Foie gras is cruel, even if you think it tastes good. »
Scary video, very well made. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, just check out the stats in the beginning. This is not a rare occurrence, this is where the majority of foie gras comes from in the U.S.
A reader alerted us to this post on Etsy gushing over foie gras and complaining about any measures to stop it. It’s just a sickening, confused bit of writing that attempts to justify and rationalize cruelty by identifying that there are other cruelties in the world. I know my response is long but there are so many terrible points to contend. Plus foie gras is just so disturbing, when people make light of it, we should give it the attention it deserves. Let’s jump in, shall we?
It may not be a taste for every palate, but I’m a staunch fan of this controversial delicacy, particularly when it arrives as a generously sliced, perfectly pan-seared portion, topped with nothing more than a dusting of fleur de sel. Needless to say, I’m more than a little flustered at California’s pending law forbidding the production and sale of foie gras, which takes effect this July.
She lands on the pro side of the foie gras controversy because it tastes good? Is that how we make decisions? Is that what we base our values on? I have to assume people just don’t realize how very vapid the “it tastes good” argument is. We’re talking about cruelty, morals, and values and they come back with their sensory response? It’s absurdly superficial and amoral.
The proponents of the law argue that foie gras needs to be banned because the “gavage,” or force-feeding of geese and ducks as a method of production, is “inhumane.” While I do not doubt the existence of farms that provide less than ideal conditions for their ducks and geese, I’m puzzled as to why this food item, with more than 45 centuries of history and tradition, is being singled out when other more “inhumane” food choices exist.
She’s acting like we’re discussing genocide or something. Singling out foie gras? It’s not the funny-looking kid that always gets picked on at recess, it’s an abhorrent practice that results in a ridiculously unnecessary food product.
Let’s consider the ubiquitous hamburger, that quarter-pound of ground beef made from factory-farmed cows. We are, by now, familiar with the contamination risks inherent in the production of factory-farmed meat. Yet there’s a conspicuous absence of voices to ban this product.
What does contamination risk have to do with inhumane practices? I know the inhumane conditions can lead to tainted meat, but I thought we were talking about actual suffering, not sanitation. Additionally, I’m here! Let’s ban it!
Considering its affordability (when compared with pasture-raised, grass-fed beef) and availability in grocery stores across the country, one would think that subjecting the American population to the constant threat of bacterial contamination is more inhumane than seeking to ban the production of a luxury food item like foie gras. And we haven’t even started to discuss the cramped living conditions of the poor cows destined to live in their own manure for the length of their sad, sorry lives.
Exposing people to bacteria is inhumane? Let’s get a definition: “Without compassion for misery or suffering; cruel.” Come on, get some perspective. But again, let’s not subsidize factory farms, I’m down with that! And how about we DON’T torture cows! It’s just such an odd viewpoint. She states how hamburgers come from disease and cruelty so the conclusion she draws is that we should continue to eat foie gras? I never get that rationale. She’s using shitty conditions for one kind of animal to justify continuing shitty treatment of another? Just because there’s a variety of bad stuff, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop doing something bad.
Don’t eat meat? Well then, let’s take a look at where our fish comes from. Half of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is farmed, and that practice (aquaculture) is growing quickly to keep up with demand, with attendant consequences on the ocean’s health. Aquaculture has been found to rapidly deplete populations of wild fish in order to produce a pound of tuna or salmon and pollute ocean waters with fish waste, which has long-term environmental consequences for the world we live in. And yet there isn’t a peep to be heard about banning farmed salmon or tuna — or banning the practice of aquaculture altogether.
DUDE. First of all, what are you talking about? There is many a peep about this. This cool site “google” can help you learn more about it. Also, ask us! But really, that statement “Don’t eat meat? What about fish” is so bizarre too me. If a fish isn’t meat, what the fuck is it? It’s not a vegetable. It’s made out of dead animal. It’s not meat?
While it’s certainly important to pay attention to the welfare of animals that we depend on for food, there’s also a point where we need to recognize that an animal’s physiology renders it capable of certain physical conditions that would appear “inhumane” to the human experience.
