Monday, February 19, 2007

Animal Rights: A Movement That Has Seen Tremendous Growth Over The Years: The Proof is in the Facts

This is an excellent article regarding the growth of animal rights and the related issues of vegetarianism. Well, it’s more of a summary of the growth of the movement and provides great links to excellent stories that document the growth overall. For example, as stated in the article, just the simple change in health food stores from “dingy” places to large, fanciful experiences signifies the growth in more healthful eating, including vegetarianism. An excellent and positive read.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Burgeoning Movement


* Animal People News reports that according to, which archives over 1200 newspapers, in 1980 there were 6 mentions of "animal rights." By 1989 the number had grown to nearly 3000. In 2006, the figure was 6629. So animal rights coverage has gone from exceedingly rare to mainstream in 25 years.

* Animal rights author and philosophy professor Tom Regan points out that 30 years ago, not one school taught an animal rights law class. Today, 70 do.

* Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, comments in a recent issue of their Good Medicine magazine:

Health food stores used to be dingy places, where cashiers wore tie-dyed shirts and dusty shelves held uninviting products. Veggie burgers came from a pasty mix. Soymilk was a powder that customers had to stir into water and pour rapidly onto cereal before it precipitated. Today, however, health food stores are huge, beautiful places that sell endless varieties of every imaginable vegetarian product. Healthful eating has become not only convenient, but luxurious. And regular grocers have jumped in, too...In Fargo, North Dakota, I noticed that supermarkets stocked tofu, veggie dogs, and an abundance of other meatless, dairy-free foods—even in the middle of cattle country. These changes reflect an exploding demand for vegetarian foods.

One more sign of the times: In our recent study testing a vegan diet for diabetes, we wanted to make sure that new volunteers understood what a vegan diet was. To our surprise, most already knew. In contrast to the participants in our studies during the 1990s, many in this new group had vegetarian or vegan friends.

* Thirty years ago there were a handful of animal rights books. Now there are hundreds of books, periodicals, and videos on the subject. Not to mention countless web sites.

* Thirty years ago there were practically no animal rights groups; today they are in every state and some metropolitan areas have two dozen.

* According to trade publications, the fastest growing segment of food offerings in college campuses is vegan dishes. Intentionally vegan, not vegan by accident.

* The number of vegan recipes in books, magazines, and web sites has mushroomed.

* So has the number of vegan products. There are vegan versions—on the shelf—of everything from barbecue to tuna salad to meatballs to sour cream to marshmallows to feta cheese, and the number, quality, accessibility, and variety of these products grows seemingly every week. In tiny rural towns you can find veggie "chicken" patties and soy ice cream. This is a huge change from thirty, even fifteen years ago.

* Typical sign of the times: The Washington Post, not a particularly veg-friendly paper in my opinion, recently ran a story in its Travel section that casually mentioned a vegan cafe in Asheville, North Carolina. What's remarkable is that there was nothing remarkable about this offhand observation. "Vegan" wasn't in quotes and there was no explanation of the term; apparently the editors now feel that it's in wide enough circulation that the vast majority of readers will know what it means. Not that long ago, the phrase "vegan cafe" would probably not have appeared in a story about Asheville, or almost any other place in the country: The concept didn't exist and readers wouldn't have been familiar with the term.

The animal rights movement is now pervasive enough to influence public perceptions and public policy, and the food industry, in a variety of ways, and often with great reluctance because it is so vested in the status quo, has begun to take notice, and to respond. More on that in upcoming posts...
Posted by: Gary / 12:04 PM

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