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04/21/2011

Clearing the MeatPhotoGate air!   »

Disclaimer: I am a columnist and the editor-at-large for VegNews magazine. I obviously have ties to the magazine and I am proud of my relationship with them. That said, I am not in the office for day-to-day decisions, and other than emailing my advice on how I thought this whole thing should be dealt with, I haven’t talked to them about it. Because I have ties with VegNews, I didn’t want to comment on the situation unless I could be 100 percent honest about my feelings, and I feel I can be now. Yay for expressing feelings! (I say that because I’m a woman.)

When the whole thing surfaced, I have to admit, I was taken aback. I knew that VegNews used stock photos (I mean, I have eyes) and honestly, I didn’t think it was a huge deal. I thought it was industry standard, and dismissed it as that. Bigger things to tackle, etc. Reading a lot of the insightful and brilliant comments on Megan’s post (our readers are the BEST. Even when you’re mad at us, I still love you for being all opinionated and sassy and on it!) and all over the internet, I realize now that I was wrong about the use of stock photos. Although I sympathized with VegNews' initial response, I knew when I read it that it wasn't the apology and commitment to change that people needed to hear. I think it’s understandable that VegNews responded the way they did because when you’re the target of an exposé!!!-style post like that, your natural inclination is to defend yourself. They’re human, just like all of us. I know I’ve said stuff here on Vegansaurus that was not right, and been called out, and had to eat shit and promise to be and do better.

But I’m telling you, I did not come around immediately! As it stands now, I’m super-stoked about their sincere apology and I’m ready to move on with them to become an even better and radder magazine. There are incredible, passionate people who work at VegNews—some of the best vegans (and people!) I know—and I would honestly say that even if I didn’t have ties. Hell, I wouldn’t be involved with them if I didn’t think that! Life is too short to half-ass it, know what I’m sayin’?? So, now you know what’s up with me, because my opinions are very important and that’s why I blog! Also, for the occasional free sample of candy. That is also why I blog!

But before I can move on, there are a few things I would like to clear up as a self-appointed MeatGate Scandal Expert (you love it) (maybe). A lot of information and misinformation has been going around and it’s hard to know who to listen to. Different authorities in the vegan community took different stances and I think that’s good and everyone should have their say. Now normally, your girl (that’s me!) doesn’t like to talk smack on other vegans—ex-vegans, bring it on! but vegans, not so much. But when someone is exploiting a situation and spreading misinformation, I gotta start flapping my gums. That’s why I want to address Erik Marcus’ whole reaction over on Vegan.com. I was disappointed and a little freaked out by how he handled things. He’s posted 10 times on this issue. For real, 10 TIMES. AS OF YET. To put this in perspective: Quarrygirl, the blog that “broke” the story, posted TWICE. Marcus? TEN TIMES. I mean, I guess it’s a break from his incessant blogging and reblogging of Jamie “save America’s fat kids via organic skinless chicken breasts!” Oliver and Mark “not vegan but okay we love him too” Bittman, but jeezus louiseus!

I’d like to respond to a few of the things he said. As someone who is involved with VegNews, I know some things the general public does not (read: I’m fancy), and so I thought it would be helpful to clear up some of Marcus’ not quite-truths and frankly kinda-crazy statements. Fun! Here goes:


In the beginning
, Marcus was dropping bombs like:

I should offer some analysis: with the exception of the New Yorker, the Economist, and a handful of other periodicals, most magazines suck. 

That should read, “With the exception of a handful of white-male-dominated magazines that I read when Mark Bittman tweets about them, all magazines suck, because I am an expert on magazines!” Did a magazine kill his mom? Really, it’s just bizarre and snobbish.

More wisdom:

It’s the same kind of sociopathic know-you’re-gonna-get-caught-but-do-it-anyway behavior you would expect from a Ted Haggard, a Larry Craig, or a Bernie Madoff.