OH MY GOD WATCH THE VIDEOS! Denying it’s inhumane is just blatant denial of reality.
Let me qualify that the notion of force-feeding an animal for food doesn’t sit comfortably with my foodie conscience. However, I’m also aware that part of that discomfort is a result of anthropomorphizing animals reared for consumption. The European Union’s Scientific Committee report about the welfare of ducks and geese involved in foie gras production found a lack of conclusive evidence on the aversive nature of force-feeding and its injurious effects. Wild waterfowl have also been found to produce foie gras after a feeding spree before the winter months. In fact, Eduardo Sousa produces “natural foie gras” using this method.
Is this article called “For the Love of Eduardo Sousa Foie Gras?” It’s not, is it. To be clear, I’ve heard of this dude and his story and I definitely prefer it to regular foie gras. Also to be clear, I still think it sucks anyway. Putting that aside, this post has nothing to do with this alternative foie gras. It’s about all foie gras, including the 99.99 percent of foie gras that Eduardo Sousa doesn’t produce.
Additionally, you guys read the study and tell me if you come to the same conclusion as she did. Here’s an excerpt from the study:
Birds, including ducks and geese, have a wide range of pain receptors and an elaborate pain recognition system. Most injuries caused by tissue damage during handling or tube insertion would result in pain. The oropharyngeal area is particularly sensitive and is physiologically adapted to perform a gag reflex in order to prevent fluids entering the trachea. Force feeding will have to overcome this reflex and hence the birds may initially find this distressing and injury may result. The beak of a duck is richly innervated and the insertion of a ring through the beak would cause pain during the operation and might cause neuroma formation, and hence prolonged pain, thereafter. Similarly, most injuries to the feet caused by inadequate flooring would be painful.
That doesn’t sound inconclusive. It actually sounds very painful. If you don’t feel like reading the whole study, just search for “pain” and tell me force-feeding doesn’t cause pain or injury. Back to the post:
What’s far more inhumane, in my view, is allowing easy access to food that’s produced and consumed in ways that have proven track records of destroying the environment and our health. Where are the bans on soda, high-fructose corn syrup, and factory-farmed animals? Why is it, despite everything we know today, that these food items still tend to be the cheapest, most affordable and accessible food items for those with limited budgets?
Whaaaat is she talking about? All kinds of people oppose soda, high-fructose corn syrup, and factory-farmed animals. And I thought we were talking about being inhumane to geese and now suddenly we’re talking about being inhumane to people again? And making shitty food affordable is a whole different kind of cruelty than shoving a metal pipe down an animal’s throat. Let’s be real.
The optimists out there may say that I’m over-reacting, and I certainly hope I am. Viewed from an alternate perspective, one could consider this ban as a significant step in the fight against Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The idealist in me hopes that this is the case, because when you start to discuss livestock production in “humane/inhumane” terms, no real progress can be made until you talk about the elephant in the room: factory-farmed meat. Banning an expensive specialty food item isn’t going to advance animal welfare, so long as the majority of the population continues to consume (whether by choice or necessity) products that are bad for their health and the environment.
Again, just because factory farming is awful, that in no way means we shouldn’t ban another cruel practice. And of course Vegansaurus readers know that we speak out against factory farming all the time, and we’re certainly not the only ones. So one more time with feeling: join us in reality! Foie gras is a cruel “delicacy” that needs to go.
Last day to save at Boygirlparty and raise money for Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary! »
It’s the last day! The sale/fundraiser at Boygirlparty is over tomorrow! So remember: When you use the coupon code “VEGANSAURUS” on Boygirlparty’s Etsy store, you will get 10 percent off your order AND Boygirlparty will donate an additional 10 percent of the sale to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary!
And remember, you can opt to forgo your discount and donate 20 percent of your purchase to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary—just don’t use the coupon code and leave a note at checkout! You saintly bastard!
Vegan Gift Guide: Great vegan gifts for omnis! »
I am a world class gift-giver. Everybody says so. Like, even Jesus. And for my gift to you, I’m going to share some of my present ideas for this holiday season! Now, I think gifts should be all about who you’re giving them to, not about who you are. A lot of people buy gifts they themselves would like without thinking of what the recipient likes. You like books, your friend likes music—you buy them music, not a book! Simple enough, but it seems to allude many people.
