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30 September 2007 Issue

1. Published Letter on Animal Agriculture in the Third World

2. CVA Outreach (to Pastors)

3. More Response to “I Love Meat”

1. Published Letter on Animal Agriculture in the Third World:
Sir, I am a country person born and bred, who qualified in agriculture fifty years ago and has spent a lifetime working in agriculture in the Caribbean, the UK, and Africa. I also founded a charity that funds food aid projects mostly in Africa.

HIPPO (Registered Charity No. 1075420) does not promote the breeding, rearing, or eating of animals. There are millions of people in Africa who eat very little or no meat. Some do so from choice, for reasons of health, religion, or compassion to animals, though for many admittedly it is involuntary simply because they cannot afford it. Most of the meat in the world is eaten by relatively wealthy people - even in African countries. The poor often subsist on high carbohydrate low protein foods like maize, millet or sorghum and little else.

Through Pax Africa, a Kenyan based organisation, HIPPO helps many poor people to have an improved diet by ensuring that they get beans, peas, lentils, vegetables and fruit, with their maize. Soya is 40% protein and contains all the essential amino acids, as do other vegetable proteins when eaten in variety.

Raising livestock is utterly wasteful of land and precious water. Meat eaters on average require at least 2 hectares of land to support them whereas the world has only a fifth of a hectare of agricultural land each for the six and a half billion people in it.

When the Rev. Ulric Gerry comments (CEN 9/21) on what he sees as disproportionate concern for animal welfare, has he stopped to realize that his extravagant meat eating habit deprives others of even basic food commodities or the land to grow them on? When Pax Africa helps orphanages, for example, it pays for water boreholes and irrigation so that good nutritious vegetable and fruit crops can be grown and trees planted. It certainly does not pay for cows and goats.

A study in 1995 estimated that the annual loss of land productivity caused by goats and other grazing animals in Africa was about £4 billion. You can be sure that it has got worse since then. It has been said that goats created the Sahara desert. Now it is extending southwards at the rate of 600 metres per year.

The 'Daily Trust' newspaper of the Reverend's own city of Abuja reported on 20 September "At least fifty million Nigerians in eleven states have their livelihoods threatened by desertification . . . Lake Chad has shrunk in volume and spatial coverage." This is partly due to land degradation by grazing and partly by climate change. The climate change itself is due in large part to the world's huge and growing appetite for meat.

Livestock cause more global warming than all the transport in the world added together because they emit methane which is 23 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide. This is not my assessment but that of no less a body than the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (see their report "Livestock's Long Shadow" November 2006). Thankfully the Nigerian Government is battling the problem there.

Halima Tayo Alao, the Environment Minister, says that all Nigerians need to "return to understanding that planting a tree anywhere in the frontline states is a service to humanity." Unfortunately it is a waste of time planting trees if cattle and goats are then allowed to destroy them.

Finally your correspondent says rather dogmatically, "Human beings were not created to be vegans." I wonder what authority he bases that on? Certainly not the bible for the first chapter of Genesis says precisely that we were!

Neville Fowler
Director, Help International Plant Protein Organisation
The Old Vicarage
Llangynog
Carmarthen SA33 5BS
Telephone 01267 241547
Email: hippocharity@aol.com 

2. CVA Outreach (to Pastors)
Margaret Morin of Vegetarian Network of Texas writes: I would like to share an experience I had today. I hope you find it interesting.

While I lunched at Veggie Garden, ten men in business suites arrived and were seated at the table next to mine. These were big guys, well groomed and highly confident. Some would call them alpha males, but I never cared for the phrase.

Their voices boomed so it was impossible not to hear their conversation. They talked about marketing Christianity to the DFW Metroplex and not at all in a proselytizing way. It sounded more like they were putting together a business plan and a pretty good one at that. I was impressed at their acumen.

I am on friendly terms with the Veggie Garden proprietor and she talks to me sometimes. While I was at the buffet, she told me these men were all Christian ministers, who sometimes dined at Veggie Garden.

So I thought … What a great opportunity to market the Christian Vegetarian Association to them!

But, the men were intensely involved in their conversation and it would have been hard to interrupt courteously. Plus, it is a little known fact, but I tend to the shy (you can stop laughing now). Seriously, I have learned to overcome my deficit through force of will, especially when I must do the right thing and speak for animals.

While I contemplated the best way to approach this group of imposing individuals, a non-AR friend came in and asked if he could join me. Over lunch, I told him my goal, but that I was unsure how to accomplish it. Being a guy, he advised me to say whatever my gut told me. And, then he left (no help there).

Anyway, I had CVA fliers in my car, as I always travel with Vegetarian and AR literature. It pays to be prepared. So, I approached the minister’s table, put my hand on the back of the chair of the man I judged to be the leader and asked if I might have a moment of their time?

They grew instantly silent and ten surprised faces turned to mine. I introduced myself and said I understood they were ministers. I explained I was affiliated with the Christian Vegetarian Association and asked if I might share CVA literature with them. They broke out in effusive smiles and in one voice said yes, they would love to see my literature.

I handed twenty five pamphlets to each man on either side of me, who passed the CVA pamphlets around the table.

I stayed just long enough to observe their faces as they intently gazed at the peaceful cover of “Are We Good Stewards of God’s Creation? We are What We Eat.”

Before I wore out my welcome, I thanked them for their attention and said I was placing about 100 CVA pamphlets near the checkout counter, if they wanted more.

As I turned to walk away, they were all still silent and still staring at the pamphlet cover. Who knows? Maybe they will put what they learned today about compassion into their business plan?

I left feeling like Christmas came early this year. I thought about how much it pays to be prepared to speak for animals at the drop of a hat. And, to be flexible enough to speak to any audience so they will hear your message. It should not matter if one is personally a Christian, Jew, atheist, or none of these. Whatever works to help animals, I always say.

If you have a similar story, I encourage you to share it. You read mine. I would love to read yours.

3. More Responses to “I Love Meat”
I said the exactly the same thing 5 years and 50 lbs. ago. Had I known the health benefits lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, increased energy and weight loss) I would have gone vegetarian years sooner! Grocery shopping, cooking and eating is fun again and no longer routine. There are also profound spiritual benefits that can only be experienced and not explained. Check out the resources offered in this booklet and see how easy the transition can be.

Gary

I ate meat until a friend suggested that I read John Robbin's "Diet for a New America" - I read this book and never ate meat again and never mss it. He also has a book called "Diet for a New World: May All Be Fed" now.

Carol Sullivan

I don’t like to spend much time interacting with people when I leaflet, so as to not interfere with me getting leaflets to others. Often in this situation if I have with me the Vegan Outreach booklet “Even If You Like Meat”, I’ll simply hand them one and say “this is for people who like meat”.

Rick Hershey

Your question and comments are welcome

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