Anne Dinshah, Jeff Stier & Friedrich Mülln
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Anne Dinshah, Jeff Stier & Friedrich Mülln
PART I: Anne Dinshah, Powerful Vegan Messages. Anne Dinshah coauthored the book Powerful Vegan Messages with her late father, American Vegan Society founder H. Jay Dinshah. Jay spearheaded the modern vegan movement in America influencing many people with his message of dynamic harmlessness. Today Anne brings the message to a new generation with a gentle, entertaining way of communicating in her own style. She is also the author of Dating Vegans.
Part II: Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Mr. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He does over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and other nationally syndicated radio shows, as well as top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Dallas, plus regional broadcasts. Jeff’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online. Stier has testified at FDA scientific meetings, met with members of Congress and their staff about science policy, and has submitted testimony to state government legislative hearings. Mr. Stier worked both in the office of the Mayor and in Corporation Counsel’s office in the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier is Chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Mr. Stier served two terms as Editor-In-Chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.
Part III: Friedrich Mülln, Factory Farm Investigations.
Friedrich Mülln has been documenting factory farms for almost twenty years. His main field of action are investigations and data research into the animal industry. In the course of his work he published countless investigations in all the major media in Germany. His most prominent and well known accomplishment so far is the 2003 investigation into Covance Life Science in Münster (Germany) where he worked as an animal technician for 4½ months. He had been working as a campaigner against foie gras and live-plucking for almost a decade before he founded his own organization in early 2013. Since that time SOKO Tierschutz has been gaining major media attention and support from people due to successful campaigns (mink oil campaign in 2013 and foie gras campaign in 2014) and groundbreaking investigations. The philosophy of the organization is to battle the animal industry by thorough research and investigation, close cooperation with the media, and changing consumer behavior.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food, here on July 22nd 2014, and I thought day here in New York. Really nice. I’m really starting to appreciate the heat. I know some people can’t handle the heat, and I’ve been in that situation from time to time, but I’m handling the heat a lot better these days and I’m happy about that. There’s something very cleansing. I think when we’re in the heat I’d like to sit on my terrace in the morning and just sweat. It feels great. It feels really cleansing and I like to think it’s good for you as long as you keep hydrating, right? We have to keep hydrating and keep that water in and because we’re losing a lot, so if you’re thinking you’re not feeling exactly right have a drink of water, a drink of clean water. In fact, I could use a little right now and I don’t… Practice what you preach, Caryn. Well, let’s bring on my first guest, we’ve got a few guests on the show today. It’s going to be a very interesting and varied program, I’m looking forward to it. My first guest is Anne Dinshah and she has a new book, Powerful Vegan Messages. She co-authored the book with her late father, American Vegan Society founder H. Jay Dinshah. Now, Jay spearheaded the modern vegan movement in America, influencing many people with his message of dynamic harmlessness today and brings the message to a new generation with a gentle, entertaining way of communicating in her own style. She’s also the author of Dating Vegans. We had her on the show to talk about that book a while ago. Hi Anne, welcome to It’s All About Food.
Anne Dinshah: Hi Caryn, I had to drink a water right before we start our conversation.
Caryn Hartglass: You’re smarter than me. I’ve got a head of kale here I could chomp on, but I forgot to bring water into the studio, but I think I am okay. Anyway, how are you, how’s Clint, how’s your mom?
Anne Dinshah: I’m great, everybody is doing well. Clint and I just played a little tennis outside in the yard before it was time to come in and talk with you.
Caryn Hartglass: And how old is he now?
Anne Dinshah: He’s 3 and a half.
Caryn Hartglass: You know I don’t believe that he just three, he just looks and sounds so beyond his years.
Anne Dinshah: He is. He really does a lot with helping me and people don’t believe how much he really inspires me, comes up with some of the most witty amazing things that I know someone that is, just the thing that I taught him, but he puts it in his own words, and he’ll come up with things, like why we shouldn’t eat animals, because the animals deserve to have fun, animals want to do fun things. And that’s not quite the way that I phrased it to him, but he just put it so simply that he is a big reason why I had to work with my dad, old writing and repackage them for days because I think people really are receptive to veganism and they just need to hear from some different voices.
Caryn Hartglass: Well I want to say that many of us who knew your father are so grateful to him and you can tell by some of the stories and writings in this book, you had other people submit essays and stories about your dad and he touches many of us and it was a huge shock. I’ll never forget it in 2000 when he passed. I’m sure it was a great shock to you and your family, but the vegan world was profoundly moved and saddened, but his work lives on and it lives on in you and I’m grateful for that.
