Gossip Girl, dolphin-style: it’s all about who you know! »
After a 20-year study, University of New South Wales biologists conclude that who your mother hangs out with is as important as who your mother is—at least in bottlenose dolphin communities. Who doesn’t love a good nature versus nurture study?! A: FASCISTS!
You can read the full text of the study online but I’m really into the Wired synopsis linked at the top because LESS READING. But yeah, this is all totally new data. These researchers studied 52 female bottlenose dolphins in the eastern gulf of Shark Bay, Western Australia. It looks like they chose these dolphins for their nature/nurture study because dolphins have a lot of things in common with us, such as, “Slow life histories characterized by late sexual maturity, long interbirth intervals, and extensive maternal care.” They say dolphins have those things in common with great apes, but that totally includes us and does that not sound familiar? Can’t you imagine those dolphins like totally screening their calls for mom? OMG cut the cord, Flipper!
The conclusion they reach is that “Female calving success depends on both genetic inheritance and social bonds. Moreover, we demonstrate that interactions between social and genetic factors also influence female fitness.” So essentially, DNA does matter but if you got them bad genes, your mom can offset that by hanging with the right crowd. Moreover, dolphins rule and I love them!
Religious festivals provide new and fun ways to torture Australian sheep! »
Because Australian sheep don’t suffer enough (see mulesing), Australian farmers ship them live to the “Middle East”* so they can be brutalized and then killed for Eid al Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. For this year’s festival, Animals Australia investigators were onsite in Kuwait and Bahrain to document the cruelty, and caught some really effed shit. Shipping live animals is awful all on its own, but then once they get there, these sheep are sold on the street and chained to cars and whatnot to bring home to “sacrifice.” The picture above is one of many shocking photos; here we have sheep being forced into the trunk of a car to transport to someone’s home to be killed. Seriously, this picture makes me ill.
The Jerusalem Post has a really great article on Muslim vegetarians and how they view the holiday. It seems people question whether one can be Muslim and be vegetarian but the Post writes, “Liberal clerics, such as American scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, point to Islamic oral traditions to justify vegetarianism. ‘Traditionally Muslims were semi-vegetarians,’ Yusuf claimed in religious audio tape. ‘Umar [the second Muslim Caliph] said: “Beware of meat, because it has an addiction like the addiction of wine”.’” And Muslims are generally pretty down on wine.
In a bit of good news, it looks like vegetarians aren’t the only people skipping the sacrifice; according to the article, some meat-loving people are forgoing the sacrifice for purely economic reasons—meat is expensive and prices have gone up. Still, they say 800,000 sheep were shipped from Australia this year for the festival. If they really want sheep, can’t someone raise them closer to Kuwait or something? And if they really want to sacrifice sheep, can’t they treat them with some decency before they kill them? If an animal is being murdered for you, you could at least be grateful.
Wild kangaroo is “green” meat; obviously we should be farming them! »
New Scientist magazine has a vegetarian, Wendy Zukerman, take an “in-depth” look at the argument for eating kangaroo. Turns out it’s the same argument these kangaroo-pushing Australians keep making: “We already shoot just oodles of kangaroos all the time, they’re such terrible pests you know, and cooked right the meat is absolutely delicious! It’s so lean! Besides, you’ve got to shoot them BANG once in the head, it’s an utterly painless death you know, doesn’t give that awful ‘terror-hormone’ flavor (“myopathy”) to the meat. The joeys? Oh, you just kill them too, shoot them, or whack them in the head with a ‘a metal pipe, or [swing them] against the side of a truck.’ Easy-peasy! Heaven knows we don’t need more ‘roos! If they get away, they’ll live, hardy little buggers. The best part is, we’re not spending any extra money for them right now! Just get a hunting license and shoot shoot shoot, save the landscape for the properly farmed livestock.”
