Vegetarian in Dominica

promoting plant based diets in Dominica for over 20 years

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Acerola Cherry; Super Food; Super Nutrition

Posted by Trudy Prevost on December 11, 2018

According to natural products industry insiders, a significant amount of the global supply of acerola material is reportedly adulterated with exogenous L-ascorbic acid, some of which may be chemically synthesized and/or produced from genetically engineered starting materials. For many years, L-ascorbic acid had been produced mainly by chemical synthesis (Reichstein process), but there are new biotechnological approaches, e.g., involving the epiphytic bacterium Erwinia herbicola (Enterobacteriaceae) strain genetically engineered to contain a gene from the Gram-positive bacterium Corynebacterium spp. (Corynebacteriaceae), which converts glucose to 2-ketogulonic acid and can then be converted to ascorbic acid, among other novel biotech methods.37 Methodologies to determine the presence or absence of biotech or synthetic L-ascorbic acid in acerola products have been developed and validated, including Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (13C-IRMS-AOAC 998.12).38 It is recommended that buyers of natural acerola ingredients and products work with independent laboratories applying this methodology in order to verify authenticity.

According to natural products industry insiders, a significant amount of the global supply of acerola material is reportedly adulterated with exogenous L-ascorbic acid, some of which may be chemically synthesized and/or produced from genetically engineered starting materials. For many years, L-ascorbic acid had been produced mainly by chemical synthesis (Reichstein process), but there are new biotechnological approaches, e.g., involving the epiphytic bacterium Erwinia herbicola (Enterobacteriaceae) strain genetically engineered to contain a gene from the Gram-positive bacterium Corynebacterium spp. (Corynebacteriaceae), which converts glucose to 2-ketogulonic acid and can then be converted to ascorbic acid, among other novel biotech methods.37 Methodologies to determine the presence or absence of biotech or synthetic L-ascorbic acid in acerola products have been developed and validated, including Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (13C-IRMS-AOAC 998.12).38 It is recommended that buyers of natural acerola ingredients and products work with independent laboratories applying this methodology in order to verify authenticity.

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Coconut fatty acids as good as DEET at repelling biting insects.

Posted by Trudy Prevost on November 15, 2018

DSCF0502

Traditionally especially in tropical countries it is an accepted body care program to oil the body once or even twice a day. Usually it was coconut oil; made at home from coconuts growing in the area.

The benefits of this are many but one recent mind blowing study has shown a benefit most people do not think about.

Universities from Nebraska; Illinois; China and Brazil working in cooperation with The US Department of Agriculture have found that Coconut Oil is just as repellent as DEET.

DEET is an insect repellent that is used in products to prevent bites from insects such as mosquitoes, biting flies, fleas and small flying insects.

DEET has some serious side effects.

Manufacturers and governments still say it is safe to use but the people who use it a lot are disagreeing.

Children are affected the most as usual – The Canadian Government does not recommend using DEET on a daily basis for children younger than 12 years old for more than a month. For infants younger than 6 months old, they recommend not using it all.

The FDA does not recomend the use of DEET for children under 2 years old.

Mental retardation, muscular hypotonia, hearing loss, and coarctation of the aorta have been reported among infants whose mothers were exposed to DEET during pregnancy; however, a direct relationship between the use of DEET and birth defects has not been demonstrated.

They are still looking at the connections of the use of DEET to Gulf War Syndrome. US Veterans who used DEET-containing insect repellents showed signs of arthro-myo-neuropathy, a neurotoxic syndrome with symptoms including joint and muscle pain, fatigue after exertion, and tingling or numbing of the hands, arms, feet, and legs.

In 1982 workers at The National Everglades Park in Florida were concerned by the effects they were having from sustained use of DEET and they requested the National Park Service initiate a health hazard evaluation to evaluate occupational exposure to DEET among workers. It was found that more highly exposed workers had significantly higher prevalence of insomnia, muscle cramping, symptoms of mood disturbances,skin rash or blisters, and difficulty starting or stopping the urinary stream.

Until 1989, the standard-issue insect repellent used by the U. S. military contained 75% DEET, but concerns about its toxicity led to a search for new formulations. The 3M Company therefore developed a slow-release product containing only 35% DEET, which is the repellent currently used by military personnel

In the 1990’s a ban on any DEET product above 30% was put into place but it was negated by the courts and the companies who stood to make millions from the product.

