 to 45). Dementia was diagnosed in seven per cent of
participants between 1994 and 2003. Results showed that being obese
increased the risk of dementia by 74 per cent while being overweight
increased it by 35 per cent. The link between obesity and dementia in
women was stronger than that in men. This is in agreement with a
Swedish study which found that the higher a woman"s body mass index
(BMI), the greater the risk of dementia (Gustafson et al., 2003). In
this study the relationship between BMI and dementia risk was
investigated in 392 Swedish adults who were assessed between the ages
of 70 and 88. During the 18-year study, 93 participants were diagnosed
as having dementia. Women who developed dementia had a higher average
BMI compared to women without dementia. For every one unit increase in
BMI at age 70 years, the risk of dementia increased by 36 per cent.
This raises concerns that the current obesity epidemic could lead to a
steep rise in the numbers of people suffering from dementia in the
future. The evidence suggests that leading a healthy lifestyle could
help to reduce the risk of dementia (See Overweight and obesity).
Ear infection
The most common type of ear infection (otitis media) affects the
middle ear, the space between the eardrum and the inner ear. The
middle ear is usually filled with air but it can fill up with fluid
(during a cold for example) and ear infections happen when bacteria,
viruses or fungi infect the fluid and cause swelling in the ear. Ear
infections are common in childhood and can be extremely painful,
causing a considerable amount of distress. Chronic otitis media is
when ear infections keep recurring, for example Glue ear is a type of
chronic otitis media. Ear infection is the most common health problem
doctors see in young children with around one in 10 children having an
ear infection by the time they are three months old (NHS Direct,
2005). It can be a serious problem; otitis media is the most common
cause of hearing loss in children today (Bernstein, 1993).
Ear infections are often linked to colds or other problems of the
respiratory system. However, recent reports link ear infections to
food allergies (Hurst, 1998; Aydogan et al., 2004; Doner et al.,
2004). Researchers from Georgetown University in the US examined the
role of food allergy in ear infection in 104 children with recurrent
ear problems (Nsouli et al., 1994). The children were tested for food
allergies and those who tested positive excluded that particular food
for 16 weeks, then reintroduced it. Results showed that 78 per cent of
the children with ear problems also had food allergies, the most
common allergenic foods were cow"s milk (38 per cent), wheat (33 per
cent), egg white (25 per cent), peanut (20 per cent) and soya (17 per
cent). 86 per cent of these children responded well to eliminating the
offending food, and of these, 94 per cent suffered a recurrence of ear
problems on reintroducing the offending food.
A different approach was taken in a Finnish study of 56 children with
cow"s milk allergy and 204 children without cow"s milk allergy. These
researchers examined the occurrence of ear infection in children known
to have cow"s milk allergy. Results showed that 27 per cent of those
with the allergy suffered from recurrent ear infections compared to
just 12 per cent of those who did not have the allergy (Juntti et al.,
1999). It was concluded that children with cow"s milk allergy
experience significantly more ear infections.
Dr John James of the Colorado Allergy and Asthma Centres in the US
suggests that food allergies can cause inflammation in the nasal
passages and lead to the build up of fluid in the middle ear, but he
acknowledges that the link between food allergy and ear infection may
be hard to prove (James, 2004). The possibility of cow"s milk allergy
should be considered in all cases of ear infection, particularly in
children.
Food poisoning
Food poisoning is a common, often mild, but sometimes deadly illness
(NHS, 2006). It is caused by the consumption of food or drink that is
contaminated with bacteria, parasites or viruses. Most cases result
from bacterial contamination. Food poisoning happens in one of two
ways: either in the food (for example in undercooked meat or
unpasteurised milk), or on the food (if it is prepared by someone who
has not washed their hands). The length of the incubation period (the
time between swallowing the bacteria and symptoms appearing) varies
from hours to days, depending on the type of bacteria and how many
were swallowed. The most common symptoms of food poisoning are
sickness, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. According to the
Food Standards Agency, it is estimated that over five million people
in the UK are affected by food poisoning each year (NHS Direct, 2006).
It usually lasts for less than three days, but can continue for up to
a week. The greatest danger lies in the loss of fluids and salts from
prolonged diarrhoea. The results can be deadly in infants and over
60s. Also, in these patients, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream
infecting other parts of the body and may cause death unless the
person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
Most cases of food poisoning are related to the consumption of animal
products (meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy) as plants tend not to
harbour the types of bacteria capable of causing food poisoning in
humans. Intensive animal husbandry technologies, introduced to
minimise production costs, have led to the emergence of new zoonotic
diseases - animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans (WHO,
2006b). Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157 was identified for the first
time in 1979 and has since caused illness and deaths (especially among
children) owing to its presence (in several countries) in minced beef,
unpasteurised cider, cow"s milk, manure-contaminated lettuce and
alfalfa and manure-contaminated drinking-water (WHO, 2006b). In a
joint report between the FSA Scotland and the Scottish Executive it
was noted that the main source of E. coli O157 is from cattle and
sheep, but that more cases of E. coli O157 are now associated with
environmental contamination, including contact with animal faeces or
contamination by faeces of water supplies, than with food (FSA/SE,
2001). If plants do cause food poisoning it is generally because they
have been contaminated with animal excreta, human sewerage or handled
with dirty hands during preparation. Safe disposal of manure from
large-scale animal and poultry production facilities is a growing food
safety problem in much of the world (WHO, 2006b).
The most common cause of food poisoning in the UK is the bacterium
Campylobacter, which has been found in poultry, unpasteurised milk,
red meat and untreated water. The next most common cause is
Salmonella, which has been found in unpasteurised milk, eggs, meat and
poultry (NHS Direct, 2005). Salmonella causes the greatest number of
deaths: 119 deaths England and Wales in 2000 (POST, 2003). In a small
number of cases, people infected with Salmonella will go on to develop
pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes and painful urination;
this is called Reiter"s syndrome and can last for months or years and
may lead to chronic arthritis (Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 2006). Listeria, sometimes found in soft cheeses and
pates, can cause severe illness (listeriosis) in vulnerable groups
such as pregnant women, babies, the elderly and people with reduced
immunity. The Government advises pregnant women to avoid soft
mould-ripened cheese, such as Camembert and Brie, blue cheese and all
types of meat pate. Other bacteria that can cause food poisoning
include species of Staphylococcus and Clostridium. Certain strains of
otherwise normal intestinal bacteria can cause food poisoning. For
example, E. coli is usually harmless but the strain E. coli O157 can
cause kidney failure and death.
The majority of food poisoning cases in the UK are caused by consuming
contaminated meat or dairy products. For example, of the
Staphylococcal food poisonings reported in the UK between 1969 and
1990, 53 per cent were due to meat products (especially ham), 22 per
cent were due to poultry, eight per cent were due to milk products,
seven per cent to fish and shellfish and 3.5 per cent to eggs (Wieneke
et al., 1993).
While most cases of food poisoning are associated with meat and
poultry, the link between milk products and food poisoning should not
be discounted: 20 separate outbreaks of food poisoning in England and
Wales associated with the consumption of milk and dairy products were
reported to the Public Health Laboratory Service Communicable Disease
Surveillance Centre between 1992 and 1996 (Djuretic et al., 1997). 600
people were affected and over 45 were admitted to hospital. Salmonella
species were responsible for 11 of the outbreaks, Campylobacter
species for five, E. coli O157 for three and Cryptosporidium parvum
for one. Outbreaks were associated with hotels, a psychogeriatric
hospital, schools, a Royal Air Force base, a farm visit, an outdoor
festival and milk supplied directly from farms. Milk was implicated in
16 of the outbreaks, 10 of which were associated with unpasteurised
milk. Two outbreaks were associated with eating contaminated ice-cream
and two with eating contaminated cheese.
Food poisoning may result from milk and milk products if they have not
been properly heated (pasteurised) or if they have become contaminated
following pasteurisation. A report published in the New England
Journal of Medicine reported how 142 cases of listeriosis in Los
Angeles in 1985 led to 48 deaths (Linnan, 1988). An extensive
investigation traced the source to a cheese factory where it was found
that a Mexican-style soft cheese had been contaminated with
unpasteurised milk.
Bacteria are too small to see and they do not taste or smell of
anything so it is difficult to detect their presence. The risk of food
poisoning can be minimised by following some basic hygiene rules. This
means washing hands before handling food, washing salads thoroughly
(to remove contaminating bacteria from manure for example), making
sure all food is covered and chilled. If meat is to be consumed it
must be thawed and cooked properly to kill harmful bacteria. It is
important to keep raw meat (and its juices) away from other foods.
Avoiding unpasteurised milk, raw eggs and undercooked meat further
reduces the risk of food poisoning. Of course the safest option is to
follow a plant-based diet free of red meat, poultry, fish, milk and
eggs. Excluding animal foods from the diet will dramatically decrease
the risk of food poisoning.
Gallstones
Gallstones are solid pieces of stone-like material that form in the
gall bladder, which is a small organ on the right hand side of the
body, below the liver. It stores a green liquid called bile, which is
produced by the liver to help the body digest fats. As we eat, bile is
released from the gall bladder into the intestines through a thin tube
called the bile duct.
Gallstones are formed when some of the chemicals stored in the gall
bladder harden into a solid mass. They may be as small as a grain of
sand or as large as a golf ball. Some people may have one large stone
while others may have many small ones. About one in 10 people over 50
in the UK have gallstones.
Gallstones are made up from a mixture of water, cholesterol and other
fats, bile salts and the pigment bilirubin. They occur when the
composition of the bile is abnormal, the outlet from the gall bladder
is blocked (perhaps by infection), or if there is a family history of
gallstones. Gallstones can cause inflammation of the gall bladder
(cholecystitis), which may then block the bile duct leading to
obstructive jaundice. The passage of a gallstone along the bile duct
to the duodenum can be extremely painful.
Obesity is a major risk factor for gallstones, especially in women,
who are twice as likely as men to develop gallstones. Risk increases
with age; people over 60 are at a higher risk. Diet is also a causal
factor. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 1985
reported that meat-eaters are twice as likely to develop gallstones as
vegetarians (Pixley et al., 1985). Since then the low incidence of
gallstones in vegetarians compared to meat-eaters has been well
documented (Key et al., 1999). Indeed vegetarian diets have been shown
to be beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of gallstones
(Leitzmann, 2005). The main risk factors appear to be low fibre
intake, high saturated fat and cholesterol intake and obesity. A
recent Australian study reported an inverse association between
dietary fibre and gallstones (Segasothy and Phillips, 2000). In other
words, the more fibre in the diet, the lower the risk of gallstones.
Polish researchers examined the diets of patients suffering from
gallstones and found that they were characterised by their low fibre
diet (Ostrowska et al., 2005). Patients with gallstones ate less
wholemeal products, fruit and vegetables and pulses. Furthermore,
obese women with gallstones ate significantly more milk, yogurt, meat
and meat products.
It is important is to eat as healthily as possible. If you are
overweight, losing some weight may help. A well-balanced diet, which
includes vegetables, fruit, and whole wheat cereals including bread
and is low in animal fat, is considered the best for most people
(British Liver Trust, 2005).
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone produced in the
liver and body tissues of mammals. One important role for IGF-1 is to
promote cell growth and division, this is important for normal growth
and development. IGF-1 from cows is identical to human IGF-1 in that
the amino acid sequence of both molecules is the same (Honegger and
Humbel, 1986). Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and
there are 20 different amino acids. All proteins consist of amino
acids joined together like beads on a string and the nature of the
protein (how it behaves) is determined by the order in which the amino
acids occur along the string. In both human and bovine IGF-1 the same
70 amino acids occur in exactly the same order, which would suggest
that bovine IGF-1 behaves the same way in humans as it does in cows.
As previously stated, the use of recombinant bovine somatotrophin
(rBST) in cows increases levels of IGF-1 in their milk, however, it
should be noted that cow"s milk from cows that are not treated with
rBST also contains IGF-1.
It has been suggested that IGF-1 is not destroyed during
pasteurisation. Furthermore it has also been suggested that it is not
completely broken down in the gut and that it may cross the intestinal
wall in the same way that another hormone, epidermal growth factor
(EGF), has been shown to do. EGF is protected from being broken down
when food proteins (such as the milk protein casein) block the active
sites of the digestive enzymes (Playford et al., 1993). This allows
the molecule to stay intact and cross the intestinal wall and enter
the blood. This raises concerns that IGF-1 from cow"s milk could
increase normal blood IGF-1 levels and so increase the risk of certain
cancers linked to IGF-1.
As stated, IGF-1 regulates cell growth, development and division; it
can stimulate growth in both normal and cancerous cells. Even small
increases in serum levels of IGF-1 in humans are associated with
increased risk for several common cancers including cancers of the
breast, prostate, lung and colon (Wu et al., 2002). The link between
IGF-1 and cancer is becoming increasingly apparent in the scientific
literature.
In the first prospective study to investigate the relationship between
the risk of breast cancer and circulating IGF-1 levels, researchers at
Harvard Medical School analysed blood samples originally collected
from 32,826 women aged between 43 and 69 years during 1989 and 1990.
From this group, 397 women were later diagnosed with breast cancer.
Analysis of IGF-1 levels in samples collected from these women
compared to samples from 620 controls (without breast cancer) revealed
a positive relationship between circulating IGF-1 levels and the risk
of breast cancer among premenopausal (but not postmenopausal) women.
It was concluded that plasma IGF-1 concentrations may be useful in the
identification of women at high risk of breast cancer (Hankinson et
al., 1998a).
To investigate the link between prostate cancer risk and plasma IGF-1
levels, a study was conducted on 152 men with prostate cancer and 152
men without the disease. Analysis revealed a strong positive
association between IGF-1 levels and prostate cancer risk (Chan et
al., 1998). In agreement, a Swedish study compared IGF-1 levels in 210
prostate cancer patients with those in 224 men without the disease and
found that there was a strong positive correlation between the risk of
prostate cancer and raised serum levels of IGF-1. It was concluded
that high levels of IGF-1 may be an important predictor for risk of
prostate cancer (Wolk et al., 1998).
In a study into the link between the risk of lung cancer and IGF-1,
serum IGF-1 levels were measured in 204 lung cancer patients
registered at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre and
compared to those in 218 people without lung cancer. Results showed
that high levels of IGF-1 were associated with an increased risk of
lung cancer (Yu et al., 1999).
In order to assess colorectal cancer risk in relation to IGF-1, a
research group at Harvard Medical School analysed blood plasma samples
originally collected from a pool of 14,916 men. In a 14-year follow-up
of these men, 193 had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Analysis
of IGF-1 levels in samples taken from these men and 318 controls
revealed an increased risk for colorectal cancer among the men who had
the highest levels of circulating IGF-1 and it was concluded that
circulating IGF-1 is related to future risk of colorectal cancer (Ma
et al., 1999).
In summary, the literature strongly supports a link between high
circulating IGF-1 levels and cancer, but what has this to do with the
circulating IGF-1 levels are higher in people who consume milk and
dairy products. Researchers at Bristol University investigating the
association of diet with IGF-1 in 344 disease-free men found that
raised levels of IGF-1 were associated with higher intakes of milk,
dairy products and calcium while lower levels of IGF-1 were associated
with high vegetable consumption, particularly tomatoes. In their
study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, it was concluded
that IGF-1 may mediate some diet-cancer associations (Gunnell et al.,
2003).
US researchers from Harvard Medical School and Bringham and Women"s
Hospital in Boston also investigated the link between IGF-1 levels and
diet. They examined circulating IGF-1 levels in 1,037 healthy women.
The most consistent finding was a positive association between
circulating IGF-1 and protein intake; this was largely attributable to
cow"s milk intake (Holmes et al., 2002). In another study, researchers
at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Washington
investigated the link between plasma levels of IGF-1 and lifestyle
factors in 333 people thought to be representative of the general
population. They too found that milk consumption was linked to IGF-1
levels (Morimoto et al., 2005). One study actually quantified the
effect of cow"s milk on circulating IGF-1 levels in 54 Danish boys
aged 2.5 years. In this study an increase in cow"s milk intake from
200 to 600ml per day corresponded to a massive 30 per cent increase in
circulating IGF-1. It was concluded that milk contains certain
compounds that stimulate IGF-1 concentrations (Hoppe et al., 2004).
Cow"s milk contains many other bioactive compounds such as hormones
and cytokines, growth factors, and many bioactive peptides (Playford
et al, 2000), which may also affect IGF-1 levels.
In conclusion, the research shows that nutrition has an important role
in determining serum IGF-1 levels (Yaker et al., 2005). Whether the
increase in IGF-1 caused by cow"s milk occurs directly (by IGF-1
crossing the gut wall), or indirectly (as a result of the action of
other factors), the research is clear. The consumption of cow"s milk
and milk products is linked to increased levels of IGF-1, which in
turn are linked to various cancers.
Leif Erikson
2006-07-04 07:00:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Alan
Post by Shiver
Post by George
I had it, stopped milk and it went.
A one line, eight word response, and for that you quote
560 lines of crap.
George you are truely dumber than a sack of hammers.
What this?
It's Captain Yossarian.
Ice
2006-07-03 15:04:43 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:58:26 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html
Kidney disease
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in the lower back.
Kidneys filter the blood to remove unwanted waste products broken down
from our food and drink. They also remove excess liquid to help
maintain correct fluid balance in the body.

There are many diseases and conditions that can affect the kidney
function: kidney inflammation (glomerulonephritis); kidney infection
(such as pyelonephritis); genetic disorders (such as polycystic kidney
disease); hardening of the kidney due to a disease of the arteries
(nephrosclerosis); kidney failure due to atherosclerosis (plaques
forming in the arteries supplying the kidneys); autoimmune diseases
(such as systemic lupus erythematosus); malaria; yellow fever; certain
medicines; mechanical blockages (kidney stones) and physical injury.

Surveys have revealed that mild forms of kidney disease are
surprisingly common among the general population. The global epidemic
of type 2 diabetes has led to an alarming increase in the number of
people with chronic kidney disease. Global estimates of people
suffering with chronic kidney disease lie at over 50 million, of which
one million experience kidney failure every year (Dirks et al., 2005).
There may be no apparent symptoms, although small amounts of blood or
protein may pass through the damaged filters in the kidneys into the
urine. Such small amounts of blood and protein in the urine are not
visible but can be detected by certain medical tests.

Normally protein is filtered out by the kidneys and no protein is
excreted into the urine. However, when the kidneys are damaged,
protein may pass into the urine. Other symptoms include retention of
water in the body, called nephrotic syndrome. In some cases the damage
to the kidney can be so severe that it leads to a build up of waste in
the body and ultimately kidney failure. The symptoms of kidney failure
include tiredness, sickness and vomiting.

Certain kidney disorders can lead to the formation of a kidney stone
(renal calculi), a small hard mass in the kidney that forms from
mineral deposits in the urine. Stones may form when there is a high
level of calcium, oxalate or uric acid in the urine; a lack of citrate
in the urine; or insufficient water in the kidneys to dissolve waste
products.

Traditionally, a low-calcium diet has been recommended to reduce the
strain on the kidneys in kidney stone patients. However, over time a
low-calcium diet can cause problems in terms of bone health. In the
last decade, attention has switched to the effects of animal protein
on kidney stone formation. Several studies now suggest that a diet
characterised by normal-calcium, low-animal protein and low-salt
levels is more effective than the traditional low-calcium diet for the
prevention of kidney stones in some people.

The relationship between an animal protein-rich diet and kidney stone
formation was investigated by researchers at the Centre in Mineral
Metabolism and Clinical Research at the Department of Internal
Medicine in Dallas, Texas (Breslau, 1988). In this study, 15 young
healthy participants were studied for three 12-day dietary periods
during which their diet contained vegetable protein, vegetable and egg
protein, or animal protein. While all three diets were constant with
respect to sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and the
total quantity of protein, they had progressively higher sulphur
contents (due to the increased sulphur content of animal proteins
compared to that of plant proteins). As the sulphur content of the
diet increased, urinary calcium excretion increased from 103mg per day
on the vegetarian diet to 150mg per day on the animal protein diet.
The animal protein-rich diet was associated with the highest excretion
of uric acid and therefore conferred an increased risk for uric acid
stones (but not for calcium oxalate stones). The link between animal
protein and kidney stone formation has since been demonstrated in both
men (Curhan et al., 1993; Taylor et al., 2004) and women (Curhan et
al., 1997).

Dr Neil Barnard, president of the PCRM, states that animal protein is
the worst kind of enemy of people with a tendency towards kidney
stones or any kidney disease (Barnard, 1998). The animal protein in
red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk tend to overwork the kidneys
causing their filtering abilities to decline. This may make matters
worse in a person who already has kidney disease. Additionally, animal
protein causes calcium to be leached from the bones and excreted in
the urine, adding further to the burden on the overworked kidney.

A report published in the Lancet in 1992 suggested that soya products
may be beneficial in kidney disease. Kidney disease patients with
protein in the urine and high cholesterol levels were placed on a
cholesterol-free, low-protein, low-fat, high-fibre vegetarian (vegan)
diet containing soya products. The amount of protein excreted in the
urine dropped considerably as did their blood cholesterol levels
(D’Amico et al., 1992). It was uncertain whether these results
reflected the reduction in dietary protein and fat or if the
favourable results arose from a change in the nature of the food
consumed. Either way, switching from a diet containing meat and dairy
products to a plant-based diet containing less fat and protein and
more fibre was beneficial to patients with kidney disease.

In addition to avoiding animal protein in the diet, increasing the
potassium intake has been shown to yield benefits as potassium reduces
calcium excretion, which can decrease the risk of stone formation.
Additionally, the beneficial effect of increasing the fluid intake and
the subsequent dilution of urine is well known (Curhan et al., 1993).

Lactose intolerance
Most people in the world are unable to consume cow’s milk and milk
products after weaning because they are unable to digest the sugar in
milk called lactose. This sugar only exists in mammals’ milk,
including human breast milk. In order for lactose to be digested it
must be broken down (to glucose and galactose) in the small intestine
by the enzyme lactase. Most infants possess the enzyme lactase and can
therefore digest lactose, but this ability is lost in many people
after weaning, commonly after the age of two. This makes sense as no
other mammal consumes milk after weaning. In the absence of lactase,
lactose is fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, which leads
to a build up of gas. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include nausea,
cramps, bloating, wind and diarrhoea and usually appear within two
hours of consuming food containing lactose. The symptoms of lactose
intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are very similar, so
misdiagnosis between the two conditions can occur.

Most infants are born with the ability to digest lactose but over time
this ability decreases. There are other, more uncommon, causes of
lactose intolerance including injury to the mucus membrane of the
small intestine and digestive diseases of the small intestine such as
ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Lactose intolerance varies widely between different ethnic groups:
95 per cent of Asian people
75 per cent of Afro-Caribbean people
50 per cent of Mediterranean people
10 per cent of northern European people
Source NHS Direct, 2005.

Lactose intolerance occurs in as few as just two per cent of some
northern European populations and as many as 100 per cent of adult
Asian populations (Swagerty et al., 2002). This widespread variation
suggests that lactase deficiency is the normal or natural state and
that the ability to digest lactose originates from a genetic mutation
that provided a selective advantage to populations using dairy
products (Swagerty et al., 2002). This idea is supported by William
Durham in his book Coevolution (Durham, 1991). Durham describes milk
as baby food not ‘intended’ for adult consumption. He describes how
the ability to digest lactose is the exception to the norm and can
originally be traced back to a minority of pastoral tribes: the Tutsi
and Hutu of Rwanda; the Fulani of West Africa; the Sindhi of North
India; the Tuareg of West Africa and some European tribes. People who
have retained the normal intolerance of lactose include: Chinese,
Japanese, Inuit, native Americans, Australian Aborigines, Iranians,
Lebanese and many African tribes including the Zulus, Xhosas and
Swazis. These people, generally, do not have a history of pastoralism.

In conclusion, drinking cow’s milk is neither normal nor natural. The
health implications of being the only mammal to consume milk as adults
(and not just that, milk from another species too) are becoming
clearer in the scientific literature as levels of the so-called
diseases of affluence soar.

The treatment for lactose intolerance is straightforward: avoid
lactose. This means cutting out all dairy foods and checking labels
for lactose in bread, chocolate and other processed foods.

Migraine
A migraine is much more than a bad headache; unless you suffer from
them it is difficult to appreciate just how debilitating a migraine
can be. Often people with a migraine can do nothing but lie quietly in
a darkened room waiting for the pain to pass. The pain is
excruciating, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and an increased
sensitivity to light and sound. A migraine can last for a few hours or
a few days. Migraines occur more commonly in women than men and
usually affect people in their teenage years up to around 40 years of
age, although they do sometimes occur in children. It is estimated
that almost six million people in the UK are affected by migraine.

A range of common factors that can cause migraines in some people have
been identified. Foods are frequently identified as triggers and the
most common culprits include dairy products (particularly cheese),
chocolate, alcohol (particularly red wine), caffeine, citrus fruits,
nuts, fried foods and foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG) such
as Chinese food, processed meats and frozen pizzas (NHS Direct, 2005).
Other triggers include cigarette smoke, bright lights, hunger, certain
drugs (such as sleeping tablets and the combined oral contraceptive
pill), loud noises, strong smells, neck and back pain, stress and
tiredness (NHS Direct, 2005). All these and others can lead to a
migraine, and some people may experience a migraine following any one
or a combination of these factors.

The national medical charity Allergy UK lists cheese (particularly
Stilton, Brie, Camembert and Emmenthal) as the third commonest cause
of food-induced migraine after alcohol and chocolate. They suggest
that 29 per cent of food-induced migraines are caused by alcohol, 19
per cent by chocolate, 18 per cent by cheese and 11 per cent by citrus
foods. Other foods thought to trigger migraine include fried and fatty
foods, onions, pork, pickled herring and yeast extract (Allergy UK,
2005).

In a study at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, 88
children with severe and frequent migraines were treated with a diet
that eliminated many foods linked to migraine, 93 per cent of the
children responded well to the diet and were free of headaches (Egger
et al., 1983). Foods were gradually reintroduced to identify those
most likely to provoke a migraine. Top of the list was cow’s milk,
followed by chocolate (containing cow’s milk), the food preservative
benzoic acid, eggs, the synthetic yellow food colouring agent
tartrazine, wheat, cheese, citrus, coffee and fish. Interestingly,
children who had initially developed a migraine in response to factors
other than food (for example flashing lights or exercise) no longer
responded to these triggers while on the special elimination diet.

The relationship between food allergy or intolerance and migraine is
difficult to prove and, despite the evidence, remains a controversial
subject. However, the possibility of cow’s milk allergy or intolerance
should be considered in all cases of migraine.

Multiple sclerosis and autoimmunity
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common disease of the central
nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) affecting young adults in
the UK. MS currently affects around 85,000 people in the UK and twice
as many women as men have MS. Although it usually occurs in young
adults in their twenties and thirties, MS can occur in older people.
It is rarely diagnosed in children and teenagers.

Sclerosis means scarring and multiple refers to the different sites at
which the scarring can occur throughout the brain and spinal cord. In
MS the protective sheath (myelin) that surrounds the nerve fibres of
the central nervous system becomes damaged. When myelin is damaged
(demyelination) the messages between the brain and other parts of the
body become disrupted. Myelin protects the nerve fibres in much the
same way that household electrical wires are protected by an
insulating cover. If this cover becomes damaged the normal signalling
route becomes disrupted and may result in a short-circuit. The
severity of the symptoms depends on how much damage has occurred to
the central nervous system. For some people there may be periods of
relapse where there are few symptoms, then times when the symptoms
become more severe including blurred vision, paralysis, slurred
speech, lack of coordination and incontinence.

The cause of MS is not yet fully understood but is thought to be an
autoimmune disease whereby the body’s immune system attacks its own
tissues. As with other autoimmune diseases, it is thought that a
combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers cause the
disease. Environmental triggers may include viruses, components of the
diet or stress. Interestingly, the incidence of MS increases the
further you get from the equator, whether going north or south. For
example, MS is five times more common in temperate zones than in the
tropics (NHS Direct, 2005). Campbell suggests that MS is over 100
times more prevalent in the far north than at the equator (Campbell
and Campbell, 2005). In Australia the incidence of MS decreases
seven-fold as you move towards the equator from the south to the north
(Campbell and Campbell, 2005). This geographical distribution pattern
applies to other autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes and
rheumatoid arthritis (Campbell and Campbell, 2005).

Indeed, this phenomenon has been noted since 1922 (Davenport, 1922).
Campbell suggests in his book The China Study that autoimmune diseases
should be considered as a group rather than as individual diseases as
they share similar clinical backgrounds and sometimes occur in the
same person or among the same populations (Campbell and Campbell,
2005).

The research investigating the links between diet and MS date back
over 50 years to Dr Roy Swank’s work first at the Montreal
Neurological Institute in Norway, then at the Division of Neurology at
the University of Oregon Medical School in the US. Swank was intrigued
by the geographical distribution of MS and thought it may be due to
dietary practices. Swank suspected animal foods high in saturated fats
may be responsible as MS seemed to occur most among inland
dairy-consuming populations and less among coastal fish-eating
populations. Perhaps his best known trial was that published in the
Lancet in 1990. In this study Swank followed 144 MS patients for a
total of 34 years. Swank prescribed a low-saturated fat diet to all
the participants but the degree of adherence to the diet varied
widely. He observed how their conditions progressed. Results showed
that for the group of patients who began the low-saturated fat diet
during the earlier stages of MS, 95 per cent survived and remained
physically active for approximately 30 years. In contrast, 80 per cent
of the patients with early-stage MS who did not adhere to the diet
died of MS (Swank and Dugan, 1990). It was concluded that saturated
animal fats increase the risk of MS.

More recent studies have extended Swank’s findings and revealed a
positive correlation between the consumption of cow’s milk and the
incidence of MS. This later research suggests that there could be a
combination of predisposing or precipitating factors involved in the
aetiology of MS, and that environmental factors, such as the
consumption of cow’s milk, play a part (Agranoff et al., 1974;
Butcher, 1976). These and more recent studies suggest that cow’s milk
may contain some component other than saturated fat that influences
the incidence of MS. For example, it has been suggested that this
factor or environmental trigger may be a virus (Malosse et al., 1992).

You are more likely to get MS if other people in your family have it
(especially a brother or sister). This shows that there is an element
of genetic predisposition in this disease. However, twin studies have
shown that only about a quarter of identical twins with MS have a twin
with the disease (Willer et al., 2003). In other words for every four
genetically identical sets of twins (one of whom has MS) one other
twin will have the disease and three will not. If genes were solely
responsible for MS, the genes that cause MS in one twin would also
cause it in the other. When considering the role of genetics in a
disease, it is useful to look at what happens to the risk of that
disease in migrating populations. As for cancer, heart disease and
type 2 diabetes, people tend to acquire the MS risk of the population
to which they move, especially if they move early in life. This shows
that MS is more strongly related to environmental factors and diet
than genes.

While the benefits of excluding milk from the diet may not have been
directly proven for MS sufferers, there is evidence that a high intake
of saturated fat increases the incidence of this disease. Others
studies suggest that increasing the intake of unsaturated fatty acids
(such as linoleic acid), vitamin D and antioxidants may be helpful
(Schwartz et al., 2005). The overall message is clear: a plant-based
diet low in fat, salt and sugar (and processed foods) and high in
fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds can
provide all the nutrients required for good health and reduce some of
the risk factors for MS or prevent making an already existing
condition worse.

As the incidence of most autoimmune diseases correlates directly to
the consumption of animal foods, this approach could help prevent
other autoimmune conditions that occur increasingly among populations
that consume high levels of dairy and meat products.

Overweight and obesity
Most people know what the term obesity means: an increased body weight
caused by the excessive accumulation of fat. Overweight and obesity
occur when more calories are taken into the body than are burnt up
over time. In other words, if you don’t burn up the energy you consume
it will be stored as fat, and over time this may lead to excessive
weight gain and obesity. So someone who works in a very physically
demanding job, such as a building-site labourer, may need between
4,000 and 5,000 calories per day to maintain their normal weight.
Whereas an office worker who drives to work and does not take any
exercise may only need 1,500 calories per day (NHS Direct, 2005).

Another way of defining obesity is to measure your body mass index
(BMI). This is your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your
height in metres. There are many websites that can do conversions and
calculations for you (see Appendix II). In England, people with a body
mass index between 25 and 30 are categorised as overweight, and those
with an index above 30 are categorised as obese. The Food Standards
Agency’s BMI calculator describes 18.5 to 25 as healthy and suggests
that a BMI of less than 18.5 is underweight (FSA, 2006). The average
BMI of an adult in Africa and Asia falls between 22 and 23, whereas in
North America and Europe the average BMI is much higher ranging from
25 to 27 (WHO, 2006d). In 2004 the FSA reported that the number of
obese adults in the UK has risen considerably since the last survey in
1987; numbers of obese men have risen from eight per cent to 25 per
cent and women from 12 per cent to 20 per cent (FSA, 2004). This
survey showed that the level of obesity in men has risen faster than
those of women. In addition, the FSA survey reported that 41 per cent
of men and 33 per cent of women were found to be overweight.

The main causes of obesity include an excessive intake of food coupled
to a lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle. Other much less
frequent causes include a genetic predisposition or an underlying
illness (such as hypothyroidism). The British Medical Association
(BMA) warns that childhood obesity levels have soared in the UK over
recent years. In 2002 in the UK, 22 per cent of boys and 28 per cent
of girls aged between two and 15 were either overweight or obese (BMA,
2005). The BMA attribute this rise to the fact that children are
eating too much for the amount of physical activity they undertake.
This is very worrying as early childhood obesity tends to indicate
adult obesity which can lead to serious health risks later in life.
Obesity is a known risk factor for many illnesses including type 2
diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, gall bladder disease
and certain forms of cancer especially the hormonally related and
large-bowel cancers.

The WHO suggests that as the degree of affluence increases, diets high
in complex carbohydrates give way to diets high in saturated fats and
sugars (WHO, 2006d). This combined with a shift towards less
physically demanding work, an increasing use of automated transport,
technology in the home and more passive leisure pursuits means that we
are less active than our parents and our grandparents.

The WHO suggests several ways to lose weight including eating more
fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains; engaging in daily moderate
physical activity for at least 30 minutes; cutting the amount of
fatty, sugary foods in the diet and moving from saturated animal-based
fats to unsaturated vegetable-oil based fats (WHO, 2006d). Whole milk,
cheese, cream, butter, ice-cream and most other dairy products, apart
from skimmed and non-fat products, contain significant amounts of
saturated fat and cholesterol. While we do need a certain amount of
fat in the diet there is no nutritional requirement for saturated fat.
Cow’s milk is high in the unhealthy saturated fats and low in the
healthy polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, which are required in
the diet for good health. Most people eat much more fat than they
need, and making minor changes to the diet (cutting down on fat) can
make a big difference over time.

A number of small-scale studies (of less than 35 obese adults) have
suggested that the consumption of dairy products may actually help
people lose weight (Zemel et al., 2004; Zemel et al., 2005). In these
studies Professor Zemel, who has received a considerable amount of
funding from the National Dairy Council (COS, 2005), suggests that
diets containing calcium from dairy foods might affect fat cell
metabolism in such a way that greater weight loss can occur despite an
identical calorie intake with a control group not consuming so much
dairy. Interestingly, a subsequent study (by a research group
including Zemel but not as the first named author) found no evidence
that a diet high in dairy products enhances weight loss (Thompson et
al., 2005).

Dr Amy Joy Lanou, the nutrition director of the PCRM, warns that care
should be taken when interpreting the findings from Zemel’s trials.
Furthermore, Lanou suggested that the US National Dairy Council’s
claims promoting dairy consumption for weight loss went well beyond
Zemel’s findings. Lanou suggests that it was likely that calorie
restriction, not dairy consumption, caused the weight loss reported in
these studies (Lanou, 2005).

In June 2005 the PCRM decided enough was enough and filed two separate
lawsuits to stop the multimillion-dollar advertising campaign claiming
that milk facilitates weight loss. The PCRM filed one lawsuit to the
US Food and Drugs Administration and the other to the US Federal Trade
Commission. In the lawsuit the PCRM charged the National Dairy
Council, the International Dairy Foods Association, Dairy Management
Incorporated, Dannon Company, Kraft Foods and other dairy
manufacturers with purposefully misleading customers (PCRM, 2005).

Despite the dairy industry’s claims, scientific studies show that
adding dairy products to the diet does not help control weight; in
fact the research confirms that in many cases the reverse is true,
consuming milk and dairy foods can lead to weight gain. Some studies
designed to test the effects of dairy consumption on weight found no
difference in weight between groups consuming relatively large amounts
of dairy foods compared to groups consuming little (Lappe et al.,
2004; Gunther et al., 2005). Another study, this time of the effects
of just calcium supplementation on weight loss in women who had
recently given birth, found no relationship between calcium
supplementation and weight loss (Wosje, 2004). Researchers at the
University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, who reviewed the
scientific literature on the effects of dairy products or calcium
supplements on body weight found that out of nine studies on dairy
products, seven showed no significant difference while two studies
linked weight gain to dairy consumption (Barr et al., 2003).
Furthermore, out of 17 studies on calcium supplementation, just one
reported weight loss.

A recent large scale study that followed over 12,000 children for
three years concluded that the children who drank the most milk gained
the most weight (Berkey et al., 2005). The analyses showed that out of
milk, calcium, dairy fat and total energy intake, it was energy intake
that was the most important predictor of weight gain. The authors
attribute this weight to… you’ve guessed it, the added calories! To
most people it is just common sense, a calorie is a calorie and weight
gain or weight loss is a case of mathematics. If you take in more
energy (calories) than you use, you will gain weight. If you use up
more energy than you consume, you will lose weight. There is no magic
bullet, and if there were it seems very unlikely that it would be
cow’s milk.

Osteoporosis
Bones consist of a thick outer shell and a strong inner mesh filled
with a protein called collagen, calcium salts and other minerals.
Osteoporosis (meaning porous bones) occurs when calcium is lost from
the bones and they become more fragile and prone to fracture. This
debilitating condition tends to occur mostly in postmenopausal women
due to a lack of the hormone oestrogen, which helps to regulate the
incorporation of calcium into the bones. Osteoporosis tends to occur
mostly among postmenopausal women aged between 51 and 75. It can occur
earlier or later and not all women are at equal risk of developing
osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is sometimes called the silent disease as there are often
no symptoms until a fracture occurs. Although the whole skeleton is
usually affected, fractures mostly occur in the wrist, spine and hip.
One in two women and one in five men in the UK will suffer a fracture
after the age of 50; in fact every three minutes someone has a
fracture due to osteoporosis (National Osteoporosis Society, 2005).
However, osteoporosis has been diagnosed in people as young as 20. The
dairy industry has responded to this health scare by promoting the
consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt directly to teenage girls in a
campaign run by the Milk Development Council (MDC, 2005a).

It is deeply entrenched in the British psyche that calcium from dairy
sources is essential for good bone health. However, a recent review on
dairy products and bone health published in the official journal of
the American Academy of Pediatrics challenged this misleading notion
by concluding that there is very little evidence to support increasing
the consumption of dairy products in children and young adults in
order to promote bone health (Lanou et al., 2005). This review
examined the effects of dairy products and total dietary calcium on
bone integrity in children and young adults and found that out of 37
studies, 27 showed no relationship between dairy or dietary calcium
intake and measures of bone health. In the remaining studies the
effects on bone health were either small or results were confounded by
the fortification of milk with vitamin D.

American women are among the biggest consumers of calcium in the
world, yet they have one of the highest levels of osteoporosis
(Frassetto et al., 2000). African Bantu women, on the other hand, eat
almost no dairy products at all; they have a relatively low calcium
intake, mainly from vegetable sources, and typically have up to 10
children each. Yet osteoporosis is virtually unknown among Bantu women
(Walker et al., 1972).

It seems that the more dairy produce we consume, the higher our risk
of fracture. The Harvard Nurses Health study examined whether higher
intakes of milk can reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures. The
study observed over 75,000 women for 12 years and concluded that
increasing milk consumption did not confer a protective effect against
hip or forearm fracture (Feskanich et al., 1997). In fact the report
suggested that an increased calcium intake from dairy foods was
associated with a higher risk of fracture.

It has been suggested that calcium loss from the bone is promoted by a
high intake of animal protein. One study of 1,600 older women examined
the level of bone loss and found vegetarians had only 18 per cent less
bone mineral compared to omnivores who had lost 35 per cent bone
mineral by the age of 80 (Marsh et al., 1988). Another study of 1,035
elderly women found that women with a high ratio of animal to
vegetable protein intake had a greater risk of hip fracture than those
with a low ratio (Sellmeyer et al., 2001). In a similar study that
analysed the incidence of hip fracture in relation to the consumption
of animal and vegetable protein in 33 countries, it was concluded that
moderating the consumption of animal food might protect against hip
fracture (Frassetto et al., 2000). Cross-cultural studies summarising
data on protein intake and fracture rates from 16 countries compared
industrialised and non-industrialised lifestyles and revealed strong
links between a high animal protein diet, bone degeneration and the
occurrence of hip fractures (Abelow et al., 1992). In the book The
China Study, Campbell observed that in rural communities where animal
protein made up just 10 per cent of the total protein intake (the
other 90 per cent coming from plant-based sources) the bone fracture
rate was one-fifth of that in the US where 50 per cent or more of
total protein is made up of animal protein (Campbell and Campbell,
2005), again indicating a link between animal protein and bone
degeneration.

But what is the mechanism for this process? As food is digested acids
are released into the blood, and the body attempts to neutralise the
acid by drawing calcium from the bones. This calcium is then excreted
in the urine (the calciuric response). Animal protein from cow’s milk
and dairy products as well as meat, fish and eggs has a particularly
bad effect because of the greater amount of sulphur-containing amino
acids it contains compared to plant protein. As the sulphur content of
the diet increases so does the level of calcium in the urine. Studies
reveal that an animal protein diet (with the same total quantity of
protein as a vegetarian diet) confers an increased risk for uric acid
stones (Breslau et al., 1988). Furthermore the animal-protein induced
calciuric response may be a risk factor for the development of
osteoporosis. The traditional Inuit (or Eskimo) diet is made up almost
entirely of animal protein. Inuits potentially have one of the highest
calcium intakes in the world (up to 2,500 milligrams per day)
depending on whether they eat whole fish, including the bones, or not.
They also have a high rate of osteoporosis, even higher than white
Americans (Mazess et al., 1974; Mazess et al., 1975; Pratt et al.,
2001).

There are many factors linked to bone health that may even be more
important than calcium. For example, when the bone density of 80 young
women was monitored over a 10-year period, it showed that exercise was
more important than calcium intake (Lloyd et al., 2004). In older
people, a 15-year investigation into whether low calcium intake was a
risk factor for hip fractures concluded that cutting back on dairy did
not increase the risk and that physical activity provided better
protection (Wickham et al., 1989). The discovery of 18th-century human
bones under a London church revealed that today’s women lose far more
calcium than our ancestors (Lees et al., 1993). This may be attributed
to a lower degree of physical activity. This research supports an
increasing amount of evidence that physical activity is a key factor
in reducing osteoporosis risk.

An increasing amount of evidence now shows that milk is not the best
source of calcium at all and suggests that our bone health would
benefit enormously if we switched to plant-based sources.
Interestingly, a large share of the calcium in our diets (over 50 per
cent) comes from sources other than dairy foods (FSA, 2003b). This is
not surprising as most people in the world (over 70 per cent) obtain
their calcium from plant-based sources rather than dairy products.
Good plant-based sources of calcium include non-oxalate (eg spinach)
dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spring greens,
cabbage, bok choy and watercress. Also rich in calcium are dried
fruits, such as figs and dates, nuts, particularly almonds and brazil
nuts, and seeds including sesame seeds and tahini (sesame seed paste)
which contains a massive 680mg of calcium per 100g. Pulses including
soya beans, kidney beans, chick peas, baked beans, broad beans,
lentils, peas and calcium-set tofu (soya bean curd) provide a good
source of calcium. A good additional source is calcium-enriched soya
milk. Interestingly, the calcium in dairy products is not as well
absorbed as that in many dark green leafy vegetables, for example, in
one study calcium absorbability from kale was demonstrated to be
considerably higher than that from cow’s milk (Heaney and Weaver,
1990).

In summary, research suggests that physical (especially
weight-bearing) exercise is the most critical factor for maintaining
healthy bones, followed by improving the diet and lifestyle; this
means eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and cutting down on
caffeine and avoiding alcohol and smoking.
Ice
2006-07-03 15:05:34 UTC
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:58:26 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html

CONCLUSION
The realisation is growing that changing our diet can have an enormous
impact on health – for better or worse. But what constitutes healthy
food – and unhealthy – is not universally agreed. Cow’s milk is
vigorously defended by the dairy industry and they have managed to
turn it into a national icon. Woe-betide anyone who challenges their
sacred cow. Not surprisingly, the resulting controversy is confusing.
On one hand consumers are told that milk is essential for good bone
health while on the other, that it causes allergies, illness and
disease.

Of course we need calcium for bones and teeth as well as blood
clotting, muscle function and regulating the heart’s rhythm. But no
matter how loudly the dairy industry shouts, an increasing body of
evidence begs the question: is cow’s milk really the best source of
calcium? It certainly is not for most of the world’s people. Claims
that dairy is best carry strong overtones of cultural imperialism and
simply ignore the 70 per cent of the global population who obtain
their calcium from other sources – people such as the Japanese who
traditionally have consumed no dairy yet have far better health than
British people and live considerably longer.

Milk has been part of the human diet for less than 6,000 years –
recent in evolutionary terms. It is not just that most people don’t
drink it – they cannot because their bodies will not tolerate it. Up
to 100 per cent of some ethnic groups are lactose intolerant. It is
obvious that the claims made for milk ignore the research and owe more
to marketing hype than science.

The dairy industry has spent many years and many millions promoting
the notion that cow’s milk is good for us through expensive
advertising campaigns such as the ‘White Stuff’– fronted by the
milk-moustachioed celebrity, Nell McAndrew. Now, because of an
increasing body of evidence, there are signs of a growing realisation
that milk is neither natural nor healthy.

The very people who are most aggressively targeted by the dairy
industry – the young – are those most at risk of being damaged by
milk. It is not just the two per cent under the age of one who will
develop allergies but those likely to develop type 1 diabetes from
cow’s milk infant formula. The evidence is convincing even though the
mechanism is not yet fully understood.

Author of the world-famous book, Baby and Child Care, Dr Benjamin
Spock, withdrew his support for cow’s milk in 1998. In 1999, a study
published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery reported that
gastrointestinal bleeding caused by an allergic response to milk was a
major cause of rectal bleeding in infancy, leading to iron-deficiency
anaemia. This is now universally accepted. The World Health
Organisation recommends that infants should be exclusively breast fed
for the first six months of life in preference to being given cow’s
milk or soya formulas.

But it’s not all about infants; in 2005, cow’s milk was linked to
teenage acne in a study published in the Journal of the American
Academy of Dermatology. In the same year, the journal Pediatrics
published a review article concluding that there is scant evidence
that consuming more milk and dairy products promotes better bone
health in either children or adolescents.

T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at
Cornell University, culminated a lifetime of research with The China
Study, one of the most comprehensive nutritional studies ever
undertaken. Campbell agrees there is little evidence to show that
increasing calcium intake will prevent fractures. In fact, research is
moving in the opposite direction, showing that the more dairy and
animal protein that is consumed, the higher the incidence of
osteoporosis.

Cow’s milk is clearly implicated in disease in both the young and old.
Both UK arthritis charities, Arthritis Care and the Arthritis Research
Campaign, agree that moving away from fatty foods such as meat and
dairy and towards a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
can help people with arthritis.

The rate at which some cancers are increasing is also a matter of
concern. When Professor Jane Plant wrote Your Life in Your Hands, an
account of how she overcame breast cancer by eliminating dairy, one in
10 UK women were affected by the disease. That was in 2000 and now, in
2006, one in nine women will develop breast cancer at some point in
their lives!

In fact, since 1971, the incidence of breast cancer in the UK has
increased by 80 per cent. In rural China, on the other hand, where
very little if any dairy is consumed, just one in 10,000 women gets
breast cancer. These figures should be shouted from the rooftops as a
basis for action. Plant and Campbell – and many others for that matter
– are in no doubt that cow’s milk and dairy foods are responsible.

A point that is consistently overlooked is that two-thirds of the UK’s
milk comes from pregnant cows and as every mum knows, hormone levels
during pregnancy can rise dramatically. This is no laughing matter as
prostate, ovarian and colorectal cancer are all implicated. These
cancers and the so-called diseases of affluence, such as diabetes,
obesity, heart disease and even osteoporosis, occur increasingly in
the countries that consume the most dairy products. It is not rocket
science… cow’s milk and dairy products cause disease.

The conclusions of this report are drawn from a huge body of research
from academic institutions all around the world. While the majority
was done in an academic environment involving clinical trials or
statistical analysis, some is of a more personal nature. Professor
Jane Plant’s spirit and courage in overcoming breast cancer through
the elimination of all dairy could not fail to inspire the increasing
number of women who are affected by this type of cancer.

Plant did not set out to promote one type of diet above another but as
a scientist (geochemist) she took an analytical approach to the
problem of cancer and ultimately found the solution: a dairy-free
diet. Similarly, what initiated Campbell’s extensive China study was
not an attempt to justify or promote vegetarianism. In fact, Campbell
grew up on a farm in northern Virginia and for much of his life ate
the typical North American diet high in meat, eggs, whole milk and
butter. He began his academic life trying to increase animal protein
production. It was evidence from his own laboratory research that
pointed an accusing finger at animal protein as a trigger for many
diseases and he set out to confirm it through epidemiological
research. For health reasons, he and his family now eat a plant-based
diet.

The World Health Organisation believes that the only way people can
improve their health is through informed opinion and their own, active
co-operation. We agree! As a science-based health charity, the VVF
provides unbiased information on which people can make informed
choices. We monitor and interpret scientific research on diet and
health and communicate those findings to the public, health
professionals, schools and food manufacturers. Importantly, we have no
commercial or vested interests and offer a vital – and what sometimes
feels like a solitary – source of accurate and unbiased information.
This report combines the findings of over 250 scientific papers from
reputable peer-reviewed journals such as the British Medical Journal
and the Lancet. The research is clear – the consumption of cow’s milk
and dairy products is linked to the development of teenage acne,
allergies, arthritis, some cancers, colic, constipation, coronary
heart disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, dementia, ear infection,
food poisoning, gallstones, kidney disease, migraine, autoimmune
conditions, including multiple sclerosis, overweight, obesity and
osteoporosis.

As a species, we do not need saturated animal fat, animal protein or
cholesterol. We do not need the trans fatty acids in processed foods.
We do not need salt and sugar in their current quantities. We do need
to move towards a plant-based, whole grain diet containing a wide
range of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds for the
nutrients that will promote a long and healthy life.

These, of course, are the same foods which contain protection against
disease in the form of antioxidants and fibre. What is killing the
Western world are the degenerative diseases associated with affluence.
It is clear that the same diet that is good for preventing cancer is
also good for preventing heart disease, obesity, diabetes and so on.

The official approach to the causes of all these diseases remains
extremely equivocal and dietary advice seems to be based far more on
not upsetting particular vested interests than improving the public’s
health. As a consequence, no matter how much money is thrown at the
NHS, the incidence of all these diseases goes on increasing
remorselessly because public health policy is geared almost
exclusively towards cure rather than prevention.

Only when prevention assumes the pre-eminence it should have will the
avoidance of dairy and other animal products be seen as central to
improving the public’s health. Meanwhile, it is left to individuals to
discover what they can about diet and heath while Government health
policy continues to kill us and sows the seeds for the destruction of
our own children’s health, most of which will germinate in early
adulthood. It is a national disgrace and an evolutionary disaster.
Ice
2006-07-03 15:06:55 UTC
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:58:26 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html

APPENDIX I
THE SAFETY OF SOYA
Soya milk, made from soya beans, contains the same amount of protein
as dairy milk. It also provides all eight of the essential amino acids
which the human body requires. Soya milk is rich in polyunsaturated
fatty acids including omega-3, and is free of cholesterol. Compared to
cow’s milk, soya milk contains lower levels of saturated fat and
higher levels of unsaturated essential fatty acids which can lower
cholesterol levels in the body. Soya products provide an excellent
source of B vitamins, calcium, iron and zinc. Soya also contains fibre
which is important for good bowel health and can also lower
cholesterol.

In recent years, soya milk and soya-based products have received much
attention because of the phytoestrogens that they contain.
Phytoestrogens are plant-made substances that can act in a similar way
to the hormone oestrogen, although they are far less potent (Coldham
et al., 1997). They are found in many fruits, vegetables, dried beans,
peas, and whole grains. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen found
in soya beans and include genistein and daidzein. In general, much of
the data indicates that isoflavones are beneficial to health. For
example, isoflavones may have a protective role against heart disease.
The UK’s Joint Health Claims Initiative (JHCI) offers pre-market
advice and a code of practice for the food industry, enforcers and
consumers, to ensure that health claims on foods are both
scientifically truthful and legally acceptable. In 2002 the JHCI
concluded its deliberations on a generic health claim for soya protein
and blood cholesterol. The claim approved states that “the inclusion
of at least 25 grams soya protein per day as part of a diet low in
saturated fat can help reduce blood cholesterol” (JHCI, 2005). In
addition to the benefits to heart health, isoflavones have been shown
to offer other health benefits. For example, they may have a role in
reducing menopausal symptoms; dietary soya supplementation has been
shown to substantially reduce the frequency of hot flushes in some
postmenopausal women (Albertazzi et al, 1998). While only a few
clinical studies have examined the influence of phytoestrogens on bone
health, a review of the current research states that the collective
data suggests that diets rich in phytoestrogens have bone-sparing
effects in the long term, in other words the data indicates that
phytoestrogens may be beneficial to bone health (Setchell and
Lydeking-Olsen, 2003).

Conversely, research focusing on the hormonal content of cow’s milk
has not been widely discussed and surprisingly very little research
has been published on this topic. Cow’s milk contains the hormones
oestrogen, progesterone and a range of hormone precursors
(androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate, and 5ª-reduced
steroids like 5ª-androstanedione, 5ª-pregnanedione, and
dihydrotestosterone). Some researchers are particularly concerned
about the oestrogen content of cow’s milk (Ganmaa and Sato, 2005),
suggesting that cow’s milk is one of the important routes of human
exposure to oestrogens. What concerns them is that the nature of cow’s
milk has changed drastically over the last hundred years, in that for
most of the time that a cow is milked, she is also pregnant and
therefore secreting hormones into the milk. The levels of these
hormones in cow’s milk increases markedly during pregnancy and has
been linked to a wide range of illnesses and diseases including
certain hormone-dependent cancers such as ovarian and breast cancer.

Consistent levels of soya isoflavones have been a component of the
diet of many populations for centuries and the consumption of soya is
generally regarded as beneficial for health with a potentially
protective effect against a number of chronic diseases because of
their oestrogenic activity. A recent review of the current literature
concluded that when viewed in its entirety, the current literature
supports the safety of isoflavones as typically consumed in diets
based on soya or containing soya products (Munro et al., 2003).
Soya-based infant formula
Because soya-based infant formula is such a popular alternative to
cow’s milk formula, it was decided to include a separate section on it
here. Soya protein-based nutrition during infancy has a long history
of safe use around the world dating back centuries. The first report
of soya-based infant formula in the West was recorded in 1909 (Ruhrah,
1909) and soya-based infant formula was used in cases of infantile
eczema as early as in the 1920s (Hill and Stuart, 1929). Since these
early days soya-based infant formula has come a long way; it now
contains all the nutrients needed by an infant and can be used as a
safe alternative or supplement to breast milk if necessary.

Soya-based infant formulas have been more widely used in the UK since
the 1960s and are currently fed to approximately one per cent of
non-breast fed infants aged four to 10 weeks rising to approximately
two per cent of infants aged 10-14 weeks (Hamlyn et al., 2002).
However, the UK Foods Standards Agency advises that you should only
give your baby soya-based infant formula if your GP or health visitor
advises you to (FSA, 2005). They also state that in almost all cases,
breast feeding or another type of formula will be a better choice, and
suggest that if you are giving your baby soya-based infant formula at
the moment, you should talk to your GP or health visitor about
changing to a different formula (FSA, 2005). This reflects concerns
about the use of soya-based infant formulas. Based largely on
anecdotal and animal-based experimental evidence, these concerns have
focused on the nutritional adequacy of soya-based infant formula, the
effect of phytoestrogens, genetically modified soya and the effects of
glucose syrup (which is used in place of lactose). These concerns are
addressed below.

Nutritional adequacy
Soya-based infant formulas are formulated to meet all of the nutrient
requirements of the growing infant. A number of studies have
documented normal growth and development in infants fed soya-based
infant formulas. One study compared weight, length and head
circumference of healthy term infants to one year of age, fed either
soya-based formula, or exclusively breast fed for at least two months
then weaned on to cow’s milk formula. Results demonstrated similar
growth in the first year of life between groups (Lasekan et al.,
1999). Another, more recent study compared the nutritional status and
growth of 168 infants who were allergic to cow’s milk and were fed
either soya-based infant formula or extensively hydrolysed whey
formula. Results showed that in both groups, nutrient intake and
growth were within reference values confirming the safety and
effectiveness of the soya-based formula (Seppo et al., 2005).

There is currently only one vegan infant soya formula on the market:
Farley’s Soya Formula, produced by Heinz. This dairy-free infant
formula is nutritionally complete and can be used from birth. It
contains no animal products, so it is suitable for both vegetarians
and vegans. It is also suitable for infants who require a diet free
from lactose.

Phytoestrogens
The role of phytoestrogens in the diet has become a somewhat
controversial area with warnings focusing particularly on the safety
of soya-based infant formulas. Various animal experiments (primarily
using rodents and primates) have suggested that phytoestrogens can
elicit oestrogenic effects with respect to sexual development and
reproductive function. However, it is widely acknowledged that the
results of animal experiments should not form the basis of a public
health policy as significant differences in biological function
between rodents, primates and humans make the interpretation of these
types of experimental studies extremely difficult. Just one single
human study has specifically examined the effect of soya formula
feeding on sexual development and fertility (Strom et al., 2001). This
study examined the association between exposure to soya formula in
infancy and reproductive health in adulthood. The results provided no
evidence of adverse clinical effects on sexual development or
reproductive health of males and females. Indeed the authors of this
study stated that their findings were reassuring about the safety of
infant soya formula.

In 1998 a review on isoflavones, soya-based infant formulas and
hormone function reported that growth was normal and no changes in
timing of puberty or in infertility rates were reported in humans who
consumed soya formulas as infants (Klein, 1998). The author concluded
that soya-based infant formulas continue to be a safe, nutritionally
complete feeding option for most infants.

However in 2003, in response to concerns about the oestrogenic
properties of phytoestrogens the UK Department of Health’s committee
of independent experts, the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in
Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) reviewed the health
aspects of phytoestrogens as part of an ongoing programme of reviews
on naturally-occurring chemicals (COT, 2003). This report attempted to
assess, on the basis of current evidence, if ingestion of soya-based
infant formulas poses any risk for human infants.

The report compared estimated dietary isoflavone intakes in Western
and Eastern populations and found that Eastern populations have a
significantly higher intake of phytoestrogens. While in the UK, the
US, Australia and New Zealand isoflavone intakes tend to range from
around 0.8 milligrams per day to 17.0 milligrams per day, intakes in
Japan, China and Korea range from 18.0 milligrams per day to 200
milligrams per day. These figures do not include data collected from
one group of vegans in New Zealand whose intake was found to be 140.0
milligrams per day (COT, 2003). The COT estimated that the daily
isoflavone intake of a soya formula fed infant is approximately 40
milligrams per day (COT, 2003), above the average Western intake but
well within the range of intakes seen in Eastern countries.

In a cautionary statement the COT warned that isoflavones may lower
free thyroxine concentrations and advised that physicians and other
health care workers be aware of possible interactions between
isoflavones in soya-based infant formulas and thyroid function,
particularly in infants with congenital hypothyroidism. That said, the
report concluded that the findings from a wide range of studies did
not provide direct evidence that phytoestrogens present in soya-based
infant formulas can adversely affect the health of infants. However,
they said that the findings did provide evidence of potential risks.
For this reason, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)
considered there to be no substantive medical need for, nor health
benefit arising from, the use of soya-based infant formulas and
together with the COT recommended that the Department of Health
reviewed current advice on the use of soya-based infant formulas.