He just compared VegNews to BERNIE MADOFF. I’m sorry, WHAT? No, they are still a vegan magazine with a dedicated vegan staff, who are doing a lot for the cause. They are not sociopaths swindling people out of their life savings. Some perspective, please.

But enough about VegNews. Niche lifestyle magazines are for chumps who still think it’s the 1990s. They’re filled with ads for overpriced supplements and yuppie doohickeys, and the editorial content is typically assembled by short-timers who don’t give a shit.

Just a cheap, weird blow. Niche lifestyle magazines are actually doing pretty OK right now, and I’d love to know where he gets his intelligence. And this is rich: FILLED WITH ADS for OVERPRICED SUPPLEMENTS. All Vegan.com does is push supplements so Marcus can make money off the site! It’s called RUNNING A BUSINESS. As for the bit about “short-timers who don’t give a shit”, many of the contributors to VegNews are people Marcus links to all the time, including Mat Thomas and Mark Hawthorne. It’s clear to me he hasn’t read the magazine in a long time (maybe ever?). He later states that VegNews doesn’t pay its writers, and I know that to be untrue. I feel like he’s been holding onto some grudge toward VegNews for eons and saw this as the time to unleash his bottled up anger. Kinda like when you have all these things you want to say to your mom and then one day you just burn her house down? Kinda like that. And what really sucks about the whole thing is many of his posts could have just been sent to the editors at VegNews. As he was on the advisory board, he could have advised them a bit instead of posting 10 times. There’s something to be said for getting two sides to a story, too.

VegNews has always had the chance to leverage strong editorial judgment to bring you the very best of the vegan world, but they consistently squander that opportunity and instead give you lowest-common denominator crap like wedding issues, celebrity fluff, and popularity contest awards.

Again, he obviously hasn’t read VegNews in awhile (or ever), because they have some of the strongest, hardest-hitting reporting on vegan issues out there! Just a few that come to mind are Mark Hawthorne’s excellent “Injustice for All” piece on the human cost of factory farming, Marla Rose’s plastics exposé, Mat Thomas’ piece on food recalls, and “The Price of Free Speech” by Will Potter. Yeah, total fluff. Marcus also gripes about how their content isn’t available for free online. Again, they’re a business, and never claimed otherwise! If he’s as concerned about the trees as he says he is, they offer a tree-free edition. Also, they provide updated blog posts on their website every day. Honestly, about as many as Marcus does, with the added bonus of no begging-for-money posts. I get it, I make a little money off of Vegansaurus (roughly  25 cents a post, no joke) but I never attacked anyone else for trying to earn a living. Plus, he gripes about their celebrity coverage and writes about Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman on the regular! I mean, so do we but we love that that shit and don’t claim otherwise! Methinks he’s upset he never won any of the popularity contests. :(

After VegNews issued an apology [pdf]Marcus wrote:

A post-mortem on this mess and its favorable conclusion: QuarryGirl and I—as well as everyone else pushing VegNews to do the right thing—got a lot of criticism for our efforts this week. 

Uh, dude. Don’t count yourself in with Quarrygirl. They had the balls to BREAK the story and do not have a relationship with VegNews. Up until the day of the scandal, Marcus was on VegNews' advisory board. He needs to stop taking credit for something he didn’t do. I also enjoy that he refers to Quarrygirl as she, when it was Mr. Meaner, another writer on the site, who broke the story. It’s a website, dude, it’s not a “she.” I mean, if Marcus thinks he’s in the trenches with QG doing god’s work, he should at least come correct. Another difference between Quarrygirl and Vegan.com? Quarrygirl allows comments, whereas Vegan.com does not. Ironic that he should run his mouth about VegNews' commenting policy and not leave himself open to deal with public response. Uh, I guess you can comment on his Facebook page if you have an account and want to give him more “likes.”

It’s clear to me that Marcus has a bone to pick with the publication for whatever reason. Maybe it didn’t want to go to the prom with him? Tears!

