Alafair

in all my infinite wisdom

These Ingredients are Banned in Almost Every Country in the World BUT the United States WHY?

reblogged from https://foodrevolution.org/blog/banned-ingredients-in-other-countries

Below are some of the most commonly used food ingredients and practices that are allowed in the United States, but banned elsewhere.

Banned Ingredients #1 — Dough Conditioners

Dough conditioners, such as potassium bromate and azodicarbonamide are chemicals used to improve the strength and texture of bread dough. Dough conditioners are often found in white breads, rolls, and “egg breads.” However, they are possible human carcinogens (potassium bromate is classified as a category 2B carcinogen). And exposure to them is known to cause respiratory sensitivity, such as asthma or other breathing difficulty. As such, potassium bromate is banned in China, India, Brazil, the European Union, and Canada. And azodicarbonamide is banned in Australia and Europe.

Banned Ingredients #2 — Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) was originally patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant. But now, BVO can be found in certain colorful sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas as an emulsifier. Studies have shown that BVO isn’t harmless. It actually accumulates in human tissue, as well as breast milk, and can cause memory loss over time. Bromine toxicity can lead to skin rashes, appetite loss, and heart problems, as well as major organ damage and birth defects. Bromine also competes with iodine for receptor sites in the body, which can increase risk for iodine deficiency, autoimmune disease, and even certain cancers. And although BVO has been banned in countries like Japan, it’s been used in food and beverages in American since 1977 when it was approved by the FDA.

Banned Ingredients #3 — Propylparaben

In the United States, propylparaben is used as a preservative in tortillas, muffins, trail mix, pies, sausage rolls, and more. Research has found that it can affect sex hormones and sperm counts in young rats. Cornell University research had also indicated that exposure to parabens may be linked to breast cancer. Environmental Working Group senior scientist Johanna Congleton, Ph.D., tells us, “It is of great concern to us that the use of an endocrine-disrupting chemical in our food is considered safe by our own government… Studies show that chemicals that disrupt hormone signaling can lead to developmental and reproductive problems.” Propylparaben is totally legal in the U.S., but in 2006 the European Food Safety Authority banned the use of propylparaben in food. And in 2015, the EU went further – also banning propylparaben from cosmetic products.

Banned Ingredients #4 — BHA and BHT

BHA and BHT are popular man-made antioxidants used in dry mixes, cereals, and dehydrated potato products to preserve them and increase shelf life. They’re also found in product packaging. These are possible carcinogens and endocrine disruptors — meaning that they can alter the normal function of your hormones and lead to disease. BHA and BHT are banned for use in food and beverages by the United Kingdom, European Union, Japan, and other countries.

Banned Ingredients #5 — Synthetic Food Dyes

Food manufacturers use synthetic food dyes, such as blue 2, yellow 5, and red 40, to enhance the coloring of certain foods and ingredients to make them more appealing to consumers. Some foods that contain food dyes include beverages (like juices, sports drinks, and sodas), candy, and glazes used in baked goods and sweets. They’re even used in silly things like making mustard more yellow, salmon more pink, and jarred pickles the perfect shade of yellow-green. And don’t even get me started on maraschino cherries!

Research has linked consumption of synthetic dyes to an increased risk for numerous conditions, like tumors and hyperactivity in children. What’s even more infuriating is that the U.S. used to use natural food dyes until the mid-19th century. But then, food manufacturers realized it was much cheaper to use chemicals, which turned food even brighter colors.

Synthetic food dyes are banned in Europe and Australia, where more natural coloring compounds are used. For example, in most of the world, Fanta contains actual fruit juice and is dyed naturally. But Americans enjoy Fanta colored with petroleum-derived artificial dyes like red 40 and yellow 6.

Banned Ingredients #6 — GMOs

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been around since the 1980s. But they have become a controversial topic — and for good reason. While they’re widespread in the U.S. — with most U.S. soy, sugar beets, corn, canola, cotton, and alfalfa being GMO crops — many European countries have banned or regulated them due to public safety concerns.

One common genetic manipulation involves altering DNA in certain crops to make them resistant to herbicides. One of the most common herbicides used in conjunction with these GMOs is glyphosate, the primary active ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup. Glyphosate consumption is linked to cancer. In fact, several people have won cases that allege glyphosate caused their cancer. Bayer, the manufacturer of Roundup, is currently fighting cancer lawsuits that involve over 13,000 people. As of June 2019, there were bans or major restrictions on use of glyphosate in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. 

