Paul Shapiro on food scandals, the EU battery-cage ban, and celebrities! Now with alternate Spanish version! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yes!
The Huffington Post listed its top 13 food scandals of 2011, with HSUS’s exposé of Smithfield Foods ranking #1! Check out the full list. (And for my Spanish-speaking amigos, puede leer mi articulo sobre los puercos en Que Pasa Mi Gente!)
If you’d like to see a nice BBC story about former battery hens (“ex-bats”!) getting a second chance at life, here’s your chance.
Speaking of the EU, here’s an interesting article about member nations facing legal action over not complying with the upcoming historic EU ban on barren battery cages (it was passed in 1999 and takes full effect Jan 1).
Finally, check out this CNN piece about celebrities working with Mercy For Animals to combat abuse of laying hens.
Video of the week: Is there anything more popular than a dog and pig wrestling?
Ryan Gosling speaks out for animals, a billion undergarments drop »
Ryan Gosling, hero to every person with eyes, is speaking out for abused chickens! Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty fine man GOOD LORD.
According to Mercy for Animals, the appeal comes after hidden-camera video, shot at Sparboe facilities in three states revealed hens crammed in tiny wire cages, dead hens left to rot in cages with birds still laying eggs for McDonald’s Egg McMuffins, and workers burning off the beaks of baby birds without painkillers. Yum! Watch the undercover video here:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Ugh, egg farms are the grossest. Seriously, this kind of abuse isn’t just happening at Sparboe facilities, it’s happening any place animals are treated as commodities. I see those poor chickens and I imagine my dog in that situation and I just want to murder everything.
So, thank you, Ryan Gosling, and assorted other celebrities I don’t give a shit about because your faces are like garbage compared to his, for speaking out. I already wanted to go all Kathy Bates in Misery on him and now the odds of that happening are about 2-1. G’damn!
And finally, some Feminist Ryan Gosling to both tantalize and amuse:
Paul Shapiro Presents: Animal News You Can Use! (Thanksgiving Edition!) »
It’s time for the next installment of Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! This time, it’s THANKSGIVING-STYLE, boooy! Take it away, Paul! I’m thinking we might need an adorable graphic for this? Anyone want to make us one? In return, I will give you a gigantic Thanksgiving high-five! What a feeling!
Well, if you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard about Mercy For Animals’ potent new investigation at Sparboe Foods, one of the sole egg producers in the country lobbying against the federal effort to ban barren battery cages. In the wake of the investigation, both McDonald’s and Target dropped Sparboe as a supplier.
MFA’s investigation resulted in massive news coverage, including a powerful 20/20 segment along with much other ABC News content (including a couple minutes of me hanging out with chickens talking about battery cages). Amusingly, a spokesman for the egg company claimed the video was “staged,” only to have the company later publicly correct him, asserting they have no evidence of that.
The NPR affiliate in DC sat down with me for lunch to talk about veg eating and Meatless Monday. You can listen to the six-minute segment here.
Finally, the headline says it all: “Talking Turkey: 9 out of 10 retail turkey samples contaminated with fecal bacteria.”
Have a nice holiday… :-)
P.S. No, the above video of me with chickens isn’t the video of the week. This cow playing with a ball is.
An undercover video of McDonald’s egg suppliers by Mercy for Animals. Shit is fucked!
From Mercy for Animals:
The organization is urging McDonald’s’ CEO to implement a new animal welfare policy prohibiting the sale of eggs from hens confined in cruel cages – something the company has already done in Europe.