I totally understand the need for everyone to talk about this publicly and to sort out their feelings. People need to be heard, changes needed to be made, and ultimately, it’ll make VegNews and the vegan community even stronger. And that’s exciting! Let’s take veganism to the Next Level, and I know VegNews will be there making the movement look pretty and smart. Now that this thing has been done to death,* I’m excited to put my energy into pushing forward the movement, too!** Of course, I had to get a word in on all this shiz because DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS FOR ME TO KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT!? I swear, I developed hemorrhoids from the strain. LAURA! GROSS! What? You wanted to know how I feel, and now you know! Now, who wants to get drunk and talk about kittens? Holler at your girl!

*Those of you who asked for my contribution, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. You know I’m one wordy bitch with THINGS! to SAY! Did someone say something about getting drunk? Because YES PLEASE.

**Like, check out these vegan geniuses who are already launching a vegan stock photo site! It’s the same geniuses behind Food for Lovers vegan queso, that Texas-style cheesy wonder food we love! Here’s to vegans coming up with solutions and making that shit happen. To you, I raise my plate of MEGA NACHOS and my Tofutti Cutie (breakfast!) because you’re rad!

Epilogue to this long-ass post because I know you’d like to hear more from me: Marcus is still at it! Just today, Marcus blogged about Nikki Bennoit getting arrested for leafletting at a community college and then goes on to basically bag on community colleges for being less than “real” colleges. Yuck. Way to make all vegans look like snob elitist jerks.

03/25/2011

What do vegans get from a vegan/omnivore alliance?  »

Tom Philpott has proposed a vegan/omnivore alliance against animal factories (VOAAF. I know, it’s missing an A. And I think “V O triple-A F” sounds cool). Read the piece, tell me your reactions. I believe it’s very well intentioned so I wanted to like it but it just left me thinking, “WTF do I get out of it?” Philpott says if 99 percent of meat is produced on factory farms and these “conscious” meat-eaters oppose this meat, “then vegans and omnivores agree on 99 percent of the meat issue.” That’s just not true, is it? While I definitely want better treatment for animals in farms, I formally object to animals being exploited by humans—that objection makes up more than 1 percent of my beliefs.

Besides this math issue, the main problem I have is believing these conscious meat-eaters really never eat factory farm meat. A vegan at the baseball stadium will not get a pork hotdog just because a vegan one isn’t available—will these meat-eaters do the same? Would they forgo the traditional baseball day hotdog simply because the meat comes from a factory farm?

Philpott wants vegans to put aside the majority of our beliefs (it’s not just 1 percent) but what is he asking the omnivore faction to do? It’s not like Grist is running tons of articles encouraging people to not eat meat (or really anything positive about veganism, check out their articles!). When they address food issues, it’s more just, “EAT MEAT! But just this kind!” I believe we need to be encouraging the whole world to EAT LESS MEAT, period. Also, what’s more exclusionary: asking people to eat more inexpensive veggies, beans, and grains, or telling them to make sure that their dead animals come from the 1 percent that’s up to Philpott’s standards? 

In the end, I do want better treatment for animals and factory farms make me sick so I would support these more thoughtful omnivores. It would really be a great thing if meat-, egg- and dairy-eaters were to forgo all factory farm products—but is that what Philpott and the like are promising? The way it sounds now, Philpott wants us to take two steps back and the omnivores to just, what? Keep on with the same? If he could get a bunch of meat-/dairy-/egg-eaters to completely swear off all factory farm products, then I would definitely be interested in the alliance. It’s not so hard—we vegans already do it.

Read some other reactions on the topic by Erik Marcus and the comments he links to by the excellent Adam Merberg.

UPDATE!: As Laura reminded me, if Philpott does intend to include vegans, how come not one vegan advocate was listed in the post? I am excited to learn more about this and participate in it but I’m not interested in a meeting of the minds where I do all the meeting.

