Anne the elephant is free from the circus!  »

Yay! Anne is retired! You know I’ve been following the case of Anne, the abused elephant, very closely so I am glad to say she is officially leaving the circus! She will be moving within a week. Above is a picture of the Longleat Safari Park, Anne’s new home. It’s not an insanely awesome elephant sanctuary but it’s also not the zoo and she won’t have to travel very far so I think it’s great! I know the circus owners were like determined that they would only release Anne if she went somewhere that they could visit often. Um, yeah, maybe you could have done more visiting before, dirtbags. From the Daily Mail:

Following intense discussions lasting six hours, an agreement was reached between the safari park and animal welfare groups including Animal Defenders International, which obtained the footage.

The RSPCA, Born Free, the British Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Specialist Wildlife Services were also involved.

At Longleat, Anne will have three experienced keepers and an elephant specialist catering for her every need. Longleat has even pledged to bring in a herd of  elephants to keep her company, if  it is judged to be in her best interests.

I’m so happy for Anne! But I must remind you that there are many elephants in circuses in the U.S. and no one seems to be upset about their shocking abuse footage. I mean, the footage below has been out for years:

It’s amazing that the British people reacted so strongly and quickly to Anne’s plight—I wish that would happen here! I wish all the circus elephants were free! We have two elephants in the U.S. that IDA says are in need of dire rescue—read about Liz and Bimbo—but you don’t see them in the local paper. We should figure out just what made people react to Anne’s suffering so that we can get them to care about all the other elephants that are still being abused in circuses. Unfortunately, I think what made them care more is that they are not Americans. Americans tolerate so much violence against people, it’s no wonder violence against animals barely registers. But maybe I’m just cynical.

Go to to see ways you can help the elephants who are still in terrible situations.


Update on Anne the elephant: good news?!  »

Yesterday I was totally bummed about Anne the elephant being abused but I’m feeling a bit better today! The Daily Mail did an update today and it looks very much like Anne will be retired from the circus! After public outcry regarding the terrible video of Anne being abused, an RSPCA representative and a vet specialist from Whipsnade Zoo visited Anne to assess her condition. They haven’t reported any information on her health or the condition of her severe arthritis yet but Anne’s release looks very promising!

There are a couple of great international elephant sanctuaries that have offered to take Anne but that may be a problem. There are no elephant sanctuaries in Britain and moving Anne could be especially difficult due to her health. She could end up at the Whipsnade Zoo instead of a sanctuary or the situation could be even worse, according to the Whipsnade zoological director: “Fundamentally, Anne can be rehomed and integrated with other animals, but it has to be done very carefully. The biggest and most important thing for her is she needs specialist veterinary care. Her physical state may not be very strong and a quick assessment of her arthritis may show that she is even so bad, she needs to be put down.”

But I think Anne is a tough girl! I’m not giving up hope. I hope she is strong enough to make it to a real elephant sanctuary where she can live out the rest of her days with other elephants and miles to roam. Below is a picture of some happily retired elephants at California’s Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary—one of the sanctuaries offering a home to Anne. Can you imagine her there?! That would be the best thing ever!


Bolivia’s ban on circus animals leads to rescue and rehoming of 25 lions!  »

In November of last year, Animals Lebanon rescued a chimpanzee from his life as a literal roadside attraction in Lebanon, and rehomed him at a sanctuary in Brazil. This month, Animal Defenders International celebrates a similar victory, as 24 former circus lions were rescued from Bolivia and rehomed at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in “the open plains of Colorado, just 30 miles northeast of Denver.” And soon, they’ll have a 25th rescued lions! Hooray!

These lions came from different circuses all over the country, and all their stories are so sad. One had been kept in the same metal box she was came in when she was purchased as a cub. One is completely freaked out by brooms and other cleaning implements, as though he had had experienced some cleaning-equipment-related trauma before. You don’t mean to imply that people might have beaten him with brooms, do you? YES, YES WE DO. Some of them have trouble eating, behaving as though they are “convinced that the food is going to be taken away again.”

Obviously, circus animal abuse is not endemic to Bolivia—in fact, since 2009 Bolivia is the first and only country in the world “to put in place a national ban on the use of any and all animals in circuses.” FIRST and ONLY. Don’t you love comparing other countries to the U.S. and seeing how terrible we make it for animals here?