The report did acknowledge that there is no evidence that populations
which habitually ingest high quantities of soya (such as the Chinese
or Japanese) have impaired fertility or altered sexual development.
Despite this, they recommended that research should be undertaken as a
matter of high priority to determine whether ingestion of soya-based
formulas can affect infant reproductive development in any way.
Interestingly, the United Kingdom and New Zealand are the only
countries to have issued such advice with specific reference to
phytoestrogens and soya-based infant formulas.

This is a controversial issue which has yet to be resolved. The FSA
advise that, until a full review of the evidence both supporting and
opposing soya formula has been completed, there is no reason to stop
your baby having a soya formula if it has been suggested by a health
professional. This it would seem is erring of the side of extreme
caution given that thousands of babies have been raised on soya-based
infant formula.
Genetically modified soya
It is relatively recently that the genetic modification (GM) of
organisms (plants and animals) has developed as a technology. However,
GM technology has not been welcomed by the British public; many people
are deeply suspicious and mistrustful of the science. We have been
reassured in the past that certain foods are quite safe to eat only to
find that they are not. Many of us will remember in 1990, just before
the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis, John Gummer feeding
his daughter a beef burger and saying that beef was perfectly safe, it
was not.

The mistrust remains and many questions have gone unanswered. For
example, have the transgenic plants grown so far met expectations?
Evidence suggests that in many cases they have not met the high yields
expected. What is the real risk of transgenic contamination between
genetically modified (GM) and unmodified plants? This question refers
to the contamination of an unmodified crop with pollen from a GM
plant. The pollen of the GM plant will carry copies of the foreign
genes that were used confer some additional characteristic to the
plant. These may encode pesticide resistance for example along with
antibiotic resistance marker genes that were used to identify the
successfully modified plants when they were first produced. The
question of contamination is difficult to answer as it may be years or
even decades before we can assess the full extent of transgenic
contamination, but so far evidence suggests widespread contamination
has occurred in some parts of the world.

Another concern is that the genetic material (DNA or genes) may be
transferred from GM foods to bacteria in the human gut and from there
into human tissue. There is experimental evidence that DNA from GM
soya has been taken up by bacteria in the small intestines of human
volunteers (Netherwood et al., 2004). This raises concerns that
bacteria in the gut (for example Lactobacillus) might then transfer
that DNA into our intestinal epithelial cells. What effect this may
have on human health will largely depend on what the gene does; it may
do nothing but is that a risk worth taking? Finally, as a result of a
lack of funding, scientists are sometimes forced to adopt the
corporate agenda, which is not necessarily the same as the public
good. For example, Monsanto has used genetic engineering to produce
herbicide resistance crops thus increasing sales of its herbicide
Roundup.

GM products, especially soya and maize, are now in so many foods,
including baby milks, that it can be difficult to avoid them. We do
not yet know enough about this technology to confidently say what the
long term effects of it will be but consumers appear to be voting with
their shopping baskets by avoiding GM foods as far as possible. The
good news for vegan babies is that Heinz state that no GM ingredients
at all are used in Farley’s Soya Formula (Heinz, 2005). In addition,
SMA Nutrition and Cow and Gate also state that no GM soya is used in
their soya-based infant formulas (SMA Nutrition, 2006; Cow and Gate,
2006).

Glucose syrup and tooth decay
Another concern with infant soya formula is that the glucose syrup
content may harm teeth. All infant formulas must comply with standards
laid down by UK regulations which specify minimum and maximum amounts
of carbohydrate (the body’s main form of energy). The carbohydrate in
cow’s milk is the sugar lactose, in soya-based infant formula an
alternative carbohydrate is used: glucose syrup. Glucose syrup is
often confused with sugars but in fact is derived from corn starch and
is not the same as glucose or syrup. It is mainly made up of
beneficial complex carbohydrates (starches) rather than simple
carbohydrates (sugars) which are known to be harmful to teeth.
Research has shown that soya infant formulas are no more likely to
cause tooth decay than other infant formulas (Moynihan, 1996).

Tooth decay can be the result of many factors, not only the presence
of sugars in a food and drink but how they are consumed. It has been
shown that prolonged contact of sugary foods and drinks with teeth
increases the risk of tooth decay significantly. Children should be
encouraged to drink water if they are thirsty as it quenches the
thirst, maintains body fluid levels, does not spoil the appetite and
is safe for teeth. Fresh fruit juice provides a good source of vitamin
C and can be given with meals to help the absorption of iron. However,
fresh fruit juices are acidic so may be harmful to teeth and should be
diluted with water. Furthermore, juice should be served in a cup
rather than a bottle to minimise the risk of tooth decay. Children
should be discouraged from consuming sugary carbonated drinks and
squashes as these contribute to dental problems, are a poor source of
nutrients and tend to displace other more nutritious foods. If normal
weaning practices are adopted, soya infant formulas should not cause
harm to teeth (Moynihan, 1996).

In summary, soya-based infant formulas continue to provide a safe
feeding option for most infants. They meet all the nutritional
requirements of the infant with none of the detrimental effects
associated with the consumption of cow’s milk formulas.
Ice
2006-07-03 15:09:08 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:58:26 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/whitelies/report01.html



Table 1. Body mass index (BMI) table in imperial units. Find the
nearest height in feet and inches on the top row. Read down that
column to find the nearest weight in stones and pounds. Then find your
BMI in the left hand column. See here for information on BMI.

BMI 4FT10IN 4FT11IN 5FT0IN 5FT1IN 5FT2IN 5FT3IN 5FT4IN
17.0 5st11lb 6st0lb 6st3lb 6st5lb 6st8lb 6st11lb 7st1lb
18.5 6st4lb 6st7lb 6st10lb 6st13lb 7st3lb 7st6lb 7st9lb
20.0 6st11lb 7st1lb 7st4lb 7st7lb 7st11lb 8st0lb 8st4lb
22.5 7st9lb 7st13b 8st3lb 8st7lb 8st11lb 9st1lb 9st5lb
25.0 8st7lb 8st11lb 9st2lb 9st6lb 9st10lb 10st1lb 10st5lb
27.5 9st5lb 9st10lb 10st0lb 10st5lb 10lb10lb 11st1lb 11st6lb
30.0 10st3lb 10st8lb 10st13lb 11st4lb 11st10lb 12st1lb 12st6lb
32.5 11st1lb 11st6lb 11st12lb 12st4lb 12st9lb 13st1lb 13st7lb
35.0 11st13lb 12st5lb 12st11lb 13st3lb 13st9lb 14st1lb 14st7lb
BMI 5FT5IN 5FT6IN 5FT7IN 5FT8IN 5FT9IN 5FT10IN 5FT11IN
17.0 7st4lb 7st7lb 7st10lb 7st13lb 8st3lb 8st6lb 8st9lb
18.5 7st13lb 8st2lb 8st6lb 8st9lb 8st13lb 9st2lb 9st6lb
20.0 8st8lb 8st11lb 9st1lb 9st5lb 9st9lb 9st13lb 10st3lb
22.5 9st9lb 9st13lb 10st3lb 10st7lb 10st12lb 11st2lb 11st7lb
25.0 10st10lb 11st0lb 11st5lb 11st10lb 12st1lb 12st6lb 12st11lb
27.5 11st11lb 12st2lb 12st7lb 12st12lb 13st4lb 13st0lb 14st1lb
30.0 12st12lb 13st3lb 13st9lb 14st1lb 14st7lb 14st13lb 15st5lb
32.5 13st13lb 14st5lb 14st11lb 15st3lb 15st10lb 16st2lb 16st9lb
35.0 15st0lb 15st6lb 15st13lb 16st6lb 16st13lb 17st5lb 17st12lb
BMI 6FT0IN 6FT1IN 6FT2IN 6FT3IN 6FT4IN 6FT5IN
17.0 8st13lb 9st2lb 9st6lb 9st10lb 9st13lb 10st3lb
18.5 9st10lb 10st0lb 10st4lb 10st8lb 10st11lb 11st2lb
20.0 10st7lb 10st11lb 11st1lb 11st6lb 11st10lb 12st0lb
22.5 11st11lb 12st2lb 12st7lb 12st12lb 13st2lb 13st7lb
25.0 13st2lb 13st7lb 13st12lb 14st4lb 14st9lb 15st0lb
27.5 14st6lb 14st12lb 15st4lb 15st10lb 16st1lb 16st7lb
30.0 15st11lb 16st3lb 16st9lb 17st2lb 17st8lb 18st1lb
32.5 17st1lb 17st8lb 18st1lb 18st8lb 19st1lb 19st8lb
35.0 18st6lb 18st13lb 19st6lb 20st0lb 20st7lb 21st8lb

Adapted from Walsh, 2003.

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http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/report/index.php

A report on the UK Dairy Industry

Executive Summary
The farming of animals for meat has received much public attention and
scrutiny over the past few decades, prompting calls for tighter animal
welfare regulations and moving millions of people to adopt a
vegetarian diet. Meanwhile, the farming of cows for dairy products,
which has become increasingly intensive in recent years, has been
largely ignored.

This report lifts the lid on modern dairy farming, shattering its
benign image and exposing the immeasurable mental and physical
suffering inflicted on millions of cows and their calves every year.
It serves as a wake-up call for everyone who is opposed to animal
cruelty yet continues to buy and consume dairy products.

While many of the welfare problems raised in this report, such as
lameness, hunger, mastitis and invasive embryo technologies, are a
result of the continued drive to increase the cows’ milk yield, the
emotional trauma caused by removing a newborn calf from its mother is
inherent in dairy production. The enormous physical demand placed on
the cow by the dual load of pregnancy and lactation is also an
intrinsic part of dairy farming.

For anyone reading this report, the conclusion that dairy farming
inflicts unacceptable and unavoidable pain and suffering on cows and
their calves is inevitable.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please note: the health aspects of consuming cow’s milk are not
covered here. For a fully referenced report on the serious health
issues associated with dairy consumption, please see White Lies by the
Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (www.vegetarian.org.uk; tel 0117 970
5190).

The Size and Type of Dairy Industry in Britain
There are currently just over two million dairy cows living on the
UK’s 21,000 dairy farms, with Somerset and Cheshire the main areas of
dairy production (1, 2). As cows must give birth to a calf each year
in order to produce milk, there are also around two million dairy
calves in the UK at any one time. Over 58% of the UK’s dairy cows are
now kept in herds larger than 100 – compared to average herds of just
30 in the 1970s (1, 3).

Ninety-five per cent of dairy cows in the UK are black and white
Holstein/Friesians, with Ayrshire, Guernsey and Jersey cows making up
the remaining 5% (4). Holsteins and Friesians are two slightly
different breeds, with the North American Holstein being larger and
having a higher milk output than the British Friesian (4). This high
milk yield has lead to Holsteins replacing Friesians on most UK dairy
farms and an increase in annual milk yield per cow from 3,750 litres
in the 1970s to 8000 litres today, with some high genetic Holsteins
reaching 10,000-12,000 litres a year (3, 5). This equates to a daily
milk production of 30-50 litres, ten times more than a cow would
naturally produce to feed her calf (6).

The unnatural physical demands placed on modern dairy cows results in
a quarter of the national dairy herd being culled every year due to
lameness, mastitis (udder infection) and infertility (5). In many
high-production herds, cows are worn out and sent for slaughter before
their third lactation – at only four to five years old – when they can
naturally live to be at least 20 (7) (there are cases of dairy cows on
sanctuaries living into their 30s).

Milk production in the European Union is limited by milk quotas, with
the annual UK production quota set at 14.2 billion litres (8).
Although the UK is 90% self sufficient in milk, it imports a
significant amount of dairy products. In 2003, for example, the UK
imported 314,000 tonnes of cheese (compared to UK production of
366,000 tonnes), mostly from Ireland, France and Germany; and 119,000
tonnes of butter (compared to UK production of 145,000 tonnes), mostly
from Denmark, Ireland and New Zealand (8).


Fig. 1. A typical Holstein cow, her high milk yield causing a hugely
distended udder and leaving her emaciated (Photo: Viva!)
Click here for a video clip of malnourished cows
With an annual turnover of over £6 billion, the dairy sector
constitutes 10% of the UK’s food and beverage sales (2). The four
largest dairy processors – Dairy Crest, Arla, Wisemans and Milk Link –
have a combined annual turnover of £4 billion and profits of almost
£200 million (9, 10, 11, 12). Together they spend over £46 million a
year on advertising, targeting mainly children, teenagers and new
mothers (13).

In 2004 Dairy Crest, the UK’s largest dairy processor, received £19.8
million in EU funding under the Common Agricultural Policy – despite
having a profit of £85 million that year – while UK dairy processors
received a total of over £50 million in CAP payments (14). EU dairy
processors also receive export subsidies to ‘enable them to compete in
international markets’ (13). In 2004 this totalled€2.3 billion (13).

Promotion

The UK dairy industry is supported and promoted by the Milk
Development Council (MDC), the Dairy Council and Dairy UK.

The MDC is a public body established in 1994 (replacing the Milk
Marketing Board) with the aim of

‘improving the profitability and competitiveness of Great Britain's
dairy farmer’ (15). It is situated within the Department of
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and its council members
are appointed by DEFRA Ministers (15). Their annual income of £7
million comes from a statutory levy paid by dairy farmers on their
milk sales (15). They also receive regular funding from the EU,
including £3 million in 2004 for their ‘Naturally Beautiful’
advertising campaign which encourages teenage girls to consume more
dairy products for their claim of better looking hair and skin (15).
In 2005 they plan to spend £4.7 million marketing dairy products in
the UK.

The Dairy Council is a limited company funded jointly by the MDC and
dairy processors. Their mission statement is:

“To promote the positive image of milk, its products and the industry
as a whole in the eyes of consumers and key influencers, thus helping
to increase the consumption of dairy products.” (16)

They work to achieve this goal by distributing ‘health education,
consumer and teaching literature about dairy products’ (16). In 2004
they received £305,527 in EU funding under the Common Agricultural
Policy (16).

Dairy UK is a limited company which brings together ‘dairy processors,
farming representatives, co-ops and bottle milk buyers to form an
organisation that embraces and gives full priority to the views and
opinions of all those involved the industry’ (17). Dairy UK staff
operate throughout the UK to

‘ensure the interests of the dairy sector are properly considered in
the policy formulation process by the UK government, devolved
administrations and the EU’ (17).

Targeting Children


Fig. 2. The dairy industry bombard schools with propaganda thinly
masked as ‘educational material’, such as this booklet produced by
Dairy Council which is distributed to primary schools
Realising the importance of getting people hooked on milk while they
are young, the dairy industry bombard British schools with propaganda
thinly veiled as ‘educational’ materials. To ‘increase the appeal of
milk to primary school children’, the MDC distribute a free
interactive CD Rom, The Story of Milk, featuring Charlotte the cartoon
cow, to schools across Britain (15). The Dairy Council produce a
cartoon booklet along the same vein called It’s a Cow’s Life which
‘informs young children about the life of a dairy cow and what happens
on a dairy farm’ (4). The information in the booklet is so far from
reality that it borders on make-believe, featuring a cartoon cow
cradling her calf in her arms when in real life dairy calves are torn
from their mothers within 72 hours of birth (4, 7).

They MDC also target primary school teachers with a Healthy Choices
pack, aimed to ‘put information about the health and nutritional
benefits of dairy products, balanced diets, the composition of milk
and dairy products, and the range of dairy products available to UK
consumers at the centre of the school curriculum’ (15). They also
jointly funded Dairy UK’s campaign promoting milk consumption in
primary schools which involved sending copies of the innocently named
‘Teacher’s Guide to Health and Fitness’ to over 10,000 schools (17).
According to Dairy UK’s Edmund Proffitt, this education pack, which
received £50,000 in EU funding, aims to ‘develop healthy young milk
customers in primary schools’ (17).

The EU also recognizes the importance of targeting children and
operates a school milk subsidy scheme that aims to

‘expand the market for milk and milk products by encouraging children
(from the ages of 5 to 11) to consume milk and milk products, and
develop a lasting habit of doing so’ (18).

Under this scheme, which is actively promoted by the MDC, the Dairy
Council and Dairy UK, milk and yoghurt are supplied to schoolchildren
at reduced prices (4, 15, 17, 18). In 2002 this aid totalledover £9
million (18).

More Subsidies

In 2004 EU dairy farmers received a total of €970 million in direct
aid from the EU, with UK farmers receiving €119 million (13).
According to the Milk Development Council these figures are expected
to rise dramatically in the next few years, with a projected total of
€4.2 billion paid to EU dairy farmers in 2007 (13).

The EU also operates the Butter for Manufacture scheme which aims to
‘dispose of surplus butterfat by encouraging manufacturers to use
butter in manufactured products in preference to cheaper vegetable
oils’ (18). Under this scheme a subsidy is paid to food manufacturers
on butter, butteroil and cream processed into certain eligible
products (cakes, biscuits, ice cream, soup etc) (18).
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The Natural Life of Cattle

Fig. 3. Cows establish strong friendships when only a few days old,
making later separation stressful and confusing
Cattle are members of the Bovidae family, which also includes
antelope, goats, sheep, bison and buffalo (19). Modern domestic cattle
(Bos taurus) are descended from the much larger auroch (Bos taurus
primigenius) which once ranged from Britain to Africa, throughout the
Middle East, across India and central Asia (20). Domestication of the
auroch began in Mesopotamia around 6500 BC where they were used for
meat, milk, hides and labour (20). Selective breeding over the
millennia caused dramatic physical changes to domestic cattle, to the
extent that they are now considered a separate species (20). Wild
aurochs became extinct in Britain in the Bronze Age, with the last
members of their species killed by hunters in Poland in 1627 (20).

The closest living relatives of modern domestic cattle are bantengs
(Bos javanicus) and gaur (Bos gaurus) who live in South East Asia and
have both suffered drastic population declines (19). These species
naturally form small herds, between 10-30 animals, although several
herds may get together during the breeding season. Most herds consist
of only one bull with several cows and their offspring. Young males
that don’t manage to take over the herd must head out on their own,
sometimes joining together in small ‘bachelor’ groups (19).

Populations of semi-wild cattle still survive in several countries,
including the white cattle which have roamed free in Chillingham Park
in Northumberland for at least the past 700 years (21). Studies of
this herd, and other semi-wild herds, have provided much insight on
natural cattle behaviour.

Like the guar and banteng, semi-wild cattle form small groups,
averaging 15-20 animals, with a strict social hierarchy – the highest
ranking individuals having priority to food, shelter and water, with
offspring inheriting their mother’s status (22). The social structure
within herds is based on matriarchal families, with mother cows and
their daughters remaining grooming and grazing partners for their
whole lives (22). These matriarchal families are interconnected by
friendships between unrelated cows (22). Once the social structure is
established in a herd it remains stable for many years and any
disruption to the group, such as a new member or division of the herd,
is very stressful and confusing for them (22). According to Rosamund
Young, an expert on cattle behaviour, it is extremely common for
calves to establish lifelong friendships when only a few days old
(23). These social bonds are constantly reinforced through mutual
grooming (23).

The birth of a calf is a very private moment for a cow and she will
usually take herself off from the rest of the herd to give birth,
leaving her calf hidden away in long grass for the first week or so
(21, 22). The week-old calf is then brought to the herd for an
introduction ceremony. The ‘king’ bull comes out to meet them and
escorts them into the herd. The other cows then inspect and sniff the
calf, as if to decide whether he or she should be admitted to the
herd. Once this is 'agreed', the cows pay no further attention to the
new calf who remains with the herd (21).

Cows are very protective of their young and will attack, and even
kill, anything they see as a threat – including humans (24). In June
2005, a 66 year-old woman was trampled to death as she walked her dog
through a field of cows with their calves in Warwickshire (24). Female
calves will naturally suckle until they are around nine months old and
stay with their mothers for the rest of their lives (22, 23). Males
are weaned at around 12 months old and would then leave the herd and
join a bachelor herd (22). Both males and females can easily live to
be 20 (21, 22, 23).

Cows are ruminants who digest their food in two steps, first by eating
the raw material and then regurgitating a semi-digested form known as
cud which they chew again (20). Their stomach is divided into four
chambers with each carrying out different functions. In the first
chamber, called the rumen, the food is mixed with fluid to form the
cud. The regurgitated cud, after having been slowly chewed, is
swallowed again, and passes through the rumen into the other stomach
chambers for further digestion (20).


Fig. 4. Studies of free-ranging herds have shown that female calves
naturally wean at around nine months old while males continue to
suckle up to 12 months
Cattle have a wide field of vision but are poor judges of detail and
distance (20). Contrary to popular belief, cattle can also see colour
although they have a deficiency towards the red end of the spectrum
(20). Due to their poor depth perception, they are often reluctant to
enter dark or shadowy areas and frequently over-react to quite small
things in their path, such as changes in floor surface or shadows
(23).

Cattle have excellent hearing and hear sounds at similar and higher
frequencies to humans, they dislike loud, sudden noises (19). They
also have a very effective sense of smell which they use to explore
new objects or environments (19).

Terminology

Calf: a male or female up to 180 days old

Heifer: a young female over 180 days old before she has her first calf

First-calf heifer: a female who is in her first lactation

Cow: a female in her second lactation

Bullock or steer: a castrated male more than 180 days old

Bull: an entire male more than 180 days old

< Back Next >

The Dark Side of Dairy - A report on the UK Dairy Industry
A Viva! Report by Toni Vernelli, BSc (Hons) Animal Biology and
Conservation
Published by Viva! © Viva! 2005


Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol, BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
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The Life of a Modern Dairy Cow

Fig. 5. Most dairy cows in Britain are impregnated by artificial
insemination and the semen production industry is now big business
The modern dairy cow’s life bears little resemblance to that of her
wild relatives. Every aspect of her life is manipulated to maximise
milk yield, inevitably at the expense of her health and welfare.
According to John Webster, Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry at
Bristol University’s Clinical Veterinary Science department:

“The dairy cow is exposed to more abnormal physiological demands than
any other class of farm animal”, making her “a supreme example of an
overworked mother.” (6, 7)

Cows are mammals who, like us, produce milk in their mammary glands to
feed their young. They therefore must give birth to a calf in order to
produce milk and must be re-impregnated every year to keep that milk
supply going (4, 6, 7). Most dairy heifers are impregnated for the
first time when they are between 15 and 18 months old, giving birth to
their first calf nine months later (4). Most dairy herds in the UK are
now artificially inseminated (AI) as this is much cheaper than keeping
a bull and allows farmers to select the sire from a variety of breeds
(4). AI is now in fact a very lucrative business, with the dairy
farming sector split between farms which produce milk and farms which
produce semen (25). The use of more invasive practices such as
multiple ovulation therapy and embryo transfer is increasing steadily
in the UK and the rest of Europe (26). These techniques are discussed
further in Sex and the Single Cow.


Fig. 6. A mother dairy cow tenderly grooming her newborn calf who will
be taken from her a few short days after birth
Click here for a video clip of a mother cow grooming her calf
Although a cow would naturally suckle her calf for nine months to a
year, calves born on dairy farms are taken away from their mothers
within a few days of birth – so that we can drink the milk that was
meant to nourish the calves (7, 22). A strong mother/infant bond is
formed between cow and calf within the first few hours of birth,
making their separation extremely traumatic (27). Both the cow and
calf bellow and show obvious signs of distress when they are
separated, often continuing for several days, leaving those within
earshot in no doubt that it is a harrowing experience for both (6, 7,
23, 27). The cow will be re-impregnated two to three months after the
calf is removed and forced to endure this heartbreak again and again,
every year until she is worn out (4). Professor John Webster describes
the removal of the calf as the ‘most potentially distressing incident
in the life of the dairy cow’ (28). The fate of her calves is outlined
in Calves – Unwanted By-products.

Because she is re-impregnated while still lactating from the previous
pregnancy, a dairy cow spends seven months of every year
simultaneously pregnant and producing large quantities of milk. This
enormous physical demand requires her to eat over four times more food
per day than a beef cow at pasture (7). Her average milk yield will be
between 30-50 litres a day, 10 times more than a calf would drink, so
her udder is forced to work unnaturally hard (29). In addition, a calf
would normally feed five to six times a day so that the maximum amount
of milk in her udder at any one time would be around two litres (29).
But on modern dairy farms a cow is milked only twice a day, allowing
milk to accumulate in the udder and forcing her to carry around 20
litres of milk or more (6). This greatly enlarged udder leads to
lameness in her hind legs and predisposes her to mastitis (a painful
infection of the udder) (7).


Fig. 7. Two dairy cows in the milking chamber. Their enormous udders
force them to adopt an unnatural stance, leading to pressure on the
hind feet and painful sole ulcers
Click here for a video clip of a cow’s distended udder
Her only rest from this demanding workload is during the last two
months of her pregnancy when she is ‘dried off’ in preparation for
calving – then the whole cycle starts again (4). This gruelling cycle
takes its toll on her body, and according to Professor Webster:

“. . . a depressing number are culled after only two to three
lactations because they are worn out, either through complete loss of
body tissue (emaciation), or breakdown of the udder tissues, or
chronic lameness.” (29)

The problems of malnutrition, lameness and mastitis are discussed
further in Suffering in Silence.

The dairy cow’s physical problems are compounded by being kept indoors
for six months of the year. The majority of dairy herds in the UK
graze from April to October and spend the rest of the year housed
indoors in cubicle units (30). There are even some dairy farms in
Britain that have adopted the USA’s zero-grazing system where cows
spend their entire lives indoors (7). According to DEFRA:

“Today’s cows have outgrown the type and dimensions of winter
cubicles, the majority of which were built in the 60s and 70s, so that
cows are now too large to be comfortable.” (30)

This is a result of the switch from British Friesians, who average
550kg, to Holsteins, who average 700kg, as the dominant dairy breed.
Many cows simply do not fit in the cubicles and their hind legs
protrude into the slurry passage behind them, while some find the
cubicles so uncomfortable that they choose to lay in the slurry
covered aisles instead (3). The social hierarchy within the herd can
also contribute to problems in indoor housing units as lower ranking
cows often choose not to lie in cubicles next to dominant cows and
instead lie in the aisles or slurry passage (3).

While indoors, cows are fed a diet of silage (wet, fermented grass)
and high protein concentrate (a mixture of cereals, rape meal,
sunflower meal, maize and soya – a large percentage of which are GM)
which add to their troubles (7). Wet silage causes wet manure and the
resulting poor hygiene conditions contribute to mastitis and lameness
(7). High protein concentrates cause a build up of toxins in the
cow’s system which causes laminitis (inflammation of the tissue which
lies below the outer horny wall of the foot) a severely painful
condition (see Suffering in Silence) (7).


Fig. 8. A cow who is too big for her winter cubicle has difficulty
getting comfortable, leading to swelling of the leg joints and contact
sores
Click here for a video clip of a typical cubicle unit
For all of her hard work and suffering, what does the dairy cow get in
return? Shipped off to the slaughterhouse as soon as her milk yield
drops! Modern dairy farms are about maximizing profit and minimizing
overheads, which, according to Stuart Bacon – Britain’s Dairy Farmer
of the Future 2005 – is achieved by ‘culling out some of the poorer
performers’ (31). Since BSE became endemic in Britain, ‘spent’ dairy
cows have been banned from entering the food chain under the Over
Thirty Month Scheme (OTMS), a measure introduced in 1996 to try and
reduce the human health risk of BSE (32). They are instead sent to
designated OTMS collection centres and slaughterhouses, which may be
several hundred kilometers from the farm, where they have their chests
slit, bleed to death and are incinerated. Since 1996, over 7.2 million
cattle have been slaughtered under the scheme and dairy and beef
farmers have received a total of £3.7 billion in compensation (32).
However, the law is set to change in the near future and worn out
dairy cows who test negative for BSE will end up in ‘low-quality’ meat
products such as pies, burgers, soups, baby food (32).

For details on cattle slaughter methods in the UK, please see Viva!’s
Sentenced to Death report.
Ice
2006-07-03 15:20:08 UTC
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 16:15:27 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/report/index.php

Sex and the Single Cow

Fig. 9. Most dairy cows are impregnated by artificial insemination, a
stressful procedure which can cause serious injury if performed
improperly
Reproduction is at the heart of the dairy industry as cows must give
birth to calves in order to produce milk, and no other aspect of the
cow’s life is artificially manipulated to such a great extent.

Artificial Insemination

Very few dairy cows in the UK mate naturally. The majority are
impregnated by artificial insemination (AI), which involves passing a
catheter through the cervix of the cow and depositing the semen in her
uterus (33). This is an uncomfortable, stressful experience for the
cow which can result in injury if carried out by an untrained or
inexperienced person (3). Under the Artificial Insemination of Cattle
(Animal Health) (England and Wales) Regulations 1985, the procedure
does not have to be performed by a veterinarian and may be carried out
by any member of farm staff who has received ‘appropriate training’
(34). According to DEFRA it is now ‘largely carried out by
non-veterinarians’ (34). AI training courses take place on working
farms, using live animals for practice (34). In January 2005, DEFRA
proposed amendments to the law that would permit farm workers to
practice on ‘spent’ cows in slaughterhouses before they are killed, a
practice banned in 2002 because it caused the animals unnecessary
suffering and stress (34).


Fig. 10. Semen production is now big business. Here a Holstein bull
ejaculates into a collection tube

Artificial insemination is so widespread because it is cheaper to
purchase frozen sperm than to feed and look after a bull. It also
allows the farmer to choose from a variety of breeds to sire the
calves. It is common practice for farmers to use semen from dairy
breeds such as Holstein/Friesian for 50% of their inseminations and
semen from beef breeds such as Charolais or Hereford for the other
half (25). This ensures a regular replacement of ‘good milkers’ for
the herd as well as a number of dual purpose calves who can be sold
for beef production (25). However, male calves who have been sired by
a dairy breed are of little use on a dairy farm as they do not produce
milk. They are also of little use to a beef farmer as they do not put
on muscle in the same way that beef breeds do. Male pure breed dairy
calves are simply unwanted by-products of dairy production and up to
200,000 are killed every year shortly after birth (36, 37, 64). The
fate of dairy calves is discussed further in Calves – Unwanted
By-products.


Fig. 11. Recognising that male calves are useless to a dairy farmer,
the AI company Cogent offer Sexed Semen which claims to provide 90%
heifer calves
In 2000, the British AI company Cogent began selling Holstein semen
which was sorted to pre-determine the sex of the calf and help farmers
avoid ‘having large numbers of unwanted Holstein bull calves born
every year’ (38). This product, they claim, gives an average result of
90% female sperm and 10% male sperm, allowing farmers much greater
control over the cow’s reproduction (38). However, sexed semen is not
currently widely used as it is very expensive (37).

Embryo Transfer

The use of invasive embryo technologies is increasing steadily in
Europe (26). To ensure that high quality cows produce more offspring
than is naturally possible, embryos are removed from their
reproductive systems and transferred into ‘lower quality’ cows who
serve as surrogate mothers (3). Embryos can either be collected
directly from the ‘donor’ cow or can be produced in vitro (in a test
tube) with ‘donor’ cow eggs retrieved through ovum pick-up (26).

Embryo collection: High quality cows are injected with hormones to
increase ovulation and are then artificially inseminated in the usual
manner (33). The resulting embryos, which can number from seven to 12,
are flushed from her uterus using a catheter type instrument (33). As
this procedure takes place a week after oestrus, the uterus is more
difficult to penetrate than during artificial insemination and can
result in bleeding and sometimes even uterine rupture (33). The
procedure is so painful that UK law requires the use of an epidural
(35).

Ovum pick-up: Unfertilised eggs are collected from ‘donor’ cows by a
needle inserted through the wall of the vagina and into the ovary
(35). According to DEFRA:

“Repeated epidural injections are necessary for this procedure and
they can cause welfare problems for the animals, such as severe pain
in the tailhead and lower back” (35).

Despite these welfare concerns, 26,000 embryos were produced using
ovum pick-up in the EU in 2000 (26).

Surrogate cows receiving the embryos, whether direct from the ‘donor’
cow or from in vitro fertilization, are given hormone injections to
bring on heat (33). A gun is then used to insert the embryo high into
the uterus, a procedure requiring great skill which can only be
acquired with practice (33). The use of an epidural is compulsory
(35).

Ultrasound scanning

Over the past decade the use of per rectum ultrasound to detect
pregnancy has become common on British dairy farms (3). This involves
inserting a long probe (about the thickness of a finger) into the
cow’s rectum until it lies over her uterus (3). Careless insertion or
removal of the probe can damage the rectal tissue and internal organs,
causing great pain (3). Both the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
(RCVS) and the government’s Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) have
expressed concerns over non-veterinarians performing the procedure
(3). Despite these concerns DEFRA still permit non-veterinarians to
carry out per rectum ultrasound as long as they have received
‘appropriate training’ (34).



Fig. 12. Cows who have suffered injuries during calving, such as nerve
paralysis, may have hobbles attached to their hind legs to hold them
in place so they can carry on milking (Photo: Viva!)
Click here for a video clip of a cow in hobbles
Calving

Concerns have also been raised by the FAWC and the Food Ethics Council
(FEC) over the use of embryos or semen from large cattle breeds in
smaller recipient cows who will have difficulty giving birth to them
(3, 33). This mismatch can result in severe injuries to the cow during
calving, including internal haemorrhage, nerve paralysis and pelvic
fracture (33, 39). According to the National Animal Disease
Information Service (NADIS) calving difficulties are the cause of 46%
of ‘downer cows’ – when a cow is unable to stand up – on British dairy
farms (39).

‘Downed’ cows require immediate attention to prevent injuries which
may only be temporary from causing permanent damage (3). A cow may ‘go
down’ because of temporary nerve paralysis caused by calving
difficulties or simply fatigue from her gruelling workload, but if
left recumbent for several hours permanent damage can be caused to her
legs (due to her 700kg body cutting off the blood supply) (37).
Several different types of lifting gear are used to get ‘downed’ cows
on their feet again (3, 39). These include:

a hoist which is clamped to the cow’s hip bones
a lifting bag which inflates underneath the cow
a net or harness which allows the cow to hang suspended (3).
Hobbles and shackles are also commonly attached to the hind legs of
cows who have suffered muscle or nerve damage during calving and would
not be able to stand unaided, as illustrated in Fig. 12 (3, 39). If
the farmer were to cull a cow who was injured during calving he would
lose the large quantity of milk which she was about to produce.
Injured cows are therefore often forced to carry on, even when in
pain, for seven to eight months until their milk yield drops and they
are killed.


Fig. 13. Modern dairy cows have such hugely enlarged udders that their
calves often have difficulty finding and reaching the teats (Photo
reproduced with kind permission of Tetrapak)


Dairy cows impregnated with large continental beef breeds such as
Belgian Blue, Charolais or Limousin are sometimes unable to give birth
naturally and must undergo caesarean section (3, 29). In order to
prevent the need for this major surgery, farmers using large
continental breeds to sire calves may induce calving before the cow
reaches full-term (3). The FAWC have raised concerns that induction of
pregnancy increases the risk of the placenta being retained, leading
to infection of the uterus and premature infertility (3). They
therefore recommend that it only be used in extreme circumstances and
never as a routine procedure (3). Despite this advice, DEFRA – in
their Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Cattle –
state ‘induction does have a role to play in preventing oversized
calves’ (34).
Ice
2006-07-03 15:21:09 UTC
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 16:15:27 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/report/index.php

Calves – Unwanted By-Products

Fig. 14. UK law allows calves up to 8 weeks old to be housed in small
stalls,
such as these found on farms in Dorset and Sussex, denying them the
exercise
and social interaction that is so important for their development
Click here for a video clip of newborn calves in hutches
Although cows would naturally suckle their calves for nine months to a
year, dairy calves are taken away from their mothers within one to
three days of birth – to ensure that as much milk as possible is
available for sale (7, 22). The strong bond that is formed between
mother and calf in the first few hours after birth makes this enforced
separation a very traumatic experience (7, 27). Both mother and calf
bellow loudly after separation and respond to each other’s calls by
moving toward the sound, with calves able to distinguish their own
mother’s calls within 24 hours of birth (27). But this mental anguish
is only the beginning of the calves’ troubles.

Female Calves

Half of the female calves born each year will be pure dairy breed
calves who will enter the dairy herd, replacing the 25% of cows who
are culled every year because they are worn out (3, 37). They are
allowed to suckle from their mothers for the first day of life so that
they receive the antibody rich milk, known as colostrum, which she
produces immediately after calving and which is essential for the
calves’ immune system (3, 7). They are then separated from their
mothers and fed on commercial milk replacer, either from an artificial
teat or from a bucket (3, 7). Although the main motivation for
removing the calves is financial – farmers want to sell as much of the
milk as possible – decades of genetic manipulation have resulted in
such hugely distorted udders that it is difficult for calves to find
and reach the teat, as illustrated in Fig. 13. Where this is a problem
farmers will remove the calves within a few hours of birth and feed
them their mother’s colostrum from a bucket (34).

In the first few weeks of life calves, like all infants, are very
susceptible to disease, with up to six per cent of calves born each
year dying before one month old (40). Diarrhoea (known as scours in
the farming sector) is the main factor contributing to these deaths
and is often caused by low-quality or incorrectly prepared milk
replacer (3, 40). For this reason artificially-reared calves are
weaned completely onto solid food by four to five weeks of age, much
sooner than in the wild where they would continue to suckle for up to
12 months (3, 7).

Under the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000, calves
may be housed in individual stalls or hutches, either indoor or
outdoor, until they are eight weeks old (40). But, even at this young
age, healthy calves are very energetic and need to play and socialise
with other calves (7). Housing in individual stalls or hutches denies
them this vital exercise and social contact, as illustrated in Fig 14.
Group housing, which all calves must be moved to after eight weeks of
age, allows more natural social behaviour and greater opportunity for
exercise and play, but also increases the risk of airborne diseases
such as pneumonia – the most common disease of weaned calves (3, 40).
Essentially, it is impossible to artificially rear calves in a way
which fulfils their natural needs and behaviours without compromising
their health.

If the calves are to replace cows on the farm where they are born,
they will be turned out to pasture when a few months old, weather
permitting, but are kept separate from older animals until at least
six months old to reduce the risk of disease (3, 40). Between 15 and
18 months old they will be inseminated, giving birth to their first
calf nine months later (3). They will then have 24-72 hours to revel
in the joys of motherhood before their calf is taken away and they
begin their gruelling life as a milk machine.

Female calves who are surplus to requirements on their birth farm will
be sold on to other dairy farms, usually through a livestock market -
illustrated in Fig 15 (40). According to The Welfare of Animals at
Markets Order 1990, calves as young as seven days old may be brought
to market and sold (34). These young calves may travel several hundred
kilometers from farm to market and then on to the purchasing farm.
This is not only very stressful for the calves but also exposes them
to new pathogens which they have no resistance to, leading to an
increased risk of disease (40).

The other half of females born each year will be dairy/beef crosses
who are sold on, again through a livestock market, and reared for beef
in a semi-intensive system (37). These systems involve grazing cattle
outside in the summer and housing them during the winter, with
slaughter age varying from 15-24 months.

Male Calves


Fig. 15. Calves who are ‘surplus to requirements’ on their birth farm
are sold off at livestock markets, a frightening and stressful
experience that also involves long distance journeys
Click here for a video clip of calves being auctioned at market
Male calves will never produce milk and therefore are of no use to a
dairy farmer. In many countries, including those on the continent from
which we import nearly 50% of our cheese and butter, male dairy calves
are raised for veal (1, 7). Kept in tiny crates for 16-20 weeks and
fed an iron-deficient diet to keep their flesh white and supple, these
calves suffer from high incidences of infectious disease and develop
stereotypical behaviour patterns such as tongue rolling, crate-licking
or mutual tongue sucking (6, 7). Although the veal crate was banned in
the UK in 1990 due to the immense cruelty involved, British dairy
farmers continued to export up to 500,000 male calves a year to veal
crates in continental Europe (3). This ‘live-export’ trade was
destroyed in 1996 by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) when the
rest of Europe banned the import of cattle from Britain (3, 7).

To compensate dairy farmers for the loss of income from exported dairy
calves, the UK government introduced The Calf Processing Scheme in
April 1996 which paid farmers for each calf slaughtered before 21 days
old (36). Within nine months of the introduction of the scheme almost
500,000 calves were slaughtered (36). When the scheme was withdrawn in
1999, the price of male dairy calves collapsed (36). New measures were
quickly introduced to allow calves to be shot and buried on farms,
with 200,000 male dairy calves killed and buried on British farms in
2001 (36). In 2003 the EU banned the routine burial or burning of
animal carcasses on farms, and since then unwanted male calves are
shot and then either collected by the local hunt kennels and fed to
the dogs, or sent for incineration or rendering (34).


Fig. 16. Male dairy/beef cross calves will be raised for beef in a
semi-intensive system where they will be kept in overcrowded sheds
such as this for six months of the year
Today, around half of the male calves born on British dairy farms are
pure dairy calves while the other half are dairy/beef crosses (37).
All of the dairy/beef crosses will be removed from their mothers after
a couple of days and housed in stalls or hutches and fed milk replacer
just like female calves. Most will also be sold on to semi-intensive
beef farms through livestock markets, just like female dairy/beef
cross calves.

Approximately 50% of the pure dairy males will also be reared for
beef, but as they will only produce ‘low quality’ beef they are raised
in intensive systems (7, 33, 37). After being separated from their
mothers they are confined in buildings and yards for most of their
lives – which is usually just over one year (7, 33). High mortality
rates in these systems are common as it is not financially worthwhile
for farmers to strive to keep them alive (7).

The other 50% of male pure dairy calves, or 25% of all male calves
born each year, are shot shortly after birth and either collected by
the local hunt or sent for incineration (34, 37). One dairy farmer who
was interviewed by Exeter University’s Centre for Rural Research
demonstrates the scale of the killings: “I mean, last year, out of the
first 60 cows that I put to Friesian Holstein, I had three heifer
cows, so I shot 57 calves in a matter of two months.” (36)


Fig. 17. Up to 200,000 newborn dairy calves are killed in Britain each
year – the unwanted by-products of milk production. Despite the recent
ban on hunting, most are still collected by the local hunt and fed to
the hounds


According to the Meat and Livestock Commission, 100,000 dairy calves
were killed shortly after birth in 2004 and they believe ‘the level is
likely to remain the same unless the calf export market is re-opened’
(62). In fact it has increased, with 110,000 calves killed in the
first six months of 2005 (64).

UK Veal Production

A small number of male pure dairy calves, around 20,000 a year, are
raised in the UK for rose veal (3). Rose veal production differs from
white veal production in that calves may only be kept in individual
stalls until 8 weeks old, rather than the 16-20 weeks for white veal,
and must be fed a diet which contains sufficient iron to avoid anaemia
(7, 63). From two weeks old they must also be provided with a daily
ration of fibrous food to permit normal rumen development (7, 63).
Rose veal calves are slaughtered between one and seven months of age.
The market for veal, even that which is promoted as
‘welfare-friendly’, remains small in the UK and seems unlikely to grow
in the near future (3, 7).

Mutilations


Fig. 18. Most dairy calves, both males and females, have their horn
buds burned with a hot iron to prevent them growing, causing severe
pain which can last for several hours.
Disbudding: Most calves raised for dairy and beef are disbudded to
prevent the growth of horns and minimise the risk of cattle injuring
each other in modern intensive rearing systems (3). This can be done
by burning the horn bud with a hot iron (cautery disbudding) or by
applying a caustic paste which erodes the horn bud (chemical
disbudding) (3, 41). Cautery disbudding causes severe pain which can
last for several hours, with low-grade pain and sensitivity continuing
for at least 24 hours (41). Under the Protection of Animals
(Anaesthetics) Act 1954/1964, it can only be performed on calves under
two months old and a local anaesthetic must be used (34). Chemical
disbudding is even more painful and may only be performed on calves in
the first week of life, however local anaesthetic is not required (34,
41). The caustic paste can also leak onto surrounding skin or into the
eyes, causing immense pain (41).

Castration: Male calves sold or raised for beef may be castrated to
prevent aggression (3).

According to DEFRA, three methods can be used to castrate calves in
the UK (34):

A rubber ring or other device can be applied to calves under one week
old to restrict the flow of blood to the testicles, which shrivel and
drop off within a few weeks. No anaesthetic is required.
The spermatic cords of calves under two months old can be crushed
using an instrument similar to pliers (called a burdizzo, pictured
below). No anaesthetic is required.
Surgical castration by a vet, under general anaesthetic, can be
performed on calves of any age.

Fig. 19. Burdizzo ‘bloodless’ castrators are used to crush the
spermatic cords of young male bulls without anaesthetic
According to the FAWC, all three methods cause acute pain – regardless
of the age of the calf (3). Complications and infection at the site of
castration can also occur (3). In their March 2004 newsletter, the
Highgate Veterinary Surgery in Kendal highlighted the problems arising
from the use of rusty burdizzo castrators: ‘Rusty burdizzos were used
to castrate 20 stirks (bullocks) about a month ago. Half of these
animals now have scrotal abscesses, some of which have burst leaving
gaping holes. The nippers had broken the skin and allowed infection
into the dying testicle’ (42).


Supernumerary Teats: Female calves are commonly born with one or two
small, surplus teats on the udder (3). Although not harmful, these
‘supernumerary teats’ are routinely removed from dairy calves because
they are ‘unsightly’ and make the animal less saleable, or, if located
near the base of a true teat, may interfere with placement of the teat
cup during milking (43). Up until three months of age these teats may
be cut off using sharp scissors without anaesthetic (3, 34). After
this age they must be removed by a veterinary surgeon (3, 34).

According to DEFRA, castration, disbudding and removal of excess teats
are all stressful procedures which can reduce disease resistance in
young calves (40).
Ice
2006-07-03 15:21:59 UTC
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 16:15:27 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/report/index.php

Suffering in Silence
Most people see dairy cows grazing in the field and think that they
have an easy, peaceful life, and die naturally at a ripe old age. In
truth, the dairy cow is the hardest worked of all farmed animals,
nurturing a growing calf inside her while simultaneously producing
30-50 litres of milk a day. No other farm animal carries this dual
load of pregnancy and lactation. John Webster, Emeritus Professor of
Animal Husbandry, Bristol University’s Clinical Veterinary Science
department has likened the workload of the high-yielding dairy cow to
that of:

“. . . a jogger who goes running for six to eight hours every day’ and
believes that ‘the only humans who work harder than the dairy cow are
cyclists in the Tour de France.” (29)

This enormous physical burden takes its toll on the cow’s body and
after only two to four lactations she is culled, either due to
infertility, mastitis, severe lameness or because her milk yield has
dropped (7). Compare this to a healthy beef cow, who can produce 10 or
more calves before reaching physical exhaustion, and you understand
why Professor Webster believes:

“As far as the welfare issue is concerned, the problems with beef
cattle are nothing compared to the problems in the dairy industry. So
anyone who avoids beef and elects to eat cheese due to welfare
concerns is missing the point.” (7, 44)


Fig. 20. Modern high-yield dairy cows cannot consume enough food at
pasture to satisfy both their enormous milk output and their normal
bodily functions, resulting in malnourished animals with protruding
bones (Photo: Ed Shephard)
Click here for a video clip of malnourished cows
The misconception that dairy cows do not suffer often stems from the
fact that they do not display the signs of distress that we expect to
see, such as bellowing, immobility or loss of appetite (7). However,
in the wild, cattle and other ruminants are prey animals who live in
herds to reduce their risk of predation (7). In this situation, the
animal that shows outward signs of illness becomes the target of
attack (7). Cows have therefore evolved to soldier on regardless of
how much they are suffering. According to Professor Webster, pain
thresholds in cows are the same as in humans (7).

Metabolic Disorders

Hunger

The high-yielding Holstein cow is a large animal who simply cannot
consume enough food at pasture to sustain her enormous milk output as
well as her other bodily functions, leaving her in a constant state of
‘metabolic hunger’ (6, 7). At pasture, her food intake is limited by
the rate at which she can consume and digest grass. As grass is high
in fibre, it fills up the rumen (stomach) quickly, causing the cow to
feel ‘full up’ while at the same time still feeling hungry for
nutrients (6, 7). Standing and eating for hours on end is also very
tiring work and cows, who would naturally spend 12-14 hours a day
lying down, face conflicting motivation to stop eating and rest (7,
37). Rye grass pastures, which are very high in nitrogen, can lead to
increased urea in the cow’s blood, making her feel sick and impairing
her appetite (7). Professor Webster summarises her feelings as
‘simultaneously hungry, tired, full up and feeling sick’ (7).

Due to their inability to meet the metabolic demands of lactation, it
is normal for cows to ‘milk off their backs’ in early lactation (draw
on body reserves), resulting in a ‘coat rack’ appearance with the
bones of the hips and spine protruding, as illustrated in Fig 14 (7,
29). Dairy farmers consider this to be a normal metabolic situation in
high-yielding dairy cows and have come to accept ‘bony’ dairy cows as
typical, when in fact they are malnourished (46).

Ketosis and Fatty Liver Syndrome

The abnormal demands on the cows’ energy reserves often lead to
ketosis and fatty liver syndrome (7).

Ketosis occurs when the cow begins to break down body fat in an effort
to bridge the ‘energy gap’ during early lactation (45). Body fat is
transported to, and broken down in the liver to metabolites which are
then utilized by the body tissues (45). Excess mobilisation of fat can
lead to a toxic level of ketones accumulating in the blood, milk and
urine, causing a loss of appetite and drop in milk yield (45).
Affected cows may also exhibit nervous signs, which include excessive
salivation, licking of walls or gates, malco-ordination and aggression
(45).

There is a limit to the amount of fat the liver can break down to
ketone bodies and, when this is saturated, the surplus fat accumulates
in the liver (46). This reduces the normal function of the liver and,
because it is a vital organ, many normal body functions are upset.
Milk production, mastitis

and fertility are all adversely affected by fatty liver (46).

Milk Fever (Hypocalcaemia)

Milk fever is one of the most common metabolic disorders in dairy
cattle, usually occurring just before, during or immediately after
calving (47). It is caused by low blood calcium resulting from the
high calcium demands of pregnancy and lactation. When the cow’s blood
calcium becomes too low to support normal nerve and muscle function
she collapses and is unable to stand until her blood calcium becomes
normal again (48). Death can be rapid, with milk fever the most common
cause of sudden death in dairy cows (47). According to the National
Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS), it is also one of the most
important causes of calving problems and subsequent calf deaths (48).

Grass Staggers (Hypomagnesaemia)

Grass staggers (or grass tetany) occurs when the cow’s intake of
magnesium is lower than her output (49). It occurs most commonly in
lactating cows at pasture as grass can be very low in magnesium,
especially rye grass, while the output of magnesium in milk is high
(49). Clinical signs can appear very rapidly as cows do not store
magnesium and must rely on a daily intake (49). Initially, animals
become nervous and excitable, and then begin to stagger and fall over
(49). This can quickly progress to convulsions, coma and ultimately
death. The short duration of clinical signs means that the mortality
rate is high, as many animals are found dead before anyone notices
they are ill (49).

High Protein Concentrates


Fig. 21. Sole ulcers such as this are common in the hind feet of dairy
cows as the weight of their enormous udders causes the pedal bone of
the foot to penetrate through the sole
Click here for a video clip of lame cows


While the obvious solution to the problem of hunger and mineral
deficiency in high-yielding dairy cows would be to stop breeding
animals with such a high milk output, dairy farmers are instead
increasingly feeding their cows on high protein feed concentrates (7).
These concentrates, which are usually made from GM soya and maize, are
higher in calories than grass and thus provide more energy (7).
However, they are also high in amino acids which further accelerate
milk production (7). The result of this is increased milk production
in the short term but loss of body condition, infertility and greater
susceptibility to illness later on (7). The high starch and protein
content of feed concentrates also cause digestive problems which lead
to a reduction in appetite, bloat and lameness induced by laminitis
(discussed further below) (3, 6, 7).

Lameness

According to DEFRA:

“The level of lameness in dairy cattle in the UK is unacceptably high.
It is a major cause of pain and discomfort to the animals.” (50)

Professor Webster shares these concerns, citing an annual incidence of
lameness of 50% and prevalence of 20% - meaning that half of the cows
in Britain go lame each year and 20% are lame at any one time (7). As
lameness is almost always a painful condition, he believes:

“. . . it is indisputably the most serious welfare problem faced by
dairy cows.” (7)

And because many lame cows continue to milk satisfactorily, they are
forced to struggle on despite their severe pain (7). In their Report
on the Welfare of Dairy Cattle, FAWC found:

‘many farms where lameness is causing unnecessary pain and distress.
Yet some stockmen appear not to perceive lameness as a problem and the
severity and extent often go unnoticed and untreated’ (3).

Approximately 80% of cases of lameness are due to foot problems and
the remainder to leg damage (50). Sole ulcers, white line disease,
digital dermatitis and laminitis are the most common foot problems and
are caused by a number of complex factors (3, 7, 50). The majority of
leg lameness is due to physical damage from badly designed cubicles
and to injury at calving (50).

Sole Lesions

Seventy-five per cent of sole ulcers and white line disease (cracks in
outer rim of the sole which allow dirt and bacteria to enter, causing
abscesses) occur in the outer claw of the hind feet (7). This is
directly attributable to the presence of the huge udder which pushes
the cow’s hind legs apart and forces her to adopt an abnormal gait,
putting extra pressure on the outer claws, as illustrated in Fig 6
(29). Poor hoof quality, caused by nutritional deficiencies, can also
predispose the sole to ulcers (30). Both sole ulcers and white line
disease cause chronic pain which gets worse with time (7). They are
further aggravated by the long distances many cows must walk between
pasture and milking chamber twice a day, and also by winter cubicle
housing where many cows are forced to stand on concrete for extended
periods of time (discussed further below) (7). According to Professor
Webster:

“Most farmers only elect to treat the most severe cases, for example
where there has been complete penetration of the sole, inducing deep
pain from standing on concrete and scalding pain through exposure of
sensitive underlying tissue to acid slurry.” (7)

Digital Dermatitis


Fig. 22. Modern dairy cows can weigh up to 750kg and are much too big
for most of the cubicle houses in Britain which were installed in the
60s and 70s when cows were 150-200kg lighter
Click here for a video clip of a typical cubicle unit


Incidence of digital dermatitis, a painful bacterial infection of the
foot, has increased in recent years due to a combination of factors
(7). Many indoor cubicles were installed when the predominant dairy
breed was the British Friesian, which commonly weighed around 550kg,
but the increased popularity of the Holstein means that many cows now
weigh in excess of 700kg (50). As a consequence, the length and width
of cubicles are too small for modern dairy cows and they are often
forced to stand with their hind feet in the slurry passage behind the
cubicle (50). Slurry is highly acidic and softens the cow’s feet,
allowing bacteria to penetrate (50). In addition, most dairy farmers
have switched from hay to silage as winter cattle feed (7). Whereas
hay is composed of dry grass and other herbaceous plants, silage is
wet, fermented grass which causes wet manure, contributing to hygiene
problems when cows are housed indoors (7).

Roads, tracks and gateways which have rough, uneven surfaces can cause
puncture wounds in the foot which are susceptible to infection (50).
When allowed to walk at their own speed, cows are able to place their
feet carefully to avoid obstacles or rough objects. When forced to
hurry (by the farmer or farm dog) they bunch together and cannot
choose where to place their feet, so are more likely to sustain damage
from sharp stones (50). In many dairy units the ageing concrete floors
have become broken or cracked, causing abrasions and punctures of the
sole which are also easily infected (30). Although digital dermatitis
can be treated with antibiotics, once it has become endemic in a herd
it is very difficult to eradicate (7).

Laminitis

Laminitis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the soft tissue
(laminae) between the bone and the outer horny wall of the foot,
which, according to DEFRA:

‘results in great pain to the animal’ (51).

To understand the pain of laminitis Professor Webster suggests:

‘imagine crushing all your fingernails in the door then standing on
your fingertips’ (6).

The soft tissue of the foot is well endowed with nerves and blood
vessels which carry oxygen and nutrients to support hoof growth and is
therefore very sensitive to toxins in the blood (30). Feed
concentrates which are high in protein and starch cause toxins to be
produced in the rumen which are absorbed into the blood stream and
irritate the soft foot tissue, causing inflammation (30). According to
DEFRA, research carried out in Scotland in the late 1980’s found a
significant link between high protein diets and lameness (30). Wet
silage, which is high in acid and ammonia, can also lead to toxins in
the blood which cause laminitis (30).

When a foot is affected by laminitis the blood flow is restricted,
affecting hoof growth and resulting in softer soles which are more
prone to disease, such as ulcers and white line disease, as well as
puncture, leading to digital dermatitis (30).

Cubicle Housing and Lameness

The inadequately sized cubicles in which most dairy cows spend six
months of the year contribute to the high incidence of lameness in
several ways. The problem of cows having to stand with their hind legs
in the slurry passage has been outlined above. The small size of the
cubicles also makes it difficult for modern cows to lie down
comfortably, reducing the amount of time that they spend lying and
increasing the pressure on their legs and feet (3, 7). Some cows avoid
the cubicles altogether and instead lie in the aisles or slurry
passages where they become very dirty and increase their risk of hock
abrasions, lameness and mastitis (discussed further below) (3).

Cows may also be forced to spend long periods standing or lying in the
passages because there are not enough cubicles for all of the cows in
the herd (3, 7). Due to the social hierarchy of the herd, subordinate
cows may also be reluctant to lie in cubicles next to dominant cows,
opting to stand or lie in the passages instead (3, 7). To overcome
this problem, the FAWC recommends that indoor housing units contain 5%
more cubicles than the number of cows (3).

Many cubicle units have concrete bases because they are easier to
clean, but they are also hard and uncomfortable and may lead to
swelling of the knees and hocks as well as pressure sores (43, 51).
Under The Welfare of Livestock Regulations 1994, dairy farmers must
provide indoor cows ‘access at all times to a well-drained and bedded
lying area’ (34). In practice, however, the bedding provided is often
little more than a thin layer of sawdust or straw which does not
provide adequate cushioning to keep the cow comfortable or prevent
contact sores (3). The use of mats or cow mattresses in cubicles help
provide cushioning but must still be covered in bedding such as sand,
straw or shavings to prevent contact sores and keep the mat dry (43).

Mastitis


Fig. 23. The combined weight of blood, secretory tissue and stored
milk can result in a total udder weight of 50-75kg. This puts enormous
strain on the udder tissues and predisposes the cow to mastitis
Click here for a video clip of a cow’s distended udder
Mastitis is a painful bacterial infection of the udder which affects
30 percent of the dairy cows in Britain at any one time, with one
million cases of clinical mastitis occurring in the UK every year (3,
5, 7). While clinical mastitis produces obvious symptoms such as
swollen, hard udders and discoloured or clotted milk, mastitis can
also occur in a subclinical form with no visible changes to the udder
or milk, making the number of these cases impossible to calculate (3,
13, 29).

Mastitis pathogens, of which there are over 200, belong to one of two
categories: contagious or environmental (43). Streptococcus uberis and
E. coli are by far the most common causes of mastitis and are both
environmental pathogens, thriving in dirty, wet bedding and poorly
ventilated buildings (3, 43). Both contagious and environmental
pathogens can be transmitted from cow to cow via the milking machine
(43). While the incidence of contagious mastitis has declined over the
past 30 years, the incidence of environmental mastitis has remained
largely unchanged since 1960, accounting for over 58% of clinical
cases (43). The failure in combating environmental mastitis is largely
due to the increase in herd size and the very high milk yield of the
modern dairy cow (3, 43).

Larger herds make it difficult to properly monitor each cow and her
milk, allowing infected animals to enter the milking chamber and pass
the infection on via the milking machine (43). Larger herds also
produce more manure which accumulates in indoor housing units,
creating an environment in which bacteria thrive (43). High-yielding
dairy cows who are only milked twice a day may leak milk onto the
cubicle bed when their udder becomes full, producing a bacterial haven
of faeces, bedding and milk (43). The abnormal accumulation of milk in
the udder also strains the udder tissues and predisposes high-yielding
cows to mastitis (6, 29). The combined weight of blood, secretory
tissue and stored milk can result in a total udder weight of 50-75kg
(43). In beef cows, who have small udders, the incidence of mastitis
is a fraction of that in dairy herds (29).


Fig. 24. Faulty milking machines can damage the cow’s teats, causing
great pain and increasing her risk of mastitis


Poorly designed and maintained milking machines are also recognised as
major contributors to udder infection (30, 43, 52). Despite the major
role they play on a dairy farm, milk machine maintenance is often
neglected (43). This can lead to physical damage of the teats, which
are richly endowed with nerves and therefore highly sensitive, and
allow infection to penetrate the udder (43). Faulty machines can also
actively transport bacteria to, as well as propel them into, the udder
(30, 43).

