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For a better world~Dawn

Dawn Moncrief
Founding Director, AWFW 

A Compassionate Thanksgiving

Every November, families gather together to give thanks. At some point in American culture, eating turkeys became the symbolic way to give thanks. We are hoping to encourage our readers to rewrite that tradition. There has never been a more compelling time to rethink how we treat animals raised for food.

Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of the holiday season. The holidays are often filled with family and friends, desserts and presents. Since we will all find ourselves on the giving and receiving ends, it’s the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate our role in the global community and how our choices affect everyone.

A Compassionate Thanksgiving is easier than you think. First we will offer you some important information regarding the detriment eating animals has caused and then showcase some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

Why Choose A Compassionate Thanksgiving?

For the Environment- The UN has noted the imperative of a shift toward a more vegetarian/vegan diet for sustainability.

For The Animals– The animal advocacy group, Mercy For Animals, has released their second video from an undercover investigation at Butterball’s turkey farms. The video exposes violent acts of animal cruelty and inhumane treatment.

For The Food!

One Green Planet– Acorn stuffed with Mushroom Quinoa Pilaf 

Fat Free Vegan– Traditional Stuffing

Oh She Glows- Mashed Potatoes

Miso Vegan– Holiday Brussels Sprouts

Fit Sugar– Curried Pumpkin with Raisins

Happy Herbivore– Cranberry Sauce

Oh She Glows– Sweet Potato Casserole

Wicked Good Vegan– Tofurkey Loaf

Post Punk Kitchen-Maple Pecan Pie

Veggie Dream Girl– Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Crust

Skies The Limit!

If you are looking for more information, FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) has a great resource for all your Compassionate Holiday needs.

Happy Thanksgiving

Super Storms, Climate Change, and Meat Consumption

Climate Change–>Super Storms

Not even ten days after Hurricane Sandy the “largest Atlantic hurricane on record,” the NY and NJ areas are facing the devastation of a vicious snow storm, the nor’easter. Katrina, the drought, and now these storms are bringing the reality of climate change and global warming to U.S. headlines.

What may have gone unnoticed by many of us is the cyclone that hit India at the same time as Sandy. Now we are witnessing both consecutive and simultaneous natural disasters around the world.

Unfortunately, this comes as little surprise to those who heed the warnings of climate scientists. And while there are some who remain resistant and/or apathetic to the notion of climate change, it is getting harder and harder to dispute that climate change is a clear and present danger, both nationally and globally.

As the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, states:

“It’s a longer conversation, but I think part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is a reality, extreme weather is a reality. It is a reality that we are vulnerable.”

We also have thought leaders like George Lakoff positing that Global Warming Systematically Caused Hurricane Sandy.


Meat Consumption–>Climate Change

But what are we willing to do about it?

As is standard practice, neither Cuomo nor Lakoff mentioned the easiest and most commonsense act of reducing our consumption of animal products.

We hope these horrific storms and the other ravages of severe and changing climate have leaders and the public connect the dots between livestock, its role in climate change, and what we must do to mitigate the effects.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, the livestock industry contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than ALL transportation combined. When considered over a 20-year time frame instead of 100-years, the number drastically increases. An article in World Watch Magazine puts the figure at 51%.

Deforestation: According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Grade A Choice? Solutions for Deforestation-Free Meat, the increasing global demand for meat has led to deforestation for grazing pastures and livestock feed production.

Deforestation is especially important because we’re losing massive amounts of our photosynthetic capabilities (the primary way to actually reverse global warming, not just slow its growth).


Help Storm Victims Now!

At A Well-Fed World, in addition to our advocacy and program work, we raise funds for emergency actions.

To assist those harmed by Hurricane Sandy and now the nor’easter, we’ve raised $1750 in just three days to add to our initial contribution $3500, for a current total of $5250.

There’s still more to do. Volunteers are on the ground organizing mobile kitchens and distributing hot vegan meals to those in need. Find out details at or donate now to increase our contribution and help us help them. Thank you!

Global Hunger Index

The International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC released it’s 2012 Global Hunger Index of 120 nations, which rated countries with individual scores from one to 100 with zero as the best score (no hunger) and 100 the worst. Determined by factors such as childhood mortality rates and the percentage of underweight children, the index is based on data from 2005 to 2010, the last year for which information is available.

The  report focuses particularly on the issue of ensuring sustainable food security under conditions of water, land, and energy stress. It concludes that demographic changes, rising incomes and subsequent changes in consumption patterns, climate change, persistent poverty and inadequate policies and institutions, are all placing serious pressure on natural resources.

