Intern at a farm animal sanctuary and vegan CSA!  »

You guys! Want to cuddle calves all day and eat leeks straight from the ground? Then you want to intern at Animal Place. Here are the details:

Interns will be part of a team emphasizing a dynamic exchange of ideas that will improve the productivity and efficiency of the vegan farm. In addition to direct participation with all aspects of the vegan farm, interns will be encouraged to gain knowledge of growing techniques through reading, discussion, volunteering at other local farms, interaction with extension agents, online and offsite presentations and workshops.  Also, interns will work with the landscape around the barns and offices and the landscape of the larger sanctuary to enhance the beauty of the sanctuary, provide habitat for wildlife and improve the lives of the animal residents.

So, apply! And then go hug all pigs and eat all the turnips and be the happiest veganist vegan in all the vegan land!


Update on the Turlock hens at Animal Place! This is them one month after being rescued from a factory farm where they were left to starve. Now that they aren’t at death’s door, they are happily enjoying life! These hens are ‘bout it for some dust baths. I don’t get dust baths; that’s how they keep clean? I don’t understand. I’d look it up but I gave up learning for lent.

Animal Place still needs donations! I mean, they took in like a gagillion hens. That’s a lot of beaks to feed!


A heartwarming update about the Turlock hen rescue! Turns out, the hens love the sun! And spreading their wings! And food and water! Who would have thought. 

Don’t forget to donate Farm Sanctuary and Animal Place for continued care of the 4000+ rescue hens. And don’t buy eggs!


Sign the petition, volunteer, adopt, and donate to help the 50,000 chickens left to starve!  »

The fight to save the rescued hens from Stanislaus County continues. This is the largest ever farmed animal rescue in the United Sates. Conditions were terrible but people were able to help some of the birds!:

“When we arrived on the scene outside the abandoned egg farm, I was horrified at the suffering of the chickens happening in front of me, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the cruelty,” said Anne Martin, Harvest Home board member. “By the next morning, we had partnered with sanctuaries, volunteers from across Northern California, and thousands of supporters following the rescue of these chickens. Together, we were able to save 4,460 hens who will never again suffer the severe confinement of an egg farm, and from this time forward, will know only human kindness.”

The picture at the top is by Marji from Animal Place. This hen has never seen grass or felt the sun, she is about to take her first step outside! Marji says they are still in need of donations but also, they are in desperate need of volunteers. So if you are able, go volunteer with the rescue chickens!

If you want to volunteer, email or call her at 530-798-5114. To donate, click here

The hens will be up for adoption within the next two weeks. If you want to adopt one, fill out the application at

Finally—and I know you can all do this!—sign the petition started by Harvest Home, ”calling on the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute A&L Poultry’s Andy Keung Cheung for willfully starving 50,000 chickens.” Do it!


Update on the 50,000 chickens left to starve, many rescued need your help!  »

One of the rescued hens. You can see more pictures of the rescue on Flickr.

We got an update from Marji at Animal Place:

We actually took out 4,610 hens total - more than 3,000 are currently at our Rescue Ranch facility. The hens were released into Animal Place and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary custody. They are slowly recovering…we could really use help w/ this rescue. This is the largest and most expensive rescue we have ever undertaken.

Please donate if you can! So sad! They need our help!


Animal Place has a new family member! This is Carmen, a poor little lamb whose broken, infected leg needed to be amputated. Luckily, she has a new leg and a new lease on life! Huzzah! I didn’t realize sheep were so sensitive. Her mom was scared of Carmen and now the new flock is scared of her special leg! She seems spunky enough for the challenge though. I think she will make friends! This reminds me of the little elephant who needed the prosthetic leg from late last year.

You can contribute to Carmen’s continued care by donating over at Animal Place. May all the baby animals get all the legs they need!


Who likes adorable baby animals frolicking with good-looking dudes? YOU DO. WE ALL DO. So let’s enjoy these piglets and kids that Animal Place rescued from some shitty pumpkin patch last month. The pumpkin patch people used their “baby animal petting zoo” to lure customers, and planned to send all four little bitty babies to slaughter as soon as they closed the patch for the season.

Animal Place is the best, you guys. Let’s e-snorgle some animals together! Also if you’d like to adopt the goats, too late because Marji says they were adopted with five other rescued goats! Cool.


Guest Post: Oakland’s animal slaughter proposal meets the national audience  »

And locals aren’t the only ones appalled

The Oakland planning proposal to deregulate animal slaughter and officially sanction backyard “husbandry” is the focus of James McWilliams’ blistering critique in the Atlantic. It turns out that reconstructing the city’s yards and vacant lots as “sustainable” animal farms and urban “homesteads” is a bit problematic. (Warning: some descriptions are graphic.) 

Judging from the comments, the proposal is just as contentious outside the East Bay. And to absolutely no one’s surprise, vegan perspectives expressed online are greeted with frenzied blathering and digital tantrums. 

The article, on the other hand, is great!

Framing the local issue for a wider audience, McWilliams makes an important point early on:

As matters now stand, Oakland could very well alter its urban agriculture code in order to allow virtually any urban homesteader not only to raise goats, chickens, rabbits, and ducks, but to slaughter them on site. And what happens in Oakland — a test case of sorts — is bound to be replicated elsewhere.

This point is important for a number of reasons. For better and for worse, the locavores of the Bay (and the East Bay, in particular) have positioned themselves as the leading voices and public representatives of Urban Homesteading and Sustainability (TM). They and those deeply influenced by their thinking would like to see this proposal put into practice, and replicated elsewhere.

For better because it’s enormously important to encourage local, organic food production, address the lack of access to fruits and vegetables in urban food deserts and schools, and foster community self-sufficiency and empowerment. These are all issues that have been championed by the likes of Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and their acolytes. They deserve credit for bringing them somewhat into the mainstream.

