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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.

03/07/2014

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…

12/11/2013

DiGiorno cheese comes from tortured cows  »

The latest investigation from Mercy for Animals exposes horrific cruelty at a major DiGiorno cheese supplier in Wisconsin. You can watch the video on SliceOfCruelty.com. I watched parts, it’s brutal. I’m not sure lately if I should post these videos on here or not. I want the truth about the horrific conditions in the meat, dairy and egg industries to get as much attention as possible, but then some people criticize me for posting that stuff. Because, truthfully, if you’re vegan, you don’t have to watch this stuff. BUT many of us know cheese eaters who should watch this, so I want to make sure all the vegans at least know about it. What do you think? Should I post these videos? Just share them on FB? Or do a post like this that just links to the vid?

I wish everyone who ate dairy were forced to watch this, Clockwork Orange style! Not really but kind of. But again, if you want to see or find the video to share, go to SliceOfCruelty.com. And if you want to sign the petition, go directly here.

10/10/2012

Reminder: Milk is far from victimless  »

Mercy for Animals has released another undercover investigation, this time from a dairy farm that supplies Burger King. A DAIRY farm. Not a meat producer.

Warning: This video is pretty brutal.

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]

People consuming dairy and eggs contributes to profound abuse of cows and chickens. If you still drink milk and eat cheese, you should watch this. If you don’t, I advise you avoid it. But next time someone says, “but cheese tastes good,” refer them here.

09/19/2012

Boo: Starbucks is dropping free soy for Gold Card members!  »

I got two separate emails about this from irritated readers, and it appears to be true—you can see they casually add it at the bottom: “We’re saying so long to the free soy…” uh, thanks for the unapologetic heads up.

This isn’t the end of the world but as you know, I HATE being charged extra for soy. And I understand that many people signed up for this rewards program specifically because of the free soy, so yeah, they can be irritated. It’s bullshit.

Oh and the last time we talked about this, someone pointed out that the coffee shops they’ve worked at charge extra for soy because it takes more labor to make soy drinks. They have to clean out the milk pitcher so there’s no dairy milk residue or whatnot and that takes extra work. Can’t they just have a designated pitcher for soy? And I’m sure there’s a lot of things they make that vary in labor demand but they don’t change the cost based on that. People wouldn’t like that. But for soy, it’s just an accepted practice to charge more and we can’t just order something different. Bullshit!

You can go voice your opinion on their "idea zone" and you can sign this petition if you have a sec.

06/27/2012

Which coffee shops don’t charge extra for soy milk? Let’s make a list!  »


Beautiful coconut milk latte made for me by my dear brother. He’s fancy, right? It’s beautiful.

Reader Toshio emailed me the other day:

I was wondering if you’d consider posting a list of the cafes in SF that don’t charge extra for soymilk. The only one I know of is Peace Cafe on Haight Street, but there must be more. I would walk extra blocks just to avoid the charge. Much appreciated!

Let’s ask the readers! Who knows of a coffee shop in S.F. (or beyond) that doesn’t charge extra for soy milk?

Is there a legitimate reason for charging more for soy milk? It’s generally $.50 extra to get soy milk at a coffee shop. I’ve looked at dairy milk and soy milk prices online and it does seem soy milk is a bit more expensive—not more expensive than organic dairy milk, but maybe they are all only getting non-organic. But even non-organic is only like $.40 per gallon more expensive. That’s not nothing, but the cafe isn’t using more than a gallon of soy milk in your latte. If they really want to charge more because the soy milk they buy is more expensive, then it shouldn’t be more than a few cents per coffee, if we’re actually trying to make up the price difference.

Moreover, dairy milk prices seem to fluctuate quite often and kind of drastically. If we are going by this system of milk that costs more for the cafe costs more for you, when dairy milk prices go up, there should be an extra charge, no? But they don’t do that—people wouldn’t put up with it. But we soy milk drinkers don’t have the same kind of options as dairy-drinkers so we’re pretty much stuck with whatever they want to charge us. Bastards! They are exploiting our dietary needs!

I say to you, no more! Screw these extra charges! Next time they charge you $.50, you give them two pennies and say that is all they’re getting! Better yet, we should all walk out of our way to support the non-exploitative establishments! It’s time to RISE UP! Rage against the soy milk surcharges!

03/15/2012

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.

08/02/2011

Guest post: Mercy For Animals calls out those jerks at the Milk Board  »

About a week ago, I was working in my lab when one of my fellow scientists started asking me about the articles I’ve been writing about the sexist milk debacle. This scientist is originally from India and is vegetarian. We started discussing the differences in milk products in India versus those found in the United States, and how the milk itself is collected.