The undercover footage recorded at Sparboe Egg Farms in Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado reveals:
· Hens crammed into filthy wire cages with less space for each bird than a standard-sized sheet of paper to live her entire miserable life, unable to fully stretch her wings, or engage in most other natural behaviors
· Workers burning off the beaks of young chicks without any painkillers
· Rotted hens, decomposed beyond recognition as birds, left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption
· A worker tormenting a bird by swinging her around in the air while her legs were caught in a grabbing device
· Chicks trapped and mangled in cage wire – others suffering from open wounds and torn beaks
· Live chicks thrown into plastic bags to be suffocated
“In my opinion, the treatment of the birds at this facility is unconscionable,” veterinarian Dr. Lee Schrader said after viewing the footage. “The unnecessary violence, unskilled killing, and especially the extreme confinement and deprivation of the most minimal and basic needs of the hens cannot be allowed to continue.”
Confining hens in battery cages is so cruel that the entire European Union and the states of California and Michigan have banned their use. Additionally, leading food retailers, such as Whole Foods, Hellmann’s, and Wolfgang Puck, and hundreds of colleges refuse to use or sell eggs from hens subjected to the inherent abuses of battery cages.
“McDonald’s’ secret ingredient in every Egg McMuffin is horrific cruelty to animals,” said MFA’s Executive Director Nathan Runkle. “Consumers would lose their lunch if they saw how McDonald’s’ rotten egg suppliers crammed hens into tiny, filthy cages where they couldn’t freely spread their wings, burned off their beaks without painkillers, threw them, and broke their necks.”
View the undercover video at www.McDonaldsCruelty.com
“McDonald’s’ secret ingredient in every Egg McMuffin is horrific cruelty to animals,” damn! Tell it! There is that one nice part in the video though where the employee laments the treatment of the chickens. That gives me a little hope that all people aren’t evil. Just a lot of people.
The McDonald’s Cruelty site says that McDonald’s is the biggest egg purchaser in the U.S., if they changed their ways, that would make a big difference. Bigger difference: if people stop eating eggs! Yay! But people love eggs. People are gross. And McDonald’s! Good lord! Get a conscience! We already know about the cruelty behind the McRib, now the Egg McMuffin. Is nothing sacred?!
3rd annual Chicago VeganMania Fest this weekend! »
If I still lived in Chicago, I’d totally hit this fest up! Actually I probably wouldn’t because my job is in the restaurant industry, therefore I work every weekend of my life. Sucks for me! You should go, Chicago readers. Report back in the comments section (I live for your comments!). And if I’d given anyone else enough notice, they could’ve hopped a plane and frolicked about the glorious(LY cold) city of Chicago for a weekend. Has it gotten to that point your nose hairs are freezing together yet? Wait, that’s more of a December thing, right?
Looks like one of the best ways to spend a Saturday. Get to Pulaski Park Fieldhouse—1491 W. Blackhawk (a few blocks east of the Milwaukee/Division Blue Line stop)—from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free!
Speakers include Natan Runkle, founder of Mercy for Animals, vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke, and Vegan Outreach’s Director of Outreach, Jon Camp. Food provided by Chicago Diner, Chicago Soydairy, Laviyah Ayanna of Vegan Food Truck, and Sandi Swiss of Canary Confectionery.
All in all, it looks like a fun day filled with vendors, music, artists, speakers, and FOOD! Plus, there’s totally an all ages after party at the Silver Room, at 1442 N. Milwaukee Ave. It’s $15, goes from 5:30 to 10 p.m, and includes live music, DJs, a raffle, food from Soul Vegan, plus door prizes.
C’mon, what else were you going to do Saturday? Cry in your Old Style about how cold it’s getting at some dive in Wicker Park/Logan Square/Ukrainian Village? Hit up Chicago VeganMania!
[Image courtesy mfablog.org]
Mercy for Animals is launching this series of commercials on MTV and other cable networks. They are totally macabre, but pretty tame. They show people buying meat that then turns bloody. Then, all these factory farm images go through the people’s heads.
The images they show though are definitely on the light side, upsetting but far from the worst of what’s out there. Maybe they don’t want to scare people off, right? If it’s too upsetting, a lot of people just shut down. These images aren’t super-disturbing, they are mostly really sad.
