Author: Paul Handover

Saturday Smile!

Take a dog to bed!

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For some women, a dog in the bed is so much better than a human

By MARY JO DILONARDO   November 28, 2018,

Women who sleep with dogs also tend to go to bed and wake up earlier. (Photo: Rasulov/Shutterstock)

Some nights, it’s easier to sleep well when you have company — but the nature of that company can make a difference.

A new study finds that some women sleep more soundly if they share the bed with a dog instead of another person. Researchers from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, collected online survey data from 962 adult women in the United States. Their work was published in the journal Anthrozoös.

Of the participants, 55 percent shared their bed with at least one dog and 31 percent with at least one cat. In addition, 57 percent slept with a human partner. (There were likely women who slept with pets and people, but that wasn’t detailed in the study.)

The researchers found that sleeping in the same bed with their dogs led women to a better night’s rest than sleeping with a cat or with another person.

“Compared with human bed partners, dogs who slept in the owner’s bed were perceived to disturb sleep less and were associated with stronger feelings of comfort and security,” the study abstract reads. “Conversely, cats who slept in their owner’s bed were reported to be equally as disruptive as human partners, and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners.”

The study also found that dog owners typically went to bed and got up earlier than people who had cats, but no dogs.

The study’s authors say more research is needed to see if pet owners’ perceptions of how their furry friends impact their sleep actually line up with objective measures of sleep quality. But as far as they’re concerned, dog owners think their pets are helping them sleep, so that’s why they’re welcome in the bed.

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What a lovely tale! Taken from here.

Well done, Ikea!

That is Ikea in Italy.

This is such a wonderful idea and one that should be seen a lot farther and wider than just Catania, Italy.

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At this Ikea store in Italy, homeless dogs get a meal and a safe place to rest

Mary Jo DiLonardo
MARY JO DILONARDO
November 19, 2018
A dog naps in the Ikea store in Catania, Italy. (Photo: rewintageboudoir/Instagram)

There’s something particularly homey about the living room vignettes and kitchen setups in the Ikea store in Catania, Italy. Sprawled on the occasional braided rug or curled up under the sleek dining tables are sleeping homeless dogs. They’ve been welcomed into the store by employees who offer them comfort when the temperatures drop.

Giovanna Pecorino says she takes a photo of the dogs each time she visits the store.

“I know those dogs well,” says Pecorino, who owns a vintage clothing shop in Catania. “You find them at the entrance sleeping between the racks, or at the exit between the tables of their restaurant, always with their sweet eyes. I love them. They give me a sense of peace.”

[There are two more photographs on Instagram that I am unable to copy into this post.]

Linda Chartier Scala, an American from Rhode Island who now lives in Noto, Italy, also photographed one of the dogs that made a temporary home in a makeshift Ikea living room. She is very familiar with the pups, who are mainstays in the store through the seasons.

“Dogs are there year-round,” says Chartier Scala. “They love the air conditioning during the summer. They are sterilized and looked after by an animal welfare group. Fat and happy, they don’t wander from there.”

Shoppers like Scala often post photos of the resting pets on social media, lauding the store and its employees for feeding the homeless dogs and offering them shelter.

“Yesterday, going to the Ikea of Catania I came across this sweet scene, a stray puppy had found shelter in one of the store’s exhibits, this image was wonderful!” wrote mannilvers. “Giving shelter to a stray dog and making it feel at home is simply amazing!”

According to reports on some posts, the dogs are well cared for and quite popular with visitors, who often stop by the store just to check on their favorite canines. And the dogs, who seem to be very respectful of their surroundings, enjoy the attention.

“This is the best story I’ve read in a long time. Human kindness at it’s best,” writes ihelpanimals12018. “THANK YOU.”

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“Human kindness at it’s best … ”

This is such a wonderful account of people being loving towards dogs that were homeless.

Last, but no means least, Happy Birthday to Jeannie!

And yet more!

More on the elevated vitamin D issue in our dog food.

Here are the details.

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Evolve, Sportsman’s Pride, and Triumph Dog Food Recall

November 27, 2018 — Sunshine Mills, Inc., of Red Bay, Alabama, is voluntarily recalling select products of Evolve, Sportsman’s Pride, and Triumph dog foods due to elevated levels of vitamin D, which can cause serious health issues.

What’s Recalled?

