Food borne Illnesses (from mainly animal products) – Why Take The Risk

Campylobacter

Raw McDonald's chicken sandwich

Campylobacter is an illness caused by bacteria of the same name (it’s also sometimes called campylobateriosis). The bacteria is found in most of the poultry we eat, as it exists in birds and doesn’t make them sick.

More serious illness may require the use of an antibiotic to clear up, and in some cases people develop arthritis or a very rare nerve disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome after having campylobacter. This disorder causes the body’s immune system to attack the nerves, resulting in paralysis.

Campylobacter is almost always isolated to an individual or small group that ate undercooked poultry, but more widespread outbreaks are possible, usually associated with unpasturized milk or tainted drinking water.

E. coli

E. coli bacteria trail

These bacteria live in the guts of ruminant animals, most notably cattle, but also deer, elk, goats and sheep. In the slaughtering process the intestines can be cut, allowing the bacteria onto the meat. E. coli usually doesn’t make the host animal sick, but when humans ingest it they’re often in for diarrhea, which can be bloody, stomach cramps, vomiting and sometimes a low fever.

Food science nerd Harold McGee reports that about a third of all people who develop E. coli illness need to be hospitalized, and about 5 percent of those die. It’s most dangerous in children. About 5 to 10 percent of those who get infected with E. coli will develop a more serious illness, hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure.

The most common culprit for E. coli contamination is ground beef, as grinding meat from many different cows together spreads the bacteria across a wider range of packages. It can also be found in unpasturized milk or apple cider, or cheeses made from raw milk.

Listeria

Soft cheese that might -- but doesn't -- contain listeria

If you’ve ever been pregnant you’ve probably heard about the dangers of listeriosis, or infection with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes.

That’s because pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis, and about a third of all cases of listeria infection strike pregnant women. (Newborns, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and diseases like cancer, diabetes and kidney disease get most of the other infections.)

Listeria is found in soil and water and especially in places that have been fertilized with manure. The bacteria is carried by animals it doesn’t harm, and it can contaminate animal products including meat, milk and cheese, as well as vegetables that come into contact with the bacteria.

Infections can be caused by uncooked meats, raw-milk cheeses, vegetables and cold cuts or soft cheeses that may be contaminated at the deli counter after processing. Pasteurization and cooking kill listeria, but products can be contaminated after cooking and before packaging or through cross-contamination at the deli.

Fever, muscle aches, nausea or diarrhea are the most common symptoms, but the infection can spread to the nervous system, causing headaches, a stiff neck and convulsions. About 2,500 people become seriously ill in the United States each year from listeria and about 500 die.

“Mad cow” disease

Mad cow disease protest in Korea

Mad cow, properly known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a chronic, degenerative disease affecting the nervous systems of cattle. Consumption of infected cattle has been linked to a disease known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans, which is always fatal.

While it’s not completely clear how BSE in cattle is connected to vCJD in humans, it’s thought that the disease is passed by eating meat that contains brain tissue. The parts of the cow considered to be most infectious for humans are the brain, spinal cord, retina, optic nerve, and dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia. McGee reports it may also be found in muscles, which means many different cuts of meat may be potentially dangerous.

The disease was spread among cattle when they were given feed containing these parts from sick cows, a practice that has since been stopped.

The illness has killed more than 160 people in Britain and nearly 40 elsewhere in the world, but since the illness has an incubation period of a year or more, it’s likely there are more cases that have yet to surface.

The infectious agent is known as a prion, a kind of protein that carries the disease between cows or from cow to human. If meat you eat has these prions, there’s nothing you can do about it; cooking will not affect it. Symptoms of vCJD include dementia, memory loss, hallucinations and personality changes paired with physical changes such as jerky movements, slurred speech, difficulty walking or changes in posture or gait and seizures.

Death from this disease can happen in a matter of weeks or months, but some people manage to live for years with the disease.

Salmonella

Salmonella bacteria

One of the most famous and common of the foodborne illnesses, salmonella is a bacteria that lives in the intestinal tracts of animals. When feces comes in contact with food that isn’t cooked, the bacteria can be transmitted to humans.

