Domestic Drama Sends Owners of Vegan Magazine to Court
VegNews is an influential, award-winning vegan lifestyle magazine. It just won its 10th Maggie Award for Best Niche Lifestyle Magazine, and the New York Timesrefers to it as “a glossy magazine that is a mix of People and Real Simple for the meatless set.” It was founded in July 2000 by Joe Connelly and Colleen Holland, a vegan couple aiming to launch veganism into the mainstream.
Unfortunately, there’s trouble in vegan paradise.
According to documents filed in August of 2012 in San Francisco superior court by Joe, he claims to be the sole founder and owner VegNews, asserting that Colleen is just an employee. A cross-complaint filed by Colleen on Feb 7, 2013, alleges this isn’t true, and that she and Joe are now — and have always been — equal partners in the business. In fact, she says the first time she ever heard Joe’s claim to sole ownership was when she reviewed the complaint that he filed against her. Something stinks, and for once, it’s not home-brewed kombucha.
In documents and declarations obtained through the Superior Court of California, several close friends, consultants, and advisors who have been present since the inception of VegNews, say they believe Colleen is telling the truth.
Al Whaley remembers in his declaration, “Joe introduced me to Colleen Holland. He introduced her as the co-founder and partner of VegNews which is the organization that Colleen and Joe were representing at the convention.”
Davy Davidson states, “Not long after we became friends in 1999 Colleen told me she had met a wonderful guy in the east and that he was moving to San Francisco and they were going to start a business together. Later I met Joe Connelly after he arrived in San Francisco when Colleen and he did indeed start that business, which became VegNews.”
In 2004, Joe filled out forms for an organization known as PIPS, and lists both Colleen and himself as owners of VegNews. In a 2005 interview with Quark Technology Partnership, Joe states, “Prior to moving to magazine we were two-person operation. Aside from our network of writers all of the work was done by two founders.”
Finally, I’d be more than remiss if didn’t recognize Colleen Holland, my partner with VegNews since the planning stages long before the publication of issue 1. She deserves at least as much credit for VegNews’ success as I do.
In both Joe and Colleen’s documents, they estimate their romantic relationship began deteriorating in 2005-2006, but they were able to still successfully run the magazine together, as partners.
According to a declaration from longtime friend and advisor Rey Ortega, Colleen and Joe approached him in 2008 to mediate whether or not Colleen should be considered a co-founder of VegNews. Joe claimed she shouldn’t, and Colleen claimed she should. Ortega agreed with Colleen, stating she should be known as co-founder. He adds:
I was never asked to judge who owns VegNews because they both acknowledged they were co-owners of VegNews and the issue of foundership only pertained to recognition.
According to evidence submitted with Colleen’s declaration, Joe acknowledged her as a co-founder in marketing documents as recently as 2006. As recently as 2011, Joe and Colleen were listed as owners of VegNews in a proposal to Eric Brent, the owner of HappyCow, a website they were considering purchasing.
However, in 2012, according to Joe’s amended complaint and Colleen’s declaration, relations between the two decidedly took a turn for the worse. The couple sought mediation for their problems, but it was seemingly unsuccessful, and according to Colleen’s declaration, ended with Joe saying “I will spend the rest of my life making sure you do not get what you want,” and “I hope we both get cancer and die.”
According to Colleen’s declaration, in mid-2012, Joe began changing the signature lines on his email to “founder and publisher”. Since the litigation began, he has added the title of “owner”.
On December 21 2012, Colleen states that Joe cancelled her two VegNews credit cards, leaving her unable to charge “critical VegNews business expenses.” She also writes:
On the other hand, Joe has taken several personal trips including to Canada, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and New York (where his family and girlfriend lives), using VegNews resources, and he refuses to account to me for expenses he incurred which are being charged to VegNews.
According to Colleen’s declaration, Joe either removed her access and/or changed the passwords on VegNews’ on-line banking system, the back-end server, and their internal financial system. She also alleges he changed the locks to the location of the company’s business records. Further, she claims he removed her name from VegNews’ first bank account, which they opened together in 2000.
In August 2000, Joe and I opened VegNews’ first bank account at Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. The account was opened in both of our names. Joe and I have always had equal access to it and have used it for VegNews business. I verified the checking account balance on December 27 2012 which was $59,204. On January 31 2013, I was informed by a representative of Santa Cruz Community Credit Union that on January 25 2013, Joe had my name removed from our account. I also verified that he had emptied the funds of the account so that the balance in the checking account on January 31 was only $31.49.