The following products are being recalled:

    • Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food
      Size: 14-pound bag
      UPC: 0-73657-00862-0
    • Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food
      Size: 28-pound bag
      UPC: 0-73657-00863-7
    • Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
      Size: 40-pound bag
      UPC: 0-70155-10566-0
    • Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
      Size: 40-pound bag
      UPC: 0-70155-10564-0
    • Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
      Size: 3.5 pound bag
      UPC: 0-73657-00873-6
    • Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
      Size: 16-pound bag
      UPC: 0-73657-00874-3
  • Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
    Size: 30-pound bag
    UPC 0-73657-00875-0

Bags affected have a Best Buy Date Code of November 1, 2018 through November 8, 2019.

The Best Buy Code can be located on the back of each bag.

No other Evolve, Sportsman’s Pride or Triumph products are affected by this recall.

Where Was Product Sold?

The above products were distributed in retail stores within the United States as well as some export distributors in Japan, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Israel, Canada and South Korea.

This recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

About High Levels of Vitamin D

Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Consumers with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed above and are exhibiting any of these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

What to Do?

Consumers should stop feeding the products listed above.

Consumers who have purchased any of the affected product should dispose of it or return it to the retailer for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Sunshine Mills, Inc. customer service at (800) 705-2111 from 7AM to 4PM Central Time, Monday through Friday.

Or by email at customer.service@sunshinemills.com for additional information.

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Phew!

Maybe that is the last of the recalls with regard to Vitamin D.

Facing up to the end!

It comes to all of us: dogs and humans.

The following article looks deeply into the dog’s life. Or rather the end of the dog’s life.

For the fact of the matter is that we all have this coming to us. Some turn to religion; some know that we are on our own. Every living creature shares the same fate as us humans.

Yet there is something very special about the dog. Something that sets the dog apart. Something that elevates the dog into more than an animal, despite how silly that is to write. But you know what I mean.

Enough from me. Let me turn to the following article that was published on The Conversation website and is republished within the terms of that site.

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Why losing a dog can be harder than losing a relative or friend

By    Cornelia H. Dudley, Professor of Psychology, Knox College

March 9, 2017

Recently, my wife and I went through one of the more excruciating experiences of our lives – the euthanasia of our beloved dog, Murphy. I remember making eye contact with Murphy moments before she took her last breath – she flashed me a look that was an endearing blend of confusion and the reassurance that everyone was ok because we were both by her side.

When people who have never had a dog see their dog-owning friends mourn the loss of a pet, they probably think it’s all a bit of an overreaction; after all, it’s “just a dog.”

However, those who have loved a dog know the truth: Your own pet is never “just a dog.”

Many times, I’ve had friends guiltily confide to me that they grieved more over the loss of a dog than over the loss of friends or relatives. Research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is, in almost every way, comparable to the loss of a human loved one. Unfortunately, there’s little in our cultural playbook – no grief rituals, no obituary in the local newspaper, no religious service – to help us get through the loss of a pet, which can make us feel more than a bit embarrassed to show too much public grief over our dead dogs.

Perhaps if people realized just how strong and intense the bond is between people and their dogs, such grief would become more widely accepted. This would greatly help dog owners to integrate the death into their lives and help them move forward.

An interspecies bond like no other

What is it about dogs, exactly, that make humans bond so closely with them?

For starters, dogs have had to adapt to living with humans over the past 10,000 years. And they’ve done it very well: They’re the only animal to have evolved specifically to be our companions and friends. Anthropologist Brian Hare has developed the “Domestication Hypothesis” to explain how dogs morphed from their grey wolf ancestors into the socially skilled animals that we now interact with in very much the same way as we interact with other people.

Perhaps one reason our relationships with dogs can be even more satisfying than our human relationships is that dogs provide us with such unconditional, uncritical positive feedback. (As the old saying goes, “May I become the kind of person that my dog thinks I already am.”)

This is no accident. They have been selectively bred through generations to pay attention to people, and MRI scans show that dog brains respond to praise from their owners just as strongly as they do to food (and for some dogs, praise is an even more effective incentive than food). Dogs recognize people and can learn to interpret human emotional states from facial expression alone. Scientific studies also indicate that dogs can understand human intentions, try to help their owners and even avoid people who don’t cooperate with their owners or treat them well.

Not surprisingly, humans respond positively to such unqualified affection, assistance and loyalty. Just looking at dogs can make people smile. Dog owners score higher on measures of well-being and they are happier, on average, than people who own cats or no pets at all.

