It's a war out there. In the constant battle between us vegetarians (a/k/a, "the Forces of Good") and the animal agriculture and exploitation industries (a/k/a, "the Forces of Evil"), we have to be ever-vigilant. We have to know our enemy's every move lest we awake one day to find him (her/it) milking the innocent public or selling flank steaks on our very flanks.
As a public service of this column, (and as a way to make up for past damage), I maintain a large and talented staff of professionals who constantly monitor our adversaries and report back in exhaustive detail. …Well, actually, I just manage to check a few press releases every couple of years. But with the thought that some information is better than nothing, and with the added thought that "This page intentionally left blank" makes lousy reading, here are a few of the things the Forces of Evil have been up to lately (oh yeah, I've added a few comments of my own, too):
• The National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Beef Quality Assurance program has some exciting new research underway. In one program at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, one hundred breastfed infants are being studied to document the "advantages" of the early introduction of beef as a weaning food.
Are there no child abuse laws in this country???
• In another study the "cattlemen" are trying to show that some bacteria in ground beef may actually help reduce the incidence of E. coli O157:H7.
Sure, we know that ground "beef" is full of bacteria, but using these little guys as a way to enhance the "quality" of this "food" is something only the meat industry could come up with.
• Fur Age magazine reports that increased international demand for mink pelts is outpacing supply, forcing prices to skyrocket. That means the price for even "entry-level mink" coats has risen to $4,000 to $5,000 at the retail level.
Aren't you glad you have other things to spend your money on?
• The American Egg Board tells us that a blood spot on the yolk of an egg is an indication that the egg is fresh.
• "British Meat," a group from you-know-where organized to promote you-know-what, publishes "healthy eating" information and recipes under the slogan "The Recipe for Love…Meal solutions for every occasion."
If this is love, I'd hate to see what their "hate" recipes are like.
• In its official position on vegetarianism, the National Pork Producers Council describes that industry's killing of animals as "the pork industry's supposed destructive impact on a hog's right to 'hogness'."
Euphemisms get more euphemistic every day!
• And while we're on the subject of "hogness," the Wild Boar Farmers of Alberta want us to know that the use of a marinade or cooking sauce and oven temperatures no greater than 325°F will maintain a moist product and tenderize "The Meat fit for a King."
Does this mean that cooking it any other way may leave you with "the shoe leather fit for a soldier?"
• According to Lab Animal magazine the government breeding program for captive chimpanzees has resulted in significant surplus populations. Since the cost of maintaining a chimp over an average 25- to 34- year life-span is approximately $300,000, industry and government researchers have a real problem, and they are now encouraging animal-protection organizations to take them off the hook by developing sanctuary facilities for chimpanzees.
Sure, but are they willing to send money? Is this one of those "I told you so" situations?
• A survey of American eating habits commissioned by the American Meat Institute finds that more than 99% of Americans eat meat, and "self-reported meat avoiders and vegetarians" consume only about one ounce per day less meat than other folks.
Yes, but we vegetarians always lie to pollsters.
• That same survey, known as EAT II (really!), also finds that while most Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables, we aren't (surprise, surprise!) eating too much meat.
And just how fat do they want us to be???
• By the time you read this the Veal Committee of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association will have introduced their new "veal" advertising slogan and logo. The tagline is "Veal. Eat Smart. Eat Well."
I guess if you can't manage to say something substantive, you may as well make up something silly. Hey, these guys should write this column!