The right to hunt and fish is called barbaric

http://georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com/2017/04/27/environmental-issues/the-right-to-hunt-and-fish-is-called-barbaric/

April 27, 2017

A proposed Constitutional amendment to “Establish the Right to Hunt and Fish” drew angry testimony from the anti-hunting and anti-trapping crowd.

“This bill is barbaric,” testified John Glowa of China, who called LD 11 “the worst piece of legislation I have seen in more than twenty years of coming before this committee, and I have seen some bad ones.” Glowa also called the bill “the poison fruit of the paranoia seed planted by the out-of-state gun lobby and by radical extremist consumptive users.”

And yes, that was way over the top. Katie Hansberry of the Humane Society of the United States, who is always well-prepared and courteous in her work at the legislature, testified “The Humane Society of the United States has worked with wildlife management agencies across the U.S. to combat poaching. And in recent years, we joined sportsmen and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to crack down on poaching by helping Maine become the first state in New England to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

“We are concerned that putting a right to hunt in our constitution could amount to an open invitation for poachers to exploit it to their advantage, and could subject longstanding conservation laws to legal challenge from those arguing that this constitutional right exempts them from existing restrictions like bag limits or prohibitions on spotlight or road hunting. Unnecessarily putting this existing right into our constitution could invite lawsuits from individuals who want to argue that conservation laws on quotas, season closures, or land area closures could infringe upon their constitutional right to hunt and fish,” said Katie.

Karen Coker of WildWatch Maine joined in the criticism of the bill, testifying that, “It’s intent… is to silence Maine citizens concerned about unethical practices and to prevent citizens from initiating ballot initiatives on wildlife issues.” She said “This proposal’s vague terms open the door to inhumane, unethical trapping and hunting practices,” and called the bill “a legal nightmare.” She also insisted that “hunting and trapping and fishing are not fundamental rights.”

She might have a disagreement with Katie Hansberry on that, because Katie testified that “Mainers already have the right to hunt and fish.”

DIF&W’s Testimony

Tim Peabody, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, surprised some supporters by testifying “neither for nor against” the bill. He called hunting and fishing “significant privileges” here in Maine.

Tim also noted that last year the legislature amended the Department’s mission statement to include the direction to “use regulated hunting, fishing and trapping as the basis for the management of these resources whenever feasible.” That was a significant victory for hunting, trappers, and anglers.

Tim questioned “How would this bill, and the resulting constitutional rights affect existing hunting laws, landowner’s rights, or the Department of Health and Human Services ability to enforce child support obligations by suspending licenses? The precise answer to these and many more unanticipated questions likely will not be supplied until these issues are tested in court. In the face of the unknown, I hope the Committee and the Legislature as a whole proceeds with caution.”

He summed up his testimony with this statement: “We urge careful consideration of the possible impacts of the current privilege enjoyed by all law abiding sportsmen and women. There is a distinct difference between a privilege and a right,” he said.

Supporters

Supporters of LD 11 including the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, National Rifle Association, and Maine Professional Guides Association.

Rep. Steve Wood, a member of the IFW Committee, sponsored and spoke for the bill, testifying “I’ve proposed this bill as an attempt to join 21 other states around the country which guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions; most recently Kansas and Indiana.”  Steve distributed a fact sheet about state constitutional amendments and the right to hunt and fish.

Dave Trahan emphasized that LD 11 is a SAM bill, not an NRA bill as some opponents charged. He took the committee through a bit of history of wildlife management in this country, noting that “conservationists and sportsmen of conscience” supported the Pitman-Robertson Act which established an excise tax on outdoor gear, a tax that has directed $3 billion to wildlife management agencies including Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.

“Hunting, trapping and fishing regulations have existed for less than half the life of this country,” testified Dave. “They were not put in place by the courts or a constitutional ruling and certainly not established to give governments the sovereignty over wild creatures; to the contrary, sportsmen and conservationists willfully placed these limits on wildlife consumption because they recognized the value in our natural world and wanted to insure that they would be around for future generations.

“This Constitutional Proposition is before you because animal rights organizations are trying to change that narrative and history… They believe hunting and fishing are cruel and inhumane, but readily accept the slow, vicious and terrifying death of wild animals through starvation, disease or to be torn apart by wild predators.” Said Dave.