Banned Ingredients #7 — Roxarsone

The arsenic-based drug roxarsone, was routinely used in chicken in the U.S. until July 2011, when Pfizer decided to stop selling it. However, there is no actual ban on the use of arsenic in the raising of chickens for food. Roxarsone was used to increase the pink coloring of raw chicken meat, to speed the growth of the birds before slaughter, and to prevent parasites in the chicken’s stomach. Research shows chronic exposure to arsenic can lead to anemia, skin lesions, kidney damage. It can also increase the risk for certain cancers, miscarriage, and birth defects. The European Union banned the use of arsenic-based drugs, while many chicken products in the U.S. still contain it.

Banned Ingredients #8 — Ractopamine

In the U.S., ractopamine is a muscle enhancer for pigs, cows, and turkeys. And, like other harmful substances used during the raising of animals, it doesn’t just go away when the animal is slaughtered. Some of it is still left in the meat you buy. Ractopamine is banned in 122 countries including Russia, mainland China, Taiwan, and many countries across Europe. This is because it’s been linked to reproductive and cardiovascular damage in humans, as well as chromosomal and behavioral changes.

Banned Ingredients #9 — Herbicides, Insecticides, Fungicides

Herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides are widely used on crops in the U.S. food system to keep them free of bugs and diseases. Meanwhile, other countries see (and act on) the danger they pose to humans. Of the 374 active ingredients authorized for agricultural use in the U.S. in 2016, the European Union banned 72 of them. Wow.

Banned Ingredients #10 — Olestra

Olestra, or Olean, is a cholesterol-free fat substitute created by Procter & Gamble. The FDA approved it for use in foods in the 1990s and it’s still used in certain potato chips and french fries. But Olestra may cause extremely unpleasant digestive reactions, like diarrhea and leaky bowels. Consuming a lot of it can also lead to deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, as well as carotenoids. Both Canada and the United Kingdom have banned the ingredient.

Banned Ingredients #11 — Synthetic Hormones

Synthetic hormones, such as rBGH and rBST, are widely used in the U.S. dairy industry. The primary reason for this is to increase milk production in dairy cows. However, rBGH increases IGF-1 levels in humans and may increase the risk of developing cancer. Additionally, cows treated with rBGH are more likely to develop mastitis, an udder infection, requiring treatment with antibiotics. Canadathe EU, and other countries have banned these compounds.

What You Can Do

The question you might be asking right now is, what can I do to protect myself from these banned ingredients? While we can’t immediately control what food companies put in their products, we don’t have to eat them. And there are steps you can take to make healthier, safer food choices, wherever you live.

Here are some things you can do to make sure the food you eat is as safe as possible:

  • Read all food labels carefully. Get familiar with these banned ingredients and their alternative names, and look for them on packaged foods.
  • Eat minimally processed or, even better, whole, organic foods as much as possible. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains won’t have the long list of ingredients that packaged and processed foods often do.
  • Cook at home as much as you can. This way, you have more control over the food you’re eating. You know exactly what ingredients are being used, and can decide to eat foods that best align with your values as much as possible.
  • Say no to GMOs and to the products of factory farms.
  • Sign petitions. This is a great way to get involved in public policy, and you don’t even have to leave your house. One of my favorite places to find and sign petitions is the Center for Food Safety website.

The good news is, you don’t have to wait for the U.S. FDA or USDA to change policy for you to make informed choices about what you eat and feed to your family. Every bite you take is a chance to take a stand for a safer and healthier life.

As much as we would like to believe that everything on store shelves is delicious, good for us, and safe, the truth is not always so reassuring. In fact, the food supply in the U.S. (and many other nations, too) is full of chemical flavorings, additives, colorings, and other ingredients that you may not want to put in your body. Before we start naming names, let’s explore how the U.S. government could let this happen. 

For starters, the FDA states that food companies can market new chemicals and food additives WITHOUT FDA oversight or approval, so long as “the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe… ” 

This is known as the GRAS system, and it might sound all well and good. But what makes someone a “qualified expert”? And how are they able to determine which chemicals food companies can add to the food we feed our children? It turns out that these companies often convene their own “expert” panels to decide whether the ingredient will pose harm. And many of these panels contain scientists with financial ties to all manner of industries – even including the tobacco industry (“experts” who may have, at one time, recommended that cigarettes were safe!). Based on the panel’s recommendations, companies then decide whether or not to share the results of the assessment with the FDA. They don’t even have to do so! 

Most of the chemicals on the GRAS list have never had long-term testing on humans, and therefore can’t possibly be guaranteed safe. And some of them don’t stand up to the test of time, either. For example, BHA is “generally recognized as safe” – despite the fact that the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program concluded that BHA can be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” 

And then there are artificial trans fats, which have historically been on the GRAS list and added to foods like frozen pizza, peanut butter, packaged snack foods, vegetable shortenings, and ready-to-use frostings to improve their flavor, texture, and shelf life. Unfortunately, we later learned that trans fats were causing upwards of 500,000 deaths per year from associated heart disease.

