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

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

Jon Stewart may not be on the Daily Show right now, but the ag-gag debate is! Watch this week’s must-watch hysterical segment featuring a former HSUS investigator pitted against the Animal Ag Alliance. You be the judge of who won.

“A tough opponent,” “formidable,” and “sophisticated.” In the rare chance you weren’t able to attend the World Pork Expo in Iowa this week, these are just some of the ways the meat industry is describing HSUS there. We’ll take it.

NPR asked the question last night, “Why is Bill Gates investing in chicken-less eggs?” Want to know? Check out yesterday’s “All Things Considered” great feature on Hampton Creek Foods.

The upcoming week is a major one in Congress, with the House set to take up the five-year farm bill, including consideration of a Farm Bureau-backed nefarious provision intended to harm farm animals, and the federal hen protection bill (which the Farm Bureau and nearly every national meat trade group opposes). Contact your member of Congress now!

P.S. Video of the week: Dogs vs. citrus …


Last week, Meave asked, “Is Iowa Rep. Steve King the worst person in Congress?”. This week, Stephen Colbert rips Steve King a new one re: his defense of dog fighting. COINCIDENCE? Probably yes, but still. I guess all Steve King is saying is that we shouldn’t judge him for having impregnated that dog and then taken it across the border for a forced abortion to protect the world from his monstrous glassy-eyed man-puppies, right??? Right.


Is Iowa Rep. Steve King the worst person in Congress?  »

He sure hates animals a lot!

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that.

Congratulations, Steve King; you may be a plain old asshole representative in the House, but you’re the president of the He-Man Animal-Haters Club in our hearts.

[video via Wonkette]


Tell Congress to support the new bill banning animals from traveling circuses!  »

Good news for circus animals, but also time for action! Congress introduced a new bill this week, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act. The bill, if passed, would restrict the use of exotic and domestic animals in traveling circuses, forbidding the animals from performing if they’ve been traveling in mobile shelters during the 15 days prior.

The bill is supported by Jim Moran, a Northern Virginia representative who has pushed other animal-related bills on issues like fur-labeling and outlawing the sale of animal crush videos. Moran’s reasons for the bill include:

  • Traveling and captivity are bad for the health of animals
  • The living conditions inherent to traveling circuses cause animals psychological and behavior problems
  • Traveling circuses use elephant hooks, electric shocks, and other abusive methods and tools on the animals
  • A riled-up elephant could pose a danger to the public, and one could understand why an elephant in a traveling circus might get riled up

Those all sound like good reasons to pass this bill to me.

Based upon publically available research, including video and photographic evidence, it is clear that traveling circuses cannot provide the proper living conditions for exotic animals,” he said. “This legislation is intended to target the most egregious situations involving exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses.

Noted friend-to-elephants Bob Barker was on hand for the bill’s announcement, as well. He told Politico:

The animals that suffer most are the big animals—that would be the elephants—but any animals in traveling circuses suffer terribly. The conditions are completely abnormal. In their training, they are forced to do things that they would never do naturally. They are struck with clubs…they are whipped.… They [trainers] even withhold food and water to make them perform.

What’s important now? Making sure the bill is passed. You can read the bill in its entirety at Mother Jones. Then you can contact Congress—tell Rep. Moran you want to continue to see him support bills like this, and tell your own representative that you expect them to support this bill. Perhaps you can include a link to the MJ article "The Cruelest Show On Earth" as evidence of why this legislation is needed.

[photo by c.a.muller via Flickr]

Terri Coles lives in Toronto, Ont., where she enjoys barbecuing, feeding feral cats, going to local music shows and getting really mad about hockey games. She blogs about her adventures in plant-based eating at The Vegina Monologues.


Big news! Major HSUS egg legislation now supported by United Egg Producers!  »

Animal rights advocates and animal-eaters agree: Chickens on factory farms have horrible lives. Today, however, brings news that might changes those birds’ lives for the better. United Egg Producers has come out in favor of a bill promoting humane conditions for factory-farmed chickens! The Humane Society now has a major partner in presenting this legislation to Congress.

This isn’t an official bill, but proposed language would make it “the first federal law relating to chickens used for food, as well as the first federal law relating to the on-farm treatment of any species of farm animal.” It would eliminate battery cages. It would prohibit “starvation-induced molting,” which yes is as gross as it sounds. It would require living conditions that allow chickens to perform natural behaviors like, you know, moving around—also perching, nesting, and scratching. And the biggest egg lobby in the country supports it!

If you care about this issue, let your Congressional representatives know. Reducing so many millions of animals’ suffering! So important!


New bill seeks to ban fish factory farms in U.S. oceans!  »

Eat Drink Better brings us word on a new bill to ban fish factory farms in U.S. oceans! Let’s support the crap out of this mother!

The main text reads:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the Secretary of the Interior nor the Secretary of Commerce may issue any permit or in any other way authorize any person to conduct commercial finfish aquaculture operations in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States (as established by Proclamation Numbered 5030, dated March 10, 1983), except in accordance with a law authorizing such action that is enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Of course, the rep. who proposed this is, Don Young, is from Alaska, who definitely has a vested interest in keeping competition out of the market. It’s not like it’s someone who gives a real shit about fish or our ocean’s waters.

You can read the complete thing here [.pdf].

Of course, the best thing you can do for fish and ocean health is to simply not eat fish. DERG. However, if you want to help slightly minimize the damage to both (and you do!), Eat Drink Better has the politicians to holler at about it.


Vegansaurus fave Dennis Kucinich is a totally wacky vegan and that’s probably why he keeps getting elected! We love his batshit-crazy self! Really, maybe he talks to aliens, but he’s also one of the only members of Congress we respect. Ye gads, what does that say about us? Never mind, don’t want to know!


