Advice on Going Vegan from the New York Times

Like many other omnivores, New York Times health columnist Tara Parker-Pope was inspired by former US President Bill Clinton’s journey from a deadly, meat-centric, junk-heavy diet to a life-saving vegan one. “After all,” she writes, “if a man with a penchant for fast-food burgers and Southern cooking could go vegan, surely I could too.”

As many new vegans do, Ms. Parker-Pope found that merely modifying her favorite animal-based dishes with processed, plant-based imitations of the meat and dairy products was often unsatisfying. Instead of giving up, though, she dug deeper and struck gold. Speaking with many vegans, including vegan chefs and authors, and trying their suggestions, she discovered the richly rewarding world of creative vegan cuisine and found new dishes she liked even better than her old meat and dairy favorites.

In her new article in the New York Times, she describes her journey and offers some mouth-watering menu ideas with links to recipes that passed her own taste tests. She also provides a list of recommended replacements for animal ingredients such as butter, eggs, and cheese, including a discussion of the uses for nutritional yeast.

Most seasoned vegans will agree with her conclusion that going vegan is a learning process with many rewards along the way. The most successful transitions to a vegan diet are those that embrace the journey as a process of exploration and discovery. We applaud Ms. Parker-Pope for going for it, and for sharing her story with the world.

You can read the full article on the New York Times website here.

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New Animal Abuser Registry in New York Goes Live

Animal abusers in one county in New York now have more to fear than bad karma.

In 2010, Suffolk County (on the eastern half of Long Island), passed a law to create the first-ever registry of animal abusers, and the bill came into effect this month. Under the new law, those convicted of animal abuse charges in the county will be listed on the registry for five years, with their names, addresses and photographs displayed online, and convicted abusers who fail to furnish the required information will face fines and jail time. The goal is to serve as a deterrent to animal abuse, much as “Megan’s Law” is designed to deter sex offenders from repeat offenses.

The law also requires pet stores, breeders and animal shelters to check the registry before selling animal companions or offering them for adoption, and prohibits them from giving custody of animals to anyone named in the registry, according to the Animal Law Coalition.

The law was prompted by 362 recent animal abuse cases in Suffolk Country, including some rather horrifying incidents that received enough media attention to bring the issue into the public awareness, generating support for the bill.

This is, apparently, the first such database in the USA, despite several prior efforts. Earlier in 2010, lawmakers in California and Tennessee rejected similar bills, and Colorado shot one down in February of this year, but advocates are marching onward. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has organized a national campaign to promote similar legislation across the USA. Nationwide animal abuse registries would make it harder for serial abusers to bypass the restrictions of one county or state merely by moving to another.

According to Care2:

Registries like Suffolk County’s could also prevent crimes that hurt humans. A person who abuses or kills animals is five times more likely to commit violence against humans and four times more likely to commit property crimes, according to a Business Week report on a 1997 study by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA.

You can see Suffolk County’s new online animal abuser registry here.