vegansaurus!

01/27/2011

Your government hates you: recalls and “hot” milk!  »

Do NOT eat packaged leafy greens if you live, like, anywhere on the East Coast right now; some listeria got into Massachusetts’ State Garden’s manufacturing plant and wowza, there are so many brands that could sicken you, it’s scary!

More ground beef is out to get you, too: nearly 8,000 pounds of “Fully Cooked Black Angus Ground Beef Steak Patties” are also lousy with listeria; thanks, United Food Group, LLC (UFG) of Vernon, Calif.! Oh man, it gets better: These “patties” were produced on Oct. 11 last year, an inspection discovered they were all listeria-ful, and UFG shipped them anyway! Whoops!

Listeria is the choice for food-poisoning right now, it seems; almost 500 boxes of “Wheat Free, Gluten Free Mac and No Cheese” and “Wheat Free, Gluten Free French Bread Pizza” from Ian’s may be contaminated with the little buggers right now! When food safety standards are lax—and I mean, farm-to-shopping-cart safety standards—everyone suffers, even the Celiacs and the vegans.

The standards are super-lax, too: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so little power to regulate anything, the only reason every one of us eating food in the U.S. hasn’t been poisoned by it yet is absolute luck. Used-up dairy cows are sold to slaughter for human consumption without being subjected to the same tests your standard food-cows are, and these cows are full of antibiotics, like, illegally full of them, tee hee! The dairy industry, however, refuses to “allow” any further testing of any of the milk or milk products, and as the FDA is about as strong as A VERY WEAK THING, it can’t make the producers submit to these tests. HA HA HA your milk is full of substances that will kill you!

Of course the FDA gets to test your milk, and annually “only a small number of truckloads are found to be ‘hot milk,’ containing trace amounts of antibiotics.” Then that milk is “destroyed”—whatever “destroyed” means, it’s not like pouring it down the proverbial drain disappears the antibiotics from the world—and all the milk-drinkers can breathe easy. Except that the dairy farmers are actually injecting their cows with oodles of drugs the FDA doesn’t test for! Because the law doesn’t require it! Because dairy industry lobbyists use their massive amounts of cash to “convince” our elected officials to eat a cheese sandwich and keep mum!

But, you know, drink your milk or you won’t grow up big and strong/lose all the calcium in your skeleton/fade away from dairy product deprivation. You can just die of a minor infection because the bacteria were resistant to every antibiotic known to modern medicine, you’ll just do it super-full of cheese. Definitely a good trade-off. The vegans will just suffer the fever and chills of listeria poisoning, no big deal.

[photo of Percy from SAINTS by Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals]

01/06/2011

Adorable calf rescued! Now what?  »

In fluffy, warm-your-heart news, we have a crazy helicopter rescue of a calf stranded on a frozen pond!

Here’s what I want to know: what does the future hold for our dear rescued calf? Everyone is all, “OMG they saved the baby cow! Awesome! Let’s get burgers.” I mean, is she going to be a dairy cow? Is he destined for the dinner table? Is this some fantasy farm that’s not a sanctuary but just keeps cute cows around for fun? I tried to find the farm online to see what kind of farm it is. No dice.

God speed, little calf.

12/17/2010

Farm Sancuary’s year-end video is ADORBS!  »

Farm Sanctuary just released their year-end video, detailing the various rescues they were able to do in 2010. OMJesus the baby goats! I need a goat like now. It can eat my old clothes.

Donate to farm sanctuary today so they can save more animals! Yay!

12/03/2010

Meet Sadie of Animal Place! She’s an older dairy cow who, because of her breeding and age, doesn’t have the same weight or winter coat as the other cows. To keep her snuggly warm, Marji says, they outfitted her in a stylish horse coat instead. Very fashionable, and very necessary during these chilly days in Grass Valley, where the average December day is 48 degrees.
You know how much Vegansaurus loves Animal Place; show your love by purchasing something for your loved ones (or yourself—it’s half as selfish if it’s a charitable present) from their online store.

Meet Sadie of Animal Place! She’s an older dairy cow who, because of her breeding and age, doesn’t have the same weight or winter coat as the other cows. To keep her snuggly warm, Marji says, they outfitted her in a stylish horse coat instead. Very fashionable, and very necessary during these chilly days in Grass Valley, where the average December day is 48 degrees.

You know how much Vegansaurus loves Animal Place; show your love by purchasing something for your loved ones (or yourself—it’s half as selfish if it’s a charitable present) from their online store.