Anne Dinshah: Thank you, thank you. It’s one of the things that I think we can all learn from. There were so many people that came forward with stories found in the past fourteen years that I don’t know if they would have shared their stories with me yet, if my dad was still here, unfortunately, but because somebody’s gone then people really want to remember and they want to share; help get in touch with his life and message and you know, when enough time has passed, I felt that it was right and bring forward his writing again and have a better tribute to him so the book ‘s officer tells his biography and along the way we make everything applicable to today’s world and bring out to date. So it was a lot of fun, a lot more than I thought it would be. I thought “I don’t get ten people want to write stories”, but I have to stop when I had over forty stories. But it’s been wonderful listening to how everybody’s been not just inspired to become vegan but there’s so many people who really do great advocacy work, spreading the vegan message informing people in gentle ways and, so that’s really what I wanted to get across is the ripple effect of our actions, not just for my dad, but all these other people who are now doing such good work and how they are regular people like you and me and they decided that this was what they need to learn about and they made a commitment to learning about it and came up with ways to make changes.
Caryn Hartglass: Now there are… I want to say this: there are many, many more organizations all over the world right now that are promoting a similar message to your organization and then putting different spins on them and I found that in activism even when the message is peace and compassion would get a lot of anger and would get a lot of judgment and I never got that from the American being in society. There was always this very loving, peaceful calm, quiet character. I know your mom Freya has it and I’m sure your dad was, the part that in his writings definitely have it. That’s very unique and very special.
Anne Dinshah: Thank you. We would like to thank the  organization with the name America Vegan Society and we want to be very inclusive of people, very welcoming of people and as far as having other organizations promoting veganism. I think that’s great. You often need to hear about things from three different sources before you believe things, and so if you hear about it from often you hear about it from someone else. That’s terrific. We want everybody to learn about veganism in whatever way they can. My dad was beginning to promote it in his country; they really don’t love everyone going around telling about veganism and he was considered a prank and, he said “Hey, you need a prank to get things started”, and he was okay with that. I’m really the girl next door. I would not have been comfortable in a prank. I just enjoy hanging out with my friends and being a normal citizen, and oh yeah, I happen to be vegan. So do you want to come over for dinner, frankly there are a lot of simple ways that people can do different things. I encouraged people to get out there looking to do three things. If you’re already vegan do three things to encourage other people. And if you’re not vegan but if you’re curious about it then learn about it in three different ways. Whether you’re reading a book or going on an adventure, listening to a show, whatever it is, get three really good sources of this information.
Caryn Hartglass: What is dynamic harmlessness? It sounds really good.
Anne Dinshah: Dynamic harmlessness was the way that my dad explained himself. It is a Sanskrit word that means non-harming but he felt that really doesn’t say enough because you need to go and do the least harm and the most good with your actions. So if you sit in a cave and do absolutely nothing you might be practicing but you’re really benefiting the world. So my dad was very inspired by people like Gandhi, who really advocated to go out and do some good to the world so quickly in a nut shell, dynamic harmlessness is the faith my dad promoted that means do the least harm and the most good.
Caryn Hartglass: Now in this book you have this fun thing in the beginning and the end where you let us listen in. It was written, of course, but it felt like we were there through conversation you’re having with the Robbins family, the Campbell family, the  family and all your four families are really the new dynasty of the plant-based movement and it’s so lovely to see it continuing through the generations that this event really happened?
Anne Dinshah: It’s based on actual interviews. I wish we all had time to come together and do things.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to be there at the party.
Anne Dinshah: That’s the point, I want the readers to be there, no one should feel like you’re there, but it is actual interview, actual conversation and we all had a great time writing it together and so what we really wanted to get across is it does take many different voices promoting a common message and our common message is: you don’t have to eat animal; you can eat plants and it’s better for your health. It’s better for the environment; it is better for the animals and so three families all have very different ways of presenting pretty similar material. We’re not going to agree on every tiny thing, but that’s okay. The fact that we can all sit in a virtual room together and enjoy a great dinner and talk about how we need to continue to encourage and support each other and that was the thing we’re trying to accomplish. As for me, that was the part that was very important because I really wrestle with my role of how to continue what my parents is guarded and these people just need it very crystal clear to me. Look, we need to be going to hang out with them and know them and it is just a truly wonderful experience.
Caryn Hartglass: Sorry about that, I just got unplugged. And now I’m plugged again. What I wanted to talk a little bit more about is common ground, so you were talking about how you did not have to agree with everybody on… and with the Robinson, the Campbell, the , but you do agree on many, many things, and that’s where we need to focus even with people who completely disagree with what we think and I’m going to beginning into that. The next part of the program, but common ground is really important because I do believe that all of us want the same things, clean air, clean water, nutritious food for families and we need to focus on those things and then find ways to optimize those simple things that we want and need.
Anne Dinshah: Powerful vegan messages definitely encourages people to find common ground and find something that you like doing with someone now, before you try and share with them a vegan meal and so we try to get a lot of ideas from all different people of how you can gently do some vegan advocacy and you’re not going to win anybody over by hitting them over the head with the thought. You know, talking with them a little bit. And delicious food. It’s all about food right? But just talk with them a little bit and share with them the things that work for you and that is part of why, my voice come through a little bit because my dad was not the one who would have a dinner party at hand, but he’d put on a confront and have hundreds of people and share a dinner with them. I’m more of a type who would reach up to my friends and throw it in her party, and that’s something that people response really warmly to, especially if I ask them ahead of time what their favorite foods are and I try to make it something that they would definitely enjoy, not be fearful of the fun only vegan I know.