ADI reports that all of the rescued lions are adapting relatively well to their great big new living areas. Congratulations to the efforts of everyone involved in Operation Lion Ark: this is beautiful, heartening news.

UPDATE: A couple of you noted that China passed a similar law, which Laura posted about last week! Bolivia remains the only country to have outright banned using animals—domestic and wild!—in circuses; China no longer allows animal-exclusive circuses, and its protections for performing animals look quite strong. U.S. circuses, however, remain the devil’s work.

[photos via thanks to for the tip!}


China bans animal circuses!  »

Filed under “FUCK YEAH CHINA”, this is truly excellent news! Even better, they’re also cracking down on zoos and making it harder in general to abuse animals for entertainment. I don’t know about you but this makes me more comfortable with the fact that we’ll all be working as slaves for China within ten to twenty years. 

[Happy bear, run free. photo via mixx]


Bored by everyday meats? Enjoy some dancing bear!  »

Or perhaps some delicious raccoon! It’s a delicacy?

Alternatively, Dave Arnold, the author of this essay extolling the joys of “wild game,” has a peculiarly grody habit! You see, the U.S. was once known—two centuries ago—as “the premiere place to eat strange animals.” So much meat from so many unconventional animals! Tragically, although we collectively eat ever more meat as the years pass by, our menu of animals has shrunk to a bland few.

Thank goodness for laws like those regulating fur trappers, who are “permitted to trap live animals for their fur, slaughter them at USDA approved facilities, and sell the meat,” like beaver! It tastes “woodsy”!

You can also score really fancy animals from big game dealers, who breed them to sell to circuses, zoos, and “exotic pet enthusiasts” (horrible people who deserve to be eaten by their “exotic pets”). Have you ever tried to put a monetary value on your self-respect? Buy some cuts of an animal who washed out of the circus for being too old and decrepit! Yes, circuses actually have standards for their “performing” animals. Open up for braised bear whose miserable life of pain ended in slaughter to be a rug in a Hollywood Upstairs Modeling Studio, and also your dinner!

Dave Arnold purports to explain why he or anyone else would go to the trouble of seeking out and acquiring “game meats,” but his essay reads more like an Intro to Fetishistic Carnism than anything else. Ten bucks says his next essay is an argument for farming “wild” animals—lions, tigers, bears, oh mys—or the deep, rich flavors evoked by cooking roadkill for 48 hours in an immersion circulator.

[photo by Dave Arnold via Popular Science]


The world is bleak: fighting little dogs for half a cracker with this week’s link-o-rama!  »

Pamela Anderson loves animals! She paid all the expenses for the transport of 50 homeless dogs from New Orleans to a pet adoption program in Virginia, less the two she adopted herself. That is a good thing that a person with money can do. [photo credit: AP]

Get busy with these events!
Tonight eat snacks from Vegansaurus pals Fat Bottom Bakery at the Oakland Art Murmur! Also, there’s art, and wandering around Oakland, where it may be warmer than the city! Double-also, art shows very frequently serve free liquor. Go expand your cultural horizons, starting around 5 p.m. and continuing until it’s not entirely clear, but not very late (8ish?).

Tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 7, Oakland gets to be awesome again (!) and host this month’s SF Underground Market. Which is technically a “Bay Area” underground market, but, all right. It’s at 24th Street and Broadway, runs from 5 to 11 p.m., and has a $2 entry fee. There’ll be live music, drinks for purchase, and all kinds of food vendors. The location, incidentally, is three (big) blocks from the 19th Street BART station.

If you didn’t find what you wanted in Oakland, or were unable (TOO LAZY) to get there, probably you should get over to Hayes Valley Farm on Sunday, Aug. 8 for the Fresh Produce Free-For-All. It is exactly what it sounds like, apparently, and it sounds like AWESOME. Hayes Valley Farm is on Laguna Street between Oak and Fell Streets, and the Fresh Produce party is scheduled from 12:30 to 6 p.m.

Alternatively, you could participate in the protest honoring the 40th anniversary of Lolita the orca’s capture. It will be held at “Six Flags Discovery Kingdom” (formerly known as Marine World Africa USA, the saddest not-SeaWorld your Vegansaurus ever visited) in Vallejo from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

More protests next week! On Wednesday, Aug. 11 protest the opening night of the Ringling Bros. circus in Oakland (everything is happening in Oakland now! And HBIC Laura just moved there. This is not a coincidence). The protest will be at the Oracle Arena (7000 Coliseum Way) from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and our pals at Cinnaholic are offering 20 percent off to every protester who brings in a flyer from the event! More details about this and other circus protests here.