The use of DEET has continued because vector-borne diseases account for 17% of all infectious diseases resulting in 700,000 human deaths annually. Repellents are a primary tool for reducing the impact of biting insects on humans and animals.

Universities have done multiple studies to find alternatives to DEET. Studies increased when they found mosquitoes were breeding immunity to the most powerful DEET concoction.

Lemon Eucalyptus is one natural product they found that compared to DEET in effectiveness but we will talk about that later.

In a cooperative study released in September 2018 that included U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of University of Kentucky, South China Agricultural University, Rutgers University, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology and the Universidade Federal de Goiás of Brazil they found that fatty acids derived from coconut oil are inexpensive and highly efficacious repellant compounds.

What is mind blowing is these coconut fatty acids are active against a wide array of insects including biting flies, ticks, bed bugs AND mosquitoes. The medium-chain length fatty acids from C8:0 to C12:0 were found to exhibit the predominant repellent activity.

Repellency was stronger and with longer residual activity than that of DEET.

In laboratory bioassays, these fatty acids repelled biting flies and bed bugs for two weeks after application, and ticks for one week.

An aqueous starch-based formulation containing natural coconut fatty acids was also prepared and shown to protect pastured cattle from biting flies up to 96-hours in the hot summer, which, to their knowledge, is the longest protection provided by a natural repellent product studied to date.

This is huge.

There is already DEET in our waters and environment and repeated exposure seems to increase the side effects.

Science has shown we can use coconut based products instead.

This article is based on Natural Living Blog Article

Posted in Coconut, NEWS, Nuts, Oils and Fats, Recent Studies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eat Local; Eat Healthy; Prevent Depression

Posted by Trudy Prevost on September 18, 2018

Five key dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression emerged from current published evidence. These comprise: (1) follow ‘traditional’ dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean, Norwegian, or Japanese diet; (2) increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and seeds; (3) include a high consumption of foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; (4) replace unhealthy foods with wholesome nutritious foods; (5) limit your intake of processed-foods, ‘fast’ foods, commercial bakery goods, and sweets. ~ Journal of Nutritional Neuroscience

March 2011 439

Eating a plant based diet has many benefits but we usually don’t think about it preventing depression.

Studies have shown that following a diet rich in produce and low in processed meats may be helpful in preventing depression.

Studies from all over the world have shown a direct link between the intake of fruits and vegetables to depression in children. But it works in adults too.

In 2009 Spanish researchers asked 15,000 Spanish university graduates what they normally ate. Their results suggested a potential protective role of consuming a plant based diet, with occasional fish and meat and no processed meats with regard to the prevention of depressive disorders.

In January of 2017 an Asian study found a daily intake of less than five servings of Fruits & Vegetables was associated with higher odds of depression.

A few months later researchers from Bangledesh, Wales, China and Canada utilized a WHO Health Survey of over 14000 people to study the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and depression. The found daily intake of less than five servings was associated with higher odds of depression.

Then the same year researchers from Peru published a study concluding an inverse relationship between consumption of fruits and/or vegetables and depressive symptoms.

One fascinating part of their research was the fact that less than 5% of subjects reported consuming the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by the WHO.

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Plants are Sentient Beings – The Secret Life of Plants

Posted by Trudy Prevost on September 1, 2017

I can’t conceive the nucleus of all
Begins inside a tiny seed
And what we think as insignificant
Provides the purest air we breathe” ~ Stevie Wonder; The Secret Life of Plants

 

 

I first really started to consider the fact that plants are sentient beings just the same as humans and animals are when I read The Secret Life of Plants.

To me it was just a natural progression as I studied plant and animal life – to live close to or study in depth any plant or animal we have to see they are making decisions.

Then a documentary was released in the 1970’s with the music of Stevie Wonder which took the subject to an even deeper level.

Scientists have been looking at the responses and inner workings of plants for centuries.

The book and the documentary both mentioned the works of Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858 to 1937) a pioneer in the field of biophysics who measured plant response to various stimuli with a machine of his invention called a crescograph, His books include Response in the Living and Non-Living (1902) and The Nervous Mechanism of Plants (1926).

They also mention Corentin Louis Kervran and his studies on Biological Transmutation in plants.

