Americans eating feces-filled fish! Yum yum! »
Love to eat dead water animals? Well, enjoy some pig and geese shit with your tasty tilapia carcass! YUM YUM.
Yep, Americans are consuming insane amounts of dead fish that were raised on feces in China (where, according to Bloomberg, 27 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from). Check it out:
At Chen Qiang’s tilapia farm in Yangjiang city in China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, Chen feeds fish partly with feces from hundreds of pigs and geese. That practice is dangerous for American consumers, says Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety. ‘The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes like salmonella,’ says Doyle, who has studied foodborne diseases in China.
On a sweltering, overcast day in August, the smell of excrement is overpowering. After seeing dead fish on the surface, Chen, 45, wades barefoot into his murky pond to open a pipe that adds fresh water from a nearby canal. Exporters buy his fish to sell to U.S. companies.
So, not only are your dead fish being fed shit, they’re actually being raised in it, too. Well, the ones who even survive the ordeal and make it into your shitty dinner. Pro tip for home cooks: just douse with extra fresh lemon juice to cover up that shit stank! Oh, and maybe get a tetanus shot? And also, a barf bag?
And it’s not just fish! Shrimp, one of the absolute worst things you can eat if you give a shit about the environment or AMAZING SEA TURTLES (Indonesian shrimp trawlers kill 26 pounds of sea creatures for every 1 pound of shrimp they collect! ONE POUND. Please read Eating Animals for more fun facts like this!) is feeling the funk, too. It all starts at Ngoc Sinh Seafoods Trading & Processing Export Enterprise in Vietnam (8 percent of the shrimp Americans eat comes from Vietnam), where dead shrimps are stored in water that’s deemed “not safe for drinking” and “workers stand on a dirty floor sorting shrimp one hot September day. There’s trash on the floor, and flies crawl over baskets of processed shrimp stacked in an unchilled room in Ca Mau.”
Seriously, someone get me to Long John Silver’s for a basket of deep-fried salmonella STAT! USA! USA!
[H/t to genius news juggernaut Eve Batey for the awesome/awful link!]
The meat industry is plain fucking evil »
Our boyfriend Philapotamus is over at Grist talking about how the meat industry turned abuse into a business model. It’s a pretty solid piece and a quick read so why don’t you go over there and tell him what a good job he did and also, remind him to buy almond milk on his way home and oh yeah, to give up being a hypocrite and STOP EATING DEAD ANIMALS. And then apologize for our outburst thusly:
"We kid, honey, you’re doing a great job, we love how vocal you are against big meat ag almost as much as we love your jaunty cap. But we think that deep down you know that the fastest way to stop abusing animals is to stop eating them.”
J/K that’ll never happen, but we know some people are gonna eat meat and so there has to be better ways to get them the dead animal flesh they need so badly and we support any opponent of the factory farm system and please forgive a lady for whining, but ugh VEGANISM IS DELICIOUS and FUN and WE’RE ALL SEXY AND NAKED OVER HERE. Just stop eating meat! Just stop! It’s not that hard! And it feels awesome to know you’re not giving those assholes a red cent! And you’re not taking a life just for your own momentary pleasure! I mean, it’s perverse! KNOCK IT OFF!
Sorry, I’m all jet-lagged and have no patience for people who eat dead animals right now. I just don’t. I used to love meat more than I loved having the use of my legs and I stopped. Seriously, I stole a chicken leg from a dog’s mouth once and I ate that thing. I was five but does that excuse the fact that I ATE A CHICKEN LEG THAT HAD BEEN IN A DOG’S MOUTH and then I used the cartilage as chewing gum. I’m just trying to make you understand the level of devotion I had to meat times in meat town. I was the mayor and president! Point is: If I can do it, so can you! Seriously, no matter how much you think you love meat and can’t live without it, you can. And it feels awesome, I promise. Well, I can’t promise, you might just be a straight sociopath. If that’s the case, email me because I need some favors.
NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED, LESS WHINY PROGRAMMING AND I NEED TO TAKE SOME THERAFLU AND GO BACK TO BED I LOVE YOU ALL USA USA USA!
