Paul Shapiro presents: Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! Yay!

I’m honored to be on CNN Headline News this weekend with the great Jane Velez-Mitchell discussing progress for pigs and HSUS’s latest undercover investigations into gestation crate factory farms. Check it out.

In a new piece about HSUS, the editor of Pork Magazine calls us “well organized, well funded and relentless.” Always nice to be able to agree on something

NPR did a nice piece on Morning Edition this past Friday about the federal effort to ban barren battery cages and require “eggs from caged hens” labeling on egg cartons. While we’re on the topic of NPR, Marketplace had a great piece by the awesome Mark Bittman about why Americans are eating fewer animals.

Want to read a new interview with Wayne Pacelle about his campus dining hall advocacy when he was in college? Your wish = my command.

But wait, there’s more!

Compassion Over Killing this morning released a new undercover investigation at a gestation crate factory farm in Iowa, a state where big ag interests are currently trying to ban such exposés with an “ag-gag” bill. Check it out and share.

The media coverage on our announcement that McDonald’s is moving to end gestation crate confinement in its US supply chain was significant. There’s too much to include here, but just a few selected excerpts:

CNN Money: “McDonald’s said it will get its pork suppliers to phase out the use of immobilizing cages for pregnant pigs, a move that was applauded by the Humane Society of the United States, but not the pork industry.”

MSNBC: “Earthquake in the pig business: McDonald’s to end use of restraining crates”

NY Times: “The buying power of McDonald’s adds a significant new dimension to the war on the practice.”

Chicago Sun-Times editorial board: “Now let’s ban those torture pens for pigs in Illinois.”

NY Times blog: “In the world of big-time meat supply, there are two kinds of producers: those who sell to McDonald’s and those wish they could.”

Chicago Tribune: “By setting the process in motion, McDonald’s could be providing the tipping point to change in the $97 billion pork industry.”

Lincoln Journal Star: “In calling for phasing out gestation crates for pregnant hogs, the world’s largest restaurant chain will put much more pressure on pork producers than any state ever could.”

Video of the week: I’ve been shocked by how many people actually cared to watch my winning contribution to a Super Bowl party food contest, but here you go:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]


Kale Kontroversy! It’s so dumb!  »

Guys, the bestest leafy green, kale (so much bioavailable nutrients!), is under attack from idiots!

1. A guy in Vermont starts making these sweet “Eat More Kale" shirts. Yay!

2. As Laura mentioned the other day, evil bastards Chick-fil-A send him a cease-and-desist letter. Apparently “Eat More Kale” is TOO SIMILAR to Chick-fil-A’s sick and twisted slogan, “Eat Mor Chikn.” You know, where the cows hold the sign and it’s all Animal Farm-esque with the livestock turning against each other?

3. TV personality Anderson Cooper reports on said controversy. Apparently he’s has no idea what kale is? The Internet calls him out on that. So what does he do?

4. He insults kale. And shows a montage of other people insulting kale. Dude, set a good example for the children of this country! Kale is the BEST! You are ignorant!

5. Let’s all order shirts? And never ever watch Anderson Cooper? OK deal.


Top 10 links of the week!: A devilish jaunt through the recesses of veganism!  »

[Your adorbs viral animal video of the week. This looks like my dog but he’s way better at piano!]

First, I would like to congratulate our Malcolm Fontier wallet giveaway winners!: JKid and Samantha M! But really you are all winners and we will have many more giveaways in the future.

In exciting mainstream news, CNN has a fairly positive piece about young vegans and vegetarians! We’re taking over!

Can slaughter house pigs benefit from Ikea toys? What about not being in slaughterhouses? Would that help at all?

Ever wonder what’s in the McRib? 70 ingredients! Including a “bleaching agent!”

Be sure you pay attention to Farm Sanctuary’s twitter today because it’s got a lot of great info from the Factory Farming Conference. By “great” of course I mean disturbing. 

Did you know it’s National (Vegan) Chocolate Day?! We must celebrate!

In San Francisco news, some fuckers shot a hawk with a nail gun. It’s being treated for injuries now. WHYYY?

Humpback whale populations are rebounding slightly better than we thought! Congrats, humans.

Here’s a really crazy/interesting piece the Humane Society alerted me to: Ag’s go-to messaging not resonating. It seems people don’t trust Big Ag! I can’t imagine why!

Hey, fish-eaters! Do you diligently select fish species that are low in mercury and not in (as much) danger of over-fishing? Good luck with that! Consumer Reports has a new study, Mystery Fish, that’s going to put a snag in your plan. 

As always, don’t forget to read Laura’s Week in Vegan! It’s always chocked full of good shiz. 


