Top 10 links of the week!: A mad dash with the track team of veganism!  »

Another video sent in by my grandpa! He always finds me the best stuff. I want to meet lil’ gorillas! PS: Can’t see the video? Watch it on!

Does Eating Raw Make You More Spiritual? Our raw correspondant Sarah E. Brown asks!

A Grist writer attacks soy and is super annoying! Like we always say, soy is destroying the rainforest because of THE BEEF INDUSTRY! She even says that—listen to this action: “Many vegetarians turn to soy as a meat substitute, but the soy industry is inextricably linked to meat. Some 80 percent of the conventional soybeans grown in this country end up on factory farms as livestock feed.” Um … makes what sense this does? As my new favorite person J. Kenji López-Alt responds: “Because the rest of the soy is used to feed cows, the soy that I eat is somehow tainted? I mean, water is essential for the manufacture of weapons. Am I being complicit in their construction if I don’t stop drinking it?” Love that guy. 

Some 300,000 farmed salmon disappeared in a storm in Scotland and are prob going to ruin the genetic pool of wild salmon forever. Go pescatarians! 

Chelsea C. alerted me to this story a while ago, what do you think? This artist makes fur stuff out of of roadkill. Chelsea thinks it’s grody to the max but I don’t know if it bothers me. What’s your take? Discussion topic of the week! 

If you want to read something nauseating, than this HuffPo post is for you!: Do Not Compare my Dogs to Pigs. Ever. It’s really just bizarre. She doesn’t say what exactly bothers her about pigs. She does say stuff like this: “If you have the audacity to compare my working dogs to my edible livestock, I have already stopped listening to you.” Edible livestock? What constitutes edible? Are people edible too? Can I just put edible in front of whatever I want? I also like how she has to add that her dogs are “working dogs,” because unemployed dogs are the worst.

Reader Alexis M. sent this link in and had the following comment:

"As a student with a degree in biology from an Ivy League university’s school of agriculture and hands-on experience with dogs and farm animals alike, I am particularly ashamed and upset to see such biologically incorrect statements being perpetuated on the Huffington Post. Culturally it is true that Western values make us see dogs and farm animals as different groups to which we attribute arbitrarily different anthropomorphic characteristics, but such views are solely those perpetuated by the human psyche and not the true biological nature of the beasts at hand. As someone with college training in evolutionary biology and comparative anatomy in particular, such statements that dogs are "better" or more emotionally proficient than pigs reeks of human hubris and an inability to remove oneself from societal influences to see unbiased scientific data. In continuing to perpetuate Western hegemonic values of "speciesm" you further reinforce the fact that we as a society can designate subgroups such as "farm animal" from which to remove rights, emotions, and intelligence, and thus remove the need to provide such subgroups with compassion or justice. I am ashamed that such unabashed cultural biases towards accepting violence and lack of scientific rigor are being displayed on public venue to influence others, but such is the nature of our society, unfortunately."

Dang! Well said, Alexis!

Over at Crazy Sexy Life, Shell Feijo tells of her experiences with weight and veganism. I can’t believe what some woman said to her! People are whacked. 

Hey, you! Don’t forget to read Laura’s Week in Vegan! And leave her comments so she knows you care!

The Veg Speed Dating blog has an interesting post about masculinity and veganism—does being a veggie male hurt your chances of landing a lady? Tell me!

This Dish is Veg has four reasons why networks should add veg cooking shows! Are there more?

How cool would you be if you could help care for animals in times of disaster? Hint: SO COOL! Guess what, S.F. peeps! You can take Disaster Animal Response Team training!

Lastly, hey guys! If you have any links you think I should share (don’t be bashful with your own stuff!), email me! Otherwise I have to do all the work myself! Bleh. 


Trashcan tilapia? Come on, omnivores  »

"This tilapia is one of the largest Toole has grown at The Point in Hunts Point, the Bronx."

DNAinfo has a story on “the latest trend in urban farmsteading”: raising tilapia in trash cans. Christopher Toole, the self-styled “Johnny Appleseed of fish,” has been working on small-to-medium-scale urban farming of tilapia for selling and eating. You know, like growing greens in discarded tires! Or backyard chickens! Though unlike backyard chickens, everyone only wants little male tilapia fish—having females “will result in large populations of small fish”—so commercial breeders use hormone therapy to turn baby female tilapia into male tilapia. Science!