Rep. Karl Ward testified for the bill, reporting that, “As of today, twenty two states now guarantee the People’s Right to Hunt and Fish in their State Constitutions. Vermont enacted this in 1777. The other seventeen – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have passed amendment to their Constitutions since 1996. Indiana and Kansas passed this amendment last year. Texas and Nevada the year before.”

What’s Next?

It will take a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate to place this Constitutional amendment on the ballot, and the people will make the deciding decision.

I am concerned about the amount of money that will need to be raised to win this ballot fight, but there’s a long way to go before we have to be concerned about that.

200 Year Old Whale Killed–Enough is Enough!

Comment by Captain Paul Watson:

For 200 years this incredible whale has swum through the waters of the Arctic Ocean.

200 HUNDREDS YEARS!!

Two centuries ago it was 1817. This whale was alive before the American Civil War. This whale was alive before Thomas Jefferson died. This whale was alive before the ship ESSEX was sunk by a Sperm whale. This whale is older than the Mormon church!

When this whale was born, African Americans were just commodities to be bought and sold. When this whale was born, women had very few rights and Native Americans were being slaughtered. well, because of manifest destiny, killed because of White American culture.

And now some 16-year old kid is a frigging “hero” for snuffing out the life of this unique self aware, intelligent, social, sentient being, but hey, it’s okay because murdering whales is a part of his culture, part of his tradition.

He went out in his “traditional” metal boat, powered by a “traditional” outboard motor, armed with a “traditional” exploding harpoon and “traditional” high powered rifle and they all hauled the great grandmother of a whale into the shore with a “traditional power” winch.

I don’t give a damn for the bullshit politically correct attitude that certain groups of people have a “right” to murder a whale.

Their so called “right” is not as important as the right of the whales to live, survive and to thrive.

TWO HUNDRED GODDAMN YEARS and this little prick snuffs out her life just because because he legally can. I hope he chokes on the blubber.

People like the Yupik, the Faroese, the thugs in Taiji, the Orca killing scum in St. Vincent and the whaling gangsters of Iceland, Norway and Japan are despicable murderous bastards all justifying their cruel infliction of death in the name of this mother of all justifications – culture.

Am I angry? Damn right I am. Enough is enough. I don’t care what self righteous ethnic label anyone may want to pin on themselves, killing a whale can never be justified in the name of tradition or culture.

TWO HUNDRED GODDAMN YEARS!! WTF!!

And for those who demand that I respect anyone’s “right” to kill a whale or a dolphin, my answer is I have never, I do not and I will never respect the infliction of suffering and death to any cetacean.

And for those who say, well you eat meat? No I don’t, and I would no more respect this horrific murder of this incredible sentient being than I would of the culture of cannibalism.

And by the way I have been to Gambell in 1981 where I saw the Yupik shooting walrus with M-16 rifles just for the ivory. The number of stinking rotting Walrus bodies I saw that summer was obscene.

https://www.adn.com/…/a-teenager-on-a-gambell-whaling-crew-…

Sixteen-year-old Chris Apassingok struck the 57-foot-long bowhead.
ADN.COM

Why do vegans allow vegetarianism to define veganism?

http://www.thisishopethebook.com/vegans-allow-vegetarianism-define-veganism/

Shake hands, declare independence 

 

We must end our non-critical acceptance of vegetarianism’s influence and power over veganism. Though unintentional, vegetarianism will continue to harm and subvert veganism’s progress until vegans stand up to claim and control veganism’s definition and affirm that it is an entirely different belief system and way of life. It’s been this way so long that it may not be obvious, but it’s there for all to see.

By definition, vegetarianism allows the option of consuming animal products, which is a direct and open acceptance of the violence and endless harm it does. In the minds of its practitioners, vegetarianism is an intention to create good as an improvement in one’s health, a belief it will stop the suffering and killing caused from eating flesh, and perhaps to believe it is a temporary place for transition to veganism. Those assumptions don’t stand up to scrutiny. What vegetarianism does is transfer predation through eating flesh to predation through dairy and egg consumption. Cows and their calves, chickens and their chicks are still harmed and slaughtered at a young age in animal agriculture due to the demands of vegetarianism.