Like a member of the family

Our strong attachment to dogs was subtly revealed in a recent study of “misnaming.” Misnaming happens when you call someone by the wrong name, like when parents mistakenly calls one of their kids by a sibling’s name. It turns out that the name of the family dog also gets confused with human family members, indicating that the dog’s name is being pulled from the same cognitive pool that contains other members of the family. (Curiously, the same thing rarely happens with cat names.)

It’s no wonder dog owners miss them so much when they’re gone.

Psychologist Julie Axelrod has pointed out that the loss of a dog is so painful because owners aren’t just losing the pet. It could mean the loss of a source of unconditional love, a primary companion who provides security and comfort, and maybe even a protégé that’s been mentored like a child.

The loss of a dog can also seriously disrupt an owner’s daily routine more profoundly than the loss of most friends and relatives. For owners, their daily schedules – even their vacation plans – can revolve around the needs of their pets. Changes in lifestyle and routine are some of the primary sources of stress.

According to a recent survey, many bereaved pet owners will even mistakenly interpret ambiguous sights and sounds as the movements, pants and whimpers of the deceased pet. This is most likely to happen shortly after the death of the pet, especially among owners who had very high levels of attachment to their pets.

While the death of a dog is horrible, dog owners have become so accustomed to the reassuring and nonjudgmental presence of their canine companions that, more often than not, they’ll eventually get a new one.

So yes, I miss my dog. But I’m sure that I’ll be putting myself through this ordeal again in the years to come.

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I don’t want to think of losing any more of our family but it will surely happen. As night follows day!

Going to close with this:

Pharaoh, relaxing in a Devon garden.

And another dog food recall!

This time it’s Harris Teeter of Mathews

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November 19, 2018 — Harris Teeter of Matthews, NC, is recallingAbound Chicken and Rice Dog Food due to elevated levels of vitamin D, which may cause renal failure.

No graphic was supplied with the official bulletin.

The following image was retrieved from the internet and is provided in good faith by The Dog Food Advisor.

The graphic below may or may not be an accurate representation of the actual recalled product.

What’s Recalled?

    The following products are being recalled by Harris Teeter.

  • Abound Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food
    Size: 4 lb package
    UPC Code: UPC 0001111083556
  • Abound Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food
    Size: 14 lb package
    UPC Code: 0001111083573

Batch information and Best By dates were not provided by the company in its recall bulletin.

About Elevated Levels of Vitamin D
Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Customers with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed above and are exhibiting any of these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

What to Do?

Harris Teeter has removed the recalled products from its shelves.

If you purchased these items, please do not allow your pet to consume them. Instead, return them to your Harris Teeter store for a full refund.

Customers may contact Sunshine Mills, Inc. customer service (the maker) at 800-705-2111 from 7 am to 4 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.

Or by email at customer.service@sunshinemills.com for additional information.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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I don’t know what to make of these. Part of me thinks there are too many dog-food recalls and part of me thinks it is much better that we have this service. Oh well.

This is the reality, folks, for us all.

A very sombre read from George Monbiot.

I read this essay first thing in the morning last Wednesday while still in bed. It struck me with a whole range of feelings and emotions; not positive ones I should add. Then I read it aloud to Jeannie with the feeling that this speaks of what it is, what it’s going to be, and how little time we have to make the sorts of gigantic changes that we all need.

Sorry to be down-in-the-dumps about the following; published with George Monbiot’s kind permission.

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Hopeless Realism

No effective means of stopping climate breakdown is deemed “politically realistic”. So we must change political realities.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 14th November 2018.

It was a moment of the kind that changes lives. At a press conference held by Extinction Rebellion last week, two of us journalists pressed the activists on whether their aims were realistic. They have called, for example, for carbon emissions in the UK to be reduced to net zero by 2025. Wouldn’t it be better, we asked, to pursue some intermediate aims?

A young woman called Lizia Woolf stepped forward. She hadn’t spoken before, and I hadn’t really noticed her, but the passion, grief and fury of her response was utterly compelling. “What is it that you are asking me as a 20-year-old to face and to accept about my future and my life? … this is an emergency – we are facing extinction. When you ask questions like that, what is it you want me to feel?”. We had no answer.

Softer aims might be politically realistic, but they are physically unrealistic. Only shifts commensurate with the scale of our existential crises have any prospect of averting them. Hopeless realism, tinkering at the edges of the problem, got us into this mess. It will not get us out.