Teat damage can also occur because of high stocking densities in
indoor housing units as well as inadequately sized cubicles (43).
Large cows in narrow cubicles may push their legs through into the
adjacent cubicle and crush their neighbour’s teats (43). Disruption to
an established herd, either by the addition of new members or
splitting it into smaller groups, can result in fighting which may
also cause teat injuries (43). Severe teat injuries, such as total
teat amputation, are surprisingly common in dairy herds (43).

Summer mastitis, an acute illness of dry (not lactating) dairy cows,
is also common in temperate countries such as Britain (3, 43). It
occurs in 35-60% of UK herds annually, affecting over 20,000 animals
(3, 43). The main means of transmission is the sheep head fly
(Hydrotoea irritans) which feeds on cattle blood (43). Damaged teats
predispose cows to infection (3). Summer mastitis causes extensive,
painful damage to the udder which becomes swollen, hot and hard and
produces a thick, foul smelling secretion (3, 43). Severely affected
cows become lame from the pain, with extreme cases leading to abortion
and death (3, 43).

Pus

When a cow is suffering from mastitis her body produces large numbers
of white blood cells which migrate to the udder to fight the infection
(13). Many of these cells then pass out in her milk, and the greater
the infection the higher the number of these ‘somatic’ cells in her
milk (13). Dairy processors use this somatic cell count to determine
what price they pay farmers for their milk, imposing financial
penalties for milk with high somatic cell counts (43, 52). Under EU
regulations, milk with a somatic cell count as high as 400 million per
litre may still be sold for human consumption (13, 43). Some farmers
feed milk which exceeds this threshold to the calves (43).

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are routinely used to treat mastitis and may be injected
up the teat canal, as illustrated in Fig 19, or administered orally
(43). Intermammary injections, if performed carelessly, can cause teat
canal damage which is extremely painful and increases susceptibility
to infection (35). To reduce the amount of drug residue which enters
the food chain, all antibiotics have a specified post-treatment milk
withholding period stated on the product (43). Due to public health
concerns, the EU imposes limits on the maximum permissible level of
antibiotics in milk, which is currently set at 0.007 mg/litre (13).
Dairy processors use random sampling to test milk for residues,
penalising those farmers whose milk fails to meet these restrictions
(43).

To help reduce the amount of mastitis in dairy herds, most farmers
practice 100% dry cow therapy – as recommended by DEFRA (43, 52). This
involves injecting a long-acting antibiotic into all four teats of all
cows, whether infected or not, as soon as they enter their two month
dry period (43, 52). Cows that suffer from repeated cases of mastitis
or have persistently high somatic cell counts are routinely culled
(52).

Infertility


Fig. 25. Mastitis, a painful infection of the udder which is
widespread in British dairy herds, is treated by injecting antibiotics
up the teat canal – a procedure which can damage the udder if
performed improperly


The arduous life that dairy cows endure causes such rapid physical
degradation that an alarmingly high number of young animals are culled
due to infertility (3, 7). A culling rate of 25% is normal for most
dairy herds and poor fertility is the single biggest factor (3). As
one dairy farmer put it:

“My cows get pregnant or die.” (53)

Although infertility in itself is not a welfare problem, it is an
indicator of poor welfare resulting from physical exhaustion (3, 7).
Even the Milk Development Council (MDC) acknowledges that ‘the drive
towards increased milk yield has resulted, in part, to decreased
fertility’ (54). They also cite postpartum (after calving) uterine
infections as a major cause ofreduced fertility, with retained
placenta and calving difficulties being the most frequent causes of
uterine infection (54). The risk of retained placenta and calving
difficulties both increase when cows are impregnated with large dairy
or beef breeds which they have difficulty giving birth to (3, 29, 33).

To help combat the problem of infertility, the use of fertility drugs
is now widespread on dairy farms in Britain (55). Cows are given
hormones to help increase conception rates, but also as a herd
management tool to ensure that groups of calves are conceived and born
around the same time (54, 55).

Markets

When a farmer decides to abandon dairy farming, the herd of milking
cows will be sold off, usually at a livestock market. Surplus dairy
cows are also routinely sold at markets. But farmers do not
necessarily take their animals to the nearest livestock market; they
take them where dairy cows are most in demand. Currently the demand
for dairy cows is highest in the South West of England and some cows
and calves travel from as far away as Essex and Norfolk, enduring
journeys of six hours or more (56).

On top of these long journeys, many cows sent to market must also
endure the uncomfortable pressure of overfull udders. According to
FAWC: “It is common practice to send dairy cattle to market or to
agricultural shows with overstocked udders.” (3) This means that the
cow is not milked on the morning of the sale or show so that her udder
looks full, making the cow ‘more attractive to prospective buyers or
judges’ (3). In their 1997 report on the Welfare of Dairy Cattle, the
FAWC condemned this practice, stating:

“Cows with overstocked udders suffer unnecessary pain and unnecessary
distress which is against the law.” (3)


Fig. 26. This dairy cow at Colchester market is leaking milk from her
overstocked udder, a common sight at UK livestock markets (Photo:
Animal Aid)
Click here for a video clip of a cow at market with an overstocked
udder


Despite their advice, cows continue to be sent to markets with
overstocked udders, as witnessed by a Viva! investigator who attended
three dairy cow auctions at Taunton livestock market in 2005. FAWC
have also reiterated their concerns over this practice in their 2005
Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Gatherings (57).

A Viva! investigator also witnessed two Holstein cows for sale at
Taunton Livestock Centre on 19th July, 2005 who had given birth en
route to the Centre and were paraded around the auction ring with the
afterbirth still hanging from their vaginas. This violates The Welfare
of Animals at Markets Order 1990 which prohibits an animal being
exposed for sale in a market if she is likely to give birth while she
is there, as well as The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997
which states that animals likely to give birth must not be transported
(57). (Viva! reported this violation to DEFRA and Trading Standards.)
Despite these laws, and the well-established fact that the stress of
transport and the market itself may induce labour or abortion, the
FAWC highlight the continuing problem of pregnant animals being
brought to market in their June 2005 report (57).
Ice
2006-07-03 17:22:15 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I found this quite interesting.

http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/murdershewrote.htm

Murder, She Wrote
Piggy on a Plate / Fowl Play / Talking Turkey / Assault and Battery /
Lamb to the Slaughter / Milky No-Way / Bulls to you / The
Slaughterhouse / Stunned / Electric Tongs / Captive Bolt Pistol /
Electrified Water Bath / Religious Slaughter

Imagine you just landed on Planet Earth and want to find out more
about the diet of the human race. You know that people who eat animals
run a much greater risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. They
are more likely to suffer from gall stones, obesity, diet-related
diabetes, kidney stones, food poisoning and constipation! You also
know that livestock farming is a hopelessly inefficient way of feeding
people and that it causes pollution on a staggering scale. On top of
that, you have discovered that incarcerating and killing animals
causes great pain and suffering.

Coming from an advanced planet which encourages compassion and wisdom,
you obviously expect to find that most people on earth will be
vegetarians and vegans.

To your amazement, instead you discover that each year, meat eaters in
Britain consume their own weight in animal flesh. Over the period of a
lifetime it amounts to:

5 Cattle / 20 Pigs / 29 Sheep / 780 Chickens / 46 Turkeys / 18 Ducks /
7 Rabbits / 1½ Geese

You find it impossible to believe that over 850 million animals are
slaughtered for food in Britain each year. This breaks down as:

2.3 million Cattle
19 million Sheep and Lambs
16 million Pigs
792 million Chickens
35 million Turkeys
18 million Ducks
1 million Geese
5 million Rabbits*
10,000 Deer
9,000 Goats

But how are these animals farmed? Surely humankind must show some
compassion and respect for its fellow creatures with which it shares
the Earth?

Piggy on a Plate
Pigs are more intelligent than dogs and used to live wild in Britain.
Now they are kept locked in prisons for meat. Pigs lived in the great
forests and woods that covered most of the UK eating beech nuts,
acorns, other seeds and nuts, insects, roots and occasionally carrion.
Their snout and strong neck helped them to grub up roots and other
food. Not keen on temperature extremes, they sought shade under the
trees when they were hot and made nests from the litter on the forest
floor when they felt it was getting too nippy. All the wild pigs in
Britain were hunted to extinction in the seventeenth century.
Instead of being free, with a right to a natural existence, more than
90 per cent of piglets are factory farmed. In investigations of farms
all over Britain, Viva! exposed diseased, dead and dying animals.

In almost every fattening unit was glaring neglect and indifference -
broken legs, abscesses, ruptured stomachs, animals coughing with
pneumonia, others panting from meningitis, cuts and lacerations from
the perforated metal on which they are forced to live.

One farm investigated in Yorkshire - which supplied major supermarkets
- looked almost derelict, with junk and debris everywhere and only an
array of grimy windowless sheds as the give away to what it farmed. An
overpowering stench of ammonia and faeces was overwhelming.

There was no light inside but a cacophony of noise - a scrambling and
clattering of animals in fear. The camera lights revealed baby pigs in
barren metal pens and the noise was their feet on the bare metal
floors as they charged to get away. There were so many of then that
there was no place to go or hide.

This near darkness, these utterly barren, sterile conditions is their
home for over a month - about one-fifth of their lives. One pig had a
broken leg, others were stunted and suffering from 'scabby pig' from
which they will almost certainly die. Some were lame, others had
deformed spines.

Outside in a rusting trailer was a pile of rotting corpses,
discoloured and bloated from days of decay were half submerged in
putrid rainwater.

In the 'second stage grower' pen, there were around 200 large pigs in
an area of about 10m by 12m. Overcrowding is typical of this industry.
The pigs squealed and screamed, biting in their desperation to be let
out.

The pigs are killed at about five months old for sausages, bacon, ham
and pork.

The 'breeding stock' - the pigs kept to produce the piglets which are
killed for meat - usually give birth in a small farrowing crate on a
concrete or perforated metal floor. Sows have strong maternal feelings
and would normally spend days building a nest of leaves or straw. In a
crate they cannot do this and so lapse into stereotyped behaviour
where they repeatedly try to build a nest in their barren cell.

The bars on the crates stop the mother pigs from being able to move -
they cannot take a step forward or back or turn around. This causes
the pregnant animals to ache all over and many have back and leg
problems.
The bars also stop them from reaching their babies when they give
birth, although the babies can reach their mother's teats to suckle.
The piglets are taken away early at about three weeks old and kept in
the fattening units. Five days after her piglets are taken away, the
sow is made pregnant again and the whole misery-go-round continues.

Fowl Play
While red meat consumption declines, more chickens are being eaten
than ever before. Sadly, some people believe that white meat is
somehow healthy. They are wrong. Chicken meat clots arteries, triggers
cancers and is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning in the
world. And chicken farming is outright cruel.

Chicks are kept in sheds called broiler houses where up to 100,000
birds are crammed with less than 600cm2 of space per bird (about the
space of a computer screen). The floor is concrete and laid with
sawdust, wood shavings or chopped straw but soon becomes covered with
the animals' excrement. The filth may attract rats and flies bringing
disease and because the birds are forced to spend their entire lives
standing in their own droppings, they are in terrible pain from hock
burns (burns to their feet and legs), breast blisters and ulcerated
feet. (Think how sore a little ulcer is in your mouth and then imagine
having ulcers all over your feet.Yuk.) The windowless sheds are
artificially lit for 23½ hours a day. This deters the chicks from
sleeping and instead makes them eat more. A fat bird means more money.
And money is used to excuse all sorts of cruel and sickening things
that humans do to animals and even their own kind.

Broiler chickens are ready for slaughter at 1.8kg live weight in 42
days, half the time it once took. They go to death with the bodies of
adult chickens and the blue eyes and high pitched 'cheep' of little
chicks. The birds grow abnormally fast because they are fed growth
promoting antibiotics and are selectively bred to do so.

The result is that the bones of many break under their ballooning
weight and their hearts are frequently unable to cope. The
Agricultural and Food Research Council (which supports factory
farming) state that up to four fifths of broiler chickens have broken
bones, deformed feet and legs or other skeletal defects. According to
the National Farmers Union, about 72 million birds die in broiler
houses every year - before they even reach the slaughterhouse.

Talking Turkey
At Christmas it would be nice to think that humans show some goodwill
to other creatures. And increasing numbers do. But many British still
celebrate Christmas by killing 11 million turkeys. And yet this
British "tradition" only began in the Industrial Revolution and became
widespread in the 1950's when factory farming began.

Turkeys are still wild in America. It makes you even sadder to think
of the farmed birds when you have seen them free in their natural
environment. Wild turkeys are actually very handsome, with black wing
and tail feathers that shimmer red-green and copper, contrasting with
their white wing bars - nothing like the all-white, broad-breasted,
meat strains bred in our farms today. They enjoy roosting in trees,
but build their nests on the ground. If they are threatened, they can
fly as far as 1.6km at an amazing 88km/h (55mph). Strange that so many
people think turkeys can't fly. Seeds, nuts, roots, tubers, grubs,
grasses, legumes and sometimes small amphibians and molluscs (snails
and slugs) make up their varied diet. The turkeys semi-wild nature
means that they suffer very badly in factory farms.

Yet almost all turkeys are intensively reared in Britain. One day old
chicks (known as poults) are either placed in large, windowless
broiler sheds or in pole barns which have natural light and
ventilation. Up to 25,000 birds may be crammed into a shed - giving
only 0.27 - 0.37m² space per bird. As they grow they can hardly move
and the floor becomes putrid and stinks of excreta. Like broiler
chickens, the poor turkeys are in agony from burns and ulcers on the
feet and breasts. Professor John Webster, Head of Department of Animal
Husbandry, Bristol University says:

"One quarter of the heavy strains of broiler chickens and turkey are
in chronic pain for one third of their lives. Given that poultry meat
consumption in the UK exceeds one million tonnes per annum, this must
constitute in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe,
systematic example of man's inhumanity to another sentient animal."
(Animal Welfare: A Cool Eye Towards Eden, Blackwell Science, 1995)

Instead of the wide variety of food that a turkey is meant to eat,
farmed birds are given pellets of the same unnaturally high protein
feed, day in, day out. A boring, never changing diet causes
frustration and stress to almost all farm animals. Because farmed
turkeys are forced to grow quickly and have an unnaturally large
breast size, many are in severe pain as their heart and legs cannot
withstand this abnormally rapid growth. About two million baby birds
die mainly from heart attacks before they reach slaughter weight.
Turkeys are never cannibals in the wild but in overcrowded, filthy and
boring conditions they may peck at each other relentlessly. Instead of
changing the conditions, some are debeaked with a red-hot blade at 5
days old.

At between 12 to 26 weeks old, the end comes for the birds and many
are destined to become the "traditional" Christmas type of dinner -
oven-ready turkey. Those worn out from constant breeding are made into
processed meats, such as turkey "ham" or "sausages".

Some of the saddest turkeys are the ones kept for breeding. They can
grow to the huge weight of six stone and have such diseased hip joints
that they can barely walk.

Doesn't it seem strange that when people sit down for Christmas
dinner, to celebrate peace and forgiveness and all the better things
in life, they do it by first cutting something's throat and killing
it? When they "coo" and "aah" and say what a lovely turkey they're
munching into, they close their eyes to the pain and filth that was
its life. And when they carve its huge breast they probably don't even
know that this great lump of flesh has turned turkeys into freaks. We
have produced a creature that can't even mate without us doing it for
them using artificial insemination. Not a very merry Christmas for
them! Turkeys are naturally "bootiful" but what we have done to them
is anything but that.

Assault and Battery
Do chickens kept for their eggs fare better? After all you've seen all
the ads and egg boxes that proudly declare "country fresh" and "fresh
from the countryside", "farm fresh". Surely this means hens are free
to roam the fields and woods? 'Fraid not! Unless an egg box actually
has the words FREE RANGE, it is almost certain that the eggs are from
battery hens. (In 1998 Marks & Spencer stopped selling battery eggs
and only sell free range; a positive move that came about from public
pressure against the cage system.) However around 85 per cent of
Britain's eggs are produced on battery farms, where the hens are
squashed together in small cages. They can never spread their wings,
scratch in the earth, perch or make a nest, dust-bathe, search for
food that is tasty and natural, or even walk or run.

Instead, five hens are packed into a cage of only 45 x 50cm. (slightly
bigger than your average microwave oven) and are never allowed out
again until they are taken for slaughter.

The average wing span of a hen is 76cm - so movement and natural
behaviour is severely restricted. Thousands of cages are stacked into
windowless sheds - with artificial lighting for about 17 hours a day
to promote egg laying. Up to 30,000 birds are packed in these sheds
and they are all fed, watered and their eggs collected by an automatic
system. When a hen lays an egg, it rolls onto a conveyor belt and is
taken away to be boxed. Birds of 18 weeks old are put into these cages
and are not removed until they are 18 months to two years old, when
they are killed. Try to imagine the frustration, the boredom, the
anger that this system creates. Hens in more natural conditions will
often live for 7 years - sometimes much more. Slaughtered battery hens
are processed into soups, baby foods, stock cubes, school dinners or
used in the restaurant trade.

And what of the male chicks? Because battery hens are bred to be lean,
to eat little and lay a lot, 40 million male day old chicks are killed
every year - too skinny for meat, unable to lay. Their bodies are used
as fertilizer or as feed for farm animals.

Hens in the wild lay only 20 eggs a year, which will mostly have been
fertilised by a cockerel and will hatch. There are no cockerels in
battery sheds so all eggs are infertile. The battery hen has been bred
to produce an unbelievable 300 eggs a year - nearly one a day.
However, this breeding has not stripped them of their instincts and
desires. Like hens in the wild, they need a safe, private place to lay
their eggs, something which is not available when sharing a cage with
so many other birds. The process can take up to an hour or more,
during which time they will attempt to hide from their cagemates. The
frustration often makes them become aggressive. Hens lay eggs because
it is a bodily function which they have no control over, not because
they are "happy"

Creatures whose nature is to move around almost ceaselessly during
daylight hours must, when restricted like this, somehow substitute
their desire to peck and scratch in the ground. The only source of
interest left to them is the feathers and flesh of their cage mates
which they frequently peck - sometimes to death. If you were squashed
into a phone box with four other people - maybe people you didn't even
like - perhaps you would become aggressive after a few months (or a
few days?!). These "vices" could be stopped by providing a decent
amount of space but instead of this many farmers practice beaktrimming
- a red-hot blade removes part of the beak when the birds are young.
Some die from bleeding or shock.

The combination of a lack of fresh air and daylight, selective
breeding, and caging in overcrowded conditions has led to the spread
of diseases and to distress and suffering. Prolapses, egg peritonitis,
cancers, infectious bronchitis and Gumboro disease are just a few of
the conditions that thrive in battery houses. The bones of battery
hens are often so brittle that they will snap like dry twigs. The
Agricultural and Food Research Council states that one third of
battery hens suffer from broken bones. A review of all scientific
studies on battery farming by the University of Edinburgh concludes
that "battery hens suffer" and that battery cages should be outlawed.
But then you didn't need a scientist to tell you that, did you? The
two million battery hens that die each year in their cages are
testimony to that.

Lamb to the Slaughter
Sheep are kept for their wool, skin, meat and milk. On the face of it,
you think that they have suffered the least from the growth of factory
farming - here free range actually means free range. Yes, sheep mostly
still live in the open in conditions that are fairly close to their
natural environment. They eat mostly a natural diet and are allowed
contact with other sheep without being overcrowded or caged. When
young, most are protected and nurtured by their own mothers -
something denied to most factory-reared animals. Compared to battery
hens or factory farmed pigs, they have a good life, or do they?

Having watched huntsmen maraud across the countryside on the pretence
of protecting sheep from foxes, you'd be forgiven for thinking these
must be special creatures indeed. Precious even. But it's all a sham
and four million sheep die each year of cold, hunger, sickness,
pregnancy complications or injury and one million lambs die of
exposure within a few days of birth.

Sheep are suited to the dry, rocky land of hill country, being prone
to foot diseases when kept on damp, low land. Despite their inherent
unsuitability for living on low-lying land, much of the Midlands has
been given over to sheep rearing as has Sussex, Kent, Devon and many
other unhilly counties. The life led by these creatures is
considerably different to those reared on the uplands, such as in
Wales.

Subsidies and science have allowed the size of the British flock to
increase from about 34 million to 45 million animals from 1982 up to
1998. The UK is the EU's biggest sheep meat producer (380,000 tonnes
in 1998), followed by Spain and France. However, almost 40 per cent of
UK sheep meat and live sheep were exported in 1998 as the British
taste in lamb has been declining since the 1980's.

Some 43 per cent, or £488 million out of £1.1 billion in 1998, of the
income of sheep farmers in Britain comes from the public purse, from
taxation, from you and I. The government stated in 1994 that: "Most
hill farmers and many lowland sheep keepers would be incapable of
financial survival if subsidies were withdrawn."

All red meat producers receive Government subsidies of one kind or
another. No other industry is cushioned in this way. It is ironic that
a trade which is damaging and cruel receives such support.

Normally, sheep breed once a year and have one or two lambs. The ewe
(female sheep) naturally comes into season in the autumn or winter and
the five-month pregnancy ensures that most lambs are born in the
warmer conditions of spring when food is plentiful. But farmers, lured
by the higher prices paid for Easter lamb, change this natural
breeding cycle so that lambs are born earlier. Many never survive the
cold. The ewes are made to come into season early with the use of
hormones or by being kept indoors and controlling the amount of light
they receive - the decline in daylight hours being responsible for
triggering oestrus.

The most profitable produce of British sheep is their lambs - wool
coming a distant second, producing between five and 10 per cent of
total income per ewe - so they are under pressure to produce more and
more offspring. Some may have three or four lambs a year - leading to
more intensive, indoor rearing because of their inability to cope with
this many lambs in cold weather.

Lambs are often slaughtered at about four months old, although some
are killed as young as ten weeks and others up to 15 months. The meat
from older sheep is called mutton and is less popular than lamb so is
mostly used in processed foods. Ewes are able to live to the age of 15
or so but are slaughtered after four to eight years.

Sheep have been bred to grow more wool than nature intended.
Naturally, they have an outer covering of hair, with the wool making
up just a fine undercoat. Domesticated breeds have been "improved" to
increase the wool and to reduce the coarse hair. Hill-breeds still
have quite coarse coats as protection against the weather but breeds
such as the Merino have only a fine, soft fleece. Domesticated sheep
have to be shorn every year before the weather becomes too hot and
uncomfortable and it can be a stressful experience for animals not
used to being handled.

About 27 per cent of UK wool comes from slaughtered sheep, usually
lambs.

Milky No-Way
If you were an alien visitor, by now you would surely be wondering if
all creatures on earth took second place to money. And of course the
answer would have to be yes. But the biggest shock is yet to come.
Unlike many humans, the alien would know that an animal can only give
milk when it has given birth to its offspring and it doesn't pour from
an animal tap whenever needed. For a continual supply of milk it would
be obvious that a cow would have to be made pregnant every year but
the method involved would shock anyone.

After a nine month pregnancy, a cow's tiny, teetering calf is
separated from her after only one or two days.

That's how long it takes for the calf to suckle the disease-preventing
colostrum from its mother but not long enough to snatch the milk which
must all be kept for humans, up to a staggering 7,000 litres a year,
ten times more than her little calf could ever drink. If the calf is a
male it is very likely, after only a week, he will be shot - an
unwanted by-product of the dairy industry. (Before BSE he would have
been crammed into a lorry with hundreds of other calves and despatched
on a journey to France or Holland, petrified, bewildered and often
deprived of water, food or rest. On arrival he would have been placed
in a veal crate.)

But what of its mother cow 324? It was her eighth calf and will
probably be the last. The genetic manipulation and dietary controls
which have led to her extraordinary output of milk carry with them a
cost, all borne by the cow. She has a one-in-three chance of her
udders secreting pus and painfully swelling with mastitis, and the
antibiotics forced up her udders don't have much success in
controlling the disease.

Because of the strain of carrying her oversized udders, she is likely
to be amongst the one third of cows who are lame from foot and leg
disorders. And her body consumes so much energy for milk production
that her muscles simply waste away. From a distance, these
skin-covered coat racks, munching grass, seem to be in an idyll. But
the ugly truth is that a quarter of dairy cows are so exhausted by the
process they never see their third year, despite having a life
expectancy of 21 years or more. Most cows are killed at four to seven
years, often pregnant when they die. Their meat is then used for soup,
burgers or processed foods.

Professor John Webster, Department of Animal Husbandry, Bristol
University says:

"The dairy cow is a supreme example of an overworked mother. She is
the hardest working of all our farm animals and it can be
scientifically calculated. It is equivalent to a jogger who goes out
for six to eight hours a day which is a lunatic pursuit”. He states
that almost 100 per cent of cows suffer from laminitis - a disease
which causes 'great pain to the cow' (MAFF). Tissue lining of the foot
becomes inflamed and may lead to ulcers. Professor Webster continues:
"To understand the pain of laminitis it helps to imagine crushing your
finger nails in the door then standing on your fingertips."

In intensive farming, many cows are kept in "zero-grazing" systems.
This means that they are kept indoors, where they can't follow their
natural, very strong instinct to graze. Grass is brought to them, and
they are also given a high-protein diet to increase their milk yield.

Bulls to you
There are many different systems for raising cattle for meat, the
least intensive being the suckler herd. The calf is kept with its
mother until weaned and then put on grass until it is heavy enough to
be killed at about two years old.

At the other end of the spectrum, the most intensive method is where
calves are taken from their mothers at birth and reared in pens on
milk replacer and feed pellets. During the first week of their lives
they are usually castrated and have their horn buds chemically burnt
out. In the case of older cows a hot iron might be used and,
theoretically at any rate, an anaesthetic.

To put weight on before slaughter they are taken to fattening sheds
and fed on high quality cereals. There may be straw bedding but it is
becoming common to use slatted concrete floors on which cattle find it
difficult to stand, often resulting in lameness. Some farms keep up to
8,000 animals this way, cramming them into sheds to stop them from
moving around and "wasting" energy in keeping warm. They gain weight
quickly and are ready for slaughter at only 11 to 12 months old.

Fishy business

You have now seen how land animals are treated by humans - as mere
commodities devoid of any feelings. So what of the creatures of the
oceans and rivers? "Oh, we don't have to worry about them because fish
don't feel pain!" A convenient excuse you may think, ensuring fish are
treated as though they have no right to be on planet Earth and if we
continue the way we're going it won't be long before they aren't.

Eighty to 100 million tonnes of fish are caught each year, mostly from
only five different groups - herrings, cod, jacks, redfish and
mackerel. And to catch these, all kinds of other creatures suffer.
Drift nets up to 40 km long catch everything in their way including
dolphins, porpoises, small whales, rays, sharks, diving sea birds and
species of fish which are not wanted. Fish that are caught in trawl
nets are often crushed to death under the weight of the catch. The
'debris' which comes out of the net - shell fish, crabs, starfish and
every conceivable type of crawling, swimming, burrowing creature - is
simply shovelled back into the sea, most of it dead.

Those fish which are still alive by the time they make it on to the
decks of fishing boats have one of two fates. Either they are allowed
to suffocate to death in an alien environment or they are
disembowelled with a gutting knife. Fish such as plaice will
desperately cling to life for hours out of water and may well be
filleted alive.

In an apparent concern at overfishing, the EU has instigated fish
quotas for different species for each member country. What frequently
happens is that once a boat has reached its quota for, say, cod it
continues to fish for haddock. But as cod and haddock swim together
the cod which are caught are simply returned to the sea - dead from
suffocation, crushing or injury. (See Viva! Guide 9: Planet on a
Plate.)

A growing sector is industrial fishing where "non edible" (to humans
that is) species such as sand eels and ling are caught to produce fish
oil or to be turned into high protein livestock and salmon feed or
simply to be used as fertilizer.

The myth that fish are cold blooded and so can't suffer is difficult
to shake off. The term 'cold blooded' isn't even accurate as the
animal's temperature varies according to its surroundings. For
example, some cold blooded animals that live in tropical waters can
have higher temperatures than most "warm blooded" mammals. And neither
term has anything to do with the central nervous system which is
responsible for whether a creature can feel pain or not. Like all
vertebrates, the fish nervous system consists of a brain, a single
nerve cord along the back (spinal cord) and nerves which enable the
animal to feel good and bad sensations. Of course fish do feel pain!

Like land animals, fish are also factory farmed and there are between
1,000 to 1,500 fish farms in Britain alone that mainly rear trout or
salmon.

Up to 20,000 young salmon are packed into freshwater tanks measuring
only between four and 10m in diameter. After a year to 18 months they
are taken to loch or river estuary cages where they are injected with
antibiotics to control diseases. They are then regularly doused with
pesticides to kill plagues of sea lice. Despite this prolific use of
chemicals, between 20 and 50 per cent die from diseases such as cancer
or pancreas and kidney infections.

Before they are killed by being cut across the gills with a sharp
knife, the fish are starved of food for two weeks. This is simply
because it is less messy to take out the insides of a fish that has
not eaten.

The Slaughterhouse
If you were from outer space, your alien brain would so far have been
seriously intellectually challenged but don't worry because there's
worse to come! How do you explain to an alien that humans happily eat
meat but refuse to think about how it gets there - don't want to know
how it gets there - because it upsets them? Most people don't want to
work in a slaughterhouse, have never set foot in one and refuse to
listen when you try to tell them about it. How much business would a
restaurant do if, when someone ordered lamb chops, they were given a
very sharp knife and a three-month-old lamb and told to cut its
throat?

It might even remind you of your Martian children who shut their eyes
when frightened because if they can't see the Klingon they think it
doesn't exist. So desperate are some organisations to keep people's
eyes closed that they try to rubbish charities like Viva!.

As a superior being you firmly believe that the truth cannot harm a
person, only help them to make the right choices. So here it is!

Stunned
Slaughter, like any other business, is subject to all the usual
business approaches - efficiency, incentives, cost control and so on.
The animals which go through its doors are units of production and the
quicker they're killed the higher the earnings, the greater the
profits. Slaughter becomes production line just like a car factory.

The pigs, sheep and cattle arrive in lorries and are unloaded into a
series of pens called the "lairage". Chickens are normally left in
their crates to await their slaughter.

Most animals are killed by having their throats cut and the rules say
that they must first be stunned - made unconscious - to save them from
feeling pain. Well, that's the theory and it immediately falls flat
when it comes to religious slaughter. The drive for speed and
efficiency can also result in the rules being bent but it is the
methods themselves which make a nonsense of this supposedly
humanitarian concern. Different methods are used for different
animals. Some of them are:

Electric tongs are used on pigs, most sheep and some calves.

An electrified water bath is used almost exclusively for poultry.

Gas stunning is used on some pigs and poultry.

The captive bolt is used on cattle, most calves and some sheep.

Electric Tongs
The animals are taken from the lairage to the stunning point either
individually or in groups where they are penned and stunned one by one
in front of each other.

The low-voltage tongs consist of terminals which look a bit like
headphones and are attached to insulated handles - imagine a large
pair of garden shears with a round bit on the end of each blade. The
slaughterman clamps the terminals to the animal's head, hopefully in
front of its ears, and triggers an electric shock which is supposed to
render it unconscious. A chain is then placed around a hind leg and
the creature is hoisted into the air where its throat is cut - called
"sticking" - allowing it to bleed to death - called "bleeding out".

Well, that's the theory but the stunning lasts for only about 20
seconds and if the slaughterman is too slow the animal can regain
consciousness. This happens quite regularly according to the Food
Research Institute. It found that with sheep, the time between
stunning and sticking was usually more than 30 seconds and in some
cases more than a minute. What this means is that millions of animals
are conscious when their throat is cut.

Productivity has a bearing as slaughtermen are usually on piece rates,
being paid on the basis of how many animals they kill. To be truly
effective the tongs need to be placed in exactly the right position on
the animals head and held there for at least seven seconds. For the
sake of speed this often doesn't happen. Animals can and do regain
consciousness but often don't show it because one effect of the
electric shock can be to induce paralysis for up to 30 seconds.

The European Union Veterinary Committee says: "Under commercial
conditions, a considerable proportion of animals are either
inadequately stunned or require a second stun. This is mainly because
of poor electrode placements, bad electrical contacts and long
stun-to-stick intervals". (Scientific Veterinary Committee Animal
Welfare Section. 1996. Report on the Slaughter and Killing of Animals.
Directorate-General for Agriculture; European Commission.)

Captive Bolt Pistol
This little device is like a pistol but when the trigger is pulled and
the cartridge explodes, instead of firing a bullet it shoots out a
metal bolt. The bolt can only travel 9 cm as it's still attached to
the pistol. Cattle to be killed are driven single file into a roofless
metal box one at a time, the pistol is placed against their forehead
and the bolt fired into their brain. Done properly the animal will
immediately lose consciousness but often it isn't done properly. A bad
or hurried aim, a sudden movement from the animal and the bolt can
miss meaning agony inflicting terrible pain and requiring a second
attempt.

Again the method of killing is to haul the animal up by a back leg and
cut its throat.

The reason that animals are first stunned rather than being killed
immediately is to allow their body to continue to function for a short
time, enabling the creature's heart to pump out its own blood.
Bacteria in the blood does cause the meat to deteriorate but it's now
known that it makes no difference to the amount of blood lost whether
the heart is beating or not.

Electrified Water Bath
Poultry represent the ultimate in efficiency. They enter the packing
stations as living creatures and leave as wrapped, fresh or frozen
table birds or in pies and other meat products. To feed this
efficiency, a carefully planned production line is organised with
lorries laden with crates full of birds arriving at set times
throughout the day.

The chickens and turkeys have their legs placed in metal shackles and
are hung upside down on a moving conveyor. Many of the chickens will
already have broken bones. For turkeys it is particularly painful
because of their weight and no exceptions are made even for the hugely
overweight male breeding birds which can top 27 kg (about 60 lbs) - as
much as an eight or nine-year-old child. The strain on their usually
diseased hip joints is enormous and painful.

The conveyer belt passes over an electrified bath and one by one their
heads are dragged through it. Some birds miss the bath by raising
their heads and these arrive at the human throat cutter fully
conscious. The larger packing stations often use mechanical throat
cutters and for smaller birds it can mean that the blade misses their
throat and cuts their head while for larger birds it can mean a cut on
the breast. If these failures aren't noticed it can mean that fully
conscious birds are dipped into the scalding tank. This is a procedure
which loosens the feathers and is another stop on the relentless
production line.

The European Union Veterinary Committee report that they are concerned
by this method of stunning because the wrong size shackles are often
used; pre-stun shocks in turkeys are very high (80%) because their
wings hang lower than their heads and touch the water first; and
currents may not be high enough to kill or lose consciousness. Viva!
states in its report on slaughter that ventral neck cutting is not
usually carried out and so birds are often conscious when they reach
the scalding tank. Heads of ducks and geese in particular may not be
immersed in the waterbath at all.

(Scientific Veterinary Committee Animal Welfare Section. 1996. Report
on the Slaughter and Killing of Animals. Directorate-General for
Agriculture; European Commission and Viva! report on Slaughter 1998.)

Religious Slaughter
(For a fully referenced report on religious slaughter, see Going for
the Kill, Viva! Report on the Religious (Ritual) Slaughter of Animals,
1998.)

As part of their religious faith, both British Jews and Muslims have
special dispensation from the usual rules of slaughter. Animals killed
to provide their kosher or halal meat are sent to the knife fully
conscious. It can be a slow and laborious process for a stressed and
terrified creature.

For Jewish shechita slaughter, cattle are placed in an upright pen one
at a time; he or she is pushed forwards so that their head sticks out
one end; a plate moves up from the floor to support the underside of
the body and the head is raised by a chin lift which extends the
animal's neck so that his/her neck can be cut more easily. When the
throat has been cut, a side gate is raised and a hind leg is shackled.
The chin-lift and belly plate are released and the animal is pulled
out of the pen by a hoist and moved to an overhead rail.

The animal is supposed to be killed instantly by a single cut across
the neck, however the reality is somewhat different as the following
description of Viva! footage of the killing shows:

'The cow's neck is extended and the head lifted upwards by a chin lift
in an upright pen. The animal's nostrils are flaring, eyes staring and
it is salivating. The slaughterer cuts the cow's throat by slicing
across it, backwards and forwards 13 times. The cow jerks away from
the knife as far as it can and its facial reaction shows pain and
great aversion. The cow does not collapse immediately (the filming
ends before it does).....'

A huge problem with religious slaughter is that millions of animals
bleed slowly. Anil et al say: "It is well recognised that unstunned
calves which bleed poorly can take a long time to die." It takes more
than five minutes for the animals to stop trying to stand normally.

(Anil, M.H. et al 1995. Welfare of Calves - 2. Increase in Vertebral
Artery Blood Flow following Exsanguination by Neck Sticking and
Evaluation of Chest Sticking as an Alternative Slaughter Method. Meat
Science, vol 41, 2, 113-123.)

Professor Donald Broom, specialist in farm animal behaviour,
University of Cambridge says:

"Animals are not stunned during the Jewish Shechita or the Muslim
Halal religious slaughter procedures. There is a period of
consciousness after the throat is cut which may last for 30 seconds to
several minutes during which the animal must be in great pain and
distress. As the heart still beats after stunning and blood drains
from the animal just as effectively whether or not the animal is
stunned there is no logical reason why stunning should not be carried
out before the throat is cut."

(Broom, D.M. & Fraser, A.F. 1996. Farm Animal Behaviour & Welfare.
Bailliere Tindall.)

For Muslim halal slaughter, sheep and goats are placed on their backs
in a metal cradle or simply hoisted up by a back leg before having
their throat slit. Poultry are held head downwards while their throats
are cut.

Hardly surprisingly, many Muslims and Jews have turned against
religious slaughter and eat previously stunned meat, or even more
effective they have become vegetarian.

Imagine once again you're a visitor to earth from outer space, a
creature of higher intellect and greater perception than humans so you
are obviously already a vegetarian. You find it inconceivable that
your earthling friends, now they know the truth, won't join you in
such a necessary and fundamental change. They could continue to bury
their heads in the sand, but what's the point - it won't go away.
There's an old saying - if you can't beat them join them. In this
case, the only way to beat them is not to join them. Join Viva!
instead. It's always here on Earth to help you every step of the way.


Juliet Gellatley is the Founder and Director of Viva!. She has a
degree in zoology and is a leading authority on vegetarian and vegan
issues launching many successful campaigns from Convert-a-Parent and
SCREAM!! to Pig In Hell and a campaign that stopped the nationwide
sale of 'exotic' meats. She also created National Vegetarian Week.
Juliet produced the double award-winning teenage videos, Food Without
Fear and Food for Life as well as Devour the Earth and coedits
Viva!Life magazine. Juliet has given hundreds of talks on animal
rights and vegetarianism and ardently believes that youth education is
the key to a more compassionate world. She is frequently interviewed
on radio and TV. Juliet is author of The Livewire Guide to Going,
Being and Staying Veggie, Born to be Wild and the classic book on
vegetarian issues - the Silent Ark.

Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
Ice
2006-07-03 17:24:18 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I think we need to start thinking about where our food comes from!

http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/justiceforall.htm

Life Sentences
An agonised debate wracked society a couple of hundred years ago.
Church, government and the middle classes searched their consciences,
argued publicly and offered evidence to back their views. However, it
was a one-sided argument and they soon reached agreement, with a
collective sigh of relief. It was official – black people didn’t have
souls. More than that, they would benefit from the discipline of hard
labour provided by their Christian masters.

The outcome was – business as usual. Ship’s architects played with
little models of prostrate humans, jiggling and juggling them until
every available space on every possible deck was filled. They produced
new vessels that could carry even greater numbers of slaves. It
translated into millions of human beings being chained, motionless,
side by side in the festering dark of a ship’s hold for weeks on end.
Over two million died and were simply tossed into the Atlantic’s
waves.

In West Africa, slave traders continued to plunder villages, yoking
the inhabitants by the neck in long lines of misery. In the colonies,
plantation owners continued to divide families, beat abuse and exhaust
the people over whom they had complete and total control. In Bristol
and other sea towns, the monied counted their dividends from this
trade in human degradation.

So long as we persuaded ourselves that black people were beasts then
we could do to them as we wished. Few people posed the question of
whether we should be handing out such barbarity to beasts. The
overriding concern was to defend the right to make money. In order to
do that, almost anything could be excused.

The argument these days is not about souls but about consciousness,
awareness, the ability of animals to feel or fear. But it is motivated
by entirely the same morality. Pigs are imprisoned in barren crates,
so deprived of stimulation that they often go mad. They are forced to
have as many litters of piglets as their bodies will stand but they
are not allowed to mother them. But it’s fine because they spend their
lives in buildings sheltered from the elements with all the food they
need and no animal wants more than that! Well, that’s what we’re told.

If a person did the same thing to dogs they would be prosecuted for
cruelty – and yet a pig is equally as intelligent as a dog. So why the
difference? Why do we have two sets of rules, one for a dog and one
for a pig? There is no logical explanation except that we eat pigs
after we’ve been cruel to them and industry makes money from their
suffering.

Doesn’t it seem extraordinary that we can cram sheep into lorries in
three tiers, knowing that the top tier will urinate and defecate on
the sheep below and that tier will do the same to the sheep below
them. We then drive them around Europe without food, water or rest and
talk about a humane society. Could anyone with no financial interest
conceive of such a way to treat any feeling creature? But, of course,
they feel differently to us! Or so we’re told.

Trawlers criss-cross the world’s oceans, their trawl boards crushing
everything on the sea bed that has the misfortune to be in their path.
Much of what is caught is either thrown back dead or turned into fish
meal to feed other animals. Those to be eaten have a knife thrust into
them and are disembowelled while still alive. But that’s all right
because fish don’t feel pain! Who could ever have conceived of such an
excuse and who would have believed that so many people would be taken
in by it?

Watch a chicken as she forages around a field. It struts and scratches
and runs and bathes in sand. Its feet thrust the earth to one side in
search of bugs and beetles and seeds and other things to eat. Her
feathers shine and glint in the sunshine. What intelligence could ever
have conceived of taking these restless creatures and cramming them
five to a cage little bigger than a microwave oven? The beak is
clipped, the feathers fall out and the pathetic creatures are bred to
produce 10 times more eggs than they would naturally. Instead of bugs
and beetles and seeds we produce boring pellets of indeterminate
origin and feed that to them. Every attempt to end the battery system
is resisted. Well, chickens aren’t really animals, are they?

The only excuse for visiting such suffering on other creatures can be
ignorance. But that exit is closed to us because we do know the truth.
We might pretend we don’t, we might say that to give up battery eggs
is pointless as one person’s abstinence doesn’t make any difference
and we might even say what the battery owners say – that it’s of no
consequence. But really we know it’s wrong and that knowledge makes us
push the reality into the darker reaches of our minds. If we don’t
think about it, it doesn’t exist.

The world has existed for nearly five billion years during which time
various life forms have developed and evolved. From the earliest sea
life to the most complex mammals such as apes, they have all had one
thing in common – they have lived within their environment, part of it
and dependent on it. On the African plains, a cheetah chases after a
Tomson’s gazelle. It has evolved to live largely on gazelles and it
chases because it has no choice – it’s that or die. Both creatures
match each other closely for speed and turning ability which ensures
that it is largely the weak, the old or the injured who are caught.
Similarly a cheetah which is slow will not survive. This selection
process ensures that only the fit and healthy survive to pass their
genes on to their offspring.

Into this fine web of existence came human beings. In evolutionary
terms we have been here for little more than a twinkling of light. But
already we have begun to tear and break the individual strands which
go to make up the web of life. Our entire teaching, both political and
religious, is to place us above and beyond the rules by which all
other animals live, as though they simply don’t apply to us, as though
we are not animals. But the smartest Porsche car, the best stereo
system or the biggest swimming pool can’t alter the fact that we are
animals and we are governed by the same rules which govern all
animals. To ignore these rules is to court disaster. And that is what
we are doing – ignoring the rules.

As a species, we have looked at the world and said that nothing
matters but us. All the glories and wonders are there to be exploited
and if they can’t be exploited then they count for very little. We
destroy without knowing the long-term effects of such actions. And
even when we do know, we continue to destroy because today is much
more important than tomorrow. It is by today’s achievements, today’s
profit margins, today’s boasts that we are judged.

The very philosophy which has brought the planet teetering to the edge
of destruction is, we are told, the same philosophy which will save
us. Like the practice of bleeding in the 18th century, the cure for
our haemorrhage, they say, is to prize open even wider the severed
arteries of life. Allow those with the power even greater licence to
make money and the cure will be found. Profit is now the global
penicillin and its voracious appetite can never be satisfied.

Profit knows no morality other than to be successful. In pursuit of
that success, humans and other animals are exploited – ever more
demanded of them. Knowledge, truth and understanding have ceased to be
signposts to the future and have become obstacles to be circumvented.
For instance, we know that smoking is the biggest avoidable killer yet
every high street is littered with discarded cigarette packets. We
know that a vegetarian diet is much healthier than a meat-based diet
but it is the livestock farmer who receives the subsidies. We know
that poverty destroys people but the gap between rich and poor grows
ever wider.

Leaders have always refused to accept responsibility for their actions
but lack of integrity has become an epidemic disease. They pass the
blame for their failures down the line – to single parents, to
students, to travellers, to squatters, to immigrants, to other
nationalities. Part of the process is to stereotype each of these
groups so they cease to be a collection of ordinary humans.

So what has this to do with animals? Everything! It is all part of the
same process of denial. By pretending that animals have no real desire
for freedom, to procreate naturally, to mother their young or even to
experience pleasure by lying in the sun, then it is so much easier to
use them purely as commodities – like so much iron or coal or steel –
and ignore their pain and fear. It is a philosophy which similarly
applies to humans.

In the poorer parts of the world we ignore suffering on a massive
scale and in the process conveniently forget our own history of
colonisation. It was they who provided the wealth which we now
squander and in return we destroyed their agriculture and social
fabric. We now hand out a few paltry pounds and pretend that we are
helping to cure the problem which we were instrumental in creating. We
still control their economies and demand fodder for livestock while
their children die from hunger.

Despite the disproportionate volume of the world’s wealth which we
control, we are seemingly incapable or unwilling to solve the problems
of poverty and inequality – even on our own doorstep. When care and
concern for our own species is so stintingly withheld, what hope is
there for animals?

If you refuse to accept this morality of self interest and violence,
which binds this all together, and choose to exercise your right to
protest – you will almost certainly be portrayed as the violent one.
New laws can be used to prevent even the most peaceful demonstration
and so collective action against the violence of factory farming or
fox hunting can now be prevented, allowing the perpetrators of the
real violence to continue unhindered.

We, as humans, obviously believe we have the right to determine
everything, who and what shall live and die. We slaughter owls, hawks,
crows and magpies so that grouse or pheasants can be reared in large
numbers. We then slaughter them by sending lead shot ripping through
their flesh – and call it sport. We destroy rabbits as vermin and then
demonise the foxes who live on them. We then hunt the foxes. We gas
badgers because they might have TB; we trap and kill rooks because we
don’t like their habits; chase hares with dogs for entertainment; do
anything we like to rats and mice; shoot pigeons in their tens of
thousands. We determine which animals we will eat and deny them
everything, we determine which will be labelled vermin and try to
annihilate them; we allow others into our homes.

Across the globe we destroy whales for cultural reasons, dolphins and
seals because they dare to eat the same food as us; and there is
hardly a species which will not be exterminated if their interests and
ours collide.

It seems we are incapable of understanding that every living creature
has its part to play in maintaining the glorious fabric of our
wonderful world. We pretend that only we can maintain the balance by
determining what shall live and what shall die. It seems we never stop
and look around us to witness the appalling mess we have made –
deluding ourselves that we know what we are doing. None of the animals
which we slaughter, even those we demonise as vermin, pose any threat
to the survival of the planet. It is not they which threaten its
existence but us. In this maniacal juggling act we have begun to drop
the balls.

The only hope we have is to fundamentally reassess our role in things
and our attitude to the planet and living creatures who share it with
us. When a calf is dragged into the killing pen, wide-eyed and
terrified with the stench of blood and death in his nostrils, there is
no compassion. Nor when the captive bolt shatters his forehead. When
the slaughter’s hand grabs the muzzle of a lamb to stifle her bleating
and applies the knife to her throat, there is no compassion. And
without compassion there is little hope for any of us.

Make no mistake, becoming a vegetarian is an important act. Instantly,
you are no longer a part of this insanity. You are no longer
responsible for most of the daily cruelties handed out to farm
animals. You are taking the first step in allowing the planet to heal
itself but it is much more than that. It is a political act and a
clear expression of a belief is a different way of doing things, a
different kind of world – a better world.

Michael Mansfield QC is almost certainly the best – and the best-known
– criminal defence lawyer in Britain. He has represented and won many
of the big headline cases – the Birmingham Six, Tottenham Three,
Cardiff Three, Judith Ward and Angela Cannings. He has represented
families at many inquests and public enquiries, including Stephen
Lawrence, the Marchioness and Bloody Sunday. He is outraged by
injustice and motivated by a desire for a more just and equable world.
He has been a vegetarian for 20 years and a patron of Viva! since our
launch.

Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
Ice
2006-07-03 17:26:29 UTC
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Raw Message
http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/planetonaplate.htm

Planet on a Plate

So what's this got to do with diet? Everything! / Factory Farming /
Water - The Fountain of Life / Water Eutrophication / Bio-accumulation
/ Nitrogen pollution / Manure / Acid Rain / Water usage / Top soil /
Energy / Inefficiency of Meat / Global Warming / Felled Forests /
Desertification / Species Loss / Wildlife / Fishing / Trawling / Drift
Netting / Purse Seine Netting / Wildlife / Fish - a healthy option? /
Fish Farming / Wildlife / Pollution / Conclusion / References

Introduction


Planet on a Plate is an excellent introduction to the problems wrought
by the traditional Western meat-based diet, and the increasing role
that factory farms play in exacerbating an already dangerous
situation. The production of large numbers of farmed animals under
incredibly cruel circumstances has led to air and water pollution, a
huge waste of water and grain, and a host of public health problems,
such as the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Planet on a Plate makes a compelling case that we are individually
responsible for what we eat and the resultant environmental, ethical
and health consequences.

There are more than six billion people who share our planet.
Ultimately it is us who have the power in the marketplace to determine
which foods will be produced and sold, and to what extent the
industrial model of agriculture will be replaced. It is clear that the
adoption of the Western diet as a worldwide standard will ensure a
planet with more disease, and increasingly severe environmental
problems. Conversely, we know that plant-based protein is readily
available, and it is less costly, both in terms of direct costs, and
in terms of the ‘external’ costs that we are already paying (eg for
subsidies, environmental cleanup and to treat disease).

Planet on a Plate offers insight into how our food consumption
patterns impact on the biosphere and the earth’s ability to sustain a
growing human population. This publication deserves wide circulation
and support - it is a valuable educational tool. Too many of us simply
have not seen the connection between what we put on our plates and the
state of our physical world, and our own health. We have not, for
example, related the quality of our water to the foods that we
purchase. We have not related the myriad of Western ailments to our
diets. But the tide is beginning to turn.

The evidence against industrial animal production (‘factory farms’)
specifically, and meat-intensive diets in general is both overwhelming
and compelling. Fortunately, this fact is being widely recognised and
changes are occurring. For example, the veggieburger, once relegated
to the status of a ‘niche market’ is now commonplace in every corner
shop and supermarket. The consumption of soya-based products is rising
exponentially and main stream companies have entered the vegetarian
market in a significant way. Yes, positive change has begun.

While it is true that we have a long way to go, Planet on a Plate will
have enormous impact in hastening the dietary revolution that needs to
occur. We can build the kind of planet, the kind of future that we
want. But we need to act, and we need to get started now.

So what's this got to do with diet? Everything!

Global warming is increasing, the hole in the ozone layer is getting
bigger, rainforests are disappearing, deserts are expanding, fossil
fuels are running out and seas are dying.

So what’s this got to do with diet? Everything!

The meat, fish and dairy industries directly contribute to all the
major environmental catastrophes facing our planet. The number of
farmed animals in the world has quadrupled in the last 50 years, and
this puts an incredible strain on the environment. Food production no
longer nurtures the land; instead both animals and soil are pushed to
their limits and beyond in an effort to satisfy the voracious appetite
of the Western world. It is an appetite for both food and profit.

The current buzz word is ‘sustainable’ and yet modern agriculture is
anything but sustainable. Rainforests are still being chopped down at
an alarming rate either for grazing or to grow crops to feed to
animals. Crops (mostly grown for animal feed) require pesticides and
fertilisers that then leach into waterways, causing massive pollution.
The increased numbers of animals means more manure, which contributes
to acid rain, pollutes rivers and lakes and renders drinking water
unsafe. Soil is pushed beyond its fertility limits, is not replenished
or fallowed and becomes prone to erosion. Top soil, the very stuff of
life, is now a rapidly disappearing commodity. Oceans are being
destroyed by overfishing, which is devastating entire marine
ecosystems, while coastal fish farms are causing extensive pollution
and wildlife decline.

That, in a nutshell, is what confronts us, and it is a pretty
depressing picture. Despite an abundance of scientific evidence that
the world’s life support systems are being seriously eroded, the
situation is getting worse, not better, as the scale of decline
accelerates.


Factory Farming

Farming practices have intensified over the last 60 years and resulted
in a powerful and destructive industry based on ‘intensive’ or
‘factory’ farming. Its aim is to increase yields while decreasing the
cost of production. The welfare of animals is rarely considered, so
they are kept in tightly packed and frequently inhumane conditions to
ensure maximum profit.

More animals mean more crops are needed to feed them so there is
pressure on agricultural farmers to increase crop yields. Over 70 per
cent of the land in the UK is used for agriculture, and 66 per cent of
this is used as permanent pasture (1) while a high proportion of the
remainder is used to grow crops to feed livestock. In the US a typical
cow will consume about two tons of grain while it is at a feedlot,
just to gain 400 pounds in weight (2).

The world production of grain has more than tripled in the past 40
years, (during the same period the production of livestock has also
tripled (3)), yet famine is still widespread across the globe. In the
developing world, the share of grain fed to livestock has tripled
since mid-century and now stands at 21 per cent. This percentage is
likely to grow further as developing nations strive to emulate the
model of industrial nations, where nearly 70 per cent of grain is fed
to livestock.

If the 670 million tons of the world’s grain used for feed were
reduced by just 10 per cent, this would free up enough grain to
sustain 225 million people or keep up with world population growth for
the next three years. If each American reduced his or her meat
consumption by only 5 per cent, roughly equivalent to eating one less
dish of meat each week, 7.5 million tons of grain would be saved; this
is enough to feed 25 million people - roughly the number estimated to
go hungry in the United States each day (4).

Forests are cleared, ponds are dried, hedgerows ripped up, precious
water supplies are wasted in order to provide food and grazing for
cattle. This is proven to be an inefficient use of land. Ten hectares
of land will provide enough meat to feed only two people compared to
providing enough maize for 10 people, grain for 24 people or soya for
61 people (5).

Animal feed crops are often products of monoculture - a practice that
involves growing the same single crops in the same field year after
year with no fallowing or rotation. Soil cannot sustain such intense
demands, so chemical fertilisers are used to promote crop growth as a
matter of course. Growing feed for industrial animal agriculture
systems changes land use and harms biodiversity through habitat loss
and ecosystem damage (6).

Improper grazing has caused extensive environmental damage and
rangeland degradation in the Western US; top soil erosion is a serious
problem in the US and in other countries. The application of
pesticides and chemical fertilisers has led to a depletion of organic
matter; loss of soil biological communities, vital for recycling and
distributing nutrients.

Fields have been made larger to accommodate bigger machinery. England
has lost over half of its hedgerows - over 330,000 km - since 1947
(7). This combined with continuous pesticide spraying has decimated
the primary food sources of many birds and small mammals. The RSPB
report a 50 per cent decline in the number of farmland species of bird
in Britain and knock on effects of pesticide applications can be felt
throughout the food chain (8). The constant saturation of our
countryside with poisons has had some unexpected consequences, with
some organisms developing resistance to chemicals, so even more
powerful concoctions have been developed.

This chemical warfare has led to a system completely dependant on
pesticides. About 400 different chemicals are available to non-organic
farmers and 4.5 billion litres of pesticides are sprayed on to UK land
every year (9). They not only remain in foodstuffs, but accumulate in
the soil and leach into waterways. Some are carcinogenic, while others
promote allergies, birth defects and various health problems (10).
Water companies spend £120m each year removing pesticides from our
water (11).

Water - The Fountain of Life

Water Eutrophication
The high nitrogen content of fertilisers causes algae to thrive and
has led to algal blooms so toxic that they have killed healthy dogs
who have swum through them. The sheer density of algae can block out
sunlight, denying it to other plants and fish. When the algae dies,
its remains are broken down by bacteria that remove oxygen from the
water in the process and can suffocate most life.

This process is called eutrophication and even the seas are not safe
from it. In 1981, ‘83 and ‘86, large quantities of flatfish were found
dead in the North Sea where this process had led to an 80 per cent
oxygen decrease in bottom waters (12). A ‘dead’ zone in the Gulf of
Mexico of up to 7,700 square miles that can no longer support most
aquatic life is linked to nutrients from farm runoff - including
animal waste. This type of pollution is also believed to be linked to
Pfiesteria outbreaks and massive fish kills in the coastal waters of
North Carolina and Maryland (13). Although Pfiesteria, a
dinoflagellate, normally exists in water in non-toxic forms,
scientists believe excrement in the water triggers it to produce
toxins. These stun fish, make them lethargic, and break down the skin
tissue - opening lesions and bleeding sores (14). There are now 150 of
these ‘dead zones’ worldwide, and the United Nations Environment
Programme believes they will soon damage fish stocks even more than
overfishing (15).

Farming was the largest source of eutrophication in the UK between
1989 - 1997 with up to 3000 different freshwater bodies affected by
algal blooms (16).

Bio-accumulation
The chemical cocktail sprayed on agricultural land is accumulating and
contaminating reservoirs, rivers, lakes and ponds, and its residues
can be found throughout the food chain. Just as with heavy metals,
these residues are increasingly concentrated the higher up the food
chain you go by a process of bio-accumulation. Chemicals present in
waterways are absorbed by microorganisms. Aquatic life feeds on huge
quantities of these organisms, which are then eaten by fish and the
residues they contain are stored in their fatty tissues.

Fish is used as fertiliser or eaten by humans, and the residues
continue to concentrate up the food chain - and the higher you go, the
larger the dose of toxins you receive. A similar process takes place
with livestock, who consume vast quantities of residue-containing
food. It is particularly marked in meat and dairy products, which can
contain 14 times more contaminants than plant foods. The way to reduce
your level of ingestion of these chemicals is to choose your diet from
low down the food chain - from plants - preferably organic plants.

Nitrogen pollution
The amount of nitrogen used as fertiliser globally is 120 million
tonnes a year, much of which cannot be absorbed by the crops (17). The
excess nitrogen leaches from the soil into underground reservoirs -
the source of much of our water supply. Nitrogen in drinking water is
associated with ‘blue baby syndrome’ - a potentially fatal destruction
of the red blood cells in new-born children (18).

Nitrogen can also transform into nitrites, which can combine with
proteins in food to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic - cancer
promoting. Millions of pounds are spent by water companies in the UK
to treat the water in order to bring the nitrate levels down to a
legally acceptable level; this cost is of course passed on to us the
customer.

Manure
There is obviously a simple equation - the more animals, the more
manure. Both have increased so dramatically it is estimated that the
US cattle herd alone produces 253,924 pounds of manure a second (19).
While in the UK it has been estimated that the country’s 3 million
dairy cows could produce up to 62 billion litres of excreta a year
(20).

Waste from intensive farming also poses an environmental threat. A lot
of manure is stored with water as slurry. This toxic liquid is 100
times more polluting than human sewage and it frequently leaks into
rivers and streams where it can exterminate all life.
In 1997, the waste from livestock was 130 times as much as from humans
in the US (21). Worldwide, livestock produce 13 billion tones of waste
a year (22). Ammonia emissions from manure can settle on plants and
soil, resulting in toxicity and biodiversity loss; spreading manure on
land can lead to nitrates in groundwater, posing health hazards;
manure can accumulate heavy metals, contaminate crops and increase
health risks (23). More than 40 diseases can be transferred to humans
through manure (24).

