Commercial yogurt warning commercial yogurt warning Many, if not most, commercially available (dairy) yogurt contains gelatin, which is almost always derived from the tissue of slaughtered animals, and so is unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans alike. This also applies to “kosher” gelatin, which is generally just derived from animals slaughtered according to Jewish law (and of course would not come from pigs).

So if you are lacto-vegetarian and wish to eat yogurt, make sure gelatin is not in the ingredient list. Pectin, especially “fruit pectin,” is a safe plant-derived gelling agent. The safest thing is to buy plain yogurt is usually gelatin-free and add your own fruit, or better yet make your own soy yogurt.

How to make soy yogurt?

Making soy yogurt really isn’t that hard. You basically put bacteria into soymilk, and let them do the work. You need:

Sweetened Template: fn soymilk starter culture: A little yogurt that has live cultures; available in many stores just some plain cultures/bacteria by themselves.Mix the soymilk and starter culture together, and heat it until it’s warm but not hot. It should be cool enough to put your finger in it, but not much cooler; if you have a thermometer, around 40-43 degrees C (100-110 degrees F). If it’s over 48 degrees C (120 degrees F) the bacteria will die. Or just heat the soymilk, and then put the culture in. It doesn’t really matter. If you use yogurt for your starter, you want about a spoon of it for every cup of soymilk.

You want to make sure you don’t let other bacteria into the mix, so you should wash your containers and utensils and hands, or even sterilize them if you want to get fancy.

Now leave the mixture somewhere where it can stay at the same temperature for 6-10 hours. If your temperature is on the low side, it will take longer to set. The longer you leave it, the thicker and sharper-tasting it will be. If you pour off the whey (clear liq uid), it’ll be even thicker.

A few ways to keep it at the right temperature:

Put it in a good thermos (pre-warmed!)Put it in a gas oven that has a pilot light – usually this will be the right temperature put it in a container picnic cooler, and pour a few inches of warm water into the cooler just set your oven to the right temperature, if it goes that low it doesn’t, try setting it to however low it will go for a few minutes, then turn it off a leaving it for a few hours. You might have to repeat the process a second or third time.As for the starter cultures, if you go the store-bought yogurt route, there are a number of options (see the next section if you need names). Just remember you need live or active cultures, or you won’t have any live bacteria, and nothing will happen. Once you start making your own yogurt, you can use your own yogurt as a starter culture for another batch. Just use a few spoons of it the same way you would with store-bought.

Another option is to buy just the cultures. Acidophilus isn’t too hard to find, but then you only get one kind of bacteria in your yogurt, whereas most of the above have at least four or five.

Now don’t expect it to be just like commercial yogurt. It will probably be a little runnier, or a lot runnier until you get the hang of it, or not come out at all. If you find you don’t fancy trying to make it this way, you might want to try some recipes for things that taste like yogurt even though they aren’t technically yogurt. (Scroll down the page.)

The hardest thing about making soy yogurt is that it legally can’t exist in the United States. In the UK, and probably other places as well (add them if you know), the goverment lets you call soy yogurt by the name yogurt (or yoghurt if that’s how you spell it). In the U.S., only dairy products can go by the name yogurt, so soy yogurt official is called “cultured soy”.

More on yogurt cultures

Of the following three brands with easily findable ingredients (White Wave, WholeSoy & Co., Stonyfield Farms), all three use the following four cultures:
Lactobacillus Bulgari-cus lactobacillus acidophilus. thermophilusBifidusBoth White Wave’s and Stonyfield Farms’ also contain Lactobacillus casei, and each has a sixth culture the others don’t have: White Wave’s contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a strain closely related to L. casei that is able to treat some forms of diarrhea template:fn. Stonyfield Farm’s contains Lactobacillus reuteri; according to the website of the company that seems to own or at least produce the bacteria, L. reuteri was isolated from the breast milk of a Peruvian woman living in the Andes – “someone living in perfect harmony with nature”. Stonyfield Farms says it boosts the immune system and inhibits the growth of a number of harmful bacteria.

Kosher slaughter

This article cloud have been named Halal and kosher slaughter of animals, Religious slaughter of animals, Ritual slaughter of animals, Exsanguination, etc., however, as the kosher meat products are acquiring rapidly increasing share of the U.S. meat market, we decided on the above title. On the personal side, I was first intrigued by the ritual slaughter of animals while one of my students from Saudi Arabia invited me to a family dinner. The main dish was served with a pair of eyes, situated in its middle. The host talked about how he personally selected the lamb, prayed, and, after quieting the lamb by gently striking her neck, cut her throat. Then he casually leaned toward the dish, retrieved one of the lamb’s eyes, and inserted it into his mouth.

Halal and kosher products

The halal and kosher markets covers almost 100,000 products in the United States worth about $100 billion. The halal and kosher products are certified by various Muslim authorities and rabbinical commissions on a year-to-year basis for a fee that is contractually kept secret. The enlarged logo of the halal-certified food products is shown in the above picture. Most (but not all) kosher products are marked with small circled U or K. The discussion that follows pertains only to the meat obtained by the religious slaughter of animals.

