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.
Californians: Call to help sharks TODAY! »
From the HSUS website because I’m too lazy to read and paraphrase:
Tens of millions of sharks are killed every year to supply the cruel and wasteful trade in shark fins used for shark fin soup. They’re obtained by cutting the fins off the shark and throwing the animal, often while still alive, back into the ocean to die a slow death.
Sharks are our ocean’s top predators [Ed.: SO COOL/TERRIFYING] and are important for the health of all other marine species and our entire ocean ecosystems.
Fortunately, the California legislature is considering a bill to stop the trade in shark fins — and a vote in the Senate Appropriations committee will occur early next week.
Please make a brief, polite call to your state senator and urge support for A.B. 376. Look up your senators and their phone numbers. You can say, “I am a constituent and urge support for A.B. 376 to prohibit the sale of shark fins in California.”
After making your phone call, fill out this form to reiterate your support for A.B. 376. Be sure to edit your message so it stands out.
So do those two things! Right now! It’s fast and easy and can help save lots of sharks who are the fucking coolest and also the fucking scariest. Remember: STAY OUT OF THE OCEANS. The oceans are for sharks, just like the woods are for bears and serial killers. HUMANS DON’T BELONG THERE.
Here is a cool/terrifying shark to stare at during your call. He’s all, “come at me, bro!” and you’re all, “I just shit my pants.”
Your government loves puppies again! »
Everyone loves puppies. Politicians love puppies! Or at least, they hate them less than they hate you, because California Governor Jerry Brown signed S.B. 917 into law this week, and now the puppies are saved! Or at least, puppies and also kittens and also other pet-type animals can no longer be sold from public property like parking lots and streets. This is supposed to cut down on puppy mills and puppy-mill-type operations, which are obviously terrible and disgusting.
The law also increases the penalties for perpetrators of animal abuse! Now being convicted of cruelty to animals “is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison, or by a fine of not more than $20,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment.” Better than before.
California is full of chickens living in horrible conditions laying top-quality California eggs and also cows being forced to produce milk to make California cheese that must be the most amazing food on the planet, considering the way people go on about it. It does seem that, incrementally, our representatives are making it less terrible for our domesticated animals; maybe it’s not all bad everywhere all the time.
Get out of town: The vegan charms of Northern California! »
I should start by saying that California’s North Coast is a lot like San Francisco: often cold, foggy and filled with people who smell like a dirty pair of underwear. But, what the North Coast has that the City don’t is a whole lotta peace, quiet and ocean views for days. And this incredibly intoxicating smell of earth and fresh rain that I’ve never smelled anywhere else.
Vegan eating and food options are nowhere near as prevalent on the coast as they are in more urban areas, but they are available here, you just have to know where to look! But don’t all you city-dwellers move your asses up here, otherwise it’s going to get overpopulated and then where will all the wild turkeys, deer, and bunnies go?
As you’re making your way up to the coast, you’ll probably get hungry. I mean, driving’s EXHAUSTING right? My favorite place to stop for road food is High Tech Burrito in Windsor. They have three burritos sure to leave any vegan feeling fat, sassy and ready to continue the drive. Because seriously, you’re not even close to getting here yet. I highly recommend taking Highway 128 off of 101 North versus taking Highway 20. Highway 128 takes a little bit longer, but there’s much more to see, and much less switchbacks that make you feel like you want to puke all over your lap. Highway 128, trust me.
While you’re cruising up 128 and remarking over all the incredible beauty (because if you don’t find Anderson Valley beautiful, turn around and go home because I don’t want you tainting the coast with your shitty attitude), keep your eye out for signs for Boonville. Right before the town is Highway 253. Take a right on 253, and Anderson Valley Brewing Company will be on your left. Stop here. Drink beer. Eat free pretzels and peanuts. Yes, they will give you a basket of both if you ask. Buy beer. Take beer with you. Play disc golf! According to Barnivore, AVBC’s entire lineup of beers is vegan-friendly, so try them all. Just don’t get back behind the wheel until you’re sober, you lush.
Once you arrive on the Coast, you’re probably ready to eat more, drink your beer, or pass out drooling onto a pillow. Where should you stay? The Stanford Inn. Ok, yes, it’s not the cheapest option on the coast, but how can you go wrong with a place that not only serves vegan food at their Ravens Restaurant, but also has an organic garden, a strong focus on sustainability, is pet-friendly, and has ocean views? Quit being such a tightwad and go there already. They have resident horses you can pet! Horses!
[Photo by the Stanford Inn]
If you want something a little less upscale but still nice, check out the Coast Inn and Spa. It’s just south of Fort Bragg, right on Highway 1, and their CapHe restaurant menu is 80 percent raw, organic and focuses on alkalizing and energizing. If you’re into that kind of thing.
