VSS eNewsletter 29 January 2010

Vegetarian Society (Singapore)
29 January 2010
In This Issue

Editor's Note


VSS To Exhibit at Youth Forum on Animal Welfare
– 6 Feb

550 and Counting
RI Talk and Smoothie Demo
The VSS InBox

Another Climate Change Expert Minces Meat
New Veg Outlet near Aljunied MRT
Cielo Sereno Does Bali
CNY Cooking Class at Genesis
Report from Copenhagen
Other Online Sources of Veg News
Possible Progress Towards Banning
Dog and Meat in China

Vegetarian New Year Goodies
Another Veg News Source
WWF on Meat and Global Warming
“No need to eat animal products at all”,
Says Best-Selling Food Author

Two more notable personalities champion cutting meat - one a leading climatologist, the other a food author. Whether for health, environment or ethics, meat reduction is the way to go.
Dr George M Jacobs

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VSS To Exhibit at Youth Forum on Animal Welfare – 6 Feb

On Sat, 6 Feb, Chong Pang CC YEC, in partnership with ACRES, is hosting Singapore’s first youth forum on animal welfare, 2-5pm, at Chong Pang CC Hall, 21 Yishun Ring Road. MPs from Sembawang GRC will be participating.
To register and/or for more information, send an email with your full name to louis@acres.org.sg


550 and Counting

One of the most popular pages on the VSS web is our Food Outlets page: http://www.vegetarian-society.org/?q=fdl There, organised by MRT stations, you can find information on veg restaurants, stall and food shops. A recent count found more than 550 outlets listed!

You can help in two ways: (1) can you convert the list so that it is usable in PDAs, etc.? (2) can you help to add/correct/modify the info listed? If your answer to either question is Yes, please contact info@vss.sg Thx.



RI Talk and Smoothie Demo

Last week, VSS did another talk and smoothie demo for the entire Sec 2 cohort at RI, about 450 students. If you’d like such a talk where you or one of your family members study or where you work, please contact info@vss.sg

The VSS InBox – Coping at Non-Veg Eateries

Our previous issue included correspondence about problems that vegetarians have had communicating with staff at non-veg eateries. In this issue is some correspondence, VSS had with NEA. The NEA staff member’s name has been deleted.

From: @nea.gov.sg]
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 10:02 AM
To: george@vegetarian-society.org
Subject: Labelling of vegetarian foods

Dear Mr Jacobs,

We refer to your feedback appended below.

National Environment Agency (NEA) regulates the safety of all food at the retail end, such as ensuring hygienic food handling and preparation at restaurants, supermarkets and hawker or market stalls.

For our local vegetable dishes sold in non-vegetarian foodshops, it is common to add meat or meat-containing products (e.g. sauces) to enhance the flavour of the dishes. NEA does not determine the type of food to be sold or ingredients to be added and we leave the decision to the owners of the food establishments. NEA's role is to ensure that food served to the public is hygienically prepared and safe for consumption.

With regards to labelling of cooked food, it is not mandatory to label cooked or ready to eat food.

We would like to suggest that you clearly indicate your preference for vegetarian food and verify clearly the ingredients of a certain dish before ordering any food from a non-vegetarian foodshop.

Thank you.

Environmental Health Department. National Environment Agency

VSS Replies

Dear _____________

Thanks for your clear reply. We understand the limits of NEA’s authority.

Might some kind of effort be undertaken to encourage better communication between vegetarians and non-vegetarian stalls? For instance, some restaurants (not stalls) have a symbol system to indicate which dishes are particularly spicy or are favourites or are vegetarian.

Any steps towards labelling vegetarian food at non-veg stalls would be completely voluntary. Do you have any ideas on how we might voluntarily encourage better communication? For example, perhaps a different colour container might be used for vegetarian dishes waiting to be served to customers. I can tell you from my own experience as well as from others’ experience that communication is not always successful, even when the customer and the stall staff share a common language.

Thanks again.


Another Climate Change Expert Minces Meat

Dr James Hansen is one of the world’s leading climatologists and serves as Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies at Columbia University where he focuses on climate change. Dr Hansen is one more climate expert talking about meat reduction. Here are some excerpts from an interview he did with Nature.com: http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0912/


James Hansen, arguably the world's most famous climate scientist, is prone to shouting from the rooftops. … Often referred to as the 'grandfather of global warming', he first publicly aired his concerns about the climate back in 1988, during testimony to the US Senate in which he said that the Earth had entered a long-term warming trend and that man-made greenhouse gases were almost certainly responsible. His conviction that a climate catastrophe is looming has led Hansen to increasingly take on the role of advocate, sending numerous pleading letters to world leaders and CEOs, and attending well-publicized protests against coal plants with the explicit aim of being arrested. It's also prompted him, at the age of 68, to write his first book. The title, Storms of My Grandchildren, refers to the ferocity of extreme weather events that will greet the next generation if the unmitigated use of fossil fuels continues...