Colleen’s declaration continues:
Joe has now had my name removed from our VegNews bank account and my access to all credit cards withdrawn. I’m unaware of what Joe has done with VegNews money but don’t believe that it was used to pay legitimate business expenses given my knowledge of what outstanding expenses we had when Joe drained the bank account. These funds are needed to pay VegNews’ operating expenses.
Although Colleen is the sole lease holder on the VegNews office, Joe’s lawyers sent a letter to the managing owner of the building on January 14, 2013, saying they needed to terminate the current lease with Colleen and issue a new one to Joe.
On January 22, 2013, Joe informed Colleen that he had instructed the office cleaning people to not clean her office until she starts separating her trash from her recyclables. The letter ends with “If and when you decide to become a team player, they will gladly resume cleaning your office.”
Joe is asking for full ownership of VegNews, and $4.5 million dollars for breach of contract and fraud, while Colleen is asking for injunctive relief and for “an independent third party to take control of the accounts payable, receivables, payroll, draws, and all other financial and operational decisions that Joe and I cannot agree upon.”
To me, this is a cautionary tale — we in the vegan community need to behave ethically to fellow humans.
VegNews has been crucial to my journey as a vegan. When I first became vegan in 2004, I remember reading each issue cover to cover, and savoring every word. I looked up to both Colleen Holland and Joe Connelly, the people I understood to be the founders and owners, and cheered their success. When, in 2010, I began working as a VegNews columnist, and the magazine’s Editor-at-Large, I was absolutely thrilled. I now consider both Joe and Colleen to be bosses, and friends.
To say hearing about this lawsuit was upsetting is an understatement, and I’m heartbroken to learn what’s transpired. Right now, I’m personally grieving for a relationship that was once so strong, and has turned toxic. I believe that the talented and dedicated VegNews staff can right the ship, and I can only hope they’re given that chance.
CoraLlei vegan handbags are coming to Compassion Couture!
You know I’m in love with Irish vegan handbag company CoraLlei so I was very excited to hear that 1. their new line is out, and 2. Compassion Couture will now be selling them stateside!
I contacted Jill from Compassion Couture for the details and she told me they will be selling three styles from the current collection: The Sofia in grey (above), the Cici in tan and the Sienna in grey. And the bags should be up by mid to late March [Update: they’ve landed!].
More about the bags:
-The material used to make the bags is Italian Vegan Leather.
- They are produced in Milan, Italy.
-The bags are water resistant and don’t absorb marks or stains and are therefore easier to clean.
-All linings for each bag are made from end of roll recycled materials from the Italian Design Houses in Venice.
I still don’t think I can afford one…but I bet the quality is amazing. So maybe I will consider it an “investment” or something? A quality bag that lasts for 10 years is certainly preferable to 10 crappy pleather environment-killing bags that dissolve in one year. Sigh. We’ll see.
Cookbook Preview! Vedge: 100 Plates Large And Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking
Homemade Brussels sprouts. Recipe adapted from Vedge: 100 Plates Large And Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking. They turned out SO well!
Vedge Restaurant is hands-down the best thing that has ever happened to my hometown of Philadelphia, period. A newcomer on the Philly vegan/fine-dining scene, Vedge has recently made pretty much every top vegan restaurant and “awesome place to eat, ever” list I know of. Even the blokes at GQ love it! Vedge, who recently partnered with Williams Sonoma to make sauces I’ve tried and super loved and you should try too, have somehow catapulted vegetable eating into an art form even fit for, gasp, non-vegans! Seriously though, bring non-vegans to Vedge and they won’t sheket about how wonderful it is. Kind of miraculous when you consider that all dishes center around vegetables and the fine dining crowd in Philly is usually on their suit and tie shit (tie shit).
I’ve eaten at Vedge a handful of times and have to say it really is the best ever! The only qualm I have with it is that the plates are admittedly pretty small. Patrons are encouraged to order a few of them “tapas style,” which is code-speak for “buy $100 worth per person,” which you have to do if you want a full meal.
To cut to the chase, owners Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau are soon releasing a new cookbook that highlights the fantastic dishes at their restaurant, tailored to aspiring at-home veggie chefs.
I am indeed glad that Vedge charges what other frou-frou fine-dining places charge, and especially that it doesn’t spend a dime of it on animal exploitation. Totally worth it! Still, I am quite thrilled that my all-time favorite Vedge dish, the Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce, is now available for at-home chefs like myself. Vedge offered a preview to Vegansaurus, and I have had the privilege of making my fave dish at home! Here’s the recipe, reprinted with permission.
