It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
Ever wonder what the US pork industry’s response to the EU’s farm animal welfare progress is? Check out my new piece about one industry leader’s recent bizarre, xenophobic rant.
Speaking of the US meat industry’s failures, in all 11 states it introduced ag-gag legislation in 2013, we killed their efforts, meaning that zero states this year passed an ag-gag bill!
We know that pigs suffer similarly to how dogs suffer. Would knowing that they’re as smart as (or smarter than) dogs change the way we think about—and treat—them? That’s what our friends at Farm Sanctuary are asking in a new campaign covered by the Associated Press this week.
If you agree with them that farm animals have interests that matter, you’re likely to also agree with NY Times columnist Nick Kristof’s potent column this week, in which he asks, “will our descendants be mystified by how good and decent people in the early 21st century — that’s us — could have been so oblivious to the unethical treatment of animals?”
Speaking of the future, do you think cultured meat will be a part of it? See the Telegraph’s story on the promise this holds.
Finally, Bill Clinton gave a fascinating interview to AARP this week about his near-vegan diet, noting,"I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival."
Video of the week: Wild crow allows human to remove porcupine quills from him. Amazing!
The Vegansaurus Top 15 vegan celebrities! »
LA Weekly just posted their top 10 vegan celebrities, which got me wondering why they should have all the fun. As many of you pointed out, a few of those celebs aren’t even vegan anymore (Alec and Olivia, I’m looking at you.) So … drum roll, please … we at Vegansaurus have put together our own top 10 list, only it contains 15 of our favorite vegan celebs! What do you think? Does this make you love us more? Hate us? Feel nothing? Ha! I bet you can’t stop reading anyway!
In no particular order (I’m very sensitive myself and do not want these beautiful specimens of veganism to feel jilted), I present you with…THE VEGANSAURUS TOP 15 VEGAN CELEBRITIES!
The first two are the winners of a little poll we conducted around the first of year, asking you about your favorite vegan musicians. You guys went totally bonkers for
1. Moby! This guy has been vegan for what feels like forever, which roughly translates to about 18 years. He’s co-owned a vegan cafe and co-written a book, all the while working as a recording artist, hot dang! I went to a BBQ he hosted at SXSW last year, which was pretty fantastic, and maybe one of my favorite meals from 2011. Keep doing you, Moby; keep doing you.
2. Ted Leo! Now, don’t get upset, but I don’t know much about this guy. That doesn’t matter, however, because you, our lovely readers, LOVE this guy. You couldn’t hold back your devotion in our poll! Please, feel free to school me about Ted Leo in the comments, I will not mind. According to this interview, he loves Millennium (holla!). Maybe us S.F.-dwellers will run into him there. Jealous?
And now for our picks:
4. Fiona Apple! Angst sounds so sweet mixed with a vegan diet. My Tumblr and Twitter feeds are still filled with people going nuts about her new album, and that dropped like four months ago! Has anyone seen one of her epic onstage meltdowns? I’m not hating—I have epic meltdowns every day of my life, as witnessed by my friends, family, roommates and co-workers.
5. Alicia Silverstone. She videotaped herself feeding her kid like a goddamn bird, which grossed out pretty much everyone who saw it. I still shudder, thinking about it. In other news, she loves Food For Lovers queso, wrote a pretty awesome vegan lifestyle book, and STARRED IN CLUELESS (not to mention those Aerosmith videos).
6. Woody Harrelson. Raw vegans tend to be pretty sexy (hey Sarah E. Brown, I’m winking at YOU), and he especially did not disappoint while kicking undead ass in the movie Zombieland! Looks like he even got his hands on some vegan Twinkies for a scene in said movie. HEY WOODY, I MAKE THOSE FOR A LIVING!
7. Tony Kanal, the bassist for No Doubt! This one’s for me and my girl Tashina, the biggest No Doubt fans you may ever meet. Don’t hate, celebrate! Gwen Stefani was just photographed leaving a vegan restaurant in L.A.; maybe that was Tony’s influence? (Though I hear Gavin’s a longtime vegetarian.)
