vegansaurus!

09/15/2014

Cowspiracy: the environmental documentary with a new message the world needs to hear  »

imagePicture from the premier, from Splice Photography’s FB

Last month, I went to the Cowspiracy NYC premier. I was not prepared to be so moved! I went into the theater like, “OMG I’m tired and work is annoying and now I have to see a documentary and learn shiz” and I left like, “OMG I’M SO GLAD I’M VEGAN HOW CAN WE MAKE THE WORLD VEGAN?!”

The movie starts as a first-person journey to sustainability for Kip Andersen. He’s a self-proclaimed environmentalist, but it’s not until some serious digging that Kip discovers the devastating impact of the meat and dairy industries on the environment. As someone who turns to organizations like Greenpeace and Surfrider for info and guidance, Kip wonders why they have almost no information on the number one cause of environmental destruction (i.e. meat and dairy). He goes to speak to these organizations and films interviews (sometimes secretly). The interviews are nothing short of hilarisad (my own word, you can use it). By the middle of the movie, we have what shapes up to be a very real conspiracy. I know, sounds melodramatic, but watch the movie. There is no more appropriate word than conspiracy. The groups that are supposed to be helping the environment are spitting out more crap than a factory farm. Really, it’s bonkers. 

imageThis guy was my fave. 

At the beginning of the movie, I was a little put off by the numbers the filmmakers cite, as I know they are all hotly contended. But then it occurred to me, no matter who’s numbers you pick, meat and dairy is still the number one threat to the environment! We can debate the specific numbers all day but no matter where you net out, it’s bad. Here’s a great example from a Beef Magazine article: Why Ranchers Should Care About The Documentary “Cowspiracy”

Of course, Cowspiracy just appears to be regurgitating the common myths the beef industry has worked hard to correct over the years. For example, the Cowspiracy website claims it takes 660 gals. of water to make one hamburger, or the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers.

However, according to Facts About Beef, “In reality, it takes 441 gals. of water to produce 1 lb. of boneless beef…” 

Well! A mere 441 gallons. So there’s my point: no matter who’s numbers you use, it’s bad. 

Oh one thing I should warn you about, while the movie is not very gruesome, there is one slaughter scene. But you know it’s about to happen so you can close your eyes, as I did. Because the main focus is environment and not animal welfare, the disturbing images are of effed up forests and whatnot, not abused animals. So if you close your eyes for the one part, you should mostly be ok. EXCEPT you may be SO ANGRY that this shiz is going down!

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One of the filmmakers, Kip Andersen, at the after party with Noah Gittell and Dania DePas of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Photo by Splice Photography

I also attended the after party, organized by vegan media maven Nell Alk. Suite ThreeOhSix was kind enough to host and eats were supplied by Dr. Cow, juicers PitangaThe Vegan VineDun-Well Doughnuts, and Pipsnacks.

And here is my goodie bag in all its splendor! 

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Featuring: candles from Produce Candles, body lotion from Bulldog Skincare, honey sticks from Bee Free Honee, chocolate bars from Brooklyn Dark, white chocolate medallions from Obsessive Confection Disorder, soap bars and bath bombs from LUSH, protein bars from 22 Days Nutrition, lip balm from Hurraw, and coupons for free products from Beyond Meat and Gardein

Plus everything came in eco totes from Minnesota-based brand Relan. They make their bags with recycled billboards! How cool will I look at the farmers market this weekend?! Spoiler: SO COOL!

Basically, the party was the perfect chaser to the movie. Back to the film: I encourage everyone to see it and organize a viewing in your area if you can! 

Here’s how you can see the film yourself:

-For DVD and digital download pre-sale options, visit the Cowspiracy site.
-For information on how to organize—or attend—a screening in your own community, visit the Tugg site.
-Watch for Cowspiracy on Netflix and iTunes this fall.

And follow them on FB for updates and great graphics like this one (my new favorite image):

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05/16/2012

This is a chart of the amount of advertising companies that sell meat products buy versus the amount of advertising anti-meat-industry organizations buy. It was put together by Harish of Counting Animals, using publicly available information (SEC filings, IRS filings, ad-to-sales ratios).
To quote Harish:

[E]ach red circle represents a meat-promoting entity, with the area of the circle being proportional to just the annual advertising or promotional expenses of that entity. Each green circle represents an animal advocacy organization engaged in promoting vegetarian eating or meat industry reform, with the area of the circle being proportional to the total annual expenses of that organization.