Brussels sprouts served at Vedge Restaurant. Image.
Vedge’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce* Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Serves: 2 to 3
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard ½ cup vegan mayo 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 pound Brussels sprouts 2 to 3 layers of outer leaves removed and bottom core cut off 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1. Begin by making the sauce, whisking together the mustard,vegan mayo, and water with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ½ teaspoon on the pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Run Brussels sprouts through the slicer blade of a food processor or carefully shave on a mandoline.
3. Heat a large sauté pan on high. Add the olive oil. Just as the oil starts to ripple, add the garlic, then immediately add the shaved Brussels sprouts. Sear for 30 seconds, then stir to prevent the garlic from burning.
4. Add the remaining salt and remaining pepper, then allow the Brussels sprouts to sear for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so they brown evenly. Transfer to serving dish.
5. Drizzle sauce directly on top of the Brussels sprouts.
Enjoy! [Note: I used an oven instead of following the recipes because I served these to a dinner party for nine and ran out of stove space. That worked really well too!]
If you haven’t read the post, I’ll spill the beans and let you know it’s pretty boring. Jamieson shares that she’s been wanting to fall off the vegan train for like a year and felt scared to tell her vegan friends and clients and the WORLD that she’s no longer vegan but now she HAS to because, you know, her truth and stuff. Essentially she admits she ate meat because her “body told her to” and she had tons of “cravings” and green juice wasn’t working and that it was SO hard for her and we should feel bad and not judge her but we probably will anyway because vegans are harsh and judgmental.
In response, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau tweeted: “Craving: a convenient way of attributing scientific reasoning to an irrational emotional desire 4 pleasure to exonerate oneself from guilt.”
Patrick-Goudreau brilliantly points out this thing that happens in all of these ex-vegan narratives, which is that claiming that your body craves meat as justification for killing and eating animals completely erases the animals and THEIR desires.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!
The ag industry’s efforts to keep consumers in the dark by suppressing whistleblowers is getting a cold reception by many in the news media.
Indiana’s largest paper (the Indianapolis Star) editorialized this week against the pending state bill intended to criminalize photo-taking a factory farms and slaughter plants, saying it "does a disservice to the public as a whole by blocking the flow of information that may be vital to health and safety." Indiana’s Herald Timeseditorialized against it too, calling it a “wrong-headed bill that could step on the First Amendment and make it more difficult to expose wrongdoing.”
The International Business Times had a great piece yesterday on the topic, too. Very important reading.
A new study finds that vegans and vegetarians cause 42% and 28% (respectively) fewer greenhouse gas emissions than non-vegetarians. Also, check out this Seattle Timescolumn on in vitro meat (aka in meatro!), which reports on an Oxford study finding that cultured meat requires “99 percent less land, 96 percent less water, 96 percent less carbon emissions and 45 percent less energy demand,” than raising animals for meat.
Finally, live in Florida? Let’s hang out together tomorrow!
NYC: Dun-Well Doughnuts and Upton's Naturals Pop-up shop is today!
OMG OMG OMG check it out:
Kick off the NY Veg Food Fest weekend in style! Upton’s Naturals will be teaming up with us for a pop-up vegan sandwich shop benefitting Mercy For Animals. Featuring a small sandwich menu that will include the option to slice open the donut of your choice and add a couple slices of hot Bacon Seitan - it is a thing of beauty! All sandwich shop proceeds will be donated to Mercy For Animals, making this an easy way to support a great organization.
Holy cannoli that sounds awesome! Check FB for whatever details you should need to get to this pop-up and freak the eff out on some bacon donut sandwiches.
Vegansaurus Giveaway: Coracao Confections Deluxe Box of Chocolates!
Hubba hubba! This 22-piece deluxe sampler box from Coracao is up for grabs! You can see the box in all its glory above. I think that’s the bee pollen truffle in the middle but I checked with Coracao and they said that the bee pollen truffle doesn’t actually come in the sampler. So it’s all vegan—don’t worry your pretty lil’ head!
