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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Articles - Letters - and More

Grass fed promo misses key facts

17 July 2004

Bill Pfleging's promotional article for grass fed beef did a fine job of exposing some of the horrors of factory farming, of which even many folks were likely unaware. Unfortunately, there were virtually no attributions of facts and sources within the article itself, although some of the sidebar resource may support some points. Many or all of the assertions made regarding factory farming are echoed in the well-researched information provided by groups like Farm Sanctuary, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and Voice for a Viable Future www.madcowboy.com . However, the health claims regarding grass fed beef seem to spring from the promotional literature of this greenwashed wing of the beef industry.

More disturbing are the glaring errors of fact in the first paragraph. Pfleging asserts vegans "have to be extremely careful to combine proteins and take appropriate supplements." This is just plain wrong.

Mistaken notions of protein combining were dismissed decades ago. A well-planned vegan diet is healthful and complete (American Dietetic Association). Many vegans, just like meat-eating humans, do chose to supplement some key nutrients like B-12 (vegan-sourced) and omega 3, (found abundantly in flax).

A vegan diet is more healthful than a meat-based one.

Vegans take in more than enough protein and calcium while enjoying the benefits of a zero cholesterol diet. People on a plant-based diet typically consume 25 percent less fat than meat eating Americans. In matters of heart disease, a zero cholesterol diet has vast advantages over diets that modestly reduce cholesterol. Readers may look up the work of George Eismann, RD, or Drs. Michael Greger, John McDougall, Dean Ornish or Joel Fuhrman as sources.

Pfleging also errs in his anthropolical assessment of meat eating. Humans were gatherer/foragers (vegan in today's language) through most of evolutionary history and only took to consuming the flesh of other species relatively late. Our biology, from our closed, short mouths to our long, intricate intestines, reveals we are among the planets herbivores, not its carnivores.

Read Dr. Milton Mills of PCRM or Jim Mason's Unnatural Order on this point.

By way of errors of omission, Pfleging overlooks the fact that in the greatest horrors of meat production grass fed animals and factory-farmed stock are sadly equal. The cramped, treacherous trip to slaughter, without food or water, in livestock trucks exposed to winter blizzards and blistering summer heat are inflicted on all transported animals. The terrors of the slaughter house, from unreliable captive bolt stunning, to being hoisted by a single leg as tendons tear and bones snap, to the garish slash of the throat yielding a gush of blood and screams of agony, are suffered by all cattle whether grass fed or factory raised. As the cattle disassembly processes speeds up, animals often "die piece by piece." (See www.farmsanctuary.org ). Given such an end, it is simply wrong to describe any slaughtered food animal "humanely produced."

People interested in considering a humane, healthful, sustainable vegan diet can find support locally through the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society at www.mhvs.org .


Jim Van Alstine
Campaigns Coordinator
Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society

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