About 40,000 cases of salmonella are reported each year, but since many people don’t seek treatment it’s thought the number of people who get it might be 30 or more times larger than the number of reported cases.

Salmonella sometimes leads to Reiter’s syndrome, a condition of painful joints, eye irritation and painful urination that can last for months or years and may in turn lead to chronic arthritis, but this is pretty rare.

The best way to prevent salmonella infection is to always cook meat and eggs to the suggested temperatures and be careful not to contaminate other foods with the juices from uncooked meat, poultry or eggs.

Staph

Potato salad swimming in mayonnaise

Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as staph, is a common cause of food poisoning. Staph can linger in foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, meat, egg, pasta and potato salads, sandwich fillings and filled baked goods like eclairs and cream pies.

Staph can grow even in the refrigerator, and infested food won’t have an off odor to let you know you shouldn’t eat it.

People who eat food that has staph in it usually get sick very quickly and will usually have nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramping. In more severe cases people may have headaches, muscle cramps and changes in blood pressure.

Trichinosis

Trichinosis eye appearance

Trichinosis, also called trichinellosis, is an infection caused by eating animals infected with the larvae of a worm called trichinella. It can be contracted by eating wild carnivorous animals or domesticated pigs.

This infection is pretty gross to describe. When you eat tainted meat, the larvae or cysts of the worms are ingested, and your stomach acid dissolves the cyst, releasing the worm, which matures in a couple of days in your small intestine.

The worms mate in there and the females lay eggs, which then develop into immature worms, travel through the arteries into the muscles and there form cysts again.

You might get a stomachache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue or fever in one or two days after eating tainted meat, and two to eight weeks later you may have further symptoms such as headaches, fever and chills, coughing, eye swelling, muscle or joint pain, itchy skin, constipation or diarrhea. Many mild cases go undiagnosed and go away on their own, but if you have a severe case it can be treated with drugs.

Just to name a few, there are many more….

more information:

http://cspinet.org/new/201304231.html

RiskyMeat_FB

The processed “junk” meat foods post lower risks in food borne illnesses but higher in other health issues.

http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/cancer-the-meatdisease-connection.html

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Advice From a Vegan Cardiologist

Dr. Williams said that his switch to veganism was prompted by a routine blood test about 10 years ago.
Dr. Williams said that his switch to veganism was prompted by a routine blood test about 10 years ago.Credit Rush University Medical Center

Dr. Kim A. Williams, the president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, often sees patients who are overweight and struggling with hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. One of the things he advises them to do is to change their diets.

Specifically, he tells them to go vegan.

Dr. Williams became a vegan in 2003 because he was concerned that his LDL cholesterol — the kind associated with an increased risk of heart disease — was too high. Dr. Williams wrote about his reasons for going vegan and his belief in the cardiovascular benefits of a plant-based diet in a recent essay at MedPage Today.

Veganism has grown in popularity in recent years, reflected by the explosion of meat-free cookbooks and restaurants, and vegan-friendly products in grocery stores. But the endorsement by the man who is set to become the president of one of the country’s leading cardiology associations, which helps formulate health policies and guidelines, did not strike a totally positive chord.

“I didn’t know it would create such a firestorm of everything from accolades to protests,” said Dr. Williams, who is also the chairman of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “The response was really loud, and much of it diametrically opposed.”

One person suggested he was promoting a radical diet to his patients based on the experience of a single person: himself. Others accused him of trying to get the college of cardiology to encourage everyone to go vegan, which he dismissed. And some critics suggested that Dr. Williams and the college were “unduly influenced by industry,” which baffled him.

“Who is the industry that promotes vegan dieting?” he asked. “Maybe the people who publish books on it. But that wouldn’t be considered industry, I don’t think.”

Dr. Williams said that his switch to veganism was prompted by a routine blood test about 10 years ago.

The test showed that his LDL cholesterol, which had been 110 a couple years earlier, had climbed to 170. Dr. Williams, who was about 49 at the time, said he assumed that age and physical activity had played a role; his once frequent levels of exercise had fallen, and cholesterol tends to rise as people get older. But he also suspected that his diet was not as healthy as he had thought.