In 2015, the FDA finally decided that trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, were unsafe, giving food manufacturers a few years to remove them from the food supply. Since the ban took place, many food companies have replaced trans fats with ingredients like palm oil instead, which comes with its own set of concerns.

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Climate-change denial and the coronavirus “hoax” are the same conspiracy theory

Coronavirus denialism is built on the same template conservatives have used to deny climate change for decades

AMANDA MARCOTTE
JULY 7, 2020 7:51PM (UTC)

The worldwide conspiracy is vast — so vast that most of the world’s scientists, journalists and political leaders are in on it. Somehow, in all this time, not a single one of the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of conspirators has grown a conscience and decided to blow the whistle on the conspiracy. Their goal? To ruin everything that right-wing America holds dear: the nuclear family, NFL football, needlessly enormous vehicles, the specials menu at Hooters.

To accomplish this dastardly goal, the conspiracy will fabricate a worldwide threat. They will falsify the data and use the power of institutions like governments and universities and scientific journals to perpetuate this hoax, tricking billions of people into believing this threat is real and needs a drastic response. The only people in the world who see through the hoax are right-wing Americans, of course, who know what lengths the “socialist left” will go to in order to destroy Mom and apple pie. 

Coronavirus denialism has, in the period of a few short months, become one of the most serious political problems in our nation. It’s a major obstacle to both containing the virus and reviving the economy, which can’t happen until the virus is contained. 

Coronavirus denialism isn’t just flourishing on social media, but emanating from both right-wing media and from Republican leaders, most notably Donald Trump. Over the weekend, the president declared that “99 percent” of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless,” a claim that isn’t just false but part of a larger pattern of Trump’s statements suggesting that the threat of the virus is being faked in order to harm him politically.

In other words, it’s a conspiracy theory, one that dates at least back to February, when Trump claimed that fears of the coronavirus were a “new hoax” designed by Democrats to ruin him.Advertisement:

The rapid spread of this conspiracy theory is puzzling, especially as it requires many leaps of faith, including the belief that literally millions of professionals who don’t know each other — scientists, journalists, government employees, health care providers and so on — are working to perpetuate this hoax. 

There’s a simple reason why right-wing America was so quick to rally around a conspiracy theory that’s so utterly preposterous. They spent years training themselves by indulging in climate-change denialism.

It’s not a stretch to say that climate-change denialism and coronavirus denialism are basically the same conspiracy theory. In fact, it often seems like coronavirus denialists have simply copied and pasted their talking points about climate change and adjusted the wording a bit to be about virus spread instead of carbon emissions. 

But the basic parameters are the same: a worldwide conspiracy, threats that are invented or exaggerated for supposed political gain, a sinister hidden agenda — whether that’s bringing down capitalism or ending Trump’s presidency. 

The content of coronavirus denialism can be somewhat diverse. This article from the New York Times chronicling the struggles of nurses to convince family and friends that the coronavirus is a real threat gives a good overview of the range of different flavors. Some folks insist the virus isn’t real at all. Some accept that it’s real but believe the danger of death or serious injury is being wildly exaggerated. Some deny that it’s as communicable as public health officials believe. Some claim that deaths from other causes are being falsely attributed to the virus. 

We see the same kind of diversity in the world of climate-change denialism. At first, conservatives flat-out denied that climate change or “global warming” was even happening. But as evidence for changing temperatures grew, the flavors of denialism did too, with some denialists claiming it was just a natural fluctuation not attributable to humans, others saying that the effects wouldn’t be so bad, and still others saying it was too late to do anything about it so we should just give up. 

What holds all these flavors of denialism together is the conspiracy theory undergirding them: The people raising the alarm about this problem are in cahoots with each other, and have ulterior motives. 

Climate-change denialists have long held that progressives, and the scientists and world leaders who supposedly share their radical agenda, aren’t really concerned about species loss or rising sea levels or the devastating effects on poor people or any of that. Instead, they argue, these concerns are being faked to create a justification for an all-out assault on capitalism and “freedom.” 

Similarly, coronavirus denialists argue that health care workers and scientists warning about the coronavirus are insincere, but instead are part of a larger — again, worldwide! — movement to take down Trump by making him look bad. 

The rhetoric between the two forms of denialism is almost comically similar.

In September, Fox News host Laura Ingraham declared that teenage climate-change activists were part of a sinister plot to seize control of “our economy, our way of life, our way of transport, how many children you want to have.”

In May, she made the same arguments about recommendations to wear face masks to slow the coronavirus spread, claiming it was about “control over large populations” that is “achieved through fear and intimidation and suppression of free thought.”

