Two rescued calves meet, become BFF »
I mentioned cute rescue calf Stanley from Animal Place recently. At that time, he was sickly and couldn’t hang out with any other cows. BUT he just met his new BFF Theo and it’s the cutest! The two will be roomies until they are big enough to join the grown up cows. An illustrated diary of their meeting:
Guest post: when you hate on non-dairy milk, you just sound like an idiot. »
Thanks to my obsessive personality combined with my penchant for evangelism, I am now lucky enough to have a vegan community that includes my mom, sister and three good friends. It’s really great to get to preach to the choir sometimes. Recently many of us have gathered to rant in perplexed fury about the anti non-dairy milk ads that are popping up on the netwaves recently.
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
The conversations usually go something like this:
“Really? Really? The dairy industry is trying to convince me not to use almond milk because I have to shake the box?”
“Seriously? The diary industry thinks that the Riboflavin in soy milk is more scary to me than the chemicals, pus, and hormones in cow’s milk?”
Etc. You get the idea. The ads are doing little more than poking the beehive for my non-diary friends.
Which is the point.
You see, these ads are not actually for us as non-dairy milk drinkers. I realized this after another rant session with a vegan friend, when I came up a little stumped. These ad writers are professionals. I don’t think they are stupid enough to think that a convicted non-dairy drinker is actually going to flip on their decision suddenly because they realize they don’t like to shake a milk box. Also, we are a pretty small minority to target with wide-scale video ads. Yes, we’re growing, but the recent Gallup poll reminds us that vegans only make up about 2% of the population. These ads don’t seem to be targeting people who presumably can’t drink milk from lactose intolerance, but those who are choosing not to because of an anti-dairy bias. So who are the ads for?
These ads are not weak arguments aimed to bring non-dairy drinkers back into the fold. They’re actually aimed at dairy drinkers to prevent them from considering the switch to non-dairy alternatives. This tactic was used recently with the so-dubbed “anti-fanboy ads” that Samsung Galaxy III released earlier this year. These ads showed a crowd lined up at an obvious-imitation of an Apple store being drawn into the benefits of a Galaxy 3 and eventually abandoning their cult-like appreciation of their unnamed phone (clearly an iPhone 4s). A cacophony of internet righteousness ensued with much mockery and name-calling on either side. Many people argued that the internet skirmish was intentionally crafted, that the ads weren’t actually aimed to get Apple users to abandon their iPhone but to give a pat-on-the-back to those who hate “Apple fanboys” and say, “welcome to the team.”
These “non-dairy milk is stupid” ads are using the same tactic: they are intended to reinforce to dairy drinkers that people who would think of drinking anything other than cow’s milk are ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that we don’t even deserve rational logic to argue against. This serves to assuage any doubt that may be raised by the increasing number of people abandoning cow’s milk and affirms, “look at these crazy people who think cow’s milk isn’t God’s gift to the world. Good thing you’re not one of them.”
As for the indignation and fury from non-dairy drinkers as a result, that’s minor collateral damage. Or, one could say, just spilt milk.
Lucky for us, if youtube comments and votes indicate anything, no matter who these ads are actually aimed at, they don’t seem to be very successful. In fact, non-dairy are getting an opportunity handed to us to point out the flaws of dairy. Since the ads aren’t using any strong logical arguments against non-dairy milk, even dairy drinkers watch them with a little bit of “WTF?” This gives non-dairy drinkers the chance to make a case against dairy with dairy-drinkers on our side for once. So, show your friends, and make a day out of mocking how ridiculous these ads really are! It’s pretty fun.
Isaak Brown is a writer, youth worker, and highly enthusiastic and evangelistic vegan. Comments and thoughts are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most interesting information from NPR’s Meat Week is that eating meat is terrible for the planet »
[Source: J.L. Capper, Journal of Animal Science, December, 2011.
Credit: Producers: Eliza Barclay, Jessica Stoller-Conrad; Designer: Kevin Uhrmacher/NPR]
I listened to NPR’s Meat Week stories because I always listen to Morning Edition in the wee hours while I’m getting ready for work every day (two-hour commute party!), and am a prisoner to whatever they put on the radio. At the end of June, it was all about dead flesh. Too cool.
Here’s a summary for you, so you know what we talk about when we talk about eating meat.
Day One: Some dope who follows the Paleo diet (and does CrossFit, shocking!) is an expert witness in “We Evolved to Eat Meat, but How Much Is Too Much?” Yes. Did they ask this guy on purpose, knowing he’d come off like an idiot? Maybe. NPR, you tricksters.