These “changes in consumption patterns” are not spelled out in thorough detail. It is a missed opportunity to provide concrete solutions and suggestions to these individuals with rising incomes that would benefit others suffering from hunger and malnutrition. For example, it has been noted by scholars that eating animal products can cause hunger (Rifkin 1993; Webb 2010). Therefore, encouraging a societal shift in a diet based on more plant-based foods could help alleviate many of the problems the report seeks to highlight and change.

The report focuses on the need for better resource management. They see the trends in resource depletion troubling and put forth suggestions where “access to food, modern energy, and clean water improves significantly and ecosystem degradation is halted or reversed.” What is lost in many policy debates, often due to ties with big food and the agriculture industry, is how the decreased consumption of animal products would result in less pressure on our resources. Diets that include animal products use more land, water and oil than diets based mostly on plants (Deckers 2011).

The theme of this year’s report is the connection between hunger and pressures on land, water and fuel. That’s because the people who are most vulnerable to resource scarcity and degradation are also the most vulnerable to hunger. It is noted by us as well as other experts in the field that the connections between meat production and land losses (deforestation), water pollution and fossil fuels are vast and can’t be brushed under the rug and ignored.

Factory farming and animal consumption has been made implicit as a cause of health, food security, climate and hunger problems around the world. These links need to be addressed as a clear and present danger. Encouraging a move to a more plant-centered diet is a way to empower everyone to help overcome the many obstacles laid out in the report.


Deckers, J. Does the  Consumption of Farmed Animal Products Cause Human Hunger? Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 2011

Rifkin, J. Beyond Beef. The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture. New York, NY: Plume; 1993

Webb, P. Medium to Long-Run Implications of High Food Prices For Global Nutrition. Journal of Nutrition. 2010

Putting Plants on the Menu For Food Security

by Dawn Moncrief, Founding Director

Finally, world experts and the media are increasing attention to the role vegetarianism MUST play for food security.

Both The Huffington Post and The Guardian reported on the new study by the The Stockholm International Water Institute. SIWI’s top scientists “issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world’s population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.” 

Hopefully, we will choose to make changes before they are forced upon us by economic and/or environmental catastrophe. In fact, A Well-Fed World was organized specifically to highlight the connections between animal agriculture and global food security… specifically, to demonstrate why minimizing meat MUST be part of decision-making.*

And here’s what else we have to say …

Without much context, The Huffington Post gives a brief nod to the U.S. for recent decreases in meat consumption. Meatless Mondays is thought to play a part as it booms in popularity. And while we support these types of campaigns, they are not nearly enough. As of 2007, the U.S. was the 2nd largest meat consumer per person. Since then, we have taken bragging rights for reducing, while China and others are blamed for the drastic global “increases.”

Focusing on growth and increases redirects blame…

China’s skyrocketing demand for meat has devastating consequences globally because they are the world’s most populous country with 1.3+ billion people. But we must look beyond “growth” and consider the great disparities in starting points and current consumption levels. Especially when countries such as the U.S. are lauded for reducing our meat consumption (between 6%12% since 2007) even while we’re still one of the top per capita consumers in the world.

Here’s an illustration: the U.S. starts at 10 units of meat consumption per person and China starts at 2 units. There is great alarm as China DOUBLES their consumption… and there is applause as the U.S. decreases 10%. The end result, however, is the U.S. at 9 units per person and China at 4 units.

It is very convenient for the U.S. to focus on China and other countries. China’s total meat consumption is now twice the U.S.’s because their population is four times greater. The U.S. still consumes more than twice the amount of meat per person than China.

We must look at the global trends as meat is predicted to double over 50 years, but the U.S. should be leading the way in drastic reductions because: (1) we are top consumers so there are steeper decreases we can make; and (2) as a global leader our habits and policies have immense and far-reaching impact.

More and more reports are concluding what we already know… we must immediately and drastically reverse the trend of increasing meat consumption. The data is clear. What we need is the political and economic will to make the changes. In addition to reports, we as individuals, grassroots groups, social justice organizations, religious institutions, business communities, and more must increase our pressure to encourage more change in this direction. The leaders must know there is public support… so let’s continue to spread the word and insist on change as we be the change.

END NOTE: * Minimizing meat includes all animal products. The ideal is fully plant-based food and agricultural systems.

Corn, Drought, and Hunger

The drought in the Midwest is causing concern about the increasing prices of corn and other crops as their supply drastically decreases. However, prior to the drought bringing crop prices to headline status, waste and misuse have been the standard with our taxes providing outrageously large and misguided subsidies… mostly to animal feed crops that don’t directly feed our families.