This Flavorwire post* on rejected book covers and their chosen counterparts is really interesting! What do you people think of the rejected Eating Animals cover (the one on the left)? Do you like it better or worse than the one they went with? I am not sure! I think I like the one they went with better, if only because it might make the book more appealing to meat-mouths. With a picture of a steak on the cover, it can more easily be dismissed as “animal rights propaganda” or, “THAT STEAK LOOKS TASTY IMMA EAT IT LOLZ.” I feel like our JSF has gotta be careful because lots of people are already geared up to jump on his ass about anything, from his age to his bank account to his bank account at his age, ya know? Can’t give people extra fodder to fuck with him. But maybe I’m way off.
Also, it should be said, that the guy who does JSF’s covers, Jon Gray, is THE MAN. His book covers are ridiculous! I want him to design mine but really, it’s an easy job: An extreme close-up of my face and the words, “DON’T HATE ME BECAUSE I’M SO BEAUTIFUL”** printed under it. Don’t know what the book’s about just yet.
*Inspired by the New York Times piece on rejected book covers which you should read if you haven’t reached your max for the month GODDAMMIT WORDS COSTING MONEY AND SHIT.
**I put the “so” in the title so I don’t get sued for using a direct quote. Does that happen? I don’t know, I’m no historian. Also, I’m so beautiful.
Oatmeal, obese monkeys, and breast-milk ice cream in this week’s link-o-rama! »
First, and most important! IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! Happy birthday TO ME! You can thank my parents for their gift to the world.
[Latest documentary/cartoon from Cats Vs Human. What if I just call cartoons “documentaries” from now on? And phone calls will be “radio interviews”!]
They are selling breast-milk ice cream in London. BREAST-MILK ICE CREAM. While I’d rather die than eat breast-milk ice cream (right now I’d rather die than move, though), I’m in full support of this because it’s hilarious and brightens my world. Well Ok, I think maybe I’d try breast-milk ice cream for like $20,000. But is it going to pull in weird fetishists? Survey says: Probs.
Hey! Did you know that the SF SPCA appointed new presidents last month? Yes, more than one president! Two presidents—they’re calling it Four-Legged Leadership! One a super-savvy business man and the other a genius veterinarian.
Jerk scientists are getting poor monkeys fat and not letting them exercise, because we definitely can’t find any people like that to test on. The New York Times will tell you all about it!
PCRM is suing the federal government because the new nutrition guidelines are crap! They don’t like the “doublespeak” and “mumbo jumbo” the USDA uses when it should be calling out meat and dairy. I have a bone to pick with them too! Three servings of dairy, really? REALLY? CRAP!
UNC and Duke have picked Eating Animals as their summer reading requirement! I was supposed to read the biography of George Washington. Definitely did that.
From Mark Bittman, we have the most in-depth discussion of oatmeal I’ve ever seen! Specifically, oatmeal from McDonald’s: “Incredibly, the McDonald’s product contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. (Even without the brown sugar it has more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.)” Yowza!
Do you have a vegan tattoo? A tattoo with vegan subject matter? Super! Submit it to new website veganink.com and let’s get this party started!
Over at veganbaking.net, you can read an interview with Cinnaholic’s Shannon Michelle! Read all about how Cinnaholic came together and get advice for your own vegan baking biz! Can we all agree that Shannon Michelle is dead-sexy?!
The veggie internet has been a buzz about this story from Yahoo sports: Vegetarianism is all the rage in MMA! That’s ultimate fighting. It’s a sport. I guess.
There was a big earthquake in New Zealand! The Search Dog Foundation is on the case! New Zealand has its own dogs but the SDF’s training leader is going over to help with the search and rescue. We wish them the best of luck! Be safe and save people!
Lastly, don’t forget about the East Bay Vegan Bakesale tomorrow! Get treats, get pudgy!
Interview with a vegan: Sonya Cotton! »
Sonya Cotton is a vegan and musician with a serious animal-rights agenda. She’s close to releasing a six-song EP and raising money for an eco-friendly tour through Kickstarter. Laura interviewed Sonya about her musical projects and vegan lifestyle, and why she dedicated her new album to her animal-rescuing mother.
Vegansaurus: Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal-rights reasons, or a combination?
Sonya Cotton: I’m vegan primarily for animal-rights reasons. The magnitude of animal suffering that goes on inside of the meat/dairy/egg industries is what hits me the hardest, and makes me want to cry/scream/do my part to change the world. The environmental impact of these mega-industries is also horrific, and a very compelling reason (totally independent of animal-rights issues) to go vegan in my opinion. Health doesn’t figure as much into the equation for me, though I know some people really stand behind the health benefits of veganism.