9. Emily Deschanel! She’s so beautiful and articulate, and her penetrating stare scares the shit out of me! She weathered a vegan pregnancy AND LIVED TO TALK ABOUT IT! Take that, everyone who says it’s not possible! Ha!
10. Scott Jurek, because vegan athletes/authors are superstars! Read all about Rachel’s love for Scott here! To quote the post, “Scott Jurek could basically kick your ass any day of the week, including days where he hasn’t slept the night before, has a broken ankle, and already ran 75 miles.” Dang.
11. Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres! They are so great about making veganism look fun and accessible. There is so much to love about this superstar couple and the work they do for animals. Too bad about the restaurant deal falling through, but yay for vegan dog food!
12. Erykah Badu! She’s every vegan jazz musician’s No. 1 crush, or maybe that’s just my old roommate Jeremy. Remember when she busted onto the scene with “On and On" then sent everyone into a flurry with her video for "Window Seat”? This “Queen of Neo-Soul” is truly an inspiration when it comes to forward thinking politics and raising her vegan family!
13. Alanis Morisette! I had a co-worker at the Chicago Diner who thought the lyrics to You Oughta Know were “… and the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me”. HA! Now you’ll always sing that, instead of the right words, JUST LIKE ME! It’s a curse I bestow on you. Also, Alanis is quite lovely, and wasn’t she great on Weeds? Oh yes, and of course You Can’t Do That on Television!
14. Russell Simmons! Man, do you follow this guy on Twitter? He’s like a guru for people who don’t believe in gurus (me)! And seriously, wasn’t the best part of Kimora Lee Simmons’ show when he came on and moderated the crazy? Our Megan is always covering Russell’s vegan moves here on Vegansaurus, so I’ll just direct you to one of my favorite posts of hers, also featuring Martha Stewart! Keep giving us your vegan recipes, Russell! Keep giving us your wisdom!
15. Thom Yorke! OBVIOUSLY, right?! Most everyone’s favorite band has been Radiohead at some point, hasn’t it? He ate at Café Gratitude once, when I was working in the Central Kitchen of Scandal. Everyone went nuts, as to be expected. I’m never around when the celebs come to the restaurants I work at and it’s not fair, because I just love them so much! Actually, scratch that—M.C. Hammer came into Source recently (and I didn’t recognize him without his signature pants).
Brad Pitt! I was shocked to find out he’s vegan. On second thought, it made sense. He would just quietly be vegan, helping to rebuild New Orleans, raising a family, and avoiding Jennifer Aniston’s rabid fan base of haters.
Guest Post: R&B superstar Usher is eating vegan! And he wants Justin Bieber to join him! »
It’s always a big deal when someone famous comes out of the vegan closet. Us normal, everyday vegans celebrate it, and our omnivorous friends think, “Hey, maybe they aren’t so weird after all.” Maybe that last part isn’t always true but we all know we’re the LESS weird ones. And our count just went up by one, as Usher Raymond IV announced he is maintaining a vegan diet. My first thoughts? “Yeah!” [Ed. note: That’s the jam].
I have a sneaking suspicion that he and his 18-pack abs will still be gyrating under unzipped leather coats for the foreseeable future, but a small victory is a small victory. Usher saying he eats vegan has led to speculation that he’s getting his main man Justin Bieber to also gravitate to a plant-based diet, so he’ll have more energy fighting off 12-year-old girls in international airports. The Biebs going vegan will be huge for P.R. in the pro-vegan community, especially when accounting for the 8-to-14-year-old girl demographic. If I see a flock of Bielibers running toward a chrome Fisker in the parking lot of Native Foods Cafe, you bet your animal-loving ass I’m going to ask for a high five. I just better not have to wait any longer for my reuben.
There is more than handful of famous vegans. It’s tough to say who is in it for moral reasons and who just claims it as they get out of a Prius on the red carpet. Natalie Portman for example, isn’t all vegan all the time. But we beggars can’t be choosers, I guess. If veganism gets a little shine here and there from a celebrity trying to better their lives, who am I to complain? We got Billy Clinton to look as good as ever since his vegan transition. I was contemplating buying women’s underwear Wednesday night just so I could throw some at the TV. Lucky for the rest of us dudes, Usher can’t get any prettier. Right?
