Ben the Bear is FREE! Our pal Ian at the Animal Legal Defense Fund alerted us to this wonderful news. After six years of being confined in a concrete cage as part of a roadside zoo in North Carolina, Ben is now living it up at the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. Look at him splash in his new pool!
Read more about Ben at ALDF, and thanks so much to the concerned citizens of North Carolina who sued on Ben’s behalf, and to ALDF and PETA for fighting in court for Ben’s freedom, and PAWS for taking him in. May he live a healthy and happy life amid the California oaks!
It’s National Justice for Animals Week! Check the Animal Legal Defense Fund for daily actions you can take all week—today’s is to share this video! That means I already did my action for the day! Huzzah!
Top 10 links of the week! A breezy ride through veganism! »
[Your cute animal video of the week, stolen from Pawesome. Look how quiet yet excited that dog is!]
Remember hearing like all wild fish are totally going to be gone soon? Well, some scientists disagree. Some agree. I hate fishing regardless. Sounds like a party!
Good news in San Francisco: Activists end live bird sale at SF’s Farmers’ Market!
Big surprise: Tilapia farming is totally effed!
Fish oil may not prevent depression; probably kills fish.
Apparently a dog helped take out bin Laden and this is my discussion topic of the week. Did you see Sarah’s post about parachuting dogs? I just think it’s crazy! I know they form bonds with their trainers or whatever but jumping out of planes? Seems effed! Some actually get PTSD! What do you think? Is what they do so important that it’s worth the risk? I don’t know, they can’t give consent. Seems effed.
Your weekly WTF from Defenders of Wildlife: “The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the first in a series of three bills that mandates the acceleration of the offshore drilling permitting process and opens up new areas to oil and gas drilling.”
This is kind of funny! From This Dish is Veg: Seven ridiculous restaurant logos that feature happy animals selling meat. [Ed.: for many more of these, check out Suicide Food!]
GIVE! Vegansaurus’ favorite charitable organizations »
Your Vegansaurus loves giving! Especially with the internet, it is as easy to give money to an organization doing awesome work that you can’t do as it is to buy a bunch of hot-stuff underpants (for example. Nothing’s on my mind!), and really, do you need fancy new things more than people need to learn to read, or elderly animals need rescue and support? OF COURSE NOT, YOU MONSTERS.
In between the Christmas-present-buying and cookie-inhaling, let’s get spirit-of-the-season-y and donate to some extremely worthy charities. Charities don’t care whether you celebrate a religious holiday in December! They want your money, maybe your time, nothing else. So, as we finally put an end to 2010, annus horribilis, Vegansaurus offers you a short list of charities we especially love.
We each chose one local and one inter/national group, which was difficult! They all accept monetary donations online; all you have to do is choose an amount and your method of payment, and BAM, you’ve helped. Give $10, give $100, whatever you can—it’s so easy and so wonderful, and it makes you feel like $10 million.
My mom is on the board of directors for this wonderful organization called Haven Hills that provides immediate shelter for victims of domestic violence as well as longer-term transitional housing programs, a 24-hour hotline, counseling, etc. It’s something that both my mother and I really believe in, and since the financial crisis the organization has been struggling a lot and unfortunately might have to cut back on some services. It’s located in Los Angeles. Donate here.
In Defense of Animals is an animal welfare advocacy organization that campaigns against animal cruelty worldwide. One of their causes that is especially close to my heart is their marine conservation campaign against the senseless dolphin slaughter in Japan. You may recognize this conservationist effort as the impetus behind the “controversial”/mind-blowing movie The Cove. Currently, all donations up to $100,00 made here will be matched. Otherwise, donate here.
Home At Last Animal Rescue is a local animal-rescue that rescues animals from shelters where they’re likely to be euthanized. That means that they have a lot of older animals or ones with behavior problems. My husband and I adopted our dear problem cat, Lucy, from Home At Last, and they were a pleasure to work with. Lucy, who is so shy she spent her first month with us hiding under our bathtub, only emerging when we were asleep, needed someone to advocate for her and make sure she got a loving home, and Home At Last did that for her. I know I’m grateful! Donate here.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund do great work. They are a group of lawyers, legal professionals, law students, and volunteers who use the law to improve animals’—and animal activists’—lives. Some examples of the good work the ALDF has done includes filing a petition to prevent the permit renewal of a truck stop that kept a live tiger in inhumane conditions; filing a suit against BP to prevent the burning of live sea turtles as part of the BP spill clean-up efforts; petitioning the Department of Transportation to require airlines to report on the deaths of companion animals who fly as cargo; providing scholarships and internship opportunities to law students interested in animal law; and filing countless legal briefs in cases involving animal cruelty or the unfair prosecution of animal rights activists. Donate here.
The Southern Poverty Law Center basically uses legal jujitsu to fight for everything good and against everything bad, and are super effective. basically, they go into areas where it’s still all mississippi burning (figuratively and literally) and attempt to set shit straight. Also, they’re matching donations up to $800,000 through the end of the year, so do it up! Donate here.