11/18/2010

Poor ol’ Rawesome, the members-only raw food club. Everything they sell is raw! But the government HATES THEM, because…dairy? The government is anti-raw dairy products? The government tends to go overboard with its responses to alternative foods clubs? Maybe it’s the long arm of Dairy Management—those guys do not fuck around.

On the other hand, some of the things these raw-milk enthusiasts say is priceless.

"It’s how nature provides the food without man becoming involved with, uh, pasteurization, homogenization, processing of any kind."

"Rawesome had a real, desperate need for raw goat milk, and we progressed in building our own dairy and raising our own goats."

Yes, guys. “Nature” provided you with the milk. Nature in the form of cows and goats that were never consulted about the situation. And unless they spontaneously excrete their milk into buckets, “man” has to be involved in the process. Oh dear. A “desperate need” for goat’s milk! What does that look like? Do you get the shakes if you don’t get your fix? Leave you curled in a ball on the floor, immobile and ashen-faced, until someone can place a few precious drops of god’s own ambrosia—sorry, “rawmbrosia”—on your parched tongue?

Obviously, shut up, government oversight agencies; try looking into Big Ag before raiding tiny private raw food clubs. But also, shut up raw-animal-products evangelists. You guys sound just as ridiculous as every other evangelizing raw foodist,* except you also claim that raw dairy is better because it’s straight from the animal, as though that mitigates the from-the-animal part. Your high horse: please, come off it.

*Excluding our Sarah E. Brown, as we suspect her of having a secret crazy side.

[video link via eater national]

11/09/2010

Interview with a vegan: Lisa Congdon!  »

Lisa Congdon is a talent to be reckoned with. And by reckoned with, we mean PURCHASE EVERY PIECE OF ART SHE’S EVER MADE. Seriously, this lady is crazy-talented. My favorite pieces change moment to moment, but I’m currently lusting after this finch and "Brave Bear" (OMG I LOVE YOU BRAVE BEAR). Actually, I’ll just take one of each, please!

Lisa has lived in SF for 20 years. She is a woman entrepreneur (love) and co-owner of Rare Device, an art gallery and store that sells everything awesome and good (if you haven’t been, you are a fool who is missing out!). We love crafty vegans because they make the world a prettier place and can also design and paint stuff for the rest of us when we need it. You never know when you’re going to want a watercolor of yourself hugging a baby hippo in outer space. Actually, you probably want that right now, huh? Anyway, follow Lisa on twitter and buy everything in her Etsy store and visit Rare Device and be really happy that such a rad chick is vegan!

Vegansaurus: Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Lisa Congdon: All three.

V: How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
LC: I have been a vegan for about two years. I had been thinking a lot about becoming a vegan for a long time, but when I did it, I did it pretty much “cold turkey,” as opposed to weaning myself off stuff over time. It’s sort of funny how it finally happened. My partner and I were visiting my family in Portland. We all love to eat, and we had this really gluttonous weekend of gorging on food, which included a lot of rich cheese. That Sunday we were at the airport for our return flight and we felt horrible and gross from eating so much crap. We went into the bookstore in the airport and we saw Skinny Bitch on the table. A friend had told me about it, so we bought it. We dove into it right away right there in the airport and read it together. We finished it before we got back to San Francisco (love the book, but it’s the Reader’s Digest version of “why be a vegan”). That same week I went a little heavier and read the The China Study and, we also went to see Food, Inc. That movie sealed the deal, and we both became vegan that same week. We’ve continued to educate ourselves as much as we can about the benefits—health, humane, environmental—of eating a plant-based diet, and feel like it was one of the most important choices I have ever made in my life.

V: What’s the best part of being vegan?
LC: There are so many amazing things. I’ve never felt so good in my life, both physically and mentally. I have far more energy than I’ve ever had, which is scary because I have always been pretty energetic. I sleep better, I never feel sick after eating—except maybe after I have the potatoes at Gracias Madre, which are completely naughty. I also feel good about causing less harm to other living creatures and the environment. I revere animals, and now I feel like I walk the talk. I can be more like Ellen DeGeneres, who is my personal hero. Oh, and I have become a mean vegan chef.