“I was basically eating chicken and fish, no skin, no fried food and no red meat,” he said. “I thought it was healthy. But it was low fat instead of low cholesterol, which is what I needed.”

Researchers have long known that the relationship between the dietary cholesterol found in food and the cholesterol that circulates in the blood is complicated, varying greatly from one person to the next. In many people, the cholesterol in food has only a minor or negligible effect on blood cholesterol levels. But in some people, the effect can be more pronounced, which Dr. Williams said was probably the case with him.

He eliminated cholesterol from his diet by avoiding dairy and animal protein to see if there would be any effect. Instead of eating chicken and fish, he started eating vegetable-based meat substitutes like veggie burgers and sausages made from soy and other plant proteins and nuts. He also switched to almond milk from cow’s milk.

Six weeks later, his LDL had fallen to 90.

“It seems that the response to dietary cholesterol and other changes in diet are all genetically determined and quite variable,” he said. “One person might go from 170 to 150 by going to a plant-based diet. Another person might go from 170 to 90.”

Although LDL plays a role in heart disease, it is not the only factor. The plaque that accumulates in arteries consists not only of cholesterol, but immune cells that invade the artery walls as a result of chronic inflammation. Some researchers argue that this inflammation is the underlying problem in coronary artery disease. But Dr. Williams says he believes that being vegan can lower inflammation, too.

He said his enthusiasm for plant-based diets was based on his interpretation of medical literature. He cited observational studiesof tens of thousands of members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that found that people following vegetarian diets lived longer than meat eaters and had lower rates of death from heart disease, diabetes and kidney problems. And he pointed to research carried out by Dr. Dean Ornish, who found that patients who were put on a program that included a vegetarian diet had less coronary plaque and fewer cardiac events.

But Dr. Williams said he readily acknowledged that such studies were not conclusive.

Observational studies like those carried out on the Seventh-day Adventists show correlations, but they cannot establish cause and effect. And the study by Dr. Ornish was a small, randomized trial that, in addition to diet, included a number of interventions. Besides becoming vegetarians, the patients also gave up smoking, started exercising and had stress-management training. The extent to which diet played a role in the outcome is difficult to know.

Critics also point out that the Ornish diet restricts not only meat, but refined carbohydrates like added sugars and white flour, which have been implicated in cardiovascular disease in many studies.

Dr. Williams said he thought the research on the benefits of substituting nuts, beans and plant protein for meat was strong, but largely observational. But he was not arguing that the college of cardiology should promote veganism in its dietary guidelines. He said he would like to see large, extensive clinical trials of such diets “that pass muster” first.

Plenty of things that looked promising based on correlations that were identified in observational studies were later found to be problematic, he said, like vitamin E, hormone-replacement therapy, folic acid and, most recently, the HDL-raising drug niacin.

“There is a long list of things that, based on observational trials, we thought were beneficial, and then a randomized trial done for a long period of time showed that it wasn’t,” he said. “So I approach all of this with a sense of humility and an open mind.”

In the meantime, he said, he has made a habit of telling patients who are obese and plagued by metabolic problems like Type 2 diabetes to try exercising and eating less meat. And he discusses some of his favorite vegan foods with them.

“I recommend a plant-based diet because I know it’s going to lower their blood pressure, improve their insulin sensitivity and decrease their cholesterol,” he said. “And so I recommend it in all those conditions. Some patients are able to do it, and some are not.”

Source: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/advice-from-a-vegan-cardiologist/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2

Meat and cheese may be as bad for you as smoking

“Crucially, the researchers found that plant-based proteins, such as those from beans, did not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins. Rates of cancer and death also did not seem to be affected by controlling for carbohydrate or fat consumption, suggesting that animal protein is the main culprit.”

 

140304125639-large

That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.

“There’s a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?” said corresponding author Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.

Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general, reveals the study to be published March 4 in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of DIABETES.

But how much protein we should eat has long been a controversial topic — muddled by the popularity of protein-heavy DIETS such as Paleo and Atkins. Before this study, researchers had never shown a definitive correlation between high protein consumption and mortality risk.

Rather than look at adulthood as one monolithic phase of life, as other researchers have done, the latest study considers how biology changes as we age, and how decisions in middle life may play out across the human lifespan.