Acid Rain
Stored slurry contains large amounts of ammonia, which becomes a
breeding ground for bacteria. Their action creates acid, which
evaporates, and then combines with nitrous oxide from fertilisers and
industrial pollution to form acid rain. Acid rain is extremely
destructive and sours soil, destroys forests and renders once prolific
waters lifeless. After the burning of fossil fuels, animal manure is
the second biggest cause of acid rain.

Water, wheat and beef
All farming needs water. But the amount of water needed to produce a
pound of beef is far greater than that required for a pound of wheat.
Amount of water required to produce 2.2 pounds of wheat:

2,113 pints (1kg of wheat: 1,000 litres)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of water required to produce 2.2 pounds of beef:

211,000 pints (1kg of beef: 100,000 litres)
Water usage
Earth is two-thirds water, and only 0.06 per cent of this is fresh
water and even less of this is available as drinking water.

Animal agriculture uses huge amounts of water, energy and chemicals,
often with little regard for the long-term adverse effects. Between
1960 and 2000 worldwide usage of water doubled (25). Agriculture uses
70 per cent of all water, while in many developing countries the
figure is as high as 85 to 95 per cent (26). Many irrigation systems
are pumping water from underground reservoirs much faster than they
can ever be recharged.

The production of meat is an inefficient use of such a vital limited
resource. It takes 1000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of
wheat, yet it takes 100,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of
beef (27). The University of California studied water use in their
state, where most agricultural land is irrigated, and said it uses
between 20 to 30 gallons of water to produce vegetables such as
tomatoes, potatoes and carrots to create an edible pound of food. It
takes 441 gallons of water to make a pound of beef (28).

Fresh water, once a seemingly abundant resource, is now becoming
scarce in many regions and that poses a real threat to the stability
of the world. Numerous countries are in dispute over water supplies,
and the seeds of future wars are clearly beginning to germinate.

Top soil
Top soil is the fertile upper layer of soil without which almost
nothing will grow. It is essential for life and yet it is being eroded
at an alarming rate through over-use and denaturing due to the
excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides.

The US has lost half of its top soil since 1960, and continues losing
top soil 17 times faster than nature can create it (29). Its structure
has been so distorted that wind and water can simply carry it away
(30). With luck, top soil is replenished at a rate of 2.5 centimetres
every 100 years.

Some 85 per cent of top soil loss is attributed to livestock rearing
(31). Around the world, top soil is being eroded at rates 16 to 300
times faster than it can regenerate (32). Globally it estimated that
24 billion metric tons of fertile soil is lost each year, an amount
equal to the entire agricultural land area of the US (33).


Energy

Intensive farming requires large amounts of energy: fuel to run huge
combine harvesters, tractors and other machinery; energy to produce
and transport pesticides and fertilisers; and fuel to refrigerate and
transport perishable produce across the country and around the world.
Fossil fuels are required throughout this process and their use
contributes to ozone depletion and global warming.

Inefficiency of Meat

Animals use the energy they gain from food to move around, breathe,
grow, keep warm and perform all their bodily functions - just as we
do. Only six per cent of their energy intake ends up being stored in
flesh or milk. For every 16 pounds of high-protein food fed to cattle,
only one pound of meat results. In terms of food energy, it takes 24
calories in the form of grain or soya to produce a single calorie of
beef (34). In fact, the more a cow is milked, the more grain
concentrate she needs (35).

Looked at from a global perspective, livestock production represents
an obscene waste of food and a betrayal of the world’s poor. High
quality food such as wheat and soya, which could feed humans, is being
fed to animals and largely wasted. The amount of feed consumed by the
US beef herd alone would feed the entire populations of India and
China - two billion people. As factory farming is spread to these and
other developing countries, the implication for world food resources
is deeply depressing. As always, it will be the poorest who pay the
price in disease and famine.

A vegetarian - or even better a vegan - diet is capable of feeding the
entire population of the world - and then some (36)!

Global Warming

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are naturally occurring
gases in the atmosphere. They act like the glass of a greenhouse by
trapping the sun’s heat and reflecting it back to earth. This
phenomenon is what makes the world habitable, keeping the atmosphere
about 33ºC/92ºF higher than it would otherwise be. But animal
agriculture adds significantly to global warming. Scientific American
(9/97) reported that growing feed for livestock requires intense use
of synthetic fertiliser, releasing nitrous oxide - a far stronger
greenhouse gas than CO2. Producing feed and heating buildings that
house animals uses fossil fuels, emitting CO2; decomposition of liquid
manure releases larger amounts of methane into the atmosphere as well
as forming nitrous oxide (37).

Better out than in? Maybe not. More cattle also means more belching
and this is now the second largest contributor to global warming after
fossil fuel burning. Worldwide, livestock accounts for 16 per cent of
all global warming emissions of methane (38). Methane is 20 times more
effective at warming the globe than CO2, which it joins above the
earth (39).

The concentration of carbon dioxide, methane or nitrous oxide has,
until now, been determined by a complex interaction between oceans,
forests, soil, ice-caps and clouds. These natural changes have taken
place over millions of years. However, the last few decades have seen
an extraordinary explosion in these three greenhouse gases. The result
has been global warming. All 10 of the hottest years on record have
occurred in the last 15 years.

Warmer weather might sound great to those who live in cold climates,
but such dramatic changes could actually mean disaster. Britain’s
Hadley Centre for Climate Change has predicted dramatic events,
including, for example, flooding. As the polar ice caps melt and the
world’s oceans warm and expand, flooding will be a global problem. The
number of people on coastlines subject to flooding each year will rise
from 5 million at present to 100 million by 2050 and 200 million by
2080. Vast tracts of land, about one third of all agricultural land
and some island countries, will disappear under water permanently as
sea levels rise. Mass migrations of millions of landless people
present a potential environmental and humanitarian disaster as well as
threatening serious conflict.

Another 30 million people will be hungry in 50 years because large
parts of Africa will become too dry to grow crops. An extra 170
million people will live in countries with extreme water shortages.

Malaria, one of the world’s most dreaded diseases, will threaten much
larger areas of the planet (40).

The tundra regions of the world contain within their frozen soil an
incalculable amount of methane. As the soil defrosts with increasing
temperatures, billions of tons of gas may be released to add to the
global warming. The more the earth warms, the more gas will be
released. This is called positive feedback and could mean that the
greenhouse effect becomes unstoppable with unknown consequences.


Felled Forests

Rainforests are vitally important to life on Earth. They are
invaluable in storing large reserves of CO2. Slash and burn eradicates
all growth and unlocks centuries worth of stored CO2 in only minutes
when the wood is burned. The released gas floats upwards and
contributes to global warming. Tropical deforestation is responsible
for approximately 20 per cent of total human-caused carbon dioxide
emissions each year (44).

Every year between 70,000 and 170,000 square kilometers of tropical
forests fall to chain saws, machetes, bulldozers and flames - that is
the equivalent of 21-50 football fields per minute (45). Rainforests
are chopped down initially for the large trees, which are used for
timber. The rich tapestry of saplings, seedlings, shrubs, bushes,
plants and smaller trees are cut to the ground and burned - as are
many of the creatures who depend upon them. The barren land which
results from slash and burn is largely used as grazing or growing feed
for livestock cattle (46). In 1996, the US imported 4.2 per cent of
our 2.07 billion pounds of imported beef from Brazil; that’s over 80
million pounds of beef (47).

One of the most affected areas is Costa Rica, which was once almost
entirely clad in trees. In the last 20 years, nearly 80 per cent of
its forests have been cut. Just one hamburger made from Costa Rican
beef is estimated to cost the life of a large tree, 50 saplings and
seedlings of some 20-30 different species, hundreds of species of
insects and a huge diversity of mosses, fungi and micro-organisms
(48).

When given an economic value it has been estimated that sustainably
harvested for fruits and latex one hectare of the Peruvian Amazon
rainforest is worth £3,762. The same area of land is worth only £551
as clearcut timber and a paltry £81 as pasture (49).

There is much talk about planting more trees to replace those cut but
it is only a partial answer. Rainforests developed over thousands of
years and constitute the richest, oldest, most productive and most
complex ecosystems on Earth. If deforestation continues at current
rates, scientists estimate nearly all tropical rainforest ecosystems
will be destroyed by the year 2030 (41). Old growth forest is
characterised by stands of large old trees which contain large amounts
of carbon, provide habitat for many species, protect soils and
conserve nutrients, and have substantial recreational, spiritual and
aesthetic value (42). They also are a source of high-value timber; 80
per cent of old growth forests have been destroyed globally and less
than 5 per cent remain in the US (43).

As well as the impact on animals, insects, plants and birds, around
the world approximately 60 million people live in forests and depend
on them for subsistence. For these indigenous peoples the forests are
their homes, a source of survival and spirituality, and their culture.
The security of their communities rests with the security of the
forests, and so their deep knowledge of them works to protect and
sustain them; however with the current rate of deforestation and
little protection for such peoples the future looks uncertain. They
already face the erosion of their traditional rights of access and
use, displacement of their homes, threats to their livelihood,
disregard and ignorance of their property, traditions, values, and
persecution from authorities. These pressures are expected to
intensify as the demands on forests increased (50).

It is not just rainforest that has been lost. Habitats all around the
world have been adversely affected by agriculture. In the UK, more
than 95 per cent of original woodlands have been destroyed - most of
that land is now used to graze or grow feed for farmed animals.
Britain once a beautiful and varied landscape has become a monoculture
of grains.

Desertification
According to the United Nations, deserts are growing at the rate of
193,192 square kilometres every year - an area the size of England and
Scotland (51). This decline of once fertile soil into desert land is
called desertification, and affects over one-quarter of the world’s
land area (52). One of the major contributors to the process is cattle
ranching and the grazing of other livestock such as sheep, camels and
goats on the margins of existing deserts.

Forty per cent of global agricultural land has been degraded in the
last century from problems including compaction, nutrient depletion
and pollution (53). Ex-rainforest land is particularly prone to
deterioration as the soil is comparatively thin. It has adapted over
thousands years to support the forest with its network of roots, and
these in turn hold the soil together. The effect of cattle grazing,
with their heavy bodies and hard hooves, is to compact the soil, break
down its structure and reduce its fertility. The loss of trees also
leads to a reduction in water vapour, which prompts climate change and
reduces rainfall levels. The eventual end result of these different
factors is desert. Unfortunately, when the soil becomes dry, lifeless
and unsuitable for cattle, the ranchers move on and start the process
again somewhere else.

The most effective way of slowing down desertification is to reduce
overgrazing, deforestation and destructive forms of planting and
irrigation (54). It is widely acknowledged by many organisations that
intensive farming practices are unsustainable and environmentally
damaging. The WWF recommend in their Living Planet 2000 report that
people reduce their intake of dairy and meat products in order to
reduce grazing pressure on land (55).

Species Loss
The scale of deforestation means that thousands of species, possibly
millions, are losing their habitat at an accelerating rate. The richly
abundant and often unique flora and fauna of the forests are
disappearing. Every hour, a further three plant or animal species
become extinct (56). It is estimated that at least one half of the
world’s species live in the rainforests.

Many rainforest plants have valuable medicinal properties and contain
the only known cure for certain diseases. They are used to treat
cancer, strokes, heart disease and many other illnesses. By wiping out
the rainforests we are possibly destroying an abundant supply of new
drugs capable of curing major diseases. Many of the species being
destroyed are unknown to humankind.

Wildlife
Furthermore, most wildlife is seen as competition to farmers. Many
species are not only killed by pesticides and the purposeful
destruction of habitats such as woodlands, marshlands and ponds, but
are also shot, hunted or trapped. In the UK, foxes, rabbits, badgers
and increasingly once again wild boar are considered a threat to the
farmer’s income. In the USA each year the federal government hunters
and trappers kill about 100,000 coyotes, bobcats, feral pigs and
mountain lions. They are shot from aeroplanes, caught in steel-jaw
leghold traps or neck nooses, or poisoned with cyanide (57). This
number does not include the many animals mistakenly caught in traps or
the animals killed by the landowners themselves.


Fishing

Total fishery production in 2001 was reported to be 130.2 million
tonnes, of which 37.9 million tonnes was from aquaculture (58). As the
consumption of seafood increases so does the global concern for the
health of the oceans and its inhabitants - as well as the other
effects of the industry. Countless birds and other animals suffer and
die from injuries caused by swallowing or becoming entangled in
discarded fishing hooks, monofilament line, and lead weights (59).

Commercial fishing of the oceans has decimated both fish stocks and
the aquatic environment. Herring, cod, hake, redfish and mackerel are
the fish species that are most commonly exploited commercially across
the world - some of which are close to becoming extinct as a result of
overfishing. There are several methods used for commercial fishing:

Trawling
Trawlers, some the size of football fields (60), work non-stop across
the oceans’ fishing grounds, backwards and forwards in a never-ending
process. They scoop up huge quantities of fish and destroy the sea
bed, where 500,000 - 100 million creatures are estimated to live (61).
Nets like huge tapering bags are used, the mouths of which can be 224
ft wide - large enough to hold 12 Boeing 747 aeroplanes! (62) Their
entrances are kept open by huge, metal-bound trawl (otter) boards that
can weigh tons. They are dragged across the ocean floor and crush and
grind to destruction anything in their path.

A variant is the beam trawl, where a long metal beam is fixed to the
underside of the net’s opening. Floatation devices keep the mouth of
the net open and dangling from the beam are ‘tickler’ chains, which
drag along the bottom forcing almost every creature from its hiding
place into the mouth of the net.

Between 60 and 80 million tons of fish are caught from the seas of the
world each year by trawling. The total for all methods is about 100
million tons. Fish that are too small, non-target species or species
with no commercial value are discarded. This can include almost every
creature from the sea or sea bed - sea urchins, brittle stars, crabs,
dolphins, seals and sea-birds.

As shrimp nets are dragged through the water, they catch every living
creature in their path - trapping both shrimp and unwanted fish and
sea turtles. Sea turtles caught in shrimp nets are held under water
until they drown. Thousands of endangered sea turtles are killed in
this way every year (63).

The ecological balance of oceans is disturbed when the catch rate
exceeds the natural reproduction rate. This is overfishing. The Food
and Agriculture Organisation report that 11 of the world’s 15 most
important fishing areas are in decline and 60 per cent of the major
fish species are now either fully or overexploited. Between 30 and 40
per cent of the biomass of exploited fish species are removed from the
North Sea each year (64).

Drift Netting
Drift nets hang like curtains from the surface of the sea. Constructed
from thin but strong monofilament nylon, they are virtually invisible
to all sea life. They can be up to an incredible 30 miles long. The
target fish are often tuna, but as dolphins tend to congregate where
tuna swim, they too die in large numbers. Rays, sharks, sea birds and
small whales all become entangled in these ghostly nets.

It is not uncommon for nets to become detached in rough weather and
float away to kill large numbers of animals and birds. When weighed
down with dead bodies they sink to the bottom, but once the carcasses
have rotted, they float back to the surface and continue their
destruction. Thousands of dolphins, porpoises, small whales, sea
lions, and walruses are killed by drift nets each year (65). After
years of campaigning, drift nets were banned by the EU from January 1
2002 in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Sadly, the Baltic Sea was
exempted after lobbying by Denmark, Sweden and Finland who continue to
use this destructive fishing technique with their 350 vessels.

Purse Seine Netting
A purse seine net is suspended from the surface, the bottom of it many
fathoms below the surface. The boat pays out the net in a complete
circle so the effect is like that of a tube of netting hanging down,
surrounding the target shoal of fish. A kind of drawstring at the
bottom of the net is pulled tight so the net represents a purse with
an open top but a closed bottom. The top is then also closed and the
net hauled inboard. Tuna are the main target, but again, dolphins also
get trapped and drown.

Wildlife & Fishing
Many birds, including razor-bills, cormorants, and puffins, feed
mainly on sand eels, sprats and small herrings, all of which are
heavily exploited by fishermen. In 1994, overfishing in the North Sea
was believed to have caused about 100,000 birds to starve, and the
problem seems to be worsening (66).

Commercial fishermen often blame the low numbers of fish on local
wildlife and demand culling to solve the problem. As a result, seals
have been killed in their thousands - 51,000 in Russia and in 2004
over 300,000 in Canada, and there are similar demands being made in
Britain. In February 1999, a proposal was presented to the US Congress
by the National Marine Fisheries Service to allow fishermen and
‘resource’ managers to shoot Pacific harbour seals and California sea
lions along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington to protect
the dwindling stocks of salmon and steelhead, and to reduce
competition for fish between these pinnipeds and humans (67).

Fish - a healthy option?
The flesh of fish often stores dangerous contaminants, such as PCB’s,
suspected of causing cancer, nervous systems disorders, and foetal
damage; dioxins, also linked to cancer; radioactive materials like
strontium 90; and such toxic metals as cadmium, mercury, lead, and
arsenic, which can cause health problems ranging from kidney damage
and mental retardation to cancer (68). (See the VVF Fishing for Facts
report at www.vegetarian.org.uk)

Fish Farming

Overfishing and the subsequent collapse of many commercial fisheries
has led to an increase in fish farming. The growth of the number of
fish farms has adversely affected wild fish populations. Numerous fish
farms are based in coastal regions of the world. In the Scottish
lochs, where many of the UK’s fish farms are found, there is a slow
exchange rate of water, lochs containing fish farms tend to have
unnaturally higher nutrient levels and eutrophic conditions which
inevitably lead to more frequent algal blooms (69).

There has been a dramatic rise in the amount of factory farmed salmon
produced in Scotland. There are 340 salmon farms in Scotland; in 1980
the amount of salmon produced was 800 tonnes, in 2002 it was 145,609
tonnes (70). Salmon are carnivorous and a large proportion of the
oceanic catch is caught to feed them; it takes five tons of fish
caught from the sea to produce one ton of factory farmed salmon (71).
Inland factory-farmed fish are kept in shallow concrete troughs. The
intensive crowding - as many as five fish per square foot - spreads
infection and parasites, so factory fish farmers use antibiotics and
growth hormones to get more fish fatter faster (72).

Parasites commonly found on factory farmed fish are also infecting
wild populations - wild fish would never come into contact with more
than a few lice during their lifetime. Increasing numbers of fish
farms has led to greater numbers of lice in waters, which effectively
eat fish alive.

Salmon also often escape from their farms - in the past five years
over one million escaped from Scotland - and interbreed with wild
salmon and hybridise with brown trout. This ‘genetic pollution’
decreases the fitness level of the wild fish and threatens them with
extinction (73).

Besides antibiotics, growth-promoting drugs and disinfectants, other
chemicals used in fish farming include artificial colourings. In the
wild salmon get their pink hue from natural food sources such as algae
and small crustaceans. Farm species rely on the pigment Canthaxanthin
to turn the fish’s flesh from its natural grey to pink (74). The Swiss
company who produce this dye even supply a colour grading chart, the
‘SalmoFan’ - similar to those used when choosing paint - so farmers
can select a flesh colour for their fish. Canthaxanthin is banned as
an additive in food, but fed to fish which are bred to be eaten. It
has been linked to eye defects in children (75) and is banned in the
US because it is believed to be carcinogenic (76).

Wildlife & Fish Farms
As well as altering the natural balance of coastal waters, fish farms
attract fish-eating wildlife. So the fish farmers often try to protect
their stocks by killing the wildlife, including seals, otters,
guillemots, herons, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks.

On March 4, 1998, a federal law took effect that allows fish farmers
in 13 states to kill unlimited numbers of cormorants to protect their
profits. The US Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that 92,000 of these
birds will be killed by fish farmers each year - about 5 to 10 per
cent of the North American population (77). Seabird numbers plummet as
a result of overfishing, while the catch is fed to carnivorous fish
and herbivorous livestock as high protein food.

Pollution
Northern Hemisphere fish farms are commonly found in the same coastal
areas as those polluted by industry, human sewage and agriculture. It
is inevitable that fish will take in some of the toxins and
concentrate them.

Fish farms also cause their own pollution. One ton of farmed trout
produces pollution equal to the untreated sewage of 200-300 people. It
has been estimated that the amount of pollution in Scotland due to the
ammonia input from fish farming is comparable to sewage produced by
9.4 million people (78). Faeces and food pellets are concentrated
around the netted underwater cage, but the bulk accumulates beneath
the cages. This toxic build-up causes de-oxygenation and can adversely
affect local wildlife communities. Eutrophication can occur as the
water is enriched with nitrates, phosphates and nitrogenous waste
products.

Unfortunately, fish farming is now a global phenomenon for expensive
creatures such as prawns and yellow tails. The coastal areas chosen
for the farms are usually mangrove swamps, seen as useless areas ripe
for exploitation. In fact they provide the most productive and
important habitat in the oceans. Ninety per cent of marine fish rely
upon the amazing diversity provided by the mangroves, particularly for
spawning. Over 2,000 species of fish, crustaceans and plants thrive
there.

Mangroves act as buffers, they prevent flooding, stop erosion and are
the nursery of ocean life - and they are being ripped up faster than
anyone can count. Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand,
Ecuador, Panama - clearance is rampant everywhere. The subtropical
regions of the world have lost 70 per cent of all mangrove swamps
since 1960, largely to fish farming. The construction of fish farms
has led to the decline in wild populations of fish and shell fish in
particular. Mangroves are destroyed as more farms are built, however
farms rely upon wild larvae to stock them, but numbers are dwindling
because they are destroying the very habitat from which they
originate. After a few years the farms have to be moved, cutting down
yet more mangroves. Desolation is left behind.

The environment pays a terrible price for that prawn cocktail!

Conclusion

As the world’s resources sink and the environmental problems soar
leading scientists, ecologists and experts are repeatedly calling for
decisive action before it is too late. There is one thing within your
power that will have a huge and immediate impact in protecting our
planet, and that is to change your diet. Stop eating meat and fish
today - and, give up dairy products. Any step you take is important,
and you can immediately begin to remove yourself from the cycle of
exploitation and destruction. Even better, raise your voice in
protest, join with others such as Viva! and actively fight against the
ruthless corporations who will allow greed to destroy the globe.



References
David Brubaker, Ph.D. is Director of the Henry Spira/GRACE Project
on Industrial Animal Production, Center for a Liveable Future, Johns
Hopkins University School of Public Health, USA. He also serves as a
consultant to the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment in
New York City.

Brubaker is a graduate of Temple University, Southern Illinois
University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the
Committee for a Global Water Contract. Brubaker has served an a
consultant to numerous non-governmental organisations. Previously he
was the Executive Vice President of PennAg Industries Association, a
regional agribusiness trade association. He is a former president of
the Agricultural Associations Executive Council, and was a member of
the board of Directors of the American Feed Industry Association.

Long active in the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, he has served as
Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Executive
Council and in many other Bay-related positions. He lives in Lititz,
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.




Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
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http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/feedtheworld.htm

Feed the World

The roots of hunger / The problem today / Breeding animals means
starving people / Where does the animal feed come from? / Who is
hungry? / World Trade / Why are countries in debt? / In the hands of
the rich / Aid / Falling Harvests / The Green Revolution / The
“Livestock Revolution” / The insanity of factory farming /
Malnutrition and obesity / Send a cow / Hippo / Fish Farming / Global
water shortage / GM - the truth / The solution is in our hands /
References

Meat makes the rich ill and the poor hungry by Jeremy Rifkin

When representatives meet at the World Food Summit they supposedly
focus on how to get food into the mouths of nearly one billion people
who are currently undernourished. However, at all the dinners they
attend you can expect to see the consumption of large quantities of
meat. And herein lies the contradiction.

People go hungry because much of arable land is used to grow feed
grain for animals rather than people. In the US, 157 million tons of
cereals, legumes and vegetable protein – all suitable for human
consumption – is fed to livestock to produce just 28 million tons of
animal protein in the form of meat.
In developing countries, using land to create an artificial food chain
has resulted in misery for hundreds of millions of people. An acre of
cereal produces five times more protein than an acre used for meat
production; legumes such as beans, peas and lentils can produce 10
times more protein and, in the case of soya, 30 times more.

Global corporations which supply the seeds, chemicals and cattle and
which control the slaughterhouses, marketing and distribution of beef,
eagerly promote grain-fed livestock. They equate it with a country’s
prestige and climbing the “protein ladder” becomes the mark of
success.

Enlarging their meat supply is the first step for all developing
countries. They start with chicken and egg production and, as their
economies grow, climb the protein ladder to pork, milk, and dairy
products, then to grass-fed beef and finally to grain-fed beef.
Encouraging this process advances the interests of agribusinesses and
two-thirds of the grain exported from the USA goes to feed livestock.
The process really got underway when “green revolution” technology
produced grain surpluses in the 1970s. The UN’s Food and Agricultural
Organisation encouraged it and the USA government linked its food aid
programme to the producing of feed grain and gave low-interest loans
to establish grain-fed poultry operations. Many nations have attempted
to remain high on the protein ladder long after the grain surpluses
disappeared.

Human consequences of the shift from food to feed were dramatically
illustrated during the Ethiopian famine in 1984. While people starved,
Ethiopia was growing linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rapeseed meal
for European livestock. Millions of acres of land in the developing
world are used for this purpose. Tragically, 80 per cent of the
world’s hungry children live in countries with food surpluses which
are fed to animals for consumption by the affluent.

The irony is that millions of consumers in the first world are dying
from diseases of affluence such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes
and cancer, brought on by eating animal products, while the world’s
poor are dying from diseases of poverty. We are long overdue for a
global discussion on how to promote a diversified, high-protein,
vegetarian diet for the human race.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Despite the rich diversity of foods found all over the world, one
third of its population does not have enough to eat. Today, hunger is
a massive problem in many parts of Africa, Asia and South America and
the future is not looking good. The global population is set to rise
from 6.1 billion (2002) to 9.3 billion by 2050 (2) and Worldwatch
reports (3) forecast severe global food shortages leading to famine on
an unprecedented scale.

This misery is partly a direct result of our desire to eat meat.
Children in the developing world starve next to fields of food
destined for export as animal feed, to support the meat-hungry
cultures of the rich world. While millions die, one third of the
world's grain production is fed to farmed animals in rich countries
(4).

If animal farming were to stop and we were to use the land to grow
grain to feed ourselves, we could feed every single person on this
planet. Consuming crops directly - rather than feeding them to animals
and then eating animals - is a far more efficient way to feed the
world. This Viva! Guide looks at why eating meat is a major cause of
world hunger and how vegetarianism can provide a solution.

The roots of hunger
The developing world hasn't always been hungry. Early explorers of the
16th and 17th centuries often returned amazed at the huge amounts of
food they saw there. In parts of Africa, for example, people always
had three harvests in storage and no-one went hungry. The idea of
buying and selling food was unheard of.

The Industrial Revolution changed all that. European countries needed
cheap raw materials such as coal and iron ore that developing
countries had plenty of. Through the process of invasion and
colonisation, Western countries could not only take the raw materials
but claim the land as their own and make the indigenous people pay
taxes or rent. Poor peasants (many of whom had never dealt in money
before) were forced to grow crops such as cotton to sell to their new
masters. Wealthy countries owned the land, all the food that was
produced, and decided the price. After paying taxes, peasants had
little money left to buy this expensive food and often ended up
borrowing money simply to live. This whole process of colonisation
continued right up to the beginning of the last century.

The problem today
Drought and other 'natural' disasters are often wrongly blamed for
causing famines. Local people have always planned for freak acts of
nature and although they may be the trigger that starts a famine, the
underlying cause is the system of modern day neo-colonialism.

The land in poor countries is still largely not owned by the people
who work on it and rents are high. Huge areas are owned by large
companies based in the West. It is common for people to be thrown off
the land, often going to the towns where there is little other work.
About 160,000 people move from rural areas to cities every day (5).
Many migrants are forced to settle in shanty towns and squatter
settlements.

Much of this land is used to grow “cash crops” for export - like
coffee, tobacco and animal feed - rather than to grow food for
indigenous people. Countries agree to grow cash crops in order to pay
off their crippling debts. Fifty-two of the world’s poorest countries
owe the rich world in the region of £213 billion. Annual repayments
total £14 billion - the majority of this from countries where most
people are living on less than one dollar a day (see p7: Why are
countries in debt?). (6)

The sad irony is that the world produces more than enough plant food
to meet the needs of all its six billion people. If people used land
to grow crops to feed themselves, rather than feeding crops to
animals, then there would be enough to provide everyone with the
average of 2360 Kcal (calories) needed for good health (7).

If everyone were to take 25 per cent of their calories from animal
protein then the planet could sustain only three billion people (8).
In simple, brutal terms, if we were all to imitate the average North
American diet, we would only be able to feed half the world’s
population.

Breeding animals means starving people
Breeding animals is an incredibly inefficient way to try and feed the
world's growing population. Yet after food rationing during the second
world war, intensive animal farming was actively encouraged as a way
of ensuring our future “food security”.

Most meat in Western Europe is now produced in factory farms which, as
the name implies, are production lines for animals. To meet the large
demand for meat, billions of animals are kept in cramped, filthy
conditions, often unable to move properly and not allowed fresh air or
even natural light. Unable to feed outdoors naturally, they are fed
grain, oil seeds, soya feed, fish meal and sometimes the remains of
other animals. High quality land is used to grow grains and soya beans
- land that could be used to grow crops for humans.

The grain fed to animals does not convert directly into meat to feed
people. The vast majority is either excreted or used as “fuel” to keep
the animal alive and functioning. For every 10 kilograms of soya
protein fed to America’s cattle only one kilogram is converted to
meat. Almost the entire population of India and China, nearly two
billion people, could be fed on the protein consumed and largely
wasted by the United States’ beef herd (10).

Because of the demand for animal feed, a Western meat-based diet uses
four and a half times more land than is necessary for a vegan diet and
two and a quarter times more than for a vegetarian diet (11). The
Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) recommend that people reduce their
intake of dairy and meat products in order to reduce grazing pressure
on land (12).

Where does the animal feed come from?
The amount of land used to grow animal feed in Western countries is
not enough to meet their own needs and more is imported from
developing countries. Land in some developing countries, like India,
is also used to grow grain for animals who are reared and killed for
export.

Currently farmed animals eat one-third of the world’s cereal
production. In the industrialised world, two-thirds of the
agricultural land produces cereals for animal feed. The EU imports 45
per cent of its oilseeds (soya) and, overall, imports 70 per cent of
its protein for animal feed (1995-6). As the European Commission
admits, ‘Europe’s agriculture is capable of feeding Europe’s people
but not of feeding Europe’s animals’ (4). The EU also imports cattle
feed such as peanuts or soya because it is cheaper than buying animal
feed grown in Europe.

At the height of the Ethiopian famine in 1984-5, Britain imported £1.5
million worth of linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rape seed meal.
Although none of this was fit for humans to eat, good quality farmland
was still being used to grow animal feed for rich countries when it
could have been used to grow food for Ethiopians.
In the United States, farmed animals, mostly cattle, consume almost
twice as much grain as is eaten by the entire US population (13). 70
per cent of all the wheat, corn and other grain produced goes to
feeding animals (14). Over 100 million acres of US agricultural land
is used to grow grain for animals (13) and still more is imported.

In Central and South America, ever-increasing amounts of land are
being used to grow soya beans and grain for export - to be used as
animal feed. In Brazil, 23 per cent of the cultivated land is
currently being used to produced soya beans, of which nearly half are
for export (13). The Oxfam Poverty Report explains that the subsidised
expansion of the EU’s dairy and livestock industry has created a huge
demand for high protein animal feedstuffs and that the demand has in
part been met through the expansion of large-scale, mechanised soya
production in Brazil. Smallholder producers of beans and staple foods
in the southern part of the country have been displaced to make way
for giant soya estates. Soya has now become the country’s major
agricultural export, “however, it is a trading arrangement which had
proved considerably more efficient at feeding European cattle than
with maintaining the livelihoods of poor Brazilians.” (16)

Twenty-five years ago, livestock consumed less than six per cent of
Mexico’s grain. Today, at least one third of the grain produced in the
country is being fed to animals. At the same time, millions of people
living in the country are chronically undernourished (13).

It’s not surprising that the World Health Organisation has called for
a shift away from meat production so that people can consume crops
directly. It says:

“Farming policies that do not require intensive animal production
systems would reduce the world demand for cereals. Use of land could
be reappraised since cereal consumption for direct consumption by the
population is much more efficient and cheaper than dedicating large
areas to growing feed for meat production and dairying. Policies
should be geared to the growing of plant foods and to limiting the
promotion of meat and dairy.” (17)

Governments worldwide have ignored this advice. Instead of promoting
the growing of plant foods for human consumption, they offer subsidy
payments and financial incentives to livestock farmers, thereby
actively encouraging meat production.

Who is hungry?
Around six billion people share the planet, one quarter in the rich
north and three quarters in the poor south. While people in rich
countries diet because they eat too much, many in the developing world
do not have enough food simply to ensure their bodies work properly
and stay alive.

826 million people around the world are seriously undernourished - 792
million people in developing countries and another 34 million in
industrialised countries (18). Two billion people - one third of the
global population - lack food security, defined by the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as a “state of affairs where all people
at all times have access to safe and nutritious food to maintain a
healthy and active life.” (5)

Today, some 12 million children die annually of nutrition-related
diseases. The Food and Agriculture Organisation says, “Doubtless, far
more are chronically ill.” (19)

There are more chronically hungry people in Asia and the Pacific, but
the depth of hunger is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa. In 46 per cent
of countries there, the undernourished have an average deficit of more
than 300 kilocalories per day (19). In 1996-98, 28 per cent of the
population on the African continent were chronically undernourished
(192 million people) (20).

Access to food is a basic right, enshrined in a number of human rights
instruments to which states around the world have committed
themselves. At the 1996 World Food Summit, leaders from 185 countries
and the European Community reaffirmed, in the Rome Declaration on Food
Security, “the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious
food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental
right of everyone to be free from hunger.” They pledged to cut the
number of the world’s hungry people in half by 2015 (21) .

The FAO says that, “eradicating hunger is not merely a lofty ideal”
(21). Yet it makes no sense for states to acknowledge the right of
each individual to food whilst promoting diets based around animal
protein. Starvation does not occur because of a world food shortage.
If everyone ate a vegetarian, or better still, a vegan diet there
would be enough food for everyone. The only sane way forward is to
grow food for humans rather than to feed it to farmed animals.

World Trade
A report, The European Meat Industry in the 1990s, explains the
obscene paradox of global food distribution: “World trade relations
are dominated by low-priced animal feed and meat. Low prices on animal
feeds affect farmers in poor countries producing cash crops [ie animal
feed crops for export]. Partly due to the use of imported feed, the
rich countries today have a large surplus of meat while more and more
people in less developed countries tend to be undernourished” (22).

Current trade agreements, like the Agreement on Agriculture under the
World Trade Organisation (WTO), permit Western farmers to sell
subsidised grain and other commodity surpluses cheaply in developing
nations. This undercuts local farmers and forces many off the land.
The Worldwatch Institute states, “In most cases, any benefits of this
cheap food to the urban poor are likely to be transitory, as the
destablization of the rural economy encourages migration to job-scarce
cities, thereby increasing the ranks of impoverished city dwellers
while harming urban agriculture programmes” (23).

Dependence on foreign markets for food also means that the importing
countries are vulnerable to price fluctuations and currency
devaluations that can increase the price of food substantially (23).

Why are countries in debt?
During the 1970s, developing countries were lent money by developed
countries for a range of projects, including infrastructure
development (e.g. dams and roads), industrialisation and technology.
The World Development Movement (WDM) states, “Often the projects
turned out to be unproductive.” The loans were either multilateral
(i.e. the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund lending to
one government) or bilateral (i.e. one government lending to another)
(24).

Then in the 1980s, interest rates rocketed because of the oil crisis,
while at the same time, industrialised countries put high prices on
many agricultural imports so that developing world farmers were not
able to sell their produce (24). Consequently, developing countries
were unable to pay off their loans and they have become increasingly
indebted. These countries are paying back billions of pounds to the
West in interest payments each year.

Often, the loans had conditions attached. When Costa Rica borrowed
money from the World Bank, one of the conditions set was that they had
to cut down rainforest and clear land for cattle grazing to supply
rich countries with cheap beef. The destruction of rainforests is a
disaster not just for its people and wildlife but for the world's
climate (see Viva! Guide 9, Planet on a Plate).

Between 1975 and 1985, thousands of km2 of forest were cleared in
Thailand to grow tapioca to sell to the EU as feed for pigs and
cattle. When beef and pork mountains meant that not as much meat was
being produced, Europe no longer needed tapioca and stopped buying.
This put Thai peasants into huge debt because they had borrowed money
to spend on improving their farms to grow enough to meet demand. As a
consequence, many people sold their children into child labour and
prostitution.

[Next]
Jeremy Rifkin is the author of Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of
the Cattle Culture (Plume, 1992), and The Biotech Century (Victor
Gollancz,1998). He is also the president of the Foundation on Economic
Trends in Washington DC, USA.

Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
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http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/healthiestdietofall.htm
Your Health in Your Hands
The Healthiest Diet of All

Vegetarians are healthier than meat eaters and live years longer than
the general population. No argument, no dispute – these are the simple
facts – although you’d be excused for having doubts if you rely on the
daily press for your health info.

The better health statistics for vegetarians and vegans aren’t
peripheral – a percentage point advantage here or there – but are
really quite profound. The usual argument put forward to explain these
dramatic improvements in health – often by doctors with no nutritional
training or by those with a vested interest in the meat industry – is
that veggies are puritanical, non-drinking, non-smoking, self-denying,
hair-shirt-wearing bores so no wonder they live longer. And who wants
to be like that?

Of course, all good scientific research makes allowances for the
differences in people’s life styles and only compares like with like.
And it is this solid, reputable science that will be quoted throughout
this guide, much of it obtained from the world’s most authoritative
and prestigious health advisory bodies.

Why is diet so important? Well, if you live an average life span of
about 72 years, you will scoff your way through an astonishing 30 tons
of food. It’s the fuel that keeps you going and it’s the nutrients in
food that make you what you are. Your heart beats on them, your
muscles, kidneys and liver depend upon them. Food keeps you warm,
repairs the bits of damage that inevitably occur and it even helps you
think. Pretty important stuff is food – but not just any old food.

If you were to eat the same diet as a cat – loads of meat and dairy
products and no fresh fruit and veg – you would die and probably quite
quickly. Similarly, a cat would be unable to survive on the average
vegetarian diet. The reason for the difference is that after millions
of years of evolution, all animals have adapted to their different
environments. Meat contains no vitamin C so cats have the ability to
manufacture (synthesise) it internally. We, on the other hand, are
higher apes and have evolved to eat fresh fruit and vegetables,
shoots, seeds, nuts and leaves – a diet rich in vitamin C – on a daily
basis. Throughout our evolution there was an abundant supply of
vitamin C in virtually everything we ate so our bodies have never had
to manufacture it.

Those humans who lived in societies that relied heavily on animal
products have paid a very high price for it. The Inuit (sometimes
referred to as Eskimos) traditionally relied almost entirely on meat
and fish, obtaining their vitamin C from mosses in the stomachs of
dead animals. They rarely lived beyond their early 30s. One major
cause of death was bleeding of the brain – cerebral haemorrhage. One
possible cause of this is the thinning of the blood – a well known
property of fish oils (137).

‘But chimps eat meat’, is the usual cry. Chimps’ eating habits have
been closely studied over many years and the amount of meat they eat
is minuscule – about the size of half-a-pea a day, mostly made up of
insects. So little do they eat that their hands and nails, teeth and
digestive tract are those of a strictly vegetarian – vegan – animal.

The genetic difference between a chimp and a human is only just over
one per cent (138). They are our closest living relative, so close
that we share the same haemoglobin (red blood cells). Our digestive
tract, hands and teeth are also very similar. Some people claim our
teeth are those of a carnivore, which is obvious nonsense and a quick
look inside the mouth of a cat or dog will show you why. Our teeth,
with their predominantly flat surfaces, are designed to grind and
crush tough vegetable matter and we are practically incapable of
eating meat unless it’s cooked first. And we haven’t got the canines
of a killer – we’d all look like Dracula if we had! Human teeth are
not designed for holding or killing prey and they certainly couldn’t
bite through the hide of a large animal.

Why does all this matter? Because sensible eating is about
distinguishing between healthy and potentially unhealthy foods – for
us! Take cats, for instance. No matter how much meat they eat, no
matter how fatty it is, their arteries don’t clog up. Ours, on the
other hand, do and the damage can start as young as two or three years
old. The result is high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes
later in life. One in four males and one in six females die from
coronary heart disease – the single most common cause of death. The
risk factors for heart disease are almost all diet related – caused by
animal products. And some people still claim we’re meant to eat meat!

Professor Colin Campbell, of Cornell University, organised a massive
piece of dietary research called the China Health Study (see later) –
one of the most important ever undertaken. When its findings were
published he said: “We’re basically a vegetarian species and should be
eating a wide variety of plant foods and minimising our intake of
animal foods. Animal foods are not really helpful and we need to get
away from eating them.” (1)

The Official Position
The world’s most important health advisory bodies are now in complete
agreement – a balanced vegetarian diet can be one of the healthiest
possible. And it seems the fewer animal products it contains such as
milk and cheese, the healthier it is. In other words, the closer it is
to being vegan, the healthier it becomes. These are some of the health
statements that have been made over the past few years. We will expand
on each of the terms used later in the guide.

1. The British Medical Association
The BMA was one of the first to distil the growing volume of research
on diet and health in its 1986 report (2). It said:
“Vegetarians have lower rates of obesity, coronary heart disease, high
blood pressure, large bowel disorders, cancers and gall stones.
Cholesterol levels tend to be lower in vegetarians.” It went on to say
that when meat eaters change to a vegetarian diet it can actually
lower their cholesterol levels. It concluded by saying that
vegetarians obtain all the minerals they need, that folate levels are
higher and as a consequence it is a diet suitable for infants.

2. The China Health Study
The initial results of this combined Chinese-British-American study,
which began in 1983, were announced in 1989 (3). It was a massive
piece of work which looked at the health and eating habits of 6,500
real people in real life situations. Its conclusions were accurately
summed up in a New York Times headline on 8 May, 1990: “Huge Study of
Diet Indicts Fat and Meat.” In short, it found that the greatest
single influence on the growth of degenerative diseases such as
coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes was the amount of animal
fat and protein eaten – the more you eat, the greater your risk. It
highlighted some extraordinary dietary differences between affluent
and not so affluent societies. For example, Chinese people are long
living yet eat one-third less protein than Americans and only seven
per cent of it comes from animal foods compared to Americans’ 70 per
cent. Past dietary advice would probably have cheered this as a good
thing but the study found the opposite. ‘Animal protein itself raises
the risks of cancer and heart disease.’

These are the two biggest killers in the West but there are others,
such as diabetes, strokes, obesity and high blood pressure which are
clearly associated with the West’s affluent lifestyle. They are
referred to by the general name of degenerative diseases and the China
Health Study found that they increased alarmingly as people changed
from a more simple, predominantly vegetarian or vegan diet, to a
Western diet obsessed with meat and dairy products.

The study also found that the West’s preoccupation with promoting meat
as the best source of iron was wrong. The Chinese diet was
predominantly vegetarian and yet adults consumed twice as much iron as
an American adult. The Chinese diet also contained three times more
fibre than a US diet but there was no evidence that these high levels
interfered with absorption of iron or other essential minerals.

The conclusions were unequivocal – that a plant-based diet is more
likely to promote good health and reduce the risk of degenerative
diseases.

3. The World Health Organisation (WHO)
Next came an even more detailed report from the WHO in 1991. It was
interpreted by the Daily Mail newspaper as a call for the world to go
vegetarian – and that’s precisely what it was (4). It stated
forthrightly that a diet rich in animal products promotes heart
disease, cancer and several other diseases. It confirmed the BMA’s and
China Health Study’s list of degenerative diseases and added others –
diabetes, strokes, osteoporosis and it also flagged up kidney failure
as being related to meat eating.

It said that diets associated with increases in chronic diseases are
those rich in sugar, meat and other animal products, saturated fat and
dietary cholesterol and added: “If such trends continue, the end of
this century will see cardiovascular (heart) disease and cancer
established as major health problems in every country in the world.”
And, of course, its predictions have been proved absolutely correct.

But it went even further and condemned the years of public urgings by
governments to eat animal products. It went on to say that in future:
“Policies should be geared to the growing of plant foods, including
vegetables and fruits, and to limiting the promotion of fat containing
products.” If anything, the opposite has happened.

The large quantities of cheap meat, which have adversely affected
health, are only available because of intensive farming and the WHO
also had plenty to say about that:

“Farming policies that do not rely on intensive animal production
systems would reduce the world demand for cereals. Use of land could
be reappraised since cereal consumption by the population is much more
efficient and cheaper than dedicating large areas to growing feed for
meat production and dairying.” That advice has also been ignored.

In fact, as development takes place in previously undeveloped
countries there is a shift towards a more affluent diet, the report
says. As a consequence, there is a dramatic increase in the incidence
of diet related diseases. April 2003 saw the long awaited publication
of the update to this 1991 WHO report. Analysis of the 2003 version
reveals that it takes the same overall view as the previous report. It
shows that the worldwide dietary trend towards high saturated fat and
refined carbohydrate foods, together with sedentary lifestyles are the
principal causes of degenerative diseases like heart disease and
obesity.

However, the championing of plant-based diets as the way forward for
health – which dominated the first report – has been much watered
down. It is now common knowledge that the food industry has
infiltrated the WHO since its 1991 report. It would be naïve not to
suspect that the meat and dairy industry, which exerts such enormous
political and economical clout, has not also been at work behind the
scenes of this 2003 WHO report (10).

4. The Oxford Vegetarian Study
In 1994, an interim report was issued by Oxford University scientists
working on another huge piece of research, commonly known as the
Oxford Vegetarian Study (5). This 13-year study has collected diet and
health statistics on 11,000 people since 1980. The interim report
confirmed lower rates of cancer and heart disease among vegetarians
but added a new twist – 20 per cent lower premature mortality.

5. The EPIC Study
In 1993 the largest ever study of diet and health was initiated – the
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition – EPIC
for short. More than half a million people have been studied in ten
European countries, including the UK. EPIC is what is known as a
prospective study whereby the diets of recruits are recorded and their
health is tracked over the coming years to try and establish any links
with the foods eaten and subsequent health outcomes. There are two
EPIC centres in the UK, at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
EPIC-Oxford includes a total of 65,500 participants 31,500 of whom do
not consume meat, as well as 2,500 vegans. On-going analysis of the
results from EPIC studies continue to provide insights into what foods
protect health and what foods are harmful to health.

What is clear so far is that non-meat diets tend to reduce blood
pressure levels, reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the incidence of
obesity. Not surprisingly given these reductions in risk factors for
heart disease, vegetarians show lower mortality from heart disease
than comparable meat eaters. EPIC studies have also confirmed the
importance of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as protection
against the risk of an early death (139, 140). Preliminary results on
the link between meat consumption and colorectal cancer suggest that
frequent consumption of red meat like beef, veal, pork and lamb is
associated with a 20-40% increase in colorectal cancer risk (36).

6. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
In 1995 the PCRM – a highly-respected US body which numbers the late
Dr Benjamin Spock and William Roberts, editor of the American Journal
of Cardiology, among its 5,000 doctors and scientists – issued a
report to the US Government (6). It confirmed the lower rate of
disease amongst vegetarians and urged the government to recommend a
vegetarian diet to US citizens. Until then, the US Dietary Guidelines
had never made any mention of vegetarianism. The following year they
did so for the first time and the section began:

“…vegetarians enjoy excellent health: Vegetarian diets are consistent
with the Dietary Guidelines and can meet the Recommended Daily
Allowances for nutrients. Protein is not limited in vegetarian diets
...” (7).

The PCRM report reviewed over 100 pieces of published work from across
the world and was in no doubt about what we should be eating: “The
scientific literature clearly supports the use of vegetables, fruits,
legumes (peas, beans, chick peas – pulses) and grains as staples.
Meats, dairy products and added vegetable oils should be considered
optional.” It was another clear and unequivocal statement, backed by
unimpeachable science, that humans do not need to eat meat and are
healthier for not doing so.

7. American Dietetic Association (ADA)
The ADA is probably one of the most respected health bodies in the
world and in its most recent report on vegetarianism, has thrown its
weight firmly behind meat-free diets, saying they are effective in
avoiding or even curing some of the world’s most deadly diseases.
Heart disease, strokes, some cancers and diabetes can all be largely
prevented by prescribing a vegetarian diet, they say.

The ADA spells out the reason for this by saying that vegetarian diets
offer disease protection benefits because of their lower saturated fat
and cholesterol content as well as their higher fibre intakes. The ADA
also make clear the fact that vegetarian diets can provide all the
vitamins, minerals, protein and energy the body needs and provide for
all stages of the life cycle including pregnancy and infancy (8).

Growing Body of Scientific Evidence – Green Light to Veggie Diets!
The combined conclusions of this huge volume of research from these
different sources is overwhelming. Vegetarian diets are the healthiest
possible and the most natural for the human race. So why isn’t the
fact more widely known? Government silence on the subject speaks
volumes for the power and advertising spend of the meat industry and
the Government’s cowardice. It is terrified to tackle the vested
interests of a huge industry, just as for decades it was terrified to
tackle the tobacco industry effectively. You, of course, don’t need
anyone’s permission to change your diet.

Coronary Heart Disease
Now the leading cause of death in Europe with Britain at the top of
the league table. It kills one in four men and one in six women (9).

The heart is a pump which circulates blood around the body and to stay
healthy it needs a generous supply of oxygenated blood, supplied by
the coronary arteries. If any of the coronary arteries become blocked
and the supply is interrupted, permanent damage to the heart can occur
– in fact the affected part can die (myocardial infarction).

In the following weeks this dead muscle is replaced by scar tissue
which, unlike the rest of the heart, can’t contract and the heart
becomes less efficient. If the damage is severe enough it can be
fatal. Heart attacks can be silent and painless or they can be
extremely painful and deadly.

With angina, the artery is narrowed to a degree where it will allow
enough blood to the heart when a person is resting but not enough to
provide sufficient oxygen for physical activity (ischaemic), when it
can result in acute pain (11).

How arteries become blocked is explained in the following sections –
Cholesterol, Clogged Arteries.

Just about every large-scale study of people and their day to day
living (epidemiological studies) have found vegetarians to be
considerably less at risk of heart disease. The percentage by which
the risk drops varies from study to study but many estimate it between
25 and 50 per cent (12, 13, 14). The most recent estimates put a
figure of 25% lower mortality in vegetarians from heart disease (15).

All the main researchers are in agreement, that animal products are
the principal cause of degenerative diseases. What is surprising is
how quickly the health advantages of a plant-based diet disappear once
people start to consume animal products as their national prosperity
grows.

Heart disease and cancers are nearly as great in newly developing
countries as they are in wealthy, developed countries with national
incomes three times higher. Mauritius is a good example. In the 1940s,
only two per cent of the population died from heart disease but by
1980 it had dramatically increased to 45 per cent (WHO).

Despite the astounding nature of these findings and their implication
for the health of the nation – all nations – governments still refuse
to act on them with any real enthusiasm.

There are other factors involved in heart disease so if you wish to
avoid one, as well as changing to a predominantly plant-based diet,
there are other actions you should take. Cut down or cut out alcohol,
stop smoking, cut down on salt (sodium) – which essentially means
cutting down on processed foods – and increase magnesium intake (found
in green vegetables, nuts and whole grains). Exercise is important not
just for the exercise it gives the heart and lungs but because the
lymph system, the bodies self-defence mechanism, works far more
efficiently when the pulse rate is raised. In a statement which should
worry everyone in the West, the WHO says that most coronary heart
disease happens to people in the medium risk category. So, in the
wealthy countries of the world, virtually the whole population can be
considered at risk. Such a situation, they say, begs for mass
intervention designed to protect the entire population rather than
just treating individuals at very high risk. The only way that can be
achieved is through diet. It isn’t happening.

Cholesterol
Not a fat but something called a sterol, cholesterol is manufactured
by the liver and is present in every cell in an animal’s body,
including human animals. Cholesterol is only found in foods of animal
origin – meat, dairy, eggs, fish, shrimps, prawns and shell fish.
Plant foods contain none. As our liver makes all the cholesterol we
need there is no dietary need for cholesterol at all (WHO) and
vegetarians have much lower levels than meat eaters (17, 18, 19, 20).

Cholesterol is a well known risk factor for heart disease and exists
in two forms. So-called bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or
LDL) is dumped on the artery wall, reduces blood flow and causes heart
attacks and strokes. Good cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins or
HDL) is carried to the liver so the body can get rid of it. Around 70
per cent of the UK have been shown to have cholesterol levels above
the recommended levels (21).

Saturated fats, found mainly in animal fats and many processed foods,
raise cholesterol levels in the body. This type of fat is found
principally in the fatty portion of meat, eggs and milk products.

The process through which cholesterol damages arteries is thought to
be caused by oxidation – the action of molecules called free radicals
(see p16). They can only be destroyed by other molecules called
antioxidants (also see p16), found largely in fruit and vegetables.
Taking vitamin supplements and looking for magic cures to counter high
cholesterol levels hasn’t worked. According to Dr Lori Mosca of
Michigan University (and many other researchers): “The best scientific
evidence we have is that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
is protective against heart disease” (24).

In rural China, cholesterol levels are between 2.5 and 4.0 (a
measurement based on milligrams per millilitre) and heart attacks are
almost unknown. In England, it is recommended that people reduce their
levels down to 5.2 even though the level to avoid heart attacks
entirely is 3.9.

Despite this welter of evidence that a vegetarian diet is the best way
to avoid high cholesterol levels and the diseases which go with them,
amazingly the official advice is not to go vegetarian but to switch to
a lower fat diet – avoiding fatty cuts of red meat, favouring white
meat and fish and swapping butter for margarine. Research from the US
shows this advice to be largely ineffective. Cholesterol levels of
people on this ‘official’ diet tend to drop by only about five per
cent while changing to a vegetarian diet reduces levels to a much
greater degree (25, 26, 27, 28).

Homocysteine
Another risk factor for heart disease – homocysteine – has recently
been discovered. Homocysteine (Hcy) is an amino acid (building block
of protein) produced by the body during the breakdown of another amino
acid – methionine. High levels of Hcy have been linked to increased
risk for heart disease and stroke. Ensuring adequate levels of three
key B-vitamins is crucial in lowering Hcy levels. Folate and vitamin
B6 are found abundantly in plant foods and vitamin B12 is found in
many everyday foods fortified with it such as yeast extracts, some
cereals, margarines and soya products.

Clogged Arteries
The official name is atherosclerosis. It can begin in childhood and
starts when certain white blood cells stick to the lining of the
artery. Gradually they make their way through the outer covering of
the artery wall and become established there. Over time they grow and
form what’s called plaques by collecting droplets of fatty substances,
in particular tiny particles of cholesterol (low-density
lipoproteins). The more cholesterol in the blood, the faster the
plaques grow. As they swell they protrude into the artery restricting
the flow of blood.

If the surface of the swelling cracks, a blood clot may form over it
(thrombus) and block the already narrowed artery causing a heart
attack or it may break away and cause a blockage elsewhere
(thrombosis). The fibrous top of the swelling may itself become
detached and be carried away in the blood stream, also causing an
artery blockage (embolism).

As with all heart-related diseases, vegetarians tend to suffer less
than meat eaters and the more meat you eat, the more likely you are to
end up with clogged arteries. It’s a very serious condition but
fortunately, recent research shows that an animal-free diet can
actually heal some of the damage done to the arteries. A low-fat,
vegetarian diet eaten for just a year can actually reverse blockages,
resulting in an improved blood flow (29).

If you still doubt that simple fruit and veg can have such a dramatic
effect, it’s worth listening to William C. Roberts, distinguished
editor-in-chief of the prestigious American Journal of Cardiology:
“Although human beings eat meat we are not natural carnivores. No
matter how much fat carnivores eat they do not develop
atherosclerosis. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing
us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat,
was never intended for human beings who are natural herbivores.” (30).

High Blood Pressure
The scientific term for high blood pressure is hypertension and the
condition is directly linked to heart disease and clogged arteries –
the higher the pressure the greater the risk. Many people don’t even
realise they have high blood pressure – hence the term ‘silent
killer’. In 1997, one in 10 men and women aged 45 to 54 had
hypertension (10).

Blood pressure is measured both when the heart is actually beating
(systolic) and between beats – the resting rate (diastolic) – and
hence is always quoted as two figures; eg, 120:80.

Blood pressure rises as we get older but some people defy this
seemingly inevitable development. Good physical activity, maintaining
a stable weight, low levels of animal fat in the diet and limiting the
amount of salt eaten all have an effect.

But even allowing for all that, the blood pressure of vegetarians does
not increase in the same way as meat eaters – in fact it goes up
little with age. It’s not surprising, then, that a vegetarian diet can
be used to treat high blood pressure (31).

There is an inescapable link with meat and a Californian study as long
ago as 1926 showed this. The blood pressure of vegetarians was raised
by 10 per cent simply by feeding them meat – and it happened in only
two weeks (32).

Other studies have produced similar results and a whole range of
studies have shown vegetarians to have considerably lower blood
pressure than meat eaters (33, 34, 35). It is also the finding of the
WHO and ADA. Perhaps just as importantly, many studies have found that
changing to a vegetarian diet can significantly lower blood pressure
(36, 37, 38, 39). A Swedish study found that blood pressure could not
only be lowered with low fat vegetarian diets but the distressing
symptoms associated with it could be reduced or totally eliminated. At
the end of the trial period it was found that most patients had been
able to give up their medication, 50 per cent felt ‘much better’, 15
per cent felt ‘better’ and 30 per cent felt ‘completely recovered’
(40).

The lower risk to vegetarians is considerable and can be anywhere
between 33-50 per cent and all the evidence shows that it is the
totality of the vegetarian diet that works not any specific
ingredient.

Salt also plays an important part in causing high blood pressure. In
the West we consume about 10 grams of salt a day – one gram naturally
present in plant foods, one gram added when cooking or eating and
eight grams in processed foods.

Strokes
Constant high blood pressure has the ability to weaken blood vessels,
which can eventually rupture and haemorrhage (aneurysm) and this can
kill nerve cells in the brain. Similarly, a blood clot (thrombus) or
the detached fibrous cap of an arterial plaque (embolism) may cause a
blockage in the brain. The outcome can be loss of speech, memory or
movement or, frequently, death. The higher the blood pressure the
higher the risk of strokes and pressures at the top of the range can
increase that risk tenfold (WHO). Obviously, all the advantages of a
vegetarian diet in reducing blood pressure apply equally to reducing
the risk of strokes.

Cancer
There are three separate factors which contribute to causing cancer –
heredity, environmental pollution and diet. It’s difficult to put
percentages on them but diet ranks extremely highly and accounts for
possibly 30-50 per cent of all cancers. One thing is certain, cancer
is very much a Western disease. One half of all cancers in the world
afflict just one-fifth of the population – the fifth that lives in the
industrialised countries (41).

One set of figures which illustrates this is for colon cancer.
Americans are four times more likely to develop it than the Japanese.
But when researchers looked at Japanese people who had moved to the US
they found that their risk of colon cancer shot up to near that of
Americans. The main difference between the two groups was identified
as diet – a traditional Japanese diet being low in animal products
while a typical US diet was extremely high in them. Japanese Americans
tended to adopt the US style of eating once they moved to that country
(42).

One scientific method of looking at diseases such as cancer is to
establish how different foods affect them, both good and bad – those
foods that may cause the disease (positive) and those that may prevent
it (negative). They’re called correlation studies.

One of these studies looked at 37 countries and established a strong
link between meat/meat protein and intestinal cancer, while vegetable
protein was negative – it provided protection (43). Another
correlation study carried out in Israel followed the growth of the
population from 1.17 million to 3.5 million. Over this period, meat
consumption increased dramatically by over 400 per cent and cancers
doubled (44).

Two other studies, one of breast cancer and one of cancer of the
uterus, found similar links between animal protein and fat and
cancers. When complex carbohydrates – starchy vegetable foods – were
considered, the result was negative (protective) (45, 46). In 1981, a
massive study looked at cancer in 41 different countries and found
that diets based on beans, maize and, to some degree, rice were good
at preventing both breast and colon cancer while meat promoted both
(47).

In 1990, the diets of 88,000 women were examined and it became clear
that those who eat beef, pork or lamb as a main dish every day are
two-and-a-half times more likely to develop colon cancer than those
who eat meat only once a month (48). In 1994 came the Oxford
Vegetarian Study (see page 6) and its conclusion that vegetarians have
a 40 per cent less chance of dying from cancer than do meat eaters.
There are many other studies that show vegetarians are less at risk
(49, 50) by between 25 and 50 per cent. The ADA and BMA have both
found that vegetarians are less likely to develop some cancers.