George Washington Carver

The studies were guided by Cleveland Baxter (a polygraph expert within the law enforcement field) they did used a polygraph

At the time the book was ridiculed by scientists for promoting absurd pseudoscientific claims but interestingly recent studies are backing up the some of the simple science behind “The Secret Life of Plants“.

A study released in 2007 says plants react to caregivers according to their behaviors and plants can communicate with each other when danger is nearby – just like the scientists found in The Secret Life of Plants.

Plants can sense danger – a 2007 study in the journal Oecologia found ” Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insect herbivore chewing.”

A new study released in June of 2017 in from a UK University says “plants have brains”.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham has revealed a group of cells that function as a ‘brain’ for plant embryos capable of assessing environmental conditions and dictating when seeds will germinate.This study looked at the mechanisms used by the seed to trigger.

According to the study experts –

“These seed “brains” don’t have traditional grey matter but they do use the same architecture for information-processing as our brains do, interpreting a cascade of hormone signals to decide when to germinate.”

“Plants are just like humans in the sense that they have to think and make decisions the same way we do.”

 

Plants are sentient (able to perceive or feel things) beings.

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Plants are Sentient Beings – they have brains too

Posted by Trudy Prevost on July 29, 2017

“It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the tip of the radicle . . . having the power of directing the movements of the adjoining parts, acts like the brain of one of the lower animals; the brain being seated within the anterior end of the body, receiving impressions from the sense organs and directing the several movements.” ~ 1880; Charles Darwin; The Power of Movement in Plants

As a teacher I love to incorporate plants and plant science experiments in my classroom.

By exposing children to a day to day relationship with plants they can clearly see they are making decisions based on the climate they are grown in.

We note their positioning – it is easy to see how they clearly move their bodies around to be able to bask in the best sunlight. We watch the roots of red beans change direction according to where the main source of light is coming from. We observe prayer plants and 1 o clock plants adjust their rhythms to match certain times in the day; what time of day they have light and the length of the daylight hours.

Not all the crucial decisions a plant makes are easy to observe – such as when to sprout which their survival depends on.

Plants change their growth and reproduction rates when over crowded  or when a competing or a companion plant is introduced nearby.

A study released in 2007 says plants react to caregivers according to their behaviors and plants can communicate with each other when danger is nearby – just like the scientists found in The Secret Life of Plants.

A series of studies from the University of Missouri published in the journal Oecologia showed that plants respond to herbivore-generated vibrations in a selective and ecologically meaningful way actually discriminating between the vibrations caused by chewing and those caused by wind or insect song.

A new study released in June of 2017 in from a UK University says “plants have brains”.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham has revealed a group of cells that function as a ‘brain’ for plant embryos capable of assessing environmental conditions and dictating when seeds will germinate.This study looked at the mechanisms used by the seed to trigger this germination.

According to them these seed “brains” don’t have traditional grey matter but they do use the same architecture for information-processing as our brains do, interpreting a cascade of hormone signals to decide when to germinate, the study found.

“Plants are just like humans in the sense that they have to think and make decisions the same way we do,” said study co-author George Bassel, a plant biologist at the university.

http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2017/06/plant-‘brain’.aspx

http://www.livescience.com/59396-plants-use-brainlike-structures.html

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00442-014-2995-6

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Gut Bacteria and the Lacto Ovo Vegetarian Diet

Posted by Trudy Prevost on April 14, 2017

Traditionally the Lacto Ovo Vegetarian Diet has been promoted by yoga experts as the most healthy, non-violent, energy building, mind clearing diet you can adapt within the Yoga Lifestyle.

Rainbow Yoga Wellness promotes the fact there is no single healthy diet right for everyone but our research bias is towards the Lacto Ovo Vegetarian Diet.

For optimum wellness and health everyone has to find their own nutrient dense diet suitable for their bodies and perhaps as importantly their environments.

The more I study Health and Wellness the more I realize that gut health has far reaching ramifications on quality of life.

My decision to be a vegetarain did not evolve from this realization but my gut health improved. I went from being frequently constipated; often going through painful stomach cramps before being able to void to effortless healthy bowel movements daily. All the while I was eating dairy products with a plant based diet.

A study released in February 2017 by the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department of a well known University in Italy analyzed the fecal microbiota and gut toxicology of 29 healthy volunteers, from all over Italy.  The goal was to describe the impact of  diet regimes on the composition of fecal populations.