 

Veganism up to now has allowed itself to be associated with and defined as just one of many types of vegetarianism whosepractitioners overwhelmingly consume dairy and/or eggs, honey—and sometimes outside of vegetarianism’s expectations—also eat fish and other animal-derived substances.

Lumping types of vegetarianisms together causes havoc with food labeling and consumer understanding of what is and is not effective to reduce suffering and end the killing of source animals. Vegetarianism causes unnecessary destruction to ecosystems that in turn impoverishes wildlife and people alike. Because we care to our core about these tragedies, we have a duty to turn this around and prevent them with veganism.

The Vegetarian Society, founded in 1847, is still home to the 1800’sdevelopment of the concept of vegetarianism and sees it this way: “A vegetarian is someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, fungi, algae, yeast and/or some other non-animal-based foods (e.g. salt) with, or without, dairy products, honey and/or eggs [my emphasis]. A vegetarian does not eat foods that consist of, or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from, any part of the body of a living or dead animal. This includes meat, poultry, fish, shellfish*, insects, by-products of slaughter or any food made with processing aids created from these.”

That the Vegetarian Society and many similar organizations believe stealing calves’ milk from the females’ udders, and eggs coming from an ovulating bird through her uterus do not come from “any part of the body of a living…animal” is preposterous. Their milk and eggs are biologically intimate and as necessary for cow and chicken existence as blood and muscle. The simple fact that the business of stealing calves’ milk and chickens’ eggs harms them to an early death should end this nonsense. 

Being consistent, the Vegetarian Society offers their, “… Approved trade mark… [for]… products containing free-range eggs” in addition to vegetarian (and vegan) product certification. One of their certification criteria, “Free from any ingredient resulting from slaughter,” ignores that the fact that their approved ingredients and certifications cause the slaughter of spent chickens, cows and their calves, and other species. This magical thinking dominates many vegetarian organizations. Those with certification programs actually make money from exploiting animals. The European Vegetarian Union also specializes in logos that certify products as being “vegetarian” (and “vegan”) using the same misleading, illogical standard that screams approval. Why, why, why would vegans enable them in any way?

 

The Vegan Standard

Veganism easily and powerfully stands on its own; so how did we inherit the junior status within the list of vegetarian choices? Since vegetarianism was historically (in the European context) first on the scene in the early 1800s before Donald Watson and others coined “veganism” in 1944, perhaps we have fallen into accepting veganism as secondary just as it was in its historical timeline. That is beginning to change, thankfully.  

In 2016, the Council of the Consumer Protection Ministers who represent German states proposed official definitions for vegan and vegetarian food labeling. Though not legally binding, the Council realized what vegans and vegetarians alike should remember: the German state ministers used “vegan” as the baseline definition and then described what is not vegan to define vegetarian.

The European Vegetarian Union translation of those definitions from German:

(1) Vegan are foods that are not products of animal origin… [full text is in the link]

(2) Vegetarian are foods which meet the requirements of paragraph 1 with the difference that in their production

  1. milk,
  2. colostrum,
  3. eggs (No. 5 of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004),
  4. honey (Annex I to Directive 2001/110/EC),
  5. beeswax,
  6. propolis or
  7. wool grease including lanolin derived from the wool of living sheep or their components or derivatives may be added or used.

Compare that translation to Vegan Germany’s:

(1) A food is vegan if it is not an animal product and if the following substances are not used and not added in any step of production or processing, if they are from animal origin:
– ingredients (including additives, carrier materials, flavourings, enzymes) or
– processing agents or
– items what are not additives, but that are used in the same way and with the same purpose as processing agents

(2) [vegetarian products – not relevant]

That’s right, not relevant. They have refused to define veganism by referencing vegetarianism. That’s how it is done.

The multitude of disastrous possibilities within vegetarianism’s fog of eggs, milk, and other transgressions is a problem for vegetarians to solve. Our first responsibility is to insist that vegans are not vegetarians by definition or reference. Vegans create that clarity by never again referencing veganism as a type of vegetarianism and ask vegetarians to respect that. Vegans own veganism.