Caryn Hartglass: The think that was really important about the American Vegan Society back in the sixties when it was founded – there was no Internet and what was amazing reading about it and I know I experience myself was that we, those of us who were coming to this realization about where our food came from and where we wanted our food to come from and what we didn’t want to happen. We found each other. We found all the like-minded people, not only in this country but around the world and your father was so important in making that happen and it is so easy to feel alone and you know, sometimes when you have ideas that nobody else is thinking about, you question, am I crazy. And then you find other people who feel the same way and there’s that strength in numbers. I know your father was so important in making that happen pre Internet. It just blows my mind how we do anything before the Internet, before smart phones.
Anne Dinshah: That was the part that I really didn’t know so much about him. I know about his writings. I had seen the book in Ghana with him as you know, when he traveled around doing lectures, words,… I visited places and heard him speak. So I knew about that aspect of his life and his work but what I really didn’t know is how much you reach what he encouraged people, amazing people who shared their stories like Victoria Moran who said that he never gave up on her and now look at the amazing things in the amazing books that she does.
Caryn Hartglass: Exactly.
Anne Dinshah: Vegan academy. If my dad would have given up on someone like that, she might not be accomplishing the things that she does today and I was amazed how many people came forward with the kind of stories. That was really the most important thing that he did was that he was always very welcoming to people wherever they were along the vegan journey. Whether they were vegan yet or not it did not matter. As long as they were interested, he was interested in them.
Caryn Hartglass: Now another thing about the American Vegan Society is you’re clearly not profit motivated and I’m a life member and I am happily a life member and I only became a life member, because it was affordable. There are many life memberships that are not very affordable for regular people, and I don’t know, I don’t know how you have managed all this time because everything is very reasonable. You have an incredible library of like every book ever written on the subject.
Anne Dinshah: Thank you. We do rely a lot on people ‘s generous donations and we’re working on revamping our website so it is a little more user-friendly but you can go to americanvegan.org to get a good idea the type of information that we have available and also a few organizations that you can call and actually get a real person, frequently I’m not going to promise all the time, but we definitely have always had a lot of interaction with the people directly who want information.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay so what’s next for the American Vegan Society?
Anne Dinshah: Next we’re launching a new campaign “Vegan generations to the third power” which has sprung out of the “Powerful Vegan Messages” and I mentioned a little bit about it earlier, but the campaign is encouraging everybody. It doesn’t matter what your age is to be part of the vegan generation and we encourage people to do three actions. So if you are curious about veganism, learn about it from three sources, and if you’re already vegan find three good ways to reach out to people like lend them the vegan books that are on your shelf, invite them to dinner, take them shopping, help them understand what vegan things are on the grocery shelves and just make it easier for people to feel a very welcoming ambassador. So we’re about to launch that as our new campaign and we’re going to be, we’ve got all sources of way on our website coming up that we can make it easier for people to become involved, you don’t have to do a lot if you are not the person who’s going to get on stage or read a book and has radiation. We try to get other ways that people can get involved,
Caryn Hartglass: You know, taking somebody to a grocery store, a guided shopping tour is such a great thing to do and people don’t even probably realize it, but most people when they go into a supermarket they go to specific places to get the food they’re familiar with; when I’m in a grocery store, I don’t even go down most aisles because there is absolutely nothing that I want, in most aisles of the grocery store, but to point out all kinds of nutritious, healthy foods that people either don’t see or aren’t aware of, don’t know what to do with. If I spend more than five minutes in a grocery store, I’m always talking to somebody. I always hear a question, and I’m always ready with the answer, most of the time the answer is kale, but guided shopping tours are great so I’m glad you are encouraging that.
Anne Dinshah: Yeah, and they can be fun too. I like to make games out of it like when I go shopping with Clint, and I ask him if he can find a certain vegetable first before I can, and if I go shopping with someone who can read already I asked them to pick out a product, because a lot of people need a transition food from the packaged vegan products that looked a bit more like the meat or the cheese and we’ll turn around the package read it to see whether it is vegan, and nowadays you can cheat on the game because so many of them are marked vegan. Back in the old days you would have to turn around the label and read through it so you could tell whether it was vegan or not, so I try to make it fun and enjoyable, I need some for myself, I’ve always been a vegan shopper, but I tried to find one thing that is new and exciting that I haven’t tried before so I think I’m encouraging the vegan companies to keep making these products then I have an opinion that I can share with other people who are really looking for this transition food that are vegan, but might be packaged to look like something else.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m glad to have you out there and I wish you all the best with “Powerful Vegan Messages” and for continuing the American Vegan Society legacy. I look forward to seeing you at the next veggie pride parade.
Anne Dinshah: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: And take care. Bye bye.