I am into self-sufficiency, but I have never heard of homegrown tilapia before. Is this actually a thing? Raising foot-long fish in garbage bins in a converted parking garage in the Bronx? Toole uses the fish waste “to grow mint and basil,” and “teach[es] local children, most of them from poor local families, how to grow their own food.” Forget Johnny Appleseed, he’s like the savior of the Bronx! The new “teach a man to fish” is “teach a man to raise fish in his urban environment”!

Or maybe this is just as disgusting as it appears.

[photo by Jon Schuppe for DNAinfo]


A whistle blower in the tuna industry speaks out about the evil business to Greenpeace! There’s some really bloody stuff. Bleh. Nice underwater shots too though. The video discusses Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) and addresses the problem of bycatch and the over-fishing of baby fish. Poor baby fish. 

Why do people even eat tuna? It’s grody to the max! What does everyone think about Greenpeace? I’ve never looked into them that much. I mean, I’ve heard all kinds of stuff about them but haven’t done much research for myself.


Paul Shapiro Presents: Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s time for the next installment of Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! Take it away, Paul!

I’ve got an op-ed in Capital Press (an ag trade publication) about why it might be a good idea to let farm animals turn around. Yep, this is still a debate.

AP has a good article about our work in California. Take-away line: “’Of all the animal organizations, HSUS has the money and the political savvy to be problematic for my clients going forward,’ said Michael Boccadoro, a poultry industry lobbyist. ‘They are on another level.’”

In the shocker of the year, Smithfield is refusing to give HSUS details about its plans to stop using gestation crates to confine breeding pigs.

Do you like getting massages? So do fish. Pretty cool. Also cool (and feels better than a massage): This national AP story about vegan celebrities and billionaires.

Finally, if you live near Grand Rapids, I hope to see you in a few days!

P.S. Video of the week: Piglets Gone Wild, courtesy of my good friends at Animal Place.


Top 10 links of the week!: A devilish jaunt through the recesses of veganism!  »

[Your adorbs viral animal video of the week. This looks like my dog but he’s way better at piano!]

First, I would like to congratulate our Malcolm Fontier wallet giveaway winners!: JKid and Samantha M! But really you are all winners and we will have many more giveaways in the future.

In exciting mainstream news, CNN has a fairly positive piece about young vegans and vegetarians! We’re taking over!

Can slaughter house pigs benefit from Ikea toys? What about not being in slaughterhouses? Would that help at all?

Ever wonder what’s in the McRib? 70 ingredients! Including a “bleaching agent!”

Be sure you pay attention to Farm Sanctuary’s twitter today because it’s got a lot of great info from the Factory Farming Conference. By “great” of course I mean disturbing. 

Did you know it’s National (Vegan) Chocolate Day?! We must celebrate!

In San Francisco news, some fuckers shot a hawk with a nail gun. It’s being treated for injuries now. WHYYY?

Humpback whale populations are rebounding slightly better than we thought! Congrats, humans.

Here’s a really crazy/interesting piece the Humane Society alerted me to: Ag’s go-to messaging not resonating. It seems people don’t trust Big Ag! I can’t imagine why!

Hey, fish-eaters! Do you diligently select fish species that are low in mercury and not in (as much) danger of over-fishing? Good luck with that! Consumer Reports has a new study, Mystery Fish, that’s going to put a snag in your plan. 

As always, don’t forget to read Laura’s Week in Vegan! It’s always chocked full of good shiz. 


Farmed salmon are full of diseases that they’re passing on to wild fish!  »

Cold-water fish are so good for you! They’re full of omega-3 (from their diet) and good fats (from living in the cold water) and vegetarians can eat fish anyway, right?

Too bad farmed fish are suffering en masse from antibiotic-resistant staph and E. coli infections, as well as a terrifying new superbug, infectious salmon anemia, and passing them on to wild salmon! It’s an international phenomenon! Why, it’s almost as though big fish farms have the same problems as feedlots, or chicken farms. IMAGINE THAT.