 

 

For Whom the Bell Pepper Tolls

This is an essential but maybe scary change for some because it challenges friends and organizations that we love and support. Yes, relationships might be strained or even ended but not by us. People face social pressure when they are perceived “different,” and that’s always been part of the social environment during societal change. We are humbled and motivated by the power and immense importance of veganism to transform human behavior away from violence and towards justice for all life on Earth. Remember that the visionary founders of veganism—Donald Watson, Leslie Cross and othersؙ—stood up in 1944 out of necessity to differentiate veganism from vegetarianism.

Our responsibility is to make it easier for hundreds of millions of people to embrace veganism and create the global tipping point. We must not operate from a sense of weakness out of fear that the vegetarian and vegan movements will be unavoidably jeopardized if we stand up for making veganism the primary concept that actually stops exploitation and ecological destruction as vegetarianism never will.

A social movement cannot function at its best and hope to succeed if it doesn’t know how to define itself so others can understand and be motivated by the vision it advocates. Let’s remove the word “vegetarian” from our speech and writing, from the names of our organizations, and not use that term to define veganism because they are nothing alike. In the end, it is not about us, but what we must do. END

Short videos that inspire veganism:

These two videos will reinforce your convictions (both videos have some animal distress portrayed despite being tagged as “not graphic”):

 

 

3 tiger cubs destined for zoo in Syria rescued in Lebanon

http://www.news-sentinel.com/article/20170403/AP/304039948&profile=1002

Monday, April 03, 2017 09:07 am
BEIRUT – Three Siberian tiger cubs destined for a zoo in war-torn Syria were rescued by a Lebanese animal rights group after being trapped in an unmarked, maggot-infested crate in Beirut’s airport for almost a week.

The tigers, which were being transported from Ukraine, arrived at the Beirut airport on March 7, inside a ventilated 0.3-cubic-meter (10.6-cubic feet) crate, where they could not stand or move and were forced to urinate and defecate on each other, according to Animals Lebanon.

The animal rights group, which had been alerted to the shipment ultimately bound for Samer al-Husainawi Zoo in Damascus before it landed in Beirut, petitioned a Lebanese judge to release the tigers into their care the following week, Executive Director Jason Mier said.

The judge responded by issuing an order demanding the tigers be released, citing concerns for their health and welfare, the group said.

“Once we finally got them out of the box, the box had dozens and dozens of maggots crawling around in it. There were maggots all over the back thighs of the animals and around their anus,” Mier said. The tigers also suffered from dehydration, according to the group.

The tigers were sent from the zoo in Mykolaev, Ukraine. Volodymyr Topchiy, that zoo’s director, said the deal to send them abroad was entirely legal.

“They passed customs clearance, we have customs declarations,” he said, adding that the tiger cubs were exchanged for some wildcats.

Topchiy believes problems with paperwork and bureaucracy stopped their transfer to Syria. “On the transportation boxes there were no ‘up’ or down’ signs,” he said.

He said the three tiger cubs were in one box, not separate, and the zoo dealer was stopped because of these reasons. “Authorities wanted to confiscate (the cubs),” he said.

Mier said the crate arrived with no markings and no documents, and did not meet IATA regulations nor those of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, despite the fact that the four-month-old Siberian tigers fall under that category.

This is not the first deal that the Mykolaev zoo has made with its Syrian counterpart, and Topchiy said he is considering sending more tiger cubs there.

Lebanon enacted an animal protection and welfare law in 2015, granting animals legal rights and allowing for the regulation and monitoring of all the industries and establishments that use or sell animals to ensure that the animals are not placed in abusive environments.

The country is also a signatory to a number of international conventions regarding animal welfare, such as CITES, the main legislation against wildlife trafficking.

In August 2015, the death of a privately owned lion cub as a result of severe malnourishment prompted the Agriculture Ministry to clamp down on the sale and ownership of big cats.

In July, the ministry issued a decree to stop the trafficking of big cats and forcing zoos to register formally.

A ‘Squirrel Slam’ Lures Hunters and Protesters to Western New York

BROCKPORT, N.Y. — They crouched and hid, using the gray, rainy skies and fallow fields as camouflage. They scurried across well-traveled roads, up barren trees and perhaps even toward the border with Canada. They used their wits, their two extra legs and — yes — their bushy tails to fend off their pursuers.

