Nice one, Italy: police raid a bear-meat banquet »
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is gross for about a billion reasons; this week, it’s his political partner in Imer, Italy, who held a bear-meat banquet as a political fundraiser/fuck-you to Italian bear conservationists.
The party, the Northern League, is made up entirely of jerks who also do things like walk a pig around a future site of a mosque in order to defile it. They claimed they had imported the 53 kg. (116.6 lbs.) of dead bear from Slovenia, but they couldn’t prove it, so the carabinieri seized the meat before it was all cooked. Neat? These people are so gross. Only 35 bears live in the Dolomites! According to the Northern League, they’re all “marauding” devils, roaming the countryside eating livestock and threatening residents, and the proper way to address this issue is to eat them. Obviously.
Some party members told the Guardian that they think members of Berlusconi’s party arranged the raid, which is possible—cabinet ministers all over the place have been condemning the banquet. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be associated with a bunch of reactionary cretins either, especially if my party and I were totally losing elections across the country. No one’s all bad, and if Berlusconi is good to bears, then maybe we can forgive him for like one bunga-bunga party.
Endangered, Will Robinson! »
Today is Endangered Species Day!
Endangered Species Day happens annually, and is dedicated to acknowledging the planet’s many endangered species and recognizing the amazing efforts being made globally to save them from extinction. How awesome is that?!
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services even created this super-nifty search engine that allows you to find endangered animals by state, country, and species. For example, there are 18 species in New York state that are either endangered or threatened, including the humpback whale, the Canada Lynx, and FIVE types of sea turtles. Damn, yo!
Here are a few ways to spread the word:
- Send an E-Card!
- Change your Facebook/Twitter/eHarmony profile picture to rep your favorite endangered animal!
- Find an event near you!
- Make a list, and check it twice!
- Plan an event or meetup in your area!
I don’t know if “celebrate” is the most appropriate term, but it’s definitely a good idea to raise awareness on behalf of our non-human friends. Let’s do this!
[Canadian Lynx image via digitalART2 via flickr]
Happy Easter from Vegansaurus and the teeny tiny Washington pygmy rabbit! These little guys were totally almost extinct when conservation groups and the Oregon Zoo took in the remaining buns and started a breeding program. Normally I hate zoos but if they save bunnies, I like that. Now they are going to start reintroducing them into the wild! Go little buns! Get your freak on!
I like these bunnies because they are totally punk rock. Just kidding; their ears are colored to tell them apart. Yeah, don’t try to get to know them or anything! Those damn impersonal scientists and their proclivity for hair [Ed.: HARE] dye.
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 Vegansaurus.com!]
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.
*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.
Save the wolves! Keep them protected! »
This whole budget business is messy as my room. All these goddamn riders! One such rider is the de-listing of wolves as an endangered species in Idaho and Montana. This is utter bullshit and really sad. From Earthjustice via the LA Times: “For the first time in history, Congress is removing a species…from the Endangered Species Act based on political, rather than biological, judgments.” Like I explained last week, wolves are being attacked for eating livestock and competing for “game” with hunters.
I don’t really sympathize with livestock farmers but that’s a better reason than that of the hunters; at least it’s like about their livelihood (as animal abusers). It’s like I’m sorry the wolves are making it more difficult for you guys to hunt but isn’t that part of the point? If you want easy, go to the damn grocery store. De-listing an endangered species so you have an easier time hunting is just depraved thinking and sneaking it into the budget agreement is so slimy.
From Friends of Animals, here’s how you can help:
Listed below are the phone numbers and contact info for the Senate. Please call not only your own senators, but every Senate Democrat as many times as you can. Please also pass this information along to other animal advocates. Wolves need every voice possible.
Capital Switchboard Numbers: give the name of the senator and you will be transferred to their office. You will then either speak to a staff member, or to voice mail on the weekend.
When possible ask to speak to each senator’s environmental aide. This will give you a better chance to get your message across because you will be talking to someone who is familiar with the issue.
The delisting language must be stripped out of the final bill:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
522 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224.3542
Toll-free for Nevadans: (866) 736.7343
INDIVIDUAL LIST OF SENATORS:
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.)
Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.)
Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.)
Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Comments: (202) 456.1111
Switchboard: (202) 456.1414
Another important thing to note is that this isn’t just about wolves: “as [Josh Mogerman, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C.] said the rider could mean threats to additional species in the future. ‘There’s a process in place for dealing with these issues in the courts. But by Congress acting, it’s just a completely different animal,’ he said. ‘You look down the [Endangered Species Act], you see critter after critter and plant after plant that are probably inconvenient to special interests all over the country. And what [they] have done is opened the door to removing plants and animals from the ESA by whim, rather than science.’”