Educate yourself with these thrilling news items!
This week in Meat news, British people found themselves accidentally drinking milk and eating meat from cloned cows. Whoopsie daisy! Esquire wouldn’t mind cloned meat, but thinks in vitro a much better (and safer) idea. England is exporting miniature cows to the U.S., which SFoodie considered “might save the planet,” what with their being extra-small and needing so little food and water and space (the better to pack you on the feedlot, my tiny ones!) Good made a super-disgusting chart of the “average American” annual diet, which include 110 pounds of “red meat,” and 600.5 pounds of non-cheese, non-egg dairy products. So that’s all milk and yogurt and cream? Ew. Christina Pirello reminded the omnivores that their hamburgers are totally disgusting, though she didn’t “[go] all vegan on [them],” just suggested, like, the Dan Barber way, Dan Barber’s so great! (no he’s not.) Erik Marcus pointed out that it wasn’t so much the “meat” component in the “cooking meat led to human intellectual development” theory as the “cooking” part. Shut Up, Foodies! wondered how owners of an emu farm could slaughter and eat the birds who literally hug them.

What Fucked-up Things have people been doing to animals recently? Germany’s wild boar population has rapidly increased, and the number of whom are radioactive due to the lasting effects of the Chernobyl disaster has quadrupled. HA HA HA AWESOME. Scientists at the Emory University School of Medicine published research that may explain “the molecular biology of fear”; they studied this by giving “mild” electric shocks to mice. Kerry Ressler, the researcher interviewed for the LiveScience article, really loves his wife and three children. On the subject of fear, military veterinarians are diagnosing dogs with PTSD now. Specifically Gina, a bomb-sniffing German Shepherd, who has been in recovery for a year after returning from a tour of duty in Iraq. She’s well enough to work on domestic bases, and maybe she’ll get redeployed to on of our Middle East quagmires, just like our human troops! It’s nice that dogs get treated equally to (straight) people in the U.S. military, isn’t it.

Awwww, isn’t it cuuuuuuute? Anthropomorphic cows selling dairy products! It’s not at all reminiscent of Suicide Food! And Mouila, the oldest gorilla in England, turned 50 on Monday, and her keepers threw her a birthday party, complete with “presents wrapped with [sic] special gorilla-friendly paper.” I’m sure it was always her dream to live in freezing-ass, foggy fucking England and be a baby machine for Howletts Wild Animal Park.

One item of non-terribleness: the guidelines for the first complete replacement for the Draize skin test was adopted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in July, which will, according to PCRM, replace “the rabbit method for most chemicals and products.” Fewer bunnies being tortured really is wonderful.

In our Bay Area, people on the Supplemental Nutrition Program (a type of food stamps) can now use their funds at farmers markets in Healdsburg and Petaluma. That is a really great idea! But considering that the federal government made a big fat cut to funding for food stamps this week, who will have the funds to buy fresh, local produce? Our jerkface governor doesn’t care about who will pick any of the produce from anywhere, vetoing a bill this week that would have guaranteed farmworkers ONE DAY OFF in every seven worked, and overtime pay for over eight hours worked in a day or 40 in a week. You know, like you’d get in an office for making after-hours copies and drinking soda, or sitting around waiting for deadline DOING NOTHING. As opposed to, maybe, picking fucking strawberries in the hot sun all day, every single day. New York City won’t commit to preserving all of its existing community gardens, despite protests—why have a garden when you can have condos?

A pitbull saved a chihuahua from being devoured by a coyote! Stop hating pitbulls already, they are as good a dog as any other. Turns out that the earliest known domesticated animal was, indeed, a dog, and that the act of domestication and bonding with animals may have taught us humans to "learn about and care for fellow creatures." Speaking of which, Ethical Pizza rescued a baby pigeon at the Daly City BART station yesterday! A tiny baby pigeon only three weeks old! YOU GUYS.

The New York Daily News had a little spotlight on Latin American vegan food in NYC, which our crack team of Megan Rascal and sometimes Figaro will get right on reviewing for you! And Team VeganMania won the Sixth Annual Brown Cow Ice Cream Trough Eating Contest, with a separate trough of Chicago SoyDairy’s Temptation vegan ice cream! Obviously, vegans and our delicious dairy alternatives are the fucking best, HOORAY.