As you know, we are big fans of this yummy chocolate. This box sells for $60 and is not only vegan, it’s raw, organic, gluten-free and soy-free. Coracao also sent me a bunch of links about the possible health benefits of raw and dark chocolate:
today’s episode of quarrygirl presents features m cafe de chaya, my favorite spot in los angeles to get decadent yet healthy food. the restaurant focuses on contemporary macrobiotic cuisine, and other than fish, the entire menu is vegan. whether you’re craving a hearty burger, a slap up breakfast, or something light like sushi or salad, m cafe has it all. we caught up with chef lee gross to talk about healthy eating and the best dishes for everyone at m cafe. check it out!
photos by cindy choi.
Anyplace that serves a healthy vegan hollandaise sauce on top of kale is a place I want to be. Like all the time.
Update: HSUS is totally going to win that National Pork Producers Council lawsuit
Remember in September, when we talked about that lawsuit that HSUS co-filed with a pig farmer against the National Pork Producers Council? It focused on a “creative” use of fees paid by pig farmers to ostensibly pay for the licensing rights to “The Other White Meat,” but which actually disappeared in a back-room deal. HSUS alleged that “NPPC charged pork producers twice: once to make The Other White Meat successful, and again to pay for the value of that success.”
Park Wilde of U.S. Food Policy updated us on the lawsuit this week, and it is not looking good for those sneaky NPPC jerks. Per some newly unredacted documents pertaining to the sale of the slogan—which, remember, has been funded by mandatory fees paid by pig farmers through the pork checkoff program—there was never any other buyer for “The Other White Meat” but the NPCC, and moreover, they knew that no one else would ever want it. It wasn’t worth the $36 million that with interest over 20 years amounts to $60 million paid by the pig farmers (who, again, didn’t agree to this deal, didn’t want this deal, didn’t have any involvement in this deal besides funding it), and now everyone knows it.
It appears that pork checkoff program monies have been used for almost entirely shady purposes. What got HSUS interested in them was their suspected illegal use for lobbying against animal welfare initiatives that HSUS has been pushing for years. This revelation about “The Other White Meat” is only one gotcha, but it’s a big, obvious one. The dirtiest corporate secrets are always in the accounting, right? Tsk tsk, NPPC.
Take a look at the unredacted document at U.S. Food Policy. I can’t wait to see how those 100 percent anti-animal-welfare jerks at NPPC are going to respond. I hope it’s more whining and accusations of bullying!
Above is the menu for Vegan Drinks tonight—looks good to me! Word is there will also be gluten-free injera so I think some will be stoked about that. And yours truly will be spinning records along with my new BFF DJ Grand Format. So come on down!
If Americans are being honest with themselves—if anyone who eats meat is being honest—there is absolutely no reason killing horses and eating the yielded meat is intrinsically worse than the thousands of other animal killings that happen in slaughterhouses around the country every day. If you’re alarmed that the wrong meat was slipped into your frozen lasagna, that’s reasonable. (Vegetarians, of all people, can appreciate the perils.) But if the very thought of killing horses disgusts you in a way that killing cows or pigs does not, you are entertaining an odd delusion that eating a big steak cut from a cow is elegant while eating similar meat cut from a horse is low-class and vile.
Dreamy meat-avoider Cord Jefferson has some words for outraged, snobbish omnivores regarding Europe’s ever-expanding horse meat scandal.
As vegans, we obviously want all meat-eating to stop, but until then (FIGHT FOREVER, PLANT-BASED SOLDIERS) we can at least point out the blatant hypocrisy involved in turning your nose up at horse meat and then gleefully eating cow organs. You shouldn’t be deceived by food labels; nor should you think that eating any one animal’s flesh is morally superior to another.
What do you think? Are you horrified and a tiny bit smug but totally keeping it to yourself because no one wants to hear from the smug vegan?
Hey pals! The NYC Vegetarian Food Festival is this weekend. Huzzah! I missed it last year, I heard it was hella packed. I’m not one for crowds but people were saying it was awesome. The vendors look dope! I may have to grin and bear it this year. Crowds be damned!
Vedge is just on a roll. Not long after partnering with William Sonoma, GQ is now calling them one of the “most outstanding restaurants of 2013.” The writing is a bit obnoxious as, well, Standard American Dieters always are. The writer comments that the diners looked “like regular folks. None of the men were pale and languid. None of the women wore a belt made from a garden hose.” A garden hose belt? Hang onto your petticoats, ladies! But really, thank goodness there were no sissy-looking vegan men there. How dreadful would that have been? Imagine. OMG the worst.
As usual, mainstream media is behind Megan Rascal. I reviewed Vedge right around this time last year. I went there for a belated birthday dinner with my sis. In related news: TODAY IS MY BDAY!
