vegansaurus!

04/27/2011

Awesome vegans: 1; defensive omnivores: 0  »

If you’re vegan, you’ve heard it.  And if you’re an omnivore, (admit it) you’ve said it.  It’s usually one of the first “lines of defense” against a vegan diet: “If we weren’t meant to eat meat, why do I have these canine teeth?”

But do the meatheads have any ground to stand on? Lucky for us (and the animals), Milton R. Mills' comprehensive article "The Comparative Anatomy of Eating" breaks down, in no uncertain terms, the differences between mammalian carnivores, omnivores and herbivores once and for all. “Culture, custom and training are confounding variables when looking at human dietary practices. Thus, ‘observation’ is not the best technique to use when trying to identify the most ‘natural’ diet for humans,” says Mills. “While most humans are ‘behavioral’ omnivores, the question still remains as to whether humans are anatomically suited for a diet that includes animal as well as plant foods.”

He then goes on to compare in great detail the difference between the three classifications. Exhibiting anatomical and physiological features associated with each kind of diet, Mills covers oral cavities and dental structure, stomach and small intestine distinctions, and colon and digestive tracts.

Breaking the scientific mumbo-jumbo down in layman’s terms, we learn some pretty powerful facts:

  • Herbivores’ saliva contains carbohydrate-digesting enzymes which begin breaking down food molecules while the food is still in the mouth; carnivores’ saliva does not contain this enzyme as they do not chew their food.
  • In herbivores, the jaw joint is positioned above the plane of the teeth, allowing complex jaw motions needed to chew plant foods; carnivores have a simple hinge joint lying on the same plane of the teeth, almost eliminating side-to-side motion.
  • Carnivores have a single-chambered stomach and short small intestines; herbivores have significantly longer, more elaborate guts so as to properly digest fibrous diets.
  • Carnivores’ colons are simple and very short, as its only purposes are to absorb salt and water; in herbivores, it is a highly specialized organ involved in water and electrolyte absorption, vitamin production and absorption, and fermentation of fibrous plant materials.

Yeah yeah, all of this is well and good, I guess…but what’s the big conclusion? Are humans built to be vegans, or soulless, arrogant flesh-eaters?

SORRY, CARNIES! Here’s the key, my fellow veggies—memorize this for future ammunition needs:

In conclusion, we see that human beings have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a “committed” herbivore. Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind’s GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet

Honestly, though—is anyone really surprised? Didn’t think so! Find Dr. Milton. R. Mills’ compare/contrast chart at the bottom of the page here for further info.

[Cow pic from LifeGoddess.com via evilmilk.com; kitty from skyanchor on flickr]

04/15/2011

One-fourth of meat is filled with multi-drug-resistant staph!  »


Yum
! When your friends and family chow down on that burger, they’re not just eating fat, cholesterol, and rotting flesh, they’re also consuming antibiotics the animals are shot up with to keep them alive. Tasty! There are a million five-year-olds ordering Chicken McNuggets as I type this, and they have no clue their meals are served with a side of C-cup boobs before they’re seven and an early menstrual cycle! And that’s just the boys! Ugh, the whole piece in Wired is super interesting and definitely something to pass on to the meat-eaters in your life.

I think the best/worst parts are (because everyone wants my opinion!):

“We know already that most food-borne illness occurs not because of undercooked food” in which pathogens survived, Price said. “It’s from mishandling in the kitchen and cross-contamination. I think there is a risk of these strains contaminating a local environment. We don’t know what that risk is, because it has never been evaluated—but anyone who dismisses that risk is doing so without any data.”

All those people you know who are like, “Fuck it! I cook the shit out of my meat and I’ll live forever!” Let them know it doesn’t matter

And also:

Shelley Hearne, managing director of the Pew Health Group, told me: “The bottom line is, the more we use antibiotics in injudicious ways, the more we are compromising our ability to save human lives in the future.”

No fucking doy, but it’s nice to hear it from someone who doesn’t respond to information like this by saying, “No fucking doy.” You know? Sometimes science is our friend!

03/18/2011

Forget iodine pills, just quit dairy!  »

So, there’s been a run on iodine pills here on the west coast because it’s protective against radioactive iodide, and lots of people are freaked the fucked out. 

Well, our friend Brant at The Telling Compulsion has some news from Dr. David J. Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, and it’s MESSED UP! I mean, for most people. Not for vegans. Yet again, we’re doing everything right:

Dr. Brenner said the iodine pills were protective, but were “a bit of a myth” because their use is based on the belief that the risk is from inhaling radioactive iodine. Actually, he said, 98 percent of people’s exposure comes from milk and other dairy products.