What I’m getting at is your gifts for the omnis in your life shouldn’t be all about your veganism. Trust me, your fam knows you’re vegan (and if they don’t, they’ll get a clue when you bust out the soy nog), you don’t have to remind them again when it’s present time. But at the same time, you can’t be buying them leather jackets! So what to do? Buy secretly vegan gifts! You forgo the "Bacon had a Mom" shirt and get them gifts they will like that happen to be vegan—and maybe do a little good on the sly. Like something that benefits the environment; no one will suspect that it is secretly helping vegans! But it’s like I always say, we vegans have to protect the environment because that’s where all the animals live! And hey, if it’s trendy waxed canvas instead of leather, no one will think twice. But you’ll know it’s vegan! Oh, you’ll know.
Without further ado, great gifts vegans can buy omnis!:
If you didn’t know, people love coffee. I swear! It’s true! And in New York and Philly, the biggest thing in coffee is La Colombe. People are crazy for it. It’s at all the posh places. It’s really good! But what’s better, their ethics are out of control. They do direct trade, invest in the community, worry about the rainforest and all that good stuff. And it’s shade-grown so the birds are OK! Laura told me about that, I didn’t even know. But yeah, some coffee is bad for birds!
So you can impress the hipster, urbanite, or coffee-lover in your life by getting them the coolest thing in coffee while secretly knowing the birds and rainforest are OK and your ethics are intact!
You know what moms are? Cold. Like, all the time. OK, sometimes they are annoyingly hot, but they spend much of their time being cold. So what better gift than a scarf?! Not a bulky, winter-wear scarf; a pretty, indoor scarf to keep them warm in rooms that are actually a perfectly reasonable temperature. And they can take them off if they get hot! Perf.
And if your mom is like mine, she has entered what I once read described as, “the Goddess Phase.” My mom and all her friends are in the Goddess Phase—You’d know it if you saw it! It’s all about loose linen clothes, beaded necklaces, herbal tea, etc. A scarf is so goddess. Plus, these scarfs are all cotton, vegetable-dyed and super organic. Up with cotton, down with wool!
You know what dads need? Classy, relaxed clothing. Things that make them look like the distinguished old gentlemen that they are while also keeping their old gentlemen bodies comfortable. So something like this cotton half sweatshirt/half sweater is just the thing! While everyone else is giving him stuffy silk ties and itchy wool sweaters, you’ll be like, “Blammo!” Organic cotton! And it doesn’t hurt that Threads 4 Thought is a sustainable brand that supports great organizations like Natural Resource Defense Council. They even have their own world-saving effort, Girl 2 Girl, that seeks to empower girls throughout the world. Can I get a huzzah?!
Need a cheeky yet utilitarian gift for your sweetie? How about cruelty-free underoos from vegan-owned Purrfect Pineapples! All their products are sweatshop and animal-free. They are also handmade and they do custom orders! So if they don’t have your size or you have some wacky design, they can make it happen.
When your main squeeze opens this present, no way will they be like, “OMG stop pushing your beliefs on me!” They will be like, “OMG let’s do it!” And your love-making will be that much more satisfying knowing you supported a vegan biz. Also, sorry I said love-making. Bleh, love. And making. Bleh.
Know a wine lover, a sustainable design enthusiast and/or someone with a new place? These wine tumblers would make a great present. Not only are they recycled, but they’re totally meta! Kind of? You’d be drinking wine from tumblers made of wine bottles! Whatever, it’s cool and they are pretty. And environmentally friendly!
This eco-friendly, fair trade necklace also happens to be approved by my sister so YOU KNOW it’s cute. She suggests pairing it with some gold for a real WHAM BAM effect. World of Good, where you can purchase this hotness, also points out: "The beautiful jewelry of the collection is made by Ecuadorian artisans from natural, local rain forest materials. This not only helps the artisans earn a living wage, but it also helps to protect the rain forest by creating a profitable and low impact use of its materials." I love stuff like that! Where you make keeping environmental and animal stuff more valuable than killing it all. That rules.