03/16/2011

NYT, you are killing me with this trash!  »


Good god this is some crap! I kind of don’t even want to link it because it’s so bad but if you can stomach it, read this piece by Carol Kaesuk Yoon about how plants have feelings. Do they just let anyone write for the New York Times now? Because I think my dog is more eloquent than Yoon. In fact, NYT should hire Figaro because homeboy needs to start pulling his weight around here. I mean, look at this sentence: “In particular, given our many connections to animals, not least of all the fact that we are ourselves animals, it can give a person pause to realize that our most frequent contact with these kin might just be the devouring of them.” Are there no editors? She has so many run-on sentences, I’m wondering if she gets paid by the comma. Is it April 1? No, really, somebody check the date. It’s like someone from the Onion's editorial staff took over the whole damn paper.

How tired is this “plants have feelings!” angle? I don’t care what anyone tells you, no one save your average schizophrenic actually believes plants have feelings. How many times do we have to say it: it takes a lot more plants to raise meat than eating plants directly! From Cornell: “Each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce an estimated 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. About 26 million tons of the livestock feed comes from grains and 15 million tons from forage crops. For every kilogram [about 2.2 pounds] of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed nearly 6 kg [about 13.2 pounds] of plant protein.” PLUS, an insane amount of the rainforest is destroyed every year to clear land for cattle grazing—those are all plants too. SO, to reduce harm to plants, DON’T EAT MEAT. Yoon’s logic is flawed; “It’s just that as far as I was concerned, if eating a tofu dog was as much a crime against life as eating bratwurst, then pass the bratwurst, please.” No, because to get that bratwurst, a whole lot more plants had to die! Way more than die for your tofu dog. Go cry over that.

Besides this, there’s also the simple fact that plants don’t feel pain. You can disagree with me but you’d be wrong. It’s my own theory but let me break it down: pain doesn’t exist for it’s own sake, it’s a tool—specifically, a tool for mobile beings so that they can better survive. Fire is bad for you so getting burned hurts; this way, you learn to avoid fire and survive to produce your offspring. Plants are not mobile! It makes no evolutionary sense that plants would feel pain if it doesn’t help them survive. I know, there are plenty of things that make no evolutionary sense, but none of them reach the scope of an entire category of life such as plants. I mean, really. Now consider this: the majority of plants benefit from pruning. While she’s lamenting the poor plants getting their stems cut, these plants are flourishing better than their untouched peers. Why in the world would pruning be painful if it actually increases a plant’s viability? Like I said, pain is a tool, it’s not an end.

Check out this idiotic sentence: “Here the lack of a face on plants becomes important, too, faces being requisite to humans as proof not only that one is dealing with an actual individual being, but that it is an individual capable of suffering.” WTF is she talking about? I don’t even know where she gets this from. Then there’s this: “Plants don’t just react to attacks, though. They stand forever at the ready. Witness the endless thorns, stinging hairs and deadly poisons with which they are armed. If all this effort doesn’t look like an organism trying to survive, then I’m not sure what would.” No one said plants don’t try to survive—but that doesn’t mean they feel pain! But of course, like every successful organism, plants have evolved to survive. Simply stating this in no way supports her point.

Oh my god and get a load of this offensive offensiveness: “Slavery and genocide have been justified by the assertion that some kinds of people do not feel pain, do not feel love — are not truly human — in the same way as others.” Is she serious? Harvesting plants is comparable to genocide? Fucking idiot. And towards the end she keeps talking about “our tribe” and it’s the lamest pseudo-anthropology I’ve ever encountered. STFU. Is the bar at the Times really so low that this crap slips by? Because in that case, we really should try to get Figaro hired. Let’s start a campaign.