After your restful sleep imaging you can hear the ocean’s crashing waves, the options for breakfast are plentiful. Head south to the Little River Inn to enjoy some of their delicious vegan rancheros. And if you’re there on a Sunday, a free glass of champagne to boot. Woot free booze! If you’re looking for more “big-town” action, head to Fort Bragg, where you can find a vegan omelet at the Homestyle Cafe, or a bunch of vegan options at the organic eatery Cafe One.
[Photo by Little River Inn]
Lunch and dinner is really where you can start to party down. I highly recommend the Thai Burrito at the Mendocino Cafe—just don’t let them forget the peanut sauce on the side. I’m assuming you won’t be sick of burritos at this point, since loving and appreciating burritos is a requirement for living in the Bay Area. Frankie’s in Mendocino makes a mean vegan pizza (they use Daiya cheese, which is the bizness) and their falafel is fantastic. And they serve beer and wine.
[Photo by Frankie’s Mendocino]
If you’re feeling like a fat ass but still want an afternoon snack, look no further than the Living Light Cafe. Raw, gorgeous foods, and juices that will clean you right out. And yes, I’m referring to pooping. Don’t be embarrassed; everybody poops.
One of the best spots for beer on the coast is the North Coasting Brewing Company. I can’t lie-their vegan food selection is somewhat lacking, but the veggie burger is indeed vegan, it’s big and it comes with french fries. Which is good, because you’re going to need substantial food to soak up the awesome selection of beers on tap. I am a big fan of their IPA and the Old Rasputin. Fair warning: Rasputin packs a punch, and isn’t for the lightweights.
For dinner, stumble a couple blocks down the street to Mendo Bistro. Upstairs in the same building where you discovered Living Light, Mendo Bistro is good place for nicer vegan dinner selections. Their menu changes seasonally, but I’ve had a great root vegetable stew and pasta dish there, and they always have tofu and portobello mushroom on their “choice” menu.
Listen up y’all, because I am about to let you in on possibly the biggest insider vegan tip for the North Coast. Two words: Vegan potluck. You heard me, a potluck where every single dish is vegan. PIG OUT! Not only that, but it’s a group of really nice people too. They meet every second Saturday of the month, in Little River. It’s public knowledge and in the local papers, but I’m not going to tell you more than that. If you want to join us, do your homework and make a phone call. And bring something delicious, dammit. [Ed.: We found this! We are master sleuths!]
Now that you know the scoop on getting your vegan grub on in one of quite possibly the most beautiful places on earth, come visit. Bring your dogs, because if your dogs are anything like mine, attacking seaweed ropes and hauling ass along the beach are some of the most fun activities on earth.
As you’re schlepping around, beware of wild male turkeys hollering at you. It’s mating season and they’re looking for company. Bow chicka wow wow!
Tara Barnes is a writer, running and cycling nerd and vegan foodie currently living in a teeny, tiny town on California’s North Coast. She talks a lot about food and dogs at her blog VeganRahRah. Loves: Her hometown of Oakland, popcorn, and sleeping. Dislikes: Rude people, giant spoons, and not getting enough sleep.
To do: 1) Save 300 bears; 2) Start bear army! »
Say it with me: BEARS RULE! Sadly, they’re always getting punished for, you know, being bears. The California Fish and Game Commission votes soon on expanding black bear hunting, but the silver lining to perpetuate bear awesomeness is that three out of four California citizens oppose it.
To get you amped up: Black bears are the smallest bears in North America. They power through bee stings for honey, swim for pleasure, and can make more than 20 sounds in eight different contexts to communicate. Also, black bears hardly attack humans, which is probably why the teddy bear was modeled after this breed (awwwww).
This expansion would increase the bear-hunting quota (there is a quota for how many bears must be killed in a year?!) from 1,700 to 2,000 bears. THREE HUNDRED MORE BEARS, people, being murdered by packs of dogs. That’s enough to start a bear army. I have a few choice words for the 17 percent of Californians who are assholes and support the increase: Majority (should) rule!
Here in California, we like to think we’ve got a leg up on civilized behavior. Why, then, are we one of only 18 states that still allow packs of dogs to chase the poor bears? This puts not just the bears, not just the dogs, but the entire forest at risk of serious harm.
So yeah, oppose that shit. Spam the hell out of your congressperson’s and the DFG's mailboxes; make 'em listen to their constituents. Then come with me, and we'll conquer the world with our bear army. Cuddle at your own risk.
Guest Post: Help ban importation and distribution of shark fins in California! »
As a volunteer and activist for Sea Stewards, I was thrilled to attend the official press release for AB 376 at the California Academy of Sciences. What’s AB 376 is and why do you care? It is the California Shark Protection Act, which would stop the importation and distribution of shark fins throughout the state. The time is now California! Hawaii already passed a similar ban and other states are starting to move towards a ban.