“The way radioactive iodine gets into human beings is an indirect route,” he said. “It falls to the ground, cows eat grass which has got the radioactive iodine in it and make milk with radioactive iodine, and you get it from drinking the milk. You get very little from inhaling it. The way to prevent it is just to stop people from drinking the milk.

You see? Science wants you to go vegan. And you can’t argue with science! Hey, I have an idea: Let’s rub Coconut Bliss all over our bodies because that’s got to extra protect us, right? SCIENCE!

01/11/2011

University of Texas is torturing animals: how you can help!  »

Peta, everyone’s favorite, just exposed the disgusting treatment of animals in the University of Texas labs. It’s REALLY disturbing: they are giving sheep spinal cord injuries, burning pigs’ skin with Bunsen burners, and cutting up dogs’ colons. USEFUL and HELPFUL, for sure.

It takes one minute to email the university president with Peta’s email form. Peta has filed a complaint with the USDA. We’ll see what happens, but in the meantime please take a moment to email UT.

[Images from Peta.org]

12/30/2010

Neanderthals totally dug on veggies, yo!  »

That’s right! Scientists discovered traces of veggies, legumes and grains in the teeth of some Neanderthal specimens. More interesting, in my opinion, is that there’s evidence some of the food was cooked. See, previously, scientists thought Neanderthals exclusively ate meat, based on the amount of protein in their bones—we all know you can ONLY get protein from meat. Or the wacky idea that their bodies might have processed nutrients differently than ours? But whatevs, now we know they ate plants too.

Considering that early humans were hunter-gatherers (possibly even hunter-scavengers), and up to 80 percent of the hunter-gatherer diet comes from the gathering, it doesn’t surprise me that Neanderthals ate plants. It’s up for debate, but there’s evidence that humans and Neanderthals were living on earth at the same time;* what’s more, earlier this year scientists found evidence that Neanderthals and humans interbred. At the very least, Neanderthals could have observed the diet practiced by humans and followed suit. Then again, they could have discovered plant food-sources all on their own. I mean if you’re hungry, you’re going to try to eat whatever you may find around you. If it tastes alright and doesn’t kill you, you might eat it again. Other apes were able to discover the joy of veggies, why not Neanderthals too? 

I’m more interested in how they cooked—that’s totally news to me. Dolores Piperno, who led the study, explains, “the evidence for cooking is strong. The starch grains are gelatinized, and that can only come from heat associated with cooking.” Fascinating! We all know how humans discovered fire: Prometheus! Did he totally bless the Neanderthals with fire as well?

The study also has implications on why Neanderthals went extinct and we didn’t. One theory was that they went extinct because animals they ate, like the wooly mammoth, went extinct and so they had nothing to eat; the news that they had more sophisticated and diverse diets puts an end to that. Poor scientists! I like the theory I learned in college: humans totally forced Neanderthals into oblivion! It reinforces my opinion that humans are a bunch of jerks.

*I majored in anthropology in college, where they taught us that Neanderthals definitely existed at the same time as humans but I guess not everyone believes that. This is the annoying part of anthropology; people are like, “this happened and this happened,” and then they’re always like, “OR, they didn’t!”

03/15/2010

What’s the best way to show fish have feelings? Dump them on national television! OR BETTER YET torture them!
Treehugger gives us a brief review of the new book, Do Fish Feel Pain? I didn’t read it because I’m busy watching CSI, but according to the site, author Victoria Braithwaite sets the record straight about fish and pain. As a fish-eater herself, she sees a double standard where birds and mammals are thought to be more sentient than our sea pals, but that’s not necessarily true. Sure, they aren’t super-cuddly like other animals but guess what, they don’t like being poisoned with bee venom—which she did.
They also discuss some tests being done to prove fish are smart and can learn. If you ever question that, simply head over to fish-school.com and watch fish PLAY SOCCER!
Treehugger ends on this note: “Sure, it may not come as too big of a surprise to learn that fish do have feelings after all, but now the evidence is definitive. So next time you’re out fishing, perhaps you should apologize before you let it go.”
For real! I feel like when you are young and first learn about fishing, it occurs to every single child that yeah, it MUST hurt when the hook goes into the fish’s lip! I just remember thinking about the fish they let go just have holes in their mouth and wondering if they heal or what. Every kid sees it because it just makes sense.
Even though I wish she didn’t eat fish, I’m kind of glad it’s a fish-eater exposing this truth. I’m so over meat-eaters lying to themselves to make them feel better about what they eat. Guess what, fish do feel pain and turkeys are smart. Deal with it.

What’s the best way to show fish have feelings? Dump them on national television! OR BETTER YET torture them!

