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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.

Newsletters - Summer 2007 Issue

President's Message

Many of you read the publication, About Town: a free community guide to Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Tivoli and Hudson. The current issue features the cover article, “A Neighborhood of Animal Farms,” which describes several local farms where animals are raised in less confined conditions than in most factory farms. The article states that the meat or milk from these animals is tastier and more healthful because the animals have a more natural diet. The underlying assumption is that humans must eat flesh and fluids from animals and this is a “better” way to produce them.

“I love animals,” one farmer declared. Isn’t this statement and the fact that these animals are raised primarily for slaughter contradictory? Many of us who have chosen to not eat meat wonder how people could raise an animal, giving him or her a “nice life” [as another farmer is quoted as saying], and then dispatch the animal to be killed. A friend of mine recently toured a local dairy farm, and before leaving I told him to “Ask the people if they allow the calves to nurse, and if so for how long?” The farmer told him “Two days,” he said. [In a large commercial dairy, calves are separated at birth.] The farmer further answered that if the cow is nursing she will “hold back” some of her milk. Any human mother wanting to provide for her child should understand that. 

Still, most people drink milk, use copious quantities of cheese (“I just couldn't give up cheese,” many people tell me), and can’t imagine summer without ice cream. How many of them think that they are using what rightfully belongs to a calf? Never mind that the milk from a cow is not formulated for the nutritional needs of a human. A baby grows to about 20 pounds in a year, a calf to several hundred pounds. 

Does two days of nursing from their mom really give these babies a better life? Recently I saw a poster for a local poultry farm showing a very long building in the background among green surroundings. The text emphasized, “NO hormones, NO antibiotics.” Nothing was said about the conditions of the chickens who undoubtedly live in the factory-like building in the background. OK, maybe they are not in cages; and probably it’s less crowded than the facility producing chickens for Perdue or Tyson’s.

Nonetheless, in these large warehouse-type buildings chickens no longer eat their preferred varied diet; nor can they enjoy finding their own food among grass and other plants. Constance Young, our editor, wrote to AboutTown asking why the article about “Neighborhood Farms” was featured on the cover page (the only article on the front page) when the many articles she wrote over many years focusing animal welfare [one even about veganism] were stuck away in the back pages. She also stressed in her letter the lack of research in the cover story; the author of the article did onetime

only visits to the farms, and obviously the farmers are going to say only good things about how they treat their animals. If you would like to contact About Town, write paul@abouttown.us in Dutchess County. There is also an Ulster County edition. 

We can read articles like the one in AboutTown and become disgusted and discouraged and do nothing. Or, we can continue to take up the challenge of promoting animal-free eating as a lifestyle that is more healthful and as a way to reduce animal cruelty and reverse damage to the environment. 

Butcher shop. A butcher shop recently opened in downtown Rhinebeck. I have no idea how I got on their e-mail list, but here are two of their upcoming classes: “The Art of Cooking Meat for Recovering Vegetarians and Others who May Be Slightly Perplexed,” and “Know What Your Dinner is Eating Before You Eat Your Dinner.” More bad news -- the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market now has more meat vendors than vegetable sellers. 

Past and Upcoming Events. This June, for the third consecutive year, we supported the Catskill Animal Sanctuary by preparing and selling vegan foods. Along with the “Not Dogs,” we prepared “hummus wraps,” “tofu-noegg” salad sandwiches, pasta and potato salads and dozens and dozens of cookies and bars baked by members and friends. Kathy Stevens and her staff and volunteers were very pleased with our efforts. 

The other local sanctuary, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, will be having a Blessing of the Animals event on September 30th and the call will go out again to “Fire Up Your Ovens.” 

Earlier in September, on September 15, we will have a table at the Albany Vegetarian Network Capital Region Vegetarian Expo in Saratoga Springs. At this first-time event there will be films, speakers, many vendors and lots of vegan food. Our table will feature environmental materials prepared by Jim Van Alstine which we used at three Earth Day events this Spring. We will also reach out to help people who want to change their way of eating. Let us know if you want to be part of this outreach. 

Our next event will be on August 24th. Will Tuttle, composer, pianist and author of “The World Peace Diet” will be in the area and we have arranged a concert and reading at the Reformed Church in Rhinebeck. See the Calendar of Events on page 3 for details. Will’s music is superb, so please attend if you are in town. We will also need members to make appetizers and desserts. Please contact us at 845.876.2626 or robbie@mhvs.org.

I think you got my message that I am “fed Up” with all this media frenzy about “grass fed” animals being humanely treated and good for you. Let’s not get discouraged, but continue to choose good vegan food and to be an example to others. Please support MHVS by educating people when and where appropriate and attending our events. Check the Calendar of Events in this issue and on our website for all our upcoming events. 

- by Roberta Schiff, President

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