I like what Erik Marcus had to say about this asinine sentence: “Perhaps you’re having trouble equating a radish to a lamb to a person whose politics you hate to your beloved firstborn.”:

If she’s going to equate—her word, not mine—a radish to a lamb to your firstborn—the author should show some courage and take the argument where it leads and provide a recipe for cooking your first-born with radishes, since she apparently can’t see any moral distinctions whatsoever regarding what we put into our mouths. None of this argument is sincere. It’s feigned concern for the sake of bypassing the responsibility to make any ethical choices about food whatsoever.

The Times' coverage of meat issues is kind of all over the place—that’s all good! A newspaper should cover all sides of an issue but this is NOT a side, it’s poorly reasoned, nonsensical crap. As Laura put it, “if I want to stand on a street corner yelling about how there is an three-headed alien living on my shoulder, that’s fine, but don’t give me a fucking column in the most respected paper in the United States to argue my point as if it were valid.” I need something intelligent to read as a chaser or I may vom. Not only does this piece make me hate meat-apologists, it makes me hate literacy.

11/24/2010

Why turkeys RULE!  »


Sorry guys, I didn’t have a good turkey pun for the title! My bad. But as it is the week of Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Turkey Day, I thought I would bust out some knowledge and tell you all about why turkeys are totally neat.

First of all, turkeys are not dumb, bumbling idiots like people say; on the contrary, they are AWESOME. They can see in full color, run up to 25 miles an hour, and turkeys that have not been genetically perverted can fly in bursts up to 55 miles an hour. That is not even the beginning! Just read what poultry scientist (I think that means bird-torturer?) Tom Savage has to say: “I’ve always viewed turkeys as smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings…the dumb tag simply doesn’t fit.” But wait there’s more!: “If you throw an apple to a group of turkeys, they’ll play with it together…kind of like football.” Um, THAT RULES. I want to marry that anecdote.

Yes, turkeys are very social animals. PETA quotes Erik Marcus on his turkey experiences: “Turkeys remember your face and they will sit closer to you with each day you revisit. Come back day after day and, before long, a few birds will pick you out as their favorite and they will come running up to you whenever you arrive. It’s definitely a matter of the birds choosing you rather than of you choosing the birds. Different birds choose different people.” Awww, they pick you. Heartwarming. Except that ALL the turkeys would come running to me because I’m sure turkeys would love me. I’ve never met any but I said the same thing about goats and it turns out goats are super into me.

Now, guess what else? Turkeys are picky eaters! They won’t just eat what’s in front of them, they will hunt around—jumping up into trees—to find the food they prefer. What do they prefer? Raspberries! That’s what the Farm Sanctuary feeds them for the big Thanksgiving party FOR the turkeys. People, I have to admit, I find picky eaters so endearing. I’m sure partly because I was branded a “picky eater” as a child and always got crap for it. In my house, being a picky eater used to mean that for some wacky reason, you didn’t want to eat steak or pork chops every night. Meanwhile, I had to deep-fat fry tofu to get my dad to try it! But whatevs, I’m totally over it. I SAID I’M OVER IT. Besides, do you know what “picky eating” actually is? A goddamn discerning palate. Turkey, YOU GO GIRL.

Wait wait wait, there’s more! Turkeys are totally into music! Yeah dude, they like songs! In the ‘70s, San Franciscan Jim Nollman did, like, choral arrangements with turkeys. I’m not even kidding!:

The San Francisco resident had learned that wild male turkeys can gobble on cue—especially in response to loud or high-pitched sounds. So Nollman visited a turkey farm in Sonoma County, sat down among 300 adult male turkeys and serenaded them with the folk song “Froggy Went a-Courtin’.” When he raised his voice during the chorus, the turkeys joined in. His recording of the event, “Music to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner By,” became a local radio hit.

You can listen to the recording on the Smithsonian website! DO IT! Because that’s kind of the coolest thing I’ve heard of since turkey football.

