vegansaurus!

07/12/2013

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

The Guardian’s got a great feature on our gestation crate campaign, noting that “HSUS has the pork industry on the defensive.” The journalist also has a separate blog about the issue, including his interview with my friend and coworker Josh Balk. Josh is the only person, it seems, who can work his bar mitzvah into an interview about chicken slaughter and gestation crates…

Yesterday, with only hours of notice, the House of Representatives voted (again) on a version of the farm bill containing Rep. Steve King’s nefarious provision to harm animals. You can read Wayne Pacelle’s thoughts on the vote.

You know that having people view videos of what happens to animals in slaughterplants can be effective, right? Well, what about giving them a virtual tour of the process from the animal’s perspective?

Like Ryan Gosling? You’ll like him even more now that he’s campaigning to secure a national ban on gestation crates in Canada (his home country).

P.S. Video of the week: The world’s most tolerant cat, or the world’ most persistent pig?

07/01/2013

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

Vegetarian eating is on the rise in China, with their vegetarian population now larger than that in the U.S. And on this side of the world, in the U.S., “meat” may be becoming a four-letter word, so much that Taco Bell is now just referring to it as “protein.” The article about it notes that part of the reasoning is based on the fact that “43 percent of conversations about ‘meat’ over the last six months were negative and often included such words as ‘bad,’ ‘concerns,’ and ‘problem.’”

A big ag trade publication commenting on our campaign this week notes, “The movement against gestation stalls is international, widespread and making major gains.”

Indeed, major gains are being made, and in one state, we’re going to have to fight very hard to ensure that those gains continue. Despite nearly unanimous votes in both chambers of the state legislature and enjoying overwhelming voter support across the political spectrum, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation yesterday that would have banned gestation crates. The next chapter of the fight will soon unfold.

P.S. Video of the Week: Cat or dog?

06/21/2013

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

imageIt’s Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!

It was a roller coaster of a week, with the biggest news being that the House farm bill—which contained no animal welfare improvements but did contain Iowa Rep. Steve King’s anti-animal provision—was killed yesterday!

(Regrettably, the meat industry lobby prevented a House vote on federal legislation to help egg-laying hens. The fight continues.)

In related news, want to read a great Mother Jones story? The title says it all: “You Won’t Believe What Pork Producers Do to Pregnant Pigs.”

The New York Times editorial board this week slammed the animal ag sector, calling it an “industry that thrives on ignorance.”

And finally, check out this article: “Study suggests chickens are smarter than toddlers.”

P.S. Video of the week: Stephen Colbert’s take last night on the farm bill dispute between Rep. Steve King and HSUS. It’s truly amazing.

P.P.S. 140 years ago this week, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting. Oh, how societal norms change …

06/14/2013

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

Jon Stewart may not be on the Daily Show right now, but the ag-gag debate is! Watch this week’s must-watch hysterical segment featuring a former HSUS investigator pitted against the Animal Ag Alliance. You be the judge of who won.

“A tough opponent,” “formidable,” and “sophisticated.” In the rare chance you weren’t able to attend the World Pork Expo in Iowa this week, these are just some of the ways the meat industry is describing HSUS there. We’ll take it.

NPR asked the question last night, “Why is Bill Gates investing in chicken-less eggs?” Want to know? Check out yesterday’s “All Things Considered” great feature on Hampton Creek Foods.

The upcoming week is a major one in Congress, with the House set to take up the five-year farm bill, including consideration of a Farm Bureau-backed nefarious provision intended to harm farm animals, and the federal hen protection bill (which the Farm Bureau and nearly every national meat trade group opposes). Contact your member of Congress now!

P.S. Video of the week: Dogs vs. citrus …

06/07/2013

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

imageIt’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!

Huge news this week: The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education voted 4-1 to enact an exclusively vegetarian Meatless Monday policy at all K-8 schools in the district. Unsurprisingly, this was to the chagrin of the Animal Ag Alliance, which waged a losing campaign to defeat the measure.

If you liked that, you may also be impressed that Canada is poised to pass a national regulation curbing gestation crate use.

I’ve got a new piece on HuffPost about the increasing number of folks even within the ag industry who are starting to second-guess their ag-gag strategy. Feel free to leave a comment.

A number of papers, such as the Bakersfield Californian, are editorializing against Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) nefarious attempt in the Farm Bill to erase numerous laws we’ve passed to protect farm animals. Meanwhile, King and his allies in the meat industry are also trying to kill federal legislation to ban barren battery cages for laying hens.

Finally, this week, a major story got a lot of media play announcing extensive new research showing that vegetarian diets are linked to longer lives. In that vein, influential UK members of Parliament are urging Britons to eat less meat as a way to increase food security.

P.S. Video of the week: HSUS’s future CEO?

P.P.S. Live in SoCal? Hope to see you at veg appetit next week!

06/04/2013

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

This year’s ag-gag fight has been a bruising one for the animal ag industry, with every single bill so far introduced failing, while generating enormous negative media attention for animal agribusiness. It’s gotten so bad that one dairy industry spokesperson just published a column with a revealing title: “Ag-gag bills do more harm than good.”

Speaking of ag-gag bills, what’s likely to be the final battle on this in 2013 is in full force. North Carolina had a hearing on its ag-gag bill this week, and you can watch HSUS’s TV commercial that we’re running across the state. The Fayetteville Observer—the hometown newspaper of the state Senator sponsoring the bill—condemned this ag-gag effort, summing it up well: “We hope [Sen. Wesley] Meredith will let this dreadful legislation die humanely in committee.”

NBC had a fascinating feature on a company making in vitro leather, calling it “The Company Leading the Future of Farming.”