Transcribed by Michele Le, 7/25/2014
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food here on July 22, 2014. All right, let’s move to the second part of the program. I’m really looking forward to this. We have one really brave person here in the studio. No, we have two brave people here in the studio. My next guest is Jeff Stier. He’s a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, DC and has its risk analysis division. He’s a frequent guest on CNBC and has addressed health policies on CNN Fox News Channel and [:35] NBC as well as network newscasts. A whole lot more. He’s got a law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and he’s the Chairman of the Board of the Jewish International Connection in New York. We’re going to be talking about a recent happening at the USDA. Welcome to It’s All About Food. Thanks for joining me Jeff.
Jeff Stier: Great to be with you Caryn.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, So. Now, your organization, The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank and you’re here at the Progressive Radio Network.
Jeff Stier: One of the good things about it is that when I give talks at conservative radio talk shows I have to come in wearing a suit, so it’s nice to be dressed more comfortably.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. Especially on a hot day like today. So. Well, we appreciate you dressing appropriately.
Jeff Stier: Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: So, what’s on your mind, Jeff?
Jeff Stier: I’ve been watching carefully what the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been doing as part of the dietary guidelines for Americans which as you know, is the Federal advice on nutrition on how we ought to eat. I think that advice ought to be…Congress says that the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services have to develop these recommendations and revise them every five years like they’re doing for 2015. Has to be providing good science and nutrition information, has to be based on health. And what the USDA I believe has been doing is shifting that debate…shifting the recommendations and the process about those recommendations to things other than nutrition which is statutorily what is required. And those types of things include things like sustainability. Things like Fair Trade coffee. Things like eating less meat, or if you are going to eat meat it should be free-range, grass-eating meat. So, I think the issue here is what is the basis for the USDA’s recommendation? Is it nutrition or is it some other agenda? I think you and I might agree that it should be based on nutrition. That’s what Congress said. If you want to argue about whether meat is sustainable or not, or whether we ought to be drinking fair-trade coffee, we can have that conversation. But the debate here and the conversation here is about whether advancing those agendas, as I believe the USDA has been doing is consistent with the law.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, the USDA has an interesting situation. It almost has a conflict of interest with itself where it’s responsible for nutrition but it’s also responsible for promoting agriculture. Sometimes those are not in sync with each other especially when it comes to the dairy industry when we learn that saturated fats aren’t healthy and then they start giving benefits to the dairy industry to promote their cheese and at the same time they tell us to eat less cheese. So there have been some conflicts of interest. And also, for a long time the people that have been on the dietary guidelines committee have come from the meat industry, the sugar industry, the dairy industry, and so those people are bringing their agenda to the table and not necessarily the best in science.
Jeff Stier: So, Caryn, give me an example how the USDA may not be using the best science to advance nutrition. I’ll give you an example from my perspective which I think many of your listeners may disagree with, but I think it may help you understand where I’m coming from on this particular issue. One of the conflicts of interest that I believe the USDA has is because part of its mission is to promote agriculture. The USDA spends a lot of tax dollar money encouraging people to eat organic food.
Caryn Hartglass: Not enough in my opinion.
Jeff Stier: Fair enough. But to push people….to move people to eating more organic food. I believe that the public health goal, based on the science that we know today, to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables and all the science we have so far suggests that the people who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to live longer lives. The data that I’m basing that on is based on 30, 40, 50 years. and that’s when people were shopping in the supermarkets, not at Whole Foods Markets. This is based on traditional agriculture.
Caryn Hartglass: Sure, but prior to World War II we didn’t need organic food, because we didn’t use pesticides and herbicides.
Jeff Stier: I think you’ll find that the foods that we’ve been eating for the last 50 years…the people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer and healthier lives. I think if we can agree and make some common ground, people eat more fruits and vegetables. Then we can have a discussion about the latest organic industry-funded study that said organic food is healthier. We can have those conversations, but I think we can agree that people who eat more fruits and vegetables, generally speaking, not just organic, tend to live longer and healthier lives. That is kind of a common ground in nutrition advice. Once we’ve got that from a….I know that progressives don’t always think like economists so that leads to poor communications, but from an economic perspective, the public health goal is to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables. People will eat more fruits and vegetables if those products come at a lower, not a higher price. Organic food across the board, maybe you could sight an exception, tends to be higher priced. So if that’s the case, if conventionally grown produce is less expensive and people eat more foods that are less expensive…we talk about how chips are cheap and vegetables are expensive, my goal from a public health perspective, as someone who thinks like an economist and has an understanding of agriculture, is across the board we should be encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables. The most effective way to do that is to encourage them to eat the fruits and vegetables that are less expensive. And the USDA by advancing an organic agenda is actually working at cross purposes with the public health goal of getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Caryn Hartglass: So, Angela Tagtow was appointed recently to work on a committee with the USDA and you were against her appointment. I think she would agree that we want our country to eat more fruits and vegetables. But a couple of things…