Russell Simmons is still vegan, still rules  »

I love Russell Simmons but I grew up a hip-hopper so it’s kind of a given. But you better believe I love him even more now that I’m vegan. CNN’s Eatocracy interviewed him all about his vegan diet and it’s great and he’s the best! Here’s an excerpt:

I feel better. My friends say I look better. All that’s true. But I’m a vegan for compassionate reasons.

Like I said, for the planet and for the Karma. It’s to not cause too much harm. The first part of every scripture, in terms of the science that they give for happiness, is to not cause harm. You gain happiness by eliminating or relieving suffering. You want to relieve suffering; you don’t want to be the cause. If all the oil is being used—beside what the army is using—in the manufacturing of food, we’re fighting wars over your diet. It sounds like a big stretch but it’s not when you find out the amount of oil that you use. Then you think about the global warming issue, and you think about the 15 billion animals that are born into suffering.

OMJesus do you love it? You love it.

I don’t believe in much, but what do you guys think about karma? I know we throw the word around and it prob doesn’t mean exactly what we think, but in the way it’s used popularly, what do you think? You think vegans have better karma? I don’t know; I know I do feel better about myself so I’d have to agree with his “gain happiness” statement. It makes me happy that I’m not contributing to suffering (or at least contributing as little as I can) and that I can function beyond the “but cheese is good” mentality.

He also talks about how great Tofutti Cuties are: “You can’t beat a Tofutti Cutie. You frontin’ if you say so.” TRUTH.

[via Vegetarian Star!]


Today is for the pigs!  »

Happy National Pig Day

Today, Smithfield “Foods” celebrates these beautiful, smart, and amazing creatures by eating them! Makes sense. Whenever I really want to express my love for Jonas, I murder him and get out the George Foreman! What? He’s delicious and that overrides all other moral obligations I have not to be a fucking psychopath. Ugh, the best/WORST part of Smithfield celebrating the animals they’re murdering is that they’re inviting the public to e-tour the cages where they keep the pigs awaiting slaughter. Seriously! They obviously think it’s acceptable to keep pigs in enclosures that I wouldn’t inflict upon my worst enemy and I have some HATE, you know? Can you imagine if people kept their kids like that? Or their dogs? And both kids and dogs are stupider than pigs! This whole thing is very confusing. What’s more, the awful place they show in their video is obviously cleaned up, so that leaves it to your imagination (or you know, the countless documented horrors) to dream up what the majority of their “farms” look like. Shudder.

In more slit-your-wrists news, CNN covers the South Korean mass burials of live animals and it’s the fucking saddest. Spread the word! Shoot me in the face!

Okay, it’s not all terrible news. Today is a day for us to celebrate pigs by looking at how cute and special they are and talking about how much we love them. Which is a lot because OMG PIGS! Maybe we can all tell at least one omnivore some pig fun facts today and let them know that their bacon had a mom, and she was FUCKING AWESOME.
That’s Mohawk! He wants you to volunteer at Harvest Home Sanctuary, where you will love him and give him scratches and snacks and you guys will be bff. 


Mike Vick wants a dog. For serious.  »

This is my dog Figaro, in his Eagles jersey. It was the first piece of clothing I ever bought him. When I adopted him in Philly, he weighed a measly ten pounds—he should be twenty-five or so. Everyone was staring at his skelator body and making comments so I got him the Eagles jersey, 1. to cover up his ribs, 2. to ingratiate him with the sports-obsessed city of Philadelphia. I put the shirt over his bony ribs, took him to our favorite dive and a star was born! He was a hit. Everybody welcomed a new Eagles fan into the world.

Figgy has not worn his Eagles Jersey since Micheal Vick became a member of the team. We were not pleased, to say the least! How could my beloved Eagles throw morality to the wind and hire this dog-murderer? BECAUSE PEOPLE CARE MORE ABOUT SPORTS THAN ANIMAL CRUELTY. This isn’t that big of a surprise to me but it’s still disappointing. I guess you just hope people will pull through for you when they are faced with an issue like this but Vick scores touchdowns and that’s the bottom line for many.

I’ve written about Vick on vegansaurus before but the issue seemed to have died down recently. When I was in Philly for Thanksgiving, I saw that Vick is more popular than ever. Guess we’re over this whole dog torture thing! Now we can get back to football. Hu-freaking-za. But just when you think we’re done with it, Vick announces to that he wants to own a dog again! (there’s a lame commercial at the beginning, sorry!):

Yeah, he really said it. And now we have to reevaluate the situation. Has Vick redeemed himself at all? Of course he can’t get a dog yet anyway, the judge ruled he can’t have a dog for at least three years. But if he could, is that really a good idea?