You may say to yourself, “What about the kids?!” Well, I’ve got a little something for them too! This cute book comes with a plush dog AND has tactile stuff on the pages for kiddies to mess with. And the best part? It benefits the Humane Society! Or maybe the tactile stuff is the best part, I used to love that fuzzy bunny book. Sigh. That was awesome.
Wait, wait, wait, the best part is that kids love books (for some wacky reason) and kids love animals, so no one will suspect that you are secretly indoctrinating them into the vegan lifestyle! Haaaa, that is the best.
OK, here’s my bid for the cheap secret santa gift. At $6.50, this cookie mix (which contains no animal ingredients on its own) is fair-trade, eco-friendly and supports the Women’s Bean Project, “an innovative social enterprise in Denver, Colorado which benefits women with a history of poverty and chronic unemployment.” If that is not enough for you, it funds 14 bowls of food for shelter animals!
And this is a good generic present because it’s not some dumb, cheapo thing the recipient is going to be stuck with; they can actually use it and it goes away. And cookies are yummy!
I know many book collectors and they are a nutty lot. They are obsessed! And one thing I have learned is, unless you are getting them some rare first edition, never try to buy them an actual book as a gift; If it’s a book they wanted, they will have already gotten it by the time you’re trading presents. If they don’t have it, it’s because they don’t want it. Another thing I have learned is the bane of the book collector’s existence is when they loan a book to someone and never get it back. It haunts them in the wee hours. The solution? Book labels! And if you recall, not only are these labels eco-friendly, but use our “VEGANSAURUS” coupon code at Boygirlparty’s etsy store and you will get 10 percent off your order and 10 percent of the sale will be donated to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. You’ll help animals AND your book-enthusiast will feel like someone finally understands their deep-seated collector’s anxiety.
Another thing: these book labels would make a good gift for kids too. Like I said, kids love books; Another thing kids love is laying claim to things. With these labels, they can tell the whole world this is their book. Plus, look at that cute elephant!
This is perfect for the gentleman or aspiring gentleman. Or just anyone who likes to stay groomed. Or really, anyone who’s gone through puberty. If they don’t know already, they will find out: shaving brushes rule! They work as a gentle exfoliant so you can get a nice smooth shave with less irritation. That’s what makes this a great present: it’s classy, utilitarian, and works better. And with this kit, you get all-natural, environmentally friendly, vegan soap and a brush free of badger hair. Yay! Bleh, badger hair. Leave it for the badgers.
So those are my recommendations! I spent a lot of time on them! Because I love you. And because gift-giving should be a pleasure, not a chore! I hope these help with that. Have fun and be merry!
More holiday deals: Oh Deer! Chocolates e-book, get it on Etsy! »
It’s that time between the two major holiday meals, where you have two choices: take it easy, eat some veggies, maybe do a juice cleanse OR GO FULL SPEED AHEAD, EAT EVERYTHING, after all, swimsuit season is so far away! I’m somewhere in the middle—I guess it’s not so black-and-white. One thing I do want to do in this time is incorporate more raw foods in my diet. And OhDeerChocolates has sprung up on Etsy at the most perfect time!
Sara Malazzo-Miller, creator of OhDeerChocolates, is selling her e-cookbook for the low price of $8, for this week only! Her 20+ cookie, truffle, and candy recipes are raw, vegan and CHOCOLATE!
OhDeerChocolates’ chocolate mousse.
Raw dessert—it’s like health food. At least that’s my motto! Sara is also donating 100 percent of the profits to wildlife rescue centers. Now that’s the holiday spirit!
Veganville baked goods on the cheap for Vegansaurus readers! Whoopie pies shipped to your face! »
So, what’s the deal with Black Friday? Do we still boycott buying things? Or do we only boycott buying from big business? I’m so out of the loop! I do know I’ll be buying a Caltrain ticket back to to the city so I can work Friday morning (lucky me!) and then a $2 bottle of wine from Whole Foods to drown my sorrows because I’m broke, single and no one loves me. Just kidding! My cat will be so stoked to see me home after a night spent at Grandma’s house!
