Paul Shapiro presents: Animal News You Can Use!  »

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

First, some good news: A bill (H.R. 3798) was introduced in the Congress this week to ban barren battery cages for laying hens, ban starvation molting, require egg producers to label “eggs from caged hens” on their cartons, and more.  You can see a joint statement from major animal protection organizations on why they support this bill, and a joint statement from nearly all of the agribusiness trade groups on why they oppose it. Who would you side with?

I was on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday talking about the above effort to help laying hens. Check it out.

Some bad news: The U.S. Supreme Court this week struck down portions of a law passed in California shortly after HSUS’s landmark Hallmark/Westland slaughter plant investigation (which led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history). While federal regulations still prohibit the slaughter of adult downer cattle for human consumption, the parts of California’s law prohibiting slaughtering other downer animals are no longer in effect.

Back to good news: Get a coffin, since Florida’s “ag-gag” legislation is now officially dead. However, Iowa is still debating its whistle-blower suppression bill, and similar bills are still pending in other states.

Time has a compelling online video about undercover investigations and these ag-gag bills that you won’t want to miss.

Video of the week: Ever try to teach a pig to sit? Here you go.



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.


Big news: The REAL Paleo diet is pretty damn close to vegetarian! HA!  »

Apparently the paleo diet wasn’t exactly meat meat meat. It was mostly veggies. On NPR’s food blog, anthropologist Barbara King lays it down:

Our ancestors began to eat meat in large quantities around 2 million years ago, when the first Homo forms began regular use of stone tool technology. Before that, the diet of australopithecines and their relatives was overwhelmingly plant-based, judging from clues in teeth and bones. I could argue that the more genuine “paleo” diet was vegetarian.

BAM! That’s called science taking one for the team. Thank you for being so brave and smart, science! 

So I think that means all those disciples of the paleo diet better switch to a diet of almost exclusively veggies, right? And some grains? And a whole shit load less dead animal. And at the very least, the next time you run into the paleo diet bullshit, you can have some valuable information to BAM! them with. And most importantly, you can just call them out on being on a low carb diet like a little Zone dieting Atkins dieter. It’s like, if you’re only gonna eat bacon wrapped chicken breasts on beds of lettuce, at least admit it’s because you’re on some creepy diet, and not because you’re “getting back” to what our ancestors ate. DONE AND DONE!


Yvonne the renegade is the coolest cow in Europe  »

NPR has collected the amazing story of a six-year-old German cow called Yvonne, who three months ago got past an electric barrier and escaped to the forest, where she’s been living ever since. Why did she run? Perhaps a sense of impending doom, as her owners had intended her for the slaughterhouse. Her nominal owners have offered 10,000 euro for her safe return, but in the time as a fugitive Yvonne has become a sort of folk hero for the residents of Zangberg.

Yvonne has successfully avoided accidental and deliberate death so far, and brought significant, international attention and tourist traffic to Zangberg. Not bad for an animal who might’ve been Zangberg’s supper. Everyone’s happy! Except maybe her previous owners, and the people who run Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary—they want Yvonne to make a permanent home at their facility, but they can’t catch her, either. Some of us just need to be free.

[photo by Josef Enzinger/dapd via NPR]


Shut up, NPR: “Why Bacon Is A Gateway To Meat For Vegetarians”  »

NPR has gone totally punch-in-the-faceable with its article exploring the science behind bacon’s mass appeal, particularly to people who don’t eat meat.

Come on, Eliza Barclay: this trend piece is already three years old, people who rescind on their commitment not to eat animals aren’t exemplary of the veg community, and not all humanity is in love with bacon, anyway. Me, I didn’t like it even as an omnivore, and when I was an omnivore, I declined no meats, however foreign and terrifying. Bacon never did it for me, and I am not the only one.

I can’t believe it’s 2011 and the media are still acting like bacon is the be-all, end-all of foods. “We even talked to vegetarians about this, and one said, ‘I have long thought if for some reason I ever started eating meat again, I would start with bacon.’” Wikipedia doesn’t accept one anonymous source as legit proof for a claim, and omitting the specific number of vegetarians you “talked to about this” is pretty telling—even a toothpaste will tell you how many dentists recommend it.

This article is unimaginative, obnoxious, and misspells the name of the author of Vegetarianism: Movement or Moment—how are you gonna use Donna Maurer’s Howard Lyman-recommended book to help work your dumbass angle and then not even bother to get her name right? Fucking FAIL on all counts, NPR.