The local news reports on an extremely urgent problem: rabbits are eating the wiring of cars parked at the Denver Airport. To their credit, the parking lots seem to be using bunny-friendly methods of discouraging this furry vandalism, namely bigger fences and predator urine to scare the goobers away.
I’ve parked my car at this airport a lot lately and had no bunny damage. Maybe the bunnies know I’m vegan from my Vegan Van bumper sticker, and thus spare me from their reign of terror? Maybe this is an organized rabbit campaign against animal abuse? Pretty indirect, bunnies. Let’s rethink your strategy.
Oh, bunnies. Can’t live without them, can’t let them near your car.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!
Yesterday, New Jersey’s Times of Trenton editorialized in favor of criminalizing the use of gestation crates for pigs, concluding: “Imagine the outcry if dogs or cats were subjected to such treatment.” And check out this great op-ed in yesterday’s New Haven Register in favor of a similar bill in Connecticut.
Want to read about a mind-blowing company that offers immense promise for farm animals? Check out yesterday’s Business Week feature on Hampton Creek Foods, and this cool new videoabout them.
Wondering how British consumers may be changing their diets in the wake of the horse meat scandal? Both Reuters and The Economist have fascinating pieces this week about it.
Finally, if you have a burning desire to know my thoughts on the Animal Ag Alliance’s view of the Super Bowl “God Made a Farmer” ad, here’s my latest piece!
** Vigil for the Turlock Hens: Saturday, February 23, 7:30 pm, Turlock, Calif.**
PLEASE SHARE: A group of first responders and compassionate citizens will be gathering the evening of Saturday, February 23 along the roadside outside of A&L Poultry in Turlock to honor the lives of the 50,000 hens who were abandoned at this egg factory farm in 2012.
February 23rd is unforgettable. This day marks the beginning of the monumental rescue in 2012.
Let’s remember the lives of each and every bird on this one-year anniversary. To join in, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Candles will be provided to all vigil attendees.
Differently-abled animals strike a cord with the Internet
I’ve been seeing so many stories lately about animals with various leg or paw injuries getting specially-designed tools to help them get around like they used to. I wonder if differently-abled (is that the term we use? Don’t be mad, I just don’t know the least offensive term) people think this is nice or if they think it’s weird the way the internet is so excited about these animals. There is something sweet about it though. So many animals get put down (or worse) if something is “wrong” with them and people really aren’t culturally obligated to help them, so when they go out of their way to improve the lives of these little animals, it does seem nice. Here are the stories I’ve seen lately:
Piglet on wheels:
Goldfish gets some help floating:
Kitty gets help from High School robotics club:
And of course there’s London, the pup with his own Ducati:
My new friend Mohit Jain has recently launched a line of all-vegan, super healthful sauces called Saucee! Each of their all-organic sauces is designed to take the guesswork out of what your meal should taste like. Just grab whatever ingredients you have on hand—veggies, bread, Megan Rascal’s favorite chickpea frittata recipe, rice, salad—add some Saucee, and suddenly it’s a spicy delicious time!
Saucee sauces are pretty spicy! Mohit sent me three flavors: capsaicin, turmeric, and kale. I loved them all! The kale is mild, but the capsaicin flavor almost made me wanna ask my landlord to turn off my heat! If you dig spicy it’ll be your new Sriracha. Each sauce is focused around ingredients that rock: capsaicin, turmeric, kale (did you know you can have kale sauce? Yes you can!) maitake mushroom, and flax. Bottom line: Mohit and his team are geniuses!
Each of the Saucee sauces is 100 percent organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, with no crappy added colors (hello Sriracha!), fillers, or stabilizers. There are no additional sugars or oils, and they only use organic vinegar as a preservative. Just the good stuff.
Cookbook review: Julie Morris' Superfood Kitchen may make a superfoodie out of you!
I love superfoods. I admit the category is meaningless, but I don’t care. If it’s a food called super and it’s vegan, especially raw vegan, I’ll eat it, praise it, and buy it in bulk from websites run by guys with hair to their knees.
Popular superfoods include açaí, hemp, chia, maca, camu camu, yacon root, coconut oil, lucuma, hakuna matata, , whatevs. YUM. But why do we call lucuma a superfood while kale, that perfect, easy-to-grow veggie, has tons of nutrients and doesn’t cost your 401k match contribution?
Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris demystifies some of the more esoteric superfoods, but also includes more readily available superfoods like kale and sweet potatoes, which, as we all know, are kickass nutritional sources. I love that Julie shows how superfoods of all kinds can be prepared deliciously!