Treehugger gives us a brief review of the new book, Do Fish Feel Pain? I didn’t read it because I’m busy watching CSI, but according to the site, author Victoria Braithwaite sets the record straight about fish and pain. As a fish-eater herself, she sees a double standard where birds and mammals are thought to be more sentient than our sea pals, but that’s not necessarily true. Sure, they aren’t super-cuddly like other animals but guess what, they don’t like being poisoned with bee venom—which she did.

They also discuss some tests being done to prove fish are smart and can learn. If you ever question that, simply head over to fish-school.com and watch fish PLAY SOCCER!

Treehugger ends on this note: “Sure, it may not come as too big of a surprise to learn that fish do have feelings after all, but now the evidence is definitive. So next time you’re out fishing, perhaps you should apologize before you let it go.”

For real! I feel like when you are young and first learn about fishing, it occurs to every single child that yeah, it MUST hurt when the hook goes into the fish’s lip! I just remember thinking about the fish they let go just have holes in their mouth and wondering if they heal or what. Every kid sees it because it just makes sense.

Even though I wish she didn’t eat fish, I’m kind of glad it’s a fish-eater exposing this truth. I’m so over meat-eaters lying to themselves to make them feel better about what they eat. Guess what, fish do feel pain and turkeys are smart. Deal with it.

03/09/2010

Scientists are morbid freaks  »

Forensic scientists are sinking dead pigs into the ocean to see how human bodies might decompose in the water—way to be FREAKS. And then marine biologists are collaborating with them to study dead zones and the animals that can inhabit them. I say collaborating, every online article says, “piggybacking.” WTF is up with puns when people are writing about gross animal stuff? They are relentless. But regardless, two studies for one pig!

All I can say is at least they are dead before they put them in the ocean. I couldn’t tell at first. Apparently they get the pigs from the butcher. What about all the children? Where will they get their saturated fat?!

The best part is that according to this article from 2008, America’s meat habit is a huge contributing factor to the dead zones. So when they get these pigs, are they contributing to the very problem they wish to solve? Survey says: YES!

[Megan Rascal cartoon]

12/03/2009

From the ?!!@$#$#!%$! File: Milking GE Bunnies for Pharmaceuticals   »

Abusing cute fuzzy bunnies for medicine is bad enough. But genetically modifying rabbits and milking them to extract proteins for the pharmaceutical industry is fucking disgusting. Pharming, a Netherlands-based biotech firm, is doing just that.

Their goal is to treat people suffering from hereditary angioedema, by extracting a protein called C1 inhibitor—also known by its stage name, C1-INH—by fusing a human gene onto the rabbits and extracting the protein from the milk. National Geographic assures us that “like dairy cows, the rabbits stay relaxed and appear to suffer no discomfort during milking” which means it’s all okay because dairy cows have it easy.

Humans are animals too, and hereditary angioedema sounds awful. But why trade a life for a life, when medical technology is perfectly capable of developing alternatives? In this case, the non-animal “alternatives” are already out there, which makes this all seem a bit gratuitous.

I’m no medical expert but I’m going to drop some science anyway. The problem with producing C1-INH is that it’s too complex a protein to synthesize. It needs a biological process, and a modified bacteria like E. coli won’t do. Still with me?

Well, the yeast Pichia pastoris will do the job for us. In case you’re keeping score at home, yeast isn’t an animal. Nor is it fuzzy, or cute. Then there’s the drug Ecallantide (it’s a different protein made with the same yeast process) and it was just approved by the FDA yesterday. Yesterday! Apparently, Ecallantide isn’t perfect, but neither is the rabbit milk method, which has a short half-life and the possibility of triggering allergies. Not what you want in a drug to treat an allergic reaction. On the bright side, a different part of your windpipe might swell up instead.

And if all else fails, C1-INH from donated human blood treats angioedema attacks, in all cases, with no side effects. Think about that for a minute. Next time someone trots out the excuse that people will die if we don’t torture animals, ask them if they’ve donated blood recently. Because if they haven’t, then maybe they don’t care about people as much as they think they do. THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID IT.

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10/12/2009

As if spiders could get any cooler: the Bagheera kiplingi of Central America is unique among spiders in that it thrives on a primarily vegetarian diet of acacia leaves. Not only that, but apparently the males stick around and care for their young, unlike every other deadbeat dad of the arachnid world.
Watch the video to see this badass spider avoiding deadly ants like a ninja to get to those tasty, tasty leaves.

As if spiders could get any cooler: the Bagheera kiplingi of Central America is unique among spiders in that it thrives on a primarily vegetarian diet of acacia leaves. Not only that, but apparently the males stick around and care for their young, unlike every other deadbeat dad of the arachnid world.

Watch the video to see this badass spider avoiding deadly ants like a ninja to get to those tasty, tasty leaves.

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