Interestingly, other studies have found that eating increased amounts
of fruit and vegetables contributes to vegetarians’ better chances but
doesn’t fully account for it. In other words, there appears to be
something in meat which actually appears to cause cancer (51, 52).

The WHO has produced a list of dietary pluses and minuses which affect
cancer. Saturated fat, it says, plays a part in breast, colon,
prostate and rectum cancer while fruit and vegetables offer protection
from lung, colon, bladder, rectum, oral cavity, stomach, cervix and
oesophagus cancers. On breast cancer it says there is a direct
association between the numbers who die and the intake of high
quantities of calories and dietary fats such as milk and beef. This
has been confirmed by two very recent studies which have found that
breast cancer risk is increased with the amount of saturated animal
fat in the diet (22, 23).

In a test carried out in the US, researchers investigated the cancer
forming compounds (carcinogens) produced in cooking. All foods when
heated to cooking temperatures produce these agents but some produce
more than others. Researchers compared soya-based burgers, beef
burgers and bacon, which were all cooked until well done. The beef
burger produced 44 times more carcinogens than the soya burger and the
bacon produced 346 times more (53).

Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the mechanism that turns
sugar into energy no longer functions properly. The outcome is that
the body can’t control the amount of sugar in the blood. In virtually
every developing country in the world, diseases associated with
affluence are becoming the new health problem. As processed and
fat-rich animal foods are increasingly seen as desirable, so the
diseases develop. And they follow a pattern according to the WHO. One
of the first to show itself is diabetes, followed several decades
later by heart disease and gallstones, then cancer and finally chronic
disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

A major risk factor is obesity and about 80 per cent of non-insulin
dependent diabetics are obese. People who are moderately overweight
are twice as likely to develop the disease as people of normal weight
(WHO).

In a little over a generation, diabetes mellitus has increased
six-fold and there are factors at work other than obesity – including
heredity. However, heredity wouldn’t account for the fact that almost
all Sumo wrestlers are diabetics – but their weight and
extraordinarily high-fat diet might.

Diabetics can benefit from a high-fibre, vegetarian diet and people
who are already eating this kind diet have a 45 per cent reduced
chance of developing the disease. Heavy meat eaters on the other hand
– those who eat meat six or more times a week – are nearly four times
as likely to develop diabetes (54).

The ADA states that diabetes is much less likely to be a cause of
death in vegetarians than it is in meat eaters and puts it down to
vegetarians’ higher intake of complex carbohydrates (starchy foods)
and the fact that they tend to be lighter. Again, the science is
consistent, that diabetes is up to 90 per cent higher in meat-eating
men and 40 per cent higher in women. Even allowing for the fact that
vegetarians tend to be lighter than meat eaters, they still face less
risk (55, 56, 57).

Diabetes usually begins in middle age and strongly increases the risk
of developing coronary heart disease, kidney failure, eye and
neurological (nerve) damage (WHO). More good news for vegetarians is
that a plant-based diet often eliminates or reduces a diabetic’s need
to take medication and reduces the chance of developing both nerve and
eye (retina) damage (58, 59, 60, 61, 62).

It is estimated that two million people in the UK suffer from the
adult-onset type of diabetes. The WHO estimates that by 2025 there
will be a staggering 300 million sufferers worldwide – another clear
reason for people to adopt a vegetarian diet.

Gallstones
Gallstones are formed when bile becomes saturated with cholesterol –
they are, in fact, composed of cholesterol crystals. They can go
undetected for years but can also lead to serious conditions –
infection, inflammation, colic, peritonitis and even gangrene. They
are much more common in women than in men.

The WHO states that the condition affects meat eaters considerably
more than it does vegetarians. A study of 800 women established that
meat eaters are two-and-a-half to four times more likely to have
gallstones than vegetarians (63).

Obesity
It isn’t just a question of being overweight, obesity is linked with
many diseases, according to the WHO. It is, in fact, the same string
of degenerative conditions associated with meat eating. Obese women
face an increased risk of cancers of the gallbladder, breast and
uterus – in men the cancer risk increases in the prostate and kidneys.
Most worrying of all is when fat is deposited around the abdomen. It
seems that ‘beer guts’ are a bit more serious than simply not looking
good.

Obesity is much less common among vegetarians than it is amongst meat
eaters (64, 65). In fact, vegetarians tend to be approximately 10 per
cent leaner (66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72) and most overweight people
shed pounds when they change to a veggie diet (73, 74), although
doctors still rarely recommend such a course, which speaks volumes
about doctors’ lack of nutritional training.

In Britain, there is now an epidemic of the condition with nearly half
of men and a third of women overweight with about one in five of these
being obese. In 1999, the then health minister Tessa Jowell said:
“There are many reasons why obesity is on the increase, including lack
of understanding of what constitutes a balanced diet, poverty, limited
access to fresh fruit and vegetables and an increasingly sedentary
lifestyle” (75).

Osteoporosis
All kinds of names have been given to this condition, including
widows’ stoop and brittle bones. It is, in fact, the loss of bone mass
– essentially calcium – leading to more fragile bones. It is a very
serious disease and accounts for more deaths – mostly from fractured
hips – than cancers of the cervix, breast and uterus combined (76).

Meat is not a source of calcium so the amount taken in by vegetarians
tends to be similar or greater than in meat eaters. The slogan ‘drink
more milk’ in order to avoid osteoporosis has almost certainly got
more to do with marketing than good dietary advice because preventing
osteoporosis isn’t that simple. Milk contains protein and the more
protein you consume – animal protein – the more your body loses
calcium.

Animal protein produces an acid overload which the body tries to
neutralise by calling on its calcium stores in the bones, which are
then urinated out of the body. (Not surprisingly, vegans urinate less
calcium than meat eaters). The process happens through a complex
series of reactions involving the bodies’ hormonal balance, which is
why osteoporosis is often associated with post- menopausal women when
the hormonal balance is readjusted.

The ideal scenario for calcium consumption
is to have a good intake and minimal loss – although no one is quite
sure what the ideal intake should be. On the intake side, calcium is
found in all green leafy vegetables (the darker the better) and the
amount available from these sources is equal to or better than milk
(77, 78, 79, 80).

Nuts (especially almonds) and seeds (especially sesame seeds) as well
as pulses of all types such as beans, lentils and soya are also good
sources. Of course, these vegetable sources also provide other
important minerals, antioxidants and complex carbohydrates.

Unfortunately, most medical advice concentrates only on the intake
side of the equation and ignores the reasons for calcium loss. These
include salt, caffeine, tobacco, lack of exercise and maybe alcohol as
well as animal protein. Dr. Colin Campbell, of the China Health Study,
says: “Osteoporosis tends to occur in countries where calcium intake
is highest and most of it comes from protein-rich dairy foods” (81).
However, sufficient calcium can be obtained from vegetables (82).

A recent study showed that a trace element called boron plays an
important part in helping to prevent calcium loss. When a group of
menopausal women included it in their diet, calcium losses were cut by
40 per cent (83). The natural sources of boron are not dairy products
but apples, pears, grapes, nuts, leafy vegetables and legumes.

Again it’s not surprising that vegans have lower rates of hip fracture
than meat eaters, despite having lower intakes of calcium (84). This
clearly makes the point that concentrating only on intakes of calcium
is just half the picture. It is like dealing with haemorrhaging by
giving a blood transfusion but without stopping the source of the
bleeding.

Iron Deficiency Anaemia
More nonsensical and inaccurate claims have been made about this
condition than any other. So successful have they been that it has
almost entered the public’s consciousness that to avoid iron
deficiency you must eat meat. It’s simply not true. Vegetarian diets
which include vegetables, legumes, fruits and grains provide all the
iron necessary (85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90).

Iron deficiency is, however, the biggest nutritional problem facing
the world and the WHO estimates that 750 million people have it – most
of them women and most of child-bearing age. The real causes of iron
deficiency are poor iron absorption and blood loss – not just diet
(91).

All the main health advisory bodies – ADA, BMA, WHO, PCRM - agree that
iron deficiency anaemia is no more common in vegetarians than it is
among meat eaters. However, that doesn’t alter the fact that it is a
problem for many women and all should ensure they have good sources of
iron in their diet, particularly during and shortly after their
periods. Iron-rich foods in a vegetarian diet include pulses, dark
green leafy vegetables, wholegrains and dried fruits.

A criticism sometimes levelled at vegetarian diets is that plant-based
iron (non-haem) is poorly absorbed by the body. It may be more slowly
absorbed but studies show that vegetarians have high intakes of iron
and their haemoglobin levels (iron-rich red blood cells) are normal
(92). Plant foods rich in vitamin C help absorption and vegetarians
tend to eat more of these vital fresh fruit and vegetables. Iron
intakes are particularly high in vegetarians and vegans whose staple
food is wholemeal bread (93), so this is another reason for sticking
to whole products rather than eating processed, de-natured,
mass-produced foods.

So misguided have been the concerns over iron deficiency that they
have diverted public attention away from the problems of iron
overload, more common and possibly more dangerous (94). If you have
too much iron in your diet, the body has no way of getting rid of it.
The only control over it is how slowly or quickly it is absorbed from
the intestines into the blood (95, 96).

Haem iron (from meat) is absorbed quickly and easily, whether the body
needs it or not. This encourages iron overload. Non-haem iron (from
plants) is absorbed more slowly (97) and as a result, vegetarians’
stores of iron tend to be lower than meat eaters. Meat-based (haem)
iron has been linked with heart disease (98, 99) and high iron stores
have been linked with some cancers (100, 101, 102) and poor responses
to infection (103, 104).

Protein Deficiency
This is not a problem for vegetarians – in fact we defy you to find a
recorded case among vegetarians anywhere in the western world. If you
don’t starve yourself you will automatically obtain enough protein.

You occasionally still see references to ‘first class’ and ‘second
class’ protein – meat being considered first class and vegetable
sources being second. What it really means is that meat contains all
the necessary amino acids which make up protein while a vegetarian
diet obtains its amino acids from a variety of plant sources.
Vegetarians obtain more than enough of all the amino acids and all the
world’s health advisory bodies agree on this. So forget all the
nonsense about having to eat certain types of foods together
(combining) – it’s totally unnecessary (105). Soya is now considered
as nutritionally equivalent to meat in that it contains all the eight
essential amino acids necessary for health in the one plant food.

The real problem is not too little protein but too much, particularly
for meat eaters. Animal protein is associated with many of the
degenerative diseases while vegetable protein isn’t. Meat protein is
also believed to play an important part in causing osteoporosis and
kidney disease according to the WHO. It goes without saying that diets
which emphasise excessive amounts of animal protein over carbohydrates
are a recipe for disaster as far as health is concerned and should be
avoided at all costs.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency
This is a very important vitamin – made by bacteria in the soil -
essential for the development of blood cells and for nerve function. A
lack of it can lead to collapse of the nervous system and eventually
death. The liver has stores of vitamin B12 for up to three years.
Vegetarians get sufficient B12 from free-range eggs and dairy
products. Vegans are amply supplied by the use of B12-fortified foods
such as soya milk, mock soya meats (TVP), most breakfast cereals,
margarines and yeast extracts eg, Marmite, Vecon and Vegemite.

It is now thought that vitamin B12 from fortified foods is better
absorbed by the body than the vitamin B12 from meat, poultry and fish
(106).

Zinc Deficiency
Vegetarian diets provide enough zinc even though plants tend to
contain less than meat (108). Partly it’s because people on
plant-based diets lose less zinc in their urine (109, 110). Slightly
lower levels of zinc in the blood have been identified in vegetarians
and vegans and may be due to lower absorption, caused by their higher
intake of fibre (111) – but it is unlikely that this has any medical
significance. Studies have consistently failed to show that they are
any less healthy because of it. According to the ADA, zinc levels in
hair, blood and saliva of vegetarians and vegans are all within the
normal range. There is strong evidence that people with low zinc
intake simply adapt to the situation (112).

When researchers talk about ‘normal’ levels, it’s important to
remember that this is an average range in a meat-eating society. In
fact it may well be the vegans who have a normal level and meat eaters
whose levels are too high.

Rickets
A disease in children where softening of the bones is caused by a
deficiency of vitamin D. Humans make vitamin D from the action of
sunlight on the skin. It has been calculated that exposure of hands
and face to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes a day is enough to prevent
rickets (136). The liver then stores the vitamin so ensuring an
adequate source throughout the winter. Many everyday foods are now
fortified with vitamin D – margarines, breakfast cereals and most
brands of soya milk.

Saturated Fats
More accurately, saturated fatty acids and one of their main sources
is animal products! They have a direct and major impact on blood
cholesterol and therefore promote heart disease. Saturated fats have
also been linked with cancers of the colon and breast, according to
the WHO, who state that they contain no essential ingredients and
don’t need to be included in the diet.

Free Radicals
These weren’t discovered until the early 1980s, they’re thought to
play a part in causing some 60 diseases and are capable of wreaking
havoc on healthy cells.

Free radicals are unstable molecules, a product of oxidation and in a
sense the rust of the body. In stable molecules, electrons normally
associate in pairs, providing a balance. Everyday functions such as
simply breathing, digesting food or moving about can remove one
electron from a molecule, creating a free radical. This now unstable
molecule tries to regain an electron by snatching one from another
molecule. When it succeeds, another free radical is created and a
chain reaction is set up in which the DNA, the body’s vital genetic
information, may be damaged.

When the damaged DNA divides to reproduce, it can produce cancer or
other disease-causing cells. As well as bodily functions, cigarette
smoke, pollution, ultraviolet light and stress can create free
radicals but so can cooking - in particular meat. Researchers in the
US cooked beef burgers, bacon and soya-based burgers and found that
both the beef burgers and bacon produced significant amounts of the
most damaging free radicals while the soya burger produced none (116).

The remedy for free radicals are molecules called antioxidants.

Antioxidants
All the world’s health advisory bodies agree that antioxidants are
part of the bodies’ vital self-protection mechanism which actually
defend you against 60 or more diseases, including the big killers of
heart disease and cancer. They were almost unknown until comparatively
recently and knowledge is still growing. The three big saviours are
vitamins – the beta-carotene form of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin
E. None of them is in meat but the number of different plant foods
which contain them is enormous. A recent discovery has added another
powerful antioxidant to the list – flavenol. It, too, is not found in
meat but in predominantly red fruit and vegetables.

Folate
The importance of folate in the diet is beginning to be appreciated,
particularly by pregnant women. Lack of folate has been linked with
serious birth defects but it is also associated with increased levels
of cancer and heart disease. Folate also has an essential role in the
formation of DNA and in manufacturing blood cells and it contributes
to the formation of haem – the iron constituent of haemoglobin. It’s
pretty important stuff!

The major sources of folate are all plant-based and so most
vegetarians have considerably higher intakes than meat eaters (117,
118). In fact, some studies show that only vegetarians and vegans
achieve the recommended daily intake of this vitamin (119).

As explained above folate is one of the three key B-vitamins that is
now known to play a part in lowering levels of homocysteine in the
body – a major risk factor for heart disease.

Fibre
Fibre is the substance that makes up the cell walls of plants and
passes through the body without being digested. It provides the bulk
that ensures food is processed quickly through the bowels and because
of the nature of their diet, vegetarians have a higher fibre intake
than meat eaters.

The fact that fibre speeds waste products through the body reduces the
time that ‘noxious agents’ – possibly cancer forming agents – spend in
the intestines. It also affects the rate at which glucose (sugar) is
released and absorbed and so helps reduce the chance of diabetes.
Fibre also reduces the urge to eat and so it helps with appetite
control – according to the WHO. Not surprisingly, diets high in fibre
give a lower risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Dairy
Cow’s milk is largely made up of animal fats, animal protein and
lactose – none of which are required by the body. Difficulty in
digesting lactose – the sugar found in cow’s milk – is extremely
common right across the World. A staggering 75% of the population
worldwide is thought to be lactose intolerant (107). Most people can
tolerate small quantities but research is being undertaken into its
possible connection with ovarian problems and cataracts (122, 123).

Often the inability to digest cow’s milk goes unnoticed, particularly
in children, but can lead to iron deficiency because of the intestinal
bleeding it can cause (114).

It’s worth remembering that there are about 5,000 species of mammals
in the world and only humans consume milk after weaning – and that of
another species, cows – whose offspring grow four times faster than
human offspring.

Fish
Fish is seemingly promoted as the new penicillin – the magic bullet
for our health that will banish all our ills! All fish, it is claimed,
are healthy but the oily fish like salmon and mackerel are especially
healthy containing as they do the good or omega-3 fats the body can’t
live without. These omega-3 fats certainly help protect the heart but
plant oils, not fish oils, are the true wonder foods here. According
to the UK government’s own surveys, all fish contain toxic poisons
such as mercury, PCBs and dioxins. Irresponsible human activity has
polluted the world’s oceans and fish are literally swimming in a sea
of human waste. To expect healthy food to come from an unhealthy
environment is little short of madness! And over-fishing has virtually
decimated fish stocks worldwide. But what of the claim that fish oils
protect the heart?

Plant oils are twice as effective in lowering the risks of heart
attack in high risk patients than fish oils! Where people are already
eating a heart-friendly diet – one low in saturated fat for example
typical of many vegetarian and vegan diets – adding fish to the diet
will produce no additional benefit to the heart. Seeds, nuts, beans
and their oils are the richest known sources of the essential good
fats we need in the diet. Green vegetables are also a source. Walnuts,
linseed (flax) and rapeseed oil are all exceptionally rich in omega-3
fats and are all easily available in supermarkets and healthfood
shops. (See VVFFishing For Facts report online at
www.vegetarian.org.uk)

Mothers and Babies
Viva! is continually receiving reports of poor medical advice in
pregnancy, particularly from GPs – although fortunately they are
getting less frequent. Often women are told they should eat some meat
during their pregnancy. This poor advice possibly reflects the fact
that most GPs receive almost no nutritional education throughout the
whole of their training nor subsequently.

Fruits, wholegrains, vegetables and legumes provide all the nutrients
necessary for a healthy pregnancy (124). In fact, vegetarian mothers,
very importantly, have reduced levels of contaminants in their breast
milk (125, 126). One of the most worrying of these is the residue from
pesticides.

The ADA has no doubts that vegetarian diets are suitable for every
stage of the lifestyle, including pregnancy and lactation. There is
currently some concern that there may be a link between the proteins
in cow’s milk and other dairy products and diabetes in the foetus and
new born baby. A study in 1993 highlighted that diabetic patients were
50 per cent more likely to have consumed cow’s milk before the age of
three months (115).

All pregnant women and mothers should carefully watch their intake of
iron and vitamin B12, increasing their intake of foods which contain
them – particularly vegan women. Although incidents of vitamin B12
deficiency are comparatively rare, when they are seen it is mostly in
babies. It is therefore vital for vegan mothers to eat a good supply
of B12-fortified foods and if they don’t like those, to take vitamin
B12 supplements. (See Viva!/VVFVegetarian and Vegan Mother & Baby
Guide at www.viva.org.uk)

Children
Something deeply depressing is happening to the diet of our children.
For many, fresh fruit and vegetables are completely alien, fibre is
almost unknown and the consumption of denatured processed foods is a
daily event. We are deep into the burger, chips and sweets culture and
obesity is booming. Effectively, children’s consumption of sugar and
fat – much of it animal fat – is out of control.

Some estimates claim that as many as 40 per cent of all UK children
are eating three times the recommended levels of both. These diets are
far worse than those their parents ate and so the prognosis for future
cases of cancer and heart disease, already at epidemic proportions, is
extremely worrying. The first signs of atherosclerosis have already
been identified in children (120). In this context, the doom-laden
warnings that some journalists give to teenagers about the risks of a
vegetarian diet are nothing short of laughable. Many, if not most,
young people eat an extremely poor diet. Of course, anyone can eat a
poor diet, including vegetarian children, but the science shows that
giving up meat and animal fats is one of the healthiest moves anyone
can make, regardless of their age.

Vegetarian children grow and develop in exactly the way they should
(127, 128) and developmental tests show their mental age to be over a
year in advance of their chronological age (129). There is also
evidence that they enter puberty later, which has been shown to reduce
their risk of developing breast cancer later in life (130, 131).

Studies done in the 1940s, shortly after the war when little meat and
dairy was available, showed that children grow and develop quite
normally on a diet consisting of plenty of bread and vegetables with
minimal amounts of milk and meat (132). In fact, a whole string of
studies have shown that vegetarian and vegan children develop normally
(121, 133).

The BMA considers that a vegetarian diet contains all the necessary
nutrients and is suitable for infants. The ADA agrees that infants,
children and adolescents all grow and develop normally and that
vegetarian diets can be healthy and satisfy all their nutritional
needs. (See VVFVeggie Health for Kids guide for more information on
bringing up children on a vegetarian or vegan diet.)

Conclusions
Virtually the whole of the West’s public education on diet has
encouraged people to consume increasing amounts of animal-based
nutrients – go to work on an egg, drink more milk, slam in the lamb,
lean on pork, etc. We’re now finding that there is not just a minimum
nutrient intake for good health but a maximum. Most of these policies
were formulated in the 1940s and are all about preventing deficiency
diseases. There was little knowledge of the damage that could be
caused by too many nutrients and so these policies are completely out
of touch with modern knowledge and modern living. They’re certainly
not designed to protect people from the over-consumption of meat,
dairy, sugar and fat.

Most affluent countries now show a high risk profile for some of the
world’s biggest killers and intervention on a mass scale is needed to
change dietary patterns and make them healthier, says the WHO.

According to many press reports, you would believe that a vegetarian
diet is a finely balanced and difficult exercise in nutrition which,
if you get it wrong, will result in everything dreadful – from protein
deficiency to death of the first born. Just to show how wrong they
are, a diet of wholemeal bread, margarine, Marmite and oranges would
probably meet all the nutritional requirements of an adult (134). Of
course, vegetarians consume a far wider variety of foods than this.

So what does the WHO believe we should be eating? Fat should be
reduced to 15 per cent of total energy instead of the nearly 40 per
cent it is at present – most of it animal fat. There need be no animal
fats in the diet at all as they are not essential nutrients. Neither
do we need cholesterol.

The bulk of our diet should be complex carbohydrates, starchy foods –
potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, yams, etc. They should account for
between 50 and 70 per cent of all calories. Sugar contributes no
nutrients and can be omitted. Protein should provide between 10-15 per
cent but can readily be met by a varied diet based predominantly on
cereals and pulses.

The key component of a healthy diet is, therefore, starchy
carbohydrate – with as wide a range of fresh fruit, vegetables,
wholegrains, pulses, seeds and nuts as possible – in other words, a
sensible vegetarian diet. There is a welter of evidence, according to
the WHO, that foods rich in starch are really good for health and give
protection against several diseases. They improve the chemistry of the
gut and are a rich source of many minerals and vitamins, including
essential fatty acids, calcium, zinc, iron, and water-soluble vitamins
– all known to have a clear and positive effect on health.

That is a pretty astounding statement from the world’s leading health
advisory body and a clear call to the entire globe to go vegetarian.
It dismisses those who are constantly harping on about vegetarians
having a ‘restricted’ diet. In fact, British vegans and vegetarians
consume a very wide variety of plant foods and their diets tend to
contain a far greater choice than meat eaters’. The use of the word
omnivore to describe meat eaters is therefore a complete misnomer
(135).
There is little doubt that the WHO’s report in 1991 is the most
profound study of diet and health ever undertaken and its
ramifications are enormous. It calls for a complete revision in
agricultural policy to promote fruit and vegetables instead of meat
and to grow cereals instead of meat and dairy. It goes on to say that
its proposed nutritional objectives will have immense implications for
the economics of farming, for government, industrial and social
policies and for inter­national trade and can thus be expected to meet
with considerable opposition. How right they are. Even the WHO’s own
2003 up-date to its 1991 report on diet and health is far less radical
in its call to cut back on animal products and embrace plant-based
diets. The 1991 report can literally be seen as the last piece of
truly independent thinking on diet and health by the WHO. Since this
time it would seem that the mighty food industry has tamed even this
august body. Meanwhile the promotion of unhealthy, disease-causing
foods continues apace.

Make no mistake, you and your diet are being manipulated by the vested
interests of a consumer society which has no real interest in health
but a preoccupation with profit. You don’t have to be part of it and
can start right now by taking responsibility for your own health and
go vegetarian. In the process you will help to bring an end the
obscenity of factory farming, help to diminish the onslaught which is
killing the world’s oceans; you will begin to offer hope to the
world’s starving and the environment will start to recover. It is one
of the most important actions you can take in a world which is in
frighteningly rapid decline, much of it caused by livestock
production, fishing and fish farming. Your health is in your hands!



David Ryde is a GP and a Fellow of the Royal College of General
Practice. He has been vegan for many years and was medical adviser to
several national sports teams, including a First Division football
club.
He served on the Medical Sub-Committee of the British Olympic
Association for several years, is a former chairperson of the
International Table Tennis Medical Committee and was formerly a county
athlete and rugby player. Though now retired, David still writes for
the medical and lay press, and lectures to national medical
organisations.


Tony Wardle is a journalist, writer and TV producer and helped to
found Viva!. He is now its associate director and edits Viva!Life and
Veggiehealth. The first British journalist to win the Hibakusha Travel
Grant, Tony researched the medical, psychological and social
after-effects of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
He authored the book The Battle for Orgreave, which exposed the sham
of the miners’ riot trials and co-authored Presumed Guilty, a damning
indictment of the criminal justice system, with Viva! Trustee and
Patron Michael Mansfield QC. He also co-authored The Silent Ark with
Viva! founder, Juliet Gellatley.

Some of the TV and video programmes that Tony has written and
co-produced have won several ITVA and other British awards, a Royal
Television Society Award, IVCA Silver and Gold Reel awards, Gold and
Bronze medals at the New York Film & TV Festival, and Silver and
Bronze medals at the Prague Ekofest.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Published by Viva! Campaigns Ltd 2004 Edited by Laura Scott MSc
(Nutrition), Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation
Viva!, 8 York Court, Wilder Street,
Bristol BS2 8QH.

T: 0117 944 1000
E: ***@viva.org.uk W: www.viva.org.uk


Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
Ice
2006-07-03 17:31:52 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/vhfk01.html

Veggie Health for Kids

Every nutrient a child needs and how to get it.
A guide for parents showing why vegetarian/vegan diets are the
healthiest option for children.

World turned upside down! / What You Need and Where You Get It / How
Animal Products Affect Children / How Animal Products Affect Adults /
Conclusions

World turned upside down!

Just imagine if you read of a diet that produced these headlines -
Heart disease rates tumble! 30,000 heart patients taken off critical
list - misery lifted for relatives and friends. Top heart surgeon says
most heart ops avoidable. Cancer deaths slump! Millions taken off
‘fatty’ list. Diabetes figures fall for first time. Food poisoning
cases tumble - records no longer worth maintaining.

What diet could it possibly be? That’s easy! The same diet that
children should be eating now so they enjoy good health throughout
their lives - a well-balanced, vegetarian or vegan diet.

If statistics were reversed and 95 per cent of the population became
vegetarian or vegan, and only five per cent ate meat, these headlines
could be accurate. Unbelievable isn’t it? The scientific evidence to
justify them is there in abundance and this guide will show just how
strong it is.

“People stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick
themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”
Sir Winston Churchill.
One thing is certain, research showing that a meat-based diet cuts
cancer or cuts heart disease by a quarter doesn’t exist. It does for
vegetarian/vegan diets. One by one, all the world’s leading health
advisory bodies have confirmed that avoiding animal products is the
way to avoid - or at least greatly reduce - the risk of many diseases,
and that includes the growing threat from obesity.

“ Although human beings eat meat, we are not natural carnivores. No
matter how much fat carnivores eat, they do not develop
atherosclerosis [clogged up arteries]. When we kill animals to eat
them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains
cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings,
who are natural herbivores.”
DR WC ROBERTS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CARDIOLOGY.

So what’s all this got to do with your littl’uns - those fussy eaters,
messy eaters, must-have-chips-with-everything eaters?

Every leading health advisory body is saying the same thing - what you
feed your children today will determine their health in the future.
And it isn’t going to change because the science is now just too
overwhelming.

But fear not! By opening this guide, you’ve already taken the first
step in the right direction. It will take you through the science,
much of which may be new to you. Why? Because of the power of the
vested interests who profit from meat and dairy. If you think I’m
exaggerating, remember the tobacco industry. The damage that smoking
does to human health has been known since the 1950’s but it’s only
recently that serious action has been taken against it.

Dietary Definitions
A vegetarian doesn’t eat red meat, white meat (poultry such as
chicken, duck and turkey), fish or other water life (prawns, lobsters,
crabs, shellfish) or slaughterhouse by-products (gelatine, animal fat,
lard or animal rennet). Most vegetarians are ‘lacto-ovo’, which means
they don’t eat meat or fish but do eat dairy products and eggs. Vegans
don’t eat any animal products at all and exclude meat, fish, dairy,
eggs and honey.

Although excluding things sounds as though we’re restricting our
choices, in fact it’s the opposite. Most meaty diets are based on just
three main food types - meat, dairy and wheat. By giving them
different names we kid ourselves we’re eating a huge variety but we’re
not. Pork, beef, chicken and lamb are in the same food group; cheese,
yoghurt, ice-cream and butter are in the same; and bread, rolls, buns,
baps, crispbread, pasta, pies, pasties, cakes and ‘baked goods’ are in
the same. Whichever way you list them, it’s still just three food
types.

This isn’t the case with fruit and veg. - they are not two food groups
but several different ones. Diets based in part or entirely on plant
foods include hundreds of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and
pulses. Judge vegetarian diets on what is included not what’s excluded
and you’ll see them through different eyes.


What foods should children eat?
Animal products actually promote disease. They are laden with
artery-clogging saturated fats, contain too much protein, have no
fibre, no starchy carbohydrates, no vitamins C, E or beta-carotene
(the precursor to vitamin A). A lack of these antioxidant vitamins,
low fibre, and high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol are risk
factors for some cancers, heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure,
diabetes, obesity and several other diseases. A meat-based lunchbox is
not the healthiest lunch-box by any stretch of the imagination.

A varied, veggie lunch-box based on fresh fruit and vegetables, beans,
grains, nuts and seeds is bursting with all the ingredients known to
be health promoting and health protecting. There’s loads of protein in
vegetables, particularly beans, lentils and pulses. Veggie diets also
contain essential ('good') fats, fibre, minerals and starchy
carbohydrates, antioxidant vitamins and minerals - all that’s needed
to stay fit and healthy.




What Foods do Children Eat?
June 2000 saw the publication of a national diet and nutrition survey
which looked into the eating habits of young people aged 4 to 18 years
in Great Britain. It probably comes as no surprise to most parents but
makes for grim reading nevertheless. Roughly 80 per cent of kids are
guzzling away on white bread, savoury snacks, biscuits, chips and
chocolate confectionery. Roughly 60-75 per cent had not eaten any
citrus fruits or leafy green vegetables during the week of the survey.

The survey finds:

Protein intake considerably too high for all ages.
Sugar and honey intake too high.
Fibre intake well below a healthy level.
A third of children did not have a daily bowel movement.
Over 90 per cent were eating 20 per cent too much saturated fat.
Cholesterol levels high or too high in 10 per cent of children.
One in five older girls grossly deficient in vitamins A and B2.
The disease-busting form of Vitamin A intake (beta-carotene) was zero
for 2 per cent of boys and girls!
Folate levels too low in up to four per cent of all children.
Too much vitamin C came from fruit juice and soft drinks and not fresh
fruit.
Half of all older girls eat diets grossly deficient in iron and
magnesium.
Nine per cent of older girls suffer iron-deficiency anaemia.
Calcium intakes were too low for 11-18 year olds.
Zinc intakes were too low for all ages.
Over half of children consume more than the recommended amount of
salt.
As for physical activity - also important in maintaining healthy body
weight - 40 per cent of boys and 60 per cent of girls had less than
the recommended one hour per day.

About a quarter of all children were unwell on at least one day during
the seven days records were kept. About five per cent had been
diagnosed by their GPs as having food allergies. About twice this
number had undiagnosed yet unpleasant reactions to food.

It’s clear that a large proportion of children are lacking many of the
vital vitamins and minerals needed to help combat disease. They are
eating a diet high in fat, salt and sugar largely due to convenience
foods based on processed meat and dairy products. Fresh fruit and
vegetables - along with energy-rich starchy foods such as unrefined
cereals, breads, pasta and rice - all take a back seat when it comes
to young people's dinner plates, if they appear at all.

Meat and dairy products take centre stage at every meal and, sadly,
children are likely to suffer the consequences in terms of poor health
and a reduced quality of life.

“The emphasis of our meals needs to be reversed; it is plant foods
that should be the focal point of our dinner plate, not meat and dairy
products.”
WORLD CANCER RESEARCH FUND.

The survey also made clear that as children get older they are more
inclined to move towards a vegetarian diet. It seems that some older
children, freer of parental influence, are thinking for themselves and
starting to choose a healthier diet but the majority of children have
a bad diet. The daily pushing of the most unhealthy types of junk
foods on TV and in magazines is making profits for food manufacturers
but is helping to destroy the health of our children.

A recent report from the Cancer Research Campaign paints a similarly
worrying picture. One-in-20 of the 2,635 children questioned (aged
11-16) claimed not to have eaten any vegetables in the previous week,
with one in 17 not eating any fruit. The recommended intake is 35
portions of fruit and vegetables a week yet most children had eaten
fewer than 13 portions. Vegetarian children nearly always eat more
fruit and veg. and a recent study found that vegetarian pre-school
children had a better intake of nutrients than meat-eating children.
They ate less fat overall, less saturated fat, cholesterol and salt
and had higher intakes of ‘good’ nutrients, such as potassium and the
vitamins C, E and beta-carotene.


Protect your child! Even more cancer deaths are thought to be caused
by bad diets than smoking.
Left Unprotected
Imagine finding that your child was smoking! You'd be understandably
horrified - and why? Because it’s now known that smoking is one of the
leading causes of cancer deaths in adults - a staggering 30 per cent.
Less known is that even more cancer deaths - about 35 per cent - are
thought to be caused by diet. What you and your children eat may
determine whether or not you become a future cancer statistic. A child
whose diet is based largely around animal products and is lacking in
fresh fruit and veg. is, quite simply, unprotected.

“Vegetarian diets (offer) a reduced risk for several chronic diseases
including obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes and
some types of cancer… Vegetarians often have lower morbidity and
mortality rates. …Vegetarian diets offer disease protection benefits
because of their lower saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein
content and often higher concentration of folate, antioxidants such as
vitamins C and E, carotinoids and phytochemicals…”
AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION.

Eat veggie - live longer
Many of the ailments we associate with old age are not a result of
getting older but are caused by eating the wrong foods earlier in
life. High blood pressure is a good example - often seen as inevitable
in old people. Yet in countries where a plant-based diet is the norm,
this simply isn ’t the case.

A massive piece of research looked at the diets of 11,000 people over
a period of 13 years and found that vegetarians have a 20 per lower
‘premature’ death rate than meat-eaters. They live longer! And it
shows in lower life assurance premiums!

If we ate only meat and cow’s milk we would die - and pretty quickly.
If we ate only plant foods, we would be likely to live for a very long
time. People on the Japanese island of Okinawa are the longest-lived
and healthiest people in the world, according to a 25-year-long study.
One of the most important factors is their diet - based on
wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and soya products. One of their
favourite foods has been dubbed ‘immortal pate’. It is vegan and based
on tofu (soya bean curd), miso (fermented soya paste), mushrooms and
garlic. It tastes as good as the good it does you!

Lethal Double Whammy
Today's younger generation is facing a potentially lethal,
diet-related double whammy thanks to a diet centered around animal
products.

Today’s disease statistics are alarming and although previous
generations may have had their own problems, rampant heart disease,
obesity and cancer weren’t among them. One reason why these diseases
have become epidemics is likely to be the diets people ate when they
were young - the meat-and-two-veg syndrome.

Even more disturbing is the fact that our children’s diets have got
worse since then. Thirty-odd years ago, fatty junk and convenience
foods weren't around to the same degree. Now, kids are eating the same
amount of meat and dairy their parents did when they were kids PLUS
higher quantities of saturated fat, animal protein, sugar and salt.
Today’s children will almost certainly face even worse health
statistics when they grow up than today’s adults. And kids don’t even
have to ‘grow up’ before they get diseases once only seen in adulthood
- obesity and type II diabetes are now afflicting teenagers.


Veggie Kids are Healthier
A vegetarian diet is very close to the official recommendations for
healthy eating. But is it suitable for children? Of course it is.
After the age of two, children should eat the same kinds of foods as
their parents. Below that age they need more fat than adults. (See
Viva!/VVF Vegetarian and Vegan Mother & Baby Guide for information on
bringing up vegetarian and vegan babies.)

“Appropriately planned vegan and vegetarian diets satisfy nutrient
needs of infants, children and adolescents and promote normal growth.
They are appropriate and healthful choices for adolescents and can
meet the nutrient and energy needs of pregnant women.”
AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION.

There has been a wealth of research and it consistently shows that
vegetarian and vegan children obtain all the protein, energy and
vitamins they need. Fat intake is nearly always lower but adequate
(particularly in vegan children) and intakes of vital vitamins
beta-carotene, C and E as well as fibre, iron and folate are often
higher.

The most recent research comes from the American Dietetic Association
and has the full backing of the American Academy of Paediatrics. It
says that well-planned vegan diets can provide all the nutrients
infants and children need, produces normal growth and may also reduce
the risk of some chronic diseases which show in later life. Their
final point - and it’s an important one - was that because vegan
children eat a wider variety of whole plant foods, it may help to
establish healthy, lifelong eating habits.
Ice
2006-07-03 17:32:57 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/vhfk02.html

Veggie Health for Kids

Every nutrient a child needs and how to get it.
A guide for parents showing why vegetarian/vegan diets are the
healthiest option for children.

World turned upside down! / What You Need and Where You Get It / How
Animal Products Affect Children / How Animal Products Affect Adults /
Conclusions

What You Need and Where You Get It

All diets need to be properly planned - for vegetarians no more and no
less than meat eaters. All the food you eat - fat, carbohydrate,
protein - provides calories. Calories equal energy and so all foods
are referred to by the amount of energy (calories) they provide.
That’s why it’s meaningless when food manufacturers make claims such
as ‘Less than five per cent fat’. That amount of fat probably accounts
for one-third of the calories in the sausages or whatever it is
they’re urging you to buy.

Energy Needs
Recommended total daily calorie intakes:
1-3 yrs 1165-1230
4-6 yrs 1545-1715
7-10 yrs 1740-1970
11-14 yrs 1845-2220
15-18 yrs 2110-2755
Adults 19-49 yrs 1940-2550
Carbohydrates
About 50 per cent of all this energy should come from carbohydrates.
For a girl aged 7-10 years that means 870 calories (about 220 grams
(g) of carbohydrate per day).

Carbohydrates are our main and most important source of energy. There
are three types: 1) fast-releasing, such as table sugar, honey, white
flour, sweets and syrups; 2) slow-releasing complex carbohydrates,
such as wholegrains (oats, bread, rice, pasta, rye); and 3) fibre -
the indigestible part of fruits, vegetables and grains, essential for
the digestive system to work properly.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reckons we should all be eating
far more slow-releasing carbohydrates than we do. A vegetarian diet -
based as it is on carbohydrate-rich plant foods - is the perfect way
of doing that.

Two slices of bread (about 100g) contains 45g carbohydrate; 50g
serving of breakfast cereal 47g; 150g serving of lentils (cooked) 26g.

Fibre
Adults are urged to eat 18g per day yet the average intake is only
about 12g! Fibre is found only in plant foods and not in meat or
dairy, so vegetarians tend to be well supplied. Fruits, vegetables,
pulses and wholegrain bread, pasta, rice and oats provide it in
abundance. Fibre is essential as it helps to prevent constipation,
reduce cholesterol levels, makes us feel full (so helping to avoid
overeating) and evens out blood sugar levels. It may also help to
prevent some types of cancer.

200g can baked beans contains 7.4g fibre; 200g cooked wholewheat pasta
7g; 50g average-sized apple 1g.

Protein
Daily intake - 14.5g (toddlers) to 55g (adults).

About 15 per cent of our energy should come from protein, which is
needed for growth, repairing the body and fighting infection - and
there is more nonsense talked about it than any other nutrient.
Vegetarians get all they need simply by eating a variety of different
foods - and its healthier than meat protein. The bonus for veggies is
that they also get more fibre and far less saturated fat.

Good sources of protein are pulses (beans, lentils), dairy products,
free-range eggs, nuts, seeds, cereals and grains (bread, pasta, rice).
Soya beans - in the form of soya milk, tofu (soya bean curd),
imitation meats and soya sausages - are equivalent to meat in the
amount and type of protein they provide. They also have the advantage
of containing strong antioxidant (disease-busting) properties, are
rich in fibre and phytoestrogens - chemicals that are thought to have
anti-cancer properties - and are high in the essential fats lacking in
many people’s diets. Not only does soya contain no cholesterol it can
actually help lower cholesterol levels in the body!

The large amount of evidence linking soya to good heart health has
even led the US and UK to allow health claims on certain food products
containing soya.

200g (about half a can) baked beans contains 10.4g protein; 200g
cooked pasta 8g; 150g cooked kidney beans 10.4g; 25g almonds (small
packet) 5g; 1 slice bread 4g.


Fat Facts
Fat should make up no more than 30 per cent of your energy intake. Of
this, no more than 10 per cent should be saturated fat, the remainder
being a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (see
definitions below).

Fats are essential for repairing body tissue, carrying some vitamins
around the body and for manufacturing hormones. They also help
lubricate our joints. Fats are either saturated (mainly animal fats)
or unsaturated. You do not need to eat saturated animal fat but you do
need some unsaturated fats - the so-called essential fatty acids or
polyunsaturated fats.

There are two types - omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 fats are found in
dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, some nuts (especially
walnuts), seeds (especially linseed - also called flax) and soya beans
and oils extracted from them. Omega-6 fats are found in seeds such as
sunflower and sesame seeds, corn, some nuts (again walnuts) and soya
beans and their oils. The most common supermarket oils - general
vegetable oil blends - tend to be high in omega-6 fats but very low in
omega-3 fats. Using only these types of oil may mean you miss out on
the vital omega-3 fats.

Walnuts and linseeds are rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
and in the right proportions that the body needs. Essential oils
(especially omega-3 ones) are easily damaged by light or heat so they
should be refrigerated and only used cold as dressings. It’s also best
to refrigerate seeds and nuts for obvious reasons. One to two handfuls
of nuts and seeds or two to four tablespoons of these polyunsaturated
essential oils each day is all you need. Olive oil is a
monounsaturated fat and is great for cooking as it is much less prone
to damage. There’s also good evidence to suggest that olive oil helps
lower cholesterol and may be part of the reason why traditional
Mediterranean diets result in lower rates of heart disease.

And don’t believe the hype surrounding oily fish as a necessary part
of the diet for obtaining important dietary omega-3 fats. Government
surveys have found that all fish contain poisons such as mercury,
dioxins and PCB’s. Research also shows that it is plant oils, not fish
oils, that are most protective of the heart - in fact plant oils give
twice as much protection to the heart than do fish oils! (See also VVF
Fishing for Facts report.)

1 slice of bread contains 1g fat; 220g can baked beans 1g; 25g packet
of almonds 14g fat (most of which are the beneficial types).

Calcium
Daily intake - 350mg (toddlers) to 700mg (adults).


Calcium is vital for healthy bones and teeth - in fact, almost our
entire calcium supply is bound up in just these two areas of the body!
Calcium is also involved in the working of many hormones, blood
clotting, regulation of blood pressure, muscular contractions and the
sending and receiving of electrical nerve impulses. Although dairy
products are well known to be calcium-rich, cow's milk is not
necessarily the best source as it also contains saturated fat but
contains no fibre, iron or vitamins C, E or beta-carotene. And despite
all you read, drinking cow's milk is no guarantee of healthy bones
(see Osteoporosis).

Vegan diets which include regular servings of dark green, leafy
vegetables such as broccoli, kale, watercress and parsley; pulses,
seeds (especially sesame and tahini - sesame seed paste) and nuts
(especially almonds) are unlikely to be calcium deficient. Most soya
milk is fortified with calcium and because it contains no animal
protein, it doesn’t cause calcium to be lost from the body like dairy
and meat do (see Osteoporosis).

When you stop to think about it, drinking the milk of another species
is a very strange thing to do, particularly when no animal has a need
for it after weaning - and that includes humans. We do it out of habit
and because it is heavily promoted. Imagine drinking the milk of your
pet dog or an elephant. Sounds ludicrous - but no more so than
drinking the milk of a cow!

“Ideally the infant should be exclusively fed human milk for the first
year of life...After the first year of life the child requires no milk
of any type. The child, like us adults, can thrive without cow milk
ever crossing his lips.”
FRANK OSKI MD, (1932 - 1996) SPECIALIST IN PAEDIATRIC NUTRITION AND
FORMER DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF PAEDIATRICS, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND PHYSICIAN-IN-CHIEF, THE JOHNS HOPKINS
CHILDREN’S CENTRE.

100g tofu (soya bean curd) contains 510mg calcium; 1 slice white bread
45mg; 100g broccoli 40mg; 25g almonds 60mg; 5g serving tahini (sesame
seed paste) 34mg; 100ml serving fortified soya milk 120-140mg. This
compares with 57mg for eggs and 115-120mg for milk.

Iodine
Daily intake - 70mcg (toddlers) to 140mcg (adults).

Iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormones, which help to control
metabolism so determining how fast you burn up foods. In infants,
thyroid hormones are responsible for development of the nervous
system, including the brain. Dairy produce and seaweed (nori, kelp,
etc.) are iodine-rich and so are foods which contain seaweed, such as
carrageenan, used as a thickening agent. Other sources are Vecon
vegetable stock and dark green vegetables.

10g dried seaweed contains 50mcg iodine; 5g serving Marmite 2.45mcg;
100ml whole cow's milk 15mcg.

Iron
Daily intake - 6.9mg (toddlers) to 14.8mg (adults).

Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body and
everyone needs a good supply. Leading health advisory bodies agree
that iron deficiency anaemia is no more common in vegetarians than
meat-eaters. This is because there are plenty of iron sources in a
veggie diet - pulses (any kind of bean, lentils, chickpeas, peas);
dark green leafy veg. such as broccoli, fortified breakfast cereals,
wholegrains such as wholemeal bread, dried apricots, prunes and figs,
black treacle and even plain dark chocolate or cocoa. The body isn’t
that great at absorbing iron but the great thing about a veggie diet
is that it is loaded with vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables
which can increase iron absorption sixfold. Drinking tea can reduce
iron absorption so avoid your cuppa when eating iron-rich foods.

200g lentils contains 7mg iron; 200g baked beans 3mg; 2 slices
wholegrain bread 2.5mg; 50g serving fortified breakfast cereal 3.3mg.

Zinc
Daily intake - 5.0mg (toddlers) to 9.5mg (adults).

Zinc is involved in growth, the health of the immune system (so
helping to fight infection) and plays a crucial role in enzyme
activity. Enzymes are chemicals which help speed up all the reactions
that go on in the body (eg digestion of food) and zinc helps keep
these enzymes working properly. Good sources include pulses,
wholegrains, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds.

200g lentils contains 2.8mg zinc; 200g wholegrain pasta 2.2mg; 25g
brazil nuts 1.05mg; 25g sunflower seeds 1.3mg.

Vitamin A
Daily intake - 400mcg (toddlers) to 700mcg (adults).

Vitamin A is needed to maintain a healthy immune system, for the
growth and development of tissues, for vision and healthy skin. There
are two kinds - one found in plants, called beta-carotene, and one in
meat called retinol. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A
and it acts as an important antioxidant (see page 12). Animal vitamin
A - retinol - is not an antioxidant, is found mostly in liver and
taken in large quantities during pregnancy can cause birth defects.
Foods rich in beta-carotene include green leafy vegetables, carrots,
peppers, apricots, watercress, spinach, parsley, sweet potatoes,
tomatoes and mangoes.

50g cooked peas contains 125mcg vitamin A; 10g cooked carrots 756mcg;
200g serving chickpeas 42mcg.

B Complex Vitamins
B1 (Thiamin)
Daily intake - 0.40mg (toddlers) to 1.0mg (adults).

Vitamin B1 helps to release the locked up energy in carbohydrates and
fats, it aids the functioning of the brain, heart and nerves and helps
the body cope with stress. Good food sources include wholemeal bread,
yeast extract, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, oats, black treacle and
fortified breakfast cereals. When wheat flour is refined to make white
flour, thiamin is lost so it has to be fortified with it during
manufacture

50g fortified cereal contains 0.50mg vitamin B1; 1 slice wholegrain
bread 0.15mg; 25g sunflower seeds 0.40mg; 5g yeast extract 0.16mg.

B2 (Riboflavin)
Daily intake - 0.6mg (toddlers) to1.3mg (adults).

Riboflavin helps to release energy from fats, carbohydrates and
protein and aids healthy skin, hair and nails. It’s widely available
in plant foods such as yeast extract, wholegrains, almonds, seeds,
black treacle and dates.

5g yeast extract (such as Marmite) contains 0.55mg riboflavin; 50g
fortified cereal 0.65g; 100ml fortified soya milk 0.24mg.

Animal-Free Food Pyramid
Daily guide to the healthiest foods
Sun for Vit. D



1 serving B-12 fortified food

1-3 (25g) servings essential healthy fats 1-2 (100g) servings
protein-rich foods

3-6 pieces of fruit 1-3 (100g) servings veg. (1 dark green, 1
orange/yellow)
2-4 (100g)
servings wholegrains (2 slices of bread = 100g)


Plus Water - 1-2 litres
Vit. D source - if little sun - from fortified foods eg cereals,
margarine, soya milk
Olive oil - moderate use as a dressing and in cooking
Activity - 30 minutes exercise


Niacin
Daily intake - 6.6mg (toddlers) to 17mg (adults).

Niacin is needed to release energy from foods and for maintaining
skin, nerve, brain and digestive health. It is found in yeast extract,
wholegrains including wholemeal bread, dates, nuts and seeds, peas and
potatoes.

200g wholegrain pasta contains 2.6mg niacin; 2 slices wholegrain bread
3.8mg; 5g yeast extract 2.9mg; 10g peanut butter 1.25mg.

B6 (Pyridoxine)
Daily intakes - 0.7mg (toddlers) to 1.4mg (adults).

Vitamin B6 is needed for breaking down protein, producing red blood
cells and absorbing zinc. It is easily obtained from wholegrains,
avocados, bananas, prunes, beans, dried fruits, seeds and nuts.

100g banana contains 0.29mg vitamin B6; 100g avocado 0.36mg; 50g
fortified cereal 0.90mg.

Folate (Folic Acid)
Daily intakes - 70mcg (toddlers) to 200mcg (11 plus).

Folate helps with the making of blood, forming DNA (your genetic
blueprint), using protein and is important in preventing defects in
the developing foetus. It is found widely in a vegetarian diet in dark
green leafy vegetables, pulses, avocado, nuts and beansprouts.

100g broccoli contains 64mcg folic acid; 25g hazelnuts 18mcg; 200g
lentils 60mcg.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Daily intakes - 0.50mcg (toddlers) to 1.50mcg (15 plus).

Cobalamin is essential for a healthy nervous system and blood
formation and is made by bacteria in the soil. Your liver has stores
for up to three years. Traces may be found on un-washed veg. but this
isn’t a reliable source. Vegetarians can obtain vitamin B12 from dairy
products and free-range eggs and there’s a growing number of products
now fortified with B12, including some breakfast cereals, yeast
extract, some margarines and soya milk. It’s thought that vitamin B12
from fortified foods is better absorbed than B12 from meat, poultry
and fish.

5g Marmite contains 0.75mcg vitamin B12; 100ml fortified soya milk
0.5mcg; 50g fortified cereal 0.85mcg.

Vitamins B6, B12 and folate are now thought to help keep the heart
healthy by lowering levels of a chemical in the body called
homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to
increased risk for heart disease and strokes so it is vital that
adequate amounts of these B-vitamins are supplied daily in the diet.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Daily intakes - 30mg (toddlers) to 40mg (15 plus).

Your body can’t store vitamin C so it needs to be eaten every day.
It’s an important vitamin - involved in wound healing, maintaining
healthy skin, blood vessels and healthy gums. It is also an important
antioxidant, helping to keep the immune system fighting fit. Vitamin C
also helps the body absorb iron. It is present in a wide range of
plant foods but there is none in animal products. Rich sources are
berry fruits such as blackcurrants, citrus fruits such as oranges as
well as green leafy vegetables, kiwi fruits, broccoli and tomatoes.
Potatoes contain some vitamin C and are an important source,
particularly in winter.

100g cauliflower contains 27mg vitamin C; 50g orange 27mcg; 100g
banana 11mg.

Vitamin D
The main source of vitamin D is from that made in the body via the
action of sunlight on the skin and it is needed for absorption of
calcium. There is no recommended daily amount from the diet but
estimates of 10 mcg per day are given for people who can’t get out in
the sun. Sun exposure on the hands and face for just 15 minutes each
day is all that is required to make enough of this vitamin - even
cloudy summers will suffice. The liver then stores the vitamin so
ensuring a source through the winter.
However for children under four, the sun can’t be relied on to supply
all that is needed for the growing body so a dietary source may be
advised - 7mcg per day. Many everyday foods are now fortified with
vitamin D - margarines, butter, breakfast cereals and cow’s milk as
well as most brands of soya milk.

50g fortified cereal contains 1.05mcg vitamin D; 100ml fortified soya
milk 0.75mcg.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
There are no daily recommendations for vitamin E as it depends on how
much polyunsaturated fat you eat - vitamin E protects these fats
inside the body. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and protects
cells from damage, increases muscle strength and reduces the risk of
blood clots - protecting against heart disease and strokes. Only found
in plant foods, rich sources are vegetable oils, peanuts, almonds,
sunflower seeds, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables and wheatgerm.

200g cooked brown rice contains 0.60mg vitamin E; 20g serving peanut
butter 1mg; 25g sunflower seeds 9.4mg.

Free Radicals and Antioxidants
These were only discovered in the 1980’s but what a discovery! Free
radicals are believed to play a part in causing 60 or more diseases
and are capable of wreaking havoc on healthy cells by causing damage
to its DNA. You naturally produce free radicals with just about
everything you do, such as breathing or digesting food. Even more of
these unstable molecules are created as waste products of pollution,
smoking and cooking. But there is a remedy - things called
antioxidants.

The main antioxidants are beta-carotene and vitamins C and E and these
actually protect you against disease by neutralising free radical
damage. None of these vital protectors is found in meat or cow’s milk
but they are plentiful in plant foods. New antioxidants are still
being discovered and Flavenols are one such group. Again they are
found only in plant foods. One of the Flavenols is called lycopene,
found in red foods such as tomatoes.
Ice
2006-07-03 17:34:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/vhfk03.html

Veggie Health for Kids

Every nutrient a child needs and how to get it.
A guide for parents showing why vegetarian/vegan diets are the
healthiest option for children.

World turned upside down! / What You Need and Where You Get It / How
Animal Products Affect Children / How Animal Products Affect Adults /
Conclusions


How Animal Products Affect Children

Allergies
The word allergy describes a bad reaction to something - it is the
body's defence (immune) system leaping to protect you against what it
believes is a foreign invader. Asthma (breathlessness with wheezing),
eczema (red, itchy and flaky skin), rhinitis (constant runny or
congested nose), hay-fever and urticaria (skin rashes) are classical
allergies. Of course, in most cases this defence reaction is
unnecessary and so allergies can be a sign of a ‘compromised’ immune
system - it isn ’t functioning 100 per cent as it should.

Reactions can be particularly violent - and deadly - with allergies to
such things as peanuts. Food ‘intolerance’ produces a less dramatic
and slower reaction and may not be the result of a dodgy immune
system.

The most common food allergies (or intolerances) are to foods that are
eaten regularly, such as cow’s milk and wheat. A reaction to the main
protein in cow’s milk (casein) is the most common allergy in childhood
and affects between 4 and 75 babies in every 1000. When a baby
swallows cow’s milk, bits of this protein get into his or her immune
system. Excessive mucus production resulting in a constant, runny
nose, blocked ears or a persistent sore throat is often the first sign
of a problem with cow’s milk. More serious problems such as eczema,
colic, diarrhoea, asthma and vomiting are the body’s way of trying to
get rid of the invader.

A good number of scientists now believe that no whole cow’s milk at
all should be given to a baby during the first year of his or her
life, when the immune system is still developing.

Allergies are on the increase - but why? Saturated fat may carry some
of the blame. It was found that the children of mother's who ate a lot
of this fat while they were breastfeeding had an increased risk of
allergies later in life.

Crohn’s Disease
Crohn's disease also appears to be on the increase and affects about
90,000 people in the UK. This debilitating, chronic (long-term)
inflammation of the digestive system is, however, rare in parts of the
world where people eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet. The scientific
evidence is stacking up, one study pointing the finger at animal
protein - meat and cow's milk. Another has discovered that a bacteria
found in cattle is the same one that causes Crohn’s disease.
Apparently pasteurisation of milk - heating it to 72 degrees for 15 to
25 seconds - may not kill these disease-causing bugs.


Heart Disease
“ The avoidance of meat is likely to reduce the risk of coronary
artery disease, because meat is the major source of saturated
fat...High consumption of red meat has adverse health consequences:
thus vegetarian diets tend to impart health advantages. ”
DR WALTER C WILLETT, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST
DISTINGUISHED EXPERTS ON NUTRITION.

Coronary heart disease, or CHD, results from the narrowing of the main
blood vessels from the heart which is why it’s also called coronary
artery disease. The problem stems from hard fatty deposits of
cholesterol stiffening and clogging up the arteries. Blood supply to
the heart muscles is reduced and may eventually stop completely and
the result is a heart attack.

Cholesterol is a major risk factor for CHD - and saturated (mainly
animal) fat makes the body produce more cholesterol. Sadly, a lot of
children’s foods are stacked with saturated fat. Incredibly, autopsy
studies show that fatty streaks in the arteries - the first signs of
furring up - are found even in very young children!

The same things which put older people at risk of heart attacks - high
cholesterol levels, overweight and high blood pressure - are the same
as in young people. The WHO has become almost weary from repeating how
important it is to give kids a healthy, high-fibre, low-fat diet start
to life because it’s here that the problem of heart disease begins.

Dental Health
You don’t need telling that sugar is enemy number one when it comes to
tooth decay (dental caries). But all kinds of foods can play a part,
depending on their stickiness and nutrient content. A small plain
chocolate bar eaten in one go for instance is probably less damaging
than sucking on a chewy sweet for ages that literally sticks to the
teeth. There are also foods that help reduce decay - rice, bread and
potatoes and the less refined they are the better. So it follows that
a vegetarian diet based largely on unrefined carbohydrates tends to
produce fewer and smaller cavities. Fresh fruit, even though it
contains fruit sugars (fructose), is less damaging than the sugar in
sweets.

“A diet free of meat, fish, milk and eggs is by far the safest and one
that I highly recommend.”
Emanuel Goldman, Professor of Microbiology
& Genetics.
Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or IDDM for
short) is when the body produces no insulin. Type 2 (non-insulin
dependent diabetes mellitus - NIDDM) is where insulin is still
produced but the body becomes less sensitive to it. Insulin is a
hormone which helps the body to absorb glucose (sugar) from the blood.
Without it, blood sugar levels rise.

Diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. Type
2 is rising dramatically but the right kind of diet can correct or
even prevent it. (See Diabetes section on page 20).

Cow’s milk in infancy may trigger type 1 diabetes by destroying the
body’s ability to produce insulin.

Food Poisoning
“ A diet free of meat, fish, milk and eggs is by far the safest and
one that I highly recommend.”
EMANUEL GOLDMAN, PROFESSOR OF MICROBIOLOGY & GENETICS.

A recent government report said that an astonishing 9.5 million people
in the UK get food poisoning each year and the one’s most at risk are
little children under one. Eating animal products causes a staggering
95 per cent of all cases, with meat being the main culprit as the
guilty bacteria thrive on rotting flesh. Poor hygiene can spread the
infection to normally safe foods through contamination.

Perhaps even more worrying is the fact that one in 10 British children
are carrying superbugs resistant to one or more antibiotics.
Antibiotics are the last refuge when food poisoning develops into
blood poisoning. There are now fewer and fewer that will work when
they’re really needed - to save lives. They have been used almost on a
daily basis to dose animals in factory farms in a desperate attempt to
control the rampant diseases that these systems spread and the
bacteria have simply become resistant.