Wolves to be removed from endangered species lists in five states. Go USA!  »

[PBS special: Hunting Wolves, Saving Wolves. Shows both sides of the argument. Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

It’s official: in 50-some days, five states are set to take gray wolves off the endangered species list. This is the first time Congress has removed a species from the endangered list. This is not good. You would hope that an animal’s being removed from the endangered species list would mean that the species* had rebounded something fierce—that’s not the case here. The wolf population has recovered a lot from near extinction but that’s not why the wolves are being de-listed. In this case, politics triumphs over science. The Northern Rockies has something like 1,700 wolves and they are just making it too darn hard to hunt. The federal government has relinquished control and the individual states will now “manage” the wolf population on their own. I totally trust a bunch of hunters to manage an endangered species. There are a few super-duper legitimate restrictions; for example, under the new deal, Montana, who currently has a little less than 600 wolves, would have to keep a minimum of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs. That sounds totally reasonable—75 percent of the species could be wiped out. It’s like, how few can we keep around so that we can rebuild the species once we deplete it again?

The whole thing is depraved. The way they went about it is just as bad as the motivation behind the de-listing. They slipped it into the budget agreement and it’s total bullshit. Why is that legal? And we can’t have realistically expected the President to refuse to sign the budget and shut down the government for wolves. Fucking Congress. I wasn’t aware of this because I’m not that into right-wing politics but according to the Washington Post, “The endangered act has long been reviled by conservatives who see it as a hindrance to economic development.” Damn endangered species, always getting in the way of making money. I’m sure the conservatives are super excited now that they no longer have to go through the usual channels with regards to endangered species—congress has got their back.

Like I said last week, this sets a terrible precedent for other endangered species. Bison and grizzles are already in danger. I just hope there’s not a budget agreement next time polar bears get too rowdy. 

If you want to help, check out Defenders of Wildlife, Earth Justice and the Humane Society.

*I don’t generally like this word but I’ve used it because that’s the word the government uses and you know what I mean.



When we turn around in the place just right…it’s this week’s link-o-rama!  »

You have GOT to read the story of Tiny Tim the paraplegic nine-week-old raccoon kit who, thanks to Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue Center, underwent successful back surgery and has both full use of his limbs AND a best raccoon kit pal called Amy. [Further details about YUWRC at the end of the links.]

International governmental long-term healthcare plans: Eat shit, die
Apparently, while “beef” is getting more and more expensive, cattle ranchers are getting poorer and poorer, because four packing houses control everything and the USDA doesn’t enforce its regulations. The Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act—which includes the Healthy School Lunch program—is stuck in Congress, thanks to the Senate, which changed the bill to take some of its funds from the food stamp program, and there’s not much time left to pass it at all. In England, Parliament is debating the Sustainable Livestock Bill, which would reward free-range farmers, and cut back on the meat served in schools, hospitals, and prisons—and big fancy chefs support it. Marion Nestle is totally grossed out but not at all surprised by the government cheese article in The Times; still, she says, it’s good news that people are paying attention to the USDA’s massive conflict of interest.

On the other hand, a Chinese journalist who organized parents of children who suffered from the melamine-tainted milk in 2008 was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for “inciting social disorder.” Hundreds of thousands of infants got sick, but don’t you complain about it! Maybe we should complain about the “news” that this totally awesome carcinogen has been leaking into every single comestible sold by a fast-food company, because it’s in the waxy stuff that keeps the grease from leaking. Although it’s not super-new news; in 2008 the California Legislature passed a bill banning it and eight of its cousins from all food packaging—but ol’ Arnold vetoed it, because he loves the chemical lobby.

Foods in the news
New York magazine is totally into vegetables now. People who value vegetables over meat—but still enjoy a little animal flesh, yum!—are “vegivores,” and apparently vegivores are totally into, among other things, lacinato kale. That’s right, the $1.50-a-bunch, in-your-CSA-box-from-September-through-April, such-a-vegan-staple-you-never-even-think-about-it lacinato/dinosaur kale is the hottest in veg cuisine. The hottest thing in Berlin-San Francisco crossovers is vegan Currywürst, available at your local Whole Foods under the label King of Cürrywurst. Yeah, we don’t support getting cutesy with accent marks either, but we do support vegan businesses, so let’s do this. Are you a ketchup person? Currywürst is for you. Perhaps not for any of us but the very rich soon is chocolate, as criminally underpaid cocoa farmers in Africa aren’t replanting much, and their children won’t do the work at all. Buy fair trade for all your chocolate—including chips and cocoa powder!—or know you’re contributing to a terrible system that is rapidly falling apart. Well, at least we’ve got Laura and The Week in Vegan, right?

Animal news we didn’t cover this week
Whales get sunburns! There’s another reason to give your non-vegan friends and relations to convince them to eat less/zero animals: Whales suffer from skin lesions, caused by sun damage from UV light. Yeah, the UV light that comes through our atmosphere is so strong now it FUCKS UP WHALES’ SKIN. Yeah, let’s dig some coal! Reader Tina sent us a list she made called 101 Blogs to Inspire You to Protect Endangered Species. It’s neatly divided into subcategories and one might go so far as to call it exhaustive—it’ll be an excellent reference. Thanks, Tina! Reader Rachel sent us an article about a local wildlife shelter that needs a new home ASAP. The Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Center in Oakland does rescue and rehab for wildlife in Alameda County—work that Oakland Animal Services can’t do—but after six years on private property is being evicted. Please go read Rachel’s excellent article for the detailed story, and how you can help. Thanks, Rachel!

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