In other words, what’s good for you at one age may be damaging at another. Protein controls the growth hormone IGF-I, which helps our bodies grow but has been linked to cancer susceptibility. Levels of IGF-I drop off dramatically after age 65, leading to potential frailty and muscle loss. The study shows that while high protein intake during middle age is very harmful, it is protective for older adults: those over 65 who ate a moderate- or HIGH-PROTEIN diet were less susceptible to disease.

The latest paper draws from Longo’s past research on IGF-I, including on an Ecuadorian cohort that seemed to have little cancer or DIABETES susceptibility because of a genetic mutation that lowered levels of IGF-I; the members of the cohort were all less than five-feet tall.

“The research shows that a low-protein diet in middle age is useful for preventing cancer and overall mortality, through a process that involves regulating IGF-I and possibly insulin levels,” said co-author Eileen Crimmins, the AARP Chair in Gerontology at USC. “However, we also propose that at older ages, it may be important to avoid a low-protein diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and protection from frailty.”

Crucially, the researchers found that plant-based proteins, such as those from beans, did not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins. Rates of cancer and death also did not seem to be affected by controlling for carbohydrate or fat consumption, suggesting that animal protein is the main culprit.

“The majority of Americans are eating about twice as much proteins as they should, and it seems that the best change would be to lower the daily intake of all proteins but especially animal-derived proteins,” Longo said. “But don’t get extreme in cutting out protein; you can go from protected to malnourished very quickly.”

Longo’s findings support recommendations from several leading health agencies to consume about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day in middle age. For example, a 130-pound person should eat about 45-50 grams of protein a day, with preference for those derived from plants such as legumes, Longo explains.

The researchers define a “HIGH-PROTEIN” diet as deriving at least 20 percent of CALORIES from protein, including both plant-based and animal-based protein. A “moderate” protein diet includes 10-19 percent of calories from protein, and a “low-protein” diet includes less than 10 percent protein.

Even moderate amounts of protein had detrimental effects during middle age, the researchers found. Across all 6,318 adults over the age of 50 in the study, average protein intake was about 16 percent of total daily calories with about two-thirds from animal protein — corresponding to data about national protein consumption. The study sample was representative across ethnicity, education and health background.

People who ate a moderate amount of protein were still three times more likely to die of cancer than those who ate a low-protein DIET in middle age, the study shows. Overall, even the small change of decreasing protein intake from moderate levels to low levels reduced likelihood of early death by 21 percent.

For a randomly selected smaller portion of the sample – 2,253 people – levels of the growth hormone IGF-I were recorded directly. The results show that for every 10 ng/ml increase in IGF-I, those on a HIGH-PROTEIN diet were 9 percent more likely to die from cancer than those on a low-protein diet, in line with past research associating IGF-I levels to cancer risk.

The researchers also extended their findings about HIGH-PROTEIN diets and mortality risk, looking at causality in mice and cellular models. In a study of tumor rates and progression among mice, the researchers show lower cancer incidence and 45 percent smaller average tumor size among mice on a low-protein diet than those on a high-protein diet by the end of the two-month experiment.

“Almost everyone is going to have a cancer cell or pre-cancer cell in them at some point. The question is: Does it progress?” Longo said. “Turns out one of the major factors in determining if it does is is protein intake.”

 

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304125639.htm

Animal Testing

Biomedical Research

Animals are used to understand basic biology, as “models” for studying human biology and disease, and as test subjects for the development and testing of drugs, vaccines, and other biologicals (i.e. antibodies, hormones, ingredients in vaccines, etc.) to improve and advance human health. As models, scientists aim to produce artificially, a condition in an animal in a laboratory that may resemble the human equivalent of a medical disease or injury. Animals are used in all capacities of research: for example, a rabbit’s sensory system may be studied in basic research; she may be used as a model for eye and skin disorders, or used in eye and skin irritancy tests for environmental toxicity testing.