The three main food-poisoning bacteria resistant to drugs are:
Salmonella, Campylobacter and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Whilst E.
coli normally lives quite happily in our guts without causing any
harm, some strains cause disease. The most serious is E. coli 0157. It
can stick to the gut wall and release a chemical into the bloodstream
which causes kidney failure. Again, it is the young who are most at
risk. This superbug is thought to be the single biggest cause of
kidney failure in children and it is spread from the faeces produced
by farmed animals - cattle in particular.

According to the government there are some foods you can eat to avoid
the risk of food poisoning - foods that cut your risk by up to 70 per
cent. Four of these are pulses, salad, fruit and rice - all everyday
ingredients in a veggie diet. (See Viva! guide Stop Bugging Me for
further information on food poisoning.)

Overweight and Obesity
The UK population as a whole has a serious weight problem and that
includes children. Ten per cent of boys and 14.5 per cent of girls
aged four to 11 years are now overweight and some children as young as
five are obese.

Mild obesity in childhood is linked to increased blood pressure and
higher levels of insulin and cholesterol - and it may carry on into
adulthood.

There’s no mystery about the causes of obesity - diet and activity
play equal parts. Meat and dairy come loaded with hefty amounts of fat
while vegetarian diets contain more carbohydrates, pulses, fruits and
vegetables and less fat. No surprise, then, that vegetarians are, on
average, leaner than meat eaters.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects more than 750,000 people in the UK and
one child in every thousand. Dairy products, meat and eggs can all be
triggers as can corn, nuts and citrus fruits. In 1985, the case
emerged of a 14 year- old girl who had been hospitalised nine times
since the age of eight with painful and swollen joints. Diagnosed with
juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, she was told to avoid dairy products
and the swelling disappeared within a week. The arthritis returned
three times in later life, each time after she’d eaten dairy products.
A small piece of milk chocolate was enough to trigger it.

Toxins
Government tests show that more than 40% of all our food contains
pesticide residues. Highly poisonous chemicals have polluted all the
world’s oceans and they have contaminated every single sea creature.
Because of this, eating fish is increasingly a risky business - and
particularly oily fish such as mackerel, herring, sprats and pilchards
because fat soaks up the poisons. Farmed salmon, who are largely fed
on wild-caught fish, are a particular problem.

The culprits are substances called PCBs and dioxins and they can
damage the immune system and affect a child’s intelligence. They can
even have a gender-bending effect, producing male characteristics in
females and vice versa. Produced by industrial processes, PCBs are now
banned but they will hang around in the environment for decades. They
contaminate particles in the sea which are eaten by small fish. The
poisons concentrate in their fat and so it goes on up the food chain
as little fish are eaten by bigger fish.

The problem is extremely serious and affects meat and dairy to some
degree as well because of their high fat content. The European
Commission (EU) guidelines on safety limits for dioxins in foods means
that half of all British children under five years old could be
exceeding safety levels.
Ice
2006-07-03 17:35:21 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/vhfk04.html

Veggie Health for Kids

Every nutrient a child needs and how to get it.
A guide for parents showing why vegetarian/vegan diets are the
healthiest option for children.

World turned upside down! / What You Need and Where You Get It / How
Animal Products Affect Children / How Animal Products Affect Adults /
Conclusions

How Animal Products Affect Adults

Little people inevitably become big people so it’s important to look
at how animal products can affect adult health. Children who learn
healthy eating habits tend to eat healthily when they grow up so a
plant-based diet has long-term importance for them - but also for you
parents.

Cancer
“ In this study, the 40 per cent reduction in cancer mortality in
non-meat eaters compared with meat eaters could not be explained by
differences in smoking habits, obesity and socio-economic status...The
fact that total mortality was about 20 per cent lower in the non-meat
eating group than the meat eaters is perhaps of greatest clinical
importance.”
BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, 1994.


Translated, this research found that vegetarians get a 40 per cent
less risk of dying from cancer and live longer than meat eaters.
Cancer experts worldwide now believe that over a third of cancer
deaths - and possibly many more - could be linked to diet. Leading
cancer expert, Professor Sir Richard Doll, estimates that 20-60 per
cent of cancers might be avoided through diet.

Over a quarter of a million people are diagnosed with cancer every
year in the UK and a staggering one-in-four of the population in the
UK will die from it. Cancer is second only to heart disease as the
major killer in the Western world, despite the knowledge that
vegetables, fruit and plant foods considerably reduce the risk.

It’s also known that the process of cooking meat, particularly at high
temperatures for long periods, produces cancer-causing chemicals
(carcinogens) called heterocyclic amines. It happens with all meats
but the level in chicken is 15 times higher than in beef - which
rather destroys the image of chicken as a healthy option. Heating
plant proteins such as soya doesn’t produce these killer chemicals.

Fats - and particularly animal fats - produce bile acids in the
digestive system that appear to promote cancer of the colon. Diets
rich in fibre can reduce bile acids and low-fat diets seem to produce
more ‘natural killer’ cells than high-fat diets. They seek and destroy
abnormal cells that may turn cancerous.

Breast Cancer
Some 40,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year.
Asian countries traditionally have much lower rates of breast cancer
but when Japanese girls are raised on Western diets their rate of
breast cancer increases dramatically.

The Women’s Health study looked at 41,836 women over a long period of
time and found that the risk of breast cancer rose when well-done to
very-well-done meat was eaten.

Cow’s milk also carries a possible risk of breast cancer and one
particular ingredient is suspected. It’s a hormone called Insulin-Like
Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). The same hormone occurs naturally in humans
and stimulates growth in children but declines as a child ages. It’s
known that the IGF-1 in cow’s milk encourages breast cancer cells to
multiply. It’s also known that when pre-menopausal women have even
small increases of IGF-1 in their blood, their risk of breast cancer
increases seven times.

One theory is that drinking cow’s milk after weaning may cause breast
cells to keep on multiplying.

Bowel Cancer
Over 27,000 people each year in the UK develop cancer of the colon and
rectum. Women who eat the most animal fat are at greater risk - and
it’s much the same for men.

Large numbers of people have given up red meat in favour of
‘healthier’ white meat - fish and poultry - and yet both red and white
meat increase the risk of colon cancer. People who eat only white meat
less than once a week have a 55 per cent higher risk than those who
don’t eat any meat at all. When they eat it at least once a week, the
risk increases three-fold. On the other hand, eating beans, peas or
lentils at least twice a week drops the risk of colon cancer by 50 per
cent.

The risk of colon cancer seems to depend on the overall healthiness of
your diet. Fruits, vegetables and fibre reduce your risk while
following the official health advice, and swapping high-fat dairy
products for low-fat ones, butter for margarine, red meat for poultry
and refined grains for wholegrains, also reduces your risk - but only
slightly.

The evidence is beginning to stack up that there is a link between
eating meat and processed meat products and colon cancer. This risk is
described as ‘moderate’ but significant and it’s been shown that
frequent consumption of beef, veal, pork and lamb can increase your
chances of colon cancer by 20-40 per cent.

Prostate Cancer
One in 12 men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their
lives. The number dying from the disease has almost tripled in the
past 30 years to 9,500 in 1998. By 2015, it is expected to overtake
lung cancer and become the most common male cancer. Professor Jonathan
Waxman, who founded the Prostate Cancer Charity, believes that diet
plays a big part - particularly red meat and dairy products.

The reason why dairy products are in the frame is again believed to be
the hormone IGF-1 - the same as in breast cancer. It’s known that
vegan men have less IGF-1 than meat eaters, which might reduce their
risk of prostate cancer. Calcium from dairy products might also play a
part because it can reduce concentrations of vitamin D, which is
thought to provide protection. Men who eat two-and-a-half or more
servings of dairy products a day increase their risk by almost a third
compared with those who eat less than half a serving per day.
Switching to low-fat milk won’t help much as skimmed milk was found in
one study to be the food most closely linked with prostate cancer.


The Very Best Anti-Cancer Diet.
Well it certainly isn’t meat and dairy. As people move towards a
plant-based diet so the risks of developing cancer reduces. In the
words of Professor Jane Plant: “Undoubtedly, the best anti-cancer diet
would be completely vegan.” Cancer specialist Doctor Rosy Daniel
thinks similarly: “The best move...is to become completely vegan and
eliminate animal products from the diet altogether.”

How does a plant diet protect against cancer? Fibre helps to sweep
toxins out of the body and the rich supply of protective antioxidants
protect body cells against damage. Some foods, such as broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, almost certainly help to
prevent cancer. That’s why we’re recommended to eat at least five
portions of fruits and vegetables every day and to eat more starchy
carbohydrates.

One portion is equivalent to one medium-sized fruit like an apple,
banana or orange, two smaller fruits such as kiwis or plums, a cupful
of berry fruits, a large bowlful of green salad or two serving
spoonfuls of most cooked vegetables and pulses like beans and lentils.

Plant foods also contain protective ‘plant hormones’ (phytoestrogens)
and soya products contain the most. There is a bit of confusion
because whilst most research point to soya having cancer-preventing
properties, some show the opposite. On balance, the evidence seems to
be that soya foods are beneficial. Meat and dairy products contain no
antioxidant vitamins, no fibre and no protective phytoestrogens. Is it
really surprising, then, that all-veggie diets are the best
anti-cancer diets around?




“ Vegetarians have lower rates of obesity, coronary heart disease,
high blood pressure, large bowel disorders and cancers and gall
stones. Cholesterol levels tend to be lower and vegetarian diets have
been noted to lower blood cholesterol. The vegetarian diet is adequate
for the nutritional needs of infants.”
BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
CHD is the UK’s number one health problem with one-in-four men and
one-in-six women dying from it. World-renowned heart transplant
surgeon, Christiaan Barnard, believes that most heart attacks are
unnecessary - we have the power to prevent them. Not surprisingly he
advocates a diet where fruits and vegetables, not meat, are the
mainstay.

Vegetarians are less at risk of heart disease and have 25 per cent
less chance of dying from it. If everyone in the UK went vegetarian,
about 30,000 lives a year would be saved - a veggie diet should be
available on prescription! Recent research came to just this
conclusion:

“... dietary intervention with a vegetarian diet seems to be a cheap,
physiological and safe approach for the prevention, and possibly
management of modern lifestyle diseases.”
FLINDERS UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA.

Apart from having lower body weights, lower cholesterol levels and
lower blood pressure levels, new research adds another clue as to why
vegetarians get less heart disease. Salicylic acid in the blood of
vegetarians is up to one-and-a-half times higher than in meat eaters -
some had levels 12-times higher! Salicylic acid is the main ingredient
in aspirin, prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attacks by fighting
the inflammation that causes it. Salicylic acid, it seems, is also
present in fruit and vegetables! The same research came up with
evidence that salicylic acid may protect against bowel, breast and
lung cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

Cholesterol and Saturated Fat
Cholesterol is not the only risk factor in heart disease but it is a
major player. It’s found only in foods of animal origin - there’s none
in plant foods. As our liver makes all the cholesterol we need, we can
cut it out of our diet entirely.

People talk of ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol and your body
contains both main types. Bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or
LDL) is dumped on the artery walls, reduces blood flow and causes
heart attacks and strokes. Good cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins
or HDL) is carried to the liver so the body can get rid of it. Most of
your cholesterol is made up of the baddies. Saturated fat encourages
your body to produce too much and a high level carries the risk of
heart attack.

People who turn to lean red meat and white meat to reduce their
cholesterol levels are going to be disappointed because it’s largely
ineffective - about a five per cent reduction at best. Low-fat,
vegetarian diets, devoid of all meat, can bring cholesterol down by up
to 32 per cent. When lean meat was substituted for soya bean curd
(tofu) again levels fell considerably.

There is increasing evidence that vegans have an even greater
advantage. Lifelong vegetarians have been shown to have cholesterol
levels 24 per cent lower than average and lifelong vegans 57 per cent
lower. Just as importantly, vegetarian and vegan diets can reverse the
damage done by CHD, even in severe cases.

“The Reversal Diet is a very low-fat vegetarian diet...This is what
the patients in our study consumed, whose coronary heart disease began
to reverse. I am convinced that this is the world’s healthiest diet
for most adults, whether or not they have heart disease.”
DR DEAN ORNISH, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.

Diabetes
The adult form of diabetes (NIDDM) is much more common than the
variety which starts in childhood (IDDM). It affects about 150 million
people worldwide - 22.5 million in Europe and two million in the UK.
About 80 per cent of those affected are overweight or obese. The WHO
estimates that by 2025 the problem will have doubled to at least 300
million worldwide.

The science again shows that vegetarians and vegans are considerably
less at risk. Research with 25,000 adult Americans put it at about 45
per cent less. For those who already have diabetes, there’s strong
evidence that high-fibre, low-fat diets improve the situation and even
without exercise, vegan diets can bring down blood sugar levels.

A low-fat, high-fibre diet helps insulin to work better because it
allows sugar to pass into the bloodstream a little at a time rather
than all at once. Dietitians now recommend that wholegrain pasta,
rice, bread and other complex carbohydrates - along with pulses, beans
and vegetables - form the main part of any diabetic diet.

Diverticular Disease
Diverticular disease is one of the most common disorders of the colon
among elderly people in Western societies but again vegetarians suffer
less. Small pouches form in the wall of the intestine and become
inflamed. A study of 48,000 US men found that a diet high in fat and
red meat and low in fibre increased the risk.

Gallstones
Gallstones are made up mostly of cholesterol crystals and are formed
when bile (digestive fluid) becomes saturated with cholesterol.
High-fibre diets stop gallstones forming, which is why the WHO
recommends a starchy diet as protection. Meat-eaters stand twice the
risk than do vegetarians. The causes are the same old suspects - too
little fibre, saturated fat, cholesterol and obesity.

Hypertension
High blood pressure is caused by stress, alcohol, obesity and poor
diet and plays a part in heart disease and strokes (see Strokes, page
22). Many people don’t even realise they have it. In England, one in
10 people between 45 to 54 have high blood pressure. Not only do
vegetarians suffer much less but a meat-free diet can help lower blood
pressure.

When 29 patients, who had suffered from high blood pressure for eight
years, were put on a vegan diet for a year, so successful was it that
almost all medication was withdrawn or drastically reduced.

Kidney Disease



“ A well-planned vegetarian diet may be useful in the prevention and
treatment of renal [kidney] disease..."
AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION.

For those with kidney disease, plant proteins may increase survival
rates and reduce kidney damage. According to Dr Neal Barnard of the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), animal protein
is the worst enemy of people with a tendency toward kidney stones, or
any kidney disease for that matter.

Animal protein tends to overwork the kidneys, making them less
efficient at filtering waste from the body in the urine. Animal
protein is high in sulphur which can leach calcium from the bones and
form painful kidney stones. Meat and eggs contain up to five times
more of these sulphur compounds than grains and beans. So, vegetarian
diets tend to produce less wear and tear on the kidneys. A Harvard
University study found that animal protein was directly linked to the
risk of kidney stones and just small increases in meat consumption
pushed that risk up.

People with kidney problems are usually put on a low-protein diet yet
it’s been shown that a vegan diet is extremely effective and has the
added advantage of being a healthier alternative.

Lactose Intolerance
With lactose intolerance, the body can’t digest the sugar in cow’s
milk called lactose. It’s found only in milk and has to be broken down
in the small intestine by an enzyme called lactase. No surprises,
then, that it is only babies who normally have this enzyme. Nature
didn’t provide adults with it as they wouldn’t need to drink milk
after weaning.

Undigested lactose reaches the large intestine where bacteria act on
it, creating gas and drawing water into the digestive tract. The
result - bloating, stomach cramps and a lot of gas! Up to five million
people in the UK are lactose intolerant; in the US it affects about 50
million people and a staggering 75 per cent of the world’s population
is lactose intolerant! This shows just how unnatural cow’s milk really
is for adults and why it plays a part in a host of diseases, including
irritable bowel syndrome.

Obesity
Currently, over half of women and about two thirds of men are
overweight or obese - a condition linked to heart disease, high blood
pressure, diabetes, arthritis, gallstones and some cancers. Fat around
the stomach area is thought to be particularly damaging. Knowing the
problem is one thing, doing something about it is quite another. Which
is why all leading health advisory bodies stress the importance of
encouraging children to eat a healthy diet. Quite simply, non-meat
eaters are slimmer than meat-eaters!

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis - porous or brittle bones - is the major cause of bone
fractures in the elderly and is a result of thinning bones due to loss
of calcium. The number of hip fractures is reaching epidemic levels in
many affluent countries, affecting a staggering one-in-three women and
one-in-12 men in the UK over the age of 50. Despite our obsession with
drinking cow’s milk for calcium, supposedly to prevent osteoporosis,
it isn’t working. Countries with the highest calcium intake have the
highest risk of osteoporosis. Research with 77,000 women found that
those who got most of their calcium from cow’s milk had significantly
more fractures than those who drank little or no cow ’s milk.

Bone density increases until the mid mid-thirties and is dependent on
genetics, hormones and nutrition. Keeping active with weight-bearing
activities such walking and skipping is important. But the main cause
of osteoporosis in Western countries is not lack of calcium - it is
loss of calcium. Vegetarians have less than half the calcium losses
than meat-eaters.

Animal protein produces acid in the body whilst most fruit, vegetables
and pulses form alkalines. Acids are neutralised by using calcium from
the bones, which is then excreted in urine. Elderly people who eat a
lot of animal protein but little vegetable protein have a greater risk
of hip fractures. Cutting down on meat and dairy - or cutting it out
entirely - reduces the amount of calcium you need and there are plenty
of plant foods that can provide it. (See calcium section).

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatism is any painful condition affecting bones, ligaments,
joints, tendons or muscles. Arthritis is a form of rheumatism where
the joints become inflamed. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a disease
where the immune system attacks its own tissues - in this case
cartilage and joint linings. Meat, dairy produce and eggs can all be
triggers for arthritis and can also encourage hormone imbalances that
can contribute to joint pain.

When RA sufferers were put on a vegetarian diet, they showed a
significant reduction in pain, stiffness and swollen joints after just
four weeks. Researchers have come to the conclusion that vegetarian
diets might be useful in the treatment of RA and that meat and offal
may be a major factor contributing to the inflammation in RA.

Strokes
A stroke is sudden damage to the brain caused by lack of blood supply
or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. The damaged cells die and
the parts of the body they control cease to function. A major cause is
furring up of the arteries - made worse by high blood pressure and
diabetes. Strokes are responsible for about 12 per cent of all deaths
in England. About 30 per cent of people who have a stroke die within a
few weeks and about one half of those who survive will have a lasting
disability. Since vegetarians suffer less from high blood pressure and
coronary artery disease than meat-eaters, a veggie diet is a sensible
preventative.

Children’s Eating Habits
Why, when children are free to choose their own diet, do they choose
the foods they do? The three main reasons - they choose what their
parent’s eat, advertising and family income - all need to be tackled
if kids are to have a healthy future.
Ice
2006-07-03 17:36:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/vhfk05.html

Veggie Health for Kids

Every nutrient a child needs and how to get it.
A guide for parents showing why vegetarian/vegan diets are the
healthiest option for children.

World turned upside down! / What You Need and Where You Get It / How
Animal Products Affect Children / How Animal Products Affect Adults /
Conclusions

Conclusions

The types of food that children and adults should be eating for
life-long health are now abundantly clear. There is a wealth of
scientific research - not least the China Health Study. It looked at
the diets and health of people in 65 rural counties in China and was
the largest and most comprehensive survey of diet, disease and death
in the world. Carried out more than 10 years ago, the information it
provided is still being unravelled. But already some things are clear
- that the vegetarian and vegan diets advocated in this guide are
exactly what people should be eating.

Overseer of the project is Professor Colin Campbell - Professor of
Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University in the US and long-time
senior science advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research
and the World Cancer Research Fund. Results are unambiguous - we are a
vegetarian species whose risk of disease is increased by eating meat
and animal products. And it’s not good enough simply to increase the
amount of fruit and veg. you eat. As Professor Campbell says: “The
closer one approaches a total plant food diet, the greater the health
benefit...Animal foods, in general, are not really helpful and we need
to get away from eating them.”

Vibrant, life-long health for children is dependent upon eating all
the essential protective foods and rejecting all the harmful ones.
Scientific evidence shows quite clearly what this means - plant-based
not animal-based foods. And the time to start encouraging your
children to adopt meat and dairy-free eating is now.

Referenced Health Report
A fully referenced and more detailed scientific report on which the
information here is based, entitled Safeguarding Children’s Health:
Defeating Disease Through Vegetarian/Vegan Diets is available from
VVF. It costs £10 per copy (including p&p). Make cheques payable to
VVF. Send your name, address, cheque and quantity required to the
Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation, Top Suite, 8 York Court, Wilder Street,
Bristol BS2 8QH. Or telephone your order on 0117 970 5190.

Vegetarian Diet - So Easy to Follow
This guide argues convincingly that meat and dairy are the worst foods
to feed to children. But how do you go about changing your diet and
excluding them? Never fear, help is at hand. The VVF and Viva! produce
a range of guides designed to help fledging vegetarians along the road
and makes the transition so simple. Nutrition in a Nutshell, The
Healthiest Diet of All, The L-Plate Vegetarian, The L-Plate Vegan and
the teenagers guide to vegetarian recipes - No Sweat Veggie Cooking -
and the guide Martin Shaw Cooks Veggie - all come packed with useful
information to help your family go veggie. Viva! also stocks a huge
range of books on vegetarianism, including dozens of recipe books -
from the cheap and cheerful to the indulgently delicious. VVF also
produces a colourful magazine - veggiehealth - which keeps you up to
date on all the latest scientific studies on veggie diets.
Subscription is just £15 for three issues a year.

The message is clear - minus the meat, exclude the eggs, forget the
fish and dump the dairy. Sup on soya, bang in the beans, lean on
lentils, snack on seeds, cram in the carbs, feast on fruits, veg. out
on veggies, nibble on nuts and graze on grains.

Base your own and your children's diet on foods from plants not food
from animals and give all your family’s bodies the best life insurance
they can get.


by Laura Scott (MSc Nutrition), VVF Senior Nutritionist
Editor: Tony Wardle

A guide by the Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation
Registered Charity No. 1037486

Copyright: Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation 2004.
Top Suite, 8 York Court, Wilder Street,
Bristol BS2 8QH.
Tel: 0117 970 5190. Fax: 0117 924 4646.
E: ***@vegetarian.org.uk
W: www.vegetarian.org.uk
Derek Moody
2007-02-08 18:39:57 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Boycott Foie Gras!

http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_veggie/ALL/1507//
DEFRA Minister, Ben Bradshaw, has said that consumers should boycott
foie gras, the shockingly cruel product that is obtained by
force-feeding geese and ducks. The production of foie gras is banned
in the UK but, because of trade laws, it can still be imported into
the country. Bradshaw said: 'We believe that the production of foie
gras using force-feeding gives rise to serious welfare concerns … We
hope that public pressure will contribute to an end to this practice.'

Ducks and geese have large quantities of corn and fat pumped directly
into their stomachs via a funnel. This happens four times a day for up
to 18 days and causes the animals' livers to swell up to ten times
their normal size.

The tube that is pushed down their throats can cause serious injuries
including rupture of the oesophagus and stomach. Unsurprisingly, the
mortality rate of birds on a foie gras farm is up to 20 times greater
than that of other poultry farms, where the death rate is also
extraordinarily high. In the UK, one in 20 broiler chickens - that is,
130 million birds - die before they reach slaughter weight every year.

Force-feeding ducks and geese it also outlawed in a number of
countries including Poland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Israel. And
the City of Chicago in the US has banned the sale of foie gras.

In December, Sainsbury's and Lidl removed all foie gras from their
stores and most supermarkets have already made the decision not to
stock it. Sadly, chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey continue to
serve the diseased livers at their restaurants.

Animal Aid campaigns peacefully against all animal abuse, and promotes
a cruelty-free lifestyle. You can support our work by joining, making
a donation, or using our online shop.
Contact Animal Aid at The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge,
Kent, TN9 1AW, UK, tel +44 (0)1732 364546, fax +44 (0)1732 366533,
email ***@animalaid.org.uk.
Pete ‹(•¿•)›
2007-02-08 18:46:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Thu, 08 Feb 2007 18:39:57 +0000, Derek Moody
Post by Derek Moody
Boycott Foie Gras!
http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_veggie/ALL/1507//
DEFRA Minister, Ben Bradshaw, has said that consumers should boycott
foie gras, the shockingly cruel product that is obtained by
force-feeding geese and ducks. The production of foie gras is banned
in the UK but, because of trade laws, it can still be imported into
the country. Bradshaw said: 'We believe that the production of foie
gras using force-feeding gives rise to serious welfare concerns … We
hope that public pressure will contribute to an end to this practice.'
Ducks and geese have large quantities of corn and fat pumped directly
into their stomachs via a funnel. This happens four times a day for up
to 18 days and causes the animals' livers to swell up to ten times
their normal size.
The tube that is pushed down their throats can cause serious injuries
including rupture of the oesophagus and stomach. Unsurprisingly, the
mortality rate of birds on a foie gras farm is up to 20 times greater
than that of other poultry farms, where the death rate is also
extraordinarily high. In the UK, one in 20 broiler chickens - that is,
130 million birds - die before they reach slaughter weight every year.
Force-feeding ducks and geese it also outlawed in a number of
countries including Poland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Israel. And
the City of Chicago in the US has banned the sale of foie gras.
In December, Sainsbury's and Lidl removed all foie gras from their
stores and most supermarkets have already made the decision not to
stock it. Sadly, chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey continue to
serve the diseased livers at their restaurants.
Animal Aid campaigns peacefully against all animal abuse, and promotes
a cruelty-free lifestyle. You can support our work by joining, making
a donation, or using our online shop.
Contact Animal Aid at The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge,
Kent, TN9 1AW, UK, tel +44 (0)1732 364546, fax +44 (0)1732 366533,
Nice post Derek. That's the power of free speech. People can only bury
their heads in the sand for so long.


--









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were accurate on the date of publication or last modification.
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a personal capacity. Pete takes no responsibility for the consequences
of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information
published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any
basis of a contract with readers or users of it.

It is in the nature of Usenet & Web sites, that much of the information is
experimental or constantly changing, that information published may
be for test purposes only, may be out of date, or may be the personal
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Pete <(.¿.)>
2007-02-08 19:09:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/19012007/356/police-probe-letter-bomb-attack.html
A letter bomb which injured a woman may have been sent by animal rights
extremists.
Police were called into DNA testing firm, Cellmark, at Abingdon in
Oxfordshire after a small explosion.
The woman was treated at Abingdon Hospital and has now been discharged.
Officers say the name Barry Horne, a campaigner who died in 2001, was
written on the back of the envelope.
The area has now been declared safe and detectives are investigating.
Nobody from the firm was available for comment following the incident.



Disclaimer

Pete has taken all reasonable care to ensure that pages published by
him
were accurate on the date of publication or last modification.
Other pages which may be linked or which Pete may have published are in
a personal capacity. Pete takes no responsibility for the consequences
of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the
information
published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any
basis of a contract with readers or users of it.

It is in the nature of Usenet & Web sites, that much of the information
is
experimental or constantly changing, that information published may
be for test purposes only, may be out of date, or may be the personal
opinion of the author.
Readers should verify information gained from the Web/Usenet with the
appropriate
authorities before relying on it.

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your
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Alan Holmes
2007-02-08 19:32:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Pete <(.¿.)>
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/19012007/356/police-probe-letter-bomb-attack.html
A letter bomb which injured a woman may have been sent by animal rights
extremists.
Police were called into DNA testing firm, Cellmark, at Abingdon in
Oxfordshire after a small explosion.
The woman was treated at Abingdon Hospital and has now been discharged.
Officers say the name Barry Horne, a campaigner who died in 2001, was
written on the back of the envelope.
The area has now been declared safe and detectives are investigating.
Nobody from the firm was available for comment following the incident.
Disclaimer
Pete has taken all reasonable care to ensure that pages published by him
were accurate on the date of publication or last modification.
Other pages which may be linked or which Pete may have published are in
a personal capacity. Pete takes no responsibility for the consequences
of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information
published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any
basis of a contract with readers or users of it.
It is in the nature of Usenet & Web sites, that much of the information is
experimental or constantly changing, that information published may
be for test purposes only, may be out of date, or may be the personal
opinion of the author.
Readers should verify information gained from the Web/Usenet with the appropriate
authorities before relying on it.
Should you no longer wish to read this material or content, please use your
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And it's relevance to fishing is?
Fata Morgana
2007-02-08 20:41:47 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Alan Holmes
Post by Pete <(.¿.)>
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/19012007/356/police-probe-letter-bomb-attack.html
A letter bomb which injured a woman may have been sent by animal rights
extremists.
Police were called into DNA testing firm, Cellmark, at Abingdon in
Oxfordshire after a small explosion.
The woman was treated at Abingdon Hospital and has now been discharged.
Officers say the name Barry Horne, a campaigner who died in 2001, was
written on the back of the envelope.
The area has now been declared safe and detectives are investigating.
Nobody from the firm was available for comment following the incident.
Disclaimer
Pete has taken all reasonable care to ensure that pages published by him
were accurate on the date of publication or last modification.
Other pages which may be linked or which Pete may have published are in
a personal capacity. Pete takes no responsibility for the consequences
of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information
published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any
basis of a contract with readers or users of it.
It is in the nature of Usenet & Web sites, that much of the information is
experimental or constantly changing, that information published may
be for test purposes only, may be out of date, or may be the personal
opinion of the author.
Readers should verify information gained from the Web/Usenet with the appropriate
authorities before relying on it.
Should you no longer wish to read this material or content, please use your
newsreaders kill filter.
And it's relevance to fishing is?
Pete is making a threat ?
Pete ‹(•¿•)›
2007-02-08 19:35:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Thu, 8 Feb 2007 19:09:13 -0000, "Pete <\(.¿.\)>" <Pete
Post by Pete <(.¿.)>
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/19012007/356/police-probe-letter-bomb-attack.html
A letter bomb which injured a woman may have been sent by animal rights
extremists.
Police were called into DNA testing firm, Cellmark, at Abingdon in
Oxfordshire after a small explosion.
The woman was treated at Abingdon Hospital and has now been discharged.
Officers say the name Barry Horne, a campaigner who died in 2001, was
written on the back of the envelope.
The area has now been declared safe and detectives are investigating.
Nobody from the firm was available for comment following the incident.
I find that hard to believe.


--









Disclaimer

Pete has taken all reasonable care to ensure that pages published by him
were accurate on the date of publication or last modification.
Other pages which may be linked or which Pete may have published are in
a personal capacity. Pete takes no responsibility for the consequences
of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information
published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any
basis of a contract with readers or users of it.

It is in the nature of Usenet & Web sites, that much of the information is
experimental or constantly changing, that information published may
be for test purposes only, may be out of date, or may be the personal
opinion of the author.
Readers should verify information gained from the Web/Usenet with the appropriate
authorities before relying on it.

Should you no longer wish to read this material or content, please use your
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'Mike'
2007-02-08 19:45:10 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
On Thu, 8 Feb 2007 19:09:13 -0000, "Pete <\(.¿.\)>" <Pete
Post by Pete <(.¿.)>
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/19012007/356/police-probe-letter-bomb-attack.html
A letter bomb which injured a woman may have been sent by animal rights
extremists.
Police were called into DNA testing firm, Cellmark, at Abingdon in
Oxfordshire after a small explosion.
The woman was treated at Abingdon Hospital and has now been discharged.
Officers say the name Barry Horne, a campaigner who died in 2001, was
written on the back of the envelope.
The area has now been declared safe and detectives are investigating.
Nobody from the firm was available for comment following the incident.
I find that hard to believe.
--
oooooooooooooopppppppppppppppppssss :-))

Mike
--
..........................................................
Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association
www.rnshipmates.co.uk
www.nsrafa.com
'Mike'
2007-02-08 19:11:32 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
Nice post Derek. That's the power of free speech. People can only bury
their heads in the sand for so long.
???????????

That's odd. It appears to come from you!!

Mike
--
..........................................................
Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association
www.rnshipmates.co.uk
www.nsrafa.com
Pete ‹(•¿•)›
2007-02-08 19:36:43 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by 'Mike'
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
On Thu, 08 Feb 2007 18:39:57 +0000, Derek Moody
Post by Derek Moody
Boycott Foie Gras!
http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_veggie/ALL/1507//
DEFRA Minister, Ben Bradshaw, has said that consumers should boycott
foie gras, the shockingly cruel product that is obtained by
force-feeding geese and ducks. The production of foie gras is banned
in the UK but, because of trade laws, it can still be imported into
the country. Bradshaw said: 'We believe that the production of foie
gras using force-feeding gives rise to serious welfare concerns … We
hope that public pressure will contribute to an end to this practice.'
Ducks and geese have large quantities of corn and fat pumped directly
into their stomachs via a funnel. This happens four times a day for up
to 18 days and causes the animals' livers to swell up to ten times
their normal size.
The tube that is pushed down their throats can cause serious injuries
including rupture of the oesophagus and stomach. Unsurprisingly, the
mortality rate of birds on a foie gras farm is up to 20 times greater
than that of other poultry farms, where the death rate is also
extraordinarily high. In the UK, one in 20 broiler chickens - that is,
130 million birds - die before they reach slaughter weight every year.
Force-feeding ducks and geese it also outlawed in a number of
countries including Poland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Israel. And
the City of Chicago in the US has banned the sale of foie gras.
In December, Sainsbury's and Lidl removed all foie gras from their
stores and most supermarkets have already made the decision not to
stock it. Sadly, chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey continue to
serve the diseased livers at their restaurants.
Animal Aid campaigns peacefully against all animal abuse, and promotes
a cruelty-free lifestyle. You can support our work by joining, making
a donation, or using our online shop.
Contact Animal Aid at The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge,
Kent, TN9 1AW, UK, tel +44 (0)1732 364546, fax +44 (0)1732 366533,
Nice post Derek. That's the power of free speech. People can only bury
their heads in the sand for so long.
???????????
That's odd. It appears to come from you!!
Mike
Really, whys that?


--









Disclaimer

Pete has taken all reasonable care to ensure that pages published by him
were accurate on the date of publication or last modification.
Other pages which may be linked or which Pete may have published are in
a personal capacity. Pete takes no responsibility for the consequences
of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information
published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any
basis of a contract with readers or users of it.

It is in the nature of Usenet & Web sites, that much of the information is
experimental or constantly changing, that information published may
be for test purposes only, may be out of date, or may be the personal
opinion of the author.
Readers should verify information gained from the Web/Usenet with the appropriate
authorities before relying on it.

Should you no longer wish to read this material or content, please use your
newsreaders kill filter.
'Mike'
2007-02-08 19:47:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
Post by 'Mike'
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
Nice post Derek. That's the power of free speech. People can only bury
their heads in the sand for so long.
???????????
That's odd. It appears to come from you!!
Mike
Really, whys that?
You can fool some people some of the time
You can fool most people most of the time
But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time

:-))

Mike
Who only posts as Mike
--
..........................................................
Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association
www.rnshipmates.co.uk
www.nsrafa.com
Pete ‹(•¿•)›
2007-02-08 19:49:49 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by 'Mike'
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
Post by 'Mike'
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
Nice post Derek. That's the power of free speech. People can only bury
their heads in the sand for so long.
???????????
That's odd. It appears to come from you!!
Mike
Really, whys that?
You can fool some people some of the time
You can fool most people most of the time
But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time
:-))
Who cares?


--









Disclaimer

Pete has taken all reasonable care to ensure that pages published by him
were accurate on the date of publication or last modification.
Other pages which may be linked or which Pete may have published are in
a personal capacity. Pete takes no responsibility for the consequences
of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information
published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any
basis of a contract with readers or users of it.

It is in the nature of Usenet & Web sites, that much of the information is
experimental or constantly changing, that information published may
be for test purposes only, may be out of date, or may be the personal
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'Mike'
2007-02-08 19:59:29 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
Who cares?
You don't silly billy.

:-))

Mike
--
..........................................................
Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association
www.rnshipmates.co.uk
www.nsrafa.com
Pete ‹(•¿•)›
2007-02-08 20:09:00 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by 'Mike'
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
Who cares?
You don't silly billy.
How long can you silly people go on doing posting this trash, before
getting embarrassed at yourselves?
Post by 'Mike'
:-))
No one is laughing, only at you! Don't you see?
--









Disclaimer

Pete has taken all reasonable care to ensure that pages published by him
were accurate on the date of publication or last modification.
Other pages which may be linked or which Pete may have published are in
a personal capacity. Pete takes no responsibility for the consequences
of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information
published on any of these pages, and such information does not form any
basis of a contract with readers or users of it.

It is in the nature of Usenet & Web sites, that much of the information is
experimental or constantly changing, that information published may
be for test purposes only, may be out of date, or may be the personal
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'Mike'
2007-02-08 20:11:48 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
How long can you silly people go on doing posting this trash, before
getting embarrassed at yourselves?
Talking about yourself I see.
Post by Pete ‹(•¿•)›
No one is laughing, only at you! Don't you see?
--
That is you talking to you in the mirror. Let's hope that you understand
what you are saying!!

Mike
--
..........................................................
Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association
www.rnshipmates.co.uk
www.nsrafa.com
Derek Moody
2007-02-09 08:48:54 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
In article <***@4ax.com>, Derek Moody
<URL:mailto:***@derekmoody.con> wrote:

No I didn't. This is a genuine Pete the troll, cut and paste, forged post.
Post by Derek Moody
Boycott Foie Gras!
Cheerio,
--
Post by Derek Moody
http://www.farm-direct.co.uk/
Osvald Hotz De Baar
2008-03-06 17:38:39 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I found this quite interesting.

http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/murdershewrote.htm

Murder, She Wrote
Piggy on a Plate / Fowl Play / Talking Turkey / Assault and Battery /
Lamb to the Slaughter / Milky No-Way / Bulls to you / The
Slaughterhouse / Stunned / Electric Tongs / Captive Bolt Pistol /
Electrified Water Bath / Religious Slaughter

Imagine you just landed on Planet Earth and want to find out more
about the diet of the human race. You know that people who eat animals
run a much greater risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. They
are more likely to suffer from gall stones, obesity, diet-related
diabetes, kidney stones, food poisoning and constipation! You also
know that livestock farming is a hopelessly inefficient way of feeding
people and that it causes pollution on a staggering scale. On top of
that, you have discovered that incarcerating and killing animals
causes great pain and suffering.

Coming from an advanced planet which encourages compassion and wisdom,
you obviously expect to find that most people on earth will be
vegetarians and vegans.

To your amazement, instead you discover that each year, meat eaters in
Britain consume their own weight in animal flesh. Over the period of a
lifetime it amounts to:

5 Cattle / 20 Pigs / 29 Sheep / 780 Chickens / 46 Turkeys / 18 Ducks /
7 Rabbits / 1½ Geese

You find it impossible to believe that over 850 million animals are
slaughtered for food in Britain each year. This breaks down as:

2.3 million Cattle
19 million Sheep and Lambs
16 million Pigs
792 million Chickens
35 million Turkeys
18 million Ducks
1 million Geese
5 million Rabbits*
10,000 Deer
9,000 Goats

But how are these animals farmed? Surely humankind must show some
compassion and respect for its fellow creatures with which it shares
the Earth?

Piggy on a Plate
Pigs are more intelligent than dogs and used to live wild in Britain.
Now they are kept locked in prisons for meat. Pigs lived in the great
forests and woods that covered most of the UK eating beech nuts,
acorns, other seeds and nuts, insects, roots and occasionally carrion.
Their snout and strong neck helped them to grub up roots and other
food. Not keen on temperature extremes, they sought shade under the
trees when they were hot and made nests from the litter on the forest
floor when they felt it was getting too nippy. All the wild pigs in
Britain were hunted to extinction in the seventeenth century.
Instead of being free, with a right to a natural existence, more than
90 per cent of piglets are factory farmed. In investigations of farms
all over Britain, Viva! exposed diseased, dead and dying animals.

In almost every fattening unit was glaring neglect and indifference -
broken legs, abscesses, ruptured stomachs, animals coughing with
pneumonia, others panting from meningitis, cuts and lacerations from
the perforated metal on which they are forced to live.

One farm investigated in Yorkshire - which supplied major supermarkets
- looked almost derelict, with junk and debris everywhere and only an
array of grimy windowless sheds as the give away to what it farmed. An
overpowering stench of ammonia and faeces was overwhelming.

There was no light inside but a cacophony of noise - a scrambling and
clattering of animals in fear. The camera lights revealed baby pigs in
barren metal pens and the noise was their feet on the bare metal
floors as they charged to get away. There were so many of then that
there was no place to go or hide.

This near darkness, these utterly barren, sterile conditions is their
home for over a month - about one-fifth of their lives. One pig had a
broken leg, others were stunted and suffering from 'scabby pig' from
which they will almost certainly die. Some were lame, others had
deformed spines.

Outside in a rusting trailer was a pile of rotting corpses,
discoloured and bloated from days of decay were half submerged in
putrid rainwater.

In the 'second stage grower' pen, there were around 200 large pigs in
an area of about 10m by 12m. Overcrowding is typical of this industry.
The pigs squealed and screamed, biting in their desperation to be let
out.

The pigs are killed at about five months old for sausages, bacon, ham
and pork.

The 'breeding stock' - the pigs kept to produce the piglets which are
killed for meat - usually give birth in a small farrowing crate on a
concrete or perforated metal floor. Sows have strong maternal feelings
and would normally spend days building a nest of leaves or straw. In a
crate they cannot do this and so lapse into stereotyped behaviour
where they repeatedly try to build a nest in their barren cell.

The bars on the crates stop the mother pigs from being able to move -
they cannot take a step forward or back or turn around. This causes
the pregnant animals to ache all over and many have back and leg
problems.
The bars also stop them from reaching their babies when they give
birth, although the babies can reach their mother's teats to suckle.
The piglets are taken away early at about three weeks old and kept in
the fattening units. Five days after her piglets are taken away, the
sow is made pregnant again and the whole misery-go-round continues.

Fowl Play
While red meat consumption declines, more chickens are being eaten
than ever before. Sadly, some people believe that white meat is
somehow healthy. They are wrong. Chicken meat clots arteries, triggers
cancers and is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning in the
world. And chicken farming is outright cruel.

Chicks are kept in sheds called broiler houses where up to 100,000
birds are crammed with less than 600cm2 of space per bird (about the
space of a computer screen). The floor is concrete and laid with
sawdust, wood shavings or chopped straw but soon becomes covered with
the animals' excrement. The filth may attract rats and flies bringing
disease and because the birds are forced to spend their entire lives
standing in their own droppings, they are in terrible pain from hock
burns (burns to their feet and legs), breast blisters and ulcerated
feet. (Think how sore a little ulcer is in your mouth and then imagine
having ulcers all over your feet.Yuk.) The windowless sheds are
artificially lit for 23½ hours a day. This deters the chicks from
sleeping and instead makes them eat more. A fat bird means more money.
And money is used to excuse all sorts of cruel and sickening things
that humans do to animals and even their own kind.

Broiler chickens are ready for slaughter at 1.8kg live weight in 42
days, half the time it once took. They go to death with the bodies of
adult chickens and the blue eyes and high pitched 'cheep' of little
chicks. The birds grow abnormally fast because they are fed growth
promoting antibiotics and are selectively bred to do so.

The result is that the bones of many break under their ballooning
weight and their hearts are frequently unable to cope. The
Agricultural and Food Research Council (which supports factory
farming) state that up to four fifths of broiler chickens have broken
bones, deformed feet and legs or other skeletal defects. According to
the National Farmers Union, about 72 million birds die in broiler
houses every year - before they even reach the slaughterhouse.

Talking Turkey
At Christmas it would be nice to think that humans show some goodwill
to other creatures. And increasing numbers do. But many British still
celebrate Christmas by killing 11 million turkeys. And yet this
British "tradition" only began in the Industrial Revolution and became
widespread in the 1950's when factory farming began.

Turkeys are still wild in America. It makes you even sadder to think
of the farmed birds when you have seen them free in their natural
environment. Wild turkeys are actually very handsome, with black wing
and tail feathers that shimmer red-green and copper, contrasting with
their white wing bars - nothing like the all-white, broad-breasted,
meat strains bred in our farms today. They enjoy roosting in trees,
but build their nests on the ground. If they are threatened, they can
fly as far as 1.6km at an amazing 88km/h (55mph). Strange that so many
people think turkeys can't fly. Seeds, nuts, roots, tubers, grubs,
grasses, legumes and sometimes small amphibians and molluscs (snails
and slugs) make up their varied diet. The turkeys semi-wild nature
means that they suffer very badly in factory farms.

Yet almost all turkeys are intensively reared in Britain. One day old
chicks (known as poults) are either placed in large, windowless
broiler sheds or in pole barns which have natural light and
ventilation. Up to 25,000 birds may be crammed into a shed - giving
only 0.27 - 0.37m² space per bird. As they grow they can hardly move
and the floor becomes putrid and stinks of excreta. Like broiler
chickens, the poor turkeys are in agony from burns and ulcers on the
feet and breasts. Professor John Webster, Head of Department of Animal
Husbandry, Bristol University says:

"One quarter of the heavy strains of broiler chickens and turkey are
in chronic pain for one third of their lives. Given that poultry meat
consumption in the UK exceeds one million tonnes per annum, this must
constitute in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe,
systematic example of man's inhumanity to another sentient animal."
(Animal Welfare: A Cool Eye Towards Eden, Blackwell Science, 1995)

Instead of the wide variety of food that a turkey is meant to eat,
farmed birds are given pellets of the same unnaturally high protein
feed, day in, day out. A boring, never changing diet causes
frustration and stress to almost all farm animals. Because farmed
turkeys are forced to grow quickly and have an unnaturally large
breast size, many are in severe pain as their heart and legs cannot
withstand this abnormally rapid growth. About two million baby birds
die mainly from heart attacks before they reach slaughter weight.
Turkeys are never cannibals in the wild but in overcrowded, filthy and
boring conditions they may peck at each other relentlessly. Instead of
changing the conditions, some are debeaked with a red-hot blade at 5
days old.

At between 12 to 26 weeks old, the end comes for the birds and many
are destined to become the "traditional" Christmas type of dinner -
oven-ready turkey. Those worn out from constant breeding are made into
processed meats, such as turkey "ham" or "sausages".

Some of the saddest turkeys are the ones kept for breeding. They can
grow to the huge weight of six stone and have such diseased hip joints
that they can barely walk.

Doesn't it seem strange that when people sit down for Christmas
dinner, to celebrate peace and forgiveness and all the better things
in life, they do it by first cutting something's throat and killing
it? When they "coo" and "aah" and say what a lovely turkey they're
munching into, they close their eyes to the pain and filth that was
its life. And when they carve its huge breast they probably don't even
know that this great lump of flesh has turned turkeys into freaks. We
have produced a creature that can't even mate without us doing it for
them using artificial insemination. Not a very merry Christmas for
them! Turkeys are naturally "bootiful" but what we have done to them
is anything but that.

Assault and Battery
Do chickens kept for their eggs fare better? After all you've seen all
the ads and egg boxes that proudly declare "country fresh" and "fresh
from the countryside", "farm fresh". Surely this means hens are free
to roam the fields and woods? 'Fraid not! Unless an egg box actually
has the words FREE RANGE, it is almost certain that the eggs are from
battery hens. (In 1998 Marks & Spencer stopped selling battery eggs
and only sell free range; a positive move that came about from public
pressure against the cage system.) However around 85 per cent of
Britain's eggs are produced on battery farms, where the hens are
squashed together in small cages. They can never spread their wings,
scratch in the earth, perch or make a nest, dust-bathe, search for
food that is tasty and natural, or even walk or run.

Instead, five hens are packed into a cage of only 45 x 50cm. (slightly
bigger than your average microwave oven) and are never allowed out
again until they are taken for slaughter.

The average wing span of a hen is 76cm - so movement and natural
behaviour is severely restricted. Thousands of cages are stacked into
windowless sheds - with artificial lighting for about 17 hours a day
to promote egg laying. Up to 30,000 birds are packed in these sheds
and they are all fed, watered and their eggs collected by an automatic
system. When a hen lays an egg, it rolls onto a conveyor belt and is
taken away to be boxed. Birds of 18 weeks old are put into these cages
and are not removed until they are 18 months to two years old, when
they are killed. Try to imagine the frustration, the boredom, the
anger that this system creates. Hens in more natural conditions will
often live for 7 years - sometimes much more. Slaughtered battery hens
are processed into soups, baby foods, stock cubes, school dinners or
used in the restaurant trade.

And what of the male chicks? Because battery hens are bred to be lean,
to eat little and lay a lot, 40 million male day old chicks are killed
every year - too skinny for meat, unable to lay. Their bodies are used
as fertilizer or as feed for farm animals.

Hens in the wild lay only 20 eggs a year, which will mostly have been
fertilised by a cockerel and will hatch. There are no cockerels in
battery sheds so all eggs are infertile. The battery hen has been bred
to produce an unbelievable 300 eggs a year - nearly one a day.
However, this breeding has not stripped them of their instincts and
desires. Like hens in the wild, they need a safe, private place to lay
their eggs, something which is not available when sharing a cage with
so many other birds. The process can take up to an hour or more,
during which time they will attempt to hide from their cagemates. The
frustration often makes them become aggressive. Hens lay eggs because
it is a bodily function which they have no control over, not because
they are "happy"

Creatures whose nature is to move around almost ceaselessly during
daylight hours must, when restricted like this, somehow substitute
their desire to peck and scratch in the ground. The only source of
interest left to them is the feathers and flesh of their cage mates
which they frequently peck - sometimes to death. If you were squashed
into a phone box with four other people - maybe people you didn't even
like - perhaps you would become aggressive after a few months (or a
few days?!). These "vices" could be stopped by providing a decent
amount of space but instead of this many farmers practice beaktrimming
- a red-hot blade removes part of the beak when the birds are young.
Some die from bleeding or shock.

The combination of a lack of fresh air and daylight, selective
breeding, and caging in overcrowded conditions has led to the spread
of diseases and to distress and suffering. Prolapses, egg peritonitis,
cancers, infectious bronchitis and Gumboro disease are just a few of
the conditions that thrive in battery houses. The bones of battery
hens are often so brittle that they will snap like dry twigs. The
Agricultural and Food Research Council states that one third of
battery hens suffer from broken bones. A review of all scientific
studies on battery farming by the University of Edinburgh concludes
that "battery hens suffer" and that battery cages should be outlawed.
But then you didn't need a scientist to tell you that, did you? The
two million battery hens that die each year in their cages are
testimony to that.

Lamb to the Slaughter
Sheep are kept for their wool, skin, meat and milk. On the face of it,
you think that they have suffered the least from the growth of factory
farming - here free range actually means free range. Yes, sheep mostly
still live in the open in conditions that are fairly close to their
natural environment. They eat mostly a natural diet and are allowed
contact with other sheep without being overcrowded or caged. When
young, most are protected and nurtured by their own mothers -
something denied to most factory-reared animals. Compared to battery
hens or factory farmed pigs, they have a good life, or do they?

Having watched huntsmen maraud across the countryside on the pretence
of protecting sheep from foxes, you'd be forgiven for thinking these
must be special creatures indeed. Precious even. But it's all a sham
and four million sheep die each year of cold, hunger, sickness,
pregnancy complications or injury and one million lambs die of
exposure within a few days of birth.

Sheep are suited to the dry, rocky land of hill country, being prone
to foot diseases when kept on damp, low land. Despite their inherent
unsuitability for living on low-lying land, much of the Midlands has
been given over to sheep rearing as has Sussex, Kent, Devon and many
other unhilly counties. The life led by these creatures is
considerably different to those reared on the uplands, such as in
Wales.

Subsidies and science have allowed the size of the British flock to
increase from about 34 million to 45 million animals from 1982 up to
1998. The UK is the EU's biggest sheep meat producer (380,000 tonnes
in 1998), followed by Spain and France. However, almost 40 per cent of
UK sheep meat and live sheep were exported in 1998 as the British
taste in lamb has been declining since the 1980's.

Some 43 per cent, or £488 million out of £1.1 billion in 1998, of the
income of sheep farmers in Britain comes from the public purse, from
taxation, from you and I. The government stated in 1994 that: "Most
hill farmers and many lowland sheep keepers would be incapable of
financial survival if subsidies were withdrawn."

All red meat producers receive Government subsidies of one kind or
another. No other industry is cushioned in this way. It is ironic that
a trade which is damaging and cruel receives such support.

Normally, sheep breed once a year and have one or two lambs. The ewe
(female sheep) naturally comes into season in the autumn or winter and
the five-month pregnancy ensures that most lambs are born in the
warmer conditions of spring when food is plentiful. But farmers, lured
by the higher prices paid for Easter lamb, change this natural
breeding cycle so that lambs are born earlier. Many never survive the
cold. The ewes are made to come into season early with the use of
hormones or by being kept indoors and controlling the amount of light
they receive - the decline in daylight hours being responsible for
triggering oestrus.

The most profitable produce of British sheep is their lambs - wool
coming a distant second, producing between five and 10 per cent of
total income per ewe - so they are under pressure to produce more and
more offspring. Some may have three or four lambs a year - leading to
more intensive, indoor rearing because of their inability to cope with
this many lambs in cold weather.

Lambs are often slaughtered at about four months old, although some
are killed as young as ten weeks and others up to 15 months. The meat
from older sheep is called mutton and is less popular than lamb so is
mostly used in processed foods. Ewes are able to live to the age of 15
or so but are slaughtered after four to eight years.

Sheep have been bred to grow more wool than nature intended.
Naturally, they have an outer covering of hair, with the wool making
up just a fine undercoat. Domesticated breeds have been "improved" to
increase the wool and to reduce the coarse hair. Hill-breeds still
have quite coarse coats as protection against the weather but breeds
such as the Merino have only a fine, soft fleece. Domesticated sheep
have to be shorn every year before the weather becomes too hot and
uncomfortable and it can be a stressful experience for animals not
used to being handled.

About 27 per cent of UK wool comes from slaughtered sheep, usually
lambs.

Milky No-Way
If you were an alien visitor, by now you would surely be wondering if
all creatures on earth took second place to money. And of course the
answer would have to be yes. But the biggest shock is yet to come.
Unlike many humans, the alien would know that an animal can only give
milk when it has given birth to its offspring and it doesn't pour from
an animal tap whenever needed. For a continual supply of milk it would
be obvious that a cow would have to be made pregnant every year but
the method involved would shock anyone.

After a nine month pregnancy, a cow's tiny, teetering calf is
separated from her after only one or two days.

That's how long it takes for the calf to suckle the disease-preventing
colostrum from its mother but not long enough to snatch the milk which
must all be kept for humans, up to a staggering 7,000 litres a year,
ten times more than her little calf could ever drink. If the calf is a
male it is very likely, after only a week, he will be shot - an
unwanted by-product of the dairy industry. (Before BSE he would have
been crammed into a lorry with hundreds of other calves and despatched
on a journey to France or Holland, petrified, bewildered and often
deprived of water, food or rest. On arrival he would have been placed
in a veal crate.)

But what of its mother cow 324? It was her eighth calf and will
probably be the last. The genetic manipulation and dietary controls
which have led to her extraordinary output of milk carry with them a
cost, all borne by the cow. She has a one-in-three chance of her
udders secreting pus and painfully swelling with mastitis, and the
antibiotics forced up her udders don't have much success in
controlling the disease.

Because of the strain of carrying her oversized udders, she is likely
to be amongst the one third of cows who are lame from foot and leg
disorders. And her body consumes so much energy for milk production
that her muscles simply waste away. From a distance, these
skin-covered coat racks, munching grass, seem to be in an idyll. But
the ugly truth is that a quarter of dairy cows are so exhausted by the
process they never see their third year, despite having a life
expectancy of 21 years or more. Most cows are killed at four to seven
years, often pregnant when they die. Their meat is then used for soup,
burgers or processed foods.

Professor John Webster, Department of Animal Husbandry, Bristol
University says:

"The dairy cow is a supreme example of an overworked mother. She is
the hardest working of all our farm animals and it can be
scientifically calculated. It is equivalent to a jogger who goes out
for six to eight hours a day which is a lunatic pursuit”. He states
that almost 100 per cent of cows suffer from laminitis - a disease
which causes 'great pain to the cow' (MAFF). Tissue lining of the foot
becomes inflamed and may lead to ulcers. Professor Webster continues:
"To understand the pain of laminitis it helps to imagine crushing your
finger nails in the door then standing on your fingertips."

In intensive farming, many cows are kept in "zero-grazing" systems.
This means that they are kept indoors, where they can't follow their
natural, very strong instinct to graze. Grass is brought to them, and
they are also given a high-protein diet to increase their milk yield.

Bulls to you
There are many different systems for raising cattle for meat, the
least intensive being the suckler herd. The calf is kept with its
mother until weaned and then put on grass until it is heavy enough to
be killed at about two years old.

At the other end of the spectrum, the most intensive method is where
calves are taken from their mothers at birth and reared in pens on
milk replacer and feed pellets. During the first week of their lives
they are usually castrated and have their horn buds chemically burnt
out. In the case of older cows a hot iron might be used and,
theoretically at any rate, an anaesthetic.

To put weight on before slaughter they are taken to fattening sheds
and fed on high quality cereals. There may be straw bedding but it is
becoming common to use slatted concrete floors on which cattle find it
difficult to stand, often resulting in lameness. Some farms keep up to
8,000 animals this way, cramming them into sheds to stop them from
moving around and "wasting" energy in keeping warm. They gain weight
quickly and are ready for slaughter at only 11 to 12 months old.

Fishy business

You have now seen how land animals are treated by humans - as mere
commodities devoid of any feelings. So what of the creatures of the
oceans and rivers? "Oh, we don't have to worry about them because fish
don't feel pain!" A convenient excuse you may think, ensuring fish are
treated as though they have no right to be on planet Earth and if we
continue the way we're going it won't be long before they aren't.

Eighty to 100 million tonnes of fish are caught each year, mostly from
only five different groups - herrings, cod, jacks, redfish and
mackerel. And to catch these, all kinds of other creatures suffer.
Drift nets up to 40 km long catch everything in their way including
dolphins, porpoises, small whales, rays, sharks, diving sea birds and
species of fish which are not wanted. Fish that are caught in trawl
nets are often crushed to death under the weight of the catch. The
'debris' which comes out of the net - shell fish, crabs, starfish and
every conceivable type of crawling, swimming, burrowing creature - is
simply shovelled back into the sea, most of it dead.

Those fish which are still alive by the time they make it on to the
decks of fishing boats have one of two fates. Either they are allowed
to suffocate to death in an alien environment or they are
disembowelled with a gutting knife. Fish such as plaice will
desperately cling to life for hours out of water and may well be
filleted alive.

In an apparent concern at overfishing, the EU has instigated fish
quotas for different species for each member country. What frequently
happens is that once a boat has reached its quota for, say, cod it
continues to fish for haddock. But as cod and haddock swim together
the cod which are caught are simply returned to the sea - dead from
suffocation, crushing or injury. (See Viva! Guide 9: Planet on a
Plate.)

A growing sector is industrial fishing where "non edible" (to humans
that is) species such as sand eels and ling are caught to produce fish
oil or to be turned into high protein livestock and salmon feed or
simply to be used as fertilizer.

The myth that fish are cold blooded and so can't suffer is difficult
to shake off. The term 'cold blooded' isn't even accurate as the
animal's temperature varies according to its surroundings. For
example, some cold blooded animals that live in tropical waters can
have higher temperatures than most "warm blooded" mammals. And neither
term has anything to do with the central nervous system which is
responsible for whether a creature can feel pain or not. Like all
vertebrates, the fish nervous system consists of a brain, a single
nerve cord along the back (spinal cord) and nerves which enable the
animal to feel good and bad sensations. Of course fish do feel pain!

Like land animals, fish are also factory farmed and there are between
1,000 to 1,500 fish farms in Britain alone that mainly rear trout or
salmon.

Up to 20,000 young salmon are packed into freshwater tanks measuring
only between four and 10m in diameter. After a year to 18 months they
are taken to loch or river estuary cages where they are injected with
antibiotics to control diseases. They are then regularly doused with
pesticides to kill plagues of sea lice. Despite this prolific use of
chemicals, between 20 and 50 per cent die from diseases such as cancer
or pancreas and kidney infections.

Before they are killed by being cut across the gills with a sharp
knife, the fish are starved of food for two weeks. This is simply
because it is less messy to take out the insides of a fish that has
not eaten.