In case the link wasn’t obvious, Ingraham made it herself, saying, “They’ll say this whole mask thing is settled science, just like they do with climate change.”

It’s not possible that both things are just settled science, of course. It’s all just a massive conspiracy!

It’s the same story with Fox News superstar Tucker Carlson, who argued last September that climate strikes are “not about the environment” but are a left-wing scam meant to create “an emergency big enough to justify grabbing more power.”

Carlson copy-pasted those same arguments to deny the dangers of the coronavirus months later, claiming that the scientific evidence that it’s dangerous and communicable is overblown, and being exaggerated by people who are hungry for “power” and want to see Americans following “orders.” 

Both climate change and coronavirus denialism are given a boost by the tribalist politics of right-wing America. For decades now, one of the ways for conservatives to indicate their skepticism of climate change and fealty to the right was to buy giant, gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks, making quite clear to anyone looking that they don’t care one fig about your fears of carbon emission. 

The same logic is driving the anti-mask phenomenon, where some of the most fiercely loyal Trump supporters make a big show out of refusing wear a mask, because they don’t care one fig about your fear of catching a potentially deadly virus. 

It was clever of Trump and his media followers to encourage his supporters not to wear masks. That kind of showy public defiance has helped normalize coronavirus denialism, and exerted pressure on other conservatives to follow suit to show their tribal loyalties. It serves the same function as mocking people for driving fuel-efficient vehicles did, using peer pressure to get people on board with a right-wing conspiracy theory. 

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with climate-change conspiracy theories, once they take hold, it’s very hard to pry people free from their delusional beliefs. If you confront them with the evidence that the threat is real, they simply move to claiming it’s overblown. George Soros will probably be blamed. Or they’ll come up with excuses for why they personally won’t be affected and so shouldn’t care. Or they’ll just shift to casting aspersions on the motives of people who do care, whether that’s Greta Thunberg or Dr. Anthony Fauci, accusing them of being tools or power-hungry schemers. They’ll embrace any view, really, except admitting that the problem we’re all facing is real and that yes, we have to do something about it. 

AMANDA MARCOTTE

Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon who covers American politics, feminism and culture. Her new book, “Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself” is out now. She can be followed on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte.MORE FROM AMANDA MARCOTTE • FOLLOW AMANDAMARCOTTE

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An Unassuming Hero


The animal’s lives depend on him and his dedicated team

Richard Couto left behind a successful commercial real estate career and never looked back the day after he saw a horse tied to a tree, emaciated, with protruding bones and open sores, a grotesquely swollen face while nearly choking on the oozing mucus from a severe case equine distemper.
In the C-9 Basin, Freedom’s Flight awaited his fate: death in an illegal slaughterhouse.

Amidst the screams of the animals at the nearby numerous illegal slaughterhouses he rushed to the side of the gentle ex-racehorse, wanting to comfort him, and reassure him that help had arrived: Freedom’s Flight would not die this day.

“The second I saw Freedom’s Flight, I took a picture of him. I couldn’t believe it. Then I went up to him and he put his head and full weight onto me,” Couto says.

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When Freedom’s Flight was first spotted

As he assisted the others in helping the sick, emaciated horse get onto a rescue trailer, his thoughts were already forming. And when he later visited the animal in quarantine within a stone’s throw of other illegal slaughterhouses, Couto made a new vow.
“While I listened to the animals being tortured on 97th Avenue, I vowed to this horse that I would seek redemption for him. One day, I told him, I’ll do it.”

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Freedoms Flight before rescue

Freedom’s Flight was the next in line to die in an illegal slaughterhouse in the C-9 Basin of Florida when the SPCA, the Miami-Dade Police arrived.

Couto adopted Freedom’s Flight from the SPCA and visited him regularly in his quarantine field. It was hot that summer, as he hosed off the sweat and flies, and promised to avenge the suffering animal.

After five weeks, the horse had overcome his contagious disease and was placed in a quiet barn far from the cries of dying animals. And for nine long months, he rehabbed in his stall to allow his shattered leg to fuse. “Because so much time had passed from the time he broke it, surgery was no longer an option,” says Couto, explaining that after Freedom’s Flight broke down at the racetrack, he changed hands a few times, and never had the leg properly set.

In 2010 Richard “Kudo” Couto founded Animal Recovery Mission, known as ARM, a non-profit “dedicated to eliminating severe animal cruelty operations worldwide.” ARM’s mission “is to be an uncompromising defending force for the welfare of animals in addition to putting an end to and preventing pain, suffering, and torture inflicted as a result of inhumane practices.”

