Thank you for all you do to help animals, and thank you for your support
as well as the time you took to get me in to the animal rights movement years
RC, Ft. Thomas, KY, 8/5/01
I just wanted to let all of you revolutionaries know that your web site is
tremendous and better every time I stop by. For the last several years that
I've been distributing Why Vegan? and contributing financially, everything
VO has done has increased my confidence (to what became bubbling over some
time ago) that my money and effort is best spent with you guys. I've dropped
out of every other organization I participated in; VO gets my fullest attention
and all the donations I can afford. Vegan Outreach reminds me that I love
RH, Montpelier, VT, 8/3/01
Thanks for your brochures. Just got back from Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and
Idaho. I left Vegetarian Living and Why Vegan? brochures
everywhere, including Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons. In the national parks,
they had great salad bars, but not enough vegetarian or vegan selections.
I am writing park officials about this and sending some of your brochures
to them. The restaurants were able to accommodate my vegan requests and I
had some delicious meals. However, the regular menus had mostly meat selections.
Hopefully, I influenced some people with the pamphlets.
JF, Coconut Creek, FL, 7/31/01
You've written about calcium, protein, and bone health a number of times and
you always seem to stress that it's important for vegans to get the RDA for
calcium. Most of what I've read about vegan diets shows that we don't need to
worry about calcium. You ignore the fact that, in cultures where people eat
very low protein diets, they don't have osteoporosis even though they have very
low calcium intakes. Since protein causes osteoporosis, and vegans eat a low
protein diet, vegans have low calcium needs.
Los Angeles Times
July 13, 2001 Friday Home Edition
First it was McDonald's. Then Burger King. Now it's one of the titans of the
U.S. Senate. Suddenly, mainstream America is beginning to show sympathy for
the animals in our food chain.
The humane movement, too often ridiculed for its overwrought emotionalism and
scattershot priorities, has begun chalking up solid, sensible gains against
the unimaginable cruelty inflicted on chickens, cattle and pigs by the nation's
industrial food producers.
In the words of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), "I believe the American
people are concerned and are becoming increasingly sensitive to the treatment
of animals. Reports of cruelty to animals through improper livestock production
and slaughter practices have hit a nerve."
It's about high time.
No issue in the human-animal relationship, as I see it, cries out for righting
as much as society's disregard for the mistreatment and suffering of food-producing
If you believe, as I do, that one important measure of our humanity is our
regard for other living beings, then the grisly practices of industrial ranching
I'm speaking of what is hidden from sight: such horrors as the butchering of
live steers, the periodic starving of chickens to stimulate greater egg production
and the rigid confinement of animals in cages where they can hardly move for
the entirety of their lives.
Some of these commonplace practices occur in regular defiance of federal law;
others are not regulated. All are done in the name of efficiency.
For many years, the animal rights movement addressed the problem chiefly by
urging people to eat vegetarian. Other issues consumed their day-to-day energy.
They protested fur. They complained about puppy mills. They vilified hunting.
They left many sympathizers uncomfortably on the sidelines. Me among them.
I still eat meat, wear leather shoes and support ethical hunting. Yes, I allow
that sacrificing animals to sustain ourselves is cause for debate and reflection
in an advanced society. But there is nothing whatsoever worthy of debate about
raising pigs in crates too small for them to turn around in.
I have long believed that humane organizations overlooked potential areas where
they could broaden their consensus, even as they pursued their lofty goals.
Many thoughtful hunters, for instance, share the vegan's revulsion when they
learn about a slaughterhouse that cuts the hooves off live cattle.
In the late 1990s, animal rights activists changed their priorities. People
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, challenged McDonald's. Not so
much for serving meat but for being party to a system of cruelty. In August
2000, McDonald's capitulated and agreed to only buy meat from suppliers that
could ensure minimum humane treatment of livestock. On June 28, PETA secured
even grander promises from Burger King. Now, Wendy's is feeling the pressure.
I have disagreed with PETA in the past. But in this case, I say bravo. PETA
is not just the most raucous of the big humane groups, but it deserves the
trophy right now for doing the most for the largest number of animals–those
that feed us.
As a result of McDonald's new policies, the cages that hold 5 million egg-laying
hens will be doubled in size. To better its rival, Burger King said it would
insist that its suppliers provide even more space for chickens. Both companies
said they would not buy from egg producers that withheld food from animals for
days at a time to promote molting and increased egg production.
The chain-reaction success of these activist campaigns and the purchasing clout
of the fast-food giants may add up to nothing less than a revolution in American
ranching. Some activist leaders say that it's only a matter of time before most
ranchers and slaughterhouses are brought into line.
As remarkable as these developments have been, they still didn't prepare some
in the humane movement for the moment this week when Byrd rose on the Senate
floor to pay tribute to animals and to join in denouncing the cruelties of industrial
livestock handling. At Byrd's urging, the Senate approved $3 million for the
Department of Agriculture to increase enforcement of humane laws and to research
methods to ease the suffering of food animals.
"Never has a senator taken to the floor like this, and nobody of his stature
has ever said these things," explained Wayne Pacelle, vice president
of the nation's largest animal-rights organization, the Humane Society of
the United States.
One by one, Byrd denounced the various ways in which farm animals are tortured.
"It is sickening. It is infuriating. Barbaric treatment of helpless,
defenseless creatures must not be tolerated even if these animals are being
raised for food. . . . Oh, these are animals, yes, but they, too, feel pain."
"I could not have said it better myself," said Sean Gifford, spokesman