And yet, it was not the squirrels but the hunters who triumphed here on Saturday during the annual Squirrel Slam, a decade-old fund-raising event that has drawn the ire of animal lovers and environmentalists.

The slam and its former host and beneficiary — a volunteer fire department in the nearby town of Holley in western New York — are the subject of a lawsuit filed in state court by Lauren Sheive, a squirrel aficionado who claims there has not been a proper review of its environmental effect.

In particular, Ms. Sheive and her lawyers allege that the slam — which is held on the last Saturday of February during squirrel-hunting season — is particularly damaging to the arboreal rodents because the key to winning the one-day contest is to bag the heaviest squirrels; that is, those that might be pregnant.

“Since it is baby time, the moms will be fatter and larger,” according to an affidavit submitted by Ms. Sheive, who lives in Williamson, N.Y., east of Rochester. “So if, as could happen, there is an overkilling of females who are potentially leaving young to die in their nests, what does that do to the balance of nature?”

Photo

Dennis Bauer recorded the weight of squirrels at the hunt on Saturday. Mr. Bauer has helped organize the event for the last 11 years. CreditMike Bradley for The New York Times

State environmental officials dispute that assertion, saying the hunt falls outside of the period in which squirrels breed and care for their young. Supporters of the slam have long been bewildered by the accusation that they are somehow upsetting the area’s ecology, saying the event is merely a fun way to raise money and promote community bonding.

“Everyone thinks I’m sending 300 people into the woods and slaughtering all the squirrels,” said Dennis Bauer, a hunter who helps organize the event, noting that the slam is not localized, but countywide. If it were harming squirrels, he said, “I wouldn’t do it.”

The dispute also touches on age-old friction between rural and urban mores, with some here grumbling that the conflict was being stoked by downstaters who would not know a Remington from a Rembrandt.

“I think it’s the coolest — Americana in action,” said Jeff Allen, a former logger in Alaska and a local resident who was up early to check out the slam. “And I think this is just a great little thing for upstate New York.”

At the same time, the hunt has also tapped into a broader push by national animal rights groups to stop hunting contests, including those that target animals such as coyotes, pigeons and prairie dogs.

In Albany, state lawmakers have introduced a bill to ban any contest where the goal “is to take the greatest number of wildlife,” though the winners of the squirrel slam receive a small cash prize based on weight, not the number of animals killed. (Slam hunters are limited to five squirrels; the state limit for most species is six a day.)

Still, the New York State director of the Humane Society of the United States, Brian Shapiro, has expressed concern that the slam could cause “the wider community to believe that wildlife is unimportant and killing for a monetary prize is meritorious.”

When the lawsuit was filed in 2015, it was initially dismissed. Then in December, Ms. Sheive won on appeal, and the case was sent back to Orleans County Supreme Court for further review. Arguments there are due on Monday.

One of the slam’s principal opponents has been Richard Brummel, a Long Island resident and grass-roots environmental advocate who has waged a dogged campaign against the event in recent years, citing the State Environmental Quality Review Act to challenge the hunt. He said that his love of squirrels was born from a suburban upbringing and that the animals were “agile,” “industrious” and “very acrobatic.”

“And they are actually somewhat approachable,” he said.

Squirrels are plentiful in New York, according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, which categorizes three types of squirrels — gray, fox and black — as having “abundant population” and allows them to be hunted in most parts of the state from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28.

Some squirrels, however, are considered nuisances and thus are hunted by humans year round. And many of the squirrels in this neck of the woods fall into that enemy-of-the-people category, said Amethyst McCracken, an avowed pet lover who works at an animal-care office in Holley.

“We have squirrels here the size of cats,” said Ms. McCracken, a licensed veterinary technician. “They do damage. They cause accidents. They chew through power cords, go through drains.”