Hearty Kale Salad from Superfood Kitchen!
Hearty Kale Salad plus a bit of sauerkraut and sesame seeds. Yum!
I decided to make the Hearty Kale Salad featuring kale, scallions, nori, avocado, miso (I used chickpea miso), and apple cider vinegar. I enjoyed it for lunch with a dash of sauerkraut and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Totally loved this recipe!
Some of the recipes in Superfood Kitchen are downright genius: Açaí Berry Jam made with chia seeds, flour-free Sesame Flatbread, Maca Chocolate, and more. I could inhale this entire book, and the pictures are GORGEOUS. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book for superfood snobs and plain-old vegan food lovers alike!
Coracao Confections is raw, ethical, and delicious!
Coracao Confections is a raw, mostly vegan (there’s one truffle with bee pollen) chocolate company. It’s on the FEP recommend list so we can enjoy it in ethical peace! Moreover, Coracao says all of the chocolates “are made with the purest ingredients, including raw cacao, which is full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and those “happy brain” chemicals that we so love.” That’s my kind of science! Sarah reviewed these a while ago but I wanted to try them for myself because everyone should try all vegan chocolate all the time!
Coracao sent me a bunch of free stuff to try. Coracao chocolate is rich but not very sweet. In a word: delicious. I want more! No really, I’ve been craving it since the first bite. But because I am so nice, I brought the chocolates to work to share with everyone. Everybody loved them! I think it made up for some of the other wacky vegan things I make them try. Silly omnis, always hating vegan stuff. Not this time!
Here is a lovely box of chocolates they sent. The almond heart is the cutest! So of course I gave it to the baddass rock ’n’ roll biker who occasionally freelances in my office (being on staff is NOT rock ’n’ roll!). He enjoyed it. What’s cuter than a biker with a chocolate heart? Not much.
Here are the butterscotch cookie-dough macaroons. I tried one and it was good but coconut isn’t my favorite. Macaroon fans at work liked them though. My Creative Director also really enjoyed the package design—and he has high standards in design.
Coracao also sent me these chocolate bars:
The caramel bar was great and everybody liked it. Someone noted that the caramel had a bit of a grainy texture, but they liked it. I thought it was very yummy. I wasn’t that into the lime caramel bar; it was REALLY lime-y. But my taste-testers definitely liked it. One said it had a key-lime pie flavor. So if you like chocolate and key-lime pie, this is for you.
It’s yummy! It has a high chocolate-to-filling ratio. The filling is my favorite part but it’s good chocolate so that’s OK too. When you bite in, the bittersweet chocolate shell exterior snaps and gives way to the delicious almond butter filling. I totally can’t get it out of my head! I seriously just ordered two bars (and a peppermint patty!) because writing this post was making me miss it. Sigh. Until we meet again, Rawmond Butter Bar!
The researchers found that despite the huge diversity of dog breeds and non-dog species shown to these nine dogs, each one managed to successfully recognise which faces belonged to dogs and which faces didn’t. Whether it was the face of a big, shaggy dog or a tiny, sleek one, the dogs managed over a number of different trials to lump them all into the same category, away from any of the other species.
Following up on two studies on dogs’ ability to recognize pictures of other dogs, and humans (your dog totally knows your face!), researchers in France did a big experiment to see “whether dogs can recognise each other as a separate group, away from other animals, despite their incredible physical diversity.” Answer, per Becky Crew at Running Ponies blog: yes! They can tell other dogs are other dogs, no matter how different two breeds are.
"What’s left to do now is to figure out what physical characteristics the dogs were using to distinguish the pictured dogs from the other species."
Animals are amazing! Are dogs secret geniuses, or have we just been arrogantly underestimating them for millennia? Probably both.
Tons of mice die needlessly for health testing. Thanks, science
It’s no secret that loads of mice (literally hundreds of thousands) have been sacrificed to science for “research” purposes to help cure all kinds of human ailments. This has always been a tricky subject for vegans, because, you know, it’s medical ethics, duh. But it turns out that a new study recently reported in the New York Times suggests that all those mice very likely died in vain.
The bottom line of the study is that billions of dollars have been wasted and, like, mice cancer and heart disease is different from people cancer and heart disease. I know the precautionary principle is a moot point when it comes to mice when you’re a big fancy scientist being backed by a big fancy drug company, but I strongly believe that we shouldn’t just kill mice before we’re, you know, sure about this stuff. And it turns out people weren’t. At all. And now those mice are looking down on us from mouse heaven except there is no mouse heaven and oh I’m crying now so just excuse me while I leave out some peanut butter for the neighbors’ mice.