If you aren’t broke as a motherfucking joke and can buy many glorious items for sale today, please—let me lead the way.
Gigi is a vegan baker, located in the East Bay, who’s items you can find pretty much everywhere, including:
Philz Coffee in Berkeley
Tay Tah Cafe Albany
Catahoula Cafe Richmond
Thornhill Coffee House in Montclair
Detour Cafe in Berkeley
And soon, Never Felt Better in Sacramento!
Her products sell under the name Veganville and are also available on Etsy! She is offering a 35 percent discount on everything in her etsy store, starting Thanksgiving midnight through Cyber Monday at midnight. Type in the code BigV35. Anything at her store (except for gift certificates, but let’s be serious here)! We are going in for the cupcakes (or whoopie pies! Or brownies! Whatever you fancy, there is so much to choose from!)
[Vegan HoHo cupcakes. Yes please and thank you.]
Adopt Flat Bonnie! The sweetest plush rescue bunny in the world. BONUS: For the month of November, twenty percent of Flat Bonnie sales will be donated to the rescue organization of your choice from this list: House Rabbit Society, Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary, Rabbit Advocates, Bunny Luv RRC, or Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue! Awesome! Flat Bonnie comes in many colors and sizes but they have one thing in common: they’re all adorbs!
Hello! I’m Flat Bonnie! I’m ready go to my forever home!
I love to go everywhere with you and get my picture taken.
Flat Bonnie was created to bring awareness to the life of bunnies in shelters and rescue centers, many people do not know that there are buns ready for adoption at these places. Flat Bonnies are made for people who love BUNNIES! and for people who may want a real bun but are not ready to provide the proper care and finances needed to raise a real bun. When that person is ready for a real bun, Bonnies message is to adopt a bun from a local shelter or rescue center.
These are so cute and so sweet. They would make a great present or just get one for yourself! Better yet, get one for ME! I deserve it.
Eat this immediately: Gourmellows! They’re what’s for every meal if you’re not an idiot! »
You guys, you really really really really really have to try these gourmellows from Desiderio Chocolates. Yes, gourmellow — it’s GOURMET and MARSHMALLOW made into one awkward word, but who cares, the taste is nothing short of legendary. Legendary, I say! I found them while browsing the vegan section of the adorable Abe’s Market instead of working (it’s one of the many things I do that don’t involve working), and BAM: Gourmellows:
They’re half-fudge, half-marshmallow (roughly the same composition as yours truly) and then covered in the smoothest dark chocolate I’ve ever had. It’s almost milk chocolaty. I mean, HOT DAMN! It tastes like nothing I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve eaten pretty much everything. If you don’t believe me, I’ll send pictures.
Man, I love Gourmellows so much. I’ve gotten into the adorable habit of g-chatting my boyfriend simply, “GOURMELLOW DOWN!” because it makes him sad that he’s at stupid work without delicious gourmellows and I’m living the dream!
Get at them, either via Abe’s ($14 for six, or $12.60 if you give them three friends’ email addresses, YOU ASSHOLE) or Desiderio Chocolates’ Etsy store ($6 for three). Also, their sea salt caramels are UNSANE. You like nougat? Oh, they’ve got your nougat! Oh fuck it, just get a sampler snack pack and go to town, fatty. FUCK, I see that they’ve got ROCKY ROAD, TOO. Goddammit!
Here’s the sea salt caramel:
Here’s my hand-model hand and a Gourmellow EXTREME CLOSE-UP:
It’s a cookbook! It’s a ‘zine! It’s both! It’s adorable! It helps monkeys! It can be yours for a mere $9 + $2 shipping!
Straight from Etsy:
Hungry Monkey Vegan Cookzine has dozens of delicious recipes written by animal rights activists, as well as famous vegan chefs and benefits rescued lab monkeys!
There are several raw, gluten-free, and sugar-free recipes as well! All proceeds go directly to benefit eight lucky monkeys who became “seized property” when an animal testing laboratory in New Jersey went bankrupt one year ago. One hundred percent of proceeds from this zine will fund a new outdoor shelter for these rescued monkeys to protect them from the harsh Oklahoma winter that is right around the corner. Beautifully illustrated by U.K. Illustrator Renato Stumpo with over 40 pages of awesomeness.