You should click over to Counting Animals to fully understand the amount of money each company spent on advertising. Like some of the little circles you can’t see are Mercy for Animals, which spent just over a half-million dollars on ads, or our nasty liar pals at the American Meat Institute, who spent $11 million trying to convince you to eat American meat. I like the idea that Tyson spent half a billion dollars on ads and the best thing they could come up with were those awful suicidal chickens.
As Harish puts it, with how small the anti-meat-industry organizations are, and how little they spend on awareness campaigns, the fear with which the big ag companies regard them is impressive. All those ag-gag bills? These companies hate and fear the Humane Society, because they know the more people see of the horrible realities of factory farms, the faster they’re run from conventionally produced meat. We hope.
Ten bucks from everyone’s next paycheck goes to HSUS or a similar organization, right? We may never be as loud as the animal abusers, but our message is stronger, because it’s the truth.

This is a chart of the amount of advertising companies that sell meat products buy versus the amount of advertising anti-meat-industry organizations buy. It was put together by Harish of Counting Animals, using publicly available information (SEC filings, IRS filings, ad-to-sales ratios).

To quote Harish:

[E]ach red circle represents a meat-promoting entity, with the area of the circle being proportional to just the annual advertising or promotional expenses of that entity. Each green circle represents an animal advocacy organization engaged in promoting vegetarian eating or meat industry reform, with the area of the circle being proportional to the total annual expenses of that organization.

You should click over to Counting Animals to fully understand the amount of money each company spent on advertising. Like some of the little circles you can’t see are Mercy for Animals, which spent just over a half-million dollars on ads, or our nasty liar pals at the American Meat Institute, who spent $11 million trying to convince you to eat American meat. I like the idea that Tyson spent half a billion dollars on ads and the best thing they could come up with were those awful suicidal chickens.

As Harish puts it, with how small the anti-meat-industry organizations are, and how little they spend on awareness campaigns, the fear with which the big ag companies regard them is impressive. All those ag-gag bills? These companies hate and fear the Humane Society, because they know the more people see of the horrible realities of factory farms, the faster they’re run from conventionally produced meat. We hope.

Ten bucks from everyone’s next paycheck goes to HSUS or a similar organization, right? We may never be as loud as the animal abusers, but our message is stronger, because it’s the truth.

02/13/2012

Craptastrophe: Pig manure foam is making factory farms explode.  »

A mysterious manure foam is causing factory farm facilities to explode:

Large midwestern hog farms have for the last few years been battling a mysterious foam that is forming on top of their barns. In the worst case scenarios, the foam blocks ventilation ducts and the barns explode — yes, explode — killing the thousands of hogs inside.

This is so disgusting and sad. The most recent explosion was last Sept., killing 1,500 pigs and injuring a worker. 

Here’s a news story about it:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]

This story is as gross as the lighthearted Green Acres scenes are inappropriate. I’m sure you also like how the reporting talks about the monetary loss and makes no mention of the pigs that die in explosions or any workers that are injured (#priorities).

For more info on this story, our boyfriend Tom Philpott has some good coverage over at Mother Jones. He makes the point that these explosions are relatively rare. Except that six crap-foam explosions since 2009 kind of seems like a lot to me, even though there are thousands of facilities that haven’t exploded. But however rare these explosions have been, Philpott says that the foam itself “has become alarmingly common.” So we can probably expect some more explosions in the future. 

What does Grist think the solution is?: 

The pork industry has been funding research into the foam and how to stop it. But as I see it the answer is simple. Get the pigs out of the barns and onto pasture, and raise them at a less intensified scale without the need for huge manure-storage “facilities.”

While that’s preferable to exploding barns, I’d go a different direction: free the pigs! Maybe a hotdog isn’t worth all this trouble. 

10/28/2011

Top 10 links of the week!: A devilish jaunt through the recesses of veganism!  »

[Your adorbs viral animal video of the week. This looks like my dog but he’s way better at piano!]

First, I would like to congratulate our Malcolm Fontier wallet giveaway winners!: JKid and Samantha M! But really you are all winners and we will have many more giveaways in the future.

In exciting mainstream news, CNN has a fairly positive piece about young vegans and vegetarians! We’re taking over!

Can slaughter house pigs benefit from Ikea toys? What about not being in slaughterhouses? Would that help at all?

Ever wonder what’s in the McRib? 70 ingredients! Including a “bleaching agent!”

Be sure you pay attention to Farm Sanctuary’s twitter today because it’s got a lot of great info from the Factory Farming Conference. By “great” of course I mean disturbing. 

Did you know it’s National (Vegan) Chocolate Day?! We must celebrate!

In San Francisco news, some fuckers shot a hawk with a nail gun. It’s being treated for injuries now. WHYYY?

Humpback whale populations are rebounding slightly better than we thought! Congrats, humans.