First I want to commend and thank Assemblymembers Paul Fong and Jared Huffman for backing this bill. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Senator (and mayoral candidate) Leland Yee of San Francisco came out swinging against it, calling the bill an attack on cultural heritage.
I call bullshit, Mr. Yee. I find it disgusting that we are even having this debate. This movement has the support of many Chinese people, including celebrity Yao Ming and Master Chef Martin Yan, and of the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance. These people and groups realize sustainability is more important than a bowl of soup. They want their heritage to be saving this species, not damning it to extinction.
Finning a shark alive is torture. Once the fins are removed the shark is thrown back into the ocean and sinks to the bottom, where it either bleeds to death or drowns because it can no longer swim. Because the entire body of the shark is not brought on board the fishing vessels can load their boat up with fins, which can fetch up to a $1,000 apiece (what I hear is the going rate for a whale shark fin).
Sharks play a vital role in the ocean. They are the tigers of the sea, and when you take the apex predator out the whole ecosystem collapses. They are being fished at an alarming rate. About 100 million are killed annually and about a third of the species are now threatened. In the last 15 years, species have declined by 50 percent. This has to stop. Either take it off the menus now or be forced to when there are no sharks left.
So what can you do to help? Please call or write your district representatives and ask for their support on AB 376. If you’re Asian American, you can also join the group Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance. Please check out Sea Stewards and Wild Aid for more info, and attend the Ocean Lovers Film Festival! [Ed.: And check out previous shark coverage on Vegansaurus! Because sharks are fucking rad and we love them.]
Take a QUICK survey and/or send an email to keep hunting down in California! »
This is the last day to do this so please, please, please take a minute. It’s a very real possibility that many of the game refuges in California will be delisted and opened to hunting. If you can, please take this survey or send an email (emails carry more weight and only take a moment!) and say that you emphatically oppose the delisting of California game refuges! Let’s not let this happen, and the best way to do that is to send smart, polite emails TODAY! You’re all the best!
Humane Society investigates Cal-Maine battery cage farm: surprise, it’s a hellscape »
This is absolutely the least disturbing photo of the 12 released today by the Humane Society as part of its 28-day undercover investigation at a Cal-Maine factory farm in Texas. Each hen is allowed “67 square inches” of space in which to live and die; the cages are stacked on top of each other; and there are approximate 1 million hens laying eggs at this place.
The investigation showed dead hens left in cages with living hens. It showed hens covered in manure from the hens in the cages above them. It showed hens with massive wounds left untreated. It showed eggs covered in the hens’ blood and manure. Eggs: “nature’s perfect food!”
Cal-Maine recalled “24,000 dozen,” which is to say 288,000 eggs on Friday, Nov. 5, because one of its suppliers had had its eggs test positive for Salmonella Enteriditis! This supplier, Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC in Croton, Ohio, presumably still keeps its hens in battery cages, as the agreement reached in January of this year prohibits the building of new battery cages. Looking at the photos of the Cal-Maine facility in Texas, it’s not hard to see how naughty Salmonella might hop from the hens’ excrement to their eggs. California’s egg-eaters and its chickens are so lucky for Prop. 2, right? Except that one of the recalled brands sells eggs all over California, ha ha ha.
The detailed report from HSUS [pdf] is a very good, if nauseating read. It’ll be nice/depressing/appalling to see the omnivorous (food) world’s reaction to this. Meanwhile, anyone for a nice cruelty-free dessert? Or maybe wait a little while until you’ve recovered from that horror show.
Vegans vote 2010: November election results! »
A mixed bag, you guys. We are really, really happy that Arizonans failed Prop. 109 and that Missourians passed Prop. B; it is pretty depressing that the three other constitutional amendments to guarantee the RIGHT to KILL STUFF passed, and with such high margins; it’s much more depressing that you can still shoot animals in a damn pen in North Dakota. What kind of a jerk are you, you won’t even make an effort to kill an animal like an adult? You are the kind of person who absolutely should not have a hunting license, if you won’t even put yourself in any discomfort or risk missing. Disgusting.
Wag of the finger to your Vegansaurus’ state, whose voters failed Prop. 21 because they hate protected wilderness or something. Extra high-fives to Montana voters for finally getting this initiative passed 20 years after the first attempt. We’re really sad about Nancy Pelosi, you guys. That weepy orange puppet of the tobacco companies is just The Worst and we can’t imagine having to stomach even more of his gross face for the next two years. Happy elections, everyone.
Arizona: Prop. 109 - Failed!
Prop. 110 - Failed.
Prop. 301 - Failed!
With 37 of 39 precincts reporting, Prop. 110 failed by 5,000 votes. Not much! Still, Prop. 109 was much more important, and you clobbered it. Excellent work!