V: Do you have any companion animals? Where are they from?
LC: I sure do. First off, I have Barry and Margaret, my cats. I got them about five years ago at the SPCA. Margaret is secretary of the house. She makes sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to and if you aren’t, she lets you know. Barry lives a less stressful existence, mostly staring out the window onto the action on Capp Street from our apartment. [Ed. SO CUTE! Also, Vegansaurus HQ used to be on Capp! Perhaps Hazel barked at Barry and Margaret in your window at some point!}

Then there is Wilfredo. Wilfredo is a chihuahua I rescued from Wonder Dog Rescue about three years ago. He’s three and a half, and he’s a very good, sweet, gentle, loving boy. He’s just the kindest dog you’ve ever met, and very cuddly and amazingly loving. He’s got a really wonderful, distinct personality and beautiful green eyes. Unlike many chihuahuas, he loves people, even strangers. And he doesn’t bark, which is also pretty ridiculously amazing. Wilfredo and I will be featured on the The Bold Italic’s upcoming Pet Week [Ed.: It’s THIS WEEK and culminates in an awesome party on Saturday night at The Women’s Building in SF! The party will benefit Rocket Dog Rescue and there will be all sorts of vegan food there, including cupcakes from Fat Bottom Bakery and Sugar Beat Sweets, cookies from Eat Pastry, and VEGAN SANDWICHES FROM IKE’S PLACE! Plus, vegan chili and cornbread and BINGO and a pet fair and awesomeness! COME!]!

V: What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
LC: Oh geez, I HATE this question. It’s a toss-up between dogs, horses, goats, and sheep. Although this summer I visited the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen and I really must say I have a thing for pigs. And cows. Someday I want to have a barn.

V: Does being vegan affect your art? If so, how?
LC: Not really; my subject matter hasn’t changed too much since I became vegan. That said, I make the bulk of my living doing illustration work, and I did turn down a high-profile illustration job recently—it was for a cookbook—because they wanted me to draw diagrams of animals about to go to slaughter, with the cuts of meat and the like. I said I wouldn’t do it and told them why—as professionally as possible, of course. I lost the job and I have no regrets.

V: You have lots of art with animals in it; do you have a favorite?
LC: I think my favorite animal painting I’ve ever made is the "Mountain Goat"

V: What’s your favorite vegan cookbook?
LC: That’s another hard question! It’s a toss up between Veganomicon for basics, The Conscious Cook for fancier recipes—such amazing concoctions in there and I do like Gardein a lot—and Vegan Table for awesome seasonal recipes.

V: Favorite vegan restaurant? Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant?
LCGracias Madre. I am not sure what I ever did without it. It’s also rad—and dangerous—that it’s around the corner from where I live. And my favorite dish is their naughty Papas al Horno, potatoes with cashew nacho cheese sauce!!!

V: Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
LC: All 11 of you? ;) [Ed.: YES! God!]

Thanks, Lisa! You’re the most amazing and we are officially in love with you. Check out our other Vegansaurus interviews and apply to be interviewed YOURSELF! Just email and we’ll totally interview your fascinating ass.

[Lisa’s amazing portrait of Wilfredo is above; all photos and art in this post by Lisa!]

08/27/2010

Thanks to our sponsors, two sad dogs and cake in a jar, it’s this week’s link-o-rama!  »


A long-tailed macaque living in Bali adopted a lost kitten! He just found the kitten wandering around his home in Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Bali, and brought the kitten back to his troop (“a troop of macaques”), and now they are pals. Please excuse your Vegansaurus, whose eyes have begun leaking. [photo by Anne Young]

Events! Events events events!
We already told you about Dusker tonight at Hayes Valley Farm—really, why aren’t you there now, hippie? And tomorrow is Sábado Gigante!, a.k.a. the start of Oakland’s Eat Real Festival. Now here are even more ways to spend your time!

Vegans in the Washington, D.C. metro area should head out to the annual Columbia Heights Day, which happens tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Harriet Tubman Elementary Field at 11th and Kenyon Sts. NW. Why? Because at 3:30 there’s a Sticky Fingers cupcake-eating contest on the second stage!! Live out one of your Vegansaurus’ dreams! Or at least take a photo for us DEAR LORD.

VERY IMPORTANT: Dino Bike at the Hemlock on Sunday, Aug. 29 at 9 p.m. Pay $5 and see our Laura, Jonas and possibly Jordan—plus other guaranteed-cramazing humans—do things on stage that you could not possibly imagine. There will be vegan cupcakes for free and booze for sale and all the money raised goes to pay for sweet, sweet Hazel’s nauseatingly expensive surgery. BE THERE!

