Cheers to Green Menu, an initiative whose sole purpose is to encourage restaurants to offer more vegan foods on their menus. Green Menu offers incentives to participating restaurants by promoting them, and by selling cards that allow members to receive discounts at participating restaurants. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Green Menu is also on Facebook!
Cheers to Ginny Messina , a registered dietician, health expert and Friends of Animals’ contributor, on the publication of her new book Vegan for Life, which was co-authored by Jack Norris.
Vegan for Life is the first comprehensive book written on vegan nutrition based entirely on science that relies solely on human studies. The book covers every imaginable topic, ranging from vegan pregnancy, to raising vegan children, and how to stay healthy on a vegan diet through all stages of life. The book is accessible and chock full of important information.
Vegan for Life can be purchased through Amazon.com or from your local bookseller.
Cheers to U.S. cyclist David Zabriskie , a competitor at the 2011 Tour de France. Zabriskie announced a decision to train and ride the race with a diet nearly free of animal products, but he did eat some salmon. As Food for Life author Ginny Messina tells us, there is no need to eat fish or any other animals to get iron and the other minerals and nutrients we need.
Zabriskie was not able to complete the race due to a crash in Stage 9; he’s currently in Los Angeles recuperating.
Well wishes (and encouragement to make the full vegan journey can be sent to his website by visiting:
You can follow him on Twitter at:
Cheers to the government of Botswana, for proposing to ban hunting in its national parks and reserves in favor of photographic safaris. The proposal comes at a time when the populations of some free-living animals in the country have been reduced by 90%, according to research by wildlife conservationist Dr. Mike Chase. Hunting of wildlife in the Kgatleng District has remained suspended since 1981.
The proposal is obviously controversial, but it represents the very best chance for other animals who are under constant assault by humans. Please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana and offer words of support for the proposal.
Embassy of Botswana
1531 New Hampshire Avenue Northwest
Washington D.C., 20036-1203
Phone: (202) 244-4990
Jeers to State Farm Insurance Company , whose recent commercial features both a falcon and a cockatoo. In the commercial, one person jokes about buying a falcon with the money that was saved by using State Farm, while another person — who parades around with a cockatoo — exclaims that he “should have bought a falcon.”
Birds should not be pets, or kept in captivity — let alone be the punch line of pathetic insurance commercials. Tell State Farm Insurance Company to stick to selling insurance, and stop exploiting animals! (Because this is a large company, with agents scattered throughout the United States, we recommend contacting them by hand-writing a letter and sending to the address below).
State Farm Insurance
One State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61710
To e-mail comments, visit:https://online2.statefarm.com/b2c/sf/forms/CommentsSuggestions
Phone: (877) 734-2265
Jeers to actor Drew Barrymore, who modeled for a fashion editorial for Neiman Marcus — draped in furs made by animal-hating designers Donna Karan and Oscar De La Renta. Barrymore, in the far-away past, once claimed to care about animals, but somehow ended up eating, wearing and exploiting animals with abandon.
We’d like to see Drew Barrymore come back to her senses. Please remind Drew that the only human trait that never goes out of fashion is compassion. Let’s help get Drew back on track. Drew can be reached through her own production company and through her agent.
Her production office:
Flower Films, Inc.
4000 Warner Boulevard
Burbank , CA 91522
Phone: (818) 954-5840
Creative Artists Agency
2000 Avenue Of The Stars
Los Angeles , CA 90067
Phone: (424) 288-2000
LETTER 1 – Action Needed on Bats
I greatly appreciated seeing “To the Bat Boxes!” (Spring ActionLine, 2011) with its straightforward facts and discussion of ways to support these critical allies. I felt this article could have been an opportunity to also raise a red flag about another threat facing bats, perhaps their most dire to date: White-nose syndrome, a fungus-borne disease killing colonies in an east to west sweep across the country, at close to epidemic proportions. Though the crisis is serious, the federal government's response has been sluggish, and I urge concerned readers to press Congress and federal agencies to invest funding and research into stopping white-nose syndrome's spread. Bat Conservation International and the Center for Biological Diversity both provide avenues for action on this issue.