Research has shown that chronic intestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and colorectal cancer (CRC), have genetic, immunological, metabolic and a range of other causes …..

….. but it also indicates that lifestyle and dietary habits may also have an important role in their origin and progression.

They looked at 3 different diets: Lacto Ovo Vegetarian (consume plants; dairy products and eggs); Vegan (consume plants only); and Omnivore (consume plants; dairy products; eggs and animals).

There were interesting differences in the genotoxicity, cytotoxicity and bacterial composition of the feces of the 3 different diets.

Cytotoxicity – is the quality of being toxic to cells.

Genotoxicity – the property of chemical agents that damages the genetic information within a cell causing mutations which may lead to cancer. While genotoxicity is often confused with mutagenicity, all mutagens are genotoxic, whereas not all genotoxic substances are mutagenic. The alteration can have direct or indirect effects on the DNA: the induction of mutations, mistimed event activation, and direct DNA damage leading to mutations. The permanent, heritable changes can affect either somatic cells of the organism or germ cells to be passed on to future generations. ~ Wikipedia

Bacterial Composition – the gut flora – in humans, the gut microbiota has the largest numbers of bacteria and the greatest number of species compared to other areas of the body.

Study Results:

Cytotoxicity: “The lacto-ovo-vegetarian habit, a less restrictive dietary pattern than the vegan one, was particularly effective in lowering the levels of both FW genotoxicity and cytotoxicity. “

Genotoxicity: Our data clearly show that, despite the absence of substantial changes in the viable counts of the fecal bacteria, vegetarian and vegan diets can contribute in reducing the risk of DNA damage, as evaluated by Comet assay. FW genotoxicity of lacto-ovo-vegetarians was significantly lower than that of omnivores and vegans. Interestingly the levels found in vegans were not statistically different from those of omnivores.

Bacterial Composition: The average amount of total anaerobes in lacto-ovo-vegetarians was significantly lower compared to that in vegans and omnivores.

The population counts of corynebacteria and staphylococci in the omnivore group were higher than those of the other groups.

Vegans showed lower levels of bifidobacteria and mesophilic lactobacilli but the findings were not considered to be clinically significant.

Higher Bacteroides–Prevotella levels were found in vegans especially, but also in the lacto-ovo-vegetarian group,  compared to those observed in omnivores.

They concluded that
* the vegetarian diets herein considered, when compared to omnivore dietary habits, even if not showing drastic modifications of the viable fecal bacteria considered, seem able to affect the intestinal ecosystem activities related to fecal genotoxicity and cytotoxicity.
* the findings highlight the important role of the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet and, to a lesser extent of the vegan one, in reducing FW genotoxicity.
* the results of this study further support the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet potential role in gut health and in the protection from inflammatory bowel diseases and prevention of colorectal cancer.

Posted in BENEFITS of DIET, Gut Bacteria, NEWS, Recent Studies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Vegetarian Diet and Blood Sugar Levels

Posted by Trudy Prevost on April 10, 2017

The Yoga Lifestyle

When I first came to this island it was known for it’s high ratio of centenarians per capita. Most of them had hardly visited a doctor in their 100+ years on earth. When interviewed many said they ate mostly from their farm and fish; little bread and not so much meat.

Then we changed our diet and began consuming higher levels of processed carbohydrates such as white rice; white flour (bread and pasta); yellow cornmeal; and soda pop and our rates of diabetes seemed to rise right along with it.

The numbers on diabetes throughout the world are staggering.

Since 1996, the number of people with diabetes in the UK has risen from 1.4 million to 2.9 million.

In 2005 my Aunt and my mother came to visit – I was so happy to have them finally see my island home.

They really enjoyed their visit. My mom kept saying “my hair will never be the same” and “it’s like another world” as we took her island wide windows open and breezes flowing in.

My aunt was in a wheelchair when they got off the plane and she announced that she was pre diabetic and had to read her blood sugar each day.

They considered everything an adventure so they were very open to eating my vegetarian diet and I made sure they got eggs and fish or meat when they were out.

My aunt announced about the second day she was here that her blood sugar was lowering. I told her that studies had shown a healthy vegetarian diet could affect blood sugar levels.

The next day it was down again and the next until she looked at me and seriously said “I have to tell my doctors about this!”. When it was down yet again the next day she asked me to get her honey as maybe her blood sugar would go too low. I told her usually it stabilizes at a healthy level but I got her the honey anyway.

