VSS eNewsletter 8 February 2010

Vegetarian Society (Singapore)
8 February 2010
In This Issue

Editor's Note

VSS NEWS

VSS AGM – 20 Mar (Sat)
 
Our Exhibition at Anderson JC
 
Youth Forum on Animal Welfare
 
Ethical Eating in The Sunday Times
 
The VSS InBox
 
GENERAL NEWS

Eco News from Wild Singapore
 
Loving Hut Opens Outlet at International Plaza
 
Ananda Bhavan Opens 24-Hour Airport Outlet
 
The Downside of Dairy
 
Veg Restaurant Chain Seeks Staff
 
Mongolia Too
 
NUS PEACE Fundraising Drive (9 & 12 Feb)
 
Cat Welfare’s Week-Long Art and Advocacy Event
 
Another Online News Sources
 
Words Worth Pondering
 
Food Fair Seeks Veg Sellers

A secondary school student urges the authorities to take steps to reduce shark fin consumption, while in Mongolia, an unlikely vegetarian movement is taking root.
 
Dr George M Jacobs


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VSS AGM – 20 Mar (Sat)

VSS will be holding our AGM on Sat, 20 Mar, 2pm-5pm at National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, Level 4, The Central, above Clarke Quay MRT. Hope to see you there. We’ll review VSS’s 2009 efforts and talk about what to do in 2010.
 
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Our Exhibition at Anderson JC

The VSS exhibition materials are on display for a while at Anderson JC. If you’d like such an exhibition – including display panels, flyers, sculptures, videos and more – where you study, work, etc., please contact info@vss.sg
 
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Youth Forum on Animal Welfare

On 6 Feb, Chong Pang CC YEC, in partnership with ACRES, organised the “Youth Forum on Animal Welfare - Animals Matter to Me!”, a first-of-its kind forum in Singapore. VSS had a booth there to distribute materials and solicit more readers for our eNewsletter. The Forum was organised as a panel, moderated by ACRES Executive Director, Louis Ng, with two MPs, Dr. Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman (Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of National Development) and Dr. Lim Wee Kiak, fielding questions from the 200+ youths and others in attendance.
 
Topics ranged from dogs and cats in HDB estates to monkeys to Resorts World to sharks. The youths had lots of questions and comments, with the MPs encouraging them to share what was on their minds.
 
Here are some of the noteworthy points that were raised. During a discussion of the poisons in sharks fin, a young VSS Exco member suggested that by moving away from eating sharks, we help our own health and protect the welfare of the sharks.
 
Also on the topic of eating sharks, when a secondary school student called on the government to take steps to reduce shark fin consumption, one of the MPs asked where we should stop in the consumption of animals; should we also move to reduce the eating of chickens, pigs, cows, etc.? [Yes, yes, yes!] The student’s reply was a good one. She suggested that where we stop is a separate question but that we should start with sharks.
 

Another shark related topic was extinction and whether we should refrain from eating sharks who are members of endangered shark species but continue to eat sharks from non-endangered species. However, this overlooks the point that each of the billions of fellow animals whom we human animals eat annually is a living, thinking, feeling being in their own right. As a quote on the ACRES website, from the novelist Alice Walker, puts it, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans … .”
 

When the forum ended, many of those in attendance came to the VSS table to take materials and chat, with more than 20 signing up for our free eNewsletter. It was great to feel the energy in the room.

 
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Ethical Eating in The Sunday Times

VSS was mentioned in an article on ‘Diets of conscience’ in The Sunday Times of 30 Jan. As an indication that people are becoming more concerned about ethical eating and about ‘saving the planet, one meal at a time’, the article reported that VSS membership had doubled to 300 in 18 months, and the number of subscribers to our free eNewsletter had doubled in 24 months. The article also highlighted two people in their 20s who had fairly recently become vegetarians, one of whom had attended a VSS event before deciding to go veg, although this was not mentioned in the article.
 

A VSS member sent the following letter in response, but it wasn’t published:
 

I refer to ‘Diets of conscience’ ST, Jan 30. As noted in the article, some people are eating less meat as awareness increases of the environmental damage caused by meat production and of the cruel, short lives of the non-human animals whom we eat. Furthermore, as noted in the article, “free range” is a term of dubious veracity, not to mention the fact that an increasingly large majority of the meat on offer is, for the sake of economics, factory farmed.
 

That said, few if any of us are pure ethical eaters. Few of us faithfully follow our conscience. All we can do is to try our best. For instance, some people find it difficult to do without meat for such reasons as cravings for meat dishes, concerns about nutrition, worries about social pressures and the exigencies of convenience. No worries. Every little bit helps the planet and our fellow animals, not to mention boosting our own health.
 

One example of the “every little bit helps” approach is the increasingly popular idea of a voluntary weekly meatless day. In 2009, city governments in Belgium and Brazil endorsed the idea, and a Meatless Thursdays campaign was started at NUS. This year, Bremen, Germany came on board, and a local French/Japanese restaurant started Meatless Mondays.
 