The trouble is that animals eat much more food than they produce. It is a very inefficient process that wastes vast amounts of crops. These crops would feed many more people if used as food directly.  In fact, eighty percent of all the crops grown in the United States go into livestock feed.

The USDA reports that “sweet corn, eaten by humans, is distinct from field corn (used for feed) and is not being heavily affected by adverse weather at this point.”  With corn and the other crops, the drought is primarily placing strain livestock feed. Perhaps this drought will encourage dialogue about subsidized crops so that the government places a higher priority on the farming of fresh produce for direct consumption.

The following is taken from the EPA’s website:

Corn: The United States is, by far, the largest producer of corn in the world. Corn is grown on over 400,000 U.S. farms. In 2000, the U.S. produced almost ten billion bushels of the world’s total 23 billion bushel crop. Corn grown for grain accounts for almost one-quarter of the harvested crop acres in this country. Corn grown for silage (animal feed) accounts for about two percent of the total harvested cropland or about 6 million acres. The amount of land dedicated to corn silage production varies based on growing conditions. In years that produce weather unfavorable to high corn grain yields, corn can be “salvaged” by harvesting the entire plant as silage.

According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn. About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). It also has a wide array of industrial uses including ethanol, a popular oxygenate in cleaner burning auto fuels.

While covering the drought, The San Francisco Chronicle introduced us to Kenny Brummer, an Illinois corn farmer. Mr. Brummer has lost “800 acres of corn that he grows to feed his 400 head of cattle and 30,000 hogs.” Crop insurance will cover up to 150 bushels per acre. But no coverage is available for Brummer’s livestock, so he figures he’ll lose $350,000 to $400,000 on that side of the operation.

The article also mentions: “Already tight supplies and fears that the drought will get worse before it gets better have been pushing up grain prices, which are likely to translate into higher food prices for consumers, particularly for meat and poultry.”

The drought has the potential to increase retail prices for beef, pork, poultry, and dairy products later this year and into 2013.  But in the short-term, there may be increases in meat supply as higher feed costs lead to herd culling (the “removal” of less desirable cows). This extra supply could decrease prices for some meat products in the short-term, but that trend should reverse when product supplies eventually shrink.

When the experts report on increasing food prices, they neglect the inefficiency of meat and the role of livestock on climate change. It’s imperative that we connect the dots between the raising of livestock, high food prices, and environmental devastation (especially climate change).

At A Well-Fed World we advocate the redistribution of subsidies away from corn and other feed crops to fresh fruits and vegetables (especially for those in need).  Also, by promoting plant-based foods we lessen the demand for meat and other animal products helping decrease agribusiness’ push for feed subsidies. Finally, plant-based foods eaten directly instead of funneled through animals, can decrease food prices and increase food security around the world.

Don’t Miss Veganpalooza!!

A new world of conferences has arrived… they are online and they are FREE!

Welcome to Veganpalooza! We are proud to co-sponsor this incredible online, virtual summit –> Wednesday-Sunday (July 11-15th).

Join us for their Social Justice day on Thursday at 5pm EST (2pm west coast) when AWFW’s Founding Director Dawn Moncrief presents Eating Animals in a Hungry World.

Click Here to Register Now… it’s FREE!

Program Outline:

  • Wednesday – Nutrition & Wellness
  • Thursday – Social Justice
  • Friday – Thriving as Vegans
  • Saturday – Living and Sharing the Vegan Life
  • Sunday – Spirituality and Health

Plus, find out more about their VIP program with more bonus gifts than we care to count.

Veganpalooza is hosted by Dr. Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet and Steve Prussack, CEO of Raw Edge Productions. They have gathered together the “leading writers, researchers, activists, educators, and coaches in the vegan movement, with collectively hundreds of years of accumulated wisdom and experience in vegan living—so you can plumb the depths and breadth of understanding the keys to radiant wellness, social harmony, and joyful, creative, and abundant living.”

The incredible list of speakers includes: Drs. John McDougall, Neal Barnard, T. Colin Campbell, Gabriel Cousens, Brian Clement, Thomas Lodi, Jameth Sheridan, Milton Mills, and Jonathan Balcombe, as well as: Harold Brown, Rip Esselstyn, Rory Freedman, Kathy Freston, Howard Lyman, Keith McHenry, Victoria Moran, Colleen Patrick-Goodreau, Bo Rinaldi, Rich Roll, Nathan Runkle, Rae Sikora, Cherie Soria, and more.

Also in attendance is Philip Wollen who recently garnered a lot of attention from his inspired speech that quickly went viral… check out our previous blog.