The End Dogfighting campaign: the HSUS helps ex-dogfighters with education and looooove   »

Stereotypically, your Vegansaurus loves public radio. We also love dogs, DUH, and pit bulls particularly. Today’s Morning Edition returned that love hundredfold, with a story about personal and canine redemption.

The End Dogfighting campaign began in Chicago in 2006, expanded to Atlanta in 2008, and has just begun in Philadelphia. It “recruits former dogfighters and young, at-risk pit bull owners to take weekly training classes with their pets.” And you know what happens when people take their dogs to quality training classes on a regular basis? MAGIC—or, you know, the humans and animals develop mutual respect and love. According to Chicago program leader Tio Hardiman, “there’s a connection between fighting pit bulls and struggling to live in a violent society…. [K]eeping guys out of the world of dogfighting is good for them, their dogs, their families and the rest of the community.”

They also say that Michael Vick’s “testimony” about his former dogfighting exploits is really helpful, as he shares a socioeconomic background with many of the programs’ participants. Look at multimillionaire, making a difference!

What you need to do, though, is go to NPR and listen to Elizabeth Fiedler’s report—like all dogfighting stories, it’s got some horrific elements, but hearing the people talk about their experiences themselves, while the dogs bark all happily in the background, is way more valuable than reading a description.

[photo of official Vegansaurus mascot and best beloved pit bull Hazel by Laura!]



Herbivore Boys and Carnivore Girls!? Japan, you so crazy!  »

The Japanese are famous for always coming up with the hottest and most obscure technology, but now they’ve expanded to re-appropriating terms. Enter the herbivores, or grass-eating boys: the Eastern response to our concept of metrosexuality.[Ed.: Love how the Japanese just take a concept and run with it! Hey America, you like suicide? Guess what, we do it in a group in the middle of a field and it’s a political statement, OKAY?! Or something like that. Also, GOD I love a broad cultural stereotypes, they are THE BEST.]

These are the 20- to 30-something men who are less aggressive, who resist the rigid prescription of a hardline education and the high-pressure business world and who profess a love for things that aren’t considered entirely masculine.

According to an article on NPR today, these self-professed herbivores are also responsible for the country’s lackluster economy and declining birthrate.

In short, young Japanese men are - whether consciously or not - rebelling against the stressful lifestyles set forth by their successful businessmen fathers, and instead prioritizing family and friends over monetary success and romantic conquest.

Now, it’s NPR, so I’m not going to call bullshit, but can we all agree that it might be a bit of a leap to draw this conclusion? Just disregard the fact that the term herbivore associates declining masculine attributes with people who don’t eat meat (remember: eating steak makes you awesome, eating vegetables makes you a pussy). But at the very least, here are a few things to think about:

First, the issue of the economy. Maybe it’s just simple math. The world markets have been in a recession for more than a year, and the natural response is to cut back. Eat out less and cook at home. Cut back on excess expenses. Are the consumer habits of herbivores directly linked to a decline in the country’s money flow? Or is everyone scaling back?

Second, the birthrate. The aging Japanese population and the self-inforced family planning that is demonstrative of the country might be something to worry about, but then again, the Japanese embody a traditional homogenous culture that has thrived for centuries, despite its staunch view toward incorporating outsiders into its borders or its bloodline.

Admittedly, a declining birth rate is something to worry about, but the United States is also showing signs of a declining birth rate. Again, a sign of the times, and an apropos scenario, given the inevitable aging of the Baby Boomers.

Which means you can’t say that herbivores (defined as 60 percent of men in their 20s and 30s) are responsible for less dollars and less babies circulating in Japan. It just feels a bit like attributing a problem to an anomaly in the population.

The article also fails to look at the positive things than can result in more Japanese men adopting the herbivore lifestyle. For example, what about the alarmingly-high suicide rate in Japan, which is often linked to professional men driven to succeed?If ridiculous performance expectations aren’t impressed upon men,  the chances of failure decrease, and what you have is a happier, well-balanced individual who derives pleasure from the little things in life and isn’t forced to repress that.  Maybe this step toward redefining values and ideas of what constitutes success is actually beneficial for the country. I’m no expert, but it’s something to think about.

Not only that, but I can identify with the converse, the “carnivore girls” - I’m educated, I’m (relatively) successful, and when I’m certain of what I want, I go after it and don’t take no for an answer. It’s gender politics. Maybe this shift in attitude is mixing up the idea of gender roles, but I would like to think that for every herbivore boy out there who decides not to make the first move, there is a carnivore girl out there who is going to put the moves on. Babies will still happen, but maybe the rules of how they happen have been tweaked a bit.

At the very least, I have a cool line for the Thanksgiving dinner table.
"Oh I’m a vegan when it comes to my eating habits, but my sexual appetite is voraciously omnivorous."