The exact number of animals used in biomedical research is unknown, particularly since government statistics do not include mice, rats, birds, and fish; some estimates place the total number of these species in research to be in the tens to hundreds of millions. The use of genetic engineering—manipulation of an animal’s DNA or genes—is prevalent throughout many fields of research, particularly biomedical. “…[T]he mouse has become the flagship of animal testing, especially useful with genetic modifications, gene knockouts [genes are removed], and knockins [genes are added]. In 2003, NIH [National Institutes of Health] launched the Knockout Mouse Project and has awarded more than $50 million with the goal of creating a library of mouse embryonic stem cells lines, each with a gene knocked out.”1

While most animals are purposely bred for research, others, like cats and dogs, may be acquired through different sources, such as auctions, advertisements, or from pounds and shelters (known as “pound seizure”). Of the many species used in biomedical research, specific animals are preferred in certain areas. Dogs, typically young purpose-bred beagles, are commonly used in cardiovascular studies, heart and lung research, genetic studies, age-related research, pulmonary studies, cancer research, and orthopedics, such as the development of prosthetic devices for hip and knee replacements, vertebral fusion models, cervical disc degeneration, etc. Cats “have long been a mainstay of NIH-funded studies of neurological, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases, and the IMMUNE SYSTEM.”2Researchers also use cats in cancer research, genetic disorders, and eye, ear, and infectious disease research. Nonhuman primates are used in research on vaccines, infectious, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases, aging, reproductive biology, gene therapy, drug addiction, xenotransplantation (cross-species transplants), and vaccine and toxicity testing. The two most common primate species used by far are Rhesus and Cynomolgus macaques—also known as crab-eating macaques. Of the nonhuman great apes, chimpanzees are currently the only species used in biomedical research.

Researchers frequently use rabbits in toxicity and safety testing of medical devices, vaccines, and drugs. In 2009, over 222,000 rabbits were used in research, more than any other species covered under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), followed next by guinea pigs and hamsters, who are both used a great deal in toxicity testing and as models for infectious, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases, and drug abuse research. Both mice and rats are heavily used in vaccine and drug research and testing, and birds are used in research on organ development and deformity, visual impairment, muscular dystrophy, and nutrition, among other things.

Basic research

Basic research is exploratory research, an open-ended search for more information for knowledge’s sake. “Basic biological research has traditionally studied life at the most basic level; what the cell is, what it is made of…what everything is built of and so forth.”[3] A wide variety of animals are used in basic research, with mice being the most common. Rats, birds, amphibians, and fish are also used, and invertebrates such as fruit flies and worms are heavily used in genetic research. “Historically, animal use in research was synonymous with basic research. It was easy to dissect or vivisect animals without any particular end in mind.”[4] In many ways, this is still true today. Stated in a 2010 review on the use of animals in basic research, “According to figures from the NIH, basic biomedical research receives more FUNDING than all other forms of research, [and] uses animals more often than not…”[5]

While basic research does not set out to find cures for human diseases, “much current [basic] research [is] being done under the guise of applied research because it increases the likelihood that the project will be FUNDED by a granting institution.”6 In a 2009 review of animal models in research, the authors list several NIH-funded research grants that are basic research, but described under the pretense of applied research by claiming clinical relevance for humans.7 By claiming potential clinical applications, a slippery slope is created that allows any and all animal research to be justified in spite of contrary evidence to its applications for humans. As stated in a 2011 science news article, “With an annual budget for NIH of more than $30 billion, the problem is not the amount invested in MEDICAL RESEARCH, but how it is used. Right now we’re operating under the assumption that somehow there’s a yet-to-be-discovered silver bullet, and that if we just spend more money on fundamental science, researchers will discover that silver bullet and all will be well. It’s not going to work that way.”8

Animal models

For practically every known human disease, researchers attempt to induce similar aspects of the disease in animals to create an animal “model” of that disease. Supposedly predictive, animals “are used with the aim of discovering and quantifying the impact of a treatment, whether this is to cure a disease or to assess the toxicity of a chemical compound.” This is how animals are “used in the context of DRUG TESTING and studying human disease.”9Areas of disease research involving animals include neurological, infectious, digestive, genetic, connective tissue, and chronic diseases. In these areas, animals are used as models of traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, congenital blindness, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, DIABETES, cancer, obesity, and so on.