To top things off, there are some super-sweet stories from various turkey adoptions and rescues. See, turkeys love to cuddle and hang out with their friends and follow people around. Like this turkey named Alice (R.I.P.) at the Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary in Maryland; she just loved kids so much! When the school kids would come to the sanctuary, she would follow them around and, needless to say, hilarity ensued:

Once when a group of students on a tour were misbehaving, their teacher ordered them to line up in single file in front of the bus. The children dutifully walked to the bus, with Alice in tow. When the teacher walked over to discuss the children’s behavior with them, he was quite surprised to see that Alice had taken her place in the lineup, directly between two of the errant youngsters, waiting patiently for the teacher’s lecture.

I know, try not to die from the cuteness! Yes, very cute but that’s not my favorite turkey! My favorite turkey is Lydia the hugging turkey (R.I.P. too) that used to live at the Farm Sanctuary in C.A. She doesn’t appear to be on Farm Sanctuary’s site anymore but basically, people would go visit her and wait in line for a hug! You would bend down and then she would come running over to you and throw her head over your shoulder. Um, KILL ME THAT’S TOO CUTE.

I’ll tell you, I can’t WAIT to get my own turkeys! One day, friends, one day. In the meantime, we can all adopt a turkey at the Farm Sanctuary! I also want you to spread the gospel about why turkeys rule! And finally, have a happy Thanksgiving everybody!

[picture from Farm Sanctuary’s celebration FOR the turkeys, 2008]

08/06/2010

The world is bleak: fighting little dogs for half a cracker with this week’s link-o-rama!  »


Pamela Anderson loves animals! She paid all the expenses for the transport of 50 homeless dogs from New Orleans to a pet adoption program in Virginia, less the two she adopted herself. That is a good thing that a person with money can do. [photo credit: AP]

Get busy with these events!
Tonight eat snacks from Vegansaurus pals Fat Bottom Bakery at the Oakland Art Murmur! Also, there’s art, and wandering around Oakland, where it may be warmer than the city! Double-also, art shows very frequently serve free liquor. Go expand your cultural horizons, starting around 5 p.m. and continuing until it’s not entirely clear, but not very late (8ish?).

Tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 7, Oakland gets to be awesome again (!) and host this month’s SF Underground Market. Which is technically a “Bay Area” underground market, but, all right. It’s at 24th Street and Broadway, runs from 5 to 11 p.m., and has a $2 entry fee. There’ll be live music, drinks for purchase, and all kinds of food vendors. The location, incidentally, is three (big) blocks from the 19th Street BART station.

If you didn’t find what you wanted in Oakland, or were unable (TOO LAZY) to get there, probably you should get over to Hayes Valley Farm on Sunday, Aug. 8 for the Fresh Produce Free-For-All. It is exactly what it sounds like, apparently, and it sounds like AWESOME. Hayes Valley Farm is on Laguna Street between Oak and Fell Streets, and the Fresh Produce party is scheduled from 12:30 to 6 p.m.

Alternatively, you could participate in the protest honoring the 40th anniversary of Lolita the orca’s capture. It will be held at “Six Flags Discovery Kingdom” (formerly known as Marine World Africa USA, the saddest not-SeaWorld your Vegansaurus ever visited) in Vallejo from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

More protests next week! On Wednesday, Aug. 11 protest the opening night of the Ringling Bros. circus in Oakland (everything is happening in Oakland now! And HBIC Laura just moved there. This is not a coincidence). The protest will be at the Oracle Arena (7000 Coliseum Way) from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and our pals at Cinnaholic are offering 20 percent off to every protester who brings in a flyer from the event! More details about this and other circus protests here.