Natalye just started graduate school studying creative writing, which means that she no longer has a social life, and her drinking has increased exponentially. She has a shiny but relatively useless college degree in journalism and music, and does freelance work, sometimes writing about indie music in Oakland. When she has down time, she’s usually sleeping, but rides her road bike when she can and makes both a killer vegan pizza and the most amazing mixtapes ever. Her updates are private, but you can follow her on Twitter and she’ll probably accept your request if you’re cute enough.


World Veg Fest, Cupcake Camp, secret vegan pizza, uncute animals, stupid lists, idiots on the radio AND MORE in this Friday’s link-o-rama!!  »

Get busy this weekend! It’s the 10th Annual World Veg Fest, as always at the County Fair Building on 9th Avenue at Lincoln in Golden Gate Park. It runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday Oct. 3rd and 4th, with a $6 “suggested” (strongly encouraged) donation. Come for the free samples, stay for Howard Lyman and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Or vice-versa, whatever.

Also this weekend: Cupcake Camp 2k9! Happening on Saturday, Oct. 3rd from 2 to 5 p.m. at Auttomatic (Pier 38, next to AT&T Park at Embarcadero and Brannon Street). Free to show up and eat! RSVP here.

Popbitch directs our attention to Uncharismatic Minor-Fauna, a.k.a., endangered species that don’t get the love and aid that the big adorables do, “just because they look like frightful abominations of nature.” We can’t all be pandas and tigers and pygmy hippos, after all.

After three years, a 12-country, 16-institution team of scientists called the Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium succeeded in their big goal: mapping (or sequencing, if you will) the potato genome! The potato has 12 chromosomes with 840 base pairs (in comparison, the human genome has 23 chromosomal pairs, with 3 billion base pairs). Coincidentally, just two weeks earlier another scientific team announced it had sequenced the potato blight pathogen. Vegansaurus firmly believes that what we need more of is science (and potatoes)—congratulations, potato mappers!

Farm Fresh to You was featured on NPR’s “Morning Edition” this week! Turns out you may already be eating produce from the Capay Valley at your favorite restaurant, which we assume is not Nettie’s Crab Shack, because, ew. (thanks for the link, CSA Delivery!)

HA HA HA one of the Lamb Cam kids looks just like Madonna.

KPFA hates vegetarians! No, seriously: Listen to the ridiculous nonsense they aired last week about the “destructiveness” of a vegetarian diet. I KNOW. This is by Lierre Keith, an ex-vegan and author of The Vegetarian Myth, which is just the sort of book omnivores love because it allows them to eat animals and feel morally superior—they’re the ones who’re really saving the environment, not we selfish sissypants vegans and our foolish soft-hearted misguided ways. SHUT UP FOREVER, LIERRE KEITH. Everyone knows you’re wrong.

You know how much Vegansaurus loves Animal Place—here is a chance for you to show them that you love them, too: Art for the Animals! It’s a super-cool project, and artist Sheila Tajima has a few paintings up now of different residents of Animal Place for you to purchase. All the proceeds go to the sanctuary!

Look, it’s Vegansaurus’ favorite congressional representative, Dennis Kucinich! He’s discussing health care! Needless to say, everything out of his mouth is Real Talk. If every elected official were as dedicated as him, we might actually have a functional government that served THE PEOPLE. Or at least, people with fucking sense.

Wildcare’s little Northern Pacific Rattlesnake needs a name! Already taken: Cupcake; Buttercup. Sorry everyone, Vegansaurus is just too terribly creative. Can’t hurt to enter anyway!

Well well, Delfina, isn’t this cute: “Vegan Option: Though they’re loath to mention it, the pizzaiolo will come up with a special vegan pie using whatever is around the kitchen. Definitely cooler than ordering a salsiccia sans sausage and cheese.” Thanks, Hidden Menu! You guys rock!

The Chronicle’s 2009 Bargain Bites is out! Here’s the full list. The criterion: “the majority of a restaurant’s entrees have to be $12 or less.” And delicious, one hopes. Opinions?

Ooh another list: Eater’s “Essential 38 San Francisco Restaurants.” Let’s see, anything veg? No? Shocking! But Blue Bottle and Magnolia, yes, fucking essential. You guys are the best.

Heads up! Next week Friday, Oct. 9, Papalote will donate 30 percent of all sales to disaster relief in the Philippines, which is desperate for aid in the wake of Tropical Storm Ketsana/Hurricane Ondoy. Two burritos each, everyone, it’s for charity!

PS: We are not sad about this. Duh.

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