VSS eNewsletter 6 Nov 2006
VSS eNewsletter 6 Nov 2006
VSS Participates in Wellness Weekend at Fort Canning
Once again, VSS looks forward to participating in the Wellness Weekend, Sat-Sun, 18-19 Nov, 10am-8pm: http://www.holisticliving.com.sg/newsletter/content1.htm.
Admission is $3, children under 12 free. Food will be provided by Annalakshmi.
In addition to our usual display and handouts, we’ll be doing two workshops, one on ‘Global Warming and Meat’ on Sat at 1pm and the other on ‘The Rave Diet: What and Why’ on Sun at 5pm. Other interesting looking workshops include one on the book The Peacemaker’s Way and another on Tibetan Singing Bowls.
Editor’s Note: T Y Lee is a Singapore vegetarian who came up with a great idea for spreading the word about going veg to help our fellow animals. T Y conceptualized, designed and printed the colourful decal that you can view and order at http://www.loveusnoteatus.com.
The design juxtaposes non-human animals who we often eat with ones who we often bring into our lives as companions. Via this juxtaposition, T Y challenges meat eaters to ask themselves why they treat some of our fellow animals so nicely while treating others so cruelly by subjecting them to factory farming and an early death.
Below is an online interview with T Y.
1. How long have you been a vegetarian?
Not long at all, just coming to two years.
2. Did you go veg overnight, or was it a longer process? What is your favourite vegetarian dish?
It was very much of an overnight thing. Once I made up my mind to become vegetarian, it took me just a few days to get over not eating animals. I like Indian vegetarian food, in particular the dry and spicy Potato Masala.
3. What gave you the idea for the sticker?
Shortly after I became vegetarian, I thought it would be nice to have some kind of decal to stick on my car to promote vegetarianism but I couldn't find any nice ones. Therefore I decided to make my own! I figured that there are also many other vegetarians that would like something like this, so I decided to produce and distribute them for free.
The idea came from the irrational thinking of most people that while they agree it is cruel to eat dogs and cats, it is okay to eat, for example, cows and pigs. People are conditioned to think in this way from a very young age. By mixing 'food' and 'non-food' animals together in the design of the decal and showing how lovable all these animals are, the intention is to break down this kind of conditioning. I hope that the design and the positive and direct slogan, will enable more people to see and realize the truth of meat-eating.
4. Have you ever had any pets/companion animals?
Yes, I have two cats. I love cats!
5. How big was the original sticker? Why did you start making the smaller size? Which size is more popular? Why?
The original was a car decal about 32cm in length. The new version is slightly more compact at about 30cm long. There is also a sticker which is 20cm long. The car decals seem to be more popular in places like Europe, Australia and the USA . The stickers seem to be more popular here in Singapore and the Asian region.
6. How do you promote the sticker?
Mainly through my website: www.loveusnoteatus.com. I also use Google Adwords, which enables me to reach out to people in countries all over the world. I now get many requests from people who have told me that they have either seen the decal on a car or a sticker around somewhere.
7. To date, how many have been sent out?
I really don't keep track of any numbers but I think they number in the tens of thousands.
8. In what languages is the sticker available?
Right now in English and Chinese as far as I know. I have made the design free from copyright so that anyone can reproduce and translate the decals if they wish to do so.
9. To how many countries has the sticker been sent?
As of now, to more than 40 countries all over the world.
10. What are your favourite stories about people's reactions to the sticker?
I've been told more than once that cats and dogs should not be included in the design as people don't usually eat them. I just ask them to think about why they are included, and quite often the reason dawns on them as if they have suddenly become enlightened. I have also received more than a few letters from people telling me that they have decided to become vegetarian after seeing the decals!
What is really satisfying is the positive response from people all over the world. I have had people from diverse places like Bulgaria and Bhutan , Cyprus and Chile , Finland and Ghana , Mauritius and Latvia , South Africa and Sweden , etc. writing to me requesting for the stickers and telling me how much they like it. This kind of international reaction and popularity is truly way beyond what I could ever have expected when I first started this project.
11. Do you have any plans for other stickers or other projects?
No plans now, but I'll be open to any new ideas that will help promote or create more awareness of vegetarianism and animal rights.