The Slaughterhouse
If you were from outer space, your alien brain would so far have been
seriously intellectually challenged but don't worry because there's
worse to come! How do you explain to an alien that humans happily eat
meat but refuse to think about how it gets there - don't want to know
how it gets there - because it upsets them? Most people don't want to
work in a slaughterhouse, have never set foot in one and refuse to
listen when you try to tell them about it. How much business would a
restaurant do if, when someone ordered lamb chops, they were given a
very sharp knife and a three-month-old lamb and told to cut its
throat?

It might even remind you of your Martian children who shut their eyes
when frightened because if they can't see the Klingon they think it
doesn't exist. So desperate are some organisations to keep people's
eyes closed that they try to rubbish charities like Viva!.

As a superior being you firmly believe that the truth cannot harm a
person, only help them to make the right choices. So here it is!

Stunned
Slaughter, like any other business, is subject to all the usual
business approaches - efficiency, incentives, cost control and so on.
The animals which go through its doors are units of production and the
quicker they're killed the higher the earnings, the greater the
profits. Slaughter becomes production line just like a car factory.

The pigs, sheep and cattle arrive in lorries and are unloaded into a
series of pens called the "lairage". Chickens are normally left in
their crates to await their slaughter.

Most animals are killed by having their throats cut and the rules say
that they must first be stunned - made unconscious - to save them from
feeling pain. Well, that's the theory and it immediately falls flat
when it comes to religious slaughter. The drive for speed and
efficiency can also result in the rules being bent but it is the
methods themselves which make a nonsense of this supposedly
humanitarian concern. Different methods are used for different
animals. Some of them are:

Electric tongs are used on pigs, most sheep and some calves.

An electrified water bath is used almost exclusively for poultry.

Gas stunning is used on some pigs and poultry.

The captive bolt is used on cattle, most calves and some sheep.

Electric Tongs
The animals are taken from the lairage to the stunning point either
individually or in groups where they are penned and stunned one by one
in front of each other.

The low-voltage tongs consist of terminals which look a bit like
headphones and are attached to insulated handles - imagine a large
pair of garden shears with a round bit on the end of each blade. The
slaughterman clamps the terminals to the animal's head, hopefully in
front of its ears, and triggers an electric shock which is supposed to
render it unconscious. A chain is then placed around a hind leg and
the creature is hoisted into the air where its throat is cut - called
"sticking" - allowing it to bleed to death - called "bleeding out".

Well, that's the theory but the stunning lasts for only about 20
seconds and if the slaughterman is too slow the animal can regain
consciousness. This happens quite regularly according to the Food
Research Institute. It found that with sheep, the time between
stunning and sticking was usually more than 30 seconds and in some
cases more than a minute. What this means is that millions of animals
are conscious when their throat is cut.

Productivity has a bearing as slaughtermen are usually on piece rates,
being paid on the basis of how many animals they kill. To be truly
effective the tongs need to be placed in exactly the right position on
the animals head and held there for at least seven seconds. For the
sake of speed this often doesn't happen. Animals can and do regain
consciousness but often don't show it because one effect of the
electric shock can be to induce paralysis for up to 30 seconds.

The European Union Veterinary Committee says: "Under commercial
conditions, a considerable proportion of animals are either
inadequately stunned or require a second stun. This is mainly because
of poor electrode placements, bad electrical contacts and long
stun-to-stick intervals". (Scientific Veterinary Committee Animal
Welfare Section. 1996. Report on the Slaughter and Killing of Animals.
Directorate-General for Agriculture; European Commission.)

Captive Bolt Pistol
This little device is like a pistol but when the trigger is pulled and
the cartridge explodes, instead of firing a bullet it shoots out a
metal bolt. The bolt can only travel 9 cm as it's still attached to
the pistol. Cattle to be killed are driven single file into a roofless
metal box one at a time, the pistol is placed against their forehead
and the bolt fired into their brain. Done properly the animal will
immediately lose consciousness but often it isn't done properly. A bad
or hurried aim, a sudden movement from the animal and the bolt can
miss meaning agony inflicting terrible pain and requiring a second
attempt.

Again the method of killing is to haul the animal up by a back leg and
cut its throat.

The reason that animals are first stunned rather than being killed
immediately is to allow their body to continue to function for a short
time, enabling the creature's heart to pump out its own blood.
Bacteria in the blood does cause the meat to deteriorate but it's now
known that it makes no difference to the amount of blood lost whether
the heart is beating or not.

Electrified Water Bath
Poultry represent the ultimate in efficiency. They enter the packing
stations as living creatures and leave as wrapped, fresh or frozen
table birds or in pies and other meat products. To feed this
efficiency, a carefully planned production line is organised with
lorries laden with crates full of birds arriving at set times
throughout the day.

The chickens and turkeys have their legs placed in metal shackles and
are hung upside down on a moving conveyor. Many of the chickens will
already have broken bones. For turkeys it is particularly painful
because of their weight and no exceptions are made even for the hugely
overweight male breeding birds which can top 27 kg (about 60 lbs) - as
much as an eight or nine-year-old child. The strain on their usually
diseased hip joints is enormous and painful.

The conveyer belt passes over an electrified bath and one by one their
heads are dragged through it. Some birds miss the bath by raising
their heads and these arrive at the human throat cutter fully
conscious. The larger packing stations often use mechanical throat
cutters and for smaller birds it can mean that the blade misses their
throat and cuts their head while for larger birds it can mean a cut on
the breast. If these failures aren't noticed it can mean that fully
conscious birds are dipped into the scalding tank. This is a procedure
which loosens the feathers and is another stop on the relentless
production line.

The European Union Veterinary Committee report that they are concerned
by this method of stunning because the wrong size shackles are often
used; pre-stun shocks in turkeys are very high (80%) because their
wings hang lower than their heads and touch the water first; and
currents may not be high enough to kill or lose consciousness. Viva!
states in its report on slaughter that ventral neck cutting is not
usually carried out and so birds are often conscious when they reach
the scalding tank. Heads of ducks and geese in particular may not be
immersed in the waterbath at all.

(Scientific Veterinary Committee Animal Welfare Section. 1996. Report
on the Slaughter and Killing of Animals. Directorate-General for
Agriculture; European Commission and Viva! report on Slaughter 1998.)

Religious Slaughter
(For a fully referenced report on religious slaughter, see Going for
the Kill, Viva! Report on the Religious (Ritual) Slaughter of Animals,
1998.)

As part of their religious faith, both British Jews and Muslims have
special dispensation from the usual rules of slaughter. Animals killed
to provide their kosher or halal meat are sent to the knife fully
conscious. It can be a slow and laborious process for a stressed and
terrified creature.

For Jewish shechita slaughter, cattle are placed in an upright pen one
at a time; he or she is pushed forwards so that their head sticks out
one end; a plate moves up from the floor to support the underside of
the body and the head is raised by a chin lift which extends the
animal's neck so that his/her neck can be cut more easily. When the
throat has been cut, a side gate is raised and a hind leg is shackled.
The chin-lift and belly plate are released and the animal is pulled
out of the pen by a hoist and moved to an overhead rail.

The animal is supposed to be killed instantly by a single cut across
the neck, however the reality is somewhat different as the following
description of Viva! footage of the killing shows:

'The cow's neck is extended and the head lifted upwards by a chin lift
in an upright pen. The animal's nostrils are flaring, eyes staring and
it is salivating. The slaughterer cuts the cow's throat by slicing
across it, backwards and forwards 13 times. The cow jerks away from
the knife as far as it can and its facial reaction shows pain and
great aversion. The cow does not collapse immediately (the filming
ends before it does).....'

A huge problem with religious slaughter is that millions of animals
bleed slowly. Anil et al say: "It is well recognised that unstunned
calves which bleed poorly can take a long time to die." It takes more
than five minutes for the animals to stop trying to stand normally.

(Anil, M.H. et al 1995. Welfare of Calves - 2. Increase in Vertebral
Artery Blood Flow following Exsanguination by Neck Sticking and
Evaluation of Chest Sticking as an Alternative Slaughter Method. Meat
Science, vol 41, 2, 113-123.)

Professor Donald Broom, specialist in farm animal behaviour,
University of Cambridge says:

"Animals are not stunned during the Jewish Shechita or the Muslim
Halal religious slaughter procedures. There is a period of
consciousness after the throat is cut which may last for 30 seconds to
several minutes during which the animal must be in great pain and
distress. As the heart still beats after stunning and blood drains
from the animal just as effectively whether or not the animal is
stunned there is no logical reason why stunning should not be carried
out before the throat is cut."

(Broom, D.M. & Fraser, A.F. 1996. Farm Animal Behaviour & Welfare.
Bailliere Tindall.)

For Muslim halal slaughter, sheep and goats are placed on their backs
in a metal cradle or simply hoisted up by a back leg before having
their throat slit. Poultry are held head downwards while their throats
are cut.

Hardly surprisingly, many Muslims and Jews have turned against
religious slaughter and eat previously stunned meat, or even more
effective they have become vegetarian.

Imagine once again you're a visitor to earth from outer space, a
creature of higher intellect and greater perception than humans so you
are obviously already a vegetarian. You find it inconceivable that
your earthling friends, now they know the truth, won't join you in
such a necessary and fundamental change. They could continue to bury
their heads in the sand, but what's the point - it won't go away.
There's an old saying - if you can't beat them join them. In this
case, the only way to beat them is not to join them. Join Viva!
instead. It's always here on Earth to help you every step of the way.


Juliet Gellatley is the Founder and Director of Viva!. She has a
degree in zoology and is a leading authority on vegetarian and vegan
issues launching many successful campaigns from Convert-a-Parent and
SCREAM!! to Pig In Hell and a campaign that stopped the nationwide
sale of 'exotic' meats. She also created National Vegetarian Week.
Juliet produced the double award-winning teenage videos, Food Without
Fear and Food for Life as well as Devour the Earth and coedits
Viva!Life magazine. Juliet has given hundreds of talks on animal
rights and vegetarianism and ardently believes that youth education is
the key to a more compassionate world. She is frequently interviewed
on radio and TV. Juliet is author of The Livewire Guide to Going,
Being and Staying Veggie, Born to be Wild and the classic book on
vegetarian issues - the Silent Ark.

Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
Old Codger
2008-03-21 21:28:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I think we need to start thinking about where our food comes from!

http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/justiceforall.htm

Life Sentences
An agonised debate wracked society a couple of hundred years ago.
Church, government and the middle classes searched their consciences,
argued publicly and offered evidence to back their views. However, it
was a one-sided argument and they soon reached agreement, with a
collective sigh of relief. It was official – black people didn’t have
souls. More than that, they would benefit from the discipline of hard
labour provided by their Christian masters.

The outcome was – business as usual. Ship’s architects played with
little models of prostrate humans, jiggling and juggling them until
every available space on every possible deck was filled. They produced
new vessels that could carry even greater numbers of slaves. It
translated into millions of human beings being chained, motionless,
side by side in the festering dark of a ship’s hold for weeks on end.
Over two million died and were simply tossed into the Atlantic’s
waves.

In West Africa, slave traders continued to plunder villages, yoking
the inhabitants by the neck in long lines of misery. In the colonies,
plantation owners continued to divide families, beat abuse and exhaust
the people over whom they had complete and total control. In Bristol
and other sea towns, the monied counted their dividends from this
trade in human degradation.

So long as we persuaded ourselves that black people were beasts then
we could do to them as we wished. Few people posed the question of
whether we should be handing out such barbarity to beasts. The
overriding concern was to defend the right to make money. In order to
do that, almost anything could be excused.

The argument these days is not about souls but about consciousness,
awareness, the ability of animals to feel or fear. But it is motivated
by entirely the same morality. Pigs are imprisoned in barren crates,
so deprived of stimulation that they often go mad. They are forced to
have as many litters of piglets as their bodies will stand but they
are not allowed to mother them. But it’s fine because they spend their
lives in buildings sheltered from the elements with all the food they
need and no animal wants more than that! Well, that’s what we’re told.

If a person did the same thing to dogs they would be prosecuted for
cruelty – and yet a pig is equally as intelligent as a dog. So why the
difference? Why do we have two sets of rules, one for a dog and one
for a pig? There is no logical explanation except that we eat pigs
after we’ve been cruel to them and industry makes money from their
suffering.

Doesn’t it seem extraordinary that we can cram sheep into lorries in
three tiers, knowing that the top tier will urinate and defecate on
the sheep below and that tier will do the same to the sheep below
them. We then drive them around Europe without food, water or rest and
talk about a humane society. Could anyone with no financial interest
conceive of such a way to treat any feeling creature? But, of course,
they feel differently to us! Or so we’re told.

Trawlers criss-cross the world’s oceans, their trawl boards crushing
everything on the sea bed that has the misfortune to be in their path.
Much of what is caught is either thrown back dead or turned into fish
meal to feed other animals. Those to be eaten have a knife thrust into
them and are disembowelled while still alive. But that’s all right
because fish don’t feel pain! Who could ever have conceived of such an
excuse and who would have believed that so many people would be taken
in by it?

Watch a chicken as she forages around a field. It struts and scratches
and runs and bathes in sand. Its feet thrust the earth to one side in
search of bugs and beetles and seeds and other things to eat. Her
feathers shine and glint in the sunshine. What intelligence could ever
have conceived of taking these restless creatures and cramming them
five to a cage little bigger than a microwave oven? The beak is
clipped, the feathers fall out and the pathetic creatures are bred to
produce 10 times more eggs than they would naturally. Instead of bugs
and beetles and seeds we produce boring pellets of indeterminate
origin and feed that to them. Every attempt to end the battery system
is resisted. Well, chickens aren’t really animals, are they?

The only excuse for visiting such suffering on other creatures can be
ignorance. But that exit is closed to us because we do know the truth.
We might pretend we don’t, we might say that to give up battery eggs
is pointless as one person’s abstinence doesn’t make any difference
and we might even say what the battery owners say – that it’s of no
consequence. But really we know it’s wrong and that knowledge makes us
push the reality into the darker reaches of our minds. If we don’t
think about it, it doesn’t exist.

The world has existed for nearly five billion years during which time
various life forms have developed and evolved. From the earliest sea
life to the most complex mammals such as apes, they have all had one
thing in common – they have lived within their environment, part of it
and dependent on it. On the African plains, a cheetah chases after a
Tomson’s gazelle. It has evolved to live largely on gazelles and it
chases because it has no choice – it’s that or die. Both creatures
match each other closely for speed and turning ability which ensures
that it is largely the weak, the old or the injured who are caught.
Similarly a cheetah which is slow will not survive. This selection
process ensures that only the fit and healthy survive to pass their
genes on to their offspring.

Into this fine web of existence came human beings. In evolutionary
terms we have been here for little more than a twinkling of light. But
already we have begun to tear and break the individual strands which
go to make up the web of life. Our entire teaching, both political and
religious, is to place us above and beyond the rules by which all
other animals live, as though they simply don’t apply to us, as though
we are not animals. But the smartest Porsche car, the best stereo
system or the biggest swimming pool can’t alter the fact that we are
animals and we are governed by the same rules which govern all
animals. To ignore these rules is to court disaster. And that is what
we are doing – ignoring the rules.

As a species, we have looked at the world and said that nothing
matters but us. All the glories and wonders are there to be exploited
and if they can’t be exploited then they count for very little. We
destroy without knowing the long-term effects of such actions. And
even when we do know, we continue to destroy because today is much
more important than tomorrow. It is by today’s achievements, today’s
profit margins, today’s boasts that we are judged.

The very philosophy which has brought the planet teetering to the edge
of destruction is, we are told, the same philosophy which will save
us. Like the practice of bleeding in the 18th century, the cure for
our haemorrhage, they say, is to prize open even wider the severed
arteries of life. Allow those with the power even greater licence to
make money and the cure will be found. Profit is now the global
penicillin and its voracious appetite can never be satisfied.

Profit knows no morality other than to be successful. In pursuit of
that success, humans and other animals are exploited – ever more
demanded of them. Knowledge, truth and understanding have ceased to be
signposts to the future and have become obstacles to be circumvented.
For instance, we know that smoking is the biggest avoidable killer yet
every high street is littered with discarded cigarette packets. We
know that a vegetarian diet is much healthier than a meat-based diet
but it is the livestock farmer who receives the subsidies. We know
that poverty destroys people but the gap between rich and poor grows
ever wider.

Leaders have always refused to accept responsibility for their actions
but lack of integrity has become an epidemic disease. They pass the
blame for their failures down the line – to single parents, to
students, to travellers, to squatters, to immigrants, to other
nationalities. Part of the process is to stereotype each of these
groups so they cease to be a collection of ordinary humans.

So what has this to do with animals? Everything! It is all part of the
same process of denial. By pretending that animals have no real desire
for freedom, to procreate naturally, to mother their young or even to
experience pleasure by lying in the sun, then it is so much easier to
use them purely as commodities – like so much iron or coal or steel –
and ignore their pain and fear. It is a philosophy which similarly
applies to humans.

In the poorer parts of the world we ignore suffering on a massive
scale and in the process conveniently forget our own history of
colonisation. It was they who provided the wealth which we now
squander and in return we destroyed their agriculture and social
fabric. We now hand out a few paltry pounds and pretend that we are
helping to cure the problem which we were instrumental in creating. We
still control their economies and demand fodder for livestock while
their children die from hunger.

Despite the disproportionate volume of the world’s wealth which we
control, we are seemingly incapable or unwilling to solve the problems
of poverty and inequality – even on our own doorstep. When care and
concern for our own species is so stintingly withheld, what hope is
there for animals?

If you refuse to accept this morality of self interest and violence,
which binds this all together, and choose to exercise your right to
protest – you will almost certainly be portrayed as the violent one.
New laws can be used to prevent even the most peaceful demonstration
and so collective action against the violence of factory farming or
fox hunting can now be prevented, allowing the perpetrators of the
real violence to continue unhindered.

We, as humans, obviously believe we have the right to determine
everything, who and what shall live and die. We slaughter owls, hawks,
crows and magpies so that grouse or pheasants can be reared in large
numbers. We then slaughter them by sending lead shot ripping through
their flesh – and call it sport. We destroy rabbits as vermin and then
demonise the foxes who live on them. We then hunt the foxes. We gas
badgers because they might have TB; we trap and kill rooks because we
don’t like their habits; chase hares with dogs for entertainment; do
anything we like to rats and mice; shoot pigeons in their tens of
thousands. We determine which animals we will eat and deny them
everything, we determine which will be labelled vermin and try to
annihilate them; we allow others into our homes.

Across the globe we destroy whales for cultural reasons, dolphins and
seals because they dare to eat the same food as us; and there is
hardly a species which will not be exterminated if their interests and
ours collide.

It seems we are incapable of understanding that every living creature
has its part to play in maintaining the glorious fabric of our
wonderful world. We pretend that only we can maintain the balance by
determining what shall live and what shall die. It seems we never stop
and look around us to witness the appalling mess we have made –
deluding ourselves that we know what we are doing. None of the animals
which we slaughter, even those we demonise as vermin, pose any threat
to the survival of the planet. It is not they which threaten its
existence but us. In this maniacal juggling act we have begun to drop
the balls.

The only hope we have is to fundamentally reassess our role in things
and our attitude to the planet and living creatures who share it with
us. When a calf is dragged into the killing pen, wide-eyed and
terrified with the stench of blood and death in his nostrils, there is
no compassion. Nor when the captive bolt shatters his forehead. When
the slaughter’s hand grabs the muzzle of a lamb to stifle her bleating
and applies the knife to her throat, there is no compassion. And
without compassion there is little hope for any of us.

Make no mistake, becoming a vegetarian is an important act. Instantly,
you are no longer a part of this insanity. You are no longer
responsible for most of the daily cruelties handed out to farm
animals. You are taking the first step in allowing the planet to heal
itself but it is much more than that. It is a political act and a
clear expression of a belief is a different way of doing things, a
different kind of world – a better world.

Michael Mansfield QC is almost certainly the best – and the best-known
– criminal defence lawyer in Britain. He has represented and won many
of the big headline cases – the Birmingham Six, Tottenham Three,
Cardiff Three, Judith Ward and Angela Cannings. He has represented
families at many inquests and public enquiries, including Stephen
Lawrence, the Marchioness and Bloody Sunday. He is outraged by
injustice and motivated by a desire for a more just and equable world.
He has been a vegetarian for 20 years and a patron of Viva! since our
launch.

Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
Old Codger
2008-03-21 21:28:44 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/planetonaplate.htm

Planet on a Plate

So what's this got to do with diet? Everything! / Factory Farming /
Water - The Fountain of Life / Water Eutrophication / Bio-accumulation
/ Nitrogen pollution / Manure / Acid Rain / Water usage / Top soil /
Energy / Inefficiency of Meat / Global Warming / Felled Forests /
Desertification / Species Loss / Wildlife / Fishing / Trawling / Drift
Netting / Purse Seine Netting / Wildlife / Fish - a healthy option? /
Fish Farming / Wildlife / Pollution / Conclusion / References

Introduction


Planet on a Plate is an excellent introduction to the problems wrought
by the traditional Western meat-based diet, and the increasing role
that factory farms play in exacerbating an already dangerous
situation. The production of large numbers of farmed animals under
incredibly cruel circumstances has led to air and water pollution, a
huge waste of water and grain, and a host of public health problems,
such as the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Planet on a Plate makes a compelling case that we are individually
responsible for what we eat and the resultant environmental, ethical
and health consequences.

There are more than six billion people who share our planet.
Ultimately it is us who have the power in the marketplace to determine
which foods will be produced and sold, and to what extent the
industrial model of agriculture will be replaced. It is clear that the
adoption of the Western diet as a worldwide standard will ensure a
planet with more disease, and increasingly severe environmental
problems. Conversely, we know that plant-based protein is readily
available, and it is less costly, both in terms of direct costs, and
in terms of the ‘external’ costs that we are already paying (eg for
subsidies, environmental cleanup and to treat disease).

Planet on a Plate offers insight into how our food consumption
patterns impact on the biosphere and the earth’s ability to sustain a
growing human population. This publication deserves wide circulation
and support - it is a valuable educational tool. Too many of us simply
have not seen the connection between what we put on our plates and the
state of our physical world, and our own health. We have not, for
example, related the quality of our water to the foods that we
purchase. We have not related the myriad of Western ailments to our
diets. But the tide is beginning to turn.

The evidence against industrial animal production (‘factory farms’)
specifically, and meat-intensive diets in general is both overwhelming
and compelling. Fortunately, this fact is being widely recognised and
changes are occurring. For example, the veggieburger, once relegated
to the status of a ‘niche market’ is now commonplace in every corner
shop and supermarket. The consumption of soya-based products is rising
exponentially and main stream companies have entered the vegetarian
market in a significant way. Yes, positive change has begun.

While it is true that we have a long way to go, Planet on a Plate will
have enormous impact in hastening the dietary revolution that needs to
occur. We can build the kind of planet, the kind of future that we
want. But we need to act, and we need to get started now.

So what's this got to do with diet? Everything!

Global warming is increasing, the hole in the ozone layer is getting
bigger, rainforests are disappearing, deserts are expanding, fossil
fuels are running out and seas are dying.

So what’s this got to do with diet? Everything!

The meat, fish and dairy industries directly contribute to all the
major environmental catastrophes facing our planet. The number of
farmed animals in the world has quadrupled in the last 50 years, and
this puts an incredible strain on the environment. Food production no
longer nurtures the land; instead both animals and soil are pushed to
their limits and beyond in an effort to satisfy the voracious appetite
of the Western world. It is an appetite for both food and profit.

The current buzz word is ‘sustainable’ and yet modern agriculture is
anything but sustainable. Rainforests are still being chopped down at
an alarming rate either for grazing or to grow crops to feed to
animals. Crops (mostly grown for animal feed) require pesticides and
fertilisers that then leach into waterways, causing massive pollution.
The increased numbers of animals means more manure, which contributes
to acid rain, pollutes rivers and lakes and renders drinking water
unsafe. Soil is pushed beyond its fertility limits, is not replenished
or fallowed and becomes prone to erosion. Top soil, the very stuff of
life, is now a rapidly disappearing commodity. Oceans are being
destroyed by overfishing, which is devastating entire marine
ecosystems, while coastal fish farms are causing extensive pollution
and wildlife decline.

That, in a nutshell, is what confronts us, and it is a pretty
depressing picture. Despite an abundance of scientific evidence that
the world’s life support systems are being seriously eroded, the
situation is getting worse, not better, as the scale of decline
accelerates.


Factory Farming

Farming practices have intensified over the last 60 years and resulted
in a powerful and destructive industry based on ‘intensive’ or
‘factory’ farming. Its aim is to increase yields while decreasing the
cost of production. The welfare of animals is rarely considered, so
they are kept in tightly packed and frequently inhumane conditions to
ensure maximum profit.

More animals mean more crops are needed to feed them so there is
pressure on agricultural farmers to increase crop yields. Over 70 per
cent of the land in the UK is used for agriculture, and 66 per cent of
this is used as permanent pasture (1) while a high proportion of the
remainder is used to grow crops to feed livestock. In the US a typical
cow will consume about two tons of grain while it is at a feedlot,
just to gain 400 pounds in weight (2).

The world production of grain has more than tripled in the past 40
years, (during the same period the production of livestock has also
tripled (3)), yet famine is still widespread across the globe. In the
developing world, the share of grain fed to livestock has tripled
since mid-century and now stands at 21 per cent. This percentage is
likely to grow further as developing nations strive to emulate the
model of industrial nations, where nearly 70 per cent of grain is fed
to livestock.

If the 670 million tons of the world’s grain used for feed were
reduced by just 10 per cent, this would free up enough grain to
sustain 225 million people or keep up with world population growth for
the next three years. If each American reduced his or her meat
consumption by only 5 per cent, roughly equivalent to eating one less
dish of meat each week, 7.5 million tons of grain would be saved; this
is enough to feed 25 million people - roughly the number estimated to
go hungry in the United States each day (4).

Forests are cleared, ponds are dried, hedgerows ripped up, precious
water supplies are wasted in order to provide food and grazing for
cattle. This is proven to be an inefficient use of land. Ten hectares
of land will provide enough meat to feed only two people compared to
providing enough maize for 10 people, grain for 24 people or soya for
61 people (5).

Animal feed crops are often products of monoculture - a practice that
involves growing the same single crops in the same field year after
year with no fallowing or rotation. Soil cannot sustain such intense
demands, so chemical fertilisers are used to promote crop growth as a
matter of course. Growing feed for industrial animal agriculture
systems changes land use and harms biodiversity through habitat loss
and ecosystem damage (6).

Improper grazing has caused extensive environmental damage and
rangeland degradation in the Western US; top soil erosion is a serious
problem in the US and in other countries. The application of
pesticides and chemical fertilisers has led to a depletion of organic
matter; loss of soil biological communities, vital for recycling and
distributing nutrients.

Fields have been made larger to accommodate bigger machinery. England
has lost over half of its hedgerows - over 330,000 km - since 1947
(7). This combined with continuous pesticide spraying has decimated
the primary food sources of many birds and small mammals. The RSPB
report a 50 per cent decline in the number of farmland species of bird
in Britain and knock on effects of pesticide applications can be felt
throughout the food chain (8). The constant saturation of our
countryside with poisons has had some unexpected consequences, with
some organisms developing resistance to chemicals, so even more
powerful concoctions have been developed.

This chemical warfare has led to a system completely dependant on
pesticides. About 400 different chemicals are available to non-organic
farmers and 4.5 billion litres of pesticides are sprayed on to UK land
every year (9). They not only remain in foodstuffs, but accumulate in
the soil and leach into waterways. Some are carcinogenic, while others
promote allergies, birth defects and various health problems (10).
Water companies spend £120m each year removing pesticides from our
water (11).

Water - The Fountain of Life

Water Eutrophication
The high nitrogen content of fertilisers causes algae to thrive and
has led to algal blooms so toxic that they have killed healthy dogs
who have swum through them. The sheer density of algae can block out
sunlight, denying it to other plants and fish. When the algae dies,
its remains are broken down by bacteria that remove oxygen from the
water in the process and can suffocate most life.

This process is called eutrophication and even the seas are not safe
from it. In 1981, ‘83 and ‘86, large quantities of flatfish were found
dead in the North Sea where this process had led to an 80 per cent
oxygen decrease in bottom waters (12). A ‘dead’ zone in the Gulf of
Mexico of up to 7,700 square miles that can no longer support most
aquatic life is linked to nutrients from farm runoff - including
animal waste. This type of pollution is also believed to be linked to
Pfiesteria outbreaks and massive fish kills in the coastal waters of
North Carolina and Maryland (13). Although Pfiesteria, a
dinoflagellate, normally exists in water in non-toxic forms,
scientists believe excrement in the water triggers it to produce
toxins. These stun fish, make them lethargic, and break down the skin
tissue - opening lesions and bleeding sores (14). There are now 150 of
these ‘dead zones’ worldwide, and the United Nations Environment
Programme believes they will soon damage fish stocks even more than
overfishing (15).

Farming was the largest source of eutrophication in the UK between
1989 - 1997 with up to 3000 different freshwater bodies affected by
algal blooms (16).

Bio-accumulation
The chemical cocktail sprayed on agricultural land is accumulating and
contaminating reservoirs, rivers, lakes and ponds, and its residues
can be found throughout the food chain. Just as with heavy metals,
these residues are increasingly concentrated the higher up the food
chain you go by a process of bio-accumulation. Chemicals present in
waterways are absorbed by microorganisms. Aquatic life feeds on huge
quantities of these organisms, which are then eaten by fish and the
residues they contain are stored in their fatty tissues.

Fish is used as fertiliser or eaten by humans, and the residues
continue to concentrate up the food chain - and the higher you go, the
larger the dose of toxins you receive. A similar process takes place
with livestock, who consume vast quantities of residue-containing
food. It is particularly marked in meat and dairy products, which can
contain 14 times more contaminants than plant foods. The way to reduce
your level of ingestion of these chemicals is to choose your diet from
low down the food chain - from plants - preferably organic plants.

Nitrogen pollution
The amount of nitrogen used as fertiliser globally is 120 million
tonnes a year, much of which cannot be absorbed by the crops (17). The
excess nitrogen leaches from the soil into underground reservoirs -
the source of much of our water supply. Nitrogen in drinking water is
associated with ‘blue baby syndrome’ - a potentially fatal destruction
of the red blood cells in new-born children (18).

Nitrogen can also transform into nitrites, which can combine with
proteins in food to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic - cancer
promoting. Millions of pounds are spent by water companies in the UK
to treat the water in order to bring the nitrate levels down to a
legally acceptable level; this cost is of course passed on to us the
customer.

Manure
There is obviously a simple equation - the more animals, the more
manure. Both have increased so dramatically it is estimated that the
US cattle herd alone produces 253,924 pounds of manure a second (19).
While in the UK it has been estimated that the country’s 3 million
dairy cows could produce up to 62 billion litres of excreta a year
(20).

Waste from intensive farming also poses an environmental threat. A lot
of manure is stored with water as slurry. This toxic liquid is 100
times more polluting than human sewage and it frequently leaks into
rivers and streams where it can exterminate all life.
In 1997, the waste from livestock was 130 times as much as from humans
in the US (21). Worldwide, livestock produce 13 billion tones of waste
a year (22). Ammonia emissions from manure can settle on plants and
soil, resulting in toxicity and biodiversity loss; spreading manure on
land can lead to nitrates in groundwater, posing health hazards;
manure can accumulate heavy metals, contaminate crops and increase
health risks (23). More than 40 diseases can be transferred to humans
through manure (24).

Acid Rain
Stored slurry contains large amounts of ammonia, which becomes a
breeding ground for bacteria. Their action creates acid, which
evaporates, and then combines with nitrous oxide from fertilisers and
industrial pollution to form acid rain. Acid rain is extremely
destructive and sours soil, destroys forests and renders once prolific
waters lifeless. After the burning of fossil fuels, animal manure is
the second biggest cause of acid rain.

Water, wheat and beef
All farming needs water. But the amount of water needed to produce a
pound of beef is far greater than that required for a pound of wheat.
Amount of water required to produce 2.2 pounds of wheat:

2,113 pints (1kg of wheat: 1,000 litres)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of water required to produce 2.2 pounds of beef:

211,000 pints (1kg of beef: 100,000 litres)
Water usage
Earth is two-thirds water, and only 0.06 per cent of this is fresh
water and even less of this is available as drinking water.

Animal agriculture uses huge amounts of water, energy and chemicals,
often with little regard for the long-term adverse effects. Between
1960 and 2000 worldwide usage of water doubled (25). Agriculture uses
70 per cent of all water, while in many developing countries the
figure is as high as 85 to 95 per cent (26). Many irrigation systems
are pumping water from underground reservoirs much faster than they
can ever be recharged.

The production of meat is an inefficient use of such a vital limited
resource. It takes 1000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of
wheat, yet it takes 100,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of
beef (27). The University of California studied water use in their
state, where most agricultural land is irrigated, and said it uses
between 20 to 30 gallons of water to produce vegetables such as
tomatoes, potatoes and carrots to create an edible pound of food. It
takes 441 gallons of water to make a pound of beef (28).

Fresh water, once a seemingly abundant resource, is now becoming
scarce in many regions and that poses a real threat to the stability
of the world. Numerous countries are in dispute over water supplies,
and the seeds of future wars are clearly beginning to germinate.

Top soil
Top soil is the fertile upper layer of soil without which almost
nothing will grow. It is essential for life and yet it is being eroded
at an alarming rate through over-use and denaturing due to the
excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides.

The US has lost half of its top soil since 1960, and continues losing
top soil 17 times faster than nature can create it (29). Its structure
has been so distorted that wind and water can simply carry it away
(30). With luck, top soil is replenished at a rate of 2.5 centimetres
every 100 years.

Some 85 per cent of top soil loss is attributed to livestock rearing
(31). Around the world, top soil is being eroded at rates 16 to 300
times faster than it can regenerate (32). Globally it estimated that
24 billion metric tons of fertile soil is lost each year, an amount
equal to the entire agricultural land area of the US (33).


Energy

Intensive farming requires large amounts of energy: fuel to run huge
combine harvesters, tractors and other machinery; energy to produce
and transport pesticides and fertilisers; and fuel to refrigerate and
transport perishable produce across the country and around the world.
Fossil fuels are required throughout this process and their use
contributes to ozone depletion and global warming.

Inefficiency of Meat

Animals use the energy they gain from food to move around, breathe,
grow, keep warm and perform all their bodily functions - just as we
do. Only six per cent of their energy intake ends up being stored in
flesh or milk. For every 16 pounds of high-protein food fed to cattle,
only one pound of meat results. In terms of food energy, it takes 24
calories in the form of grain or soya to produce a single calorie of
beef (34). In fact, the more a cow is milked, the more grain
concentrate she needs (35).

Looked at from a global perspective, livestock production represents
an obscene waste of food and a betrayal of the world’s poor. High
quality food such as wheat and soya, which could feed humans, is being
fed to animals and largely wasted. The amount of feed consumed by the
US beef herd alone would feed the entire populations of India and
China - two billion people. As factory farming is spread to these and
other developing countries, the implication for world food resources
is deeply depressing. As always, it will be the poorest who pay the
price in disease and famine.

A vegetarian - or even better a vegan - diet is capable of feeding the
entire population of the world - and then some (36)!

Global Warming

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are naturally occurring
gases in the atmosphere. They act like the glass of a greenhouse by
trapping the sun’s heat and reflecting it back to earth. This
phenomenon is what makes the world habitable, keeping the atmosphere
about 33ºC/92ºF higher than it would otherwise be. But animal
agriculture adds significantly to global warming. Scientific American
(9/97) reported that growing feed for livestock requires intense use
of synthetic fertiliser, releasing nitrous oxide - a far stronger
greenhouse gas than CO2. Producing feed and heating buildings that
house animals uses fossil fuels, emitting CO2; decomposition of liquid
manure releases larger amounts of methane into the atmosphere as well
as forming nitrous oxide (37).

Better out than in? Maybe not. More cattle also means more belching
and this is now the second largest contributor to global warming after
fossil fuel burning. Worldwide, livestock accounts for 16 per cent of
all global warming emissions of methane (38). Methane is 20 times more
effective at warming the globe than CO2, which it joins above the
earth (39).

The concentration of carbon dioxide, methane or nitrous oxide has,
until now, been determined by a complex interaction between oceans,
forests, soil, ice-caps and clouds. These natural changes have taken
place over millions of years. However, the last few decades have seen
an extraordinary explosion in these three greenhouse gases. The result
has been global warming. All 10 of the hottest years on record have
occurred in the last 15 years.

Warmer weather might sound great to those who live in cold climates,
but such dramatic changes could actually mean disaster. Britain’s
Hadley Centre for Climate Change has predicted dramatic events,
including, for example, flooding. As the polar ice caps melt and the
world’s oceans warm and expand, flooding will be a global problem. The
number of people on coastlines subject to flooding each year will rise
from 5 million at present to 100 million by 2050 and 200 million by
2080. Vast tracts of land, about one third of all agricultural land
and some island countries, will disappear under water permanently as
sea levels rise. Mass migrations of millions of landless people
present a potential environmental and humanitarian disaster as well as
threatening serious conflict.

Another 30 million people will be hungry in 50 years because large
parts of Africa will become too dry to grow crops. An extra 170
million people will live in countries with extreme water shortages.

Malaria, one of the world’s most dreaded diseases, will threaten much
larger areas of the planet (40).

The tundra regions of the world contain within their frozen soil an
incalculable amount of methane. As the soil defrosts with increasing
temperatures, billions of tons of gas may be released to add to the
global warming. The more the earth warms, the more gas will be
released. This is called positive feedback and could mean that the
greenhouse effect becomes unstoppable with unknown consequences.


Felled Forests

Rainforests are vitally important to life on Earth. They are
invaluable in storing large reserves of CO2. Slash and burn eradicates
all growth and unlocks centuries worth of stored CO2 in only minutes
when the wood is burned. The released gas floats upwards and
contributes to global warming. Tropical deforestation is responsible
for approximately 20 per cent of total human-caused carbon dioxide
emissions each year (44).

Every year between 70,000 and 170,000 square kilometers of tropical
forests fall to chain saws, machetes, bulldozers and flames - that is
the equivalent of 21-50 football fields per minute (45). Rainforests
are chopped down initially for the large trees, which are used for
timber. The rich tapestry of saplings, seedlings, shrubs, bushes,
plants and smaller trees are cut to the ground and burned - as are
many of the creatures who depend upon them. The barren land which
results from slash and burn is largely used as grazing or growing feed
for livestock cattle (46). In 1996, the US imported 4.2 per cent of
our 2.07 billion pounds of imported beef from Brazil; that’s over 80
million pounds of beef (47).

One of the most affected areas is Costa Rica, which was once almost
entirely clad in trees. In the last 20 years, nearly 80 per cent of
its forests have been cut. Just one hamburger made from Costa Rican
beef is estimated to cost the life of a large tree, 50 saplings and
seedlings of some 20-30 different species, hundreds of species of
insects and a huge diversity of mosses, fungi and micro-organisms
(48).

When given an economic value it has been estimated that sustainably
harvested for fruits and latex one hectare of the Peruvian Amazon
rainforest is worth £3,762. The same area of land is worth only £551
as clearcut timber and a paltry £81 as pasture (49).

There is much talk about planting more trees to replace those cut but
it is only a partial answer. Rainforests developed over thousands of
years and constitute the richest, oldest, most productive and most
complex ecosystems on Earth. If deforestation continues at current
rates, scientists estimate nearly all tropical rainforest ecosystems
will be destroyed by the year 2030 (41). Old growth forest is
characterised by stands of large old trees which contain large amounts
of carbon, provide habitat for many species, protect soils and
conserve nutrients, and have substantial recreational, spiritual and
aesthetic value (42). They also are a source of high-value timber; 80
per cent of old growth forests have been destroyed globally and less
than 5 per cent remain in the US (43).

As well as the impact on animals, insects, plants and birds, around
the world approximately 60 million people live in forests and depend
on them for subsistence. For these indigenous peoples the forests are
their homes, a source of survival and spirituality, and their culture.
The security of their communities rests with the security of the
forests, and so their deep knowledge of them works to protect and
sustain them; however with the current rate of deforestation and
little protection for such peoples the future looks uncertain. They
already face the erosion of their traditional rights of access and
use, displacement of their homes, threats to their livelihood,
disregard and ignorance of their property, traditions, values, and
persecution from authorities. These pressures are expected to
intensify as the demands on forests increased (50).

It is not just rainforest that has been lost. Habitats all around the
world have been adversely affected by agriculture. In the UK, more
than 95 per cent of original woodlands have been destroyed - most of
that land is now used to graze or grow feed for farmed animals.
Britain once a beautiful and varied landscape has become a monoculture
of grains.

Desertification
According to the United Nations, deserts are growing at the rate of
193,192 square kilometres every year - an area the size of England and
Scotland (51). This decline of once fertile soil into desert land is
called desertification, and affects over one-quarter of the world’s
land area (52). One of the major contributors to the process is cattle
ranching and the grazing of other livestock such as sheep, camels and
goats on the margins of existing deserts.

Forty per cent of global agricultural land has been degraded in the
last century from problems including compaction, nutrient depletion
and pollution (53). Ex-rainforest land is particularly prone to
deterioration as the soil is comparatively thin. It has adapted over
thousands years to support the forest with its network of roots, and
these in turn hold the soil together. The effect of cattle grazing,
with their heavy bodies and hard hooves, is to compact the soil, break
down its structure and reduce its fertility. The loss of trees also
leads to a reduction in water vapour, which prompts climate change and
reduces rainfall levels. The eventual end result of these different
factors is desert. Unfortunately, when the soil becomes dry, lifeless
and unsuitable for cattle, the ranchers move on and start the process
again somewhere else.

The most effective way of slowing down desertification is to reduce
overgrazing, deforestation and destructive forms of planting and
irrigation (54). It is widely acknowledged by many organisations that
intensive farming practices are unsustainable and environmentally
damaging. The WWF recommend in their Living Planet 2000 report that
people reduce their intake of dairy and meat products in order to
reduce grazing pressure on land (55).

Species Loss
The scale of deforestation means that thousands of species, possibly
millions, are losing their habitat at an accelerating rate. The richly
abundant and often unique flora and fauna of the forests are
disappearing. Every hour, a further three plant or animal species
become extinct (56). It is estimated that at least one half of the
world’s species live in the rainforests.

Many rainforest plants have valuable medicinal properties and contain
the only known cure for certain diseases. They are used to treat
cancer, strokes, heart disease and many other illnesses. By wiping out
the rainforests we are possibly destroying an abundant supply of new
drugs capable of curing major diseases. Many of the species being
destroyed are unknown to humankind.

Wildlife
Furthermore, most wildlife is seen as competition to farmers. Many
species are not only killed by pesticides and the purposeful
destruction of habitats such as woodlands, marshlands and ponds, but
are also shot, hunted or trapped. In the UK, foxes, rabbits, badgers
and increasingly once again wild boar are considered a threat to the
farmer’s income. In the USA each year the federal government hunters
and trappers kill about 100,000 coyotes, bobcats, feral pigs and
mountain lions. They are shot from aeroplanes, caught in steel-jaw
leghold traps or neck nooses, or poisoned with cyanide (57). This
number does not include the many animals mistakenly caught in traps or
the animals killed by the landowners themselves.


Fishing

Total fishery production in 2001 was reported to be 130.2 million
tonnes, of which 37.9 million tonnes was from aquaculture (58). As the
consumption of seafood increases so does the global concern for the
health of the oceans and its inhabitants - as well as the other
effects of the industry. Countless birds and other animals suffer and
die from injuries caused by swallowing or becoming entangled in
discarded fishing hooks, monofilament line, and lead weights (59).

Commercial fishing of the oceans has decimated both fish stocks and
the aquatic environment. Herring, cod, hake, redfish and mackerel are
the fish species that are most commonly exploited commercially across
the world - some of which are close to becoming extinct as a result of
overfishing. There are several methods used for commercial fishing:

Trawling
Trawlers, some the size of football fields (60), work non-stop across
the oceans’ fishing grounds, backwards and forwards in a never-ending
process. They scoop up huge quantities of fish and destroy the sea
bed, where 500,000 - 100 million creatures are estimated to live (61).
Nets like huge tapering bags are used, the mouths of which can be 224
ft wide - large enough to hold 12 Boeing 747 aeroplanes! (62) Their
entrances are kept open by huge, metal-bound trawl (otter) boards that
can weigh tons. They are dragged across the ocean floor and crush and
grind to destruction anything in their path.

A variant is the beam trawl, where a long metal beam is fixed to the
underside of the net’s opening. Floatation devices keep the mouth of
the net open and dangling from the beam are ‘tickler’ chains, which
drag along the bottom forcing almost every creature from its hiding
place into the mouth of the net.

Between 60 and 80 million tons of fish are caught from the seas of the
world each year by trawling. The total for all methods is about 100
million tons. Fish that are too small, non-target species or species
with no commercial value are discarded. This can include almost every
creature from the sea or sea bed - sea urchins, brittle stars, crabs,
dolphins, seals and sea-birds.

As shrimp nets are dragged through the water, they catch every living
creature in their path - trapping both shrimp and unwanted fish and
sea turtles. Sea turtles caught in shrimp nets are held under water
until they drown. Thousands of endangered sea turtles are killed in
this way every year (63).

The ecological balance of oceans is disturbed when the catch rate
exceeds the natural reproduction rate. This is overfishing. The Food
and Agriculture Organisation report that 11 of the world’s 15 most
important fishing areas are in decline and 60 per cent of the major
fish species are now either fully or overexploited. Between 30 and 40
per cent of the biomass of exploited fish species are removed from the
North Sea each year (64).

Drift Netting
Drift nets hang like curtains from the surface of the sea. Constructed
from thin but strong monofilament nylon, they are virtually invisible
to all sea life. They can be up to an incredible 30 miles long. The
target fish are often tuna, but as dolphins tend to congregate where
tuna swim, they too die in large numbers. Rays, sharks, sea birds and
small whales all become entangled in these ghostly nets.

It is not uncommon for nets to become detached in rough weather and
float away to kill large numbers of animals and birds. When weighed
down with dead bodies they sink to the bottom, but once the carcasses
have rotted, they float back to the surface and continue their
destruction. Thousands of dolphins, porpoises, small whales, sea
lions, and walruses are killed by drift nets each year (65). After
years of campaigning, drift nets were banned by the EU from January 1
2002 in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Sadly, the Baltic Sea was
exempted after lobbying by Denmark, Sweden and Finland who continue to
use this destructive fishing technique with their 350 vessels.

Purse Seine Netting
A purse seine net is suspended from the surface, the bottom of it many
fathoms below the surface. The boat pays out the net in a complete
circle so the effect is like that of a tube of netting hanging down,
surrounding the target shoal of fish. A kind of drawstring at the
bottom of the net is pulled tight so the net represents a purse with
an open top but a closed bottom. The top is then also closed and the
net hauled inboard. Tuna are the main target, but again, dolphins also
get trapped and drown.

Wildlife & Fishing
Many birds, including razor-bills, cormorants, and puffins, feed
mainly on sand eels, sprats and small herrings, all of which are
heavily exploited by fishermen. In 1994, overfishing in the North Sea
was believed to have caused about 100,000 birds to starve, and the
problem seems to be worsening (66).

Commercial fishermen often blame the low numbers of fish on local
wildlife and demand culling to solve the problem. As a result, seals
have been killed in their thousands - 51,000 in Russia and in 2004
over 300,000 in Canada, and there are similar demands being made in
Britain. In February 1999, a proposal was presented to the US Congress
by the National Marine Fisheries Service to allow fishermen and
‘resource’ managers to shoot Pacific harbour seals and California sea
lions along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington to protect
the dwindling stocks of salmon and steelhead, and to reduce
competition for fish between these pinnipeds and humans (67).

Fish - a healthy option?
The flesh of fish often stores dangerous contaminants, such as PCB’s,
suspected of causing cancer, nervous systems disorders, and foetal
damage; dioxins, also linked to cancer; radioactive materials like
strontium 90; and such toxic metals as cadmium, mercury, lead, and
arsenic, which can cause health problems ranging from kidney damage
and mental retardation to cancer (68). (See the VVF Fishing for Facts
report at www.vegetarian.org.uk)

Fish Farming

Overfishing and the subsequent collapse of many commercial fisheries
has led to an increase in fish farming. The growth of the number of
fish farms has adversely affected wild fish populations. Numerous fish
farms are based in coastal regions of the world. In the Scottish
lochs, where many of the UK’s fish farms are found, there is a slow
exchange rate of water, lochs containing fish farms tend to have
unnaturally higher nutrient levels and eutrophic conditions which
inevitably lead to more frequent algal blooms (69).

There has been a dramatic rise in the amount of factory farmed salmon
produced in Scotland. There are 340 salmon farms in Scotland; in 1980
the amount of salmon produced was 800 tonnes, in 2002 it was 145,609
tonnes (70). Salmon are carnivorous and a large proportion of the
oceanic catch is caught to feed them; it takes five tons of fish
caught from the sea to produce one ton of factory farmed salmon (71).
Inland factory-farmed fish are kept in shallow concrete troughs. The
intensive crowding - as many as five fish per square foot - spreads
infection and parasites, so factory fish farmers use antibiotics and
growth hormones to get more fish fatter faster (72).

Parasites commonly found on factory farmed fish are also infecting
wild populations - wild fish would never come into contact with more
than a few lice during their lifetime. Increasing numbers of fish
farms has led to greater numbers of lice in waters, which effectively
eat fish alive.

Salmon also often escape from their farms - in the past five years
over one million escaped from Scotland - and interbreed with wild
salmon and hybridise with brown trout. This ‘genetic pollution’
decreases the fitness level of the wild fish and threatens them with
extinction (73).

Besides antibiotics, growth-promoting drugs and disinfectants, other
chemicals used in fish farming include artificial colourings. In the
wild salmon get their pink hue from natural food sources such as algae
and small crustaceans. Farm species rely on the pigment Canthaxanthin
to turn the fish’s flesh from its natural grey to pink (74). The Swiss
company who produce this dye even supply a colour grading chart, the
‘SalmoFan’ - similar to those used when choosing paint - so farmers
can select a flesh colour for their fish. Canthaxanthin is banned as
an additive in food, but fed to fish which are bred to be eaten. It
has been linked to eye defects in children (75) and is banned in the
US because it is believed to be carcinogenic (76).

Wildlife & Fish Farms
As well as altering the natural balance of coastal waters, fish farms
attract fish-eating wildlife. So the fish farmers often try to protect
their stocks by killing the wildlife, including seals, otters,
guillemots, herons, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks.

On March 4, 1998, a federal law took effect that allows fish farmers
in 13 states to kill unlimited numbers of cormorants to protect their
profits. The US Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that 92,000 of these
birds will be killed by fish farmers each year - about 5 to 10 per
cent of the North American population (77). Seabird numbers plummet as
a result of overfishing, while the catch is fed to carnivorous fish
and herbivorous livestock as high protein food.

Pollution
Northern Hemisphere fish farms are commonly found in the same coastal
areas as those polluted by industry, human sewage and agriculture. It
is inevitable that fish will take in some of the toxins and
concentrate them.

Fish farms also cause their own pollution. One ton of farmed trout
produces pollution equal to the untreated sewage of 200-300 people. It
has been estimated that the amount of pollution in Scotland due to the
ammonia input from fish farming is comparable to sewage produced by
9.4 million people (78). Faeces and food pellets are concentrated
around the netted underwater cage, but the bulk accumulates beneath
the cages. This toxic build-up causes de-oxygenation and can adversely
affect local wildlife communities. Eutrophication can occur as the
water is enriched with nitrates, phosphates and nitrogenous waste
products.

Unfortunately, fish farming is now a global phenomenon for expensive
creatures such as prawns and yellow tails. The coastal areas chosen
for the farms are usually mangrove swamps, seen as useless areas ripe
for exploitation. In fact they provide the most productive and
important habitat in the oceans. Ninety per cent of marine fish rely
upon the amazing diversity provided by the mangroves, particularly for
spawning. Over 2,000 species of fish, crustaceans and plants thrive
there.

Mangroves act as buffers, they prevent flooding, stop erosion and are
the nursery of ocean life - and they are being ripped up faster than
anyone can count. Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand,
Ecuador, Panama - clearance is rampant everywhere. The subtropical
regions of the world have lost 70 per cent of all mangrove swamps
since 1960, largely to fish farming. The construction of fish farms
has led to the decline in wild populations of fish and shell fish in
particular. Mangroves are destroyed as more farms are built, however
farms rely upon wild larvae to stock them, but numbers are dwindling
because they are destroying the very habitat from which they
originate. After a few years the farms have to be moved, cutting down
yet more mangroves. Desolation is left behind.

The environment pays a terrible price for that prawn cocktail!

Conclusion

As the world’s resources sink and the environmental problems soar
leading scientists, ecologists and experts are repeatedly calling for
decisive action before it is too late. There is one thing within your
power that will have a huge and immediate impact in protecting our
planet, and that is to change your diet. Stop eating meat and fish
today - and, give up dairy products. Any step you take is important,
and you can immediately begin to remove yourself from the cycle of
exploitation and destruction. Even better, raise your voice in
protest, join with others such as Viva! and actively fight against the
ruthless corporations who will allow greed to destroy the globe.



References
David Brubaker, Ph.D. is Director of the Henry Spira/GRACE Project
on Industrial Animal Production, Center for a Liveable Future, Johns
Hopkins University School of Public Health, USA. He also serves as a
consultant to the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment in
New York City.

Brubaker is a graduate of Temple University, Southern Illinois
University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the
Committee for a Global Water Contract. Brubaker has served an a
consultant to numerous non-governmental organisations. Previously he
was the Executive Vice President of PennAg Industries Association, a
regional agribusiness trade association. He is a former president of
the Agricultural Associations Executive Council, and was a member of
the board of Directors of the American Feed Industry Association.

Long active in the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, he has served as
Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Executive
Council and in many other Bay-related positions. He lives in Lititz,
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.




Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
Old Codger
2008-03-21 21:29:06 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
http://www.viva.org.uk/guides/feedtheworld.htm

Feed the World

The roots of hunger / The problem today / Breeding animals means
starving people / Where does the animal feed come from? / Who is
hungry? / World Trade / Why are countries in debt? / In the hands of
the rich / Aid / Falling Harvests / The Green Revolution / The
“Livestock Revolution” / The insanity of factory farming /
Malnutrition and obesity / Send a cow / Hippo / Fish Farming / Global
water shortage / GM - the truth / The solution is in our hands /
References

Meat makes the rich ill and the poor hungry by Jeremy Rifkin

When representatives meet at the World Food Summit they supposedly
focus on how to get food into the mouths of nearly one billion people
who are currently undernourished. However, at all the dinners they
attend you can expect to see the consumption of large quantities of
meat. And herein lies the contradiction.

People go hungry because much of arable land is used to grow feed
grain for animals rather than people. In the US, 157 million tons of
cereals, legumes and vegetable protein – all suitable for human
consumption – is fed to livestock to produce just 28 million tons of
animal protein in the form of meat.
In developing countries, using land to create an artificial food chain
has resulted in misery for hundreds of millions of people. An acre of
cereal produces five times more protein than an acre used for meat
production; legumes such as beans, peas and lentils can produce 10
times more protein and, in the case of soya, 30 times more.

Global corporations which supply the seeds, chemicals and cattle and
which control the slaughterhouses, marketing and distribution of beef,
eagerly promote grain-fed livestock. They equate it with a country’s
prestige and climbing the “protein ladder” becomes the mark of
success.

Enlarging their meat supply is the first step for all developing
countries. They start with chicken and egg production and, as their
economies grow, climb the protein ladder to pork, milk, and dairy
products, then to grass-fed beef and finally to grain-fed beef.
Encouraging this process advances the interests of agribusinesses and
two-thirds of the grain exported from the USA goes to feed livestock.
The process really got underway when “green revolution” technology
produced grain surpluses in the 1970s. The UN’s Food and Agricultural
Organisation encouraged it and the USA government linked its food aid
programme to the producing of feed grain and gave low-interest loans
to establish grain-fed poultry operations. Many nations have attempted
to remain high on the protein ladder long after the grain surpluses
disappeared.

Human consequences of the shift from food to feed were dramatically
illustrated during the Ethiopian famine in 1984. While people starved,
Ethiopia was growing linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rapeseed meal
for European livestock. Millions of acres of land in the developing
world are used for this purpose. Tragically, 80 per cent of the
world’s hungry children live in countries with food surpluses which
are fed to animals for consumption by the affluent.

The irony is that millions of consumers in the first world are dying
from diseases of affluence such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes
and cancer, brought on by eating animal products, while the world’s
poor are dying from diseases of poverty. We are long overdue for a
global discussion on how to promote a diversified, high-protein,
vegetarian diet for the human race.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Despite the rich diversity of foods found all over the world, one
third of its population does not have enough to eat. Today, hunger is
a massive problem in many parts of Africa, Asia and South America and
the future is not looking good. The global population is set to rise
from 6.1 billion (2002) to 9.3 billion by 2050 (2) and Worldwatch
reports (3) forecast severe global food shortages leading to famine on
an unprecedented scale.

This misery is partly a direct result of our desire to eat meat.
Children in the developing world starve next to fields of food
destined for export as animal feed, to support the meat-hungry
cultures of the rich world. While millions die, one third of the
world's grain production is fed to farmed animals in rich countries
(4).

If animal farming were to stop and we were to use the land to grow
grain to feed ourselves, we could feed every single person on this
planet. Consuming crops directly - rather than feeding them to animals
and then eating animals - is a far more efficient way to feed the
world. This Viva! Guide looks at why eating meat is a major cause of
world hunger and how vegetarianism can provide a solution.

The roots of hunger
The developing world hasn't always been hungry. Early explorers of the
16th and 17th centuries often returned amazed at the huge amounts of
food they saw there. In parts of Africa, for example, people always
had three harvests in storage and no-one went hungry. The idea of
buying and selling food was unheard of.

The Industrial Revolution changed all that. European countries needed
cheap raw materials such as coal and iron ore that developing
countries had plenty of. Through the process of invasion and
colonisation, Western countries could not only take the raw materials
but claim the land as their own and make the indigenous people pay
taxes or rent. Poor peasants (many of whom had never dealt in money
before) were forced to grow crops such as cotton to sell to their new
masters. Wealthy countries owned the land, all the food that was
produced, and decided the price. After paying taxes, peasants had
little money left to buy this expensive food and often ended up
borrowing money simply to live. This whole process of colonisation
continued right up to the beginning of the last century.

The problem today
Drought and other 'natural' disasters are often wrongly blamed for
causing famines. Local people have always planned for freak acts of
nature and although they may be the trigger that starts a famine, the
underlying cause is the system of modern day neo-colonialism.

The land in poor countries is still largely not owned by the people
who work on it and rents are high. Huge areas are owned by large
companies based in the West. It is common for people to be thrown off
the land, often going to the towns where there is little other work.
About 160,000 people move from rural areas to cities every day (5).
Many migrants are forced to settle in shanty towns and squatter
settlements.

Much of this land is used to grow “cash crops” for export - like
coffee, tobacco and animal feed - rather than to grow food for
indigenous people. Countries agree to grow cash crops in order to pay
off their crippling debts. Fifty-two of the world’s poorest countries
owe the rich world in the region of £213 billion. Annual repayments
total £14 billion - the majority of this from countries where most
people are living on less than one dollar a day (see p7: Why are
countries in debt?). (6)

The sad irony is that the world produces more than enough plant food
to meet the needs of all its six billion people. If people used land
to grow crops to feed themselves, rather than feeding crops to
animals, then there would be enough to provide everyone with the
average of 2360 Kcal (calories) needed for good health (7).

If everyone were to take 25 per cent of their calories from animal
protein then the planet could sustain only three billion people (8).
In simple, brutal terms, if we were all to imitate the average North
American diet, we would only be able to feed half the world’s
population.

Breeding animals means starving people
Breeding animals is an incredibly inefficient way to try and feed the
world's growing population. Yet after food rationing during the second
world war, intensive animal farming was actively encouraged as a way
of ensuring our future “food security”.

Most meat in Western Europe is now produced in factory farms which, as
the name implies, are production lines for animals. To meet the large
demand for meat, billions of animals are kept in cramped, filthy
conditions, often unable to move properly and not allowed fresh air or
even natural light. Unable to feed outdoors naturally, they are fed
grain, oil seeds, soya feed, fish meal and sometimes the remains of
other animals. High quality land is used to grow grains and soya beans
- land that could be used to grow crops for humans.