I was floored by his comments. It’s well known that cows are considered holy in India, and that they are respected creatures. But my colleague told me that they collect milk from their cows “respectfully” and that the local communities came together and created almost a “milk co-op.” No competition, no harmful conditions, and pretty expensive milk.

I felt stupid explaining the methods widely used in the United States after hearing that. I was embarrassed to explain the concept of veal. I felt rude talking about “rape racks.” I felt mortified explaining all the reasons milk is so cheap in this country.

After hearing all that, my colleague decided that he would not consume dairy any longer. The next day, I saw him sipping a little container of soymilk. Six days later, he told me he was still sticking with it, and asked about non-dairy ice cream options. My favorite part about this story is that it just took the truth. He listened, he understood, and that was it.

Mercy for Animals (MFA) decided to create a vegan spin on the sexist milk ads that we’ve been vomiting over for the last few weeks. The MFA ads show ladies holding blood-splattered milk cartons (which instantly reminded me of this ad for Dexter), stating “PMS? No, I’m livid with milk industry for abusing and killing cows.”

The ads are meant to “set the record straight about the milk industry’s true relationship with the female reproductive system,” according to an MFA blog post. The ads will run in Ms. magazine, the feminist magazine that headed up the change.org campaign that helped get the original milk ads removed.

A few weeks ago, the Milk Board responded to the criticism of their idiotic ad campaign by taking down their website everythingidoiswrong.org and replacing it with gotdiscussion.org, which displays carefully selected comments from their supporters and critics. Despite the unrelenting voice of many animal rights organizations, as well as individuals that commented on the Milk Board’s Facebook debate, the new website lacks representation of such comments. So, it should be interesting to see how the Milk Board responds to the new Mercy for Animals campaign. We can only hope they won’t take legal action like they did when PETA did essentially the same exact thing.

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She’ll gross you out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

The not-so-sweet side of Cadbury chocolate. This video is fairly mild as far as scary farm videos go but still very sad. Milk-drinkers are so delusional! They really seem to have no idea that if they are drinking the milk, the calves aren’t.

Those calves are so cute, it’s so sad they take them from their moms. And of course the males are useless to a dairy farm so they get sold off as veal or as the video shows, pet food. “And all so people can have their milk.”

07/27/2011

Guest post: the Milk Board is still rude  »

Two weeks ago, the Milk Board launched an incredibly sexist ad campaign claiming that chugging a buttload of milk will cure PMS woes, both for the ladies experiencing the symptoms, and for their heteronormative male partners. These claims were based on a research article published in 1998, which the Milk Board called a “recent study.”

In those short two weeks, the Milk Board learned that PMS isn’t the only thing that can make women irritable and blood-hungry—being insulted and attacked makes us that way too! (but, apparently we’re that way all the time, right? Oh wait…). In response to all the negative media coverage of the campaign, the Milk Board changed strides. The previous everythingidoiswrong.org has been changed to gotdiscussion.org (oh, witty!) as they attempt to clean up their mess. They also issued on of the weakest apologies in the history of corporate fuckups:

The sincerest part is the sentence that says, “Others thought it was funny and educational.” Let’s not forget that this is the same Milk Board that told us “happy cows come from California.” They tried to sue PETA in 2007, too.

Don’t be fooled, though. This group of sexists still thinks they deserve a pat on the back and a cookie for their irrational campaign. Our buddy Steve James told the New York Times, “Taking down everythingidoiswrong.org is not a failure in any way. I don’t see it as ending it or pulling the plug. We accomplished what we set out to accomplish.”

The Milk Board is also encouraging people to “join the discussion” on their Facebook page (which you have to “like” before you can participate). If you are hungry for some mindless arguing and repetitive banter that insists that “milking cows relieves the pain in their swollen utters”, and “Some girls get cranky when they’re on their periods. Some don’t,” then by all means, join in!

Also, this is some bullshit:

There’s really nothing I love more than watching a pair of harpies throw floppy slices of cheese at each other. [Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]

If you’d like to voice your concern about the Milk Board’s consistent attempts to encourage sexist stereotypes and mask the real issues within the milk industry, feel free to contact Jocilyn Preskar, director of public affairs for the California Department of Food & Agriculture at (916) 654.0317. While Steve James’ phone number and email address are conveniently missing from the internet, his LinkedIn account is fully available!

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She grosses people out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

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