In order to create these models, animals are subjected to invasive procedures, which can include surgeries, traumatic injuries, burns, force-feeding, blood draws, biopsies, food, water, and social deprivation, dart gun sedation, prolonged restraint, behavioral and environmental manipulations, viral and bacterial infections, and exposure to toxic drugs and chemicals. Examples include, “creating heart attacks, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, strokes, and other cardiovascular traumas in monkeys, dogs, pigs, and other animals; inducing symptoms of MIGRAINES in cats and primates through brain stimulation and manipulation with chemicals; implanting electrodes into the intestines of dogs to induce motion sickness and vomiting; implanting electrodes into the brains and eyes of monkeys and cats to conduct neurological and vision experiments; and dropping weights onto rodents to produce spinal cord injuries and paralysis.”10

Drug and vaccine development

Millions of animals and taxpayer DOLLARS are used in the production and testing of biologicals, such as vaccines and antibodies. For example, a complete batch test for a therapeutic protein can involve 12,000 mice and cost $2.4 million; 2007 estimates for the cost of drug development and to bring it to market range from $800 million to $1.7 billion. Potential drugs are often required to be tested in at least two animal species in preclinical trials before moving on to human CLINICAL TRIALS.11 Yet “only around 5% of drugs that show potential in animal studies ever get licensed for human use.”12 Potency tests of such products as vaccines are still based routinely on the principle of protection, i.e., survival or death after exposure, which was first introduced in the 1890s. Many of these tests are exceptionally cruel, involving high levels of pain and distress for a range of species from rodents to nonhuman primates (including chimpanzees). According to 1998 USDA statistics, more than 60 percent of the animals reported to experience unrelieved pain were used for vaccine testing.

Conclusion

Animals have proven to be poor models for human disease research. Because they are genetically different from humans, studying diseases in animals can give us inadequate or erroneous information. “The difficulties associated with using animal models for human disease result from the metabolic, anatomic, and cellular differences between humans and other creatures…”13  According to Dr. Richard Klausner, former Director of the NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE, “We have cured cancer in mice for decades—and it simply didn’t work in humans.”14 Even with genetic engineering, animals are still proving to be poor models for humans. For example, despite the $50 million awarded by NIH for the Knockout Mouse Project, the genetically manipulated mice have their problems; for instance, “The current knockout mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be completely wrong…”15

While the U.S. spends more money on animal research and health care than any other nation, we “… [fall] to the back of the pack when it comes to health indicators such as life expectancy…”16

 

[1] Gawrylewski, A. (2007, July 1). The Trouble with Animal Models. The Scientist, 21(7), 44.

[2] National Research Council. (2009). Scientific and Humane Issues in the use of Random Source Dogs and Cats in Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

[3] Greek, R., & Shanks, S. (2009). Animal Models in Light of Evolution. Boca Raton, FL: BrownWalker Press.

[4] Greek, R., & Shanks, N. (2009). FAQs About the Use of Animals in Science. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Greek, R., & Shanks, S. (2009). Animal Models in Light of Evolution. Boca Raton, FL: BrownWalker Press.

[8] Waters, H. (2011, March 30). Q&A: From the lab to the clinicThe Scientist.

[9] Greek, R., & Shanks, S. (2009). Animal Models in Light of Evolution. Boca Raton, FL: BrownWalker Press.

[10] Pippin, J. (2009). Humane Seal Fact Sheet on Animal Experimentation. PCRM.

[11] Brewer, T. (2007, September/October). Trials and Errors: DRUG TESTING raises ethical – and efficacy – issues. Best Friends Magazine.

[12] Waters, H. (2011, March 8). Q&A: Improving preclinical trialsThe Scientist.

[13] Gawrylewski, A. (2007, July 1). The Trouble with Animal Models. The Scientist, 21(7), 44.

[14] Cimons, M., Getlin, J., & Maugh, T., II. (1998, May 6). Cancer Drugs Face Long Road From Mice to MenLos Angeles Times, A1. 

[15] Gawrylewski, A. (2007, July 1). The Trouble with Animal Models. The Scientist, 21(7), 44.

[16] Begley, S. (2011). The Best Medicine. Scientific American, 305, 50-55.

