Archive by Author | Diana

LOLCat

Mazzy (a tortoishell cat) looks plaintively at the microphone. "I be on Podcatz? Pleez?".

A plaintive message from our cat, Mazzy, who snuck into our “studio” as we were taking it down.

Is cheese really addictive?

In our Cheese show we considered the suggestion from the President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Neal Barnard, that dairy cheese is addictive. In this 2003 article entitled “Breaking the Food Seduction”, introducing his book of the same name, Dr. Barnard writes:

Cow’s milk—or the milk of any other species, for that matter—contains a protein called casein that breaks apart during digestion to release a whole host of opiates called casomorphins. A cup of cow’s milk contains about six grams of casein. Skim milk contains a bit more, and casein is concentrated in the production of cheese.

I looked into the references from Dr. Barnard’s book that PCRM was kind enough to send. But the analysis I offered in the show was that the idea that cheese is addictive is at best overstated and at worst wrong.

This is why.

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Lab Meat: Survey Results

Last month we created a lab meat survey to take the temperature of both veg*ns and nonvegetarians about attitudes towards in vitro meat and to what extent animal harm played a role in resistance to eating it. I reviewed some of the results in the show but for a more detailed analysis, including graphs, keep reading after the jump.

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On Anthropomorphism: Ladybug playing?

519px-Ladybug_aphids

Just so nobody accuses me of bias I’m going to begin with an example of anthropomorphism that is pretty benign, and could help people identify sympathetically with insects.

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On Anthropomorphism: A Short Introduction

One of the main ways that animal interests are misunderstood is through anthropomorphism. In order to explore this I’m going to publish an occasional blog with examples of anthropomorphism from the media and, usually, a comment from an animal behavior or other expert about the motivations of the nonhuman animals portrayed.

But, what exactly is anthropomorphism?

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Lab Meat: Can in vitro meat save the animals? With Nicholas Genovese, David Pearce, and Jordi Casamitjana

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(23 min) Play or download (13 MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)

Lab Meat

A future with cheap lab meat could be drastically different – for humans and animals. How would it work? And is the development of this technology good for animals?

Ian talks to Nicholas Genovese, a PETA-funded scientist working on the stem cells that could make up what he calls cultured meat. I ask two vegans, transhuman philosopher David Pearce and activist Jordi Casamitjana, why they are for or against in vitro meat; and I reveal the results of my survey. Will vegans and meat eaters ever be able to get beyond the “ick” factor of cultured meat?

(Content advisory: cites animal experiments[why?])

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VegfestUK Awards Nomination and our next show

We are very excited to have been nominated for the VegfestUK Awards 2012 in the “Best Media Publications and Websites” category. As the stars say, it’s an honor just to be nominated but VOTE VOTE VOTE for us before May 25th.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave like Al-Ma’arri you will no doubt know the media has been abuzz about in vitro meat (aka lab meat, shmeat) and the possibility of an incredibly expensive burger as soon as next fall. Our next episode deals with the issues involved but also hopes to shed some new light on the subject. Take the survey (which takes just a minute) and The survey has finished but stay tuned to find out the results.

Diana on UK TV

Diana, photographed on the TV, with her name in the TV caption

Last Sunday and next Sunday, I’m appearing on “The Big Questions”, a BBC TV show where the audience discuss the big ethical issues of the day. In this case, whether we should all repent now it’s 2012 (of great interest to Jordan Wyatt), and if there is any evidence for God.

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The Pledge statistics – Do vegans thrive in adversity?

In our podcast about the vegan pledge we talked about reasons that people did or didn’t decide to remain vegan after the vegan pledge including the tricky issue of biased respondent samples. The followup questionnaire was given after a month of the vegan pledge and people who fell off the vegan wagon were unlikely to make it to that meeting. In this blog I’m going to talk about how reasons that people cite for going vegan might influence whether they are choose to continue after the pledge and the paradoxical effect of unsupportive friends and relatives. Read More…