LETTER 2 – Strike Up the Band
Mr. Steven Hoover's letter in your Summer 2011 ActionLine, presents an idea that I have held for years, namely that animal advocacy organizations need to band together to present a strong unified voice speaking out on behalf of all animals. We now have many organizations that focus on one issue or one animal group. What all of these organizations have in common is an interest in animal welfare and against animal abuse. This common interest can represent a powerful voting block, and can get action in Washington on behalf of animals.
A major function of such a unified body should be a movement to educate our children to respect all life. This should be a formal part of their early education.
They should be taught that each species has developed unique attributes through a lengthy evolutionary process to permit it to survive. While our own human evolutionary development has been the brain and the intellect, other species have developed such capabilities as the highly sensitive eyes of the owl, the extremely sensitive nose of a bear, the speed of a cheetah, the strength and dexterity of an elephant's trunk, the flight capability of birds, etc. These are marvelous capabilities which clearly exceed our own. All children need to understand this.
Children need to be taught that like us, animals can feel pain and can suffer, that animals are just trying to make a living. They just try to satisfy their basic needs. There's an innocence about them which is often not understood. Because of our intellect, children can harbor strange notions about animals that can lead to abuse. Education can and must inhibit such notions.
Advancing the education of our children should be the goal of all animal-advocacy organizations. This can bring about the next big breakthrough toward achieving a more animal-friendly world.
It wasn’t always this way. At the end of World War II, widespread use of DDT and related chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides thinned the eggshells of birds such as bald eagles, ospreys and peregrine falcons. Eggs broke during incubation; few eagles hatched, let alone fledged. Eagle populations plunged. The nesting population of bald eagles in the contiguous United States was down to fewer than 400 pairs in 1970.
A focus on environmental law in the 1970s was a boon to the birds. DDT was banned in the early 1970s in Canada and in the United States, and widespread reintroduction efforts resulted in a dramatic change in the birds’ population. Now, as most birdwatchers and hikers know, bald eagles are back from the brink. By 2007 the U.S. federal government was reporting that their population had increased to more than 10,000 pairs, and e very state except Hawaii had nesting bald eagles.
The upsurge continued even after t he U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed bald eagles from the Endangered Species Act, shifting them into protection under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in 2007. (Golden eagles are not as common in the continental United States as bald eagles, but they are distributed widely in the American West, and, much more restrictedly, in the eastern United States.)
There are now at least 13,000 pairs of bald eagles in the country. Pennsylvania, for example, now is home to 200 bald eagle nests; the birds are in 51 of the state’s 67 counties. In the East, at autumn raptor migration watch sites, birdwatchers and hikers also thrill to the sight of bald eagles circling the valleys. Hawk Mountain, near Kempton, Pennsylvania, is especially well known for bald eagle watching, and also during October and November for sightings of the “kings of birds” — golden eagles.
Virginia ’s eagles are also alive and well. According to Virginia’s Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary:
Bald eagles in Virginia have experienced a dramatic recovery from a low of 30 breeding pairs in the early 1970s to more than 730 pairs in 2011… The Virginia population has now exceeded the recovery goal for the entire Chesapeake Bay. The population has also exceeded the target reproductive rate in every year except one since 1984. However, habitat goals outlined in the Chesapeake Bay recovery plan have not been met and habitat continues to be threatened by human disturbance and development.
Noting the laws that protect this species, and the intense public interest and concern for these charismatic birds, biologists at U.S. airports were finding it difficult to manage eagles. But the pressure to do so is immense. According to the Bird Strike Committee USA, bird and other animal strikes cost U.S. commercial aviation more than $650 million a year. Thus, also in 1970, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued its proposal to authorize a limited “take” of bald and golden eagles “when they pose a risk to human safety or to the eagles themselves.”