Let’s hope that Ursher’s selling skills are as good as his sit-up skills and we can mark down more artists in the famous-V column. He reportedly feels great and “loves” eating out at fancy New York city restaurants. Not the best-ringing endorsement to potential or on-the-fence vegans, since people of all diets can eat out in fancy New York restaurants. But we’ll take it! Hopefully Usher will make a Billboard chart-topping single where he serenades an unsuspecting woman on where he gets his protein. I’ll buy that record.
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
Paul Shapiro presents: Animal News You Can Use! »
This is from the mighty and awesome Paul Shapiro, the senior director of the Farm Animal Protection wing of the Humane Society of the United States. Paul is not only the raddest and very hilarious and kind and good and a fucking force to be reckoned with, but he’s always a wealth of animal news. We’re gonna publish his updates so that you’re as blessed with new information as we are. YOU ARE WELCOME. Now, pass this info on to all you know, and be better informed, smarter, and more good looking for it. BAM:
I’ve got a piece on the Atlantic site about foie gras and the myth that farm animals love to be abused. Please feel free to leave a comment on the site, since it seems like those of, let’s say…a different view don’t appear to be shy about leaving their own comments!
The DC ABC news affiliate had a cool segment about Bill Clinton’s near-vegan diet.
The U.S. Supreme Court had a hearing yesterday on the California downer law that was passed in the wake of HSUS’s exposé at a Southern California dairy cow slaughter plant. You can read Wayne Pacelle’s thoughts on the hearing at this link.
P.S. Video of the week: Dog and pig wrestling. Yep, that’s right.
Meet your new ruling class overlords: The Power Vegans »
Businessweek informs us of an important new trend among CEOs in our ruling class elite: they’re going vegan. Already bored of private jets and trophy wives, these wealthy and powerful men (yes, just men) are looking to veganism to remind the rest of us down here exactly how wealthy and powerful they are. Veganism, you see, is the new status symbol, available only to those who can afford such luxuries with such exotic names like “tofurkey” or “rice and beans.”
Or so Businessweek says. The truth is probably much more mundane than that. If 1 percent of America is vegan, well statistically speaking, that should include 1 percent of CEOs. OK, so Steve Wynn, John Mackey and Biz Stone are vegan, but of that group, Mackey and Stone were vegan before finding their success. So where’s the trend?
If anything, the wealthy business community is going the opposite direction, by riding the Ayn Rand wave that’s been sweeping the (wealthy/white) nation since Day 1 of Obama’s presidency. Fantasizing over “going Galt” is just the gateway drug to social Darwinism, and by extension, dietary Darwinism: the conceit that we must dominate and eat captive animals to prove that humans are always and forever “the fittest.”
I suppose we should be thankful for any positive mainstream media coverage on veganism, but really, it would be great to knock it off with the “men who choose veganism do so for manly masculine reasons, such as power! and strength! and display of riches to attract a suitable mate to bear our male heirs!” message. Whether it’s “hegans” or “power vegans,” all these attempts to rebrand veganism for men (for manly masculine men) just come off as defensive.
Or like we’re over-compensating. Because everyone knows that cooking food and other maternal things, like fussing over cute little animals, is and should always remain the province of women and their ovaries. Never mind that the choice to go vegan is nearly always one of both reason and emotion: “we just don’t have enough land and water to keep eating like this”/”torturing animals in factories is depressing and horrific”— thoughts that are equally available in the healthy brains of both genders.
It’s hard to say what this made-up-the-night-before-deadline trend piece is for, other than to annoy vegan bloggers, delight Ingrid Newkirk, and get Joel Stein paid. No one reads Businessweek after all, unless they’re stuck waiting in a dentist’s office for more than 20 minutes. But if idolizing rich and powerful men is what it takes to peel away a handful of new vegans, then I guess we’ll take it. I’m especially looking forward to my review copy of the Power Vegan Cookbook. It’s amazing what you can whip up if you keep your kitchen pantry stocked with personal chefs and an American Express Centurion Card.