Tang Renaissance Communicators - http://www.tang-renaissance.com - is bringing the world-renowned Shanghai Yue Opera, which includes 100 master performers, to Singapore for two concerts at the Esplanade Theatre in December, and they have generously given tickets to charities such as VSS.
Subtitles are provided in Chinese and English. Here are the details on the operas:
Dec 22 – Fri – 8pm – Esplanade Theatre – Dream of the Red Mansions
Dec 23 – Sat – 8pm – Esplanade Theatre - The Meilong Inn
For more information about the shows (but not the tix): 6842-7266 or visit the Tang Renaissance web: http://www.tang-renaissance.com
Ticket prices range from $88-$168, but VSS will be selling its 60 tickets for $68, although donations in excess of $68 are most welcome. VSS keeps 100% of the price you pay for the ticket. For tix, email info@..., or come to the VSS Point of Contact on Saturdays from 10am – 1pm, at Kampung Senang Holistic Lifestyle Centre, Block 106, Aljunied Crescent, #01-00 (5mins walk from Aljunied MRT), or call 9389-8360.
Please support VSS’s vital educational efforts.
VSS sent the following letter to Dr Amy Khor Lean Suan (Mayor, South West District & Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources)
Dear Dr Khor
This is written on behalf of Vegetarian Society ( Singapore ) to provide input on Singapore ’s efforts to cope with global warming. We believe that meat production contributes greatly to global warming in at least two ways:
1. Meat is a very inefficient food source. A recent Straits Times article estimated that we need to feed other animals between 11 and 17 calories of plant food in order to obtain one calorie from meat. As a result of this inefficiency, a great deal more forest land must be cleared to grow all the extra food needed. As you know, forests are a key element in controlling our planet’s carbon dioxide balance.
2. The animals whose flesh we eat produce a huge amount of solid, liquid and gaseous waste. As we eat about 50 billion of our fellow land animals every year, it is no surprise that their waste greatly exceeds the amount humans produce. Methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, is contained in some of this waste.
The attached file [see the next story in the issue of the VSS eNewsletter] contains a variety of web resources on the meat-global warming connection.
Of course, Singapore ’s meat consumption isn’t large on a global scale, and we appreciate the fact that persuading people to eat more plant foods is difficult. That said, every little bit helps, and many people are unaware of the link between environmental destruction and meat eating. As a first step, perhaps awareness could be raised.
Thank you for considering this. Please let us know if you would like additional information or discussion.
Editor’s Note: The release of the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” is just one of the events that has brought increased attention to global warming. However, much of the focus in addressing global warming ignores or minimizes the role of animal-based foods. Production of animal-based foods worsens global warming in two main ways: (1) the inefficiency of meat production; (2) the methane content of the waste produced by our captive fellow animals.
Here are some web resources that may be helpful in raising this issue.
1. Gideon Eshel and Pamela Martin are University of Chicago researchers. Their work suggests that changing to a veg diet can be as helpful in reducing global warming as changing from a gas-guzzling car to a car that burns less fossil fuel.
2. A story from the US tv network, ABC, about the Eshel, Martin study described above in #1.
3. Devour the Earth is a 20-minute documentary produced in 1995 (but still relevant today) by the UK Vegetarian Society and narrated by
“Paul McCartney. The script is available at:
4. This is a report from EarthSave, titled “A new global warming strategy: How environmentalists are overlooking vegetarianism as the most effective tool against climate change in our lifetimes.”
5. An article from The Aquarian, titled “Another Inconvenient Truth: In the modern world, it is impossible to reconcile a carnivorous diet with environmental responsibility.”
6. “Another Inconvenient Truth” is a popular title for articles and talks linking meat and the global warming. Here an article from E Magazine, titled “Another Inconvenient Truth: Meat is a global warming issue.”
7. This webpage from Northern Territories University ( Australia ) explains how our fellow animals produce methane: “Emission of methane from livestock.”
8. A webpage from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Where does methane come from.”
9. The Meatrix is a web-based spin on the trilogy of Matrix films. Opposed to factory farming but not completely veg. This page discusses methane:
10. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA) are trying to find ways to reduce the amount of methane produced by our fellow animals.