Vegan Package Swap! Because nothing's better than vegan presents!
You know what everyone likes? Presents. Unfortunately for most of us grown-ups, the opportunities for receiving presents are few and far between. Maybe a birthday, maybe a wintertime religious-ish holiday, but beyond that, we have to make our own fun.
All About Vegan Food has organized an international vegan package swap, a deal that allows you to give and receive some fun vegan surprises in the mail. It’s a monthly project—though participants can opt in and out as schedule/budget/life allows—which basically means that every month is birthday month, and the presents will always be vegan-approved.
The rules are as follows:
1. The Vegan Package Swap is open to everyone in the world. You don’t need to be vegan to be part of it but all goodies in the packages MUST be vegan.
2. You need to register to the website to take part (just once) and you will receive monthly emails to confirm your participation within 72 hours around the 5th of each month.
3. On the 8th of each month, you’ll receive an email with the details of your match for that month.
4. Packages should have goodies up to the limit of $20 (or 15 Euro or equivalent in other currency).
5. The shipping deadline will be on the 15th of each month.
6. In the last week of each month you will receive an email to evaluate the package you received and the user (to help us to keep the quality of the project).
It’s too late to join for the March swap [UPDATE: It’s not too late to enter the March swap! Subscribers until the end of February can take part in it] but you can totally get in for April! Register at All About Vegan Food, follow the instructions, and start thinking about your presents. Do you want to give and receive more than just food? Do you want to exchange international packages, or stay continental? The choices are yours.
This isn’t the first-ever vegan package swap, but per All About Vegan Food, it is well organized and easily customizable. The more participants, the more chances everyone has to discover amazing vegan items! Plus you get to be selfish (getting stuff) and selfless (giving stuff) every month!
Tell the FDA to properly regulate GMO salmon before they make wild salmon extinct !
Our pal Katie Cantrell of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition wants to make us aware of two things regarding farmed GM salmon: One, that the FDA is thisclose to approving AquaAdvantage’s genetically modified salmon; two, that the FDA plans to regulate this new salmon as “an ‘animal drug’ rather than a new food product, drastically limiting the safety tests it must undergo.”
Equally disturbing, the FDA report does not assess how the salmon would affect the environment in which it is raised, because the actual farming will take place in Canada and Panama (5). The GE salmon grow twice as fast as wild salmon, and eat five times as much food (6). If the GE salmon were to escape, they would lead to the complete extinction of wild salmon within 40 fish generations. AquaAdvantage has sterilized the fish to try to prevent this, but 5-10 percent of sterilized fish are still fertile (7).
And farmed salmon do escape! FFAC invites you to participate in the FDA’s public comment period, which is open through Feb. 25. There’s a petition here asking the FDA to slow down on its approval of this salmon. Anyone concerned with the future of wild fish should read about AquaAdvantage’s product and consider signing the petition. If they are going to force this new fish on us, they should at least study it in depth so they can regulate it properly.
Seven day challenge to "Get Crunk" with Bianca Phillips starts today!
Let’s get crunk this week, you guys. Seriously! Starting today, Cookin’ Crunk author Bianca Phillips is teaming up with both Vegan Mainstream and Book Publishing Company to launch a seven day “Keep On Crunkin” challenge, as a social media campaign for her cookbook! Each day Bianca will share tips and recipes on her blog, Vegan Crunk. The posts will then offer a social media option that you can take to Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, with a chance to win some awesome prizes, including cookbooks and Cookin’ Crunk aprons! According to Vegan Mainstream, if you’re on twitter, use the hashtag #KeepOnCrunkin to join the conversation at anytime. Being a huge fan of pretty much anything Bianca does, I’m pretty excited to check out what this week-long challenge is all about!
Remember the challenge starts today (Feb 19th) and ends on the 26th —you can find more information about this lively campaign right here! Now let’s go get crunk!
Guest post: Support Food Empowerment Project by eating vegan food at Saturn Cafe. It's easy!
Hey, Bay Area vegans! Come on out to Saturn Café in Berkeley on Wednesday, Feb. 20, and 10 percent of your (vegan) meal will go to help fund the all-volunteer Food Empowerment Project.
