vegansaurus!

05/08/2014

Help Esther the Wonder Pig and her Dads build a farm sanctuary!  »

image

You guys, Esther the Wonder Pig and her two dads are doing an IndieGoGo to raise money to build a farm sanctuary!

In case you’ve been living somewhere other than the Internet, Esther was a sweet little pig who grew up to be a 450-pound even sweeter pig! Her dads, who were inspired to go vegan after adopting her, dreamed of buying a farm animal sanctuary where they could care for animals who have been abandoned and/or abused. Now it’s finally becoming a reality: They bought a property for $900,000 CAD in Campbellville, Ontario, about 45 minutes from Toronto, but they need our help to raise the rest of the funds before their 60-day grace period is up!

Donate to the sanctuary and win sweet perks like:

  • Meeting Esther
  • Esther T-shirts
  • Grand opening sanctuary tour VIP tickets.
  • Custom metal plates engraved with your name

… and more!

The campaign goes until June 30. At the time of this post, they’ve raised about $83,000, but are aiming to raise $400,000 Canadian! I’m told those are pretty similar to normal dollars. Click here to donate!

04/21/2014

Veal calves: horrifically abused by-product of the milk industry  »

Mercy for Animals has released another undercover video, this time from a veal facility in Canada. These little babies are not just confined, they are sick and injured, and get no medical attention. Why would they? They are just “food,” right? And then on top of that, the workers in the factory pretty much torture them. I couldn’t watch the whole video, it’s too sad, but the parts I watched are disturbing.

I hear plenty of meat eaters proudly declare they don’t eat veal. Most people know it’s often a cruel industry. But do people know that veal is a by-product of dairy production? It’s very simple: Cows need to have babies in order to produce milk. Many of the babies born are male. These male calves are useless to the dairy industry. So they are shipped to veal farms.

Even “humane” dairy farms do this. That’s what I always tell people when they say such and such dairy farm is so nice to the cows: ask where the boy calves are. I dare you. 

When I was a vegetarian, I had no idea that the cheese I consumed drove the veal industry. When I found out though, that’s when I became vegan. Of course I learned all the other reasons to be vegan eventually, but the link between dairy and veal is what made me vegan pretty much over night. I just thought to myself, if veal is a by-product of the dairy industry, dairy isn’t very vegetarian at all! Basically, being vegetarian isn’t very vegetarian. 

You can learn more about this investigation and send an email from the Mercy For Animals page.

03/28/2014

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: Ag-Gag, Meatless Mondays, and a Puppy in a Hoodie!  »

Wondering how the meat industry responded to last month’s HSUS whistleblowing exposé of a Kentucky pig factory that was locking pigs in gestation crates and feeding what NPR called “piglet smoothies” back to their mothers? Perhaps unsurprisingly, rather than fixing the problems, its response was to introduce an ag-gag bill in Kentucky to criminalize taking photos of factory farms. Our action alert calling for a defeat of that bill is here.

Inspired by the progress against gestation crates in Canada? Learn more about it in our latest Huffington Post piece.

Wondering whether students are liking Meatless Mondays in their cafeterias? Check out this great news segment from one school in Long Island.

Care about saving wildlife from extinction? NPR reports on a new campaign from the Center for Biological Diversity suggesting we eat less meat.

No more questions—have a great weekend!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at http://twitter.com/pshapiro

P.S. Video of the week: I used to do this when I was a kid, too.

P.P.S. Photo of the week: Josh Balk and I taking out an Ultimate Fighter champion…

03/07/2014

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

First, the good news: Mark your calendars, since yesterday is the first time ever that a nation in the Americas took action against gestation crates. Canada announced it’s moving to end gestation crate use. Pretty cool, eh?

Alas, some worse news: Idaho’s dairy industry succeeded in passing an ag-gag bill in its state that makes it a crime to take a video of farm animal abuse. Think they have something to hide?

Now, some wake-up call news: New research shows that eating a lot of meat and dairy can be as bad for your health as smoking.

And finally, some promising news: Forbes reports that “The Future of Meat Is Meatless, Just As Tasty, And About to Change the World.”

Here’s to that change!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at http://twitter.com/pshapiro

P.S. Video of the week: Things cats do that’d be creepy if you did them…

02/10/2014

Exclusive Interview: Meet the Dads of Esther the Wonder Pig!  »

image

Thanks to her dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, tens of thousands of fans (us included!) get to peek into the surprising and always adorable daily doings of Esther The Wonder Pig, the clever, undeniably photogenic 400-pound pig! It’s truly a delight each day to browse Steve and Derek’s witty status updates and glamorous pics of Esther living her genius, safe, and cozy life in Toronto with her loving dads and dog siblings!

Vegansaurus’ Sarah E. Brown interviewed Esther’s loving dads about life with Esther, how she came into their lives, and their future plans to continue spreading awareness about pigs as pets, not food.