As the article states, more people are working at “saving the planet, one meal at a time”, and reducing meat can be an important, not to mention surprisingly tasty, part of that process.

 
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The VSS InBox

One of the most interesting email VSS received recently was from Starbucks, saying that they are adding veg sandwiches to their offerings and asking about vegetarian labelling. Just one more indication that that businesses are concerned about catering to vegetarians and meat reducers. So, let’s continue to let businesses know that we care about having more veg options.
 
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Eco News from Wild Singapore

For local eco news, here’s a good place to visit on the web: http://wildsingaporehappenings.blogspot.com
 
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Loving Hut Opens Outlet at International Plaza

Loving Hut has opened a fourth restaurant, this one at International Plaza. For details:
http://www.vegetarian-society.org/node/1278
 
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Ananda Bhavan Opens 24-Hour Airport Outlet

Regardless of when you’re at the airport, you can now find veg food at the new Ananda Bhavan outlet in the T2 Departure Hall, Level 2:
http://www.vegetarian-society.org/node/1282
 
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The Downside of Dairy

Here’s some disturbing video from a U.S. dairy farm:
http://www.mercyforanimals.org/dairy

 
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Veg Restaurant Chain Seeks Staff

A chain of veg restaurants requires both assistant cooks & service staff. Working hours/days can be flexible, and salary will depend on experience and hours worked. As a rough guide, a normal working schedule is 5 or 5.5 work days (44hrs per week), and outlets require staff to alternate between morning or afternoon shifts.
 

Salary: probation period $800-1200, depending on experience. Uniform – t-shirts, apron, cap - provided.
 

Outlets include:
 

1. Suntec - Skygarden, Tower2/3 level
2. Parklane Mall
3. International Plaza
4. Bukit Merah Central
 

For more info: 6225.5507.

 
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Mongolia Too

A delegate from Mongolia participated in last year’s Asia Vegetarian Congress. For more on vegetarianism in that country, here are excerpts from a recent article in Christian Science Monitor:
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2010/0203/
Vegetarianism-takes-tender-root-in-meat-loving-Mongolia

 

An unlikely vegetarian movement is taking root in Mongolia, where livestock outnumbers people 14 to 1 and meat consumption tops 200 pounds per person a year.
 

The first vegetarian restaurant in Mongolia, Ananda’s Cafe, opened in 2006. Today more than 20 vegetarian and vegan restaurants pepper the capital, Ulan Bator, and a handful of others are scattered throughout the country. Ananda’s has launched a catering service, and another popular restaurant, Luna Blanca, now sells frozen faux-mutton dumplings in supermarkets. …
 

Mongolians are turning to vegetarianism “mostly because of health.
 

Also because of meditation – they’re following this trend,” says Solongo, a former assistant doctor for the United Nations, who like most Mongolians uses only one name. She estimates that vegetarians number around 30,000 or 40,000, just over 1 percent of the population.

 
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NUS PEACE Fundraising Drive (9 & 12 Feb)

Our friends at NUS PEACE - http://blog.nus.edu.sg/animalwelfare - People Ending Animal Cruelty " Exploitation – are raising funds in a tasty way. Make a donation of $3 and above, and receive a free vegan brownie, sandwich, cinnamon roll, muffin or cookie of your choice (while stocks last)!
 

All baked items sold are 100% vegan! This means that no dairy or eggs or animal products were used in making them! NUS PEACE would like to thank Brownie Factory, Wholesome Deli and Sam's Cakes for their kind support and donation of these vegan goodies.
 

They will be setting up a booth on Tuesday (9 Feb) and Friday (12 Feb) along the Central Library Walkway, from 11am to 4pm.

 
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Cat Welfare’s Week-Long Art and Advocacy Event

Don’t miss Cat Welfare Society full line-up for the week of 21-28 Feb: http://www.catwelfare.org/drupal/node/2031 Included are an art exhibition and an Advocacy and Mediation Workshop, plus speakers and panelists from SPCA, Action for SG Dogs and other social groups addressing issues not only in the area of animal welfare but political participation and social activism.
 
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Another Online News Sources

In our last issue, we listed other online sources of veg news. A reader suggested another: VegSource, http://www.vegsource.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi
 
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Words Worth Pondering

In reaction to proposed legislation in China barring the sale of dog and cat meat, a restaurateur was quoted in The New York Times as stating, “This is ridiculous! You make dog and cat meat illegal, but aren’t chickens, duck, goose, pig, cow, lamb also animals?”
 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/
opinion/05iht-edcohen.html?th&emc=th


 
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Food Fair Seeks Veg Sellers

Omega Events – eddie@omegaevents.com.sg – is seeking to add veg food to their Asia Food Expo 2010, 18-21 Mar, Expo Hall 6A. Please contact Eddie if you’re interested.

 
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