It’s not always easy being the only GWS Giants fan in all of Melbourne, but I feel sorrier for Essendon supporters at the moment. The team’s been fined $2 million, dropped out of the finals and their coach is suspended for 12 months. Why? The team’s former sports scientist, Stephen Dank, was mixing all kinds of stuff in the players’ supplement injections, not all of which was entirely legal.
When I looked into it, some of the ingredients in Essendon’s ‘enhancement’ cocktail gave me the heebie-jeebies. And I’m not the only one. Tim Watson, father of Essendon’s Jobe Watson, likened the bizarre supplements to "witch doctor stuff." Here’s just a few of the things that were being used to try and improve player’s performance:
Pig’s brain extract:
Known as cerebrolysin in the medical world, pig’s brain extract has been said to help treat Alzheimer’s, but it is not approved for human use. Dank said he injected players with the extract in order to increase alertness.
Now, I’m no expert, but I did have a Grandpa who suffered from short-term memory loss and just in case any sports scientists stumble across this blog I’d like to share his top tips for keeping his wits about him:
A swim first thing in the morning. Nothing like freezing cold water to make you more alert.
An apple second thing in the morning. (An apple a day keeps the witch doctor away.)
Gingko biloba – native Chinese plant used to enhance memory. Grandad swore by it.
30 minutes of skipping every day. (This might have been more to do with fitness but he certainly never forgot where he kept the skipping rope.)
Ginseng – Asian herb used to increase mental capacity.
Eucalyptus oil. (This was mainly used as a solution to every other ailment but one whiff of that stuff and you’re WIDE awake, trust me.)
All of these tips for staying alert are approved for human use. And none of them involve any animal fluids. Guess I should just sit back and wait for the job offers from AFL teams to come rolling in ...
Colostrum is the first milk a mother cow produces after her calf is born. It is very high in antibodies and protein. Why? To make superior AFL players of course! Oh wait ... sorry ... it’s actually to nourish the baby calf and help him grow big and strong. Unfortunately, in order for big burly AFL players to have this milk for babies', the calves have to go without. And sadly, calves lose much more than just their milk in the dairy industry.
There is some “flimsy evidence” that calf’s blood can help speed up recovery time for injured players. However, Essendon club doctor Bruce Reid (who described the club’s supplement practices as “ludicrous”) has said that “the recent opinion is that platelets and one’s own blood, probably does a better job.” This is not surprising since (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again) humans are not cows.
Unfortunately I do not have any suggestions for how to heal more quickly than the average human but this guy might know --> (Or maybe the secret is here.)
The worst thing about all of this is that not only have the Bombers been embroiled in a scandal -- and with devastating consequences -- but animals have been caught up in it too. Clearly, humans have recognised that animals have some pretty neat talents. But rather than admire these strengths, we’ve tried to take them for ourselves.
Did they start cutting open pig’s brains when they discovered they are very intelligent animals – smarter than 3 year old children? Did people start experimenting with calf’s blood when they learned that newborn calves have the strength to stand up within minutes of being born, something that takes human babies months to achieve?
The bottom line is that animals are being used to try to enhance the lives of humans but little thought is given to the needs and lives of the animals themselves. :( What ever happened to fair play?
What other contradictions do you see in the relationship between humans and animals?
It's official: I've got Olympic Fever (or rabies ... I'm waiting for the doc to call with the results)! To help get you in the spirit of the Games, I've put together an international dream team of vegan and vegetarian Olympic athletes. These athletes became stars for their sporting achievements and became heroes for their refusal to eat animals. Now let's introduce the team!
In track and field we have Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses - who have a combined 3 gold medals between them. Oh wait, did I say 3? I meant, 13!! That's right, these guys won more gold medals between the two of them then almost the entire Australian team at the 2008 Games. Moses also set the improbable record of winning 122 races in a row. He didn't lose a single race he started for 9 years, 9 months and 9 days!
Running middle distance is the Flying Finn, Paavo Nurmi who bagged 9 gold medals over three Games. Vegetarian since the age of 12, Paavo has set world records in distances ranging from 1500m all the way up to 20kms, and his 5 gold haul in one Olympics is a track record that still stands.
Over in the pool, we have an Aussie *whistle* *cheer* And not just any Aussie, but the one with the best nickname ever in international sport - Murray Rose ... the Seaweed Streak! Born and raised a vegan, Rose set an amazing 15 world records, and bagged 4 Olympic golds in his stellar career. He claimed very clearly in interviews that it was his vegan lifestyle that helped him achieve such great success.
You don't need to be an Olympian to feel the benefits of cutting meat from your meals, either. People often report fewer pimple problems and glowing skin after going veg; and those looking to shed a few excess kgs might be interested to know that vegetarians have an average body weight up to 20% lower than meat eaters! Even "armchair athletes" can reduce their chances of obesity, diabetes and strokes by being vegetarian (even more true for vegans)!
Keep your eyes open for compassionate competitors at the Games this year (Lizzie Armitstead is one, and she's already won a silver!), and enjoy the events. Check out some of the easy and tasty snacks you can make for in front of the telly here.
Sportswear giant Puma have scored some big points on the 'animal friendly' score board with news that it's considering giving leather the boot!
In an interview on the weekend, Puma's chairman, Jochen Zeitz said that given the environmental damage caused by raising cattle, "I think eventually we'll have to look at alternative materials, there's no question about it. We should eat less meat, all of us, and we should use less leather, I mean that's reality."
This move would save millions of animals from being abused and killed in the leather industry, not to mention cutting down on greenhouse gases and the toxic chemicals used to preserve dead cow's skin. Hopefully the other big shoe companies will come to the party soon too!
Luckily, Puma isn't the only one in the sporting world that is kicking out cruelty. From sports companies to sports teams ... Last year, the English football team, Forest Green Rovers lived up to the 'green' in their name and went vegetarian! The club announced that "on nutritional advice, it was decided to no longer feed our team red meat for health and performance reasons". But they didn't stop there: "If red meat was not good enough to feed our players, then it wasn't good enough for our staff, fans and visitors too". And so meat pies and hot-dogs were shown the red card, substituted by mushroom pies, polenta chips and felafel wraps.
I don't know if the new menu at the club can take all the credit, but the Rovers improved from 20th in 2011 to finish 10th in the 2012 season (after meat had been cut)! Even if the new menu can't take credit for all the points on the pitch, the players and fans can take heart in knowing that vegetarians are less likely to be obese or have high levels of artery clogging cholesterol, and enjoy a range of other health benefits - simply by choosing not to eat animals.
Ever go to the footy? What do you think of the food on offer at the games? (Apart from the fact that it's overpriced, I mean). What do you think they should be serving?
ps. When you've got a sec, please send Puma a supportive message to let them know that you think getting rid of leather would be a slam dunk for animals and the environment: firstname.lastname@example.org
And the story gets all the more intriguing/amusing... in a flirty twitter/YouTube conversation between the Old Spice Man and Alyssa Milano (also a vegetarian), Alyssa has challenged the Old Spice Man to donate $100,000 to wildlife rescue in the Gulf of Mexico oil clean up. Fingers crossed he mans up to the challenge!
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.