Vegansaurus: What surprised you most about adopting Esther when she was a “mini-pig”?

Steve & Derek: How much attention she needed. It was like having a child running around the house. We couldn’t let her out of our sight or she would get into everything!

image

image

V: How did you two meet? How long have you been together? How long into your relationship did Esther come into the picture?

S&D: We’ve been together for over 13 years now. Steve is a realtor, Derek is a professional magician. We met as teenagers working at a restaurant. Esther didn’t come along until about 12 years in.

V: On social media, we all get to see the amazing images of Esther in her full glory—we also get to see her sassy personality. How did you decide to start documenting her presence in your life through social media and your website? And who posts most of the updates?

S&D: We really only wanted somewhere to share her with family and friends. We had no idea she would become so popular, so quickly. This has been a really unexpected and sometimes overwhelming experience. We had no idea she would touch so many people in such a deep and profound way. It’s amazing. Steve mostly does the updates, but Derek adds in his fair share of input.

V: How did you decide to name her Esther?

S&D: We just wanted a fun and “comfortable” name. For whatever reason, Esther seemed like a very traditional, human name and it just clicked. There wasn’t really any sort if inspiration in particular, it just worked.

V: You’ve recently gotten a lot of press, and over 76,000 followers on Facebook (congrats!). In your recent Mercy For Animals (MFA) interview, you talked about how people have reached out to you. What’s the coolest connection you’ve made so far since adopting Esther and telling your story?

S&D: That’s really hard to answer. We’ve heard from some incredible people. Some that still make our heads spin to be honest. We got to do an interview with Sam Simon, and we’ve been on Ellen’s good news blog. Friends at Mercy for animals and PETA have shared about us. There have been some amazing people that run blogs of their own, and have become good friends already. We even have some celebrity followers on Twitter. It’s really crazy.

image

V: Besides apples, what are Esther’s favorite foods?

S&D: She loves pretty much any fruit or candy. They’re just like humans so if it’s a treat for us, it’s a treat to her.

V: Do you recommend adopting a pig? What is your advice to someone thinking of adopting a pig in an urban setting?

S&D: Be super careful. They are a ton of work and will require some major life adjustments. We had to pig proof our house, learn how to manage and train her and it’s way different than a dog. Pigs are so smart! Esther can open doors, cupboards, and even our fridge. We had to re-evaluate where we keep everything! It was a huge learning curve. We wouldn’t really advise it only because if the work it took. She’s awesome now but caused many a soul searching conversations. It was tough. We wouldn’t trade her for the world but it definitely wasn’t easy. Our advice is do plenty of research and make sure you’re up for the challenge. If you do decide you’re up for it, know it is the most incredible and rewarding experience of our lives. She really opened our eyes and as far as we’re concerned, made us better people. We love her like you wouldn’t believe.

image

V: Are there any resources that helped you when you first went vegan or first adopted Esther (i.e. pig care tips, etc.) that you’d like to share?

S&D: We found it really hard to get information and hope to change that. We learned on our own as we went along, taking the odd note from websites or our vet. That was the hardest part: How the hell do you teach a pig?

image

V: Do you have any future plans you’d like to share with our readers?

S&D: We do want to start a sanctuary and will start fundraising very soon. We’ll be opening the Esther store on our website

Thanks so much, Esther’s Dads, Derek and Steve! And thanks to Esther for being so, well, wonderful!

All images included with permission by and courtesy of Derek and Steve and Esther the Wonder Pig.

10/04/2013

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

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

I was honored to be on CNN Headline News with the always-great Jane Velez-Mitchell this past week, discussing the need to kill the King amendment pending in the Congress.

A meat industry official seriously compared gestation crate confinement to keeping her kid in a car seat during a commute. My response is on Common Dreams.

You may have heard of our battle to ban gestation crates in New Jersey. Numerous papers in the state have come out to call for an override of the governor’s veto of the bill. For example, the Press of Atlantic City just editorialized: “In the end, the issue is not a political one or even an economic one; it is simply about right and wrong.”

Speaking of right and wrong, this past week one of Canada’s largest chicken slaughterers was convicted of criminal animal cruelty.

Finally, one of my awesome Canadian coworkers flexed some serious Meatless Monday muscle in the Toronto Star—check it out!

P.S. Video of the week: Dog and piglet team up to dig hole!

10/02/2013

Piglet Yoda falls off truck, gets a chance at life!  »

imageHere is your sweet story for the day! This little piglet, named Yoda by the sanctuary that adopted him, was in a truck on his way to the slaughter house when he managed to escape. Police found him and now he’s a proud resident of the Wishing Well Sanctuary in Canada!

"He just loves to crawl into people’s laps and be held. He’s a little angel," says Bronfman [Wishing Well Sanctuary founder].

Bronfman says Yoda has a few bumps and scrapes, but the vet gave him a clean bill of health last night.

She says Yoda is doing everything a little pig should be doing, and she’s even bought him a little sweater to keep him warm.