[photo by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation via Flickr]


Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

Last week was tough for me, you guys. Not only did I work 13-hour days and torment Allen more than usual (“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WON’T TAKE ME OUT TO DINNER???”), but I also stepped into a discarded fish and a puddle of vomit on the same day, one just minutes after the other. I was upset, as you are when you are walking down the street on your way to purchase a delicious lunch at 10 a.m. and step into the lifeless body of a fish that has been discarded in a torn-apart pink shopping bag. Man, was I upset you guys; upset not only because someone had fucked a fish over in this way but also because much of my job consists of taking to people in small, enclosed spaces with locked doors. A job which I would now have to do smelling of dead fish. Then there was my guilt about being mad at the fish on the ground, like it had swum its way out of the ocean and decided to die on a residential street in a quiet neighborhood. Highly irrational, I know, but I doubt any of us would be able to think straight during an incident like this.

I walked back to work feeling really sad about both the fish and my foot, but was only greeted by more unpleasantness. As I wandered down the hallway, I put my other foot (the one not covered in fish) straight into someone’s vomited-up breakfast. Then I had to go I to a small room and sit there on my own for several hours, debating whether it was worse to smell like fish or like vomit, and castigating myself for not looking where I was going.

In a way, I feel very much like the gentleman who robbed a convenience store while a police officer stood right behind him and snickered. He was not looking where he was going, not following the contextual cues. People were openly laughing at him as he attempted to rob the store, and he probably thought he pulled it off, all “Man, I am going to buy so many apple products with this money!” Then the police officer caught him and the only thing he got was the notoriety of being an idiot criminal with an ammmaaaaaaaazing mugshot.

I don’t know how I never posted about this cat before, but you need to know about him, because he takes the bus, which is awesome enough because “let me through! I am on important business!” but he also knows where to get off (fish shop, natch!) and got the awesome nickname Macavity! How awesome would it be if someone actually turned the song from Cats on whenever Macavity got on the bus? How long do you think the other passengers on the bus could stand it before going totally insane? Side note: I used to work at a video store that closed only this weekend (R.I.P. Film Yard) and I would play Cats all the time, to see what other people’s reactions would be. Lots of people would hum along, but one guy rolled in one night, heard the unmistakable melody of “Jellicle Cats,” said “Oh fuck! Oh no!” really loudly, and dashed from the store. I am pretty sure that he had just remembered something completely unrelated, but I like the idea of such a violent reaction to a musical about suicidal cats holding a pageant in a junkyard.

Finally, we have the touching story of Arizona cops shutting down traffic in order to shoo a bunny off the road. You don’t really hear about that a lot. I am really impressed that the officers actively did something to prevent the rabbit’s demise. That makes me feel a little better about life.

That’s all for this week! Send me links for next week and have a vomit-free Wednesday. Or try to.


Humans polluting the oceans makes fish dumber  »

I think some guy in a thick, very old book once said that it’s better to be a fisher of men than to give a man a fish and multiply it to feed thousands. Right?

Anyway, fishing sucks, but destroying the habitats of the fish who still remain is worse. And that’s exactly what is happening today: man-made increases in seawater carbon dioxide levels cause fish to lose their “handedness,” or preference for turning one way or another.

Poor dumb fish! Not-so-poor dumb humans who keep fighting EPA regulations, among other obvious mistakes!


Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

You guys, I am so mad at Allen! Last night he left the lock to his gym locker in his car and had to run back and get it while I was changing in the gym. This totally wouldn’t have been a big deal if Allen and I didn’t share a locker when we go to the gym. Unfortunately, we do. So as Allen hustled (I imagine, he could have walked slowly to inflict maximum humiliation) back to the car I was left to watch our stuff. In my swim trunks. for five minutes. You guys see where I’m going with this? Here I am, in a room full of men in various stages of undress and I’m just sitting on a stool in my swim trunks, trying not to make eye contact with anyone so I don’t get reported to the staff for perving out half-naked at the local family gym. When Allen returned, he failed to see how this was an issue in any way. “It’s fine,” he said. “No one even noticed—probably.” And then he did this little giggle thing which made me realize that he probably knew exactly how I felt and not only did not empathize but also found it amusing. It took all of my energy not to drown him as we were Zumba-ing about the pool, but there would have been too many witnesses.

In addition to the above injustices, it appears that Allen also took the delicious cookies I purchased for myself yesterday to work with him. I have no proof of this (because Allen refuses to take my phone calls at work due to an unfortunate incident several months ago when I called to inform him that my Mii beat his Mii at running) but I cannot find my cookies, so I have decided to spent the rest of the afternoon seething and sighing loudly about the great wrongs that have been done to me. If I have enough energy, I will sit in the living room in the dark and when Allen comes home and asks me what is wrong, I will say “nothing” and storm off in a huff. That’ll teach him. Goddamnit, now I really want those cookies!

