With the current organizer moving to New York, the Bakesale needs a few good vegans to fill her shoes and run this thing! Organizing the sales can be as simple or involved as you like- basically, you’ll be signing on to choose a charity, maintain the twitter and tumblr accounts,…
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals! (Also, I forgot to post last week’s ANYCU so that will prob pop up later. My bad!)
Are you enjoying an August break? Well, the summer congressional recess has been anything but restful for Iowa Republican Steve King, with massive opposition mounting to his anti-animal farm bill amendment. Check out my new Huffington Post piece on it and feel free to leave a comment.
On another federal front, HSUS and a group of environmental and food safety advocates continue to fight the good fight and are teaming up to sue the EPA for not collecting information on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
You may have heard of the promising plant-based start-up food company with financial backing from Bill Gates, Hampton Creek. HSUS’s award-winning magazine, All Animals, has a nice feature on the company. And in a telling editorial, the new Egg Industry magazine discusses the threat the company poses to its industry, stating that “Competition from egg substitutes is a good way of reminding egg producers that people don’t have to eat eggs; they have choices.”
Have a great weekend, friends!
P.S. Video of the week: Like watching animals on trampolines? What if they’re not just dogs and cats, but farm animals and yes, even a bison? You’ve been forewarned.
Vote for Us to be at SxSW! Pretty please! With vegan sprinkles on top!
Your Vegansaurus is teaming up once again with Vegan Lazy Smurf to SHOWER SXSW WITH VEGAN GOODNESS! If you want to see us school everyone in the awesome ways of The Vegan, please upvote us to have a panel here! It takes about two minute total but it’ll be totally worth it when we’re up there repping for the animals! Vote today (by clicking on the thumbs-up sign!) and leave a comment pretty please and good karma will come your way hopefully via some delicious vegan cookies hitting you in the head or something?
Today ALDF won a major victory in the false-advertising case against New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG). The U.S. District Court of Northern California denied HVFG’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit which alleges that HVFG, the largest foie gras producer in the nation, violated the federal Lanham Act and California’s False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws, by claiming to be “the Humane Choice.”
ALDF’s co-plaintiff, Ella Nemcova, operates a Brooklyn-based company, The Regal Vegan, which produces a legitimately humane, plant-derived foie gras alternative called “Faux Gras.” HVFG’s manipulative marketing tactics unfairly encourage consumers to buy its force-fed foie gras instead of cruelty-free products like The Regal Vegan’s. ALDF’s lawsuit also marks the first time a humane competitor has brought forth a federal case, using false advertising laws, alongside an animal protection group.
Today’s victory dismissed challenges to the legal standing of The Regal Vegan as a humane competitor and agreed that the groundbreaking case is actionable. While the court denied ALDF’s standing as co-plaintiff its other claims may go forward.
A foie gras company calling itself the humane choice? I don’t even know what to say about that except that terrible people say ridiculous things, I guess.
As the above states, Ella Nemcova is a plaintiff—she’s the creator of vegan crack, also known as faux gras. You know I love that stuff! I got an email from Nemcova a few weeks ago with some more info on the case:
Now, ALDF is planning to add sizzle to their case, in court and the public arena, by bringing in Temple Grandin, the animal science expert who created the more humane slaughter house and who was profiled in award-winning 2011HBO biopic.
The foie gras lobby has used Temple in the past, claiming she assisted with certifying the product as humane. But now, she is setting the record straight. In a first-of its-kind statement provided to ALDF Grandin made clear her opinion of the product:
“Regarding foie gras production, force feeding is a procedure which is highly questionable from an animal welfare standpoint. If the bird’s metabolism is sufficiently overloaded with force fed grain, death losses will increase. One of my biggest concerns in animal welfare is biological system overload. This occurs when an animal’s physiology is pushed to a point where it starts to break down and the animal develops metabolic diseases and other problems that can severely compromise welfare such as lameness, heart stress, loss of body condition, death losses, mobility problems or abnormal behavior.”
I feel like they could really win this! What do you think? If you need a foie gras refresher, ALDF has this handy guide covering it’s disgustingness:
We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.
In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.
Tofurky has new products, and they sent us some to try out. Have you seen these Pockets in the frozen food section of your grocery store? I haven’t, but my grocery store isn’t really up on the latest in vegan convenience food.
This is the Pepperoni Pizza Pocket. I had to cook it in the oven, because we don’t have a microwave (or room for a microwave) in my apartment, but it only took like 30 minutes from freezer to plate.