What a perfect holiday gift! Recipe I’m most intrigued by: Old Fashion Peanut Brittle Maple Bacon Cupcakes. W.T.F. O.M.G.
Stuff your face with Nicole’s Fancy Vegan Caramels! »
Imagine this: You’re a stay-at-home mom and a fiction writer, and suddenly you need $30,000 to repair water damage at your house. You could sell your child into slavery, obviously, but Nicole Kornher-Stace of New Paltz, N.Y. came up with a way tastier and more legal option: sell vegan caramels on the interwebs.
Her Etsy store is called Feed Your Face, and did I ever! The budding entrepreneur contacted Vegansaurus to see if we wanted to try her desserts and then tell you about them. Duh, next question. What I didn’t expect was that she’d send along two delicious little nuggets of each of 11 different flavors. Holy fatness, my day was made! And my dentist’s, too!
Nicole started making her caramels for fun, and because her three-year-old will only eat vegan sweets (rock on, kid). All her candies are vegan and gluten-free, and don’t have no corn-syrup neither (she uses coconut milk for the fat). She wraps them in parchment paper, which you can compost, so that’s cool.
Best of all, they’re damn yummy. The texture is on the gooier than chewier side, with some flavors even downright fudgey (though that varies with your room temperature), but the taste is all caramel, all the way. I didn’t love all flavors equally, though, so here’s my own personal, subjective, and totally professional review:
- Pomegranate balsamic: win! Tangy and not at all like a salad.
- Spicy mango: great chewy texture, would be perfect after Indian food.
- Dark chocolate sea salt: way too salty for me. Really salty.
- Dark chocolate orange: pne of the less-chewy ones (kind of crumbly), but the taste—orange oil and deep chocolate—is awesome.
- Green tea chai: Can I have this drink in a coffee shop please? Someone call Starbucks.
- Double ginger: YES YES YES! Kind of like a ginger chew but less intense and sweeter, and like a ginger snap but gooey! (I do love my ginger).
- Spicy chocolate: I think the chocolate is what fudgifies the texture; these have a nice kick without being overwhelming.
- Sea salt: still pretty salty but more edible than the chocolate sea salt ones. If you’re into salt and sweet, you might really dig these.
- Espresso: Coffee flavor’s definitely there but this is less “Pow!” than some of the others.
- Maple: like pancakes and Canada! Nice maple flavor, kind of extra sweet.
- Pumpkin spice: perfect for this time of year! Really nice, like pie. Holy crap, you could make pie with melty caramels on top or something. Score!
In short, if you’re looking for a yummy special fix, I definitely recommend what Nicole’s putting out there.
Nicole also has a section called Cookies For a Cause, where she’ll sell you a PDF of some cookie recipes she’s developed, and 50 percent of profits from that sale go to charity. Cool idea! Even cooler idea: Use her recipe to make cookies for a bakesale (like Sunday’s SF Vegan Bakesale) and then give THOSE profits to charity, too. So much giving!
Final bonus! A photo of Nicole’s vegan-sweets-loving three-year-old petting a turkey at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. CUTE!
Vegan Etsy Halloween round-up! »
Halloween is quickly approaching! Normally I stall on this and then you don’t have time to order and of this stuff before Halloween but this year I’m getting a head start. Enjoy the ride!
This is a genius idea: black and orange fortune cookies! Guess what else is cool? You get to think up your own fortunes to put in there! You should totally do scary Halloween ones! Duh.
Halloween caramels! OK, OK, don’t die, but these are pretty rad. I always go back and forth with caramels but I’d eat the hell out of these.
A Halloween must: Oreo pops! Whoever invented the Oreo pop needs some sort of Nobel prize. There’s a Nobel Lollipop Prize, right?
What in God’s name are those? Why they’re skull lollipops! Yummy AND creepy! A perfect combo.
And of course, don’t forget your vegan zombie makeup! YOU TOO can be a zombie!
All right pals, that’s it for now! Have a fun Halloween and as my mom likes to say, be good! And if you can’t be good, be safe.