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Freedom’s Flight Today

ARM is non stop and has recently taken on the cruel dairy industry.  Please support this genuine, honest, no-nonsense organization that is a Godsend for the animals.

authors note:
I’ve been an animal advocate and activist for 30 years and I believe to make societal changes that atrocities need to be exposed and the two groups that do that better than any other and make the greatest strides and changes for our voiceless friends is ARM / Animal Recovery Mission and PETA

Richard and his team are true heroes PLEASE SUPPORT THEM; THE ANIMALS DEPEND ON IT!

The following was copied from Freedom’s Flight Story page with the information about his famous bloodline as the great, great-grandson of Secretariat the legendary racehorse as well as shining a light on the greedy and cruel racing industry, the illegal slaughterhouses, human indifference to the suffering of others and the harrowing struggle and triumph of this amazing horse.

bit.ly/freedomsflight

Born in 2005, at the prestigious Claiborne Farms of the Blue grass region of Kentucky, Freedoms Flight was destined to fill the shoes of his famous great, great grandfather and America’s legendary racehorse, Secretariat.

Nonetheless, on race day at Gulfstream Park (Fl) in April of 2008, straight out of the starting gate, Freedoms suffered a devastating blow and snapped his cannon bone. Injury aside, he continued to run to a miraculous finish and placed in the third position. This was the first time in US racing history that a racehorse not only continued to run in a race after breaking a bone but finished in a money stakes position.

Freedoms Flights would, however, soon find out that he was short of being praised for his courage. It was to be his last race and the beginning of his journey to hell and back.

Freedoms’ fate quickly dwindled once the owner handed possession over to Freedom’s pony handler who sold him, with his untreated injury, to a pony ride company for a quick buck. Freedoms was then subjected to carrying children around on his back for long hours in the hot sun, whilst suffering excruciating pain from his injury. When he was no longer able to tolerate the pain, the pony ride company preceded to sell him to Manuel Coto’s animal slaughter farm.

Once worth millions of dollars, he was sold for a measly fifty dollars. Freedoms Flight’s famous bloodline no longer had him on a pedestal as he became destined to be brutally slaughtered to be on someones dinner plate.

On the day he was discovered, Freedoms Flight was found tied up to a palm tree and next in line to be butchered alive amongst a slew of animals also awaiting to be slaughtered. He was extremely emaciated and suffering a severe case of strangles, disease, and rain-rot besides his severe leg injury.

When Freedoms Flight was rescued, he had tolerated as much abuse, torture, illness, and pain as he could withstand and had almost given up the will to live.

During the long months that it took to nurse Freedoms Flight back to health, ‘Kudo’ started The Animal Recovery Mission, which was inspired because of this horse and a vision was born to prevent other horses and animals from enduring what Freedom’s Flight had been subjected to.

Today Freedoms Flight reigns in his glory not only as a success story and a loved companion to Kudo but as ARM’s driving force and mascot. He has gone from hell and back and is an inspiration for his fighting spirit.

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Coronavirus should be a wake-up call to our treatment of the animal world

By Cyril Christo via The Hill
https://thehill.com/changing-america/opinion/488295-coronavirus-should-be-a-wake-up-call-to-our-treatment-of-the-animal

“One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.”        

Martin Luther King

“To think that we can have a viable human economy by destroying the Earth’s economy is absurd. Indigenous people still live in a universe, but we don’t- we live in an economic system.”

Thomas Berry, “The Mystique of the Earth

The coronavirus did not manifest from nowhere. Our sadistic treatment and manipulation of animals for centuries has come back to haunt us. It is time for humanity to absorb the lessons of the animal world.

From the Orient the world has inherited a civilization upending event, this coronavirus feeding on the human strain. It is perhaps not a coincidence that it has manifested at the very time the UN is trying to form a Convention on Biological Diversity to protect what remains of the organic world. The contagion is the karmic result of our own ignorance and disregard of other species that began in China and that has visited us before. As Erin Sorrell, a microbiologist at Georgetown, exclaims, 70 percent of zoonotic diseases come from wildlife.

As the 2003 SARS virus already proved. Then the culprit may have been Asian palm civets. Today’s pandemic may have been caused by pangolins. The scale-covered mammals are kept in caged conditions in markets in Asia in criminally appalling realities, reserved for dinner menus. Most animals in these markets are dying and thirsty and kept in squalid containers moved and shipped around as if they were simple commodities. The conditions are a nightmare and have even prompted many Chinese to close the animal trade. How we treat animals affects entire ecosystems and habitats, the only real wealth we as a species have. China’s ban on wild animal markets may well be the one silver lining in this ensuing global tragedy, but it should become a permanent ban, not a temporary palliative because other viruses may well ensue in the not distant future given climate change is upon us.