11. “Methane emissions” is the simple title of a Canadian government web document, with accompanying video and teachers’ guide.
12. “Global warming: The inconvenient truth about what we eat” by Stephen Leckie, July 4, 2006, provides an overview of various greenhouse gases and how human actions generate them via our food choices, including eating food that is transported long distances. http://www.veg.ca/issues/e-climate-change.html
A recent study shows that elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061030/ap_on_sc/self_aware_elephant.
Why is this self-awareness important? “Self-recognition may underlie the social complexity seen in elephants, and could be linked to the empathy and altruism that the big-brained animals have been known to display, said researcher Diana Reiss, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the Bronx Zoo.” This is just one more piece of evidence that our fellow animals are thinking, feeling beings who should not be treated as objects.
In the US these days, almost everybody seems to have a family member, a cousin, a colleague or a friend who is vegetarian. Even large corporations have become greatly interested in vegetarian and cruelty-free items. For example, Colgate recently purchased control of Tom’s of Maine , a maker of toothpastes, soaps, etc. that use no animal products or animal testing, for $100 million. Silk (a maker of soy milk, which is now becoming available in Singapore ) and its parent company White Wave were bought by Dean Foods, the largest U.S. processor of dairy foods. Here are the results of a 2006 poll of people in the U.S. conducted on behalf of the Vegetarian Resource Group: http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2006issue4/vj2006issue4poll.htm.
Someday, VSS hopes to have the funds to conduct such a poll. We are confident that Singapore can successfully compete with the U.S. in terms of the number of vegetarians here.
The Vegan Society (UK) has recently published a free 16-page full-colour booklet on Healthy Eating Without Animal Products.
Based on the book Plant Based Nutrition and Health by IVU (International Vegetarian Union) Science Coordinator, Stephen Walsh, Ph.D. (see www.vegansociety.com/shop), the booklet can be obtained from The Vegan Society, 7 Battle Road , St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex TN37 7AA, United Kingdom or downloaded free from:
Other free booklets available are Why Vegan and the recent environmental booklet Eating the Earth. Both can also be downloaded from the website.
All three booklets are free of charge, though donations from those who can afford it are always welcome.
Not many people in S’pore follow U.S. baseball, but it’s nice to know that the manager of the St Louis Cardinals baseball team, winners of the recent World Series, has long been active in promoting the welfare of our fellow animals. Here’s an article which mentions that fact, along with providing information on the veg food sold at baseball stadiums in North America : http://www.goveg.com/f-topballparks06.asp. What about stadiums in S’pore?
Fruits and Vegetables Improve Male Fertility
Could eating more fruit and veg be part of the answer to S’pore’s baby shortage?
A new study shows that eating fruits and vegetables can improve fertility in men. Researchers from the University of Rochester compared the dietary intake of antioxidants in 10 fertile and 48 infertile men and correlated the findings with sperm motility. Infertile men were twice as likely to have a low intake of fruits and vegetables (less than five servings per day) compared with fertile men. Also, men with the lowest overall intake of dietary antioxidants had lower sperm motility than men with higher intakes.
Lewis V, Kochman L, Herko R, Brewer K, Andolina E, Song G. Dietary antioxidants and sperm quality in infertile men. Paper presented at: Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine; October, 2006; New Orleans .
Michael Greger, M.D. is Director, Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States . He also has a website “Vegan MD”, http://www.veganmd.com, along with a newsletter: http://www.DrGreger.org/newsletters.html.
His latest contribution is an online book about bird flu: http://www.BirdFluBook.org. Bird Flu doesn’t receive the publicity that it used to, but it’s still out there killing people and other animals, as well as developing new strains.
Ruben Studdard, American Idol winner in 2003, once weighed about 180kg, but he recently shed about 45kg, thanks in part to going veg: http://www.blackamericaweb.com/site.aspx/bawnews/studdard1017.
The Vegetarian Society UK is offering a leaflet with a range of Xmas recipes, http://www.vegsoc.org/christmas/2006/form.html, including both healthy and not-so-healthy veg fare.
Cow Story from China
The following is a bit dated, but we hear similar stories from other people who spent their childhoods with some of the animals whom humans often eat.