Here’s a really crazy/interesting piece the Humane Society alerted me to: Ag’s go-to messaging not resonating. It seems people don’t trust Big Ag! I can’t imagine why!

Hey, fish-eaters! Do you diligently select fish species that are low in mercury and not in (as much) danger of over-fishing? Good luck with that! Consumer Reports has a new study, Mystery Fish, that’s going to put a snag in your plan. 

As always, don’t forget to read Laura’s Week in Vegan! It’s always chocked full of good shiz. 

08/03/2011

We’ll tax you till you’re healthy, jerks  »


Our old pal Mark Bittman knows a lot about food. He espouses a vegan-till-dinner diet, which we also encourage you to try if you’re not yet vegan. Give it a go, you know. We love his recipes, his How to Cook Everything app, and his general attitude toward eating.

We’re less pleased with his latest op-ed for the New York Times, in which he proposes taxing “bad” foods “like soda, French fries, doughnuts and hyperprocessed snacks,” and using the revenue those taxes generate to “subsidize the purchase of staple foods like seasonal greens, vegetables, whole grains, dried legumes and fruit.”

OK, MB, we see where you’re coming from. Coke is terrible for you. So are Fritos and Hostess snack cakes. We vegans would love people to eat more produce and non-animal proteins. It’s just that increasing the price of foodstuffs at the retail level makes everyone uncomfortable, and it doesn’t address the government subsidization of meat and dairy, which makes that stuff extra-cheap, and guess what? A cheeseburger will kill you just as quick as a Little Debby.

It also leads normally super-serious magazines like the Economist to respond with their own “humorous” op-eds about taxing fat (read: unhealthy) people in the name of “consumer sovereignty.” I assume the individuals at the Economist have senses of humor, but the editorial voice isn’t exactly the Grub-Street Journal, and this little piece isn’t exactly Swiftian.

Is it the government’s responsibility to encourage better food choices? Is it anyone’s? Omnivores get defensive when vegans call attention to the violence inherent in eating animals, and also because they know their diets are bad for the environment. Even if you don’t mind having animals killed for your meals, you know that mass milk, cheese, and meat production is killing the planet. Maybe that’s the stronger argument, since caring about people’s health and well being is usually wrapped up in scolding and “nanny state”-style policies.

Nutritious food should be accessible to and affordable for everyone. The answer probably isn’t “subsidizing ‘good’ food with a tax on ‘bad’ food,” though, however tempting it may be. You can’t treat food like cigarettes and alcohol in any context because, no matter the quality, food is necessary to live. Addressing the broader aspects of our Terrible American Diet—i.e., federal subsidies to grow corn that mostly feed the cows that mostly feed people—may take longer, but it’s more responsible and more effective. Right? At the very least, making high-fructose corn syrup BAD while ignoring weirdo chemical compounds like non-nutritive sweeteners—aspartame won’t help you grow up big and strong and smart—seems hypocritical, and dumb. You’re better than soda demonization, Mark Bittman.

[“Untitled (view of checkout through pet food aisle)” by Robert Adams via Yale Digital Commons]

07/07/2011

Give the children what they want: chocolate milk!  »

Big Ag and six-year-olds agree—chocolate milk in schools! Wait, wait, so I’m being told that children want a sugary, chocolate drink with their school lunches? No way! My eyes must be playing a joke on me when I read that Big Ag is arguing that fruit juices have just as much sugar as chocolate milk, so chocolate milk is the OBVIOUS choice. Plus, you know, if first-graders aren’t drinking milk, they will have calcium deficiencies, as everyone knows the only way to get calcium is milk.

NOT! Human animals can get calcium the same way cows do—by eating leafy greens. And I’m not trying to say six-year-olds aren’t sharp, but I wanted a unicorn in first grade.* Just sayin’.

Aw, remember these videos? Too bad it’s all lies and dairy milk causes clogged arteries! Gross. Almond milk will make you strong! Unless you’re allergic—then you just might get hives. Hemp? Oatmeal? Soy? There is a whole slew of delicious alternatives!

*While I pined for a unicorn, other kiddies were off saving the world with veggie recipes. Here’s my favorite cornbread recipe, created by an 11-year-old, Dana Sly! It turns out perfect every time I make it!

03/21/2011

Test-tube meat: Would YOU eat it?  »

Somehow, I just can’t see myself eating test-tube meat. I imagine it would come with the same horrific and potentially organ-altering issues as genetically modified corn and shiz, you know like growing eight uteri or something. BUT. I do think that cloning meat-tissue would take pressure off of industrialized meat production AND weird cloning experiments. Save our farm animals and just eat pseudo-meat? I’m wondering if it would be anywhere near the same as a Boca burger.