By just lowering her intake of processed foods and sugar while increasing vegetable and bean intake my Aunts Pre Diabetic blood sugar maintained a healthy level throughout her stay. My Aunt was slightly more active and more stimulated by having so many people in the house – I am sure that was a contributing factor as well.

A balanced vegetarian diet always includes beans and legumes – they are vitamin packed vegetable and a great protein source.

I have always been convinced the higher intake of beans is an intricate part of the health derived from a plant based diet. When raising my children I ensured they had a different kind of bean almost every day. The lack of highly sugared drinks and desserts is also part of the symphony of healing factors in a vegetarian diet and it’s ability to prevent diabetes or manage it.

In the 1980’s when I took a year’s sabbatical to study Vegetarian Cooking in the Caribbean I noted that different to where I grew up – the average main meal here included a serving of beans – whether or not meat and fish were on the menu.

Multiple studies  have shown the relationship between legume or bean intake and diabetes now. The latest – released in March 2017 announced  ‘ legume consumption is inversely associated with type 2 diabetes incidence in adults.’

Another recent study released in April 2017 showed that a healthy lifestyle program or ‘intervention’ which consisted of unlimited amounts of vegetarian food; aerobic, flexibility, and strength exercises (3 hours/day); lectures on health (3 hours/day); massage practice (2 hours/day); and healthy cooking practice (1 hour/day) for 10 days  resulted in not just lower blood sugar levels but also significantly reduced body weight, body mass index, triglyceride, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood glucose, and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance. At the same time, participants demonstrated increased back muscle, leg muscle, and grip strength; waist and shoulder flexibility; balance; and cardio respiratory endurance.

Vegetarian Cooking Classes coming soon.

 

 

 

Posted in BENEFITS of DIET, diabetes, Disease Prevention, NEWS, Recent Studies, Vegetarian Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Abstain from eating meat for earth day

Posted by Trudy Prevost on April 7, 2017

“A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes. It minimizes consumption of meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.” ~

I and my company Rainbow Yoga Wellness promote a Plant Based Diet in our programs.

I feel everyone has to find their own unique plant based diet and source of B12 and it will likely change over a lifetime depending on where you live and your level of wellness.

As I have written before I  am a heart vegetarian. I eat what I personally feel good killing, preparing and eating; every moment of the process has to feel good in my heart in my soul in my inner being.

I do not feel that my diet is better than anyone else’s. I do feel strongly that my diet  has been the right one for me therefore I share my experiences, observations and personal research of 40 years on a plant based diet.

This article looks at the environmental aspects of a plant based diet in Dominica.

I feel the unique diet we all mindfully choose to eat must consider the ecological ramifications – as our dietary choices have the potential to deeply touch the environment and societies around us.

A mindful diet prevents the intake of artificial chemicals into ones body and the earth.

A mindful diet supports and nourishes the earth in as many ways as possible.

International Experts promote less meat eating for the following ecological reasons:

Eating meat kills endangered animals. Researchers at Florida International University uncovered that the meat industry is one of the main causes species extinction due to habitat removal.

Eating meat depletes precious fossil fuels. According to researchers at Cornell University in Canada animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein but the animal protein produced is only 1.4 times more nutritious for humans than the comparable amount of plant protein.

A lot of meat is infested with bacteria. Because of large-scale factory farming practices, the majority of the meat from the us contains bacteria. A 2013 report by the FDA found that of all the meat tested, 81 percent of ground turkey was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Pork chops came in at a gross second, with a 69 percent infestation rate. Ground beef ranked at 55 percent and chicken brought up the rear with 39 percent.

Meat consumption is unsustainable.  The large amount of energy meat production consumes has been shown to contribute to global warming, as well as a loss of important biodiversity, soil erosion, grassland destruction and more. The UN says “The destructive impact of animal agriculture on our environment far exceeds that of any other technology on Earth, according to these founders.

Meat consumption contributes to world hunger.  More people can be fed on the same acreage if it is planted in plant crops rather than meat being raised. One study from Cornell concluded that if everyone in New York state followed a low-fat vegetarian diet, the state could directly support almost 50 percent more people, or about 32 percent of its population, agriculturally.