On Monday, Aug. 30, the Green Arcade bookstore in San Francisco will host a free discussion with Chris Palmer, author of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom. It sounds like Chris Palmer does our favorite thing: “pulls back the curtain on the dark side of wildlife filmmaking, revealing an industry driven by money, sensationalism, extreme risk-taking, misrepresentation, staging, fabrication, and even abuse and harassment of animals,” actually naming names! Of course he also offers solutions and praises the people who are not total dicks (hint: Bear Grylls is not on the “good” list). The discussion begins at 7 p.m. at the Green Arcade, 1680 Market St. at Gough Street.

On Sunday, Aug. 29, LGBT Compassion will hold a peaceful demonstration against animal cruelty—specifically, the live-chicken vendor—from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Northeast corner of the Heart of the City Farmers Market at U.N. Plaza. For further information, visit their website, and please RSVP if you plan to attend!

West Contra Costa Adult Education will offer a series on vegan cuisine this fall, beginning on Sept. 14 with “Italian style.” Each class meets once for four hours at the Richmond campus and costs $45. Enrollment is limited to 16 students, so you might think about registering sooner than later. Chef Panos Ly of Symphonie Vegan Restaurant in Point Richmond will lead the class.

News! Articles and essays and news!
A woman was caught attempting to smuggle a tiger cub from Thailand to Iran. The three-month-old cub had been drugged and stuffed in her suitcase—along with some stuffed toy tigers, for camouflage? He’s now recovering at a wildlife conservation center in Bangkok, and DNA testing should reveal more precisely where he came from. Residents of Taiji, a.k.a. “the place from The Cove where they murder all the dolphins,” are totally nonchalant about the documentary and its effects. “They’re not going to stop the hunts,” says a councilman, basically because it’s tradition and also dolphin is tasty. Neat! “You race camels, why not milk them?” Excellent question, Occident-man! And what was Orient-man’s response? He didn’t have one, so the western dudes went out and began camel-exploitation for themselves. Now they are milked in metal stalls by automated pumps, just like number-one most delicious American cows! It can’t come to the U.S. fast enough. What we won’t get, because the FDA are total Puritan prudes, are eating-cows fed with wine to make their flesh taste even better when we devour it. I mean, pigs get to drink beer, why can’t cows have some red wine with their all-natural COWFEED 3000?

What’s been going on with the Great Egg Recall of aught-10? This week we learned that the FDA rejected a vaccine for hens that British egg producers have been using for over a decade and that would have cost “less than a penny per a dozen eggs.” Ha ha whoops! Your Vegansaurus loves the cheap choices: “We have a problem with Salmonella infecting these eggs!” “How can we solve it?” “We could stop feeding chickens bone meal, maybe.” “But that’s like recycling! And it makes them grow SO FAST!” “What about making the cages we force the hens into a little larger, or not smashing so many of them into those tiny cages at once?” “And lose production space? No way!” “What about pasteurizing the fuck out of the poisonous death-eggs, then putting them in ice cream and mayonnaise?” “BRILLIANT! We won’t even have to disclose that on the food labels! The company is saved!” A deli meat company recalled nearly 400,000 pounds of its products due to contamination with Listeria, but that was really hard to pay attention to this week.

Hey L.A., have you been to Millions of Milkshakes: Our Brianna writes: “IT IS SO FUCKING YUMMY I WANTED TO CAMP OUT THERE. I went two times in the span of four days. Yeah, it’s really tacky, but I think it pretty adequately encompasses LA culture. I got a peanut butter-oreo shake the first time, and a peanut butter-banana shake the second time. Best milkshakes I’ve ever had.” Ooh, celebrity vegan shakes! Ooh again: a totally polite and helpful thread on Serious Eats about cooking for vegans and omnivores in the same kitchen—they even discuss sharing pans! How heartwarming. Hey Las Vegans (har har), your life just got better thanks to Steve Wynn, who’s expanded (read: brought into existance) the vegan dishes on all his hotels’ menus. Finally, an interview with Jack Norris of Vegan Outreach by (the infamous) Rhys Southan. Naturally your Vegansaurus recommends ignoring the comments, one of which implies that nectarines are certain squirrels’ only food source and that to eat said nectarines is tantamount to murdering said squirrels.

One of Scott “model-senator” Brown’s staffers found a cat on the street in Washington, D.C., and she has since been named Lucky and become the office kitty. Look, there are photos! This is arguably the most selfless act performed by any member of the Senate in several years, and Scott Brown didn’t actually rescue the cat himself. Even suffering the pressures of political life, Lucky is considerably better off than nearly half the pets in Coachella Valley: 44 percent of the 40,000 animals who have been left at shelters in Riverside County were euthanized this year, and Save-a-Pet of Desert Hot Springs, a no-kill shelter, has no room for animals. Thanks, Depression 2.0!