Eat, Drink…Better wrote about biologist Vladimir Mironov and his in-vitro meat research. This man with the name of a Russian astronaut claims we are already running out of agricultural space globally, and that contributes to that whole hunger thing. And PETA is a major investor. “PETA is apparently offering a one million dollar prize for anyone who can grow a commercially available synthetic meat for market by June 2012.” Whaaaaa?

I’m not so all-aboad-the-biotech-wagon as I am on the alternatives-to-animal-exploitation-mobile. But the fact that scientists are trying to develop a “product” that would eliminate all the crazy issues we face with big Ag: greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, factory farms/slaughterhouses, and fucked-up biodiversity—that doesn’t sound so horrible—as long as there are no rogue mutated species coming out of this mess. I’m not prepared to join the X-Men. [Ed.: however, some of us named Laura are! And she wants the ability to eat unlimited amounts of ice cream WITH NO HEADACHES and to fly and to be invisible and to have people-crushing fatness. Please note: she is working on the last one already, fuck science!]

Mironov claims this risk just isn’t there and that we, the consumer, will accept the test-tube meat. He says, “We are already mass consuming cultured products like yogurt, brewed beer, and distilled wine. Therefore, the prospect of consuming cultured meat is not a foreign concept.” The jury is still out over here, but it will be interesting to see big meat producers freak out—and probably try to lay claim to the profits.
Perhaps these two geniuses could help make some strides!

This guest post was brought to us by Jessi Stafford! Jessi is originally from St. Louis…ish. She’s now squandering her fortune while freelancing in Baton Rouge, L.A. A University of Missouri Journalism grad, Jessi uses her degree for cocktail-drinking. She loves hyperbole and whoring around thrift stores. This is Jessi’s second post for Vegansaurus. Thanks, Jessi!

11/04/2010

Here we go again: PETA expands its definition of bestiality!  »

Thanks, PETA, for writing this garbage. And thanks, HuffPo, for publishing it. You didn’t pay ol’ V.P. for Policy Bruce Friedrich to publish this, did you? Please say no. Because if you did pay for it, the written word has no monetary value anymore and I am giving up and starting my career as a driver for a public transit agency. Any public transit agency.

Look, Peta, beginning your “All of this is bestiality” attack by using the Webster’s definition marks your position as weak. You know who starts their theses with the definition of a keyword? Grade-schoolers. Already you’ve lost some respect from your readers capable of making mature arguments—i.e., ages 12 and up.

Everyone with a soul would agree that an individual who “repeatedly jam[s] his finger into a turkey’s vagina” is a person whose relationships with animals and sexuality are deeply damaged, and should not work anywhere near animals. However, not everyone with a soul would agree that an individual who “masturbate[s pigs] to collect their semen” in order to artificially inseminate a sow with it has deeply damaged relationships with sexuality and animals. Ohhhh, you say, why is it illegal when someone touches a pig’s penis for sexytimes but legal when someone does it for future pig creation? That “glaring contradiction…just doesn’t add up”!

Duh, Peta. Duh, there’s a difference. It’s called “intent.” It’s called “sexual gratification of the abuser.” It’s called “A bestialist has sexual feelings toward the animal, or wants to act out sexual fantasies with the animal.” Farmers whose turkeys are too grotesquely gigantic to mate naturally and require human intervention generally do not look for or obtain sexual gratification from this work.

If you want people to take you seriously, Peta, try writing seriously instead of sensationally. It is fucking disgusting, artificially inseminating “livestock,” but calling it bestiality, really? Physical abuse of animals for the sexual gratification of the abuser is different than physical abuse of animals to aid in the reproductive process. In a Venn Diagram, there’d be overlap, but they are separate issues, and conflating them doesn’t help make your point. Maybe farmers might consider artificial insemination animal abuse, maybe possibly, but no way will they agree that they engage in bestiality.

Saying something like that lowers you to the level of the terrible assholes who brandish those gruesome signs in front of “family planning” clinics, all “YOU ARE MURDERING YOUR CHILD LOOK UPON THE HORROR OF AN ABORTION BABY-KILLER.” When you immediately take an extreme position, you lose the ear of any of the middle-grounders who might have listened to you, had you said something less insane. The President isn’t a socialist, and all farmers aren’t animal-fuckers.

Of course these practices are horrifying: the physical abuse farm animals are forced to endure is a major reason why we don’t eat animals. I am not defending it. Thanks for putting me in this position, Peta; I love being on the side of Big Ag and meat-eating! But for sweet sensibility’s sake, omnivores are not “participating” in “having sex with animals.” They are definitely supporting a fucked up, inhuman system! Just not a system that condones bestiality.

Now, please: Shut up, Peta.

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