Photo

Amy Prate of Hilton, N.Y., left, and Brian Sams of Palmyra, N.Y., took a selfie at the hunt in Brockport, N.Y., on Saturday. CreditMike Bradley for The New York Times

Like others here, Ms. McCracken said part of the slam’s problem might be branding. “When you hear ‘slam,’ you think about someone taking it and slamming them on the ground,” she said. But whatever the hunt is called, its organizers insist that the animals did not go to waste. Their tails are used to make fishing lures, while much of their meat — a flavor that has been compared to rabbit or, yes, chicken — finds its way into squirrel stew and other foods.

Joey Inthavong, an immigrant from Thailand who lives in Rochester, collects hundreds of squirrels from the slam every year. He insisted the quality of the local squirrels was excellent.

“They live outside, eat apples, like deer, eat good food,” Mr. Inthavong said. “Not like in the city — they eat garbage.”

Regardless of the looming legal action, the slam proceeded on Saturday, though without the Holley Fire Department after previous protests. Kevin Dann, the fire chief, said his company was “100 percent uninvolved.”

“People in New York City don’t like that we hunt up here,” he said.

Instead, the event was transferred to an Elks Lodge in Brockport, a college town on the Erie Canal, about 20 miles west of Rochester. Most of the participants were experienced hunters — rifles and high-powered pellet guns being the weapons of choice — and had war stories about their nimble prey.

Photo

Brett Jacobson of Greece, N.Y., participated in the squirrel hunt. “They’re like little ninjas,” he said.CreditMike Bradley for The New York Times

“They’re like little ninjas,” said Brett Jacobson, an avid hunter from Greece, N.Y. He noted that squirrels often scare off deer during that hunting season. “They’re obnoxious,” he said.

All told, New York has more than 500,000 licensed hunters — including 30,000 squirrel hunters. The participants in Saturday’s slam worked in a range of professions, including public-school teachers, salesmen and small-business people. Many chatted amiably in the hall of the Elks Lodge, drinking draft beer and buying raffle tickets.

Mr. Bauer, the hunter who helps organize the event, is a mechanic. He says the event draws all kinds of people — “fathers and daughters, 60-year-old brothers, husbands and wives.” And sure enough, a steady stream of hunters arrived in the late afternoon, bearing boxes and plastic bags full of squirrels.

The squirrels were handed off to a team of women called “squirrel girls,” who weighed them on digital scales as Mr. Bauer recorded weights. The winning team — teenagers from Kendall, N.Y. — brought in the heaviest individual squirrel (nearly two pounds), and five squirrels that weighed more than seven pounds total.

Mr. Bauer said it had been a tough day to hunt, driving rain and wind, but a good day for the slam: All of the money raised — from $10 tickets, raffles and the like — would go to the local Elks, who said they would use it for causes like helping veterans and fighting cerebral palsy.

Many of the hunters said they understood that squirrel hunts may not be for everyone, particularly those in cities, where the animals are more likely to be in a park than your barn.

“It’s a country thing,” said Rich Ezell, 62, who hunted with his son-in-law, adding that the event was for a good cause. “I wouldn’t shoot them just to shoot them.”

Got Almond Milk? Dairy Farms Protest Milk Label on Nondairy Drinks

If milk comes from a plant, can you still call it milk?

Not according to the dairy industry. Facing growing competition from dairy alternatives like almond, soy and coconut milk, the nation’s dairy farmers are fighting back, with an assist from Congress. Their goal: to stop companies from calling their plant-based products yogurt, milk or cheese. Dairy farmers say the practice misleads consumers into thinking that nondairy milk is nutritionally similar to cow’s milk.

A bipartisan group of 32 members of Congress is asking the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on companies that call plant-based beverages “milk.” They say F.D.A. regulations define milk as a “lacteal secretion” obtained by milking “one or more healthy cows.” Proposed legislation from Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, and Senator Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin, a state known for its cheese, suggests a slightly broader definition. Their bill would require the F.D.A. to target milk, yogurt and cheese products that do not contain milk from “hooved mammals.”

“The bottom line for us is that milk is defined by the F.D.A., and we’re saying to the F.D.A.: Enforce your definition,” Mr. Welch said.

But critics say consumers know exactly what they are buying when they choose almond or soy milk instead of dairy milk. “There’s no cow on any of these containers of almond milk or soy milk,” said Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade group representing 70 companies. “No one is trying to fool consumers. All they’re trying to do is create a better alternative for people who are looking for that option.”