Simple answers to simple questions: Bill Clinton and Gawker edition »
Gawker headline: “Bill Clinton Is a Vegan?”
Here’s the Big Dog in his own words on Wolf Blitzer: “I did all this research, and I saw that 82 percent of the people since 1986 who have gone on a plant-base, no dairy, no meat of any kind, no chicken, no turkey—I eat very little fish, once in a while I’ll have a little fish—If you can do it, 82 percent of people have begun to heal themselves.”
Bill Clinton eats fish. Fish is meat. Vegans don’t eat meat. And I know the flowchart is starting to get CAH-razy over here, but follow me to the end, we’re almost there—ready for it? Here it comes: Therefore: Bill Clinton is not a vegan! See what I did there? Just call me Professor Logic.
Yes, the vegan hive-mind is walking on sunshine and lighting bottle rockets to celebrate yet another member of the Clinton dynasty going loud and proud about the benefits of a plant-centric diet. No complaints there. And if he wants to keep a bit of fish in his diet, that’s his personal choice. Not the choice I would make, but less meat is still less meat.
But say it with me, because for some reason this still confuses the hell out of people: Vegans don’t eat meat! If you eat meat, you’re not a vegan! Clinton isn’t even calling himself a vegan, so what’s up, Gawker? Next time you get confused about a word’s definition, here’s a tip from one blogger to another. See that box in the upper right hand corner of your browser? That’s called “search.” All you do is type in the confusing word, hit return, and WOW AMAZING you’ll get back the word’s definition, like magic! See, I am so helpful.
Review: Jasmine Tea House! »
Jasmine Tea House is where Bill Clinton gets his delivery from when he’s in town and if you couldn’t tell it by looking at him, the Big Dog knows from food. Also, if you couldn’t tell it by looking at him, you need some glasses. Anyway, Jasmine Tea House has the absolute best fake chicken in all of San Francisco. I make this statement and I’m prepared to back it up. Preferred method of backing it up = my fists. There are a limited number of preparations of the magical meatless chicken listed under the vegetable section of the menu but they can veganize any of the chicken dishes. You absolutely MUST get the sesame fake chicken. Trust me. My omni friends like it even better than real chicken because they say it doesn’t have all the funky gristly parts and is instead, perfect chicken-like cubes of deep fried and sauced perfection! Just typing this, my mouth is begins to water for it. That is not a lie. And all I have is this nasty Luna bar. God is not good.
In addition to the glorious meatless chicken, the Singapore noodles are delicious and I also recommend the garlic spinach and the pea shoots if you want a meal with something other than fry. Pussy. They deliver anywhere in San Francisco and you get a free (gross) chow mein or free (gross) fried rice with any order over $15. They can substitute the chow mein or fried rice with plain white or brown rice if you ask and I highly recommend that because the chow mein and fried rice are GROSS.
Now, onto the employees. They’re mainly awesome, occasionally grumpy and sometimes incompetent city. One particularly frustrating evening, I ordered delivery and found that my fake chicken was indeed real chicken. Freaked out, I called back and went through an entire 20 minutes of arguing over whether or not I ordered fake chicken and then whether or not what I had was real or fake chicken. Listen, bitch. I know what I ordered because this is how I order fake meat at a restaurant that also serves real meat:
"I’d like the fake vegetarian vegan fake meatless chicken dish made with fake vegan meatless fake chicken."
YOU FEEL ME???
Don’t argue with me about what I ordered, just send over the correct order right now because I’m FUCKING STARVING. And while this was a devastating, shitty event for me, it was a truly special night for my dog Hazel who eats and loves the vegan dog food I feed but was more than happy to tuck into a bowl of lemon chicken. MY OWN CHILD-DOG. Ugh, sometimes I’m so disappointed with her lack of will power. She’ll never get into Harvard at this rate!
[Jasmine Tea House photos via its website]