Public figures talk and act as if environmental change will be linear and gradual. But the Earth’s systems are highly complex, and complex systems do not respond to pressure in linear ways. When these systems interact (because the world’s atmosphere, oceans, land surface and lifeforms do not sit placidly within the boxes that make study more convenient) their reactions to change become highly unpredictable. Small perturbations can ramify wildly. Tipping points are likely to remain invisible until we have passed them. We could see changes of state so abrupt and profound that no continuity can be safely assumed.

Only one of the many life support systems on which we depend – soils, aquifers, rainfall, ice, the pattern of winds and currents, pollinators, biological abundance and diversity – need fail for everything to slide. For example, when Arctic sea ice melts beyond a certain point, the positive feedbacks this triggers (such as darker water absorbing more heat, melting permafrost releasing methane, shifts in the polar vortex) could render runaway climate breakdown unstoppable. When the Younger Dryas period ended 11,600 years ago, Greenland ice cores reveal temperatures rising 10°C within a decade.

I don’t believe that such a collapse is yet inevitable, or that a commensurate response is either technically or economically impossible. When the US joined the Second World War in 1941, it replaced a civilian economy with a military economy within months. As Jack Doyle records in his book Taken for a Ride, “In one year, General Motors developed, tooled, and completely built from scratch 1000 Avenger and 1000 Wildcat aircraft … Barely a year after Pontiac received a Navy contract to build antishipping missiles, the company began delivering the completed product to carrier squadrons around the world.” And this was before advanced information technology made everything faster.

The problem is political. A fascinating analysis by the social science professor Kevin Mackay contends that oligarchy has been a more fundamental cause of the collapse of civilisations than social complexity or energy demand. Oligarchic control, he argues, thwarts rational decision-making, because the short-term interests of the elite are radically different to the long-term interests of society. This explains why past civilizations have collapsed “despite possessing the cultural and technological know-how needed to resolve their crises.” Economic elites, that benefit from social dysfunction, block the necessary solutions.

The oligarchic control of wealth, politics, media and public discourse explains the comprehensive institutional failure now pushing us towards disaster. Think of Trump and his cabinet of multi-millionaires, the influence of the Koch brothers, the Murdoch empire and its massive contribution to climate science denial, the oil and motor companies whose lobbying prevents a faster shift to new technologies.

It is not just governments that have failed to respond, though they have failed spectacularly. Public sector broadcasters have deliberately and systematically shut down environmental coverage, while allowing the opaquely-funded lobbyists that masquerade as thinktanksto shape public discourse and deny what we face. Academics, afraid to upset their funders and colleagues, have bitten their lips. Even the bodies that claim to be addressing our predicament remain locked within destructive frameworks.

For example, last Wednesday I attended a meeting about environmental breakdown at the Institute for Public Policy Research. Many of the people in the room seemed to understand that continued economic growth is incompatible with sustaining the Earth’s systems. As the author Jason Hickel points out, a decoupling of rising GDP from global resource use has not happened and will not happen. While 50 billion tonnes of resources used per year is roughly the limit the Earth’s systems can tolerate, the world is already consuming 70 billion tonnes. Business as usual, at current rates of economic growth, will ensure that this rises to 180 billion tonnes by 2050. Maximum resource efficiency, coupled with massive carbon taxes and some pretty optimistic assumptions, would reduce this to 95 billion tonnes: still way beyond environmental limits. A study taking account of the rebound effect (efficiency leads to further resource use) raises the estimate to 132 billion tonnes. Green growth, as members of the Institute appear to accept, is physically impossible.

On the same day, the same Institute announced a major new economics prize for “ambitious proposals to achieve a step-change improvement in the growth rate.” It wants ideas that will enable economic growth rates in the UK at least to double. The announcement was accompanied by the usual blah about sustainability, but none of the judges of the prize has a discernible record of environmental interest.

Those to whom we look for solutions trundle on as if nothing has changed. They continue to behave as if the accumulating evidence has no purchase on their minds. Decades of institutional failure ensures that only “unrealistic” proposals – the repurposing of economic life, with immediate effect – now have a realistic chance of stopping the planetary death spiral. And only those who stand outside the failed institutions can lead this effort.