This tasted like a less sodium-y Hot Pocket, which was about exactly what I wanted after coming home a little tipsy. “Food, comfort me!” I demanded, and this definitely did the trick. If you don’t like Hot Pockets, you won’t have any need for Tofurky Pockets, but if you do miss them, this is a fine vegan analog.
This was the BBQ Chick’N pocket. I cut it in three because I had two non-vegans to share it with, for research purposes. They both loved it, and said the sauce in particular was “delicious.” I thought was pretty sweet, for barbecue sauce, and the chicken pieces were like standard fake chicken. The crust crisped and browned nicely in the oven, and it was, again, satisfying to eat after a couple drinks.
Hey look, Turk’y Broccoli Cheddar! It was very well peppered, which was a nice surprise. The vegetarian I split this one with thought it was pretty good, too, especially the pepper. There was a fair amount of broccoli involved as well; that certainly doesn’t make it healthy, but Turk’y Cheddar alone, who needs it? Really, the insides tasted kind of like a weeknight casserole from 1989, and I have no complaints about that.
Now, I wouldn’t eat these every day, at all, but Tofurky Pockets are certainly better for you than gnarly old Hot Pockets. Is substituting all the convenience food from your freezer section with vegan options the future? Some of us might say so.
“Who would have thought then that today we would be discussing the rights of killer whales, or that the National Institutes of Health would be halting most lab experiments with chimpanzees? Who could have imagined that Burger King would now be buying cage-free eggs out of concern for hens? Or, more accurately, out of concern for tens of millions of customers who empathize with hens?”—Nicholas Kristof gets real in his July 27 op-ed in the New York Times, “Can We See Our Hypocrisy to Animals?”
Isabella Cookies are damn fine and come in lots of vegan flavors and some are weird and all are wonderful.
They sent me both the V-Ging, a spicy ginger chewy cookie topped with sweet vanilla icing, and the V-RV, a red velvet cookie with vanilla icing. They were both extremely excellent — homemade tasting and chewy and flavorful and absolutely splendid. You could buy a bag of these and polish them off yourself or bring them to a vegan bakesale and pass them off as your own. Or fool any omnivore with their deliciousness if you were inclined to share.
In addition to being gifted those flavors for potential review, I also bought the V-Breakfast cookie — “soft maple cookie with crunchy waffles, mouth-watering chocolate chips and vegan bacon”. It’s freaking weird as hell and also tasty as hell. Plus, it’s just really cool that vegans get to have fun weirdo flavor cookies.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
This week, the National Conference of State Legislatures issued a letter opposing Iowa Rep. Steve King’s dangerously anti-animal amendment to the farm bill, writing that it “would preempt vital state agricultural policies designed to protect the safety and well being of our farmland, waterways, forests and most importantly, our constituents.”
Speaking of the King amendment, my mom already called her rep. and two senators about the King amendment. Did you? If not, you’d have to be dumber than a four-year-old! (Read on; it makes sense…)
And speaking of four-year-olds, are chickens smarter than them? Scientists think so. Check out this thought-provoking op-ed in today’s New York Daily News.
HSUS is suing the Raleigh Transit Authority for rejecting its anti-gestation crate ads. Want to see the ad and coverage of this suit? Read on!
And finally, new market research shows that more than a third of Americans are now eating meat alternatives, and the vast majority of those people are meat-reducers, not vegetarians.
P.S. Video the week: Cat dressed as shark riding robotic vacuum. Need I say more?
As you may or may not remember, orangutans are my second most favorite animal (the dang elephants have a tight grip on my heart) and as you may or may not have heard, today is World Orangutan Day! Today we take action to help save the orangutans from deforestation and those murderous palm oil companies!
So check out the pages linked above and do what you can to save these super awesome animals.
Here’s your cute for the day—nay, for the month! Seriously, it’s ridic. This is little Navaan, born in a sanctuary in Thailand. His mother “worked” for an illegal logging operation until she stepped on a land-mind and couldn’t work anymore. So then she was forced into a breeding program. When she didn’t get preggers, Elephant Nature Park* was able to secure her as a new resident. But guess what! She was totally preggers! But no one knew. Then one night, bam! Navaan! And what a happy boy he is! Are you going to die from the cuteness? I plan on it.
*I love this from their site: “At ENP, there are no tricks. There are no rides. No elephant paintings can be bought. Here, these elephants are allowed to live their lives free from bullhooks, free from abuse.”
Megan: It’s a fast-food kind of place. Not like Foodswings with all the (delicious, delicious) junk food, but it seems like mostly a place you’d grab a sandwich to go. They do have some cafe tables that we took to eat.
Meave: It’s a nook. An adorable nook. If I worked or lived around here, I’d pop in all the time, but it’s not a place that looks designed to linger at.