From 1990 to 2011, according to federal data, 146 bald eagles were hit by commercial aircraft in the United States. The mean body mass of a bald eagle is 9.1 lbs (male) to 11.8 lbs (female).
When a danger is declared at a specific airfield, workers are brought in from the agriculture department’s Wildlife Services to scare birds, to capture and relocate immature bald eagles, and to move nests.
Most commercial airports were established before bald eagle populations rebounded. Many such airports are in close proximity, or adjacent to, bays, lakes, rivers and wetlands, which happen to be bald eagle habitats, as the eagles are aquatic oriented birds (they eat fish). One way to help avert potential conflicts is to remove all tall perches that bald eagles might use at and near airports. With federal permission, another possible way of helping is to make sure no bald eagle nests are constructed and used near problem airports. If large, supporting trees are removed, there will not be places were bald eagle nests could be constructed–especially in the eastern US. In the West and Alaska, bald eagles occasionally build ground nests, although this is fairly rare.
If bald eagles still visit problem airports, then the only alternative might appear to be live-trapping and relocation. Advocates have spoken out against this disturbance to bald eagles; yet as the human population continues to grow, this dilemma isn’t going away any time soon.
Where to Watch Eagles
Because bald eagles are now so numerous through many parts of the United States and Canada, recreational eagle watching is increasingly popular—and not only during spring and autumn at well-known raptor migration watch sites, but also at other locations during other seasons of the year. Here are a few of the best places to watch bald eagles in the continental United States. (Note: you must keep your distance, and keep quiet, so as not to disturb the birds. Never approach or disturb a nest.)
• Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve (near Haines). The mid-November Alaska Bald Eagle Festival is ideal, with as many as 3,000 eagles feeding on salmon of five species
• Connecticut River Eagle Festival (in Essex) on Presidents’ Day weekend in mid-February.
• Various locks and dams along the Upper Mississippi River during winter.
• Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (near Brigham City, Utah) in early December, and February and March. • Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area (near Rockport, Washington) from late December to mid-February. Catch the Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival in Rockport.
References and Additional Reading
D. A. Buehler, “Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)” in The Birds of North America No. 506. (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds., 2000). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Jerry Feaser, The Growing and Prominent Presence of Pennsylvania’s bald eagles. Pennsylvania Game Commission News Release #072-12 (27 June 2012).
Donald S. Heintzelman, Hawks and Owls of Eastern North America. Rutgers University Press (2004).
Donald S. Heintzelman, Guide to Hawk Watching in North America. Globe Pequot Press (2004).
Sandra E. Wright, Bald Eagles: A Threatened Species Becomes a Threat to Aviation. Proceedings of the 2007 Bird Strike Committee USA/Canada (9 th Annual Meeting, Kingston, Ontario). Available: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/birdstrike2007/16/
About the author: Donald S. Heintzelman is a professional ornithologist with a special interest in raptors, and is the author of 22 published books. He has more than 50 years field experience studying raptors, tundra swans and other wildlife throughout the world. He lives in the rural countryside in southeastern Pennsylvania.
If you’re one of the 30 million people worldwide who practice yoga, you probably already know the benefits: increased flexibility and strength, better posture, fewer aches and pains, a calmer outlook. The list goes on and on. There is also a dizzying array of yoga styles meant to appeal to every disposition and ability — from “gentle” yoga to the “power” variety, which all practically guarantee a ripped, strong body and inner peace. And, for those who enjoy life on the brink of heat stroke, there’s the newly popular “hot yoga” that’s performed in a veritable sauna.
But one thing you’re not likely to encounter in a yoga class these days is a talk on animal rights — much less a call to vegan living. You’re also not likely to hear that yoga, which dates back centuries, was founded upon ahimsa, a concept that translates roughly into radical non-violence: non-killing and non-harming as a dynamic way of life.
Francesca Meredith, a yoga teacher at Club La Maison in Wayne, Pennsylvania, became vegan through the macrobiotics movement in the early 1980s — although she says “the word vegan wasn’t used then.” Soon afterwards, she attended her first yoga class, whose teacher said yogis should be vegetarian, and it was love at first Downward Dog: “I was delighted that the two systems or philosophies I was so drawn to were so compatible.”