Vegansaurus: How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
Cotton: I was an on-and-off vegetarian for 12 years, starting when I was 15. Then last May when I was on tour with my band on the East Coast, we played a house show for a group called the Montclair Ethical Vegans. The woman who led that group asked me after the show if I was vegan. When I told her I wasn’t (just a vegetarian and an animal-lover) she gently yet passionately told me all the reasons why she choses veganism, and gave me an amazing book to take with me, called Ninety-Five (a reference to the number of animal lives saved in a year from one person going vegan). I remember reading this book, which chronicles individual lives of animals that were destined for the slaughterhouse but somehow found their way to sanctuaries instead. I connected with those stories so deeply, I was really rooting for each one of those creatures, and I remember saying out loud to my boyfriend: “I have to go vegan, I totally believe in this.” Then I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, which utterly sealed the deal for me. (To those of you out there who haven’t read Eating Animals, please do!)
Vegansaurus: When did you start writing and performing music?
Cotton: I wrote my first song in high school (an embarrassingly bad love song.) But I’ve been performing since I was pretty young. I remember singing “By My Side” (from Godspell) in sixth grade at an open-mic at my school. In my head I was singing it to my English teacher who I was in love with at the time, and who was leaving the school: “Where are you going? Will you take me with you?” Heavy! I also remember my first solo in Girlchoir in fifth grade. I got to sing a line from the song “Vine and Fig Tree” that goes: “And into ploughshares turn their swords, nations shall learn war no more.” Good stuff! I was hooked at a young age.
Vegansaurus: Do you write about animals or animal issues?
Cotton: Yes, I frequently do. I feel deeply inspired by and connected to animals that I see around me in my daily life, as well as animals that I read about. I’m often taken by their beauty, their nobility, their lack of self-consciousness, their pursuit of what I see as “truth” (i.e. survival/self-preservation and social connection/love as opposed to fame and excessive amounts of money/material goods.) On my last album, Red River, I sing a lot about the dead deer by the roadside, and all that that sight represents to me. I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey so for much of my life that was a very common sight for me. In my more recent songs I am trying to write more clearly and directly about animal welfare issues. I just finished a song about a pig born into a factory farm, and on my upcoming album there is a song where I speak pretty directly to some of the fucked up things people do to animals: hunting falcons solely for their feathers, destroying wolf and deer habitat to build mansions and raise cattle, etc. I also frequently express the flipside of my outrage, in other words, my reverence and my gratefulness for the wild animal life around me.
Vegansaurus: Your album is dedicated to your mom; please tell us more.
Cotton: My mother passed away a year and a half ago; she had cancer for just 10 months. I’ve struggled a lot with this loss, and writing songs for her/about her/inspired by her has felt like a poignant form of therapy for me as well as a meaningful tribute to her. So many people are struggling with similar feelings that I’m struggling with, either because of a death of a loved one, or some other kind of loss, and I hope this album reaches them, helps them, makes them feel less alone.
I should also share that my mom was an amazing advocate for animals throughout her life: She took in homeless dogs and cats; fostered shelter animals; worked to stop the deer hunt in my hometown and promote a more humane, nonlethal, form of population control; and worked internationally with a number of incredible organizations over the years, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, working to stop the harbor seal hunt in Canada, and the farming of moon bears in China for their bile; New York City Audubon to preserve migratory bird populations; and most recently as the bird collisions campaign manager for the American Bird Conservancy.
Vegansaurus: Do you have any companion animals? Tell us all about them!
Cotton: There is an amazing cat named Buddy who lives in my house. His mom’s name is Lea, she’s my housemate. Buddy is a big beautiful guy; he’s often a blissed-out purring machine, so cute. But it kills me on a daily basis that I don’t have a dog in my life. As soon as I figure out how to live in a place that allows me to have a dog—dogs are not allowed in the house where I live—I’m going to foster a shelter dog. And then, once I have figured out how to be a touring musician that is also a responsible dog-owner, I’m going straight to a shelter and finding a dog who needs a permanent home. It’s going to be amazing. Until that day, I will continue walking/hanging out with dogs at Family Dog Rescue, a wonderful shelter in the city.
Vegansaurus: Do you have any super-cute photos of animals to share with us?