Megan: We decided to try one of their many sandwiches. It was a tough choice but we powered through. Now behold, The Avocado Griller: ”in-house grilled rosemary lemon un-chicken, fresh avocado, v-pesto mayo, crisp romaine lettuce” (note, ours pictured below is on ciabatta). The first thing I did was immediately drop half the sandwich on the floor because I’m the super genius. But when I took a bite of the second half, I ‘bout died. SO GOOD. In my non-veggie days (2000? Wow), I used to enjoy chicken and avocado sandwiches and it was totally like that BUT WITH PESTO! And yummy bread! So, yeah, this sandwich is amazing. I want to eat it everyday. Oh and they deliver! But just a block short of my office. *Sad face*
Look at this and tell me you’re not dead:
Meave: I ate the protected innards of the fallen sandwich, because I have no class. Megan’s right, it was amazing. I would’ve added tomato and pepperoncinis, but I’m impossible to please. The pesto and avocado combo is pretty unbeatable, though, so rich and creamy.
Megan: We also got this chickpea and quinoa salad. I just don’t love salads (“a vegan who doesn’t like salad?! What the whaaa?” —my dad) so I wasn’t that excited by it but the dressing was interesting and good.
Meave: It was nice with the dried cranberries hidden in there, chewy little sweet bits of contrast to the mixed greens and tangy dressing. I was surprised to find it in a plastic box in the premade food fridge, but again, this seems like a grab-and-go sort of place, and if you’re in a hurry you don’t want someone making your salad fresh, so it makes sense. And it was a fine salad.
Megan: As we were thirsty, we decided to try one of their special juices. Neither Meave nor I are that into the big juice fad but we decided to try the Pretty In Pink. Lo and behold: it was yummy! Refreshing and not thick or anything like I expect all those healthy juices to be.
Meave: I am not into “juicing” as an “eating alternate” or “ridiculous overpriced nonsense lifestyle,” but I do miss the juicer I left behind when I moved to New York this year, and the cheap, good produce I was constantly putting into it. The pineapple-beet-apple combo is sweet and sour and crisp, very easy to drink.
Megan: They also have all kinds of baked goods! Like chocolate croissants! Damn, son. It wasn’t AS flaky and crispy as I remember regular croissants to be but it was buttery and a bit flaky and chocolaty and YUM.
Meave: Megan was so excited about this croissant! I thought it was pretty good. The chocolate inside was nice and bitter, which was a good contrast to the pastry. I bet it’d be best earlier in the day (we were there at 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, not the ideal time to buy morning-fresh baked goods), but it was a solid approximation.
Megan: We tried a red velvet cupcake as well. Tasty! I’m so tired of red velvet cupcakes having just a plain, sugary vanilla frosting instead of cream cheese flavor frosting. This totally had a nice cream cheesy flavor. The frosting was super-sweet but the cupcake part wasn’t so it wasn’t overwhelming. It also had a hint of lemon? I think? If I had to choose, I would get the chocolate croissant over the cupcake but come on, I’d pick the chocolate croissant over oxygen.
Meave: I liked the cake over the frosting, which is pretty unusual for me, as I am a hardcore frosting-only woman. (In small times, I’d eat the unwanted frosting from my friends’ cake at birthday parties.) And while this frosting was plenty good, the cake was better; like Megan says, not as sweet, a good crumb, and the color was pleasant, not creepy or (too) unnatural, which can be a problem with red velvet cake.
Megan: Oh snap I almost forgot! They also have vegan cronuts! We didn’t get to try one because they were out. But next time, lookout cronuts! Imma eat you up!
Megan: All in all, the avocado “chicken” sandwich was my favorite thing. I love it. I want to marry it. I want to marry it and have the chocolate croissant as my maid of honor. I can’t wait to try the other sandwiches! (They have a meatball sandwich and an eggplant parm sub!)
Meave: I will attend that wedding. I will give away the bride, even, if she doesn’t mind marrying a sandwich with some bites taken out of it because there is no better way to express how good that avocado and pesto taste together than devouring it.
That rad vegan we told you about earlier this week, Josh Garrett, has gone and shattered the speed record on the PCT! He finished in 59 days, 8 hours, and 59 minutes—that’s an average of 45 miles a day.
Let’s just ponder that for a minute. You wake up, you walk a marathon, then you’re like, sweet, let’s walk 20 more miles or so, then you go to bed on the ground, then you wake up and are like, hey, let’s do that again today! For two months straight. Dude must be tired, someone get him some vegan ice cream or something.