Many years, visits to ashrams, countless yoga classes, and endless study later, Meredith now identifies as a vegan yoga teacher and practitioner — and shares the message with her students.
How do they receive the news?
“For the most part,” says Meredith, “my students are very grateful. Since my classes are well attended, I don't need to fear that my commitment is being misinterpreted or that I am turning people off.” In the summers, Meredith organizes outdoor, afternoon parties at homes of friends — some of whom are fellow yoga teachers. Everyone brings a vegan dish to share. In advance of the dates, in order to assist and encourage people who are new to vegan food preparation, Meredith has distributed recipes from Friends of Animals’ two all-vegan cookbooks, Dining With Friends and The Best of Vegan Cooking. Meredith considers these social engagements a natural extension of yoga practice.
Meredith incorporates various styles of yoga that fuse together the meditative, inner-directed approach with attention to precise alignment and extensive use of blocks and other props to provide a gentle yoga suitable for just about everyone: “My flowing classes accommodate all ages, levels of ability and experience and satisfy folks who want a deep class that ultimately is very relaxing.”
No wonder she says she cannot imagine more joyful, meaningful work. When asked whether advocacy and yoga are a natural fit, Meredith says emphatically:
Yoga is truly first and foremost about social consciousness. I tell my students a yogi is neither racist, sexist, ageist nor speciesist. Advocating for the voiceless, being subjected to immense injustice, cruelty, the darker side of human nature, indifference — being a tiny raindrop against a huge tidal wave of suffering and ignorance — is exhausting, and can leave one very bitter and burned out. I think a spiritual practice is a great advantage in empowering us to be stronger advocates. Yoga is also the original psychology with much insight into human behavior. Veganism supports yoga's intention: creating a peaceful world through peaceful living.
If you’ve never tried yoga and are interested, the names of classes can be confusing, but “gentle” or “beginner’s yoga” are a safe bet, says Meredith, adding: “A well-experienced yoga teacher can accommodate virtually any body and can accommodate a variety of ability levels at once.” You might need to experiment with a variety of classes and teachers until you find one you love.
And who doesn’t crave a little magic?
LETTER 1 – A Delicious Way to Spare the Sturgeon
The Cavi•art article in your summer edition is wonderful! I ordered three jars as a gift for someone who claims to like caviar, and chatted with him about the article saying that as he expands it would be nice to have the extras that Chef Trish Sebben-Krupka used in serving.
LETTER 2 – Cavi ∙ Art’s Terrific
Thanks for the great write-up! I also want to let you know that we do have the “salmon” Cavi•art vegan now. It has the red, larger beads and tastes terrific.
Plant Based Foods, Inc.
LETTER 3 – Yes We Can
In Letters to the Editor (Summer 2012) some of the most well-meaning animal advocates send out mixed messages. How can we expect the general public to take us seriously when we ALLOW the HSUS to make the following statement “…passing federal legislation to outlaw all types of cages is not a realistic option.” Or, the author of Urging Collaboration on Her Laws states, “…as a vegan, I would prefer that the egg industry be eliminated entirely, but of course that is totally impracticable.”
Both messages program us to fail. If the writer is a vegan we can all follow. Outlaw all cages – not a realistic option? If we all become vegans will there be any need for cages? The key word is sacrifice. Our pleasures, comforts, etc., are not worth their (animals) pain!
In the next letter, Living Your Advocacy, the author states “…forcing them to live in our world on our terms.” It has never been “our world.” Once the president of a group wrote, “…the animals that share our world..” I immediately, respectfully requested if she’d consider rephrasing it to “the world we share with the animals.” “Good observation, thank you” was the response.
All the good things that ever happened to me were for a single reason: somebody said, “Yes, you can do this.” Yes, we can put the profiteers (of all kinds) out of business if we believe in ourselves. Just ask every vegan who use to eat dead animals.
Action Volunteers for Animals