Cotton: Here is a picture of my family dog, Lorenzo, who passed away a couple of months ago. He was part of a litter of 10 puppies that my mom fostered when I was in 10th grade. My mom found homes for all of his nine brothers and sisters, but Lorenzo was returned to us twice! So we decided to keep him. He was such an amazing fellow, so handsome and spirited; I miss him.
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
Cotton: This is an impossible question! If I have to choose, I’m going to say…wolf.
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan cookbook?
Cotton: There are a bunch of vegan cookbooks floating around my kitchen (there are four vegans in my house), and I like all of them, but I’m not so inspired by any one of them to call it my favorite. I think I need a favorite vegan cookbook in my life, that’d be great! Any suggestions?
Vegansaurus: What’s your favorite vegan dish to make? What about for a vegan bakesale?
Cotton: I love Brussels sprouts sautéed with onions, garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar. I also love kale and fried tofu over brown rice or whole wheat pasta with a peanut sauce. For a bakesale, the chocolate chip cookies from How It All Vegan! are so delicious! Yum.
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant?
Cotton: I love the fresh imperial rolls at Sunflower (3111 16th St. at Valencia Street) affordable and delicious.
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan restaurant?
Cotton: Souley Vegan.
Vegansaurus: Tell us about the Kickstarter Project. How can we support you?
Cotton: I launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to fund the making of my next album: a six-song EP dedicated to my mom, as well as a northeast tour in May. The goal was $10,000, which, amazingly, was reached in just 11 days. People have been so generous! We’ve now exceeded our goal by about $500, and it runs until 7:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28. Though it sounds crazy, $10,000 was the bare minimum we needed to make this album and tour happen as we envisioned it: recording live in a professional studio, and traveling the East Coast by train, which is more expensive but kinder to the earth and the animals than cars and freeways! We’re so excited, and so thankful to have made it this far. But if we continue to exceed our goal this will allow us to expand the project in some really exciting ways. Depending on how much we get, we’ll be able to book an extra day in the studio, record an extra song, hire an arranger for several songs, and compensate the musicians involved more fairly.
If you’re interested supporting this project, have a look at my Kickstarter page where you can watch a video explaining the spirit of the project more fully. You can also see the different rewards for donations, (for example, you can pre-order a digital copy of the album for a donation of $10.) If you want to support me in a way that has nothing to do with money, you can help me spread the word about this project by sending the link to your friends, you can help me book a show on the east coast in May—ideally in a home or a church or a similarly intimate space—or come to my show in San Francisco this Friday, Feb. 11 at Viracocha!
It’s Friday afternoon, which means time for this week’s link-o-rama! »
Welcome to the very first Link-o-Rama of 2011! To celebrate, here’s a photo of our Megan Rascal’s perfect little princess Mitsy, featured last week on fuckyeahfelines, for obvious reasons.
And now, on to business! Let’s start with adorable animal stories to warm your heart on this chilly January day. Here is a very sweet video/memorial to recently deceased Taj, the elephant artist. Everything about it is beautiful, and here is a tissue, crybaby. This memorial to Paul the “psychic” octopus is a six-foot-high plastic statue and frankly, a mite garish, but “public demand from around the world” was so great, his aquarium had to do something, right? Totally.
Mind the whiplash as we move onto animal abuse! Out in Rancho Cordova (it’s like Sacramento), Calif., 50 bunnies were rescued from an illegal breeding operation run from “a recently condemned home,” which, sweet lord, those poor little rabbits. Our pals at Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary is now working to get them all adopted, which you can do through the Sacramento SPCA. Conveniently, Harvest Home is holding a Sanctuary Rabbit Spa Day tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. Go meet some buns, see how great they are, and help out a really good organization. Next let’s go to China and shut down this “farm” for swallows to make the nests that are eaten in bird’s nest soup; it looks like the missing link between an extra-horrendous Soviet-era apartment building and actual prison, and it is full of nesting birds. What happens to the “swiftlets,” a.k.a. the wee swallows for which the nests are ostensible homes? Mystery! Just like what happens inside those creepy cement walls. We know that Sweden is all about hunting wolves again this year—last year the government OKed the murder of 27, this year it’s 20. Wolves “are kept out” of the northern part of the country to prevent them eating up all the reindeer—whatever “ke[eping] out” entails—but this has led to pack isolation and inbreeding, the solution to which is clearly, obviously shooting some of them dead. Of course! Everyone is so smart.