He’s still collecting donations for Mercy For Animals, so maybe this is a good way to nag your friends to give money? A couple days ago Josh’s girlfriend told The Spokesman,"He’s sleep-deprived and exhausted. He wants it over. The only thing keeping him going is thinking about the animals he’s representing." THINK ABOUT THE ANIMALS! And how gross his feet must look. No wait, don’t think about that, sorry.
Sorbet review: Dolce Gelateria in the West Village!
Megan: Meave and I got free sorbet at Dolce Gelateria in West Village! Because we are the coolest vegans! All of their sorbets are vegan (though I don’t know their sugar source) and they have lots of flavors: lemon, mango, chocolate, cantaloupe, peach, strawberry, and more.
Meave: We were secretly hoping the olive oil gelato (below, middle of the back row) would be vegan, but no. Still, there are tons of vegan sorbet flavors, and in the gelateria tradition, they’re all really beautiful.
Megan: I’m always ragging on sorbet because you know it’s our only option for dessert at 99 percent of non-vegan restaurants. But they had chocolate sorbet! If every restaurant had chocolate sorbet, I would never complain again (about sorbet, everything else is still up for scrutiny). So obvi I had to get the chocolate because I never see it and additionally: CHOCOLATE SORBET. I also got strawberry.
The strawberry was good, not too sweet and nice and refreshing. And the chocolate was great! I kept asking our host like, “is this really vegan? Yeah? Really? Can you check the ingredients? You’ll check those for me, right?” So she did—water, sugar, chocolate. BAM! Vegan! How happy am I? (HINT: SUPER HAPPY). In summary: I. Want. More. Additionally: CHOCOLATE SORBET.
Meave: Yeah, sorbet on its face isn’t really exciting anymore, but when someone offers us free sorbet, we aren’t too good to turn it down. Plus it’s sooooooo hoooooooooot, saying no to cold desserts would be dumb. I got mango and cantaloupe, because I love both those fruits but I have been way too lazy to buy and prep them this season. Why not let someone else mix them with water and sugar and whip them into a creamy vegan treat?
Meave: Gorgeous, right? Megan wasn’t into it (“Why did you get the two fruits I hate?” she said), but I thought the flavors were as bright and summery as the colors. I’m also really into Dolce’s style of putting the flavors side by side instead of one on top of the other. The whole point of having two scoops is tasting them individually AND together, plus this way they melt evenly, so you’re not eating the top flavor at peak cold while the bottom flavors turns into sorbet soup underneath it. All other cold dessert places need to get it together.
Dolce Gelateria is located at 33 Barrow Street in the West Village. They don’t seem to have hours posted anywhere, but they’re on Yelp. We ate this gelato for free.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
Wow, what a big week!
After years of research funded by Google’s co-founder, the world’s first cultured meat taste-testing went down in London. The Today Show was one of hundreds of media outlets to cover the historic event. You can see HSUS’s supportive remarks for the slaughter-free meat, too. In addition to the massive potential for eliminating a huge amount of animal suffering, keep in mind that cultured meat uses 99 percent less land, 96 percent less water, 45 percent less energy, and produces 96 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat.
A researcher at the University of Minnesota also found this week that by dramatically reducing animal consumption, we could free up enough food for another 4 billion humans.
And on the legislative front, the fight against Iowa Rep. Steve King’s nefarious farm bill provision continues, with more than a third of House members now urging leadership to strip the provision. Have you contacted your lawmakers yet?! Animals need your help now more than ever.
Video of the week: Do you like it when farm animals hang out with dogs and cats?
Vegan Hiker set to break Pacific Crest Trail speed record!
The Pacific Crest Trail runs 2,655 miles, from Mexico to Canada. Hiking it is a pretty badass feat that normally takes a fit, outdoorsy person, oh, five or six months. But Josh Garrett, an incredible vegan, is about to finish it in about 59 days, probably tonight or tomorrow morning. The previous record is 64 days.
Even better? He’s doing the hike to raise awareness for Mercy For Animals. There’s still time to sponsor him, and MFA has a great Q&A with him on their site.
Shop vegan for less: Ethical Ocean's annual summer sale is here!
It lasts through Sunday (August 11) and has some pretty great deals. This Gunas London tote, which I covet SO HARD, is fully 60 percent off! (And yet it is still so, so expensive, life is so cruel.)
Basically a little bit of everything Ethical Ocean carries is on sale right now, so if you’re looking for yourself or loved ones (it’s always someone’s birthday, and the winter holidays are coming, eventually), it seems like an opportune time to BUY BUY BUY. Get on it by Sunday!
WholeSoy & Co. has announced its products will be unavailable until this fall.