 

Source: http://www.neavs.org/research/biomedical

Compassion Education – Telling the Truth

 

We require children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance for “liberty and justice for all.” We teach kids that Abraham Lincoln, in sum, freed the slaves. We ensure that every child can recognize the icon of Martin Luther King, Jr., and summarize his achievements in one sentence—and then we take the day off in celebration of his life.

We tell kids that it only takes one person to change the world, but we don’t tell them how it can be done.

Our promises are empty: the nod we give to achievements in social justice is void of substantive wisdom.

Why go through the motions at all if not to relay lessons of significance? It is not that children are too young to learn the why’s and how’s of social change. They are capable of much more than our culture gives them credit for. We leave out the grittier details behind achievements in social justice because we collectively believe that children should be sheltered from the “adult” world.

Without much thought, we accept a concept of childhood that sees children as fragile beings who require being kept ignorant of many basic realities. But there is no universally accepted concept of childhood. Notions of what is and isn’t appropriate for children vary throughout history and the world. Kids are more competent and sturdy than we think. When we sugarcoat, oversimplify, or avoid truths, we hinder what our children are capable of, psychologically, spiritually, and morally. We hinder our progress as a society.

The path to a more sustainable and socially just future lies in bravely engaging our children in new ways of thinking and living—even if the topics are challenging. Kids must know what’s at stake, they must understand the power of the individual in a substantive manner, and they must be aware of how, specifically, they can help change the world.

A vegan education (there’s no better curriculum encompassing environmental, health, and humane education) starts where kids are already interested—with animals—and leads to the kind of life-centered worldview critical to sustainable innovations and environmental and social policies. Think how the future of business, industry, and politics would look with such systemic thinkers at the helm.

In my experience, the resistance to the notion of a vegan education is more about adults’ unwillingness to change than it is about kids’ abilities to learn.

When my second children’s book, Vegan Is Love, was released in 2012, major media outlets picked up the news. Not in celebration of a new resource for a new generation of compassionate kids, but because inviting children into an honest dialogue about meat and dairy products was being deemed outrageous and controversial—after all, most parents avoid the day their kid realizes that chicken nuggets do not, in fact, grow on trees. My book threatened to make kids more aware than was comfortable for adults.

While a slew of media talking heads judged Vegan Is Love to be propaganda, dangerous, brainwashing, and even child abuse, vegan families—who have all along been engaging in the work of social change—had a good laugh. After a child psychologist on television called Vegan Is Love “the most disturbing children’s book” he’d ever seen, I received a note from a 10-year-old vegan girl who had seen the segment and asked, “Why is that expert so ignorant?” An even younger girl threw her hands in the air and asked me, “What’s so scary about your book? It just tells the truth!”

Grownups were having a hard time with the concept of social change toward a life-centered, compassionate worldview, while children were understanding it easily.

“Children don’t know the full story!” these skeptical adults argued. “Kids don’t know about nutrient deficiencies or human history or food production or costs! They just want to be nice to animals!”

Precisely. Where better to begin an exploration of the world’s unknowns than from a place of compassion and a sense of justice?

With animals as the centerpiece, my books address how even the youngest of children can put their love into action—through healthy food and cruelty-free choices that protect our bodies, the environment, and all living beings. I cover the emotional lives of animals—the why’s behind veganism—and our choices, the how’s of a compassionate lifestyleThey are picture books, but at their core, my books are about democracy, supply and demand, and engaging ourselves in the public realm. We can give kids this education—and it is one that lasts a lifetime.

To this day, I have never known any child to be overwhelmed by discovering the motives behind veganism—only adults. In this way, the media outrage over Vegan Is Love revealed the invisible forces that shape public thinking about children, food, health, and animals—hindering our growth toward a more sustainable and just world. If the public were aware of the level of disease and abuse caused by eating animals, the outrage would be directed at the pervasive cultural programming, not at a children’s book about choices alternative to the status quo.

Corporations are well aware of the importance of marketing to kids in order to increase profits. But neither our educational systems, nor parenting magazines, nor children’s literature takes the intelligence and abilities of kids seriously enough to help empower them to create substantive social change. Engaging kids is not just good for business—it’s good for a sustainable and just future.

 

Source: http://www.veganpublishers.com/ruby-roth-harming-children-to-protect-them/