Two tasks need to be performed simultaneously: throwing ourselves at the possibility of averting collapse, as Extinction Rebellion is doing, slight though this possibility may appear. And preparing ourselves for the likely failure of these efforts, terrifying as this prospect is. Both tasks require a complete revision of our relationship with the living planet. Because we cannot save ourselves without contesting oligarchic control, the fight for democracy and justice and the fight against environmental breakdown are one and the same. Do not allow those who have caused this crisis to define the limits of political action. Do not allow those whose magical thinking got us into this mess to tell us what can and cannot be done.

www.monbiot.com

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I have a son and daughter who live in England. My daughter and her husband have a seven-year-old boy, my grandson, and I hope that I live long enough to have some decent conversations with him.  Now whether or not those conversations will turn to his future and what fears he has only time will tell.

But that doesn’t stop me from worrying, worrying big time, just what world we are leaving for him and the thousands of others of his age as they grow up. I truly fear that it is going to be a very different planet than the one we have at present.

I hope with all my heart that I am wrong!

Nature’s Promise Dog Food recall

Giant and Martin’s Recall Nature’s Promise Dog Food

November 20, 2018 — Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets are voluntarily recalling certain lots of Nature’s Promise Dog Food because they may contain excessive amounts of Vitamin D, which may cause renal failure.

No graphic was supplied with the official news wire. The following image was retrieved from the internet and is provided in good faith by The Dog Food Advisor.

What’s Recalled?

The following products are included in this recall event:

  • Nature’s Promise Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food
    Size: 4 lb package
    Best By Dates: November 1, 2018 to November 8, 2019
  • Nature’s Promise Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food
    Size: 14 lb package
    Best By Dates: November 1, 2018 to November 8, 2019
  • Nature’s Promise Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food
    Size: 28 lb package
    Best By Dates: November 1, 2018 to November 8, 2019

Giant/Martin’s has removed all affected product from its shelves and urges customers to return the product to their local store for a full refund.

The companies have received no reports of illnesses to date.

About Elevated Levels of Vitamin D

Dogs ingesting elevated levels of Vitamin D may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

Vitamin D, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Customers with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed above and are exhibiting any of these symptoms, should contact their veterinarian.

What to Do?

Customers should stop feeding the products listed above.

Customers may contact Sunshine Mills, Inc. customer service at 800-705-2111 from 7 am to 4 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.

Or by email at customer.service@sunshinemills.com for additional information.

In addition, customers may call Giant/Martin’s Customer Support Center at 888-814-4268.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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It’s not what I had planned for today, that will have to wait until tomorrow, but you will understand that this recall alert had to take priority!

Finally, please accept greetings from Jeannie and me for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This is the woman I love!

Today is our anniversary.

Yes, November 20th, 2010 was the day we became married.

And in celebration of that day, and more generally in meeting Jean some three years previously, I want to republish the following. For when I met my darling Jeannie she had been vegetarian for many years and in turn we both became vegan.

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Why people become vegans: The history, sex and science of a meatless existence

By    Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Oregon

November 19, 2018

At the age of 14, a young Donald Watson watched as a terrified pig was slaughtered on his family farm. In the British boy’s eyes, the screaming pig was being murdered. Watson stopped eating meat and eventually gave up dairy as well.

Later, as an adult in 1944, Watson realized that other people shared his interest in a plant-only diet. And thus veganism – a term he coined – was born.

Flash-forward to today, and Watson’s legacy ripples through our culture. Even though only 3 percent of Americans actually identify as vegan, most people seem to have an unusually strong opinion about these fringe foodies – one way or the other.

As a behavioral scientist with a strong interest in consumer food movements, I thought November – World Vegan Month – would be a good time to explore why people become vegans, why they can inspire so much irritation and why many of us meat-eaters may soon join their ranks.

Early childhood experiences can shape how we feel about animals – and lead to veganism, as it did for Donald Watson. HQuality/Shutterstock.com

It’s an ideology not a choice

Like other alternative food movements such as locavorism, veganism arises from a belief structure that guides daily eating decisions.

They aren’t simply moral high-grounders. Vegans do believe it’s moral to avoid animal products, but they also believe it’s healthier and better for the environment.

Also, just like Donald Watson’s story, veganism is rooted in early life experiences.

Psychologists recently discovered that having a larger variety of pets as a child increases tendencies to avoid eating meat as an adult. Growing up with different sorts of pets increases concern for how animals are treated more generally.

Thus, when a friend opts for Tofurky this holiday season, rather than one of the 45 million turkeys consumed for Thanksgiving, his decision isn’t just a high-minded choice. It arises from beliefs that are deeply held and hard to change.