Day Two: In “The Making of Meat-Eating America,” we learn that Americans eat meat because we are wealthy and can afford it, plus it’s cheaper here. Also, technology! The railway shipped sides of beef from sea to shining sea! But we’re eating less now, mostly because it’s fucking unhealthy to eat so many animals.
Day Three: Nationally we’re choking down fewer dead cows (“red meat”) than ever before. “Why There’s Less Red Meat on Many American Plates” explores “changing trends in meat consumption,” namely, with a few exceptions—like those back-to-prehistoric times dolts—people are cutting back, because we care about our health, and our planet (n.b. the above infographic), and all those animal lives. Except chickens, it’s totally cool to eat chickens, right?
Day Four: You want independent farming? “Unlike Chicken and Pork, Beef Still Begins with Small Family Ranches” will see your independent farming and raise you a “the cattle industry is bottle-shaped,” in which the wide bottom is the many smaller ranches where cows are artificially inseminated to make new cows, the shoulders are the feedlots where not-yet-year-old cows are sent to put on grain-weight, and the neck is the four packing companies that kill-n-pack 82 percent of the edible cow sold in the U.S. Gosh, the death industry is revolting.
Day Five: Hey look, meaty billboards!
So there’s your Meat Week: Americans love eating animals, but maybe less than they used to (except chickens); the meat industry isn’t very big but it sure is mighty, and really horrible for the environment. Cool story, NPR.
Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s that time: WE LOVE PAUL!!!
Big news: We banned gestation crates for pigs, veal crates for calves, and tail-docking for cattle in Rhode Island. The governor just signed the bills! This makes RI the ninth state to ban gestation crates, seventh on veal crates, and third on tail-docking.
Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about a battery egg producer who started a fake new industry trade group to help the pork and beef lobbies try to kill hen protection legislation. (In fact, the beef industry’s trade group says its “number one priority” is to kill the federal bill.)
Today’s Chicago Tribune has a big story on the battle in California about force-feeding ducks for foie gras. (The ban takes effect July 1 and is being fought by agribusiness interests.)
Video of the week: Baby goats being cruelly exploited for their massage talents… :- )
Dude, this commercial is so great. Before everyone bitches about how Silk is wack and Dean Foods is the worst, I just want to say 1) I AGREE OKAY? and 2) Still, this shit is just good for veganism. It makes cow’s milk look gross, which it is, and makes almond milk look delicious, which it is. And I kinda want to get in a sexy sandwich with those two dudes, especially the one who looks like Weiner Dog. He’ll be both breads and I’ll be the ranch dip and marshmallow fluff. SANDWICHES DONE RIGHT.
Anyway, I’m not one for the ad beat, that’s all my girl Megan Rascal, but I’d say this is advertising done right, and so let us SPREAD ITS GOSPEL, MAD MEN-STYLE.*
*I think that means we sleep with it and don’t do our jobs and get drunk. I like!
Paul Shapiro presents: Big Ag is lying to you about animal welfare! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
Reuters has a good piece on HSUS’s new FTC complaint against the National Pork Producers Council for its grossly misleading claims related to animal welfare in the industry.
And speaking of investigations, a new investigation in Britain reveals horrific cruelty toward pigs at one of the biggest pork suppliers to the country’s supermarkets.
And finally, breaking news: Study shows red meat can takes years off a cow’s life.
Today’s video of the week was suggested by my friend Zoe Weil, and it is seriously amazing. If you were afraid you’d go to your grave before seeing a dog double-dutching, your fear is now over.
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Escaped cow gets sanctuary! »
Aww, his poor ears! Effed.
This is Mike Jr. He escaped from a slaughterhouse in New Jersey on April 10. Eventually, he found his way to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary! Here’s the story:
[Mike Jr.] eluded capture for hours and even waded into the Passaic River (yuck!). Police used vehicles to ram into the calf in an effort to bring him under control until a tranquilizer gun could be obtained. The story was picked up by local news and in the piece the slaughterhouse owner said he would release the calf to an unspecified farm.
Suspicious of the kind of farm that he might end up at, uber-volunteer Mike Stura, who lives not too far away, called us early the next morning. We agreed we could help and Mike dropped everything to go get the calf. He has a truck and a recently-acquired trailer for just this purpose. It turns out the calf had already been transported to another slaughterhouse (not the “farm” as promised on the news), but Mike pursued it and was able to convince the owner to release him. We named him “Mike Jr.” after his rescuer. We arranged for human Mike to take bovine Mike to a local vet to clear him to cross state lines and treat the wounds and abrasions. After some blood work, vaccinations, and cleaning the wounds, the Mikes were given the “go” to head upstate to WFAS.