My only criticism is that they use mostly the same factory farm images in each commercial. They should show a breadth! To be like, yeah, it’s rampant. Because it is.
Vegansaurus NYC: Veg-O-Ween vegan Halloween party! »
Veg friendly foodies: put on your Halloween best! Veg-O-Ween, New York’s vegan Halloween dance party, returns for a second year on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Crema, an upscale Mexican restaurant happily taking on the vegan challenge for the event. Adding hand-passed gourmet tapas and a happy hour to the delicious mix, this year’s party promises to be bigger, better, and a bit fancier than the last.
The party will be emceed by vegan comedienne Kate Wolff and DJed by vegan DJ Lil Ray. Guests are encouraged enter both the costume contest and raffle to compete for prizes from local and national vegan vendors. Happy Hour is from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. (early arrival is a must!). Tasty vegan desserts will be provided by the amazing Vèritè Catering.
Where: Crema, 111 West 17th St. (between 6th and 7th avenues)
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 at 9:30 p.m.
Tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at the door (21 and over). Advance tickets are on sale now.
I don’t have a Halloween costume yet! OMG. Usually I am a super-scary zombie-something—zombie-flapper, zombie-housewife, etc. As it turns out, I’m totally great at zombie makeup! Who knew. Like, I scare chicks at parties because my wounds look so icky. But the makeup gets all over my stuff! So I’m thinking of switching it up and being a mod-vampire. Or a something-vampire. I’ll still look scary but I think there’s less chance I’ll get fake blood and spirit glue on my shit. What is everyone else being?
Vegansaurus NYC: Vegan fashion event for Mercy for Animals this Thursday! »
Amid all the fur and leather comes a breath of fresh air for the vegans during New York City Fashion Week! Perfectly placed at Greenhouse, the eco-friendly event venue located in Tribeca, Have Mercy! will feature some of the industry’s top vegan-friendly designers, including Fraley Le, Yane Mode, Sew Moe Designs and Pretty Birdie Stephanie Teague.
Enjoy hors d’oeurves catered by Verite, desserts by Bolaji Cuisine, and delectable vegan chocolate by Rescue Chocolate while you’re entertained by James Koroni’s Forced Arch Dance Troupe and Vegansaurus’ beloved vegan drag queen Honey LaBronx! The U.S. Veg Corps is hosting.
The best part? Funds will benefit Mercy For Animals. Tickets are $25 in advance and $40 at the door. The event will run from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Greenhouse, located at 150 Varick St. For further information call (917) 767.7283 or visit the Facebook page.
Guest post: Mercy For Animals calls out those jerks at the Milk Board »
About a week ago, I was working in my lab when one of my fellow scientists started asking me about the articles I’ve been writing about the sexist milk debacle. This scientist is originally from India and is vegetarian. We started discussing the differences in milk products in India versus those found in the United States, and how the milk itself is collected.
I was floored by his comments. It’s well known that cows are considered holy in India, and that they are respected creatures. But my colleague told me that they collect milk from their cows “respectfully” and that the local communities came together and created almost a “milk co-op.” No competition, no harmful conditions, and pretty expensive milk.
I felt stupid explaining the methods widely used in the United States after hearing that. I was embarrassed to explain the concept of veal. I felt rude talking about “rape racks.” I felt mortified explaining all the reasons milk is so cheap in this country.
After hearing all that, my colleague decided that he would not consume dairy any longer. The next day, I saw him sipping a little container of soymilk. Six days later, he told me he was still sticking with it, and asked about non-dairy ice cream options. My favorite part about this story is that it just took the truth. He listened, he understood, and that was it.
Mercy for Animals (MFA) decided to create a vegan spin on the sexist milk ads that we’ve been vomiting over for the last few weeks. The MFA ads show ladies holding blood-splattered milk cartons (which instantly reminded me of this ad for Dexter), stating “PMS? No, I’m livid with milk industry for abusing and killing cows.”