There are lots of really great rescued farm animal sanctuaries to choose from but this year, Harvest Home Sanctuary will get my dough. They’re superheroes; I can’t believe how much they do with so little. Plus, it’s in Stockton, so it’s close enough to visit and cuddle those cute-ass animals! Donate here.
The Women’s Community Clinic in San Francisco offers what is perhaps the Holy Grail: free health care for uninsured women delivered by a team of fantastic female practitioners. They focus on gynecological health but also have acupuncture and counseling for you hippies and sad girls. Donate here.
I know there’s controversy about micro-loans, but personally I think it’s a great idea and I love lending money to small businesses in developing nations through Kiva. It takes a very small amount to become a lender—the minimum is $25—and it’s so rewarding to get reports of how the business is doing. Some vegan suggestions: A Cambodian lady grows soybeans and produces tofu; an Ecuadorean man grows cocoa beans; a Lebanese man runs a coffee shop; a group of eight Ugandan people sell bananas. Find a partner here.
I nominate Save A Bunny: you know I love a bun! They’re local, so their ambassadors get to go to all the awesome events, like VegFest, which is where I petted my first rabbit. Like cats and dogs, rabbits have unique personalities and make wonderful companion animals; like cats and dogs, rabbits are very frequently impulse-bought and quickly abandoned, making them the third most frequently euthanized animals at shelters. SaveABunny rescues rabbits from death rows all over the Bay and places them in loving homes. If you can’t adopt me a bunny for Christmas, help out some of their biggest supporters. Donate here.
Room to Read works in developing countries—so far, seven countries in Southeast Asia, and two in southern Africa—to establish libraries, and publish children’s books by local writers and illustrators in their local languages. They build schools, and focus especially on helping girls successfully complete secondary education. Vegansaurus: we love animals, food, and literacy. Reading is the best! And all kids deserve access to great books. Donate Here.
Founded in SF in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia (the name AND the address!) is a nonprofit program that helps kids with writing! Writing is very important! Plus, San Francisco’s 826, the OG, has a Pirate Supply Store! ARRRR you paying with cash or credit? (Ha!) I know 826 is super-awesome because it is my friend Lizzy’s favorite charity and Lizzy is a genius and probably our future ambassador to China. I wish I was kidding! Lizzy, come home! The program has proven very popular and now there are 826s in eight different cites, so we can donate on the national level, or locally in San Francisco and New York.
I like Born Free USA because I HATE circuses and I LOVE elephants! The circus abuses elephants who are the super-sweetest, awesomest animals ever. They are family animals but the circus takes the babies when they are just two years old; in the wild, they aren’t even weaned until they’re four to six years old, but the younger they are, the easier they are to bully and beat into submission. You can read more about how great elephants are and how they shouldn’t be held in captivity in my previous posts here, here and here. Donate to the elephant defense fund or the organization in general; I’ll be happy with either!
We give money out of love, guilt, hope, terror, habit—not for recognition or praise, of course. We love you if you give $1 to one place, $50 to all of these organizations, and if you’re just too broke, send this link to all your friends and family with money to spare. Add your own favorite charities to this list in the comments! Thank you for being caring, thoughtful activists. We’d cover all of you with baby animals and delicious vegan baked goods if we could. And kisses, big wet grateful kisses. Happy winter holidays, everyone!
[photo by Lawrence OP!]
Our favorite Olympian, horrendous dinner parties, vegan Peep(er)s, Gordon Ramsay’s blood, dogs dogs dogs and MORE in this week’s link-o-rama! »
Aww, Hipster Puppies: “bernie moved to san francisco because it was more ‘laid back’ and ‘anti-consumerist’ than new york, but still manages to drink two cups of starbucks a day.”
First: Fun-times events!
The Bay Area Vegetarians are having their monthly Vegan Food Party on Sunday, Feb. 28 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Sharp Park Library in Pacifica! Click here for details and to RSVP.
Further adventures with BAVeg: The monthly Vegan Dinner, this time on Thursday, Mar. 4 at 7 p.m. at Loving Hut in Palo Alto! Details here.
Hey North Bay, Shollenberger Park needs your help! It is apparently one of North America’s premier bird sanctuaries, and threatened by the possible installation of an asphalt plant on its borders. Yes, an asphalt plant, which, gross. Help the birds, already!
We haven’t checked out Chronicle restaurant reviews in a while. Michael Bauer went to Gather, where chef Sean Baker, formerly of Millennium, cooks terrifying vegetarian and vegan food and reassuringly meat-tastic dishes like soups of goat and duck. Thank god, we can all get along! Even if “the staff can be a little strident,” those fucking hippies.
The Healthy Food Financing Initiative has $400 million for grocery stores to open in “food deserts,” i.e., areas where you can only buy food at convenience stores. Hopefully this won’t all go to Wal-Mart. But, yay groceries! Everyone needs groceries, duh.
Hey so sea lions have returned to Pier 39 after a months-long absence. No, we don’t know where they were, why they left, or whether these sea lions are even the same ones who used to chill there. It’s all very mysterious. If only someone could speak sea-roar.