Educate yourself with these thrilling news items!
This week in Meat news, British people found themselves accidentally drinking milk and eating meat from cloned cows. Whoopsie daisy! Esquire wouldn’t mind cloned meat, but thinks in vitro a much better (and safer) idea. England is exporting miniature cows to the U.S., which SFoodie considered “might save the planet,” what with their being extra-small and needing so little food and water and space (the better to pack you on the feedlot, my tiny ones!) Good made a super-disgusting chart of the “average American” annual diet, which include 110 pounds of “red meat,” and 600.5 pounds of non-cheese, non-egg dairy products. So that’s all milk and yogurt and cream? Ew. Christina Pirello reminded the omnivores that their hamburgers are totally disgusting, though she didn’t “[go] all vegan on [them],” just suggested, like, the Dan Barber way, Dan Barber’s so great! (no he’s not.) Erik Marcus pointed out that it wasn’t so much the “meat” component in the “cooking meat led to human intellectual development” theory as the “cooking” part. Shut Up, Foodies! wondered how owners of an emu farm could slaughter and eat the birds who literally hug them.

What Fucked-up Things have people been doing to animals recently? Germany’s wild boar population has rapidly increased, and the number of whom are radioactive due to the lasting effects of the Chernobyl disaster has quadrupled. HA HA HA AWESOME. Scientists at the Emory University School of Medicine published research that may explain “the molecular biology of fear”; they studied this by giving “mild” electric shocks to mice. Kerry Ressler, the researcher interviewed for the LiveScience article, really loves his wife and three children. On the subject of fear, military veterinarians are diagnosing dogs with PTSD now. Specifically Gina, a bomb-sniffing German Shepherd, who has been in recovery for a year after returning from a tour of duty in Iraq. She’s well enough to work on domestic bases, and maybe she’ll get redeployed to on of our Middle East quagmires, just like our human troops! It’s nice that dogs get treated equally to (straight) people in the U.S. military, isn’t it.

Awwww, isn’t it cuuuuuuute? Anthropomorphic cows selling dairy products! It’s not at all reminiscent of Suicide Food! And Mouila, the oldest gorilla in England, turned 50 on Monday, and her keepers threw her a birthday party, complete with “presents wrapped with [sic] special gorilla-friendly paper.” I’m sure it was always her dream to live in freezing-ass, foggy fucking England and be a baby machine for Howletts Wild Animal Park.

One item of non-terribleness: the guidelines for the first complete replacement for the Draize skin test was adopted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in July, which will, according to PCRM, replace “the rabbit method for most chemicals and products.” Fewer bunnies being tortured really is wonderful.

In our Bay Area, people on the Supplemental Nutrition Program (a type of food stamps) can now use their funds at farmers markets in Healdsburg and Petaluma. That is a really great idea! But considering that the federal government made a big fat cut to funding for food stamps this week, who will have the funds to buy fresh, local produce? Our jerkface governor doesn’t care about who will pick any of the produce from anywhere, vetoing a bill this week that would have guaranteed farmworkers ONE DAY OFF in every seven worked, and overtime pay for over eight hours worked in a day or 40 in a week. You know, like you’d get in an office for making after-hours copies and drinking soda, or sitting around waiting for deadline DOING NOTHING. As opposed to, maybe, picking fucking strawberries in the hot sun all day, every single day. New York City won’t commit to preserving all of its existing community gardens, despite protests—why have a garden when you can have condos?

A pitbull saved a chihuahua from being devoured by a coyote! Stop hating pitbulls already, they are as good a dog as any other. Turns out that the earliest known domesticated animal was, indeed, a dog, and that the act of domestication and bonding with animals may have taught us humans to "learn about and care for fellow creatures." Speaking of which, Ethical Pizza rescued a baby pigeon at the Daly City BART station yesterday! A tiny baby pigeon only three weeks old! YOU GUYS.

The New York Daily News had a little spotlight on Latin American vegan food in NYC, which our crack team of Megan Rascal and sometimes Figaro will get right on reviewing for you! And Team VeganMania won the Sixth Annual Brown Cow Ice Cream Trough Eating Contest, with a separate trough of Chicago SoyDairy’s Temptation vegan ice cream! Obviously, vegans and our delicious dairy alternatives are the fucking best, HOORAY.

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