Major conservation groups have also pleaded for Vietnam to take stringent measures to close its wildlife markets. Vietnam’s prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the ministry of agriculture and rural development to ban the consumption of wildlife. We can only hope these initiatives manifest quickly and foster a new relationship to what remains of the Mekong basin’s wildlife. Vietnam’s actions will hopefully prevent not only new outbreaks in the future but also keep even more potentially virulent viruses from overwhelming the globe.

Wall Street has had the jitters, tens of millions in China have been as impacted as when the Mongol Golden Horde swept into the Middle Kingdom in the 13th century. But whatever deaths have overtaken our species in the last few months, deaths that number in the thousands, we should not forget the root source of this scourge, humanity’s revolting disregard, manipulation, and outright slaughter of our fellow beings, the animals of the earth.

The deafening silence of absent species marks our time as singular. What extinctions are happening will become more impactful than WWI, WWII or the Great Depression combined because now we have an enormous, almost unfathomable ecological tab to reckon with, and not just the folly of an economic system run amuck. The entire spectrum of nature’s syllabus is being played out. Our relationship with the sentient world will have to reverse or we perish. The coronavirus is the tip of the iceberg.

Animals were always considered cardinal spiritual, sentient and even intellectual beings in the lives of indigenous peoples and many civilizations past. But as colonial and technological powers overran the world, indigenous peoples were treated no better than the buffalo, or whale or pangolin or bat. And now our disregard of the others bears a karmic component we cannot ignore.

The criminal neglect and dismantling of Nature over the last century have led us to a point where globalization itself will have to be rapidly reappraised. Wall Street may have lost some ground, but the mounting possible extinction toll is many magnitudes more vital than the arbitrary machinations of the Dow. The death toll on millions of acres of rainforests lost, coral reefs bleached and species eradicated the world over has brought us to this point. It is the invisible aura of loss we have inherited. It is the karma our species is inheriting. The locust invasion of East Africa is a Biblical cohort to the virus of East Asia. Now our entire immune system as a species and that of the planet is under siege.

Paul Shepard, the eloquent ecologist who wrote triumphantly about the importance of animals, wrote in “The Others: How Animals Made Us Human,” “People are asked to rely on faith in the invisible and intangible, repudiating the beasts on which primal peoples depend as intermediaries, embodying spirits, affirming death, giving form to the mystery of the multiple truths of mortal existence, and acting as a vehicle to other realms.” It is not coincidental that this “Christian-” based society has so neglected its first teachers, the animals, for several thousand years and put so much faith in invisible gods and the afterlife, intangibles that have divorced us from life and the very soil on which we depend for our survival.

We have in Henry Heston’s words become “cosmic outlaws.” If we lose the animals, we will become inconsolable orphans. This most minute but insidious of beings, the coronavirus is a wake-up call to our unconscious selves. We have wrapped ourselves in a cocoon of technological, synthetic and decorative cultural achievement burdened with pride that strains and depletes our full values as sentient beings. In the process, we have ignored the suffering and sentience of others. The physiologist Rene Dubos once wrote that humans could adapt “to starless skies, treeless avenues, shapeless buildings, tasteless bread, joyless celebrations, spiritless pleasures — to a life without reverence for the past, love for the present, or poetical anticipations of the future, but it is questionable that man can retain his physical and mental health if he loses contact with the natural forces that have shaped his biological and mental nature.”

How we converse and conduct ourselves in the next year or two will morph into a different realm of relating, and hopefully into a more respectful species. We may need to grow roots under our feet once again and cultivate what Levi Strauss called an “ecological civicism.” We may need more than a pause from the pace of globalization that began to convulse the world two generations ago. Will we return to the same numbers game of outlandish growth, and greed when already much of the pollution from northern China seems to have dissipated from the map? Is not our entire fixation on profit a psychic numbing that has divorced us from ecological coherence?

Maybe the coronavirus is a warning sign, the first real test of our global community that has emerged from the Pandora’s box of an increasingly incorrigible species. Amazon-size ecosystems are in jeopardy. This insidious half live, half un-live being called corona has taken over our sleep and waking life like an alien invasion. Let us be grateful the next time we see a flock of birds flying miraculously overhead, or the next time we see a koala holding on to a branch for dear life, or the next time we see a dolphin dancing over the waves. And know these beings did not have to die a merciless, hapless, sick death in some market of central China where this virus originated.