So which would you rather eat: Magical salmon genetically engineered by AquaBounty Corp. to grow twice as quickly as evolutionarily engineered salmon by natural selection; or willingly donated human meat? Whatever, our “agricultural empire” is DOOMED, DOOMED anyway, let’s just eat (easily veganized and very tasty) jar cake to keep the end-of-the-world panic attacks down for another day.

07/23/2010

Your summertime Friday link-o-rama is high on sunshine, and righteous anger  »


SF Animal Care and Control rescued these barn swallows whose nest “in an area of a residential home” had been vandalized. They made them a new nest with this basket! [via Pawesome]

Events and happenings!
Hello bunny-fans! Missed your chance for a rabbit at the previous Harvest Home Sanctuary event? That’s OK, because there’s another, even bigger one tomorrow! On Saturday, July 22 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the House Rabbit Society (148 Broadway St. at 25th Street in Richmond), you can visit the bunnies, eat veg food—including vegan chai cupcakes and sno-cones—listen to live music, and of course, adopt! There are 80 rabbits who need homes! COME ON DO IT GET A RABBIT THEY ARE THE BEST. Check out some of your future best pals here. Maybe bring your single bun to make a friend!

Any Canadian readers? Vegansaur Jordan informs us that the Edmonton Humane Shelter is in the middle of an "Indy Cat 500" drive to adopt 500 cats between July 16 and 31. Apparently Edmonton is full of cats—at its previous cat-adoption event, the EHS adopted out nearly 200 cats in two days! Come on, Canada, spay and neuter your kitties, already.

On Monday, July 26, Hot Spud opens. Hot Spud is a baked potato restaurant, run by Simone Powers, formerly of Café Gratitude. It is not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, but perhaps Chef Powers, who “perfected her baking skills” at a raw restaurant (…) will one day offer a vegan option. However! Reader Xin is the baker for Wicked Grounds (“San Francisco’s first and only kink café and boutique”), and reports that all the baked goods are vegan, including: “scones, cookies (chocolate chip, peanut butter oatmeal, and double ginger), waffles, and other specials depending on what I feel like doing, like cinnamon rolls (which are ridiculously fatty and delicious). You should totally come check us out!” Thanks, Xin! [Hot Spud news from Inside Scoop; awesome tip from awesome Xin]

Articles of interest!
The Department of Homeland Security wants Your (“alert, outgoing, active, confident”) Purebred Dogs! They will pay! And yes some of the trained officers (the dogs become actual officers) have attacked civilians in the course of performing their duties, that’s OK because they’re dogs, these things happen. Meanwhile, breed-specific legislation has allowed the slaughter of thousands of innocent pit bulls across the country. [Tom Scocca and Pawesome]

Hey remember last week’s super-gnarly episode of Top Chef where they murdered live crabs without even blinking? Turns out the Maryland crab industry is really, really exploitive of the migrant workers—mostly women—who come every season to pick the crabs. It’s unbelievably fucked up! [Shut Up, Foodies, to which we were referred by SFoodie—thanks]

Eater interviewed GZA and guess who’s vegetarian! And apparently really into raw food, and staunchly against pork. There goes your theory, Tara Duggan and Eric Tucker (that one stung, you know?). Might we suggest this goddamn amazing-looking vegan Cuban-style sandwich, should you find yourself craving something melty and meaty one night? Or ever? [Eater and Vegan Happy Hour]


Hello penguin! This fine fellow, a Magellanic penguin was rescued by SOS Fauna Marina on the coast of the Department of Maldonado, Uruguay. According the the L.A. Times, “at least 100” of these penguins were rescued after being soaked “in an hydrocarbon” [all sic] while migrating. [image AFP/Getty via L.A. Times]

Hey, how’s the Gulf oil spill cleanup going? WELL: the fresh water from the Mississippi river being pumped into the wetlands to keep the oil out is poisoning all the oysters, who live in saltwater! It seems like the river water went right to the oysters through channels that oyster-farmers demanded be built years ago, because the levees kept out too much of the Mississippi and the salinity was too high. Man, we can’t get anything right! At least WE CAN STILL EAT THE REMAINING OYSTERS AND THAT IS THE IMPORTANT THING. Fish are basically vegetables, anyway. As for animals who eat fish, as of July 20, 1,282 oiled pelicans have been rescued—that doesn’t mean “saved” or “cleaned” or “released,” just “taken from the wild, covered in oil”—and 969 oiled pelicans have been found dead. Super. Right? Super. [WSJ and BBC]