Animal-free circuses don’t blow!  »

I recently wrote a lil’ rant about how much I hate circuses and I damn near broke Vegansaur Steve’s heart! As he points out:

It really sucks that “circus” automatically makes people think of animals, because there’s a lot of really great circus performance here in SF (along with Circus Center if you want to become a circus freak yourself) and none of it has anything to do with animals.

He’s right, there are some great animal-free circuses! And like he mentions, some animal-free circus schools too. The SPCA, Humane Society, PETA, and Born Free USA all have lists of animal-free circuses! Like Steve mentioned, in San Francisco there’s the Circus Center, where you can take classes and be a clown! There’s also a drop-in trapeze class. A DROP-IN TRAPEZE CLASS! I assume there’s a prerequisite but still, you can roll up and be like, “I wanna fly, motherfuckers!” The Circus Center is also home to the New Pickle Circus, formerly the Pickle Family Circus, founded in San Francisco in 1974. Bonus: The Circus Center is having some sort of showcase at the end of August! You should totally go and send me pictures!

There are also some smaller circus acts in the area that can be hired for fundraisers and other events like The Earth Circus in Half Moon Bay. There’s another one based out of 522 Haight St., Circus Finelli. I love this description from PETA: “Four unruly women clowns present a Slavic, slapstick cabaret with daring comedy and dangerous cutlery.” There are more schools too, like Trapeze Arts and the Kinetic Arts Center, both in Oakland. More proof Oakland is full of circus freaks. Just kidding! No I’m not!

[flyer from The Circus Center’s website]


Same day, different giant wild animal in captivity  »

Only two months ago, a killer whale in Orlando killed a trainer. Only a few days ago, an elephant trainer in the Shrine circus was killed by an elephant in Pennsylvania. Just like with the killer whale attack, this is not the first time an elephant in captivity has gone off on someone; it happens with quite a bit of regularity. There are rampages with some frequency and about one trainer a year dies in the U.S., making it one of the most dangerous professions in the world (when you look at how few elephant trainers there are—it’s MATH, jerks! Ever heard of it?). If you’ve never seen an elephant throw a tantrum, that shit is scary. I watched a few videos, because I’m basically a professional reporter, and it’s NUTS. They don’t just storm off and leave a path of destruction in their wake, it’s more like a psycho, OCD pastry chef that just can’t get the cannoli right. An upset elephant will knock a person over and then roll them back and forth over and over again with their trunk, occasionally dropping down on them with their head or knees. Jeez louise, just writing that freaked me out! Like I said: shit is scary.

As scary as this is, there’s a very simple explanation: elephants shouldn’t be in captivity, dummies! It’s like this thing I heard somewhere, “wild animals can be trained, but they can’t be tamed.” What does that mean? Take a look at Pet Monkey Info’s testimonial page and you’ll see—actually, don’t because it’s gross. People’s cute little pet monkeys have been GOING TO TOWN on them. Apparently pet monkeys DO NOT FUCK AROUND. And neither, as it appears, do elephants.

My reasons for opposing elephants and other animals in circuses are simply because they abuse the shit out of them. And ELEPHANTS, lord, the elephants! I love them so much! Unlike gang-banger killer whales (ask Laura), elephants are lovely, emotional beings. Normally a baby elephant will stay with its mom for up to 10 years; circuses removed them from their mothers at age two to can “train” them—which is to say, torture them and break their spirit until they are terrified into doing ridiculous, painful stunts. Good lord, there are some straight-up awful videos out there documenting elephant abuse in circuses. Some are pretty much unwatchable (do not click unless you want to be burdened with these disturbing images documenting depths of cruelty we are capable of), while others aren’t going to murder your heart but still get the point across. For me, it’s just the worst. Like, I’ll see one of these videos and not leave my house for two days because I can’t stand to look at another wretched human. There is so much animal cruelty out there but the circus elephant stuff, that basically incapacitates me. Everyone must have something that just hurts them a little more than everything else, right? I just love the damn elephants! Do you know that they mourn their dead? They are amazing.

I don’t know what will happen to the elephant that killed the trainer in this instance but we know what happened to Dumbo’s mom. This makes me cry every time:


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