vegansaurus!

12/07/2011

The puppy you bought on the internet came from a puppymill. Fucking duh. 

I’m astounded at the way many people go about getting a dog. I hate breeders but if someone is going to buy a dog, they should research the breeder and visit the facility. How can you just order one online? A dog is not a sweater! Plus, you might get a gremlin or something. Jeez Louise. 

Check out HSUS for more info and to send an email to the USDA!

10/21/2011

If the government thinks we should eat more vegetables, why don’t they put cash money behind it?  »

Veganism is more accepted than ever, and vegetarianism is downright mainstream, but I’m a realist: Herbivores are still in the minority. Further, we North Americans aren’t ingesting as many veggies as we ought to, and major health bodies have made statements to the effect that we should all give up processed meats and cut our red meat consumption considerably, at least for the sake of our health. So why is that so difficult? Money.

I’m sure you all saw the Myplate food diagram that was released by the USDA earlier this year as an update to the food pyramid. On the plus side, it recommended that people fill fully half of their plate with veggies, which is an impressive goal for anyone—vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore. The problem is that though the government tells people to choose vegetables often—definitely more often than now, since Americans eat about 50 percent more dairy products a year than veggies—they aren’t backing that suggestion up with money. Particularly in regard to agriculture subsidies, which play a huge role in what gets grown—and therefore eaten—around the country.

As the Washington Post explained recently, agriculture subsidies began in the 1930s to help farmers weather the Great Depression. It was an incredibly hard time for a lot of people, and food production was not globalized in the way it is today. What American farmers grew was, by and large, what American people ate.

Today the subsidies seem less useful, especially when you consider what they’re supporting—$200 billion was spent to subsidize commodity crops in the U.S. from 1995 to 2010, and about two-thirds of that went to cotton, tobacco, and crops used to feed animals. I think we can all agree that tobacco is not a crop that people need to live. Cotton is not a food crop either. Growing crops to feed livestock raised for food is far less efficient than growing crops to feed directly to humans. Farmers growing fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts don’t get direct subsidies at all. And a not-insignificant portion of the crops that are subsidized go towards uses like corn and other things grown to make sweeteners—again, directly opposite to the goal of getting people to eat more vegetables.

And yet, last week leading researchers, published in Nature, advised people to eat less meat if the world is going to have enough to eat. The researchers pointed out that even eating just one or two meatless meals a week will have an impact. I can see why people are confused: scientists say we need to eat less meat, the government says we need to eat more vegetables, but the dollars support meat and dairy, and give fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains the shaft. The best way around this is to exercise your consumer-power: Spend your money on vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and whole foods.

If you’re looking to add more vegetables to your diet—an excellent goal!—check out this vegan food pyramid for guidance.

08/18/2011

Your government hates you: the feds spent taxpayer money to buy surplus dead chickens!  »

So, you know that OUR GOVERNMENT with OUR MONEY bought $40 MILLION worth of chicken that nobody wanted? Because the chicken industry is killing more birds than ever, even though demand for dead birds is slightly waning. UGH YOU CANNOT WIN AGAINST PURE EVIL AND STUPIDITY.

Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States (we love him!) wrote up a piece about this over at VegNews. He writes:

As demand for chicken meat remains far below the number of birds who are actually being raised and killed, rather than allowing the market to adjust to basic supply and demand principles, the federal government Monday announced it will buy $40 million of unwanted chicken products that will be dumped on our nation’s school kids and others in federal food programs.

In short, chicken-meat companies have continued increasing the number of birds they raise for food while demand has remained flat. Normally, in a free market, an industry that produces beyond what consumers want will contract. But not the poultry industry. It instead relies on regular government support in times like these—and by that I mean nearly all the time.

Read the rest here! And then GET PISSED! By being vegan, I like to think that I’m affecting the market because my money isn’t going toward these fucks, and because the industry doesn’t slow down to keep pace with the declining demand, the government just buys the surplus. It makes me SO MAD. I’ll never stop being vegan, and I’ll never stop rejecting that disgusting industry, but this really makes me want to live off the grid and not pay a single fucking cent in taxes and become an anarchist and just cook out of my trashcan and live in a hobbit hut and call it a day. I don’t know what good that’d do anyone but the point is IT MAKES ME CRAZY.

06/07/2011

PCRM makes a good point  »

New nutrition guidelines:

Breakdown of government food subsidies:

As PCRM points out, maybe they should match up a little more?

The USDA even spells out their essential point: “Key Consumer Message: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”

But when I look at the subsidies pie chart, something is amiss!

05/10/2011

American diet even sadder than previously thought  »

While the vegan community continues to grow and thrive, it turns out that statistically, Americans in general are still making astonishingly poor food choices.

Though the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines actually features a dash of helpful information and a pinch of worthy advice—such as suggestions to avoid sodium and refined grains—it also includes some pretty scary statistics. 

In a chart on page 12 called Top 25 Sources of Calories Among Americans Ages 2 Years and Older, we learn what Americans are really made of.  And it’s not looking good.