Jeff Stier: I’ll disagree with you there actually. What she would want…and she was not appointed to an USDA committee she was actually appointed to be the executive director of the division at the USDA whose job it is to implement the dietary guidelines. And there’s been this kind of a debate over “Where are the dietary guidelines going?” There’s an advisory committee that just had its fourth set of meetings last week. There’s been a lot of talk about sustainability and some of those issues about how we ought to eat to affect climate change is a part of that. I and others have criticized the dietary guidelines advisory committee which is not the policy-making group, but they issue recommendations. I’ve criticized them for focusing on sustainability rather than nutrition. The USDA responded to that criticism and said that criticism is premature because we haven’t written policy yet. But now the USDA is essentially doubling down by appointing Angela Tagtow to the position as the USDA executive director of the department whose job it is to implement those new dietary guidelines. Her background is quite clear. She is an (and this is her own definition) an environmental nutritionist.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. The last time I looked at where our food came from, it came from plants that grow in the soil take in the carbon dioxide that is put out into the atmosphere, they give off oxygen and those plants are either fed directly to people as food or they’re fed to animals and then people eat the animals. That’s plants growing in our environment and our current method of industrial plant agriculture is devastating on our environment. We’ve got soil degradation; we’re losing topsoil. Industrial agriculture would not take place if we didn’t have petrol chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. This is not an infinite resource. We know what’s related to petrol chemicals. It’s a limited resource. It’s going to become more expensive and it’s devastating to the environment because of the greenhouses gases that they ultimately put out into the atmosphere. So using agriculture that’s based on petrol chemicals is not sustainable. Now, what we need to be doing is nourishing our soil and the only way to really do that is with a nature-based, organic production of plants that is not based on petrol chemicals. It’s based on planting plants that help each other, don’t fight against each other. Not this extensive mono-cropping and growing primarily foods to feed animals to feed people which is really, really inefficient. So, if we would focus, and I don’t think the USDA is really putting a lot of money into promoting organic agriculture. They’re promoting more meat and dairy and sugar and all the things that aren’t really healthy for us today. I’d love to see them promoting more organic agriculture. It’s quite simple that if we would focus more on plant foods, and if we get into economics of it, right now industrial agriculture really supports a very small amount of people growing what they consider efficient (and I’m using air quotes when I say efficient) because they’re growing a lot of the same foods (a lot of it to feed animals to feed people which isn’t efficient) and they’re doing it with a lot of high tech equipment (ah, that’s wonderful) but it’s not sustainable and we won’t be able to grow food, nutritious or otherwise, if we continue in this method.
Jeff Stier: So, I’ve got a surprise to you. I’m actually an environmentalist. I love hiking and…
Caryn Hartglass: Are you a vegan?
Jeff Stier: I love….
Caryn Hartglas: Are you a vegan?
Jeff Stier: I love eating vegetables.
Caryn Hartglass: No, but are you a vegan?
Jeff Stier: I’ve got a VitaMix.
Caryn Hartglass: Are you a vegan? Say yes or no. The answer is yes or no. You are a lawyer.
Jeff Stier: I love red meat.
Caryn Hartglass: So you’re not a vegan.
Jeff Stier: No, absolutely not.
Caryn Hartglass: So, I think anybody that says they’re an environmentalist, if they’re not a vegan, they’re not really an environmentalist. But you continue.
Jeff Stier: So we have kind of a different view. Kind of at the crux of your argument is this two ways of looking at the world and it goes back for many years and that is we’re running out of resources and we ought to just hunker down. There are probably too many people that are eating too much food or there’s kind of this more I think optimistic view of abundance. I would say that one of my mentors was a man named Dr. Norman Borlaug. Dr Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize for developing the Green Revolution.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, that.
Jeff Stier: And I would imagine that people like Dr. Borlaug, in your view, are people who destroyed the earth, who caused more people to eat more food which is bad because it’s bad for the earth. My view is that we live in a world with more and more people. The world is not getting any bigger. The one resource that is not growing is the size of the earth. the question is how do we use that earth most efficiently to provide for people. And before Dr. Borlaug passed away, he encouraged me (I’ll always remember this) to continue fighting for the safe and efficient use of technology that will improve the human condition. And that’s what I do every day. We may have different approaches to how to feed people. I can understand why…and I heard your arguments…it might sound like a good idea to just have everybody eating natural foods that grow out in nature. We’ll just pick them without disturbing the earth. And that sounds good. But in the world we live in today where the population is only going to grow unless you’re going to establish some population controls, I think we ought to make the best use of the resources we have to grow, what I believe, sustainable food to give people the nutrition that they need, and I’ve got to say, in ways that they
enjoy which can appropriately. A lot of cultures use meat in their diet, and I think that’s appropriate. I’m a fan of Temple Grandin. I think we ought to farm efficiently. I think we ought to farm humanely. But I don’t think it is necessary to cut out food.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, there a couple of things…when you’re talking about farming efficiently, one is, “Who is benefitting from that efficiency?” We see more and more small family farmers going out of business because they cannot compete with the giant agri-business. And there are a lot of places that call themselves family farms and they are not family farms. They’re big businesses. I believe we need to get away from the big businesses. The efficiency is not really efficient. It’s efficient for a small few to make a lot of money. Sometimes we have to put efficiency aside. If we can improve the economy by putting more people to work and more people actually farming, looking at their food, looking at their produce, knowing when there are bugs around that they can actually take care of without pouring tons of toxic herbicides and pesticides into the ground.