[Cartoon by me, photo from Living With Wolves]
Idaho is a bunch of jerks, declares wolves disaster emergency »
Goddamn Idaho! The Idaho House has passed a bill that would declare the wolf population—a population protected as a fucking endangered species—a disaster emergency. That is so wrong! “Disaster emergency” is usually reserved for things like floods and wildfires—not animals doing what animals do. People are mad because wolves are stealing livestock from farmers and killing animals that I guess hunters think they should be killing instead. That’s called being a wolf! Maybe part of raising sheep is that some get lost to wolves. Maybe part of hunting is that you are in competition with animals that actually have to hunt and kill for food and only take as much as they need. I guess Idaho can’t wrap its bloodthirsty mind around that.
A federal judge is actually deciding now if wolves should be removed from the endangered list but I guess the Idaho House doesn’t have to wait around for silly things like laws; they can just declare a disaster emergency. Bingo! Open season on an endangered species. Congratulations, Idaho, worse state of the month.
You can read more about wolves and how you can help at defenders.org.
Slow loris: so cute, so sad. »
Poor slow loris. Somehow I missed this slow loris YouTube craze but according to conservationists, these videos are encouraging the cruel and illegal trade of the cute but endangered animal. You can read all about it on Mongabay and the Independent. It’s a DOWNER: “The only reason the loris isn’t biting the person holding it in the video is because it has had its teeth ripped out with pliers.”
Just because something is cute, people don’t have to OWN them as pets! And people have this idea that we have some sort of right to have every kind of animal in the world in a zoo or on display for our own curiosity—maybe you just don’t get to see a real live slow loris. You won’t die. Meanwhile, the slow loris probably will. I hate everybody.
Wikipedia has a wealth of information on slow loris conservation but I’m having trouble finding ways we could help. Traffic does have information on the situation and I suppose you could donate to them. International Animal Rescue does slow loris conservation so that may be a good place to donate.
Lastly, here’s a different sort of slow loris video. Two slow lorises being treated for injuries by a rescue doctor; not nearly as many video views, eh?
[can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
Mountain gorilla population increases! Maybe we aren’t going to hell! »
Dead animals got you down? How about some good news! The population of mountain gorillas in eastern Africa has increased by 26 percent since 2003! Damn, gorillas! Get your freak on!
A census conducted by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme in collaboration with several other organizations reports that there are now 480 mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif region of eastern Africa. That means there are 100 more gorillas alive today than in 2003, for a total of 786 mountain gorillas in the world!
All right, I’m depressed again. I didn’t realize that “critically endangered species” meant there were so few mountain gorillas! Less than 1,000? Jeez. And critically endangered is some serious shit. But let’s not get too depressed! They still managed to hugely increase their population in a remarkably short time. Threats to the mountain gorilla include poaching, habitat loss and even war. Head over to the World Wildlife Fund gorilla help page to see what you can do.
You know guys, mountain gorillas are herbivores, save for a bug here and there. And mountain gorillas are stronger than any old meat-eating human! If our close genetic relatives the gorillas can subsist on a plant-based diet, maybe it’s not so “natural” that people eat meat? I know bonobos are our closest relatives and they eat some animals but a mountain gorilla could totally destroy a bonobo! Why? Because vegans dominate!
[photo by mrflip]
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!
Lion burgers, or Why I am never reading the news again »
You’ll have to forgive me if this post is a little rough around the edges; it’s really hard to type while you’re holding the pieces of your recently exploded head together. Anyway, the outrage this time is none other than lion burgers.
Some genius in Mesa, Ariz. (thanks again, Arizona!) got the bright and not-at-all crazy idea to serve up burgers made from locally raised, free-range LION at his Italian-ish looking restaurant, Il Vinaio as a kind of tribute to the World Cup happening right now in South Africa/whorish publicity stunt. Never mind that South African cuisine traditionally skews away from hamburgers, lion or not—to me, this reads like just another episode of “Adventurous Eating for Assholes.”
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised; this is the next logical step in the whole “meat is the new black” offal slide into culinary hipsterdom. As offal-eating websites and articles descend on the internet like a pack of intestine-filled locusts, culinary hipsters are apparently ever striving to find new and horrible ways to indulge their palates. It appears that lion burgers are the next step, and all I can really say is UGH.
What makes this perhaps even more sad and pathetic is that the restaurateur who’s so interested in pushing the envelope that he secures LION MEAT for his menu apparently can’t do better than a fucking burger. A BURGER. That’s right—the exact type of food that was INVENTED to disguise the taste of inferior meat is now being used as a showcase for the meat of an ENDANGERED FUCKING SPECIES? In what kind of fucked-up universe does that make sense? I guess it at least puts the lie to the old saw the whole-pig-and-offal set like to trot out, about how “limiting” it would be to cook without meat. Sorry guys, looks like the bar for culinary crutch just got set a couple notches higher.
[Thanks to Rosie for the heads-up & investigation!]