The top 10 for people over 19:

  1. Grain-based desserts (“cake, cookies, pie, cobbler, sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts”)
  2. Yeast breads
  3. Chicken and chicken mixed dishes
  4. Soda/energy/sports drinks
  5. Alcoholic beverages
  6. Pizza
  7. Tortillas, burritos, tacos
  8. Pasta and pasta dishes
  9. Beef and beef mixed dishes
  10. Dairy desserts

And if that’s not alarming enough, the top 10 for ages two through 18 are:

  1. Grain-based desserts
  2. Pizza
  3. Soda/energy/sports drinks
  4. Yeast breads
  5. Chicken and chicken mixed dishes
  6. Pasta and pasta dishes
  7. Reduced-fat milk
  8. Dairy desserts
  9. Potato/corn/other chips
  10. Ready-to-eat cereals

You read right: The American population is currently made up of glazed donuts, fried chicken, and Red Bull. What’s worse, fruits and vegetables don’t even make the top 25, unless you count “fried white potatoes,” and you’d better not count that.

I don’t know about y’all… but I’m pretty sure it’s about time to stage a Nationwide Kale Intervention!


[Photo
by Kori Ellis via She Knows]

05/06/2011

Four dead in Japan thanks to E. coli  »

Super shitty news out of Japan: Four people are dead and at least 56 are sick—after eating raw beef at a popular chain barbecue restaurant in Tonami in Toyama Prefecture. Totally fucking awful.

What’s really scary about this (besides EVERYTHING) is that we’re discovering more and more variations of E. coli that are super crazy dangerous. Before there was just O157:H7 to worry about, and now there are at least six more types of E. coli. Shudder. I’m telling you, we’re gonna see more and more horrific stuff like this happening.

In extra-super-disturbing news, many of these E. coli variations aren’t even looked for in labs, so there’s a chance that even the most stringently tested dead cow (that’s like 1 percent anyway) is gonna be teaming with all sorts of delicious E. coli that nobody ever even looked for. Hide your kids, hide your wife. Or you know, stop eating that (literal) shit because it ain’t safe.

05/02/2011

Gross meat germs cost us billions in healthcare dollars annually!  »

I get a lot of questions about being vegan:

Q. Do you actually like tofu?
A: YES.

Q. Don’t you miss steak?
A: NO.

Q. How did you get to be so beautiful?
A: I’ll never tell.

One of the most irritating questions is, “Isn’t veganism crazy expensive?” and I’m all, “How much did that carton of free-range eggs cost you?” Now science can back me up: Some study ranked pathogens found in food according to how much they cost society, and more than half, including the top three, are found in meat products.

Guess what was at the very tip-top? A food contaminant called Campylobacter, which is found in the nastiest of factory-farmed products: chicken! Campy, as it shall be affectionately known henceforth, sickens 600,000 people and costs society $1.3 billion per year in terms of medical care, missed work, chronic health problems, and even death. DEATH, Y’ALL. Could this all be fixed, as the article suggests, by overhauling the USDA? Probably not—they be in the pockets of the meat and dairy industry, yo!

In conclusion, while veganism might sometimes cost me slightly more money right off the bat (assuming I choose to eat exclusively processed faux meat products) than eating burgers and chili dogs, it saves me AND society money in the long run!

02/25/2011

Oatmeal, obese monkeys, and breast-milk ice cream in this week’s link-o-rama!  »


First, and most important! IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! Happy birthday TO ME! You can thank my parents for their gift to the world.


[Latest documentary/cartoon from Cats Vs Human. What if I just call cartoons “documentaries” from now on? And phone calls will be “radio interviews”!]

They are selling breast-milk ice cream in London. BREAST-MILK ICE CREAM. While I’d rather die than eat breast-milk ice cream (right now I’d rather die than move, though), I’m in full support of this because it’s hilarious and brightens my world. Well Ok, I think maybe I’d try breast-milk ice cream for like $20,000. But is it going to pull in weird fetishists? Survey says: Probs.

Hey! Did you know that the SF SPCA appointed new presidents last month? Yes, more than one president! Two presidents—they’re calling it Four-Legged Leadership! One a super-savvy business man and the other a genius veterinarian. 

Jerk scientists are getting poor monkeys fat and not letting them exercise, because we definitely can’t find any people like that to test on. The New York Times will tell you all about it!

PCRM is suing the federal government because the new nutrition guidelines are crap! They don’t like the “doublespeak” and “mumbo jumbo” the USDA uses when it should be calling out meat and dairy. I have a bone to pick with them too! Three servings of dairy, really? REALLY? CRAP!

UNC and Duke have picked Eating Animals as their summer reading requirement! I was supposed to read the biography of George Washington. Definitely did that. 

From Mark Bittman, we have the most in-depth discussion of oatmeal I’ve ever seen! Specifically, oatmeal from McDonald’s: “Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)” Yowza!