Mike Jr. is enjoying his first days of freedom and roaming the pasture with other rescued cows and steer. Rest assured he will never end up at the end of a fork!
We’ve all heard stories about animals that escape from the clutches of the meat industry and find a home at one sanctuary or another. Does anyone else find this phenomenon as odd as I do? Specifically, the part about how the slaughterhouse owner decides the animal deserves freedom because it somehow escaped.
I’m always glad to see an animal get to sanctuary, but it’s so funny that when people see a runaway animal, they react like, “What will and determination! S/he deserves to be free!” I’m just like, “you know that this cow is just like all the other ones that are about to be slaughtered?” Right? I feel like it’s a weird American Spirit thing. Or that this cow has proved itself smarter or more sentient than the others, so it deserves freedom.
What do you think it is? Any ideas? It’s fascinating!
Mike Jr. and his new BFF Kayli! For more pictures of Mike Jr., check out the WFAS page.
Paul Shapiro presents: The Meatless Revolution, vegan men, and Wendy’s makes some changes! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
Happy Meatless Monday! TIME’s great new feature, “The Meatless (and Less Meat) Revolution,” may make you even happier.
More good news: Wendy’s is joining McDonald’s in requiring pork suppliers to outline their plans to end the use of gestation crates. And on that topic, the Kansas City Star has a good story entitled “Humane Society says Seaboard dishonest about its treatment of hogs.”
Yes, even more good news: Major dairy industry trade publication Hoard’s Dairyman editorialized in favor of ending tail-docking of dairy cows.
And here’s a compelling piece in The Atlantic by a former HSUS undercover investigator about his views on ag-gag laws.
Finally, as both a man and a vegan, I’m apparently qualified to do a live twitter chat about vegan men, hosted by VegNews Magazine, this Wed at 9pm ET (I’m @pshapiro on twitter). Hope to see you there!
P.S. Photo of the week:
Yes, I met Angela from “The Office.” Turns out she really does have a cat (and she’s very nice). And for your video this week: No dancing goat, but rather a trailer for a provocative new film I’m glad to be interviewed in: Speciesism The Movie.
You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pshapiro.
New scary undercover video from PETA. This is from a dairy farm that supplies Cabot cheese, among others:
In late 2011 and early 2012, PETA conducted an undercover investigation at Adirondack Farms, LLC, a dairy factory farm that takes 180,000 pounds of milk—intended for their calves—from approximately 1,800 cows every day in Clinton County, New York. Adirondack Farms sends that milk to Massachusetts-based Agri-Mark, Inc., the self-proclaimed “largest supplier of farm fresh milk in New England.” Agri-Mark makes Cabot and McCadam cheeses and had $900 million in 2011 sales.
It’s pretty rough stuff; Cows getting jabbed and struck with poles and canes, calves getting their horns burnt off without pain medication, gross infections left untreated, and all that awful stuff. They have a manager on tape repeatedly electro-shocking a cow in the face.
This is all for DAIRY. This is not a beef farm. Milk is not a victimless, natural byproduct cows happily produce so omnivores and vegetarians can eat cheese. Even without the animal welfare violations, look at the standard practice. Look at the way they live, hooked up to those machines, strictly confined. It’s awful.
PETA asks for your help:
Please send a quick e-mail to Agri-Mark CEO Dr. Richard Stammer and politely urge him to implement PETA’s recommendations immediately to help end the most egregious abuses of cows on cooperative members’ farms and to improve the animals’ welfare.
I was listening to NPR while getting ready for work on Friday morning, as I do, when this story from Planet Money came on, and ugh, you guys. In “Meet Claudia, the High-Tech Cow,” Adam Davidson tells us all about how today’s dairy cows are more machine than animal, their every action carefully monitored, controlled, and adjusted for optimum milk-producing capability.
It’s so gross, you guys! Dairy is absolutely disgusting. As are the extremes of capitalism: ”The free market forced that to happen,” he says. “Because either you were going to make a lot of milk … quickly and efficiently … or you wouldn’t be in business.” Money makes the world go round! And turns cows into literal milk machines! Fuck a living creature, we need cheap milk from perfectly replicated robots. Of course the story says nothing about the cows’ living conditions or quality of life, what with them having none to speak of. To wit: “Claudia,” the cow “Ferrari,” gets a name, while the cows that aren’t as genetically perfect are just numbers.
Technology is great and I am happy if modern science is solving our problems. But when technological advances detract from the value of other creatures’ lives, how valuable is it?