Do they eat the wolves? We know love people love eating animals! Too bad a major report from the British government this week basically said, Meat production is totally unsustainable. Lions specifically got lucky this week, as another “let’s eat lion!” dude from Arizona (seriously what is it with that state?) bowed to public pressure and took the lion meat tacos off his menu. Now what will bored omnivores eat for thrills? GOD you’re a bunch of assholes. You’re also being completely fooled by food companies, whose claims of “health” and “structure/fuction” are poorly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, because why wouldn’t they say anything to get you to buy their products? McDonald’s shows off its “all-natural ingredients” in its gross-ass “food” with realistic images of everything except the dead animals, which are presented as figurines. Maybe because no one who wants to eat chicken also wants to see what a dead fucking chicken looks like! On the positive side, Sodexo has chosen to participate in Meatless Mondays! Sodexo is a massive “food services provider,” this is kind of a huge and wonderful deal.
Now it’s been scientifically proven that eating more produce makes you objectively better-looking (Vegansaurus is staffed by very attractive geniuses, exclusively), maybe you non-vegans want to involve yourselves with us hot vegetable-eating bitches. If so, Laura wrote you a way better date-a-vegan guide than this nonsense from Grist, but we all know Laura is the cleverest, as evidenced by this week’s Three Vegan Dishes Worth (Temporarily) Ditching Meat and Dairy For, and The Week in Vegan. Like I said, very attractive geniuses.
Don’t forget to protest the dog show this weekend! Afterward—as in, beginning Monday and throughout the month of February—the SF SPCA is offering residents free spay/neutering services! Yeah, FREE. So you with the “intact” dog, do the world a favor and fix him/her, lest you burden the world with even more puppies it doesn’t need. WE HAVE ENOUGH PUPPIES.
[Thanks to reader Rosie for the story about bird’s nest farms! We love tips!]
Clever readers: Use your brains to win prizes from CBC! »
Now they want to know what we think, and they’ve come up with a contest to encourage everyone to be especially smart. The rules are super-simple: Go to the contest page, and post your most persuasive argument for why humans
should or should not eat meat, in one sentence or less. That’s it! The winner will receive “some excellent prizes,” notably a copy of Eating Animals, and Q host Jian Ghomeshi will read the winning entry on the air!
The deadline is Thursday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. Eastern (2 p.m. Pacific, you forgetful geniuses), and there isn’t any language about having to live in Canada or North America at all to enter or win or anything, so wherever you are, Vegansaurus readers, you really should give it a go! Just one little sentence! Go be brilliant for us.
Fast & Furious Giveaway: Tickets to see Jonathan Safran Foer speak at the Herbst! »
YOU GUYS! We have some free tickets (at least two, maybe more!) to the City Arts & Lectures talk with Jonathan Safran Foer at the Herbst Theater TOMORROW (Wednesday, Sept. 21) NIGHT! Tickets are $20 but we’re giving ‘em away to a few lucky Vegansaurus readers!
For a chance to win, let us know your favorite animal in the comments, or make some sort of mega-plea. Preferential treatment is given to omnivores (who could really benefit from this talk), people who will make him vegan cupcakes, or people who will ask hard! hitting! questions! that make! people! think! (but in a non-asshole way) BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF IS THAT YOU?
We’ll announce winners early tomorrow morning SO DO IT TO IT. Never fear, If you don’t win, there are still tickets available.
See Jonathan Safran Foer read from Eating Animals! »
This is short notice, vegans, but famous author and vegetarian Jonathan Safran Foer will be reading from his book, Eating Animals in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 21 and 22. He’s doing two readings each day: on Tuesday, one at San Francisco State at 1 p.m. and at the Commonwealth Club at 7 p.m.; and on Wednesday, one at 826 Valencia at 12:30 p.m. and at 6 p.m., as part of the City Arts and Lectures Series at the Herbst Theater on Sept. 22. Foer is also doing readings in other parts of the USA and one in Toronto, Ontario, so check it!
If you haven’t read Eating Animals, then do look into it. Foer is a truly great writer, so even if you’re already vegan, the book is a joy to read. It’s also a great inspiration for relatable, compassionate vegan advocacy and provides some fantastic conversation points for those times when a person who eats meat wants to talk to you about veganism. All in all, JSF is a stand up guy (see our post on his appearance on The Colbert Report); now who wants to bring him vegan cupcakes?