But it’s most definitely for worse: interwoven with this vision, and sometimes eclipsing the original goals, there’s a creepy fixation on the necessity of killing animals, despite such killing being less necessary now than at any time in recorded history. What’s more, the killing is meant to be somehow virtuous and right, a matter of social justice and cultural reclamation. Even if the amateur butchers themselves are not always particularly skillful and humane at the killing part; even if it means more inputs and less land to grow food on; even it means expensive animal products rather than the fruits and vegetables basically everyone agrees need to be made cheaper and much more accessible; and even if the push for deregulated animal slaughter is coming less from those most screwed over by the broken food system than from best-selling authors, upper-middle class hobbyists, and, bizarrely, young, usually white progressives and radicals.  

The backyard slaughtering vision is wrong on multiple levels. It aspires to be an alternative to factory farming but really only offers an addition to it. And alongside the egregious and predictably “excessive” violence against animals, there’s also a crucial insight that’s been hijacked: Our food system really is in bad shape. We really could be feeding ourselves in ways that make much more sense, while also not destroying the world. Addressing food security and access were the original, stated reasons for initiating the food policy discussion in Oakland in the first place, prior to the sudden emphasis on killing animals.  

A key point of McWilliams’ piece is its first paragraph, which has gone totally unremarked in 201 comments and counting (as of the time of this writing):

Over the past ten years the United States has undergone a revolution in the way we eat. Communities throughout the country have localized food systems, placed power back in the hands of local farmers, and shortened the distance between farm and fork. The benefits of this trend have been considerable. Consumers have become more critical of overly processed food, better aware of the connection between diet and health, and more appreciative of eating seasonally. I’ve been critical of this movement from the start, but I admit it has been a cultural achievement of historical significance.

This is absolutely true, and something to be recognized and appreciated. 

But what we strive to put in place of the broken and ultimately self-destructive food system shouldn’t replicate its cruelties, desensitization, and inherent inequalities of access. There is at least a bit of common ground to meet on – specifically, how we need to grow hella food as much as we can – and we should take advantage of those points of agreement.   

Locavores certainly need to stop being so fixated on the virtues of “honest slaughter,” for starters, not to mention on fictitious “closed systems” that ignore the existence of the rest of the world, to all of our detriment. 

And vegans need to engage with these policy debates, because they’re happening with or without us. In our absence, we should probably expect a bunch more proposals like Oakland’s.

Rick Kelley is a recent transplant to the Bay, having fled the brutal Minnesota winters for warmer climes. He spends his days at a Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit and his evenings probably playing moderately accurate renditions of Propagandhi songs with his awesome partner and their rescued pup, Bandit. He’s also currently active in organizing against Oakland’s “Let’s All Kill Some Chickens in Our Yards For Fun” proposal. He used to blog, and might do so again someday. The adorable chickens above were rescued by Animal Place and they’re not for eating, they’re for feeding grapes to! And hugging maybe if you’re lucky.


Happy Veggie Kids: Olivia!  »

This is Olivia with her friend Ruby! Olivia is almost five. Happy early bday, O! She’s from Nevada City, CA. and her mom has a cool vegan baking biz: Allison’s Gourmet. OMG that stuff looks GOOD! Olivia must be living the yummy vegan life. Jealous.

What is your favorite food?
Pink Beans. [Ed. note: whaa? Is this a real thing? I love pink food!]

What is your favorite kind of birthday cake?
Olivia: Chocolate strawberry with cherries on top.

Why are you vegan?
Olivia: Because we don’t want to hurt other animals.

Do you like being vegan? Why?
Olivia: Yes, it’s fun ‘cause you can eat yummier stuff than turkey and junk like that. Mom: What’s yummier stuff?
Olivia: You know, kale, and stuff like that.

Is it ever hard to be vegan?
Olivia: No, it’s fun to be vegan. Especially for your tummy because it doesn’t have to process a bunch of junk.

What do your friends think about you being vegan?
Um, I don’t really know how to answer that one. I haven’t asked them.

What is your favorite animal? Why?
Olivia: Ruby, the pig at Animal Place because I’ve known her since she was a baby. [Ed. note: AHHDORBS]

Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it!
Pink dinosaurs? I don’t know what pink dinosaurs are so I don’t really know if I like them. But yeah, I’ll draw one for you! 

Olivia offers this final note: “If you’re not vegan, I want you to be vegan. Because it’s fun.

As usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me!


Animal Place went and did some awesome shit again, rescuing these cute-ass calves from slaughter and putting up pictures of their cuteness for us to love on. Look at this ridiculous baby drinking milk because milk is for calves, not stupid humans! You drink that milk, you Cute Stuff McGee!
Because you love cows and they are the most beautiful, amazing creatures and you want to support their welfare, throw a little of your hard-earned dollar dollar bills at the good people of Animal Place. They’re doing the work a lot of us can’t but wish we could so hey, if you’ve got some extra dinero, buy me a cake. When you’re done with that, spend the rest on these awesome calves. BABY COWS I LOVE YOU.

Animal Place went and did some awesome shit again, rescuing these cute-ass calves from slaughter and putting up pictures of their cuteness for us to love on. Look at this ridiculous baby drinking milk because milk is for calves, not stupid humans! You drink that milk, you Cute Stuff McGee!

Because you love cows and they are the most beautiful, amazing creatures and you want to support their welfare, throw a little of your hard-earned dollar dollar bills at the good people of Animal Place. They’re doing the work a lot of us can’t but wish we could so hey, if you’ve got some extra dinero, buy me a cake. When you’re done with that, spend the rest on these awesome calves. BABY COWS I LOVE YOU.

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