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Update Newsletters
25 May 2008 Issue

1. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank Hoffman
2. Re: Animal Welfare Reforms
3. Last Week’s Question
4. New Humane Education Blog


1. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank Hoffman

Being in a Constant State of Mourning


2. Re: Animal Welfare Reforms [Reply to Carolyn Yane’s Editorial, edited for length)

RE: Carolyn Yane Editoral, Christian Vegetarian Newsletter 18 May, 2008

While on the path to abstinence, we should affirm progress. None of this is condoning the habit or the industry and we must also make that clear. I affirm:

- The smoker who decreases from two packs to one.

- The drinker who decreases from a case of beer to a 6-pack.

- The over-eater or over-weight person who cuts calories and exercises.

- The gradual vegetarian (see book by same name) who cuts by half their meat intake.

- The dairy and cattle farmer who stops its use of hormones, antibiotics and goes to free-range grazing.

- The grocer who increases vegetarian alternatives and free-range non-GMO products

From a holistic stance, population, cans, bottles, refrigeration, transportation, importation, packaging (size and chemicals and recycling) ALL must be addressed.

While I affirm incremental change, I also re-affirm our stance on the issues; environment; health; energy; waste or inefficiency of precious food and water supplies; bad use of farmland for tobacco or grains or potatoes used for alcohol etc.; sugars used for sweeteners and confectionery items; and corn for almost any purpose. We must address the high caloric intake of America (the U.N. says over 4000 per day per capita) and encourage towards 1500-1800 depending on age, health, activity, etc.

Kind Regards,
John K. Meunier

3. Last Week’s Question

When Europeans came to the Americas, they rapidly conquered the native peoples. Their most effective weapon was the inadvertent spread of infectious diseases. Throughout the Americas, when native peoples came in contact with the Europeans, 90-95% of the native peoples died within 10-20 years from infectious diseases, such as smallpox, measles, and influenza. Europeans had build up resistance to these diseases, but the previously unexposed native peoples had no such resistance and died in massive numbers. The question: Why did Europeans not similarly get diseases from the native peoples? In other words, why were there not diseases toward which the native peoples had developed resistance but toward which the Europeans were not resistant? A prize will be given for what I regard as the best answer.

Answer: There are likely many factors for high mortality from infectious diseases among Native Americans and the relative health of the invading Europeans. My studies have indicated that animal agriculture played a crucial role. Most epidemics begin when an infectious organism in an animal mutates and crosses the species barrier to humans. Living in close proximity to domesticated animals substantially increases the risk of such events. Over the centuries, the Europeans had developed high degrees of immunity to these diseases, while the Native Americans had no such immunity. Meanwhile, Native Americans generally did not keep herds of domesticated animals and did not harbor many infectious diseases to which the Europeans might have been vulnerable.

Another factor was that Native Americans generally lived in smaller, relatively isolated villages, reducing the spread of diseases. Meanwhile, Europe had tradesmen and entertainers who traveled from city to city, helping to spread diseases and making it easier for new infectious organisms to stay alive rather than die out by virtue of the vulnerable populace becoming immune or dying off. Another likely contributing factor was that Native Americans were descendents of a small group of people from Asia, while the Europeans had a broader gene pool. Diseases that were lethal for one Native American were therefore inclined to be lethal for many. Finally, the Europeans had learned how to isolate infected people. The Native Americans tended to gather at the bedside of a sick person, facilitating spread of disease.

Congratulations to Sandra for the best answer! Carolyn, Amy, and Lorena also had excellent answers.

Next week’s question: Why was there extensive animal agriculture in Europe but not in the Americas?

4. New Humane Education Blog

I am a graduate of the Institute for Humane Education, with an M.Ed. in Humane Education. I have started a blog entitled "Everyday Synergy," which addresses ways in which we can make choices in our everyday life to help manifest a more compassionate world. As a Christian myself, I am approaching all kinds of humane education issues from a Christian perspective.

Here is a link to visit the site: http://www.everydaysynergy.blogspot.com

Thank you,
Stephanie Muzekari.      

Your question and comments are welcome

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