So back in April, the Supreme Court heard U.S. v. Stevens and was all, OK this animal-torture porn conviction is way harsh, it totally infringes on your First Amendment rights. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) then sponsored a bill that says, essentially, trafficking in actual animal-torture porn is ILLEGAL and BAD and we will FUCK YOU UP if you do it—but SIMULATING IT? That’s…withing legal limits. Hunting and fishing videos and stuff, you can sell those too, but that’s all. And that bill passed the House yesterday in a 416 to 3 vote! Hooray! Now it’s in the Senate, where “it is expected to pass,” but you know, we’ll see. Those jerks loooove to pick fights. [L.A. Times]

Farm news! It is time for farm news. SFoodie totally kicked our ass reporting on farmers markets this week, which is super-lame of us and we are shamed. To wit: the Homegrown Marin Market, which we were absolutely going to tell you about before its debut last week, was pretty all right! There was vegan currywürst (NB friends: the umlaut is in “würst,” not “curry,” otherwise you’d pronounce it “cure-y”)! The Mission Community Market seems like it was a good time, too; very block-partyish, like the organizers had hoped for. Maybe if someone paid us to go places and report on things we would be better at this “job,” dang it. Over at Hayes Valley Farm, someone maliciously gassed two entire, mature honeybee colonies, and attempted to murder a third. The colonies were home to something like 60,000 to 100,000 bees. While we don’t believe in eating honey, humanity needs bees to pollinate flowers, and this is gross cruelty. Bees are awesome and we all need them TO SURVIVE so maybe murdering them is NOT THE ANSWER. Goddamn. In Africa, years of “careless interbreeding” of native cattle and European cattle has resulted in a major loss of genetic diversity in African cows, which is never, ever good, especially when “70 percent of rural Africans” rely on cattle for food and income. The new cows have no resistance to native diseases! And the climates are too harsh for them! So they’re dying all over the place! Whoops! [SFoodie; Hayes Valley Farm; TreeHugger]

Finally: Mike Tyson, vegan, gives a strange interview these days. This collection of veg cookbooks is fine and all, except that one of them clearly has A FISH ON THE COVER. Still, the recipe for Babycakes' cornbread is at the bottom of the page, so, win some, lose some. Most importantly, congratulations Cinnaholic on the good review from SFoodie! You deserve all the accolades coming your way!! (PS: Inside Scoop, taking photos and being snide does not count as a “review” so get it together and eat a cinnamon roll already, they are delicious.)

04/15/2010

Book review: Être the Cow  »

Vegansaurus was offered Être the Cow for review from publishers Health Communications, and being a now-famous book critic, I elected to do the work. Also because I’m in this for the free stuff.

Être the Cow was written by Sean Kenniff, whose name might be familiar to you, as he was a contestant on the first season of Survivor. According to his back-of-book bio, he is also a physician. Apparently he had some time post-layoff, which he spent “liv[ing] with the cows,” though this experience did not stop him from eating them.

The novella is odd. It’s narrated by Être, a bull, who is the only cow in the story who has a “real” name, which he apparently gave himself; he is the only cow who tries to communicate with other cows—and people—in English, though unsuccessfully, as no one can understand him. Also, sometimes there is singing, in French.

The whole thing is a tragedy, I guess, what with all the dying, but it’s written so oddly that it’s difficult to connect with any of the characters. Maybe it’s unfair to criticize Kenniff’s motivations for writing the book, but when it’s so painfully clearly a Book with a Message, then I feel like the author’s motivations are fair to explore. So: why did Kenniff write this book, if he still believes that eating meat is a fair and fine thing to do? If it is a parable, what lessons should the reader take from it? All I understood was, basically, “Special cows can sometimes have feelings too, but only special ones, and really those feelings are useless because they only lead to tragedy, so better to live your life like a regular, non-talking cow who doesn’t wish to be a human—sorry, a ‘Man’—and then you won’t know what you might have missed if you were anything other than a cow.”

Or, you know, something like that. Maybe this book wasn’t for me because I don’t go in for too much anthropomorphizing; maybe because I’m more educated about animal-cruelty issues that the readers the author is trying to reach. Maybe because it’s just not an especially well written book, and whatever message it is trying to send is totally garbled because Kenniff doesn’t seem to mean it. I don’t know. If you are interested, go for it. I have certainly read worse, in my life; but I have most definitely read better.

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