Finally, here’s a very potent new TED talk by a former wildlife poacher turned vegetarian animal advocate.

P.S. Video of the week: Pig platform on which goats can play!

05/24/2013

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

Still happy about the Tennessee governor’s veto of his state’s ag-gag bill? So is the state’s largest paper, which editorialized this week that “On every level, ‘ag gag’ was a failure” and that “the legislation was built upon a lie.”

The new ag-gag battle is in North Carolina, where a bill is pending in the state legislature. You can read the HSUS state director’s op-ed on the issue.

You knew that foie gras production was terrible for the birds. Do you know how the farm workers are treated? Here’s the Financial Times’ coverage of the issue.

Ever wonder about the guy behind most of the attacks on HSUS? The Boston Globe had a major front-page exposé on meat industry frontman Rick Berman (of the so-called “Center for Consumer Freedom”) and his campaign against HSUS. Appropriately, the piece is entitled, “Washington’s robust market for attacks, half-truths.”

And on the polar opposite end of the spectrum, Peter Singer has a great new TED talk on effective altruism that’s worth your time.

P.S. Video of the week:

The most inefficient—and cutest—way a cat has ever drunk water.

05/03/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

First, some good news in our campaign to eradicate gestation crates from pork production: The top eight grocers in Canada (including Walmart Canada) committed to phase out gestation crates. This led one ag reporter to editorialize, “It seems to me like you might as well stick a fork in its butt and turn it over: the gestation stall debate is done.”

Now, some more good news: The Indiana ag-gag bill was killed this week.

I had a new op-ed on CNN.com this week about ag-gag bills that you may want to check out. Also, you may be interested in another new piece of mine (this one on Huffington Post) about the pork industry’s Orwellian name game. And I was glad to do an interview on HuffPost Live this week.

In Tennessee, the ag-gag bill’s sponsor, pork producer state Rep. Andy Holt, created headlines when he sent an email to my coworker comparing HSUS’s cruelty exposés to rape and human trafficking, even calling our work “tape and rape.” There was a lot of attention on this repulsive comparison, but this one

The Tennessee governor is still deciding whether to sign or veto the ag-gag bill. In the meantime, more than 300 Tennessee clergy members sent a letter to him urging a veto.

A woman was arrested in Utah this week for taking photos of a slaughter plant from public property, though the charges were subsequently dropped, leading the Salt Lake Tribune to editorialize that it’s an “ag-gag backfire.”

A new ag-gag bill was introduced in Pennsylvania this week, and the Wayne Independent is the first paper in the state to editorialize against it, asserting that it “goes against everything this country has stood for since its inception.”

Finally, you’ve heard of schools doing Meatless Mondays, but have you heard of them going all-vegetarian? Now you have. Perhaps that’s no surprise, especially considering that a new Consumer Reports study found 90 percent of retail turkey samples contain dangerous bacteria. Whatever the reason may be, meat-free eating is catching on in a major way. As one AP article this week proclaimed: “Vegetarian cooking goes mainstream.”

P.S. Video of the week: Cat loves vacuum

P.P.S. Too fascinating not to share: With smoking declining, U.S. tobacco growers are turning to growing chick peas to supply the increasing demand for hummus. Apparently the invisible hand of the free market is working==and it likes to dip veggies in hummus.

04/30/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

Another big week: Ellen DeGeneres had Wayne Pacelle on her show to talk about the ag-gag fight, while we waged a full court press urging Tennessee’s governor to veto the ag-gag bill now on his desk that would essentially ban whistleblowing exposés of animal cruelty. You can see the new TV ad HSUS is running, along with significant other efforts we’re putting into the state, leading to coverage noting that “never has Gov. Bill Haslam received so much communication on a single issue.”

Nearly every major newspaper in Tennessee is urging Gov. Haslam to veto the bill. The Tennessean decried it as “despicable and unconstitutional.” The Daily News Journal called the bill “ridiculous, immature and idiotic.” The News-Sentinel also put it bluntly, ridiculing the legislation as a “mendacious and despicable measure.”

The ACLU is now getting more involved in the ag-gag battle, including in Tennessee. Meanwhile, in Indiana, the state’s ag-gag bill advanced further in the legislative process, leading the Indianapolis Star to editorialize against the bill, calling it “extremely misguided.”

Here’s a new interview of mine on the ag-gag issue and other farm animal protection topics.

Finally, legislation to ban barren battery cages for laying hens and require battery cage egg cartons to be labeled as “eggs from caged hens” wasre-introduced in the Congress this week, enjoying support from a wide array of animal protection groups and the egg industry’s trade association, though still opposed by nearly every national meat and dairy trade group.

P.S. Video of the week: And the lion shall lay down with the lamb …

P.P.S. New resources of the week: A new HSUS Earth Day-themed Meatless Monday infographic, and a new site by some friends of mine you may be interested in checking out!

04/12/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use  »

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

Big week, so buckle up!

First, the Sunday New York Times had a cover feature about the meat industry’s efforts to ban investigations by HSUS and fellow animal protection groups. It even included a full-color HSUS photo of a crated pig on A1 of the paper. As well, the NYT editorial board condemned the industry’s effort, noting “the ag-gag laws guarantee one thing for certain: increased distrust of American farmers.”

(Another interesting NYT story)

Speaking of pigs, remember last year’s major HSUS investigation into a then-Tyson supplier gestation crate confinement facility? Well, we announced this week that several of the people caught on the video were convicted of criminal animal cruelty.

Finally, I did a half-hour segment on Miami’s NPR affiliate this week about the need to reduce per capita rates of meat consumption.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Video of the week

P.P.S. Live in Mass? Hope to see you Sunday!

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