Sutton and Sons is a vegan fish and chip restaurant in London. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Veganism as a symbolic threat

That doesn’t mean your faux-turkey loving friend won’t seem annoying if you’re a meat-eater.

The late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain famously quipped that meat avoiders “are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”

Why do some people find vegans so irritating? In fact, it might be more about “us” than them.

Most Americans think meat is an important part of a healthy diet. The government recommends eating 2-3 portions (5-6 ounces) per day of everything from bison to sea bass. As tribal humans, we naturally form biases against individuals who challenge our way of life, and because veganism runs counter to how we typically approach food, vegans feel threatening.

Humans respond to feelings of threat by derogating outgroups. Two out of 3 vegans experience discrimination daily, 1 in 4 report losing friends after “coming out” as vegan, and 1 in 10 believe being vegan cost them a job.

Veganism can be hard on a person’s sex life, too. Recent research finds that the more someone enjoys eating meat, the less likely they are to swipe right on a vegan. Also, women find men who are vegan less attractive than those who eat meat, as meat-eating seems masculine.

The fake meat at one Fort Lauderdale restaurant supposedly tastes like real meat. AP Photo/J. Pat Carter

Crossing the vegan divide

It may be no surprise that being a vegan is tough, but meat-eaters and meat-abstainers probably have more in common than they might think.

Vegans are foremost focused on healthy eating. Six out of 10 Americans want their meals to be healthier, and research shows that plant-based diets are associated with reduced risk for heart disease, certain cancers, and Type 2 diabetes.

It may not be surprising, then, that 1 in 10 Americans are pursuing a mostly veggie diet. That number is higher among younger generations, suggesting that the long-term trend might be moving away from meat consumption.

In addition, several factors will make meat more costly in the near future.

Meat production accounts for as much as 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and clear-cutting for pasture land destroys 6.7 million acres of tropical forest per year. While some debate exists on the actual figures, it is clear that meat emits more than plants, and population growth is increasing demand for quality protein.

Seizing the opportunity, scientists have innovated new forms of plant-based meats that have proven to be appealing even to meat-eaters. The distributor of Beyond Meat’s plant-based patties says 86 percent of its customers are meat-eaters. It is rumored that this California-based vegan company will soon be publicly traded on Wall Street.

Even more astonishing, the science behind lab-grown, “cultured tissue” meat is improving. It used to cost more than $250,000 to produce a single lab-grown hamburger patty. Technological improvements by Dutch company Mosa Meat have reduced the cost to $10 per burger.

Watson’s legacy

Even during the holiday season, when meats like turkey and ham take center stage at family feasts, there’s a growing push to promote meatless eating.

London, for example, will host its first-ever “zero waste” Christmas market this year featuring vegan food vendors. Donald Watson, who was born just four hours north of London, would be proud.

Watson, who died in 2006 at the ripe old age of 95, outlived most of his critics. This may give quiet resolve to vegans as they brave our meat-loving world.

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Well all I can say is that if Donald Watson can do it then so can Jeannie and me.

Beam me up, Scotty.

Just had to share this with you!

This is a remarkable photograph. Something I have never seen.

Anyway, here’s the story behind it!

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Otherworldly light pillars captured over Whitefish Bay

MICHAEL D’ESTRIES,   November 2, 2018

Light pillars over Whitefish Bay on the shore of Lake Superior as captured by nocturnal photographer Vincent Brady. (Photo: Vincent Brady)

At first glance, the mesmerizing light display that occurred on Oct. 16 over Whitefish Bay, Michigan, had all the hallmarks of a visual effect from a science-fiction film. Instead of “first contact,” however, this beautiful shimmer is actually a fairly common optical phenomenon called a light pillar.

Light pillars form when sources of light from the ground, sun or even the moon interact with horizontal concentrations of ice crystals in the atmosphere. When viewed from a distance, these crystals align in such a way as to create the optical illusion of a dazzling pillar of light.

Photographer Vincent Brady, who specializes in capturing nocturnal scenes, said in a Facebook post that he was “pleasantly surprised” to come across the phenomenon.

“This is a shot north of Paradise, MI looking east over Whitefish Bay,” he wrote. “The red lights are around the Canadian island Ile Parisienne. I’m not entirely sure of the artificial light source of the pillars.”

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Astounding!

Anyone else seen these?