The virus has given us a fever, yes, just as we have imposed a fever on the climate of the earth. Milan Kundera in the “Unbearable Lightness of Being” reminds us in one of the most poignant lines ever written, “Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test, which is deeply buried from view, consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect humankind has suffered a fundamental debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”

And it is possible that the coronavirus may be just another contagion in a long line of lessons we will have to inherit from our fellow creatures. Recently a wolf’s head was discovered by mammoth tusk hunters in Siberia dating from 30,000 years ago. What viruses are embedded in their flesh? What strains will invade our civilization like ghosts from a forgotten Pleistocene seeping out from under the crying and collapsing torrent of glaciers up north, seeping slowly onto our shores? Will we learn the lesson that the pangolin, one of the most trafficked and severely abused mammals on earth, the one that has filled so many markets in Asia, is teaching us now across the time zones of the world? Will we make sure now that it does not go extinct? Even its exquisite plates, the only armored mammal on Earth, could not protect itself from the diabolic hunger of our species. Will the coronavirus humble us to the reality that humans make up just .01 percent of life on Earth? Will we have to absorb a virus so virulent, so complete in its ability to create havoc from the melting permafrost in the Arctic that humanity will become irreparably crippled?

The coronavirus in its all-pervasive pandemonium is a wake-up call, not just to our well-being and souls but also how we had better conduct ourselves towards the other species of this Earth, they who enable life as we know it. The coronavirus is a karmic test that we need to pass so that we as a species can transcend our conduct on this planet we have maligned and mistreated for far too long.

One immensely vital and fragile bioregion that promises potentially lethal pathogens is the Arctic. The great thaw at the top of the world, with ice melting at an extraordinary rate, with polar bears, whales and many other beings having to survive the immune breakdown of the region, is the main reason Shell and other mining and fossil fuel industries should stay clear from the region. Five years ago French scientists discovered a “giant virus” in a 30,000- year-old sample of permafrost in Siberia that had retained its infectivity. If we industrialize these areas and ride roughshod over the roof of the world we risk waking up pathogens we thought we had eradicated or helped foster the spread of things even worse than smallpox, said researcher Jean Michel Claverie.

Jean Malaurie, the remarkable French geologist and explorer of the Arctic who fought for the preservation of the Inuit from the contrivances and pollution of Western man, once expounded, “Men of science, like men of the state, have a duty imposed by ethics. The Earth is living: it can and will avenge itself: already there are portents. The Earth has no time left for man’s ignorance, arrogance, sophistry, and madness.”

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List of Famous People Diagnosed with Covid-19

Via The Daily Beast

Celebrities and Family members

Politicians and Spouses

Athletes and sports figures

Other public Figures

In this tragic time no one is immune; not even the rich and famous

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Christianity Today Trump Should Be Removed from Office

It’s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president’s character was revealed for what it was.
source http://bit.ly/trumpshouldberemoved
In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.

The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.

That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.

Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency damages the reputation of our country and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:

The President’s failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.

And this:

Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.

Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.

To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?

We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump. To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.

Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today.

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Benzo Crisis

Lisa Ling delves into the world of benzodiazepine use and uncovers the troubling threat these drugs pose when used long term, and the challenges facing patients who try to quit.

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Horse Racing Cruelty

source PETA

They weigh more than 1,000 pounds, are supported by ankles the size of a human’s, and are whipped and forced to run around tracks that are often made of hard-packed dirt at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour while carrying people on their backs. Racehorses are the victims of a multibillion-dollar industry that is rife with drug abuse, injuries, and race fixing, and many horses’ careers end at the slaughterhouse.

Racing to the Grave

Horses begin training or are already racing when their skeletal systems are still growing and are unprepared to handle the pressures of competition racing on a hard track at high speeds. One study on injuries at racetracks concluded that one horse in every 22 races suffered an injury that prevented him or her from finishing a race, while another estimated that 3 thoroughbreds die every day in North America because of catastrophic injuries during races.

Strained tendons or hairline fractures can be tough for veterinarians to diagnose, and the damage may go from minor to irreversible at the next race or workout. Horses do not handle surgery well, and many are euthanized or sold at auction to save the owners further veterinary fees and other expenses for horses who can’t race again.

When popular racehorse Barbaro suffered a shattered ankle at the beginning of the 2006 Preakness, his owners spared no expense for his medical needs, but as The New York Times reported, “[M]any in the business have noted that had Barbaro not been the winner of the Kentucky Derby, he might have been destroyed after being injured.”

Drugs and Deception

Trainers and veterinarians keep injured horses racing when they should be recovering by giving them a variety of legal drugs to mask pain and control inflammation. This leads to breakdowns because horses are able to run when, without the drugs, the pain would otherwise prevent them from trying.

Illegal drugs are also widely used. “There are trainers pumping horses full of illegal drugs every day,” says a former Churchill Downs public relations director. “With so much money on the line, people will do anything to make their horses run faster.” One trainer was suspended for using a drug similar to Ecstasy in five horses, and another has been kicked off racetracks for using clenbuterol and, in one case, for having the leg of a euthanized horse cut off “for research.” A New York veterinarian and a trainer faced felony charges when the body of a missing racehorse turned up at a farm and authorities determined that her death had been caused by the injection of a “performance-enhancing drug.”