Koalas are catching a species-specific disease called koala retrovirus, which acts upon their systems like AIDS does on humans—i.e., it makes them more susceptible to other illnesses that then become lethal. Because what we need are fewer koalas.
The often useless California legislature is debating the creation of an online animal abusers registry, which would apparently function similarly to the sex offenders and arsonists registries. It’s sponsored in part by the Animal Legal Defense Fund; read more details here. (link via SuperVegan!)
The new nightmare dinner party: a butter-n-cheesestravaganza of Paula Deen recipes. Questions: would it all still taste like shit if you veganized it? Probably.
Foreign Policy magazine has a photo essay about life as a dog in China. There aren’t any explicitly gory or violent images, but some are disturbing.
So that’s vile: Jeremy Fox’s “other interests” now include an appearance at Cochon 555, an event in which five (5) chefs and five (5) winemakers prepare a dish from five (5) dead pigs. GET IT? We know he’s made it quite clear he was never a veg chef, and his exact role in this bloodbath is unknown, BUT STILL.
Are you nauseated yet? How does this collection of canned animal products make you feel?
In generally freaky food-related news, robots—partial and full-bodied—that cook! Well, sort of. Some of them ingest beer, and another “recount[s] awful jokes and chuckl[es] to herself.” I don’t know. At least robots don’t eat meat, right? Eh?
Brown Ramsay (duh!) makes a delicious vegetable-and-fingernail stir-fry with Ellen! This video is only a teeny bit gross.
New Year Resolutions, for vegans! »
In the spirits of ringing in the new year (WOOOO NEW YEAR WHAT WHAT IN THE BUTT) and reflection and improvement, we Vegansaurs are sharing our new year’s resolutions with you, dear readers. It can be easy to forget that there’s more to being vegan than abstaining from animal products, so we’ve looked really, really hard into our routines, habits, and patterns for ways to do better in 2010, and here they are! Time to get preachy! What! YOU LOVE IT!
1. More activism! Broad, I know. So let’s break it up into two kinds. The armchair kind: Call and write to politicians. The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s state rankings are up and there’s room for much legislative improvement for farm animals (besides, uh, not eating them entirely). The active kind: Spend some time volunteering for the animals each month. Leafletting, vegan bake sales, coastal biking fundraisers, petitioning, volunteering at an animal sanctuary, starting a new animal activism Meetup group—it’s all good! Seriously, you guys. The SF Vegan Bakesale has made over 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS for charities last year. That’s insane. You can totally get that going in your town. Yes, YOU!
2. Donate! Let’s say you send just 2 percent of your paycheck to an animal organization you support. That could add up to a lot, especially if you’re rolling in it!
3. Bring lunch to work. Every time I buy a salad, a plastic container sits in a landfill for about 450 years. I’m never buying a salad again. AND THOSE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD FOR ME. God, just eating candy from here on out. Candy that I BRING TO WORK WITH ME IN A REUSABLE CONTAINER! Win-win!
4. Along the same lines, cook more, eat out less. And invite people over to eat more often (especially if they’re not vegan!). Hey, that’s one less chicken who has to die, right? Plus, with websites like VegWeb and a million billion new vegan cookbooks out there, you gotta start testing recipes. Your life will be better when it has homemade cookies in it, trust.
5. Start composting. And while we’re at it, do all the Al Gore stuff. Get rid of the car, swap out light bulbs, etc.
6. Stop using palm oil. Why? Harvesting it clears out the rainforest and leaves elephants homeless.
7. Get more of our meat-eating friends to go vegan, or at least get them to pledge to go meatless a few days a week (for those who need baby steps, you know who they are). Meatless Mondays, anyone? And while you’re at it, for gifts, why not give a copy of Eating Animals, along with some tasty vegan candy? So what if it’s kinda preachy, you’re already their crazy vegan friend and there’s a chance they’ll read it and learn something. If not, it’ll go in a junk pile and someone else will pick it up. Better than than giving lame, generic bath salts or lotion, right? Oooh also, adopting animals from a farm sanctuary is a great gift too! Everyone loves a chicken, even if it’s not dinner! Right? Right!
8. Get the companion animals on a vegan diet. It’s long overdue, guys. Laura feeds V-dog to Hazel and that bitch weighs 70 pounds, you feel me??
9. Buy less stuff. Or, at least, buy less NEW stuff. There are a million secondhand, consignment, and used clothing stores around. You can do without that dress from Delia’s. I don’t care that it cost two dollars. Wait, two dollars? Link plz? THAT WAS A TEST.
10. Ask for more vegan options in restaurants. It’s super simple, and it often works. Hypothetical, best-case scenario: I go into Mozzarelli’s and ask if they have vegan cheese. They say no, but they’d love to know which one to buy to offer their customers. I say Daiya (of course). They put it in their restaurant. It can help to bring in samples of excellent vegan products for them to try, like vegenaise and Dandies. Prove that vegan = delicious and MORE CUSTOMERS: CHA-CHING. Done.
11. This is less a resolution and more a request, but if someone could please crack the following vegan foods in 2010: clotted cream; meringue; angel food cake. KTHX BYE.
Got some of your own? Let us know! Happy new year, y’all!