But one of the best actions an individual can take, he allows, is to stop eating meat. "I've almost become a vegetarian," he says.

For more on Dr Hansen




Some people are born vegetarians; others become vegetarians. Some people are vegetarians for part of their lives and later decide to eat meat again or for the first time. Every day that people eat less or no meat is good. Therefore, ex- is better than never, and less is better than more.

The link goes to a related article.



New Veg Outlet near Aljunied MRT

A reader sent the following info about a new outlet.

Address: Junction of Lor 27 Geylang and Sims Ave, inside the coffee shop Yue Yuan
Open: Mon-Sat, 9am-7 pm; Sun, 9am-2 pm
Onion & garlic? No
Organic? Some organic food and they make their own bean sprout
MSG (ajinomoto)? No
Eggs? No
Brown rice? Yes
Dairy? No
Price Range of Main Dishes: $5 and below
Type of Outlet: Food Stall



Cielo Sereno Does Bali

Cielo Sereno is organising another overseas organic veg tour overseas, this time to Bali. Brochure and booking form are downloable at http://www.cielosereno.net/Bali.htm

Genesis Cooking Class for 7 Feb

The folks at Genesis Health Food Restaurant will hold their next cooking class on Sun, 7 Feb, 4-6pm. The fee is $50. Dishes include yu sheng, dumplings, eight treasure dessert and money bags. For more info: 9145.4218, genesishf@yahoo.com.sg

Report from Copenhagen

ECO Singapore sent a delegation to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties 15 at Copenhagen. Learn about their impressions and future plans, which may include encouraging people to eat less meat.

Event: COOL IT! Post COP15 Sharing Session
Date: Sat, 30 Jan
Time: 1-5pm (1-1.30pm light refreshments served)
Venue: One Marina Boulevard (Room 801)
Details: http://twitpic.com/z6qp8 )
Blog: http://www.unfcccecosingapore.wordpress.com



Other Online Sources of Veg News

In addition to IVU Online News, there are many other places to go online for general veg-related news, rather than news mostly about one country or one organisation. Here are some.

1. Dawn Watch
2. European Vegetarian Union
3. Farmed Animal Net
4. Vegan Outreach
5. VegE-News
6. VegNews



Possible Progress Towards Banning Dog and Meat in China

VSS distributes a sticker and decal that reads, “Love Us, Not Eat Us” – you can request copies at http://loveusnoteatus.com - and shows pictures of non-humans animals, including some, such as dogs and cats, whom are not eaten in many countries and others who are eaten almost everyone, such as chickens and pigs.

One of the ideas behind the sticker/decal is to encourage people to ask themselves why we eat certain of our fellow animals but not others. Now, even countries where dogs and cats are regularly eaten by humans are moving towards change. For details: http://www.abc.net.au/news/



Vegetarian New Year Goodies

The Lunar New Year is a special time when many of us renew ties with family and friends, giving (or receiving) red packets and enjoying New Year goodies. You’ll be happy to know that our friends at LivinGreens - http://www.livingreens.com.sg - and many other outlets are also offering vegetarian versions of these delicious treats. Go ahead and indulge away!

Two other places that wrote to us about their special CNY treats are Genesis Health Food Restaurant - http://www.vegetarian-society.org/node/529 - behind Boat Quay, and Ananda Marga Yoga Society at Parkway Parade - http://anandamarga.org.sg



Another Veg New Source

Ecorazzi is a website that has environment news, often but not always, linked to Western celebrities. Lots of pro-veg stuff. Categories include film & tv, animals, music, fashion, events and houses: http://www.ecorazzi.com

WWF on Meat and Global Warming

The World Wildlife Fund has released what it calls a “short and preliminary study” focusing on how greenhouse gases associated with UK food production could be reduced 70 percent by 2050. The study estimates that food production, and the land use changes it entails, are responsible for 30 percent of the UK’s consumer-driven greenhouse gas emissions: http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/


“No need to eat animal products at all”,
Says Best-Selling Food Author

Food Matters author Mark Bittman participated in a live chat on CBC Books. Bittman is the author of six books and has a weekly column in the New York Times.

Since food is Bittman’s speciality, Moby, the musician, took a moment during the chat to ask the author what he thinks about veganism and factory farming. Mark had this to say:

“I think veganism is the most principled position one can take when it comes to eating; there is no need to eat animal products at all, and – aside from processed food – they are the most damaging foods produced, both from a personal and a global perspective.

“Having said that, I think veganism is a very tough sell. And I would rather see millions, tens of millions of people significantly reduce their consumption of animal products than see tens of thousands eliminate them.

“As an aside, let’s also remember that one can be a vegan and still eat junk. So my advice remains – eat plants above all else, eat unprocessed or minimally processed plants whenever possible, and eat these foods at the expense of everything else, particularly animal products and junk.”

(it’s near the end of the chat)



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