It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »


It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!

Still happy about the Tennessee governor’s veto of his state’s ag-gag bill? So is the state’s largest paper, which editorialized this week that “On every level, ‘ag gag’ was a failure” and that “the legislation was built upon a lie.”

The new ag-gag battle is in North Carolina, where a bill is pending in the state legislature. You can read the HSUS state director’s op-ed on the issue.

You knew that foie gras production was terrible for the birds. Do you know how the farm workers are treated? Here’s the Financial Times’ coverage of the issue.

Ever wonder about the guy behind most of the attacks on HSUS? The Boston Globe had a major front-page exposé on meat industry frontman Rick Berman (of the so-called “Center for Consumer Freedom”) and his campaign against HSUS. Appropriately, the piece is entitled, “Washington’s robust market for attacks, half-truths.”

And on the polar opposite end of the spectrum, Peter Singer has a great new TED talk on effective altruism that’s worth your time.

P.S. Video of the week:

The most inefficient—and cutest—way a cat has ever drunk water.


The Boston Globe reports: Whole Paycheck no more!  »

In the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, a Whole Foods is set to take over the a Hi-Lo that currently serves as the neighborhood’s grocery. People got concerned that “Whole Paycheck” would be too expensive for the locals so The Boston Globe did an investigation of pricing at the stores. Results? Whole Foods is average!

Homeboy was thorough:

Some points about methodology: When gathering prices, I did my best to pick similar products at each store, and went for the cheapest option, when available. If stores stocked different quantities of a product, I did the math to be sure I was comparing the same measurements of the same or similar products. Last, while there’s no guarantee that the Jamaica Plains Whole Foods will have the exact same prices as the chain’s other stores in the area, I did check the prices at three different Whole Foods—Beacon Hill, Cambridge, and Symphony—and the pricing was identical at each.

After this first study, people complained that the writer failed to include fruits and veggies, which they insisted were more expensive at Whole Foods. They did a follow-up, turns out that’s not true either:

Fruits and vegetables at Whole Foods can get pricey if you buy the wrong items. But if you’re a smart shopper, buying produce there turns out to be the same as buying produce at the other stores. For example, regular tomatoes at Whole Foods were $3.99 per pound, which is a dollar more than at Stop & Shop, Shaw’s and Foodie’s. But plum tomatoes were generally cheaper at Whole Foods than they were at other stores (Whole Foods, $1.99; Stop & Shop, $2.99; Shaw’s, $2.49; Foodie’s, $1.99). Likewise, while oranges were 50 cents more expensive per pound at Whole Foods, green peppers there were a dollar cheaper than at the other stores. If a shopper happened to be buying tomatoes, oranges and green peppers this week, the price fluctuation at the store would have evened themselves out.

He did note that meat was definitely more expensive at Whole Foods—guess who doesn’t care?! THIS GUY! Meat should be expensive, if there are any attempts to raise the animals responsibly (I know, a ridiculous concept on its own, but you know what I mean). Sorry they don’t sell grade-Z chuck.

An important thing to note about this second investigation is that Hi-Lo apparently doesn’t even sell meat and vegetables anymore. WTF? It’s a sad, far-too-common occurrence. In my opinion, it’s one hell of a good thing that a grocery store where you can actually get vegetables is moving in. Welcome to the neighborhood!


He-gan woman-haters club!  »

Megan Rascal here, on the lexical beat. Last week, the Boston Globe presented us with a new word: Hegan. Yeah, it’s what it sounds like, “he + vegan = hegan.” They define it as “men in their 40s and 50s embracing a restrictive lifestyle to look better, rectify a gluttonous past, or cheat death.” This sounds like hegans are vain middle-aged men who don’t care about animals. Hey, to each his own, I’m glad more oldbros are going vegan, regardless of the reasons. However, the definition seems a little jerky, no? Maybe their reasons are a little more deep than that. Or like they’re more mature now, and that has influenced their lifestyle and the choices they make. Also, while I have to admit I consider veganism a restrictive diet, why is it a restrictive lifestyle? Like we’re celibate or something.

They interview some all-American tough guy* who ran into health problems in his forties and “On the advice of his childhood friend Brian Rothwell, a yoga instructor and lifelong vegan, McCain cut meat, dairy, eggs, chicken, and fish from his diet and added power vinyasa yoga.” Say what?! Mr. Tough Guy has a yoga instructor BFF? Maybe he’s not the average Joe America they paint him as after all.

While I like this term—or rather this article—more than the femivore piece, it’s still fucking lame. I don’t like that they’re separating these men from the general vegan population. It’d be more beneficial for the vegan public image if these nouveaux vegans are considered part of the overall fabric of veganism. In reality, vegans are a diverse group, no? Some people love to reduce and simplify us and our motives but I declare: that’s whack! We all have different reasons, different opinions, etc. so why should we segregate these men who have wised up and come to the vegan side a little later in life? Hegan just sounds like a joke and this article is totally portraying these men as this funny cultural oddity.

Another issue I have with this, and boys please weigh in, is that it kind of implies that all the males who’ve been vegan forever are wussies, or nonexistent. Like why not pay a little lip service to why other men are vegan if hegans are such a new and distinct thing?

I’m all for noting and exploring new cultural trends, but when you make up a name for something, you pull it out and separate it from all things non-hegan. What do y’all think? There were several dudes who took issue with the satirical song about vegan boys, and I’d like to know where they stand on this: is it a step in the right direction because it’s butching up the image of the male vegan; is it totally a slap in the face? Or, you know, none of the above?

*I’m not trying to pigeonhole this dude, this is the impression I think we are supposed to draw from the article: this is the all-American weekend warrior who you’d just never guess was vegan. OMG never.

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