The grain fed to animals does not convert directly into meat to feed
people. The vast majority is either excreted or used as “fuel” to keep
the animal alive and functioning. For every 10 kilograms of soya
protein fed to America’s cattle only one kilogram is converted to
meat. Almost the entire population of India and China, nearly two
billion people, could be fed on the protein consumed and largely
wasted by the United States’ beef herd (10).

Because of the demand for animal feed, a Western meat-based diet uses
four and a half times more land than is necessary for a vegan diet and
two and a quarter times more than for a vegetarian diet (11). The
Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) recommend that people reduce their
intake of dairy and meat products in order to reduce grazing pressure
on land (12).

Where does the animal feed come from?
The amount of land used to grow animal feed in Western countries is
not enough to meet their own needs and more is imported from
developing countries. Land in some developing countries, like India,
is also used to grow grain for animals who are reared and killed for
export.

Currently farmed animals eat one-third of the world’s cereal
production. In the industrialised world, two-thirds of the
agricultural land produces cereals for animal feed. The EU imports 45
per cent of its oilseeds (soya) and, overall, imports 70 per cent of
its protein for animal feed (1995-6). As the European Commission
admits, ‘Europe’s agriculture is capable of feeding Europe’s people
but not of feeding Europe’s animals’ (4). The EU also imports cattle
feed such as peanuts or soya because it is cheaper than buying animal
feed grown in Europe.

At the height of the Ethiopian famine in 1984-5, Britain imported £1.5
million worth of linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rape seed meal.
Although none of this was fit for humans to eat, good quality farmland
was still being used to grow animal feed for rich countries when it
could have been used to grow food for Ethiopians.
In the United States, farmed animals, mostly cattle, consume almost
twice as much grain as is eaten by the entire US population (13). 70
per cent of all the wheat, corn and other grain produced goes to
feeding animals (14). Over 100 million acres of US agricultural land
is used to grow grain for animals (13) and still more is imported.

In Central and South America, ever-increasing amounts of land are
being used to grow soya beans and grain for export - to be used as
animal feed. In Brazil, 23 per cent of the cultivated land is
currently being used to produced soya beans, of which nearly half are
for export (13). The Oxfam Poverty Report explains that the subsidised
expansion of the EU’s dairy and livestock industry has created a huge
demand for high protein animal feedstuffs and that the demand has in
part been met through the expansion of large-scale, mechanised soya
production in Brazil. Smallholder producers of beans and staple foods
in the southern part of the country have been displaced to make way
for giant soya estates. Soya has now become the country’s major
agricultural export, “however, it is a trading arrangement which had
proved considerably more efficient at feeding European cattle than
with maintaining the livelihoods of poor Brazilians.” (16)

Twenty-five years ago, livestock consumed less than six per cent of
Mexico’s grain. Today, at least one third of the grain produced in the
country is being fed to animals. At the same time, millions of people
living in the country are chronically undernourished (13).

It’s not surprising that the World Health Organisation has called for
a shift away from meat production so that people can consume crops
directly. It says:

“Farming policies that do not require intensive animal production
systems would reduce the world demand for cereals. Use of land could
be reappraised since cereal consumption for direct consumption by the
population is much more efficient and cheaper than dedicating large
areas to growing feed for meat production and dairying. Policies
should be geared to the growing of plant foods and to limiting the
promotion of meat and dairy.” (17)

Governments worldwide have ignored this advice. Instead of promoting
the growing of plant foods for human consumption, they offer subsidy
payments and financial incentives to livestock farmers, thereby
actively encouraging meat production.

Who is hungry?
Around six billion people share the planet, one quarter in the rich
north and three quarters in the poor south. While people in rich
countries diet because they eat too much, many in the developing world
do not have enough food simply to ensure their bodies work properly
and stay alive.

826 million people around the world are seriously undernourished - 792
million people in developing countries and another 34 million in
industrialised countries (18). Two billion people - one third of the
global population - lack food security, defined by the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as a “state of affairs where all people
at all times have access to safe and nutritious food to maintain a
healthy and active life.” (5)

Today, some 12 million children die annually of nutrition-related
diseases. The Food and Agriculture Organisation says, “Doubtless, far
more are chronically ill.” (19)

There are more chronically hungry people in Asia and the Pacific, but
the depth of hunger is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa. In 46 per cent
of countries there, the undernourished have an average deficit of more
than 300 kilocalories per day (19). In 1996-98, 28 per cent of the
population on the African continent were chronically undernourished
(192 million people) (20).

Access to food is a basic right, enshrined in a number of human rights
instruments to which states around the world have committed
themselves. At the 1996 World Food Summit, leaders from 185 countries
and the European Community reaffirmed, in the Rome Declaration on Food
Security, “the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious
food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental
right of everyone to be free from hunger.” They pledged to cut the
number of the world’s hungry people in half by 2015 (21) .

The FAO says that, “eradicating hunger is not merely a lofty ideal”
(21). Yet it makes no sense for states to acknowledge the right of
each individual to food whilst promoting diets based around animal
protein. Starvation does not occur because of a world food shortage.
If everyone ate a vegetarian, or better still, a vegan diet there
would be enough food for everyone. The only sane way forward is to
grow food for humans rather than to feed it to farmed animals.

World Trade
A report, The European Meat Industry in the 1990s, explains the
obscene paradox of global food distribution: “World trade relations
are dominated by low-priced animal feed and meat. Low prices on animal
feeds affect farmers in poor countries producing cash crops [ie animal
feed crops for export]. Partly due to the use of imported feed, the
rich countries today have a large surplus of meat while more and more
people in less developed countries tend to be undernourished” (22).

Current trade agreements, like the Agreement on Agriculture under the
World Trade Organisation (WTO), permit Western farmers to sell
subsidised grain and other commodity surpluses cheaply in developing
nations. This undercuts local farmers and forces many off the land.
The Worldwatch Institute states, “In most cases, any benefits of this
cheap food to the urban poor are likely to be transitory, as the
destablization of the rural economy encourages migration to job-scarce
cities, thereby increasing the ranks of impoverished city dwellers
while harming urban agriculture programmes” (23).

Dependence on foreign markets for food also means that the importing
countries are vulnerable to price fluctuations and currency
devaluations that can increase the price of food substantially (23).

Why are countries in debt?
During the 1970s, developing countries were lent money by developed
countries for a range of projects, including infrastructure
development (e.g. dams and roads), industrialisation and technology.
The World Development Movement (WDM) states, “Often the projects
turned out to be unproductive.” The loans were either multilateral
(i.e. the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund lending to
one government) or bilateral (i.e. one government lending to another)
(24).

Then in the 1980s, interest rates rocketed because of the oil crisis,
while at the same time, industrialised countries put high prices on
many agricultural imports so that developing world farmers were not
able to sell their produce (24). Consequently, developing countries
were unable to pay off their loans and they have become increasingly
indebted. These countries are paying back billions of pounds to the
West in interest payments each year.

Often, the loans had conditions attached. When Costa Rica borrowed
money from the World Bank, one of the conditions set was that they had
to cut down rainforest and clear land for cattle grazing to supply
rich countries with cheap beef. The destruction of rainforests is a
disaster not just for its people and wildlife but for the world's
climate (see Viva! Guide 9, Planet on a Plate).

Between 1975 and 1985, thousands of km2 of forest were cleared in
Thailand to grow tapioca to sell to the EU as feed for pigs and
cattle. When beef and pork mountains meant that not as much meat was
being produced, Europe no longer needed tapioca and stopped buying.
This put Thai peasants into huge debt because they had borrowed money
to spend on improving their farms to grow enough to meet demand. As a
consequence, many people sold their children into child labour and
prostitution.

[Next]
Jeremy Rifkin is the author of Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of
the Cattle Culture (Plume, 1992), and The Biotech Century (Victor
Gollancz,1998). He is also the president of the Foundation on Economic
Trends in Washington DC, USA.

Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk

Ice
2006-07-03 15:22:40 UTC
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Farm Assurance Schemes
Food scares such as BSE, Salmonella and E. coli, as well as concerns
over GMOs, antibiotics and pesticides, have led to an increase in the
supply of organic milk. However, organic production still accounts for
less than two per cent of the UK’s annual milk production at 240
million litres (58). Many people who choose to pay the extra for
organic milk do so because they believe the animals have a better
standard of living, but is this the reality?

Soil Association Organic Standards

In order to receive Soil Association certification for their milk,
dairy farmers must comply with specific standards set down by the
organisation. Certified farms are inspected annually by the Soil
Association to ensure that these standards are being upheld (59). But
do these standards result in better animal welfare than conventional
dairy farms?

While most of the standards set out by the Soil Association are aimed
at improving the quality of the milk, certain standards do pertain
specifically to animal welfare. Highly invasive practices such as
embryo transfer and ovum pick-up are prohibited but artificial
insemination is allowed without any regulations governing the breed
(and therefore size) of the sire (59). Fertility hormones may not be
used to synchronise calving but may be used to induce parturition or
to bring a cow with failing fertility into heat (59). Calves may only
be housed individually until seven days old and then must be group
housed, however disbudding is still permitted up to three months old
and castration with a rubber ring is allowed in the first week of life
(59). They may not be taken to market under one month old but beyond
that age they may endure journeys of up to eight hours to market or
the abattoir (59).

Cows on organic farms are still impregnated every year to provide a
continuous supply of milk and endure the trauma of having their calves
taken away within 24-72 hours of birth (59). They also carry the dual
load of pregnancy and lactation for seven months of every year, just
like those on conventional farms. These two welfare insults are
inherent in dairy production and cannot be eliminated. The birth of
male calves is also a problem for organic dairy farmers using high
yield breeds such as Holsteins and the scheme allows these ‘unwanted
by-products’ to be shot shortly after birth. There are also no
guidelines on the length of time which dairy cows may be housed
indoors, although zero-grazing systems (where cows never go out to
pasture) are prohibited (59).

RSPCA Freedom Foods Scheme

The RSPCA’s Freedom Foods standards for the welfare of dairy cattle
provide little more than the legal minimum for cows and their calves
(60). As in organic farming, cows suffer the repeated trauma of having
their calves taken away shortly after birth and face the gruelling
workload of pregnancy and lactation (60). The only practices of
conventional farming which are prohibited are embryo transfer and ovum
pick-up (60) Calves may still be housed individually up to eight weeks
old and can travel to market as young as seven days old, enduring
journeys up to eight hours long (60). The standards on the removal of
supernumerary teats and disbudding do offer slightly higher welfare
than the legal minimum, with anaesthetic being required for both
procedures under the scheme and a younger age limit set (60). However
the fate of male calves is ignored under this scheme, leaving farmers
free to kill off any unwanted calves immediately after birth (60).

The welfare benefit provided to dairy cows by the RSPCA Freedom Foods
scheme was evaluated in a study by Bristol University which
investigated the welfare of cows on 40 Freedom Foods farms and 40
non-Freedom Foods farms (7). According to Professor Webster:

“There was no difference in overall welfare score between Freedom
Foods and non-Freedom Foods farms. Thus, we were unable to conclude
that membership of the Freedom Foods scheme ensured better overall
welfare than non-participating farms.” (7)

Little Red Tractor – British Farm Standard

The Red Tractor logo on dairy products signifies that the milk was
produced in the UK on a farm which meets the standards of the National
Dairy Farm Assured Scheme (NDFAS). However, these standards are simply
the UK and EU legal minimums and nothing more! All of the farming
practices outlined in this report are acceptable under this scheme
(61). The only thing this logo guarantees the customer is that the
product was produced in Britain and the farm wasn’t breaking any laws,
at least not on the day it was inspected
Ice
2006-07-03 15:24:17 UTC
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 16:15:27 +0100, Ice <***@foobaa.com> wrote:

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Acknowledgements
I would like to thank John Webster, Emeritus Professor of Animal
Husbandry at Bristol University’s Clinical Veterinary Science
department for the information he provided on dairy farming in Britain
and its impact on dairy cows.

References
DEFRA (2005) Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2004. The Stationary
Office.
Dairy UK (2005) Going Forward: The UK’s dairy agenda.
Farm Animal Welfare Council (1997) Report on the Welfare of Dairy
Cattle.
The Dairy Council website. Available at www.milk.co.uk.
Roebuck (2005) Herd health and machinery integral to profitability.
Farmers Guardian, May 6.
Webster, J (1994) Animal Welfare: A cool eye towards eden. Blackwell
Science.
Webster, J (2005) Animal Welfare: Limping towards eden. Blackwell
Publishing.
DEFRA (2005) The UK Dairy Industry. Available from:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/milk/dairyindustry.htm
Dairy Crest Group PLC (2004) Annual Report.
Arla Foods UK PLC (2004) Annual Report and Accounts.
Robert Wiseman Dairies PLC (2004) Annual Report and Financial
Statement.
Milk Link (2004) Annual Report and Accounts.
Milk Development Council (2004) Dairy Facts and Figures 2003.
Rural Payments Agency (2005) Access to Information – CAP Payments.
Milk Development Council (2005) About Us. Available from
www.mdc.org.uk.
Dairy Council (2003) Annual Report and Financial Statement.
Dairy UK Press Release, 27th June 2005. Available from:
http://www.dairyuk.org/latestnews.html
Rural Payments Agency (2005) School Milk Subsidy Scheme. Available
from: http://www.rpa.gov.uk/rpa/rpaweb.nsf?open
Animal Bytes: Wild Cattle. Available from:
http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-cattle.html
Wilson, D. E. and Reeder, D. M. (eds) (1993) Mammal Species of the
World. Smithsonian Institution Press.
Chillingham Wild Cattle Association. www.chillingham-wildcattle.org.uk
Sowell, B. F., Mosley, J. C. and Bowman, J. G. P. (1991) Social
behavior of grazing beef cattle: Implications for management.
Proceedings of the American Society of Animal Science.
Young, R. (2003) The Secret Lives of Cows. Farming Books and Videos
Ltd.
BBC News (2005) Woman trampled to death by cows. June 14th, 2005.
Hohenboken, W. D. (1999) Applications of Sexed Semen in Cattle
Production. Theriogenology 52: 1421-1433.
van Arendock, J. A. M. and Liinamo, A. (2003) Dairy Cattle Production
in Europe. Theriogenology59: 563-569.
Marchant-Forde, J. N.; Marchant-Forde, R. M. and Weary, D. M. (2002)
Responses of dairy cows and calves to each other’s vocalisations after
early separation. Applied Animal Behaviour Science78: 19-28.
Webster, J. (1987) Understanding the Dairy Cow. Oxford: BSP
Professional Books
Horizon (1992) Fast Life in the Food Chain, transcript. BBC.
DEFRA (2002) Dairy Cow Welfare Throughout the Year. Papers presented
at DEFRA / ADAS Meeting on 6 November 2002. Easton College, Norwich.
Dairy Farmer, May 2005.
DEFRA (2005) Commission agrees limited voluntary compensation scheme
when BSE testing regime introduced. News Release, 26th May.
Food Ethics Council (2001) Farming Animals for Food: Towards a Moral
Menu.
DEFRA (2005) Amendments to legislation governing artificial
insemination in cattle: Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966. Available from:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/insemination-cattle/index.htm
DEFRA (2003) Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock:
Cattle.
Reed, M. and Lobley, M. (2003) They shoot calves don’t they – living
with the excesses of a post productivist countryside. Centre for Rural
Research, Exeter University.
John Webster, pers comm., 5th July 2005.
Cogent (2005) Getting More Heifers with Sexed Semen. Available from:
http://www.cogentuk.com/f/sexed_semen.pdf
NADIS Cattle Disease Focus – The Downer Cow. Available from:
http://www.qmscotland.co.uk/analysis/downloads/DownerCow.pdf
DEFRA (2003) Improving Calf Survival. Available from:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/cattle/booklets/calfsurv03.pdf
Stafford, K. J. and Mellor, D. J. (2005) Dehorning and disbudding
distress and its alleviation in calves. The Veterinary Journal, 169:
337-349.
Highgate Veterinary Surgery Farmers’ Newsletter, March 2004. Available
at: http://www.highgate-vets.co.uk/farm/newsletters/pdf/0403.PDF
Blowey, R. and Edmondson, P. (2000) Mastitis Control in Dairy Herds.
UK: Farming Press Books.
Nature (2004) Holy Cow. Available from:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/holycow/
University of Reading Cattle Compendium, Ketosis. Available from:
http://www.organic-vet.reading.ac.uk/Cattleweb/disease/Keto/keto1.htm
DEFRA (2002) Welfare of cows at grass.
University of Reading Cattle Compendium, Milk Fever. Available from:
http://www.organic-vet.reading.ac.uk/Cattleweb/disease/MilkF/mf1.htm
NADIS Cattle Disease Focus – Milk Fever. Available from:
http://www.qmscotland.co.uk/analysis/downloads/Milk%20Fever.pdf
NADIS Cattle Disease Focus – Grass Staggers. Available from:
http://www.qmscotland.co.uk/analysis/downloads/Hypomagnesaemia.pdf
DEFRA (2005) Lameness in Dairy Cattle. Available from:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/cattle/pb4020/pb402toc.htm
DEFRA (2005) Lameness in Beef Cattle and Dairy Followers. Available
at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/cattle/pb1151/lamebtoc.htm
DEFRA (2005) Mastitis management action plan. Available from:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/advice/mastitis/index.htm
Blowey, R. (2005) Red Deer and Cattle Fertility. Veterinary Times,35
(22): 28-29.
MDC (1999) Improving Reproductive Performance of Dairy Cows.
Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative (2005) Why Organic Milk? Available
at:
http://www.organicmilk.co.uk/index.cfm/organicmilk/WhyOrganic.Health
Move west pays off for Hemmings herd event. Farmers Weekly, 143 (2):
35.
Farm Animal Welfare Council (2005) Report on the Welfare of Farmed
Animals at Gatherings.
DEFRA (2003) Organic Milk Production: Profit or Welfare?
Soil Association (2005) Organic Standards, Revision 15.
RSPCA (2004) Welfare standards for dairy cattle.
National Dairy Farm Assured Scheme (2004) Standards and Guidelines for
Assessment.
Dairy-bred beef calf buyers more selective. Farmers Guardian, July 15
2005.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000.
Dairy beef worth its weight in gold by 2006. Farmer’s Weekly, 5th
August 2006.
< Back

The Dark Side of Dairy - A report on the UK Dairy Industry
A Viva! Report by Toni Vernelli, BSc (Hons) Animal Biology and
Conservation
Published by Viva! © Viva! 2005


Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol, BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
Osvald Hotz De Baar
2008-03-06 17:38:06 UTC
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The Natural Life of Cattle

Fig. 3. Cows establish strong friendships when only a few days old,
making later separation stressful and confusing
Cattle are members of the Bovidae family, which also includes
antelope, goats, sheep, bison and buffalo (19). Modern domestic cattle
(Bos taurus) are descended from the much larger auroch (Bos taurus
primigenius) which once ranged from Britain to Africa, throughout the
Middle East, across India and central Asia (20). Domestication of the
auroch began in Mesopotamia around 6500 BC where they were used for
meat, milk, hides and labour (20). Selective breeding over the
millennia caused dramatic physical changes to domestic cattle, to the
extent that they are now considered a separate species (20). Wild
aurochs became extinct in Britain in the Bronze Age, with the last
members of their species killed by hunters in Poland in 1627 (20).

The closest living relatives of modern domestic cattle are bantengs
(Bos javanicus) and gaur (Bos gaurus) who live in South East Asia and
have both suffered drastic population declines (19). These species
naturally form small herds, between 10-30 animals, although several
herds may get together during the breeding season. Most herds consist
of only one bull with several cows and their offspring. Young males
that don’t manage to take over the herd must head out on their own,
sometimes joining together in small ‘bachelor’ groups (19).

Populations of semi-wild cattle still survive in several countries,
including the white cattle which have roamed free in Chillingham Park
in Northumberland for at least the past 700 years (21). Studies of
this herd, and other semi-wild herds, have provided much insight on
natural cattle behaviour.

Like the guar and banteng, semi-wild cattle form small groups,
averaging 15-20 animals, with a strict social hierarchy – the highest
ranking individuals having priority to food, shelter and water, with
offspring inheriting their mother’s status (22). The social structure
within herds is based on matriarchal families, with mother cows and
their daughters remaining grooming and grazing partners for their
whole lives (22). These matriarchal families are interconnected by
friendships between unrelated cows (22). Once the social structure is
established in a herd it remains stable for many years and any
disruption to the group, such as a new member or division of the herd,
is very stressful and confusing for them (22). According to Rosamund
Young, an expert on cattle behaviour, it is extremely common for
calves to establish lifelong friendships when only a few days old
(23). These social bonds are constantly reinforced through mutual
grooming (23).

The birth of a calf is a very private moment for a cow and she will
usually take herself off from the rest of the herd to give birth,
leaving her calf hidden away in long grass for the first week or so
(21, 22). The week-old calf is then brought to the herd for an
introduction ceremony. The ‘king’ bull comes out to meet them and
escorts them into the herd. The other cows then inspect and sniff the
calf, as if to decide whether he or she should be admitted to the
herd. Once this is 'agreed', the cows pay no further attention to the
new calf who remains with the herd (21).

Cows are very protective of their young and will attack, and even
kill, anything they see as a threat – including humans (24). In June
2005, a 66 year-old woman was trampled to death as she walked her dog
through a field of cows with their calves in Warwickshire (24). Female
calves will naturally suckle until they are around nine months old and
stay with their mothers for the rest of their lives (22, 23). Males
are weaned at around 12 months old and would then leave the herd and
join a bachelor herd (22). Both males and females can easily live to
be 20 (21, 22, 23).

Cows are ruminants who digest their food in two steps, first by eating
the raw material and then regurgitating a semi-digested form known as
cud which they chew again (20). Their stomach is divided into four
chambers with each carrying out different functions. In the first
chamber, called the rumen, the food is mixed with fluid to form the
cud. The regurgitated cud, after having been slowly chewed, is
swallowed again, and passes through the rumen into the other stomach
chambers for further digestion (20).


Fig. 4. Studies of free-ranging herds have shown that female calves
naturally wean at around nine months old while males continue to
suckle up to 12 months
Cattle have a wide field of vision but are poor judges of detail and
distance (20). Contrary to popular belief, cattle can also see colour
although they have a deficiency towards the red end of the spectrum
(20). Due to their poor depth perception, they are often reluctant to
enter dark or shadowy areas and frequently over-react to quite small
things in their path, such as changes in floor surface or shadows
(23).

Cattle have excellent hearing and hear sounds at similar and higher
frequencies to humans, they dislike loud, sudden noises (19). They
also have a very effective sense of smell which they use to explore
new objects or environments (19).

Terminology

Calf: a male or female up to 180 days old

Heifer: a young female over 180 days old before she has her first calf

First-calf heifer: a female who is in her first lactation

Cow: a female in her second lactation

Bullock or steer: a castrated male more than 180 days old

Bull: an entire male more than 180 days old

< Back Next >

The Dark Side of Dairy - A report on the UK Dairy Industry
A Viva! Report by Toni Vernelli, BSc (Hons) Animal Biology and
Conservation
Published by Viva! © Viva! 2005


Viva! Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol, BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: ***@viva.org.uk
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2008-03-06 17:38:09 UTC
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The Life of a Modern Dairy Cow

Fig. 5. Most dairy cows in Britain are impregnated by artificial
insemination and the semen production industry is now big business
The modern dairy cow’s life bears little resemblance to that of her
wild relatives. Every aspect of her life is manipulated to maximise
milk yield, inevitably at the expense of her health and welfare.
According to John Webster, Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry at
Bristol University’s Clinical Veterinary Science department:

“The dairy cow is exposed to more abnormal physiological demands than
any other class of farm animal”, making her “a supreme example of an
overworked mother.” (6, 7)

Cows are mammals who, like us, produce milk in their mammary glands to
feed their young. They therefore must give birth to a calf in order to
produce milk and must be re-impregnated every year to keep that milk
supply going (4, 6, 7). Most dairy heifers are impregnated for the
first time when they are between 15 and 18 months old, giving birth to
their first calf nine months later (4). Most dairy herds in the UK are
now artificially inseminated (AI) as this is much cheaper than keeping
a bull and allows farmers to select the sire from a variety of breeds
(4). AI is now in fact a very lucrative business, with the dairy
farming sector split between farms which produce milk and farms which
produce semen (25). The use of more invasive practices such as
multiple ovulation therapy and embryo transfer is increasing steadily
in the UK and the rest of Europe (26). These techniques are discussed
further in Sex and the Single Cow.


Fig. 6. A mother dairy cow tenderly grooming her newborn calf who will
be taken from her a few short days after birth
Click here for a video clip of a mother cow grooming her calf
Although a cow would naturally suckle her calf for nine months to a
year, calves born on dairy farms are taken away from their mothers
within a few days of birth – so that we can drink the milk that was
meant to nourish the calves (7, 22). A strong mother/infant bond is
formed between cow and calf within the first few hours of birth,
making their separation extremely traumatic (27). Both the cow and
calf bellow and show obvious signs of distress when they are
separated, often continuing for several days, leaving those within
earshot in no doubt that it is a harrowing experience for both (6, 7,
23, 27). The cow will be re-impregnated two to three months after the
calf is removed and forced to endure this heartbreak again and again,
every year until she is worn out (4). Professor John Webster describes
the removal of the calf as the ‘most potentially distressing incident
in the life of the dairy cow’ (28). The fate of her calves is outlined
in Calves – Unwanted By-products.

Because she is re-impregnated while still lactating from the previous
pregnancy, a dairy cow spends seven months of every year
simultaneously pregnant and producing large quantities of milk. This
enormous physical demand requires her to eat over four times more food
per day than a beef cow at pasture (7). Her average milk yield will be
between 30-50 litres a day, 10 times more than a calf would drink, so
her udder is forced to work unnaturally hard (29). In addition, a calf
would normally feed five to six times a day so that the maximum amount
of milk in her udder at any one time would be around two litres (29).
But on modern dairy farms a cow is milked only twice a day, allowing
milk to accumulate in the udder and forcing her to carry around 20
litres of milk or more (6). This greatly enlarged udder leads to
lameness in her hind legs and predisposes her to mastitis (a painful
infection of the udder) (7).


Fig. 7. Two dairy cows in the milking chamber. Their enormous udders
force them to adopt an unnatural stance, leading to pressure on the
hind feet and painful sole ulcers
Click here for a video clip of a cow’s distended udder
Her only rest from this demanding workload is during the last two
months of her pregnancy when she is ‘dried off’ in preparation for
calving – then the whole cycle starts again (4). This gruelling cycle
takes its toll on her body, and according to Professor Webster:

“. . . a depressing number are culled after only two to three
lactations because they are worn out, either through complete loss of
body tissue (emaciation), or breakdown of the udder tissues, or
chronic lameness.” (29)

The problems of malnutrition, lameness and mastitis are discussed
further in Suffering in Silence.

The dairy cow’s physical problems are compounded by being kept indoors
for six months of the year. The majority of dairy herds in the UK
graze from April to October and spend the rest of the year housed
indoors in cubicle units (30). There are even some dairy farms in
Britain that have adopted the USA’s zero-grazing system where cows
spend their entire lives indoors (7). According to DEFRA:

“Today’s cows have outgrown the type and dimensions of winter
cubicles, the majority of which were built in the 60s and 70s, so that
cows are now too large to be comfortable.” (30)

This is a result of the switch from British Friesians, who average
550kg, to Holsteins, who average 700kg, as the dominant dairy breed.
Many cows simply do not fit in the cubicles and their hind legs
protrude into the slurry passage behind them, while some find the
cubicles so uncomfortable that they choose to lay in the slurry
covered aisles instead (3). The social hierarchy within the herd can
also contribute to problems in indoor housing units as lower ranking
cows often choose not to lie in cubicles next to dominant cows and
instead lie in the aisles or slurry passage (3).

While indoors, cows are fed a diet of silage (wet, fermented grass)
and high protein concentrate (a mixture of cereals, rape meal,
sunflower meal, maize and soya – a large percentage of which are GM)
which add to their troubles (7). Wet silage causes wet manure and the
resulting poor hygiene conditions contribute to mastitis and lameness
(7). High protein concentrates cause a build up of toxins in the
cow’s system which causes laminitis (inflammation of the tissue which
lies below the outer horny wall of the foot) a severely painful
condition (see Suffering in Silence) (7).


Fig. 8. A cow who is too big for her winter cubicle has difficulty
getting comfortable, leading to swelling of the leg joints and contact
sores
Click here for a video clip of a typical cubicle unit
For all of her hard work and suffering, what does the dairy cow get in
return? Shipped off to the slaughterhouse as soon as her milk yield
drops! Modern dairy farms are about maximizing profit and minimizing
overheads, which, according to Stuart Bacon – Britain’s Dairy Farmer
of the Future 2005 – is achieved by ‘culling out some of the poorer
performers’ (31). Since BSE became endemic in Britain, ‘spent’ dairy
cows have been banned from entering the food chain under the Over
Thirty Month Scheme (OTMS), a measure introduced in 1996 to try and
reduce the human health risk of BSE (32). They are instead sent to
designated OTMS collection centres and slaughterhouses, which may be
several hundred kilometers from the farm, where they have their chests
slit, bleed to death and are incinerated. Since 1996, over 7.2 million
cattle have been slaughtered under the scheme and dairy and beef
farmers have received a total of £3.7 billion in compensation (32).
However, the law is set to change in the near future and worn out
dairy cows who test negative for BSE will end up in ‘low-quality’ meat
products such as pies, burgers, soups, baby food (32).

For details on cattle slaughter methods in the UK, please see Viva!’s
Sentenced to Death report.
Osvald Hotz De Baar
2008-03-06 17:38:13 UTC
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Sex and the Single Cow

Fig. 9. Most dairy cows are impregnated by artificial insemination, a
stressful procedure which can cause serious injury if performed
improperly
Reproduction is at the heart of the dairy industry as cows must give
birth to calves in order to produce milk, and no other aspect of the
cow’s life is artificially manipulated to such a great extent.

Artificial Insemination

Very few dairy cows in the UK mate naturally. The majority are
impregnated by artificial insemination (AI), which involves passing a
catheter through the cervix of the cow and depositing the semen in her
uterus (33). This is an uncomfortable, stressful experience for the
cow which can result in injury if carried out by an untrained or
inexperienced person (3). Under the Artificial Insemination of Cattle
(Animal Health) (England and Wales) Regulations 1985, the procedure
does not have to be performed by a veterinarian and may be carried out
by any member of farm staff who has received ‘appropriate training’
(34). According to DEFRA it is now ‘largely carried out by
non-veterinarians’ (34). AI training courses take place on working
farms, using live animals for practice (34). In January 2005, DEFRA
proposed amendments to the law that would permit farm workers to
practice on ‘spent’ cows in slaughterhouses before they are killed, a
practice banned in 2002 because it caused the animals unnecessary
suffering and stress (34).


Fig. 10. Semen production is now big business. Here a Holstein bull
ejaculates into a collection tube

Artificial insemination is so widespread because it is cheaper to
purchase frozen sperm than to feed and look after a bull. It also
allows the farmer to choose from a variety of breeds to sire the
calves. It is common practice for farmers to use semen from dairy
breeds such as Holstein/Friesian for 50% of their inseminations and
semen from beef breeds such as Charolais or Hereford for the other
half (25). This ensures a regular replacement of ‘good milkers’ for
the herd as well as a number of dual purpose calves who can be sold
for beef production (25). However, male calves who have been sired by
a dairy breed are of little use on a dairy farm as they do not produce
milk. They are also of little use to a beef farmer as they do not put
on muscle in the same way that beef breeds do. Male pure breed dairy
calves are simply unwanted by-products of dairy production and up to
200,000 are killed every year shortly after birth (36, 37, 64). The
fate of dairy calves is discussed further in Calves – Unwanted
By-products.


Fig. 11. Recognising that male calves are useless to a dairy farmer,
the AI company Cogent offer Sexed Semen which claims to provide 90%
heifer calves
In 2000, the British AI company Cogent began selling Holstein semen
which was sorted to pre-determine the sex of the calf and help farmers
avoid ‘having large numbers of unwanted Holstein bull calves born
every year’ (38). This product, they claim, gives an average result of
90% female sperm and 10% male sperm, allowing farmers much greater
control over the cow’s reproduction (38). However, sexed semen is not
currently widely used as it is very expensive (37).

Embryo Transfer

The use of invasive embryo technologies is increasing steadily in
Europe (26). To ensure that high quality cows produce more offspring
than is naturally possible, embryos are removed from their
reproductive systems and transferred into ‘lower quality’ cows who
serve as surrogate mothers (3). Embryos can either be collected
directly from the ‘donor’ cow or can be produced in vitro (in a test
tube) with ‘donor’ cow eggs retrieved through ovum pick-up (26).

Embryo collection: High quality cows are injected with hormones to
increase ovulation and are then artificially inseminated in the usual
manner (33). The resulting embryos, which can number from seven to 12,
are flushed from her uterus using a catheter type instrument (33). As
this procedure takes place a week after oestrus, the uterus is more
difficult to penetrate than during artificial insemination and can
result in bleeding and sometimes even uterine rupture (33). The
procedure is so painful that UK law requires the use of an epidural
(35).

Ovum pick-up: Unfertilised eggs are collected from ‘donor’ cows by a
needle inserted through the wall of the vagina and into the ovary
(35). According to DEFRA:

“Repeated epidural injections are necessary for this procedure and
they can cause welfare problems for the animals, such as severe pain
in the tailhead and lower back” (35).

Despite these welfare concerns, 26,000 embryos were produced using
ovum pick-up in the EU in 2000 (26).

Surrogate cows receiving the embryos, whether direct from the ‘donor’
cow or from in vitro fertilization, are given hormone injections to
bring on heat (33). A gun is then used to insert the embryo high into
the uterus, a procedure requiring great skill which can only be
acquired with practice (33). The use of an epidural is compulsory
(35).

Ultrasound scanning

Over the past decade the use of per rectum ultrasound to detect
pregnancy has become common on British dairy farms (3). This involves
inserting a long probe (about the thickness of a finger) into the
cow’s rectum until it lies over her uterus (3). Careless insertion or
removal of the probe can damage the rectal tissue and internal organs,
causing great pain (3). Both the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
(RCVS) and the government’s Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) have
expressed concerns over non-veterinarians performing the procedure
(3). Despite these concerns DEFRA still permit non-veterinarians to
carry out per rectum ultrasound as long as they have received
‘appropriate training’ (34).



Fig. 12. Cows who have suffered injuries during calving, such as nerve
paralysis, may have hobbles attached to their hind legs to hold them
in place so they can carry on milking (Photo: Viva!)
Click here for a video clip of a cow in hobbles
Calving

Concerns have also been raised by the FAWC and the Food Ethics Council
(FEC) over the use of embryos or semen from large cattle breeds in
smaller recipient cows who will have difficulty giving birth to them
(3, 33). This mismatch can result in severe injuries to the cow during
calving, including internal haemorrhage, nerve paralysis and pelvic
fracture (33, 39). According to the National Animal Disease
Information Service (NADIS) calving difficulties are the cause of 46%
of ‘downer cows’ – when a cow is unable to stand up – on British dairy
farms (39).

‘Downed’ cows require immediate attention to prevent injuries which
may only be temporary from causing permanent damage (3). A cow may ‘go
down’ because of temporary nerve paralysis caused by calving
difficulties or simply fatigue from her gruelling workload, but if
left recumbent for several hours permanent damage can be caused to her
legs (due to her 700kg body cutting off the blood supply) (37).
Several different types of lifting gear are used to get ‘downed’ cows
on their feet again (3, 39). These include:

a hoist which is clamped to the cow’s hip bones
a lifting bag which inflates underneath the cow
a net or harness which allows the cow to hang suspended (3).
Hobbles and shackles are also commonly attached to the hind legs of
cows who have suffered muscle or nerve damage during calving and would
not be able to stand unaided, as illustrated in Fig. 12 (3, 39). If
the farmer were to cull a cow who was injured during calving he would
lose the large quantity of milk which she was about to produce.
Injured cows are therefore often forced to carry on, even when in
pain, for seven to eight months until their milk yield drops and they
are killed.


Fig. 13. Modern dairy cows have such hugely enlarged udders that their
calves often have difficulty finding and reaching the teats (Photo
reproduced with kind permission of Tetrapak)


Dairy cows impregnated with large continental beef breeds such as
Belgian Blue, Charolais or Limousin are sometimes unable to give birth
naturally and must undergo caesarean section (3, 29). In order to
prevent the need for this major surgery, farmers using large
continental breeds to sire calves may induce calving before the cow
reaches full-term (3). The FAWC have raised concerns that induction of
pregnancy increases the risk of the placenta being retained, leading
to infection of the uterus and premature infertility (3). They
therefore recommend that it only be used in extreme circumstances and
never as a routine procedure (3). Despite this advice, DEFRA – in
their Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Cattle –
state ‘induction does have a role to play in preventing oversized
calves’ (34).
Osvald Hotz De Baar
2008-03-06 17:38:17 UTC
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Calves – Unwanted By-Products

Fig. 14. UK law allows calves up to 8 weeks old to be housed in small
stalls,
such as these found on farms in Dorset and Sussex, denying them the
exercise
and social interaction that is so important for their development
Click here for a video clip of newborn calves in hutches
Although cows would naturally suckle their calves for nine months to a
year, dairy calves are taken away from their mothers within one to
three days of birth – to ensure that as much milk as possible is
available for sale (7, 22). The strong bond that is formed between
mother and calf in the first few hours after birth makes this enforced
separation a very traumatic experience (7, 27). Both mother and calf
bellow loudly after separation and respond to each other’s calls by
moving toward the sound, with calves able to distinguish their own
mother’s calls within 24 hours of birth (27). But this mental anguish
is only the beginning of the calves’ troubles.

Female Calves

Half of the female calves born each year will be pure dairy breed
calves who will enter the dairy herd, replacing the 25% of cows who
are culled every year because they are worn out (3, 37). They are
allowed to suckle from their mothers for the first day of life so that
they receive the antibody rich milk, known as colostrum, which she
produces immediately after calving and which is essential for the
calves’ immune system (3, 7). They are then separated from their
mothers and fed on commercial milk replacer, either from an artificial
teat or from a bucket (3, 7). Although the main motivation for
removing the calves is financial – farmers want to sell as much of the
milk as possible – decades of genetic manipulation have resulted in
such hugely distorted udders that it is difficult for calves to find
and reach the teat, as illustrated in Fig. 13. Where this is a problem
farmers will remove the calves within a few hours of birth and feed
them their mother’s colostrum from a bucket (34).

In the first few weeks of life calves, like all infants, are very
susceptible to disease, with up to six per cent of calves born each
year dying before one month old (40). Diarrhoea (known as scours in
the farming sector) is the main factor contributing to these deaths
and is often caused by low-quality or incorrectly prepared milk
replacer (3, 40). For this reason artificially-reared calves are
weaned completely onto solid food by four to five weeks of age, much
sooner than in the wild where they would continue to suckle for up to
12 months (3, 7).

Under the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000, calves
may be housed in individual stalls or hutches, either indoor or
outdoor, until they are eight weeks old (40). But, even at this young
age, healthy calves are very energetic and need to play and socialise
with other calves (7). Housing in individual stalls or hutches denies
them this vital exercise and social contact, as illustrated in Fig 14.
Group housing, which all calves must be moved to after eight weeks of
age, allows more natural social behaviour and greater opportunity for
exercise and play, but also increases the risk of airborne diseases
such as pneumonia – the most common disease of weaned calves (3, 40).
Essentially, it is impossible to artificially rear calves in a way
which fulfils their natural needs and behaviours without compromising
their health.

If the calves are to replace cows on the farm where they are born,
they will be turned out to pasture when a few months old, weather
permitting, but are kept separate from older animals until at least
six months old to reduce the risk of disease (3, 40). Between 15 and
18 months old they will be inseminated, giving birth to their first
calf nine months later (3). They will then have 24-72 hours to revel
in the joys of motherhood before their calf is taken away and they
begin their gruelling life as a milk machine.

Female calves who are surplus to requirements on their birth farm will
be sold on to other dairy farms, usually through a livestock market -
illustrated in Fig 15 (40). According to The Welfare of Animals at
Markets Order 1990, calves as young as seven days old may be brought
to market and sold (34). These young calves may travel several hundred
kilometers from farm to market and then on to the purchasing farm.
This is not only very stressful for the calves but also exposes them
to new pathogens which they have no resistance to, leading to an
increased risk of disease (40).

The other half of females born each year will be dairy/beef crosses
who are sold on, again through a livestock market, and reared for beef
in a semi-intensive system (37). These systems involve grazing cattle
outside in the summer and housing them during the winter, with
slaughter age varying from 15-24 months.

Male Calves


Fig. 15. Calves who are ‘surplus to requirements’ on their birth farm
are sold off at livestock markets, a frightening and stressful
experience that also involves long distance journeys
Click here for a video clip of calves being auctioned at market
Male calves will never produce milk and therefore are of no use to a
dairy farmer. In many countries, including those on the continent from
which we import nearly 50% of our cheese and butter, male dairy calves
are raised for veal (1, 7). Kept in tiny crates for 16-20 weeks and
fed an iron-deficient diet to keep their flesh white and supple, these
calves suffer from high incidences of infectious disease and develop
stereotypical behaviour patterns such as tongue rolling, crate-licking
or mutual tongue sucking (6, 7). Although the veal crate was banned in
the UK in 1990 due to the immense cruelty involved, British dairy
farmers continued to export up to 500,000 male calves a year to veal
crates in continental Europe (3). This ‘live-export’ trade was
destroyed in 1996 by bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) when the
rest of Europe banned the import of cattle from Britain (3, 7).

To compensate dairy farmers for the loss of income from exported dairy
calves, the UK government introduced The Calf Processing Scheme in
April 1996 which paid farmers for each calf slaughtered before 21 days
old (36). Within nine months of the introduction of the scheme almost
500,000 calves were slaughtered (36). When the scheme was withdrawn in
1999, the price of male dairy calves collapsed (36). New measures were
quickly introduced to allow calves to be shot and buried on farms,
with 200,000 male dairy calves killed and buried on British farms in
2001 (36). In 2003 the EU banned the routine burial or burning of
animal carcasses on farms, and since then unwanted male calves are
shot and then either collected by the local hunt kennels and fed to
the dogs, or sent for incineration or rendering (34).


Fig. 16. Male dairy/beef cross calves will be raised for beef in a
semi-intensive system where they will be kept in overcrowded sheds
such as this for six months of the year
Today, around half of the male calves born on British dairy farms are
pure dairy calves while the other half are dairy/beef crosses (37).
All of the dairy/beef crosses will be removed from their mothers after
a couple of days and housed in stalls or hutches and fed milk replacer
just like female calves. Most will also be sold on to semi-intensive
beef farms through livestock markets, just like female dairy/beef
cross calves.

Approximately 50% of the pure dairy males will also be reared for
beef, but as they will only produce ‘low quality’ beef they are raised
in intensive systems (7, 33, 37). After being separated from their
mothers they are confined in buildings and yards for most of their
lives – which is usually just over one year (7, 33). High mortality
rates in these systems are common as it is not financially worthwhile
for farmers to strive to keep them alive (7).

The other 50% of male pure dairy calves, or 25% of all male calves
born each year, are shot shortly after birth and either collected by
the local hunt or sent for incineration (34, 37). One dairy farmer who
was interviewed by Exeter University’s Centre for Rural Research
demonstrates the scale of the killings: “I mean, last year, out of the
first 60 cows that I put to Friesian Holstein, I had three heifer
cows, so I shot 57 calves in a matter of two months.” (36)


Fig. 17. Up to 200,000 newborn dairy calves are killed in Britain each
year – the unwanted by-products of milk production. Despite the recent
ban on hunting, most are still collected by the local hunt and fed to
the hounds


According to the Meat and Livestock Commission, 100,000 dairy calves
were killed shortly after birth in 2004 and they believe ‘the level is
likely to remain the same unless the calf export market is re-opened’
(62). In fact it has increased, with 110,000 calves killed in the
first six months of 2005 (64).

UK Veal Production

A small number of male pure dairy calves, around 20,000 a year, are
raised in the UK for rose veal (3). Rose veal production differs from
white veal production in that calves may only be kept in individual
stalls until 8 weeks old, rather than the 16-20 weeks for white veal,
and must be fed a diet which contains sufficient iron to avoid anaemia
(7, 63). From two weeks old they must also be provided with a daily
ration of fibrous food to permit normal rumen development (7, 63).
Rose veal calves are slaughtered between one and seven months of age.
The market for veal, even that which is promoted as
‘welfare-friendly’, remains small in the UK and seems unlikely to grow
in the near future (3, 7).

Mutilations


Fig. 18. Most dairy calves, both males and females, have their horn
buds burned with a hot iron to prevent them growing, causing severe
pain which can last for several hours.
Disbudding: Most calves raised for dairy and beef are disbudded to
prevent the growth of horns and minimise the risk of cattle injuring
each other in modern intensive rearing systems (3). This can be done
by burning the horn bud with a hot iron (cautery disbudding) or by
applying a caustic paste which erodes the horn bud (chemical
disbudding) (3, 41). Cautery disbudding causes severe pain which can
last for several hours, with low-grade pain and sensitivity continuing
for at least 24 hours (41). Under the Protection of Animals
(Anaesthetics) Act 1954/1964, it can only be performed on calves under
two months old and a local anaesthetic must be used (34). Chemical
disbudding is even more painful and may only be performed on calves in
the first week of life, however local anaesthetic is not required (34,
41). The caustic paste can also leak onto surrounding skin or into the
eyes, causing immense pain (41).

Castration: Male calves sold or raised for beef may be castrated to
prevent aggression (3).

According to DEFRA, three methods can be used to castrate calves in
the UK (34):

A rubber ring or other device can be applied to calves under one week
old to restrict the flow of blood to the testicles, which shrivel and
drop off within a few weeks. No anaesthetic is required.
The spermatic cords of calves under two months old can be crushed
using an instrument similar to pliers (called a burdizzo, pictured
below). No anaesthetic is required.
Surgical castration by a vet, under general anaesthetic, can be
performed on calves of any age.

Fig. 19. Burdizzo ‘bloodless’ castrators are used to crush the
spermatic cords of young male bulls without anaesthetic
According to the FAWC, all three methods cause acute pain – regardless
of the age of the calf (3). Complications and infection at the site of
castration can also occur (3). In their March 2004 newsletter, the
Highgate Veterinary Surgery in Kendal highlighted the problems arising
from the use of rusty burdizzo castrators: ‘Rusty burdizzos were used
to castrate 20 stirks (bullocks) about a month ago. Half of these
animals now have scrotal abscesses, some of which have burst leaving
gaping holes. The nippers had broken the skin and allowed infection
into the dying testicle’ (42).


Supernumerary Teats: Female calves are commonly born with one or two
small, surplus teats on the udder (3). Although not harmful, these
‘supernumerary teats’ are routinely removed from dairy calves because
they are ‘unsightly’ and make the animal less saleable, or, if located
near the base of a true teat, may interfere with placement of the teat
cup during milking (43). Up until three months of age these teats may
be cut off using sharp scissors without anaesthetic (3, 34). After
this age they must be removed by a veterinary surgeon (3, 34).

According to DEFRA, castration, disbudding and removal of excess teats
are all stressful procedures which can reduce disease resistance in
young calves (40).
Osvald Hotz De Baar
2008-03-06 17:38:21 UTC
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Suffering in Silence
Most people see dairy cows grazing in the field and think that they
have an easy, peaceful life, and die naturally at a ripe old age. In
truth, the dairy cow is the hardest worked of all farmed animals,
nurturing a growing calf inside her while simultaneously producing
30-50 litres of milk a day. No other farm animal carries this dual
load of pregnancy and lactation. John Webster, Emeritus Professor of
Animal Husbandry, Bristol University’s Clinical Veterinary Science
department has likened the workload of the high-yielding dairy cow to
that of:

“. . . a jogger who goes running for six to eight hours every day’ and
believes that ‘the only humans who work harder than the dairy cow are
cyclists in the Tour de France.” (29)

This enormous physical burden takes its toll on the cow’s body and
after only two to four lactations she is culled, either due to
infertility, mastitis, severe lameness or because her milk yield has
dropped (7). Compare this to a healthy beef cow, who can produce 10 or
more calves before reaching physical exhaustion, and you understand
why Professor Webster believes:

“As far as the welfare issue is concerned, the problems with beef
cattle are nothing compared to the problems in the dairy industry. So
anyone who avoids beef and elects to eat cheese due to welfare
concerns is missing the point.” (7, 44)


Fig. 20. Modern high-yield dairy cows cannot consume enough food at
pasture to satisfy both their enormous milk output and their normal
bodily functions, resulting in malnourished animals with protruding
bones (Photo: Ed Shephard)
Click here for a video clip of malnourished cows
The misconception that dairy cows do not suffer often stems from the
fact that they do not display the signs of distress that we expect to
see, such as bellowing, immobility or loss of appetite (7). However,
in the wild, cattle and other ruminants are prey animals who live in
herds to reduce their risk of predation (7). In this situation, the
animal that shows outward signs of illness becomes the target of
attack (7). Cows have therefore evolved to soldier on regardless of
how much they are suffering. According to Professor Webster, pain
thresholds in cows are the same as in humans (7).

Metabolic Disorders

Hunger

The high-yielding Holstein cow is a large animal who simply cannot
consume enough food at pasture to sustain her enormous milk output as
well as her other bodily functions, leaving her in a constant state of
‘metabolic hunger’ (6, 7). At pasture, her food intake is limited by
the rate at which she can consume and digest grass. As grass is high
in fibre, it fills up the rumen (stomach) quickly, causing the cow to
feel ‘full up’ while at the same time still feeling hungry for
nutrients (6, 7). Standing and eating for hours on end is also very
tiring work and cows, who would naturally spend 12-14 hours a day
lying down, face conflicting motivation to stop eating and rest (7,
37). Rye grass pastures, which are very high in nitrogen, can lead to
increased urea in the cow’s blood, making her feel sick and impairing
her appetite (7). Professor Webster summarises her feelings as
‘simultaneously hungry, tired, full up and feeling sick’ (7).

Due to their inability to meet the metabolic demands of lactation, it
is normal for cows to ‘milk off their backs’ in early lactation (draw
on body reserves), resulting in a ‘coat rack’ appearance with the
bones of the hips and spine protruding, as illustrated in Fig 14 (7,
29). Dairy farmers consider this to be a normal metabolic situation in
high-yielding dairy cows and have come to accept ‘bony’ dairy cows as
typical, when in fact they are malnourished (46).

Ketosis and Fatty Liver Syndrome

The abnormal demands on the cows’ energy reserves often lead to
ketosis and fatty liver syndrome (7).

Ketosis occurs when the cow begins to break down body fat in an effort
to bridge the ‘energy gap’ during early lactation (45). Body fat is
transported to, and broken down in the liver to metabolites which are
then utilized by the body tissues (45). Excess mobilisation of fat can
lead to a toxic level of ketones accumulating in the blood, milk and
urine, causing a loss of appetite and drop in milk yield (45).
Affected cows may also exhibit nervous signs, which include excessive
salivation, licking of walls or gates, malco-ordination and aggression
(45).

There is a limit to the amount of fat the liver can break down to
ketone bodies and, when this is saturated, the surplus fat accumulates
in the liver (46). This reduces the normal function of the liver and,
because it is a vital organ, many normal body functions are upset.
Milk production, mastitis

and fertility are all adversely affected by fatty liver (46).

Milk Fever (Hypocalcaemia)

Milk fever is one of the most common metabolic disorders in dairy
cattle, usually occurring just before, during or immediately after
calving (47). It is caused by low blood calcium resulting from the
high calcium demands of pregnancy and lactation. When the cow’s blood
calcium becomes too low to support normal nerve and muscle function
she collapses and is unable to stand until her blood calcium becomes
normal again (48). Death can be rapid, with milk fever the most common
cause of sudden death in dairy cows (47). According to the National
Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS), it is also one of the most
important causes of calving problems and subsequent calf deaths (48).

Grass Staggers (Hypomagnesaemia)

Grass staggers (or grass tetany) occurs when the cow’s intake of
magnesium is lower than her output (49). It occurs most commonly in
lactating cows at pasture as grass can be very low in magnesium,
especially rye grass, while the output of magnesium in milk is high
(49). Clinical signs can appear very rapidly as cows do not store
magnesium and must rely on a daily intake (49). Initially, animals
become nervous and excitable, and then begin to stagger and fall over
(49). This can quickly progress to convulsions, coma and ultimately
death. The short duration of clinical signs means that the mortality
rate is high, as many animals are found dead before anyone notices
they are ill (49).

High Protein Concentrates


Fig. 21. Sole ulcers such as this are common in the hind feet of dairy
cows as the weight of their enormous udders causes the pedal bone of
the foot to penetrate through the sole
Click here for a video clip of lame cows


While the obvious solution to the problem of hunger and mineral
deficiency in high-yielding dairy cows would be to stop breeding
animals with such a high milk output, dairy farmers are instead
increasingly feeding their cows on high protein feed concentrates (7).
These concentrates, which are usually made from GM soya and maize, are
higher in calories than grass and thus provide more energy (7).
However, they are also high in amino acids which further accelerate
milk production (7). The result of this is increased milk production
in the short term but loss of body condition, infertility and greater
susceptibility to illness later on (7). The high starch and protein
content of feed concentrates also cause digestive problems which lead
to a reduction in appetite, bloat and lameness induced by laminitis
(discussed further below) (3, 6, 7).

Lameness

According to DEFRA:

“The level of lameness in dairy cattle in the UK is unacceptably high.
It is a major cause of pain and discomfort to the animals.” (50)

Professor Webster shares these concerns, citing an annual incidence of
lameness of 50% and prevalence of 20% - meaning that half of the cows
in Britain go lame each year and 20% are lame at any one time (7). As
lameness is almost always a painful condition, he believes:

“. . . it is indisputably the most serious welfare problem faced by
dairy cows.” (7)

And because many lame cows continue to milk satisfactorily, they are
forced to struggle on despite their severe pain (7). In their Report
on the Welfare of Dairy Cattle, FAWC found:

‘many farms where lameness is causing unnecessary pain and distress.
Yet some stockmen appear not to perceive lameness as a problem and the
severity and extent often go unnoticed and untreated’ (3).

Approximately 80% of cases of lameness are due to foot problems and
the remainder to leg damage (50). Sole ulcers, white line disease,
digital dermatitis and laminitis are the most common foot problems and
are caused by a number of complex factors (3, 7, 50). The majority of
leg lameness is due to physical damage from badly designed cubicles
and to injury at calving (50).

Sole Lesions

Seventy-five per cent of sole ulcers and white line disease (cracks in
outer rim of the sole which allow dirt and bacteria to enter, causing
abscesses) occur in the outer claw of the hind feet (7). This is
directly attributable to the presence of the huge udder which pushes
the cow’s hind legs apart and forces her to adopt an abnormal gait,
putting extra pressure on the outer claws, as illustrated in Fig 6
(29). Poor hoof quality, caused by nutritional deficiencies, can also
predispose the sole to ulcers (30). Both sole ulcers and white line
disease cause chronic pain which gets worse with time (7). They are
further aggravated by the long distances many cows must walk between
pasture and milking chamber twice a day, and also by winter cubicle
housing where many cows are forced to stand on concrete for extended
periods of time (discussed further below) (7). According to Professor
Webster:

“Most farmers only elect to treat the most severe cases, for example
where there has been complete penetration of the sole, inducing deep
pain from standing on concrete and scalding pain through exposure of
sensitive underlying tissue to acid slurry.” (7)

Digital Dermatitis


Fig. 22. Modern dairy cows can weigh up to 750kg and are much too big
for most of the cubicle houses in Britain which were installed in the
60s and 70s when cows were 150-200kg lighter
Click here for a video clip of a typical cubicle unit


Incidence of digital dermatitis, a painful bacterial infection of the
foot, has increased in recent years due to a combination of factors
(7). Many indoor cubicles were installed when the predominant dairy
breed was the British Friesian, which commonly weighed around 550kg,
but the increased popularity of the Holstein means that many cows now
weigh in excess of 700kg (50). As a consequence, the length and width
of cubicles are too small for modern dairy cows and they are often
forced to stand with their hind feet in the slurry passage behind the
cubicle (50). Slurry is highly acidic and softens the cow’s feet,
allowing bacteria to penetrate (50). In addition, most dairy farmers
have switched from hay to silage as winter cattle feed (7). Whereas
hay is composed of dry grass and other herbaceous plants, silage is
wet, fermented grass which causes wet manure, contributing to hygiene
problems when cows are housed indoors (7).

Roads, tracks and gateways which have rough, uneven surfaces can cause
puncture wounds in the foot which are susceptible to infection (50).
When allowed to walk at their own speed, cows are able to place their
feet carefully to avoid obstacles or rough objects. When forced to
hurry (by the farmer or farm dog) they bunch together and cannot
choose where to place their feet, so are more likely to sustain damage
from sharp stones (50). In many dairy units the ageing concrete floors
have become broken or cracked, causing abrasions and punctures of the
sole which are also easily infected (30). Although digital dermatitis
can be treated with antibiotics, once it has become endemic in a herd
it is very difficult to eradicate (7).

Laminitis

Laminitis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the soft tissue
(laminae) between the bone and the outer horny wall of the foot,
which, according to DEFRA:

‘results in great pain to the animal’ (51).

To understand the pain of laminitis Professor Webster suggests:

‘imagine crushing all your fingernails in the door then standing on
your fingertips’ (6).

The soft tissue of the foot is well endowed with nerves and blood
vessels which carry oxygen and nutrients to support hoof growth and is
therefore very sensitive to toxins in the blood (30). Feed
concentrates which are high in protein and starch cause toxins to be
produced in the rumen which are absorbed into the blood stream and
irritate the soft foot tissue, causing inflammation (30). According to
DEFRA, research carried out in Scotland in the late 1980’s found a
significant link between high protein diets and lameness (30). Wet
silage, which is high in acid and ammonia, can also lead to toxins in
the blood which cause laminitis (30).

When a foot is affected by laminitis the blood flow is restricted,
affecting hoof growth and resulting in softer soles which are more
prone to disease, such as ulcers and white line disease, as well as
puncture, leading to digital dermatitis (30).

Cubicle Housing and Lameness

The inadequately sized cubicles in which most dairy cows spend six
months of the year contribute to the high incidence of lameness in
several ways. The problem of cows having to stand with their hind legs
in the slurry passage has been outlined above. The small size of the
cubicles also makes it difficult for modern cows to lie down
comfortably, reducing the amount of time that they spend lying and
increasing the pressure on their legs and feet (3, 7). Some cows avoid
the cubicles altogether and instead lie in the aisles or slurry
passages where they become very dirty and increase their risk of hock
abrasions, lameness and mastitis (discussed further below) (3).

Cows may also be forced to spend long periods standing or lying in the
passages because there are not enough cubicles for all of the cows in
the herd (3, 7). Due to the social hierarchy of the herd, subordinate
cows may also be reluctant to lie in cubicles next to dominant cows,
opting to stand or lie in the passages instead (3, 7). To overcome
this problem, the FAWC recommends that indoor housing units contain 5%
more cubicles than the number of cows (3).

Many cubicle units have concrete bases because they are easier to
clean, but they are also hard and uncomfortable and may lead to
swelling of the knees and hocks as well as pressure sores (43, 51).
Under The Welfare of Livestock Regulations 1994, dairy farmers must
provide indoor cows ‘access at all times to a well-drained and bedded
lying area’ (34). In practice, however, the bedding provided is often
little more than a thin layer of sawdust or straw which does not
provide adequate cushioning to keep the cow comfortable or prevent
contact sores (3). The use of mats or cow mattresses in cubicles help
provide cushioning but must still be covered in bedding such as sand,
straw or shavings to prevent contact sores and keep the mat dry (43).

Mastitis


Fig. 23. The combined weight of blood, secretory tissue and stored
milk can result in a total udder weight of 50-75kg. This puts enormous
strain on the udder tissues and predisposes the cow to mastitis
Click here for a video clip of a cow’s distended udder
Mastitis is a painful bacterial infection of the udder which affects
30 percent of the dairy cows in Britain at any one time, with one
million cases of clinical mastitis occurring in the UK every year (3,
5, 7). While clinical mastitis produces obvious symptoms such as
swollen, hard udders and discoloured or clotted milk, mastitis can
also occur in a subclinical form with no visible changes to the udder
or milk, making the number of these cases impossible to calculate (3,
13, 29).<