Jeff Stier: I got to disagree with that.
Caryn Hartglass: People are doing it and doing it well and yielding well. If we weren’t eating so much meat, we’d have a lot of land left over to be maybe less efficient, but we could also put our technology toward making organic plant production more efficient.
Jeff Stier: Caryn, it’s called Integrated Pest Management. I’m not in favor of recklessly pouring chemicals onto the earth to kill everything. I believe in Integrated Pest Management which includes the safe use of pesticides.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, I don’t know if there is a safe use, but…
Jeff Stier: I’m just trying to draw attention to some of the rhetoric that is used talking about pouring killer chemicals on food, when in fact I think responsible farmers are trying to get the most out of their land efficiently to supply healthy foods to their customers so that those farms, whether they’re family farms or big business, I think all of those farms ought to be sustainably efficient by using technology appropriately.
Caryn Hartglass: I love technology, but I don’t like damaging the planet and I really think that is the direction we’re going in. It’s really dangerous because it’s polluting our air, polluting our water, causing climate change. We need some dramatic action and I’m actually glad that they’re considering the environment when they’re considering nutrition, because the two go hand in hand.
Jeff Stier: Is it possible in your almost hypothetical world view to actually have food that’s unhealthy that’s good for the environment. Or conversely, to have healthy food that’s bad for the environment.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, I think that organic plant production is really an ideal situation because it puts out negligible greenhouse gases and even conventional plant production causes a certain amount of greenhouse gases because of the petrol chemicals that it uses. I believe that we can have a balance in our environment. Of course, it’s to be seen but if we’re working towards organic plants, I think we could be really gentle on the environment.
Jeff Stier: We’re going to have to cut down a lot of trees to do that.
Caryn Hartglass: We’ve really gone overtime and we really need to stop, but I don’t agree with that at all. We have plowed so many trees today in order to allow for grazing, allow for growing food to feed animals to feed people. We would need to grow a lot less food if we were growing it to just feed people. That’s where the animals (other than the fact that I believe in Thou shalt not kill and we shouldn’t be killing animals and certainly not intensifying by putting them in these factory farms) but we would have a lot more land for wildlife preservation, for growing organic food if we weren’t growing food to feed animals to feed people. It’s very simple. So, Jeff we need to continue this conversation, because I’ve got another guest coming on.
Jeff Stier: That was fun. Thank you.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, thanks for coming and thanks for being so brave.
Jeff Stier: My pleasure.
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s take a quick break and we’ll be back with Frederic Mülln. We’re going to talk about what’s going on in Germany with factory farm investigations.
Transcribed by Sharon Engel 9/3/2014
TRANSCRIPTION PART III:
Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody, we are back! Just laughing, listening to the last commercial, “Organic Gluten Free Satire.” I like that! All right we are also organic here at It’s All About Food and I want to bring on my last guest. I am very happy that we are able to connect with Friedrich Mülln! He’s been documenting factory farms for almost 20 years! His main fields of action are investigations and data research into the animal industry. In the course of his work, he published countless investigations in all the major media in Germany. His most prominent and well known accomplishment so far is the 2003 investigation into Covance Life Science in Münster, Germany, where he worked as an animal technician for four and a half months. He’s been working as a campaigner against foie gras and life-plucking for almost a decade before he founded his own organization in early 2013, SOKO Tierschutz, which has been gaining major media attention and support from people due to successful campaigns like the Mink Oil campaign, foie gras campaign, and groundbreaking investigations. Welcome Friedrich to It’s All About Food!
Friedrich Mülln: Hello!
Caryn Hartglass: Hello Friedrich! I’m so happy that we were able to connect!
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, and the connection sometimes is a little bit weak but let’s try it out!
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s try! You are very brave!
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, thank you!
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, so you’ve done factory farm investigations. Tell me, what was it like working as an animal technician for Covance Life Science?
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, this was unfortunately I think a unique experience because no laboratory ever let me into this place but it was shocking, but fascinating too, how these people worked in this absolutely isolated work of animal testing. Sometimes it felt like a religious sects where they just think of some belief that animal testing works and are just absolutely isolated from everything around.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I don’t know how you could work that way and knowing how you feel and seeing what they were doing for so long, very brave!
Friedrich Mülln: It’s really hard because if you see a Macaque monkey being restrained on the ground and the animal is shouting and struggling and bleeding and being pierced in the arm it’s unbelievable!
Caryn Hartglass: So tell me what’s going on with factory farms in Germany today.
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, Germany is still one of the big countries in the world. We’ve got factory farming. We sometimes even think of farms in the US but there’s a lot of progress because there is not only a lot of undercover investigations, like from our group, but a lot of normal people are waking up and changing how they are eating, how they are living, and it’s just a big protest of normal people and that’s a big progress.