Do you have a vegan tattoo? A tattoo with vegan subject matter? Super! Submit it to new website veganink.com and let’s get this party started!

Over at veganbaking.net, you can read an interview with Cinnaholic’s Shannon Michelle! Read all about how Cinnaholic came together and get advice for your own vegan baking biz! Can we all agree that Shannon Michelle is dead-sexy?!

The veggie internet has been a buzz about this story from Yahoo sports Vegetarianism is all the rage in MMA! That’s ultimate fighting. It’s a sport. I guess.

There was a big earthquake in New Zealand! The Search Dog Foundation is on the case! New Zealand has its own dogs but the SDF’s training leader is going over to help with the search and rescue. We wish them the best of luck! Be safe and save people!

Lastly, don’t forget about the East Bay Vegan Bakesale tomorrow! Get treats, get pudgy!

01/26/2011

Hello, Friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

You guys, today is the first day of my last semester of grad school [Ed.: Congrats, Mark!]. I’ve been so nervous about finishing my master’s paper before May, I probably gave myself another ulcer during winter break (which is no break at all because internships do not take a month off! How happy I was as an undergrad!). This is not to say I worked on the paper at all, I just worried about it. Because that’s what I do. I worry. And I don’t just worry about my paper. I worry about everything. Like what if there’s a giant earthquake while I’m sleeping and I have to jump out a window (I don’t know why I’d have to jump out a window, I just would)? Or what if I accidentally (or not accidentally, people are assholes) get run over by a car when I’m crossing the street? And then I worry about the bad shit that happens to animals, because a lot of bad shit happens to animals.
Sometimes, though, animals get the upper hand. For instance, in Belarus, known for its delicious potato recipes (potato pancakes, even better without eggs), as well as its plentitude of beautiful outdoor places to kill animals, a fox shot a hunter. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), the fox did not kill the hunter (because animals are hella cool like that), and so now he can spend the rest of his life talking about how awesome foxes are. Or, uh, apologizing for trying to beat this particular fox to death with the butt of his weapon after the fox didn’t die from the bullets the hunter shot at him/her. Th glorious and very smart fox escaped and is hopefully doing well, although I’m worried that the bullet wounds may prove fatal (as bullet wounds so often are). Let’s hope the hunter holds up his half of the bargain I just created for him. If he doesn’t take being shot by his prey as a wake-up call that he’s doing some heinous shit, perhaps it’s better if he exits the gene pool as quickly and gracefully as possible.

Tim (who is quickly becoming my favorite reader ever because A. he’s sent me two links already and B. my affection is won easily) sent me this delightful story about the U.S. Government poisoning birds. You would think the US government would have better things to do (LGBT rights, women’s rights, prison reform, make sure we’re all now owned by China tomorrow) but NO, they’re far too busy to deal with any major issues because they’re creating poison bait to murder birds who poop too much and too indiscriminately. 200 Starlings are dead as a result of the USDA’s decision that killing these birds would be the best way to stop them from defecating in a feedlot. Fortunately, the USDA also released a statement proclaiming that the now dead birds do not pose a threat to humans or animals. Because they can no longer expel excrement. This is a real thing. Also: I don’t know where you guys come from, but I come from Moldova*, and in Moldova when a bird pooped on you, we called it a present and took it as a good omen. To my knowledge, we did not poison the bird. Moldova was, at one time, named the world’s unhappiest country. If the world’s unhappiest country can welcome bird poop, we should at least be able to tolerate it without resorting to murder in America. Meave wrote more on this issue and I implore you to read it immediately and then get really, really pissed and hope all the birds go Hitchcock** on our asses. And I’m not talking about his signature lighting techniques!

I wonder what the USDA thinks about people eating fungus-encrusted silk worms in order to get their groove back? This delicious/disGARsting treat is referred to as “The Himalayan Viagra” and while it does not have an immediate effect (to which I say, what’s the point?),  if you put it on your waffles or grate it into your bottle of Parma (OMG PARMA! I ATE A WHOLE BOTTLE OF IT IN ONE SITTING LAST WEEK!) and eat it for a couple of days, it is going to (allegedly) make you hornier than an, I don’t know, Horny Goat Weed (warning: vegan??). Allegedly, this is a trend in New York and people are paying hundreds of dollars for an ounce of these worms. The worms have also caused controversy because it’s not possible to tell if they work (duh) and because the people who collect them have been bludgeoning each other to death over control of the worms. This is not only disgusting and sad, but probably incredibly unsanitary. These are dead worms covered in fungus. Also: we have Viagra now and I hear it’s cheaper. Even if you don’t have insurance. Why not try some of that? No shame! Or, some shame, but it’s cool.

Please send me, your friend Mark, links for next week and have a safe and happy Wednesday. If you’re starting school today, I wish you godspeed and good luck!

*Moldova is basically like Kazakhstan but less charming. Laura wrote that.
**Or perhaps, Birdemic!

[Fox image from Sodahead; Parma from Eat in the Raw]

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