Monday, March 25, 2013

Meat Industry Vexed about Slaughter and Feedlot Decline

"No feedlot for me! I'm a sanctuary cow."
Last week I learned that there's an online meat industry publication,, that everyone (including vehemently anti-meat vegan advocates like myself) may join. Why would I do such a thing?

Well, I was inspired by Jan Dutkiewicz, a graduate student who presented a paper at last year's North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies. While I didn't go to the conference myself (although I hope to this year), I did listen to Jan's talk on Animal Voices Radio. Jan analyzed the rhetoric of the pork industry, revealing how it consistently and completely objectified pigs—transforming them (both rhetorically and literally) from living, sentient beings to lifeless units of production. When Jan explained that this meat industry rhetoric was readily available, from the meat industry itself, I was intrigued. It's one thing to imagine what killers and torturers are saying and thinking; it's quite another to actually be privy to insider information—to get inside the heads of the perpetrators, so to speak.

So I decided to join to see what I would find there. My hope was that I would gain knowledge that could help me in my advocacy. And you know what? It already has!

For one thing, I've learned that the meat industry is worried. I reported in a recent article that the meat industry's own figures show a drop in the number of animals brought to slaughter in February 2013, as compared to February of 2012. Troubling news for the slaughterers, but great news for animal rights people and of course the animals themselves!

And just today, in the "Industry News" section of Meatingplace, there's a story about the drop in the number of cattle being confined in feedlots:
USDA on Friday reported that cattle placed in feedlots in the United States with capacity of 1,000 or more head in February totaled 1.48 million, 14 percent below a year ago and well beyond the 9 percent decline analysts were expecting, according to a Dow Jones survey.
A 14 percent drop in a single year? That's huge.

While the meat industry wrings its hands and tries to figure out how to reverse the trend, those of us who celebrate any news about animals being spared suffering and death can use this information to bolster our commitment to compassionate living.

Let's keep the trend going. I can't wait to read more industry articles boo-hoo-hooing the decline of meat. The more they worry and complain, the more we know we're doing the right thing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

No Whey!

Sometimes, the posts that appear here originally begin as articles for the website Occasionally, I like to give a little extra background behind why I write what I write for TDIV, and this is one of those occasions.

In this case, it all started at the YMCA. You see, I'm a member of my local Y, and it never fails to irritate me when I walk into the weight room and see plastered all over the bulletin board articles and ads torn from muscle magazines—all extolling animal protein (particularly whey supplements of every sort) as necessary to get huge muscles. 

(Of course, the fixation on bulging, vein-popping biceps is an irritation in its own right, but I'll save that for another day.)

The issue, for me, is the Y's promotion of all this cruel, not to mention unhealthy, whey. I guess what I really need is to get up the gumption to talk to the Y director and see if, at the very least, some plant-based information can be included to balance out all the animal propaganda. In the meantime, I decided to pen the following article for TDIV: 

Derek Tresize, vegan body builder
It’s what bodybuilders are famous for: pumping iron, posing in front of mirrors, and choking down tons of whey. Why whey? Because whey protein—a by-product of the cheese industry—is known for its ability to help build lean muscle, which is exactly what muscle mavens are after.

And even though vegan bodybuilders have been wildly successful (just check out the amazing Robert Cheeke), there’s been a decades-long perception in the bodybuilding community that plant-based protein supplements were somehow inferior to animal-based ones.

Of course, vegan body builders have always known the stereotype was bogus. But now there’s proof. A newly released double-blind study has concluded that plant protein (specifically the one found in whole-grain brown rice) has the same muscle- and strength-building power as the long-lauded whey.

The study, conducted at the University of Tampa’s Department of Health Sciences and Human Performance, found that rice protein
"decreases fat-mass and increases lean body mass, skeletal muscle hypertrophy, power and strength comparable to whey protein isolate."
In other words, rice gives you all the benefits of whey without subjecting you to whey's dark side—not the least of which is the way that whey, like all milk protein, nourishes cancer growth.

And it's not just bodybuilders, or would-be body builders, who stand to gain from the transition away from whey. The dairy industry—which confines, rapes, drugs, and forcibly separates millions of mother cows from their calves before eventually slaughtering them—is one of the cruelest forms of factory farming. And whey, the supplement of choice for generations of body builders, has helped to support this terrible practice. Fortunately, this new study proves there's no need to choose between having magnificent muscles and a compassionate heart.

"Downer" veal calves (essentially dairy cows babies who are too sick to stand up and be slaughtered); like whey and cheap "hamburger," they are the by-products of the dairy industry