Viva! Says Plant-Based Diet Promotes Better Sex Life, But Nutrition Expert Says Not So Fast

In March, Viva! brought its campaign claiming that a vegetarian diet is key to a vigorous sex life to Scotland. The groups claimed that eating a vegetarian diet can prevent impotence and baldness, but a nutrition researcher suggested the group’s claims should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

Viva! director Juliet Gellatley told the Sunday Herald,

People are much more savvy now than they were 10 years ago. Over that time the medical evidence has become much stronger, not just that vegetarians lead a longer life, which they certainly do, but also that they lead a healthier life.

But Dr. Jane Scott, a professor of public health and nutrition at Glasgow University, told the Sunday Herald that the group was vastly overstating the evidence,

It’s hard to tease out the effect of diet as opposed to the other aspects of a person’s lifestyle. A lot of studies focus on cultures that don’t eat meat, but then they might not drink or smoke either, and this is quite important. . . . [And some conditions are largely genetic] The chances are, if your dad was bald, you will be bald too. As for claims that a vegetarian lifestyle cures impotence, I would be extremely dubious and would like to see some proper evidence.

Come on, proper evidence? How would that advance the vegetarian snake oil salesmen?


Forget Viagra . . . vegetables are key to a longer sex life. Paul Dalgarno, Sunday Herald, April 10, 2005.

BBC Claims More Foxes Killed After Hunt Ban In Scotland than Before

The BBC is reporting that the number of foxes killed by hunts in Scotland actually increased after the Scottish Parliament passed a ban on hunting with dogs.

The legal change in Scotland forbid huntsmen from using dogs to hunt down and kill foxes. Instead, they are only allowed to use dogs to flush out foxes who then have to be shot by hunters, and in any event only for pest control purposes.

According to the BBC, this change actually makes it more likely that foxes being hunted will be killed,

It’s claimed that since a ban came into force the hunts are killing more foxes, because the animals stand less chance of getting away from guns than they did from the hounds.

There’s also concern that in the past the younger, fitter, healthier foxes were the most likely to get away from the pack.

But now they’re the very ones most likely to break from cover first, which makes them more like to be shot.

Older or diseased animals may stay hidden and so escape. Hunts say this is bound to be bad for fox populations in the long run.

The most amusing part of the Scottish ban is the debate over “flushing” vs. “searching.” Under the ban, hunters are allowed to use dogs to flush foxes from their hiding places, but they are not supposed to use dogs to actively search for foxes. Sounds like a hair-splitting lawyer’s employment program to me. The BBC quotes huntsman Trevor Adams saying,

Flushing, and looking for a fox, are pretty similar things really. The fox is a wild animal and nobody knows exactly where it is, so you have to search for it a certain extent to find out where it is. . . . What you’re not allowed to do is go off searching, without a need to control that animal.

Sounds like they’d need to take a lawyer with them on every hunt. Frankly, I’m disappointed that the rights of dogs to pursue their carnivorous nature with foxes isn’t taken seriously by the animal rights activists.


Huntsmen ‘destroying more foxes’. Huw Williams, BBC, November 20, 2004.

Vegetarian MP Calls Them Like He Sees Them

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals showed up in Glasgow’s George Square in early June with their “Holocaust On Your Plate” campaign, including posters reading, “To animals, all people are Nazis.”

Member of Parliament and vegetarian Jim Murphy called the activists “nutters” according to the Glasgow Daily Record.

Which suggests an alternative, and more accurate, slogan for posters: “To people, all PETA activists are nutters.”


PETA compares meat eaters to Nazis. United Press International, June 10, 2004.

Scottish MP Calls for Seal Cull

Labour MSP Alasdair Morrison stirred up plenty of controversy in April with his suggestion that Scotland follow Canada’s lead in resuming seal hunting.

Morrison said,

Culls are not unique to the Outer Hebrides or indeed to other parts of Scotland. It happens in terms of mink, hedgehog and deer, and again, if required, it should also happen with the seal population around the Hebrides and around the British Isles.

According to the Scotsman, about 38 percent of the world’s population of grey seals and 40 percent of European common seals are found in Britain, and of those about 90 percent breed in Scotland. Seal hunting was banned in 1978 after negative publicity over the Canadian seal hunt.