Ritual slaughter of animals

After the mechanical stunning equipment was first developed in the 1920s rendering the animal unconscious, it was shortly afterwards adapted as the national standard by secular, but not by the Islamic (halal) and Jewish (kosher) slaughterhouses. In these religious abattoirs, butchers follow rituals prescribed by their respective religions which differ in details, however, both the Islamic and the Judaistic rituals require that the neck of the slaughtered animal must be cut while the animal is fully conscious.

The cage

During the ritual slaughter, after the neck’s arteries and trachea are cut, the still conscious animal is bled to death. In the major religious slaughterhouses in the United States, cattle is prodded into a rotating cage, their necks are slit open, and their bodies are thrown on the abattoir’s floor on the other side of the rotating drum. There some calves and cows regain their feet. With blood streaming out of their severed arteries and and with tracheae and esophagi hanging out, they roam the blood soaked premises of the slaughterhouse before they succumb to their wounds.

The hoist

The rotating cage was hailed as the major humane improvement of the animal slaughter, as before the cattle was hang by the hind leg and forced to raise the head to expose its neck: ‘In a kosher plant I visited, the hoist was operated until the steer was hanging suspended by the leg with its face partly on the floor. The slaughterhouse worker turned the hose on the animal’s face and neck and then I witnessed something that I could scarcely believe. The packing-house employee plunged both his hands into the steer’s eyes until the eyes were displaced by being pushed back into the head. He then grasped the sides of the eye sockets and held the animal that way while the man who performs the kosher slaughter stepped forward to cut the steer’s throat. The hoist was then operated again until the animal’s head was several feet from the floor and the animal was moved along the motor driven line, hanging head downward, its full body weight suspended by the shackled hind leg, every part of the body quivering. While the struggling was going on, the shackle was released and the steer was dumped on the floor, still moving convulsively.

The rod

‘When a cattle driver has difficulties with a steer, a long heavy stick is forced into its rectum. This immobilizes the animal; its entire spine is arched and its body quivers with pain (Freedman, 1970).

But can they suffer?

The controversy about animal suffering has a long history. In his Summa Theologiae (1267-1273) Saint Thomas Aquinas maintains that the killing of animals is in congruence with Biblical precepts and concludes that ‘God does not ask humans what they do with their oxen and other animals.’ Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), an intellectual heir of David Hume, incisive and compassionate, in his famous polemics against Saint Thomas Aquinas concludes that the question is not whether animals can think, but can they suffer?


Some countries as e.g., Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, banned the ritual slaughter of animals. In the Great Britain, the British Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) reporting to the government, certified that the way Halal and Kosher meat is produced causes severe suffering to animals. Owners of both the Halal and Kosher slaughterhouses, rabbis, Muslim clerics and their congregations, decried the FAWC recommendation that this particular torture of animals should be outlawed. In the United States, the the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a DVD, capturing the religious slaughter of cattle at the AgriProcessors plant in Iowa that can be viewed at www.peta.org. These humanitarian efforts were resolutely opposed by the Muslim and Jewish religious organizations. The Muslims claimed that people who oppose these ritual slaughters are influenced by the contemporary anti-Islamic social climate while the religious Jewish communities argued that their opponents are anti-Semitic, self-hating Jews, or Hitler-sympathizers.


Describing the kosher slaughter, Rabbi Doniel Shur of the Heights Jewish Center Synagogue asserts that the kosher way of slaughtering ‘is so fast, it totally takes in the jugular vein and the nerves,’ so the animal is totally unaware of what is happening. He attributes the PETA charges to anti-Semitism. “100% anti-Semitism” he says. Rabbi Gersion Appel at the Jewish Learning site adds that ‘Administering electric shock to an animal prior to shehitah [kosher slaughtering] is prohibited, because it incapacitates the animal and renders it a trefah [animal unfit to eat]. It is forbidden to eat the meat of such an animal. The prohibition extends, as well, to administering an anesthetic, in the form of a drug and the like, since it may endanger the health and life of the animal and render it trefah prior to shehitah.’ On the other side of this controversy, Rabbi Eugen Kullman, Vice President, Friends of Animals Society proclaims that ‘We are united against the slaughter of conscious animals, consider it a horror in itself, and an abomination when coupled with the vicious devices used to restrain conscious livestock. We have nothing to gain, neither on earth nor in heaven, by slaughtering G-d’s creatures while they are conscious.

Bias of the funded studies or studies related to ideology or religion

The “scientific” studies of topics related to ideology, religion, or the funded studies, are frequently biased. The fact that a study is published in a scientific journal does not per se guarantee the veracity of the reported results. Thus, e.g., Sir Ronald Fisher, who was a recipient of numerous research grants from the tobacco companies, published studies that smoking tobacco is not detrimental to health. The pro-shehitah faction frequently quotes published studies claiming that cut into the throat is next to painless and extinguishes the life quickly. Rabbi Tzvi Weinreb asserts that ‘kosher slaughtering has been proven over centuries and in scientific studies to be a humane process.’ Perusing studies on the shehitah slaughter, there were several issues that strain one’s credulity.

The agony of dying

Suicide by cutting carotid arteries is extremely rare and we can peruse studies on the agony of human suicide, as these studies are not likely affected by either monetary grants or by religious beliefs pertaining to halal or kosher slaughter of animals. There are several studies on this issue, among them the study by Rhyne, et al. (1995) Dimensions of suicide: perceptions of lethality, time, and agony, published in the Suicide