Many meats contain hormones. Yes; even the local meat contains hormones including chicken. It is in the feed of chickens and if you read the article in this link it has been since 1951. Studies have demonstrated a progressive decrease in the age of onset of puberty in children around the world.  pumped full of harmful, synthetic hormones known to increase risks of breast and prostate cancer.

Its health dangers rival that of cigarette smoke. According to a 2013 study in the journal, Nutrientseating a diet heavy in meat is potentially as harmful to your health as smoking tobacco.

We wish to empower each and every person to find their own diet; their own way to eat healthy mindfully considering the environment; their bodies; their history and how foods make them feel as well as the science.

The easiest way to help out our planet is to eat a plant based diet with additional source of B12 from vitamins; food supplements; fermented foods; fish, or meat.

if consciously lower meat consumption.

Posted in BENEFITS of DIET, NEWS, Recent Studies, Sustainable Diets, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

The Champs Hotel Restaurant and Bar

Posted by Trudy Prevost on January 11, 2017

The owners of The Champs Hotel  Restaurant & Bar truly enjoy vegetarian food themselves. They make sure there is always vegetarian options for their guests.

In over 10 years of coming to The Champs – I stay there when traveling for my business – I have consistently found there was always a delicious vegetarian or vegan option no matter what time of the day even 9 oclock at night. (That is rare in Dominica) 🙂

I like their vegetarian quesadillas and when I attended a Fine Dining Event with Chef Eric it was a delight to all the senses.

Eric Subin is an internationally trained chef who truly enjoys his work.He and his wife Gina are both foodies and even though Eric works as a chef they are constantly experimenting with food at home too!

The views at The Champs are expansive; the sunsets spectacular – you often hear the gasps of delight when the elusive green flash appears.

Eating the vegan meal he prepared and looking out over that view was special.

NOTE: this is not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant – tell them your dietary preferences when you make your reservations and Chef Eric will create a delicious dish that will have your friends wishing they had ordered vegetarian!

Join Chef Eric Subin  – every Friday for dinner and Saturday for lunch.

This fine dining experience is so popular you must reserve at least a week or two in advance; don’t be disappointed – if you are visiting for just a short while or are celebrating a special date – reserve ahead of time online or by phone.

Contact The Champs

Posted in Cafe's and Catering, RESTAURANTS, Restaurants with Vegetarian Vegan Options | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Zealand LEGALLY recognizes that ALL animals are ‘sentient beings’!

Posted by Trudy Prevost on November 6, 2016

“I’m also sure that New Zealand’s new bill will force bright and creative scientists around the world to think about and to develop non-animal alternatives that also will make for better science and produce more reliable scientific results. This surely will be a win-win situation for all involved and it’s a goal for which all should passionately strive.” ~ Marc Bekoff Ph.D; Psychology Today

As I have written in the past I grew up being told that animals were not sentient beings.

I loved science but I saw this was concept was especially evident in the scientific use of animals that I observed. The psychology studies on monkeys; the draize test etc.

Regardless of what my community thought, from a fairly young age I started to theorize there was not really much difference between animals and us – they too loved their families, felt fear and pain, communicated and struggled to live day to day the best they could.

Over my lifetime I have watched a big change in this concept

In July 2013 a group of scientists published The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness which said “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

Now New Zealand has passed landmark legislation in which it is declared that all animals are sentient beings (link is external)and certain types of animal testing are now illegal and punishable by five years in prison or a $500,000 fine (link is external). One essay about this groundbreaking move notes, “Just like the rest of us, animals can feel joy and excitement, but they can also sense fear and distress in unusual or unfamiliar situations. They too feel physical pain while being poked, prodded, and injected with unnatural chemicals that often times lead to mutation, diseases, and even death.”

While one might quibble about whether “all” animals are sentient beings, this new legislation — you can read the entire bill here (link is external) — goes beyond any other on the books. I’ve also called for a universal declaration on animal sentience based on what we know about the cognitive and emotional lives of other animals.

We don’t need more research to support new legislation that better protects other animals, and it’s disappointing that we’re not even using what we know right now and have known for some time. New Zealand’s legislation is based on solid science and does not go beyond what we now know about the fascinating lives of the other animals with whom we share our magnificent planet. It should make everyone, including researchers, think deeply about how we choose to use other animals, and to make every effort to make their lives the very best they can be. We can do no less.

Animal Welfare Act Amendment

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