Still, this isn’t enough. The people—or at least, the people invested in selling kangaroo as a tasty meaty treat—demand more ‘roo! And it’s hard to go out hunting every night, returning with maybe one dead kangaroo for your efforts (e.g. sitting, looking). What’s the plan? Farming the kangaroos! Of course! Keep them in an enclosed area, feed and water them like other livestock, and they’ll just be there, ready for shooting/neck-slitting/etc. whenever “the people” want!
Except, hold on there, geniuses. Doesn’t having a kangaroo ranch, where people are responsible for the care and feeding of kangaroos, directly oppose all the arguments of the council for eating kangaroos? They aren’t self-sustaining—which is to say, wild—animals anymore if they are living behind big fences and people are looking after them. You’ll have to “maintain artificial watering points throughout the landscape, which are environmentally detrimental because you favour water-dependent species,” and what’s next, “government subsidies,” really? Really? Kangaroos are Australia’s new sheep.
Of course this would have to be a “solution” (ha) exclusive to the Antipodes, as kangaroos live exclusively in Australia and on some islands in New Zealand (not stated which), and if we’ve learned anything from colonial times, it’s Bringing Non-Native Species to “New” Worlds Is a Very Stupid Idea. Further, being wild animals, they won’t take well to ocean voyages, and once they arrive all that myopathy in their systems will have ruined the flavor of their sweet, sweet flesh.
But hey! An Australian vegetarian of 10 years ate some kangaroo once, and thought it tasted good, so maybe it’s not so bad! She even called it “the kindest meat.” The kindest meat! And if the hunters promise not to kill the lady kangaroos, there won’t be any bashing or smashing of tiny baby kangaroos, so that’s all right! Might as well start fencing off some land; the kangaroo ranches are totally coming, Australia. Wonder how long it’ll take before people over here start shooting the kangaroos in the zoos.
Advertising beat: McDonald’s is for Old Spice-lovers, please »
[can’t see the video? watch it on vegansaurus.com!]
Since our sneakers correspondent is also our crack advertising reporter, and that Megan Rascal is still gallivanting about Europe, we’re on the advertising beat today! This 30-second spot hasn’t aired on U.S. television yet, but presumably it will, considering how hard commercial media want us to admire/be/get wet for dudes who do Manly Things. The manliest thing a man has ever done, of course, is stuffed some meat down his gullet. Also, the voiceover guy has an “American” accent, and you know ‘murrican Manly Men don’t respond to “foreign” voices—unless they’re selling “foreign” products, like Dos Equis beer, or Grey Poupon mustard.
Obviously McDonald’s can’t pretend their products are anything but chemically enhanced food-like substances, so now they’re making an appeal to the same
people Manly Men who are all about smelling like Old Spice and bringing back chivalry. Cool idea, so original! You all are the smartest ever. Maybe it’s all the sodium that reminds you, a Manly Man, of your innate responsibility to open doors for Ladies. Maybe it’s the weird dairy products in the processed cheese-food that give you super-strong hands!* Or maybe all that gnarly cholesterol is actually brain food, and BAM you can fix cars you’ve never even seen before! Honestly, we have no idea; as vegans, we’ll never eat that much cholesterol, and most of your Vegansaurus was born XX, so we’re doubly stupid about the wondrous effects of McDonald’s on Manly (Omnivorous) Men.
Has anyone is Australia seen this commercial yet? Does it make you want to puke as much as we wanted to when we watched it? This play-pretend admiration of the super-fixed gender roles of the last century is unbelievably fucking stupid—it’s not even a binary!—and emphasizing its importance is pathetic. We are moving on from “Manly,” and we’re moving on from McDonald’s. If you want to make it in this century, you’d better evolve, you creeps.
*Note to fellow homo sapiens without much hand strength: wrap a rubber band around the lid of the jar. That provides much more traction than those ridiculous rubber opener-things and you can leave it on the jar for future use. It is brilliant and amazing and another small way of maintaining your independence.
Laura posted about this concert a little while back and the dream is now a reality! A bunch of people and their pups showed up at the Sydney Opera House for Laurie Anderson’s Music for Dogs concert. It looks as crazy as we expected.