And what about other nondairy products with dairy names? Will milk of magnesia, cocoa butter, cream of wheat and peanut butter have to change their names as well?

In recent years, dairy milk alternatives made from almonds, soy, cashews and coconuts have exploded in popularity. Many people consider them more nutritious than cow’s milk. Some people buy them because they have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. Others choose them for environmental reasons or because they want a vegan diet. And some just like the taste.

Continue reading the main story

Photo

Miyoko Schinner, chief executive and founder of Miyoko’s Kitchen makes nut-based cheeses and butters in Fairfax, Calif. CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

Cow’s milk was once one of America’s most iconic beverages. But Americans are drinking less of it. Americans drink 37 percent less milk today than they did in 1970, according to the Department of Agriculture. Dairy milk sales tumbled to $12 billion last year, down 20 percent from $15 billion in 2011. Part of the reason is that people switched to other beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, bottled water and soy and almond milk. Mintel, a market research firm, found that negative health perceptions were driving the decline in sales of cow’s milk.

Plant-based milks, with brand names like Almond Breeze and Silk, are sold in the dairy aisle and still represent a fraction of the beverage market, but they are growing in popularity. According to Nielsen, sales of plant-based milks have surged to $1.4 billion from $900 million in 2012.

Much of the growth in plant-based milk has come from the rising popularity of almond milk. Last year, Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, announced that it would begin offering almond milk to lighten its espresso drinks, to meet customer demand. The chain said it was one of the most-requested customer suggestions of all time.

Experts say sales of almond milk are surging for a number of reasons. The dairy industry has come under fire over concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of livestock, which contributes to air and water pollution. Almond production has an environmental impact as well: Most of the world’s almonds come from drought-stricken California, where farmers have been accused of diverting dwindling groundwater reserves to their almond orchards, and producing just 16 almonds requires an estimated 15.3 gallons of water. But ultimately the environmental impact of producing cow’s milk in areas where almonds are grown would be far worse, said David Zetland, an assistant professor of economics at Leiden University College in the Netherlands and the author of “Living With Water Scarcity.”

Many consumers also consider almond milk a healthier alternative to cow’s milk. The dairy industry says that’s not true. They point out that milk has nine essential nutrients that are necessary for good health, like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and potassium. The industry has also created ads claiming that milk has up to eight times as much protein as almond milk and fewer ingredients and additives. Some brands of soy and almond milk do contain large amounts of added sugar. But they also come in unsweetened varieties with zero sugar, and some are fortified with calcium, B12 and other nutrients.

There is also debate over the nutritional merits of cow’s milk. In 2013, for example, two of the country’s top nutrition experts, Walter Willett and David Ludwig, both at Harvard, published an editorial in JAMA Pediatrics arguing that healthy adults who get plenty of vegetables, nuts and protein in their diets may not get any extra benefit from cow’s milk. They also raised concerns about exposure to hormones in milk and high levels of added sugar in the chocolate milk served in many schools.

As the dairy industry continues to press its case, producers of nondairy milks are fighting back. The Plant Based Foods Association sent letters to the F.D.A. stating that plant-based milks were properly labeled with their “common or usual” names. A petition from the Good Food Institute opposing the dairy labeling legislation has garnered more than 41,000 signatures.

Photo

Janet Clark, with a calf at her family’s dairy farm, Vision Aire Farms in Wisconsin, was one of the farmers who asked Senator Tammy Baldwin to restrict the use of the word milk outside the dairy industry.CreditBen Brewer for The New York Times

“Don’t they have better things to do than to care about what a product is called?” asked Miyoko Schinner, the chief executive of Miyoko’s Kitchen, which sells popular nut-based cheeses and butters at almost 2,000 stores nationwide. “The only reason they would care is because they’re protecting their special interests.”

Marsha Cohen, an expert on food and drug law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, said that the dairy industry faces an uphill battle. She said the government’s definitions for milk and other foods — known as “standards of identity” — are intended primarily to protect consumers from financial harm, such as being duped into buying cheap or imitation foods masquerading as more expensive ones. She noted that the F.D.A. recently allowed the company Hampton Creek to call its vegan mayonnaise substitute “Just Mayo,” even though the F.D.A.’s legal definition of mayonnaise states that the condiment must contain eggs.