Since his release, Vick has been working with The Humane Society to educate kids about dog-fighting. The Humane Society’s president Wayne Pacelle, who has worked with Vick, had this to say, from “He’s been going through counseling, he’s been speaking to kids twice a month, and he needs to interact with animals,” said Pacelle. “If he continues to hit these markers, then if his daughter wants a dog two or three years down the line,… I’m saying that we should be open to that possibility.”

PETA also weighed in on the issue; from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Just as convicted pedophiles aren’t allowed free access to children, anyone who is responsible for hanging, electrocuting, or shooting dogs and who causes them to suffer in other unimaginable ways should never again be allowed access to dogs,” Lisa Lange, vice president of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told the [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “All things considered, it is a very small price to pay, especially compared to the suffering endured by the dogs who were abused and killed in the Bad Newz Kennels.”

Yeah, I’m not really sold on this pedophile-comparison. The “small price to pay” comment is definitely on point though. But what about redemption? Has Vick made up for some of the damage he did? When asked about the HSUS work with Vick, Pacelle makes good points. From

"What he did is terrible, there’s no question about that," Pacelle said. "But this is an issue of protecting animals in the future. And endlessly flogging Michael Vick is not going to save one animal. But putting him to work in communities to save animals and educate people about the problem of dogfighting — especially with at-risk kids — is the way to help the problem."

What Vick is doing with the HSUS does seem like the right thing to do. He can’t make up for what he did but what he’s doing now could go a long way to preventing dog-fighting in the future. Just telling kids it’s “wrong” is a positive step for the movement. Though I don’t think it’s an excuse, when Vick says no one ever told him dog-fighting was wrong, I believe him. You can’t underestimate the influence one’s childhood has on them. But still, as an adult, you have to know electrocuting an animal is not OK, right?

Ultimately, if you want my opinion (and I know you do!), should Vick be allowed to get a dog? HELL NO. Why does he even have to ask? It’s annoying. It’s like, you’re doing good with your community service, don’t rock the damn boat. I love dogs and if I was touring around the country talking about how great dogs are, I’d probably want one too, but big deal! You know why you can’t have a dog, suck it up. And sorry you look like a jerk to your daughter but guess what: you are a jerk! And that is one of the consequences. I do think it’d be great for him to volunteer with shelter animals and donate every last cent he has to help abused dogs. Maybe if he did that and maybe if his reason for wanting a dog was, I don’t know, because he wants to help a dog, then maybe I would feel differently. But he wants to play hero for his daughter and show people he’s changed—those are not good enough reasons to let him get a dog. If he ever mentions anything about ending suffering or changing a dog’s life, then we’ll talk.


Let’s eat and drink and live forever!  »

Killer news, you guys: a longterm study of nearly 130,000 people found that those participants eating lower-carbohydrate, higher-protein diets in which the protein and fats came from plant sources were overall healthier and lived longer. Moreover, the study “confirmed a ‘direct association’ between animal-based low-carbohydrate food intake in men and increased cancer deaths, particularly from colorectal and lung cancer. That association aligns with previous studies that have confirmed a link between red meat, processed meat, and those two types of cancers.” Whoops! Enjoy that bacon, hope you don’t mind dying at 50.

The National Institutes of Health funded the study, which began following 85,186 women in 1980 and 44,548 men in 1986. The vegetable-protein-eaters ate more whole grains and drank more alcohol—color your Vegansaurus surprised—while the animal-protein-eaters were more likely to smoke. And yes, the study took more “positive” lifestyle factors into account as well, like vitamins and exercise; our people still outlived the death-eaters.

This coincides nicely with what Nation’s Restaurant News reports as one of fall’s big trends: VEGETABLES! Everyone’s crazy about vegetables, and not just because they are so damn delicious! Did you know that “[p]rotein production uses many more resources and generates much more waste than vegetable production”? You guys, they’re learning and mending their ways! “John Fraser, the executive chef at Dovetail in New York City, introduced meatless Mondays earlier this year and has come to enjoy focusing on cooking vegetables so much that he said he is toying with the idea of opening an all-vegetarian restaurant.”

That brings a tear to my eye, it absolutely does. Science keeps supporting our choices, and chefs are backing us up with more cruelty-free dishes. Lucky us; when we do end up living to ridiculously old age, we’ll always be able to eat well.


Catalonia bans bullfighting! Viva España!  »

Bullfighting is so nasty and I fucking* hate it! So I was very glad when Meave reported that an amendment to the animal protection laws in Catalonia, Spain passed! Bullfighting is so over, jack!