Caryn Hartglass: What is a Mink Oil Campaign?
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, I was questioning the same when I heard of it… I was working for so many years in animal rights and… I found out that, yeah, the dead corpses from the Minks…
Caryn Hartglass: Friedrich you are kind of coming in and out, keep going!
Friedrich Mülln: So, the oil is used for cosmetics and we exposed this that the people that maybe never will buy Mink Coats are putting this stuff into their hair and this was a big exposure that resulted in stopping the oil sale of Mink Oil in all of Germany retails.
Caryn Hartglass: I did not know that Mink Oil was used in cosmetics and hair products! Does it say it in the list of ingredients or is it called something else?
Friedrich Mülln: It’s called Mustela Oil, for example, from the Latin name of the Mink and if you see Mustela Oil it sounds like a nut, not the fat from a skinned bloody Mink.
Caryn Hartglass: Now is this a byproduct from the fur industry?
Friedrich Mülln: It’s a byproduct. People will say byproducts but money from the Mink industry, especially the United States, is made with Mink Oil. It’s relevant and it’s in high times when the fur industry is in high times. This profit they make is from Mink Oil.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay so what did your Mink Oil campaign consist of?
Friedrich Mülln: It’s pretty easy! Like the most work of SOKO Tierschutz which means, SOKO: animal welfare, but actually we are an animal rights group and we just inform the people. We look for targets that are new for topics that are fresh, sometimes ignored by all the animal groups, and then we just give it to the media and we talk with people. In the most cases, like Mink Oil, it’s pretty quickly to solve it.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow, so the media is friendly to your information?
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, they changed then. The last years twenty years ago there were about 14 view reports on animal issues a year. Now SOKO Tierschutz now has about 40 reports a year in Germany. So they are not friendly but they are very interested and if we get really good facts they make good reports
Caryn Hartglass: Great, and what about foie gras? I know here in the United States we had two companies that were making foie gras and we had big anti- foie gras campaign a few years ago to change some regulations. Is foie gras made in Germany?
Friedrich Mülln: No, it was made many many decades ago but it’s already banned for about 20 years, like it’s banned in most countries of the European Union but unfortunately we have France, Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain and these are the foie gras producers in the world.
Caryn Hartglass: So, you import foie gras?
Friedrich Mülln: Yes, it’s a typical German thing. You’re not allowed to do it in your own country but you can just buy it from abroad, which is strange.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s the human way I think! We always look for ways around to get what we want!
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah we have the problem at the moment where one of our longest…
Caryn Hartglass: Okay Friedrich I’m going to ask you to just repeat everything you have just said because I didn’t hear it.
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah obviously the German.. the internet is really bad!
Caryn Hartglass: Haha well maybe it’s our side or maybe it’s the weather, but just start again!
Friedrich Mülln: I was just saying that most people create some kind of comfort in their brain, the milk from a nice source, from a family farmer, from the butcher next door but this was the same like with foie gras and the people just make a sense of comfort and ignore the truth.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, ignoring the truth! Well, alright so we’ve got mink oil, we have foie gras, are people in Germany eating more meat or less meat these days. Germans have always been big meat-eaters like Americans!
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, I know this from my past because my father was a meat trader and was a really important thing in my life until I turned thirteen and became vegan. The meat consumption is decreasing. This is already a big landmark and this makes the industry really panicky at the moment.
Caryn Hartglass: Good! So it’s not increasing, that’s good!
Friedrich Mülln: It’s decreasing.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, how did your father feel about you becoming a vegan?
Friedrich Mülln: Oh he was quite open to it surprisingly because he really knew what was going on in the meat business, he knew about all this dirty stuff going on. He said “okay, if this is your decision I will support it” and he me bought me my first night vision device when I was 14.
Caryn Hartglass: Nice! Now the raising of animals for food is devastating on the environment for many different reasons. We’ve got piles of maneuver that aren’t treated properly. We are using a lot of water and the fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides going into the water are affecting the quality of water. There are a lot of bad things about animal agriculture. Is it the same where you are?
Friedrich Mülln: I would say it’s the same. Not that drastic, sometimes I’ve been in the US and I’ve seen how the people for example deal with corpses of animals just dumping them behind the farms or whatever. This is not that easy in Germany, especially because it’s a small country compared to the US but in the whole it’s the same. Our water is spoiled, our air is dirty because of all these gasses from the farms and yeah, we have the same problems. Fortunately the political way of dealing with it, are far more progressed than in the US I think.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I see that all the time and I am excited when I see things that are happening and you are banning certain things that I don’t believe in and then disappointed when I see something get pushed through that shouldn’t be allowed. But, the European community is definitely a leader in environmental regulation and animal welfare regulation.