The debate over what can and can’t be called milk already has played out in courts, with judges so far siding with the plant-based milk industry. In 2013, Judge Samuel Conti of Federal District Court in San Francisco, dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit that claimed that almond, coconut and soy milk were mislabeled because they do not come from cows. Judge Conti said the claim “stretches the bounds of credulity,” and that it was “simply implausible that a reasonable consumer would mistake a product like soy milk or almond milk with dairy milk from a cow.” He said the lawsuit was reminiscent of an earlier case in which a woman claimed she was misled by Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries cereal because she thought it contained real fruit (that case was thrown out).

More: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/well/eat/got-almond-milk-dairy-farms-protest-milk-label-on-nondairy-drinks.html?_r=0

Could Going Vegan Save Millions Of Lives? Who would have thought?

Bipedal Bear’s Apparent Death Motivates Bear Hunt Opponents in New Jersey

 

New Jersey’s long-debated black bear hunts have stoked strong passions, blasted by animal rights activists as inhumane and supported by hunters and wildlife officials who say they help control the population and minimize run-ins with humans.

But the death of a bear presumed to be one that walked on two feet and became a social media darling has become a rallying cry for hunt opponents as they prepare to stage protests during the second segment of this year’s hunt, which starts Monday. It’s scheduled to run through Saturday, but officials said it could end early depending on how many bears are culled.

Pedals the bear first surfaced about two years ago in Jefferson Township. The bear walked with an unusual gait on his hind legs and was spotted ambling around neighborhoods. It also was caught on videos that were posted online and shown on national television.

Wildlife officials believe Pedals was killed during the expanded bear hunt staged in October. The Department of Environmental Protection released pictures showing the lifeless body of a black bear with injured paws, just like the ones Pedals had, but couldn’t confirm the identity because Pedals was never tagged.

Animal rights activists say the belief that Pedals is dead has motivated them and others to work even harder to end the hunt. Pedals was last seen on video in June.

“Our numbers have always been high, but the killing of Pedals has caused our support to increase,” said Janine Motta, programs director for the Bear Education And Resource program. The group has staged protests during previous hunts in New Jersey and plans similar events during the upcoming hunt.

“Here was one particular bear that people may have known, seen or just followed on Facebook. They felt a connection with Pedals,” Motta said. “When he was killed, it became personal for those who loved him, and that translated into a greater awareness of the hunt in general and the realization that all bears who are killed are important.”

New Jersey resumed state-regulated bear hunting in 2003 after a ban that lasted more than 30 years. Another hunt was held in 2005, and in 2010 the state instituted an annual hunt.

The expanded six-day hunting season took effect this year. Hunters were allowed to use only bows and arrows to during the first three days, and muzzle-loading guns were added during the second half.

This coming week’s hunt is for firearms only and runs concurrently with the six-day firearm season for deer. But wildlife officials anticipate the bear hunt will end early due to the harvest limit set in the state’s bear management policy.

Hunters harvested 562 bears during the expanded hunt, and 23.4 percent were previously tagged bears. This week’s hunt will be suspended once the cumulative harvest rate of tagged bears reaches 30 percent, officials said.

State wildlife officials have touted the annual hunt as an important part of controlling the bear population and minimizing run-ins with humans, particularly in the northern part of New Jersey known as bear country. They have estimated that 3,500 bears live in New Jersey north of Interstate 80, roughly the upper one-eighth of the state.

Critics have called the hunt brutal, cruel and ineffective. But James Doherty, a Toms River resident who has taken part in previous hunts, believes the critics are so focused on their cause that they don’t see why it’s needed.

“The stereotype of hunters is that we’re all gun nuts who like to kill things for the fun of it, but that’s not the case,” Doherty said. “Listen to the biologists, the experts- the hunt helps keep the bear population in control, and that’s very important. If the population gets too high, there’s not enough food for all of them, and it can lead to more bear-human interactions.”

Read more: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Bipedal-Bears-Apparent-Death-Motivated-Bear-Hunt-Opponents-in-New-Jersey-404604286.html#ixzz4Rzv3aTQ6
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