If I had to choose one product that imitates the non-vegan world that I pretty much thought I needed to survive, it’d be WholeSoy & Co. unsweetened plain soy yogurt. The tubs of savory probiotic goodness are the best tasting soy variety I’ve found, completely vegan (of course!) and insanely versatile. I loved that it could be fashioned as a sour cream substitute, baked into lovely vegan desserts, or combined with sweeteners like stevia to become a pudding-like confection. I sometimes added nooch to it and called it “Alfredo sauce,” because I’m lazy and have been vegan for eight years and forget what anything animal-derived tastes like.
If, like me, you’ve been hella confused as to WHERE THE @#$@ WholeSoy & Co. yogurt has been for the past few months, you’re not alone. Where has all the WholeSoy gone? It turns out from the WholeSoy & Co. company blog, they got pretty screwed by the facility that produced their products and were forced to halt production:
"The facility that previously helped us make and package our soy yogurt (called a co-packer in the industry) abruptly closed its doors and stopped making our products giving us only three days’ notice. We were fortunate to have been in the process of setting up a new facility, but moving yogurt production is a complicated endeavor that typically takes six months or more to complete…We have already started with the first steps toward the new WholeSoy Yogurt facility and we’ll work quickly, but we are going to take the time to get every part right. We are aiming for the return of WholeSoy products this fall.”
Wow. I am sad to see the yogurt out of stock but it’s great that WholeSoy & Co. is going to create a new all-vegan yogurt factory!
The thing is, Amande, Wildwood, and other non-dairy yogurts are similarly unavailable. Screw this production facility that took away our beloved plant yogurt!
Many of have been lamenting the (permanent?) end of beloved Wildwood on twitter:
Isa Chandra @IsaChandra Bummed that Wildwood Soy Yogurt has been discontinued. Like, ridiculously bummed. Like, I should be ashamed of myself bummed.
Stay tuned with WholeSoy yogurt updates on their blog and Facebook. Follow Amande updates here. In the meantime, all I can find is So Delicious products: Coconut yogurt and that nasty vegan greek yogurts. Get those because DESPERATION, but I think we’ll be stoked for Fall 2013 when we get at least some of our yogurt favorites back!
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
Ever wonder what the US pork industry’s response to the EU’s farm animal welfare progress is? Check out my new piece about one industry leader’s recent bizarre, xenophobic rant.
Speaking of the US meat industry’s failures, in all 11 states it introduced ag-gag legislation in 2013, we killed their efforts, meaning that zero states this year passed an ag-gag bill!
We know that pigs suffer similarly to how dogs suffer. Would knowing that they’re as smart as (or smarter than) dogs change the way we think about—and treat—them? That’s what our friends at Farm Sanctuary are asking in a new campaign covered by the Associated Press this week.
If you agree with them that farm animals have interests that matter, you’re likely to also agree with NY Times columnist Nick Kristof’s potent column this week, in which he asks, “will our descendants be mystified by how good and decent people in the early 21st century — that’s us — could have been so oblivious to the unethical treatment of animals?”
Speaking of the future, do you think cultured meat will be a part of it? See the Telegraph’s story on the promise this holds.
Finally, Bill Clinton gave a fascinating interview to AARP this week about his near-vegan diet, noting,"I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival."
Video of the week: Wild crow allows human to remove porcupine quills from him. Amazing!
Shop at Float through Sunday to help the House Rabbit Society!
Rabbits are amazing, the House Rabbit Society is a wonderful organization, and you could do worse than buying a shirt with their adorable logo from Float, where $8 from every item purchased will go to our bunny-helping pals at the HRS. But this deal only lasts through 8 a.m. Monday, so get on it!
Foreign consumption of quinoa is good for Bolivia, say actual Bolivians
Hopefully putting an end to the great quinoa controversy of 2013, NPR reports that while foreign consumption of quinoa has increased the domestic price of quinoa in Bolivia, it’s also increased Bolivians’ income, so “they’re able to now afford [foods such as] tomatoes and salads and veggies, and foods that they weren’t able to afford before,” Eduoard Rollet of Alter Eco told Allison Aubrey.
"It’s not true that due to an increase in the price of quinoa, less and less is being consumed" in Bolivia, The Associated Press quoted [Bolivian President Evo] Morales as saying in an article in February.
In fact, Morales pointed to a threefold increase in domestic consumption of quinoa over the past four years.
That means we can continue to eat quinoa without “stomaching the unpalatable truth” about it, right? Considering the truth about quinoa sounds pretty palatable to me, and more importantly, to the people producing the quinoa for us. If they say their experience is positive, then that’s what counts.