North Dakota: Measure 2 - Failed.
Back to the shootin’ pen with you, North Dakotan wildlife, so the rich spoiled people can feel good about what skilled “hunters” they are. Cass, Grand Forks, and Sioux Counties: you’re still cool.
South Carolina: Amendment 1 - Passed.
Oh South Carolina. Passed with nearly 89 percent of the vote. At least North Dakota had the grace to fail the “no more shooting at caged animals” measure at 43.5 percent to 56.5 percent. You all just swept this “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of squirrels with my .22” amendment on through.
Tennessee: Constitutional Amendment - Passed.
You’re the worst, 90 percent of Tennessee voters. Nearly 1.3 million of you all thought, My goodness, you know what we need? The right to bear arms AND use them to shoot bears, in Tennessee, forever. Seriously, was this Basil Marceaux dot com’s scheme? That man does seem to like a gun.
Your Vegansaurus November 2010 ballot measure voting guide! »
Have you voted yet today? If not, your Vegansaurus has compiled a list of the animal-rights-related legislation on the ballots this election, with advice on how we would vote on each question along with a brief explanation. The pink dinosaur is a helpful dinosaur.
The pink dinosaur is a politically active dinosaur, too! You had better vote today, friends—your two valid excuses are that you have already voted by absentee ballot, or are prohibited for legal reasons (underage, felon, are actually a very clever non-human animal, etc.). We used Ballotpedia to get the basic information for all the measures; you can also look at your local secretary of state’s site, or google a bit for more comprehensive voting guides. Now: read this, get out, and vote.
Arizona: Prop. 109 - NO!
Why: The Humane Society calls it a “power grab to grab to block future wildlife protection ballot initiatives.” Also we think amending any state’s constitution to add “the right to hunt stuff” sort of cheapens the idea of a constitution (not to mention, hunting is gross).
Prop. 110 - YES!
Why: Would you rather have state trust land secretly sold at massive discounts, or have its use put to a vote, as it belongs to you, the citizens of Arizona?
Prop. 301 - NO!
Why: You don’t want the “leftover” money in your state’s land conservation fund thrown into your general fund, do you? Unless you don’t like public land.
Arkansas: Issue 1 - NO!
Why: This is another proposed state constitutional amendment guaranteeing citizens—of Arkansas this time, duh—the right to hunt. Yuck. Better, the National Rifle Association says that the amendment would give Arkansans the “strongest right to hunt and fish in the United States.” Shut it down.
California: Prop. 21 - YES!
Why: It creates a source of funding for our state parks that doesn’t rely on state funds, which do tend to fluctuate. All the wildlife and nature preservation organizations are for it.
Iowa: Measure 1 - YES!
Why: First, permanent revenue for your state parks, soil and water restoration, and the other lovely projects is good, and it’s supported by nature and wildlife preservation organizations. Second, it’s sort of vaguely opposed by the Iowa Farm Bureau and no one else.
Missouri: Prop. B - YES!
Why: We’ve mentioned Prop. B a bit; HSUS talks about it much more often; here’s a little article in the NY Times, too. If you don’t vote for the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, then you hate puppies, and what kind of person hates puppies?
Montana: I-161 - YES!
Why: Yes it’s odd that your Vegansaurus is advising a “yes” vote on a hunting initiative, but this one is different: It increases the costs of licenses for out-of-state hunters, allows for future adjustment of these costs for inflation, and some of the new income would go to preserving and restoring habitat. If your state allows hunting, why not get something positive out of it?
North Dakota: Measure 2 - YES!
Why: What kind of soulless jerk “hunts” by shooting “big-game” animals in a pen? Sometimes they’re even TAME? Oh right, people like this killer. Anyway, Measure 2 makes it illegal to set it up, profit from it, or do the shooting—what kind of “thrill of the chase” hunting bullshit is it if you aren’t even chasing? Jesus. Please vote “yes.”
Oregon: Measure 76 - YES!
Why: It extends the “15 percent of state lottery profits fund natural resources” plan. No one in Oregon has registered any official arguments against it. So.
South Carolina: Amendment 1 - NO!
Why: This is the third—alphabetically speaking—state constitutional amendment that would make it a right of every South Carolina citizen to hunt and fish. Obviously as vegans we find that disgusting, but as U.S. citizens we find “hunting and fishing” to be significantly less important than, say, “universal suffrage.”
Tennessee: Constitutional Amendment: NO!
Why: How insecure are you in the existing laws that you feel it necessary to amend your state constitution to guarantee your rights to hunt and fish forever and ever? Someday, Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee, you’ll look at these amendments with the same chagrin as the nation does the 18th Amendment. Maybe you want to avoid that by not doing any amending in the first place.