The Wishing Well Sanctuary permanently adopts animals, meaning that Yoda never has to leave the farm.

"He’s just going to live the rest of his, god willing, long life. And will be happy with the other pigs and all the attention. There is always somebody on the farm, and he will just be loved for the rest of his natural life," says Bronfman.

Omg I can’t wait until I get my own piglet! I think I will name him Spaz. Wouldn’t that be cute? “Hey, Spaz! Come get your brekkie!”*

*I was just told Spaz is a derogatory term. I had no idea! I’m very sorry to have offended people. If you read the Wikipedia entry, I think you’ll see the origin of my confusion.** Instead, I will name my piglet “Knowledge.” Knowledge Rascal.

**also interesting (to me at least) about what wiki says is that I did learn the term from the The Elastik Band’s song. Thanks for nothing, bros!

09/12/2013

Could this guy be the baddest-ass vegan of them all? His shirt makes a lesser claim (“I am a vegan badass”) that we can certainly all get behind just by looking at him. But I’d say moving 1,100 pounds by hanging them off your neck puts him squarely in the running for MOST badass. 
According to the Toronto Star, one Mr. Patrik Baboumian—a German, and a “strongman”, which is apparently a term of art and not just an obvious statement—performed this feat at Toronto’s veg fest. It might be a world record—in a category he just invented.
Anyway, put this in your brain-file of examples of vegans you can use to convince your Uncle Mort that we’re not all anemic wusses. Bonus entry: Vegan Serana Williams just won her 5th US Open last Sunday. Also badass.

Could this guy be the baddest-ass vegan of them all? His shirt makes a lesser claim (“I am a vegan badass”) that we can certainly all get behind just by looking at him. But I’d say moving 1,100 pounds by hanging them off your neck puts him squarely in the running for MOST badass. 

According to the Toronto Star, one Mr. Patrik Baboumian—a German, and a “strongman”, which is apparently a term of art and not just an obvious statement—performed this feat at Toronto’s veg fest. It might be a world record—in a category he just invented.

Anyway, put this in your brain-file of examples of vegans you can use to convince your Uncle Mort that we’re not all anemic wusses. Bonus entry: Vegan Serana Williams just won her 5th US Open last Sunday. Also badass.

05/03/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

image

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

First, some good news in our campaign to eradicate gestation crates from pork production: The top eight grocers in Canada (including Walmart Canada) committed to phase out gestation crates. This led one ag reporter to editorialize, “It seems to me like you might as well stick a fork in its butt and turn it over: the gestation stall debate is done.”

Now, some more good news: The Indiana ag-gag bill was killed this week.

I had a new op-ed on CNN.com this week about ag-gag bills that you may want to check out. Also, you may be interested in another new piece of mine (this one on Huffington Post) about the pork industry’s Orwellian name game. And I was glad to do an interview on HuffPost Live this week.

In Tennessee, the ag-gag bill’s sponsor, pork producer state Rep. Andy Holt, created headlines when he sent an email to my coworker comparing HSUS’s cruelty exposés to rape and human trafficking, even calling our work “tape and rape.” There was a lot of attention on this repulsive comparison, but this one

The Tennessee governor is still deciding whether to sign or veto the ag-gag bill. In the meantime, more than 300 Tennessee clergy members sent a letter to him urging a veto.

A woman was arrested in Utah this week for taking photos of a slaughter plant from public property, though the charges were subsequently dropped, leading the Salt Lake Tribune to editorialize that it’s an “ag-gag backfire.”

A new ag-gag bill was introduced in Pennsylvania this week, and the Wayne Independent is the first paper in the state to editorialize against it, asserting that it “goes against everything this country has stood for since its inception.”

Finally, you’ve heard of schools doing Meatless Mondays, but have you heard of them going all-vegetarian? Now you have. Perhaps that’s no surprise, especially considering that a new Consumer Reports study found 90 percent of retail turkey samples contain dangerous bacteria. Whatever the reason may be, meat-free eating is catching on in a major way. As one AP article this week proclaimed: “Vegetarian cooking goes mainstream.”

P.S. Video of the week: Cat loves vacuum

P.P.S. Too fascinating not to share: With smoking declining, U.S. tobacco growers are turning to growing chick peas to supply the increasing demand for hummus. Apparently the invisible hand of the free market is working==and it likes to dip veggies in hummus.

04/09/2013

The bloodshed of the 2013 Canadian commercial seal hunt has begun  »

Animated video from Humane Society International. It’s a cartoon, so it’s not graphic, but I’ll be damned if I’m not tearing up. That song!

It’s begun. The first seal of the 2013 Canadian commercial seal hunt was killed earlier today, according to the Humane Society. We’ve written a lot on the seal hunt in the past, so I don’t really have anything new to say. Sorry.

There’s great info on the Save the Seals page.

page 1 of 7 | next »
Tumblr » powered Sid05 » templated