Really though, this is super-awesome! How come I never get to go to dog concerts?! Also, if you don’t already know, Anderson is married to Lou Reed. SO WHAT?! Why do you have to define women by the men in their lives?! Jk (sort of), he totally collaborated on the project so it’s relevant. I also happen to be obsessed with Lou Reed but that’s not that relevant. My main point is: let’s have our own dog concert! But let’s make it DuWop or something, none of this avant-gag stuff! Yeah.
We’re all doomed, but at least we can eat vegan food. Hey, it’s the link-o-rama! »
You haven’t forgotten about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, have you? Neither have we! Because it’s still wreaking fucking havoc and ruining everything and will you look at this poor pelican? Look at this pelican and tell me there’s good left in the world. But “at least we’ve got the oil spill to take our mind off the economy, right?” [photo by Charlie Riedel/AP; from "Caught in the Oil" in the Boston Globe]
Events! Or more precisely, event!
What are you doing this weekend? Maybe catch a baseball game at PETA’s “second-best veg-friendly major ballpark,” yes, home of y/our San Francisco Giants. Or you could check out the third annual Indie Mart at Thee Parkside? It’s on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., entry is a mere $3, and Wonder Dog Rescue will be there! THEY HAVE PUPPIES!!
Serious news means serious business
Who hates horses and indigenous people? Australia hates horses and indigenous people! Seriously, the Australian government, instead of helping with humane population control efforts or doing anything sensible or kind or caring at all, is going to round up all the horses, kill them, and butcher them for tasty snacks. Not even kidding. Sign the petition against this insanity, please.
It’s about damn time: the Vermont attorney general finally issued animal-cruelty charges against two men in the Bushway Packing horror show. Remember that? From November? Too bad the penalties are so fucking tiny. UGH THE LAW IS SO FUCKED.
Pike Place Fish Market is quickly moving toward stocking exclusively sustainable dead fish. I know, but it’s not going anywhere, so it might as well be less ruinous of the planet. Hawaii has outlawed shark-finning, and if the article is accurate (read: not racist), shark fin soup was fairly popular in the state, so this might be a bigger deal than, say, California making it illegal. Dolphins, being demonstrable geniuses with whom we are all dying to communicate on a deeper level, are getting an iPad dolphin-to-human interface.
Moby’s New York Diet is, duh, vegan, and sounds pretty good. Seitan and grilled pineapple tacos, YES PLEASE. How about you delightful Vegansaurus readers? What would your Vegansaurus Diet look like? Record a week’s worth of meals, plus some interesting notes, and YOU COULD BE PUBLISHED ON VEGANSAURUS! All your dreams come true! Because eating interesting food is a weird competition/attention thing anyway, which we want to foster! Plus “our” Grub Street did, like, two San Francisco Diets and quit, and that is boring. BORING. So are you in? Come play!
Everyone gotten their no-duh inoculations? OK then: Paul Reidinger of SFoodie got such a shock at Golden Era this week: it’s really pretty inside, and the food is super-delicious. Good job recognizing the obvious, Paul! Oh and the new chefs at Ubuntu have actually not ruined everything—nope, still making tasty food (fava bean tempura WHAT?) out of fruit and vegetables, people are still paying too much attention to the fucking cheese—sounds like Ubuntu to us.
What would I rather do than go anywhere near this "steak smell"-emitting billboard? I suggest everyone in its immediate vicinity take up the niqab. Bonus: you’d anger a lot of crazy Christians, and Christopher Hitchens!