I was totally happy about this animal victory but on Facebook today, one of my Spanish friends criticized the motives behind the ban, claiming it’s a matter of politics and not concern for animals. My friend Santi, who says he hates bullfighting, also had this to say:

They are doing it to say we are not Spanish. Make no mistake, Catalans also like bullfighting considering the number of people turning up to arenas. They have used this to say we  are not like them to the world!

 I do have to point out that the anti-bullfighting side used the fact that bullfighting has been declining in popularity as an indicator of public thought, so I question just how much Catalans like the “sport.” According to the Barcelona Reporter, “Barcelona’s last bullring is so unprofitable that the company managing it intends to give up the business next year.” The Guardian also reported the ban, focusing on the political implications of the issue. Pro-bullfighting peeps are saying Catalonia is using the ban as a big fuck-you to the rest of Spain.

Guess what has two thumbs and couldn’t give a shit about the motives that ban bullfighting?! THIS GUY! Bullfighting is disgusting and anyone who likes it is despicable. I said it! I don’t care why, I’m just glad it’s on its way out. Another thing I’m a fan of: matadors getting totally thrashed by bulls. I’m pro that. Fuck those douchebags.

Many of the bullfighting supporters also say the ban is an attack on Spain’s cultural heritage. An op-ed on from last month addressed this cultural heritage argument. See, major news outlets aren’t always big ol’ jerkwads! The author, Jordi Casamitjana, is a consultant for PROU, a super-dope anti-bullfighting organization. Casamitjana says:

Many pro-bullfighting activists have argued that the “sport” is an important part of the Spanish culture and should not be banned. But cultural heritage is no excuse for inflicting pain on a frightened and confused animal. This campaign is not a matter of arbitrary prohibitions or of stomping on people’s individual freedoms. It is a matter of suffering.

Do you love this guy or what? 

If you don’t think bullfighting is fucking repulsive, watch a few youtube videos like this one supplied by SHARKonline. I don’t want to post them on here because they make me cry and I don’t want to make you guys cry because then you’ll all be at work looking like a bunch of nancies.

Bonus! The story of Ferdinand the bull! Of course in real life, they’d totally stab him to death but still, Ferdinand is totally adorbs:

[can’t see the video? watch it on!]

*My parents are dedicated Vegansaurus readers and they get upset at the foul language because they are so very old and square. So to them, I must apologize for dropping the f-bomb but bullfighting makes me so mad!

[bull illustration from PROU website]


How to help the other animals affected by the BP oil spill  »

Get ready for a downer. A CNN corespondent visited the Louisiana SPCA to see the other side of the BP oil spill’s effect on animals. There’s been a huge surge of pets surrendered to Louisiana animal shelters because families who’ve been hit hard financially by the oil spill can no longer afford to care for them. One rescue, the St. Bernard Parish animal shelter, saw 17 dogs surrendered by their owners in June, 2009; this year they had 127 dogs surrendered in June. Fucking A. The SPCA is calling for BP to start chipping in to help families keep their pets. They are also offering free veterinary care for people in the fishing industry in certain coastal regions. If you want to help out, you can donate money to this effort on the Louisiana SPCA website. The St. Bernard Parish animal shelter is also calling for volunteers. Everybody is looking for more foster homes as shelters are at capacity.

Another organization getting involved is the Animal Rescue of New Orleans, a rescue formed to help animals affected by Katrina. As a no-kill shelter, they have people driving all the way to their shelter near New Orleans to surrender their pets in the hopes they won’t be put down before they can find new homes. This little white dog is Chloe, she was surrendered and required surgery to remove bladder stones. With people barely able to provide for their healthy pets, pets that need expensive medical care are probably screwed. ARNO is also trying to keep pets in their homes with their Pet Retention Program. This program helps low income and unemployed people keep their pets by paying for their care. They are in dire needs of funds right now and you can donate (with paypal!) here.

Another, more fun way to help is to sponsor an animal. On the Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society’s website, you can sponsor an animal and they will even send you a cute picture of “your” animal like this one to the right. I think sponsoring animals is a great way for kids to get involved in rescue efforts. They get a pet by-proxy and they also learn about the realities homeless pets as opposed to pet shops selling animals.

There’s an interesting personal account of a visit to the St. Bernard Parish animal shelter on the blog ohmidog. You have to scroll to the bottom as it was a stop on a road trip. The writer discusses the conditions of the shelter as well as disaster economics.

That’s all for today. I don’t have any good jokes because I am sad. It’s sad that the pets don’t have homes, it’s also sad that people don’t have their pets anymore. Pets are good for you!

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