Even the ‘Winners’ Lose

When they stop winning races or become injured, few racehorses are retired to pastures, because owners don’t want to pay for a horse who doesn’t bring in any money. Many end up in slaughterhouses in Canada, Mexico, or Japan, where they are turned into dog food and glue. Their flesh is also exported to countries such as France and Japan, where it is considered a delicacy.

Most horses who are sent to those facilities endure days of transport in cramped trailers where there is no access to water or food and injuries are common. Horses are subject to the same slaughter method as cows, but since horses are generally not accustomed to being herded, once together, they tend to thrash about in order to avoid being shot by the captive-bolt gun, which is supposed to render them unconscious before their throats are cut.

What You Can Do

Help end the cruelty:

  • As long as the suffering continues, refuse to patronize existing tracks and lobby against the construction of new tracks.
  • Support PETA’s efforts to ensure that racing regulations are reformed and enforced. While horse racing can never be entirely safe for the animals, a zero-tolerance drug policy, turf (grass) tracks only, a ban on whipping, competitive racing only after their third birthdays, and other reforms would make a world of difference to the horses.
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Nature Doesn’t Need People

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The Long, Cruel History of Concrete Bear Pits

written by Danny Prater

In 1879—140 years ago—one of the country’s first “bear pits” opened at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. In the startling historical photo below, you can see zoogoers looking on as a bear climbs a lone tree in a barren concrete pit. While our entire way of life has been revolutionized in the many decades since this photo was taken, things have remained shockingly unchanged for bears kept in captivity. In fact, bear pits have stayed relatively the same for so long that, were it not for the period clothing that they’re wearing, the people in this photo might be confused for roadside zoo patrons in 2019.

As our understanding of the complex social and physical needs of nonhuman animals has grown, people have become increasingly disillusioned with the idea of exploiting them for entertainment. In an attempt to more closely replicate animals’ natural habitats, most accredited zoo enclosures have been adapted over time to give animals more space and provide them with more mental stimulation. But bear pits, which are inherently cruel, don’t need to be modernized—they need to be closed down immediately.

While Lincoln Park Zoo’s bear pit, pictured above, has closed, at tourist traps and roadside zoos across America today, hundreds of bears spend their lives confined to small concrete-floored enclosures or pits. Some cubs are separated from their mothers as infants, so instead of being properly nurtured, they spend their days being forced to participate in photo ops with tourists. Their lives are typically devoid of any comfort or outlets for engaging in natural behavior.

These side-by-side photos show how little bear pits have changed over the decades, highlighting just how long this cruelty has been going on:

THEN (1951)NOWLEFT: St. Louis Post-DispatchLEFT: A polar bear in a barren pit begs for food at the St. Louis Zoo in the 1950s.
RIGHT: Two bears are in a barren pit at the Cherokee Bear Zoo.

THEN (1923)NOWLEFT: Bears are shown in a pit at the St. Louis Zoo in 1923.
RIGHT: Here’s a present-day bear pit at the Cherokee Bear Zoo in North Carolina.

THEN (1905)NOWLEFT: This photo, circa 1905, shows bears in a pit in Bern, Switzerland.
RIGHT: In 2018, a bear is in a pit at Three Bears General Store in Tennessee.


Bears are highly intelligent animals who experience a wide range of emotions. In the wild, they forage for a variety of foods and dig in the soft earth, brush, and leaves—but concrete pits deprive them of everything that’s natural and important to them. Surrounded by solid walls, they can’t scan the horizon, gain a perspective on their surroundings, or make much use of their acute sense of smell.

Enough is enough. Let’s end bear pit cruelty.

Take Action to Help Bears Today!

At Pymatuning Deer Park in Pennsylvania, an apparently arthritic bear named Bosco is being forced to live in a concrete pit, even after his female companion, who suffered from arthritis, died. Pymatuning was previously cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for confining the arthritic female bear in such inadequate conditions. Arthritis is known to be caused and exacerbated by living on concrete—but today, Bosco still struggles to walk on the same hard surface. With your help, he could live out his days free from concrete in a vast enclosure and get the care that he desperately needs.URGE PYMATUNING TO CLOSE ITS BEAR PIT AND SURRENDER BOSCO!

Click the links to learn more about—and take action for—bears being held in deplorable conditions at roadside zoos like Three Bears General Store and Cherokee Bear Zoo.

Help end this outdated cruelty. Join PETA in working toward a compassionate, humane future when no bears are exploited for cheap human entertainment.TAKE ACTION: HELP BEARS SUFFERING IN TOURIST 

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