The ads are meant to “set the record straight about the milk industry’s true relationship with the female reproductive system,” according to an MFA blog post. The ads will run in Ms. magazine, the feminist magazine that headed up the change.org campaign that helped get the original milk ads removed.
A few weeks ago, the Milk Board responded to the criticism of their idiotic ad campaign by taking down their website everythingidoiswrong.org and replacing it with gotdiscussion.org, which displays carefully selected comments from their supporters and critics. Despite the unrelenting voice of many animal rights organizations, as well as individuals that commented on the Milk Board’s Facebook debate, the new website lacks representation of such comments. So, it should be interesting to see how the Milk Board responds to the new Mercy for Animals campaign. We can only hope they won’t take legal action like they did when PETA did essentially the same exact thing.
Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She’ll gross you out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.
Guest post: Vegan Cookie Connoisseur Kelly Peloza goes to Mad City Vegan Fest! »
The first-ever Mad City Vegan Fest was held last month in Madison, Wis., and I was lucky enough to be there doing a baking demo and speech. Over 1,300 people attended, and there were so many fantastic, inspiring presenters: Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House spoke about food activism; Terry Romero made chipotle seitan potato tacos; Kenny Torella of Mercy For Animals spoke about everyday compassion; and there was a nutrition talk, yoga session, and raw food demo! There were lines wrapping around the exhibitor room full of people eager to get their hands on lunch from local Midwest vegan food vendors like Dandelion Food Cart (I got a breakfast-y tofu ciabatta sandwich and it was yumz), Ste Martaen Vegan Food Truck, and a whole host of tables offering samples. A smashing success, and everyone was extremely friendly and super awesome.
It gets even better! There were Vegansaurus Happy Veggie Kids at the vegan fest! My friend Marla of Chicago VeganMania was there with Justice. Then I recognized Ayame, who sat in the front row at my demo and volunteered to be one of my cookie-decorators. I clearly need to be best friends with more eight-year-olds because Ayame said she loves cookies and bunnies, and OMG me too! I went vegan when I was 14 and grew up very much involved in the vegan community, and it’s wonderful to see these awesome vegan kids being a part of such a wonderful community at such a young age!
For my demo, I talked about cookbook-writing and the greatness of microplane zesters, then made Shirley Temple Cookies. They are a delicate, shortbread-like citrus cookie topped with cherry grenadine frosting, garnished with a cherry, candy straws, and a cocktail umbrella—just like the drink. Get the recipe here.
Sandi and Ayame and I piped frosting and garnished the cookies with all sorts of fun stuff. The audience also got samples of Chocolate Peppermint Cream Bars (such a summery recipe, I know!) and Hypnosis Cookie Lollipops. Jasmin commented that my dress matched the cookies—when you spend all your time making cookies, at some point desserts become your (subconscious) fashion inspiration. The demo went smoothly and everyone was gobbling up cookies by the end of it!
The after-party was held at High Noon Saloon, with pizza and cupcakes galore (the only food groups you’ll ever need)! My friend Jessica of Compassionate Cake baked a huge selection of GORGEOUS cupcakes, in flavors like Chile Chocolate, Death by Chocolate, and Maple Vegan Bacon, topped with intricate fondant and chocolate sculptures. I had met Jessica a few days prior to the event, after seeing her cupcakes and deciding we needed to be friends immediately. She is just starting her catering business and she’s an amazing lady. Just look at these cupcakes!
I always go home happy and inspired from vegan fests and other events, and Mad City was no exception (well, 8 a.m. class the next day was kind of a drag). I met so many wonderful people, saw some good friends, and made new ones. Go get your vegan fest on in a city near you, or get involved with starting one! Something about putting hundreds of like-minded people with great ideas and enthusiasm all in one place all day makes awesome things happen!
Kelly Peloza is the author of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which is great. Find her at The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur and Seitan Beats Your Meat online, or all over the place in real life! Thanks for the post, Kelly!