Friedrich Mülln: Yes and no. If I look at for example all these factory farms at the foie gras production, the black hole of animal testing with no regulations at all, ruling this dirty business. The European Union for sure has good sides but at the end a lot of lobbying groups are manipulating the politicians here and are paying a lot of money that everything is getting like it got in the last years.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay let’s talk about animal testing. I know that the European Union passed a law, I think it was last year, where animal testing wasn’t allowed anymore on cosmetics.
Friedrich Mülln: Stuff was done, yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Is that happening or are people getting around it?
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, anyway tests were set that animal testing for cosmetics is a really really small part of the whole animal testing industry, so it’s sometimes a tactic we see that they ban something really small just to get rid of all the protesters and of course companies can go to abroad out of the European Union to countries of eastern Europe or Russia or Asia and do the business there It’s really really difficult to control this. In the whole European Union there are only five or ten people for controls of farms for example. This is ridiculous.
Caryn Hartglass: So the big animal testing today is for drugs, pharmaceuticals.
Friedrich Mülln: Yes, pharmaceuticals, chemical, bio-chemical industry, this is a big business. There are even more test for cigarettes than for cosmetics so.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh really? Oh goodness. Yeah, we’ve seen some public service ads showing animals smoking to show how ridiculous it is to test smoking on animals. We know it’s bad for them and us. They don’t want to smoke!
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, of course, beagles don’t want to smoke, monkeys don’t want to smoke, but actually it’s not the cigarette industry doing the test, it’s the pharmaceuticals and government health industry again that are trying to solve all the problems created by smoking. So even if you smoke one of these alternative brands, it doesn’t prevent the huge animal testing because the huge animal testing is done by only one reason because smoking creates cancer and a lot of companies are looking for getting money by helping to solve the cancer problem created by smoking.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh so I imagine the new E-Cigarettes are probably being tested on animals.
Friedrich Mülln: I’m quite sure because a lot of chemical substances are inside and here again not only the cigarette industry is doing this or the industry by the E-cigarettes, but the government facilities proximity testing. Everything has to be tested if it’s dangerous or not and we have this huge reach program in the European Union testing all chemicals again it’s killing millions of animals.
Caryn Hartglass: Alright, let’s lighten up in the last few minutes and tell me about the wonderful foods you have in Germany that are vegan and the vegan products that are coming out. Clothing and shoes, what have you got going on there?
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, I’m really proud honestly on Germany in this aspect because we have some of the world leaders of vegan meat substitutes we just had a big action on a festival promoting vegan barbecue stuff and it was so amazing that meat eaters came there and said “oh that’s fantastic” and some of the people converted…I don’t want to use this world, but immediately saying ‘I don’t want to eat meat anymore if the substitutes are so tasty’. The same is happening with yogurt, we have a really good new cheese now and this makes the biggest breakthrough because we are winning this conflict of course with the media with exposure. At the end we are winning this conflict on the table.
Caryn Hartglass: Is there are a vegan white sausage?
Friedrich Mülln: There’s a vegan white sausage and actually it’s quite good. I still can remember from my childhood how this barbarian typical sausage tastes and also this one and the great thing is that veganism is now a really great issue in Germany. If you go to a bookstore, the first thing you see is a pyramid of vegan cookbooks and 20 years back this was something like a dream. I would never think that will happen.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah well I lived in Europe in the early 90′s. I lived in the South of France and I traveled to Munich quite often and I was appreciative of a number of things. One is you have the great reform houses where I could get my soy milk and my vegetarian products, and I’ve found in the restaurants it seemed easier there than in other European countries to explain to people what I wanted to eat and to eat vegan.
Friedrich Mülln: Yes, sometimes I still get a really strange face from the people but if I compare it 20 years ago the people didn’t get it if. I said “I’m vegan” the people would think I had some kind of sickness or whatever. Today they say “Oh you’re vegan we have some options available” or the people say “Oh, I’m vegan too!” This is happening today so I’m optimistic and I think if we go on with frequently showing the truth and advertising for good alternatives how rich vegan diet is and what a great stuff for the nature and for your own body, than we will succeed. Even the multi-billion industry has no chance at all. I am more optimistic than ever!
Caryn Hartglass: Oh I love that and I believe in it too! Friedrich thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food I look forward to visiting Germany and trying some white vegan sausage very soon!
Friedrich Mülln: You’re welcome. I am only 50 kilometers from Oktoberfest!
Caryn Hartglass: Oh great! And vegan beer!
Friedrich Mülln: Yeah, this is difficult because of gelatin and it’s cleared with gelatin but there is some vegan alcohol.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, there are some! Okay, thank you and be brave, keep continuing doing what you’re doing, I love it!
Friedrich Mülln: You’re welcome, sorry for the bad connection!
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well I understand you and that’s good! All right, that’s the end of this program. I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food and don’t forget my non-profit, responsible eating and living.com. We need your visits, we need to hear from you at info at realmeals.org and if you haven’t seen The Lone Vegan Preaching to the Fire yet what are you waiting for? It’s my 70-minute documentary and watch it, okay? And have a delicious week!
Transcribed by Cassandra Maldonado 9/12/2014