The tele-summit kicks off THIS Wednesday (July 11) and runs through Sunday (July 15th). It will provide you with a fresh take and the tools you need to live a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle.  Be inspired and learn how to inspire others all while sitting at your computer!

Click Here to Register Now… it’s FREE!

A Vegan Independence Day

Although (veggie) burgers and beers most likely weren’t on the menu in 1776, Americans nonetheless will gather this Wednesday to celebrate our Independence Day around the grill with friends, family and fireworks.  While many of us grew up with hot dogs, hamburgers and other animal foods around our 4th of July table, there has never been a better time to challenge the status quo, re-write traditions, and retell stories that include animals as friends not food.

Long gone are the days of tasteless veggie hot dogs and boring vegetable sides. We are entering an era where vegan cuisine is all the rage, and it’s proving itself to be an endless journey into exotic flavors and unique dishes. Vegan diets open your eyes to an amazing variety of grains (quinoa anyone?), vegetables (kale salads!), fruit, legumes and more.  And luckily with brands like Field Roast (run and try their apple and sage sausage now) and Tofurky you now can fool the most avid meat eater with barely any cooking at all.

We encourage you to leave animals off the menu this 4th of July and begin new traditions. We can celebrate our Independence and at the same time show our support and hope for the day the animals celebrate theirs.

Some recipes to help you and your family celebrate a compassionate 4th of July:

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Basil Sauce (Courtesy of Meatout Mondays)

Creamy Avocado Potato Salad (Courtesy of Post Punk Kitchen)

Cole Slaw (Courtesy of Happy Healthy Life Blog)

Beet and Tofu Burger (Courtesy of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)

Vegan Apple Pie (Courtesy of Baking with Lisa)

Philip Wollen’s Blazing Speech

Philip Wollen opens with a quote from King Leer and you are instantly hooked: “How do you see the world? I see it feelingly.” The venue at which he is speaking is The Wheeler Center in Australia and the debate was entitled, “Should Animals Be Off The Menu?” On the pro side is animal rights philosopher Peter Singer, food writer Veronica Ridge and Mr. Wollen, former VP of Citibank turned ultra activist. This compelling speech has been spreading quickly through the internet and drives home points about animals and our imperative to treat them with kindness and give them equal moral consideration.

Mr. Wollen leaves out nothing in his 10 minute speech. From the environmental damage caused by our current factory farming system, to the lifestyle diseases inflicted by diets high in meat and other animal  products, as well as the detrimental affect our taste for meat has on the increasing daily hunger battles all over the world.

The opposition although (mostly) thoughtful and polite, by no means grip at your heart or your humanity quite like Mr. Wollen. He reminds us that vegetarians and vegans are a powerful new and up and coming demographic with the power to change the world. We urge everyone to watch this debate and join the conversation.

You can view the debate in it’s entirety here.

“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”– Victor Hugo

Ethical Meat Essay Contest Full of Hot Air?

A recent NYT essay contest sparked a lot of controversy. The paper asked readers to write in and give their account on why eating meat is ethical.  Dissecting our disappointment with this topic could span several blog posts, we would rather showcase how this contest encouraged one of the judges, Mark Bittman, to write a great blog piece not on the ethics of eating meat per se, but on the reality of the consequences of that choice.

The focus of Bittman’s blog is not ethical or theoretical but pragmatic: eating meat is detrimental to our planet and its finite resources.  Research from both the United Nations and World Watch Magazine conclude that livestock account for more greenhouse gases than ALL transportation combined. Depending on the timeline and what’s counted, the livestock industry could be responsible for 51% of human-caused GHG emissions.

It’s true there has been some debate over the exact number, but according to Bittman that number doesn’t matter:

“What does is that few people take the role of livestock in producing greenhouse gases seriously enough. Even most climate change experts focus on new forms of energy — which cannot possibly be effective quickly enough or produced on a broad enough scale to avert what may be the coming catastrophe — and often ignore the much easier fix of adjusting our eating habits.”

Bittman also invokes China’s eating habits which tends to displace blame, especially because Americans still eat twice as much per person.  As Americans, we set standards that are often emulated, and with regards to our poor eating habits can have devastating consequences far graver than our expanding waistlines.

Because of our heavy taste for meat we are depleting our water supply, land is being cleared to grow animal feed (Bittman’s number is 45% of land is used by the livestock industry), and our clean air supply is being compromised.

“Here’s the thing: It’s seldom that such enormous problems have such simple solutions.”

By decreasing our meat consumption, regardless off our ethical position on meat, we could be, as Bittman notes, heroes. Heroes to the next generation, to those who go hungry, and heroes to the animals.