I am really angry now, and since it is unhealthy to reserve all of my anger for the one person I live with and get kicked by at night (oh, that’s another thing! It’s not a good night unless Allen kicks someone in his sleep!) I am going to project some of it further outwards and onto this one douchebag* who raped a cat and then threw it out a window. Seriously, if I have told you once I have told you a thousand times, stop having sex with animals. They can’t consent, and based on the charming personalities and physical appearances of the people who are trying to get into their (no) pants, I doubt they would be all that into it even if they could agree. Especially if you’re going to try to throw them out the window afterward. God, I bet to this guy throwing a cat out of the window after inserting himself into it was probably the equivalent of closing down all of your internet browsers (or ripping the VHS/DVD out of the machine) after you’ve finished doing what Deenie used to do in the bathtub. Oh wait, I am totally right! He threw a porno out of the window along with the cat. Awesome, so he murdered a cat  because he was feeling guilty. What a horrible human being. I hope he gets a lot of counseling while he spends a potential five years in jail.

Oh, before I go on I need to point out that I found the cookies and have now finished the entire packet. I blame this on Allen because if he had gotten back to me sooner, I would not have been craving them as much and would not have inhaled them with such alarming speed. Now I am on a sugar rush and will certainly have enough energy to sigh and flounce about when he comes home. Man, I am even angrier that i ate those cookies so fast that I didn’t even think to put them into soy milk. He is really going to get it for being so inconsiderate.

Gary the gourami is totally feling me on this one. That fish lived on Kit-Kats for a hella long time and then had to be tricked into eating fruits by having Kit-Kats stuffed into them in order for him to eat. That is for real. That is how I function. Allen is all, “Mark, here is some delicious broccoli!” and I am all, “IS THE BROCCOLI MADE OUT OF CANDY?! NEXT!” And then both Gary and I outgrow our tanks and people have to trick us into eating our fruits and vegetables and then we resent them for it. How big of a problem is it that I feel that if Gary and I were to meet we would totally kick it together and then get into a quickly spiraling co-dependent relationship that would end with lots and lots of tears and melted Kit-Kats? Should I be seeking help for this?

Now I need to take a nap. Please send me links for next week and try to spend the rest of today without trying to throw a party in a subway. Actually, no I’m not done. As someone who takes public transportation EVERYWHERE the idea of some hipsters invading a subway train and “partying” in it fills me with an unspecified amount of vitriol that I would like to spew all over them as my head turns around and around and around. That’s not cool, you guys. People have to go places!

Now I’m done!

*I spent like five minutes trying to come up with a better word, but this one is just so good! What would you have used?


Fish are smart, exhibit W: Tuskfish uses a tool!  »

A pro diver caught this series of pictures documenting a blackspot tuskfish in the Keppel region of the southern Great Barrier Reef carrying a cockle over to a rock where she (he? it? I pick she) was seen repeatedly bashing the shellfish to get at the fleshy bits inside.” Nice description, National Geographic! Jeez louise. Come on Ms. Tuskfish, go vegan already!

People have witnessed other fish using similar tools to eat but this is the first time a wild fish has been caught on camera using a tool. The pictures were published in an article in Coral Reefs, a journal of which I’ve never heard, try as I might to keep up with the latest coral reef news. The scientists are using Jane Goodall’s definition of tool use: “the use of an external object as a functional extension of mouth or hand in the attainment of an immediate goal.” Sounds good to me! The article says this fish is extra smart too because it is more practical to bash the shell against the rock than to try to drop a rock onto the shell—you can see how that would be problematic in the ocean. Ms. Tuskfish is like, “adoy.”

Remember when they thought only humans used tools? Ha, silly people. Always trying to be special. In fact, lots of animals use tools. Otters use rocks to bust open shells as well; I think this is my favorite example of tool use in an animal because otters have been known to save a stone if it’s an especially good one. They hold them on their bellies while they float on their backs! Oh otters, I love you so much, you and your favorite rocks. You’re cool too, Ms. Tuskfish!

Moral of the story: Fish are smart! They can think! So if you’re eating them because you think they are dumb—which is an irrational reason but people do it—you can’t use that excuse anymore.

[photo by S. Gardner via National Geographic/Coral Reefs]

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