Scotland’s Advocates for Animals was not happy with Morrison’s suggestion, with a spokesman telling The Scotsman,

Increasingly, seals are being persecuted in the name of fisheriesÂ’ protection when commercial overfishing is the real problem. Time and time again, the fishing industry claim stocks are not recovering because of the seals, but the industry needs to look at itself. The issue over seals has grown in international importance and it is our duty to protect them.

Regardless, a seal hunt is not going to happen anytime soon in Scotland. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive told The Scotsman, “The Scottish Executive has no plans for a seal cull. Evidence suggests that in general seals do not have a significant impact on fisheries stocks.”


Fury over call to cull Scotland’s seals. Andrew Denholm, The Scotsman, April 19, 2004.

Scotland Rejects Proposal to Preserve Anonymity of Men Accused of Rape

The BBC reports that a committee of Scotland’s parliament unanimously rejected a proposal to grant anonymity to men accused of rape until their guilt is proven in court.

The proposal was submitted by the UK Men’s Movement which argues that men accused of rape need anonymity to avoid the stigma that even false allegations of rape can have on innocent men. UK Men’s Movement spokesman George McAulay said in September of a similar proposal introduced by his group,

We are alarmed by the proliferation of false rape allegations, and the seeming indifference with which the authorities treat this offence, often not prosecuting even when there was a prima facie case of false allegation to answer, and even when the accuser admitted it was a complete fabrication.

False rape claims may be made for a number of reasons, the most common being revenge, attention-seeking, malice, fiscal reward via the Criminal Injuries Board or civil suit, and advantage in marital disputes now that prosecutions are made for rape in marriage.

According to the BBC, the committee that voted to reject the idea argued that “the move would discourage women from coming forward.”

McAulay responded that the Scottish Parliament’s doesn’t seriously its own goal of ensuring sexual equality,

This parliament and this executive make much noise about their commitment to equality, but I have seen little of it with regard to men. We ask that an accused who may be innocent is given the same anonymity as their accuser, who may be malicious.

Unlike in the United States, it is generally illegal in the UK to publish the name of accusers in rape cases. In the United States, the Supreme Court has upheld the right the media to publish the name of rape accusers, but by custom most do not.

In general, the ideal would be equal treatment — if an outlet is not going to name the accuser, then don’t name the accused. If they’re going to name the accused, they should also name the accuser (except where minors are involved on either side).


Rape case protection bid rejected The BBC, January 7, 2004.

Minister to hear rape plea. The BBC, September 26, 2000.

Efforts to Criminalize Male Rape in Scotland

In Scotland police are investigating a number of sexual assaults on men perpetrated by what is believe to be a small gang. But under Scottish law, raping a man is not recognized as a crime.

Under Scotland’s definition of rape — which goes back to 1844 — rape is a crime which involves only a man sexually assaulting a woman. The perpetrators of this and other sexual assaults against men could be charged with assault, sodomy or possibly robbery if they stole from their victims, but not rape. And apparently, the maximum sentence for a first offense sodomy conviction is a mere three months.

The English legal system formally incorporated a gender-free definition of rape in 1996, but Scotland has yet to make that change, despite estimates that at least 400 men are victims of sexual assaults annually. That figure is likely higher since Scotland doesn’t keep statistics on the gender of sexual assault victims.

Keith Cowan, a spokesman for gay rights group Outright Scotland, has been trying to have the law changed. He told The Sunday Herald,

Rape is considered by the justice system to be much more serious than indecent assault or sodomy. The crime of sodomy confuses the very serious offence of male rape with the minor offence of consensual sex between men, which did not happen in a private place.

A crime as serious as male rape should carry an unambiguous and recognized rape charge so that it is clear from the charge, and from the record of any conviction, how serious the offence is. It must also be included in sexual assault statistics.

Such a change would seem to be a pretty straightforward, sensible thing to do. Why the law hasn’t already been changed is a bit mystifying.


Law failing victims of male rape. By Neil Mackay and Liam McDougall, Sunday Herald (Scotland), October 5, 2003.

Call for new laws after male sex attacks. Stephen Khan, The Observer, October 12, 2003.