Did you know that your Vegansaurus also hates fat-hate? Everyone is great, everyone’s body is great, and we believe that the most important diet choices are made empathetically, meaning: NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS. So this study that found that “between the ages of 25 and 70 there is little different in the health of normal compared with overweight people”—we love this study. Oh, what’s that, study? You “also examined the relationship between body mass index and illness and found those defined as obese, with a BMI of 30 or above, had no more health problems than those who were a ‘healthy’ weight if they were under 40”? We should shut the fuck up about THIS GENERATION OF CHILDREN WILL DIE BEFORE THEIR PARENTS BECAUSE FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT and focus more on THIS GENERATION OF CHILDREN WON’T HAVE ANY EARTH TO INHERIT BECAUSE ANIMAL AGRICULTURE, maybe? The vegans are in.
This isn’t really vegan-related but it is crazy-related and there are dogs involved and so I say it slides. Genius/Professional Crazy-Ass Motherfucker, Lou Reed, is performing with his wife, Laurie Anderson (another genius/crazy-ass mofo), at a concert in Sydney (San Francisco’s Sister City and Vegaroo homebase HOLLER!) that can mostly only be heard by dogs.
THAT IS CORRECT, it is a CONCERT for DOGS, performed by LOU REED and LAURIE ANDERSON.
I mean sometimes late at night when I am laying in bed, I wonder if I’m going/have gone crazy because I think about and do some pretty fucked up things but then I hear about shit like this and go, “You know what, Laura. You’re ALL RIGHT.” It’s kinda like how you think your family is totally insane growing up and then you find out that one of your friends lives in a car with her entire extended family. It just puts shit in perspective.
Further, who will pay for my ticket to this show? Also, you’ll have to pay for Hazel and Jonas and fork out the dough for Hazel’s quarantine and put us up in a hotel (WITH CABLE AND WIFI) (AND A JACUZZI) but I swear to God, I will write the best review of that concert, I promise you that! It will bring your blog tens of hits! Holler at your girl!
My kind of politics!: Dachshund U.N. »
It’s art! It’s adorable! It’s my dream come true! Aussie artist Bennett Miller created Dachshund U.N. for Melbourne’s 2010 Next Wave Festival. There’s some sort of symbolism in this performance piece but really, OMG dachshunds pretending to be the U.N.! Adorbs.
This is from the Next Wave site:
Dachshund U.N. is both a joyful and chaotic experiment, and a meditation on the utopian aspirations of the Commission on Human Rights, and our capacity as humans to imagine and achieve a universal system of justice. Audiences are invited to these exclusive live viewings of the operations of the Dachshund U.N., where 47 specially recruited dachshunds will engage in rigorous debate.
AWESOME. I don’t really get why they’re dachshunds. But I like it! For more pictures, check out this slideshow from Life. I also found this cute behind-the-scenes look into the project, OMG!:
[Found that top picture here.]
Whales: maybe a little less screwed »
According to the LA Times, Monday marked the end of an expedition in which scientists concluded that we don’t have to kill whales in order to study them. To this I say 1. BRAVO! and 2. ADOY!
Japan uses this claim that they need to kill whales in order to study them as a way around the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 ban on commercial whaling. Of course they do sell the whale meat after they “study” the whale but that’s just like so nothing goes to waste of course. Not because they just totally want to sell whale meat.
The expedition was proposed by Australia (yay Aussies!) and approved by the commission. It is the first of five expeditions they’re going to do. Yeah, it’s just the first one and already they are like, Hey Japan! Kiss it!
From the LA Times:
The scientists’ research focused on whale numbers, what they eat, how they move between food patches and how they travel to and from their breeding grounds in the central Pacific.
"All of those questions can be and are being answered using nonlethal techniques," expedition leader Nick Gales told reporters Monday.
Although Gales acknowledged that Japan does some “marvelous” nonlethal whale research, he said “the component of their work that results in the killing of the whales” is not the type of science the commission requires.
Japan was like, OK hippies, how are we supposed to know what’s INSIDE the whales? I’m sure there are ways to do this or eventually there will be ways but here’s my suggestion: Hey science! Why do you have to know what’s inside everything all the time? It’s a complete obsession. And I think we’ve been nursing this fetish long enough! After all, it’s what’s on the outside that counts in this business called life!
[Adorable whale pic from the LA Times]