If you aren’t familiar with Vegansaurus favorite FEP, we’re a vegan food justice organization focused on issues like food access, environmental racism, and workers’ rights. Here are the event details:
Come any time between 11 a.m. and midnight with the printable flyer on the page and Saturn will donate 10 percent of the cost of your vegan meal to help fund our efforts to create a more just and equitable food systems.
Volunteers will be hanging out from 6 to 10 p.m. if you want to learn more about how to get involved.
There will also be flyers up front assuring your 10 percent, so don’t worry about printing. Just come hang out! FEP’s Lauren Ornelas will be there, and we’ll have literature and what have you, but mostly you should just eat some food and say hi. Saturn Café is located at 2175 Allston Way in Berkeley.
Product review: Nibmor ethical vegan chocolate got FEP-approved just for this post!
I love Nibmor chocolate. First of all, it tastes damn good, ticking all the boxes to make my vegan chocoholic heart happy: free from refined sugar, vegan, and organic. The two flavor varieties Nibmor sent me, original and mint, were both rich and smooth, the right balance of dark, fruity cacao and creamy richness.
But while Nibmor tastes like joy incarnate, what I may love most about it is that when I told the company I couldn’t review its chocolate until it was certified ethical vegan by the Food Empowerment Project, Nibmor jumped to the occasion, contacted FEP, and became certified! FEP’s Lauren Ornelas just did an amazing interview about the dark side of chocolate; I highly recommend listening to it!
Nibmor is truly ethical and delicious dark chocolate. Get some online, or at Rainbow Grocery and other local health food stores.
This formation is called a “murmuration” of starlings, and while we understand why the birds do it—to search for food and defend against predators—per Wired, we don’t understand “what physiological mechanisms allow it to happen almost simultaneously in two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds.”
Until science figures it out, we can certainly appreciate it as part of the magic of nature, which is pretty incredible.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!
Well, some good news: The Wyoming anti-whistleblower bill (seeking to criminalize investigations at factory farms) has now been tabled in the state senate. The Casper Star-Tribune editorialized just yesterday about how HSUS uncovered a “culture of cruelty” at a Wyoming pig factory and that introducing the bill showed “an egregious lapse in judgment” on the part of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sue Wallis.
More good news: HSUS prevailed in a dispute over misleading animal care marketing used by major pork producer Seaboard Foods. Following an FTC complaint filed by HSUS, the agribusiness giant ceased making certain claims about its animal care practices. Alas, while it’s changed its words, it’s still not changed its practices.
And even more good news: Farmers in California were just charged with felony animal cruelty after starving 50,000 chickens.
This has a retail value of over $100. AND it’s all vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and organic!
To win: like the Oriya Organics Facebook page (come on, it’s easy) and leave a comment on this post about how super vegans are! I’m picking at random though so you don’t have to write a novel. We will pick a winner next Friday.
ALSO! For those of you who just can’t wait (or hey, you could win and just have more!), there is a promotion code that gets you 10% off and a free shaker bottle. Just enter “veganraptor” at checkout. Expires March 1st.
Exclusive Awesome Photos: Penguins And Seals In Antarctica!
My aunt and uncle, who wish to remain anonymous, recently took an incredible trip to Antarctica and snagged some insanely cool pictures of Antartic animals! Enjoy, and let’s all be grateful for amazing aunts and uncles!
I have no words for the glory that is these images. Who wants go to Antarctica together while it’s still frozen?!
Hey guys! The cool people from Sea Shepherd, NYC are having a cool bakesale this Sunday! I’ve been meaning to go to Mooshoes anyway, I’m past due for some new shoes. Well, not really. I just want some. Don’t judge me!
When: Sunday, Feb. 17th, 12:30-5:30 PM (volunteers and bakers welcome starting at noon)
Join Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, NYC chapter for our annual winter bake sale to support our vital ocean conservation work. From the Cove Guardians in Taiji, Japan monitoring the dolphin capture and slaughter to the partnership with the park rangers in the Galapagos to campaigns in the Mediterranean to stop poaching of Bluefin tuna and exposing the slaughter of seals in Namibia, Sea Shepherd is on the front line of protecting the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. Come eat some savory or sweet vegan treats, purchase official Sea Shepherd merchandise, and learn how you can get involved in Sea Shepherd’s work.
If baked goods aren’t your thing, come by anyway! MooShoes is donating 10% of the day’s sales to Sea Shepherd so you can support marine conservation without even having to chew.
Please bring a container if you plan to take home any of your treats.