Forbes names vegan food a top food trend of 2013!  »


Go Forbes! Now I know we will get some people like, “trend? TREND?” but we consistently have been seeing veganism as a “trend” in the last half a dozen years AND if we’ve learned anything from beets, many things that start as trends, become menu staples. So! Here is what Forbes has to say!:

High-end Vegan
"The new wave of veganism is more about health than animal welfare," says Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland. "For better or worse, this is why it will have more staying power." Witness the rise of such eating plans ("diets" seems too limiting) as Vegan Before 6 and the China Study. Chef Tal Ronnen opened L.A.’s vegan restaurant Crossroads after catering vegan for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and the wedding of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. Now he creates artichoke "oysters" (pictured) with artichoke puree, crispy oyster mushroom and kelp caviar and "crab cakes” composed of hearts of palm, apples, and beets, with nuts refined into non-dairy cheeses. Matthew Kenney of M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica does similarly photogenic dishes and has a cooking school to back it up. It’s not just a west coast thing: Chef Jose Huber of the Amway Hotel Collection in Grand Rapids, Mich. goes vegan for a month each year to taste test recipes such as a cauliflower steak.

Fine, a lot of people follow vegan “meal plans” for health but that’s better than nothing and I have seen many people start out for health and eventually get to the animal rights reasons. Because a lot of people aren’t even aware of what happens to animals used for food but once you start reading about reasons to be vegan, that stuff is going to come up!

I really couldn’t be happier that Forbes is down with veganism. Now the riches will be all up on it and make us even more yummy restaurants!


Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!

You may remember that HSUS was suing because the Raleigh Transit Authority refused to run our gestation crate bus ads. Well, now they’ve agreed to run them! HSUS also announced the filing of a new lawsuit this week challenging poultry giant Perdue’s advertising of its chicken as “humane.”

Want to know what’s happening in New Jersey on the gestation crate front in a nutshell? Here’s my latest Huffington Post piece.

Scientists are saying chickens are smarter than young humans, leading Nick Kristof to take up the issue in the NY Times, concluding that the only thing “bird-brained” about chickens is our rampant abuse of them.

Speaking of chickens, you should check out this extremely potent national Canadian news coverage of Mercy For Animals’ latest investigation into the egg industry. Seeing this will make you even more grateful for the path-breaking work of Hampton Creek, as featured in Forbes this past week.

Video of the week: Two ferrets; one box of Styrofoam peanuts…

Photo of the week: Thanks to those who clean trash from creeks! You make the mornings of marathon aspirants like me much more scenic!


It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro's weekly dose of all things animals! Yes!

Pork Magazine editorialized this week about what a “tough year” HSUS created in the US with its “laser focus on pork production.” Pork’s editor concludes: “Now, HSUS won’t go away; in fact it has gained strength. It has the formula down and will replicate its strategies within the pork sector as well as across the agriculture sector.”

Related: Metz Culinary Management is the latest major pork buyer to demand that its pork suppliers end their use of gestation crates…

On the other side of the world, Forbes has a sobering yet hopeful look at the challenges the animal movement faces in China and how Humane Society International is working to move the ball forward there. This interview is really worth the read.

Finally, check out this interesting new article on how the rise in demand for vegetarian food is largely coming from meat-eaters who are reducing the number of animals they’re eating.

Six years ago this week, Arizona voters made their state the first in the US to ban veal crates, and second to ban gestation crates. And four years ago this week, Californians banned both of those practices, as well as cramped cages for laying hens. Congratulations and happy anniversary to the thousands of awesome animal advocates who labored so tirelessly on those campaigns!

Video of the week: Ever feel like someone else is freeloading off your hard work? This cat may feel the same!


Paul Shapiro presents: Is pork the new veal?  »

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!

Denny’s became the latest national food retailer to send shockwaves through the pork sector by jointly announcing with HSUS that it’s going to phase out pork from gestation crate confinement operations. Amazingly, the pork industry’s leaders still defend this archaic practice, leading to the question: Is pork becoming the new veal?

The latest HSUS gestation crate undercover investigation made headlines across the nation. While there are too many pieces to enumerate here, this Forbes story on it was particularly interesting. (And about a quarter million people have watched the video online in the first week since release.)

The NY Times' Mark Bittman has a potent piece asserting that if you care about climate change, you really ought to be eating fewer animals. Check it out.

Video of the week: I’ve never wanted an iPad as much as now.

Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

Bonus article of interest: Did you know cockroaches “form closely bonded, egalitarian societies, based on social structures and rules”? I didn’t either.


Paul Shapiro presents: debating ducks, changing climate, and funny felines!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!

Amazingly, even though they’ve had more than seven years to find an alternative to force-feeding, a small gaggle of foie gras enthusiasts in California are trying to repeal the upcoming July ban on the force-feeding of ducks for foie gras (and the sale of products from force-fed animals). I did a 20-minute debate about this on Southern California’s NPR affiliate yesterday, and an hour-long debate on Northern California’s NPR affiliate today.

Speaking of feeding, as far as what we’re feeding ourselves, the title of the Forbes article says it all: “Eating Less Meat Is World’s Best Chance For Timely Climate Change, Say Experts.” Meatless Monday recipes, anyone?

Some good news: HSUS’s Smithfield exposé video yesterday won a 2012 Webby Award! (The Webbys are kind of like an Oscars of online content.) We’re psyched.

Finally, last week’s video was the double-dutching dog. This week it’s the treadmill-loving cats.


News flash: Veggies are cheap!  »

My cheapness—ahem, frugality—has been well-documented. I’ve even defended veganism’s monetary cost (read: It can be really cheap to be vegan). Now Forbes, the New York Times, and others agree with me: Veggies are cheaper than a fast-food dinner. In your FACE, people who say they can’t afford to be vegan!

The Forbes article cites data from the USDA’s Economic Research Service. Researchers examined 94 vegetables in the study; Turns out, more than half of them cost less than 50 cents per one-cup serving, and none of them cost more than $2.07 per serving.

People who say they can only afford junk food don’t need to switch to “free-range” chicken, artisanal cheeses, and grass-fed beef. They really just need to eat something besides fries, Doritos, and McNuggets, such as kidney beans (protein!), sweet potatoes (vitamins!), and carrots (fiber!).

Yeah, a lone cup of veggies is obviously not as filling or macronutrient-dense as a pr0n-approved cheeseburger. But throw a few convenient foodstuffs together—frozen rice, some of those frozen peas/carrots/corn/green bean concoctions, a can of chickpeas, and a bottled curry sauce, for example—and BAM! Dinner is served quickly, cheaply, and healthfully.

The flip side? You have to actually do some work yourself. Boo-fuckin’-hoo. Did I mention that the article says frozen veggies are often cheaper and more nutritious than even fresh ones? Get a freezer, a microwave, and a copy of The Garden of Vegan, and learn to cook something already! Your wallet and the animals will thank you.


Guest Post: Your tax money pays for capturing wild horses! That sucks!  »

It’s tax season! Hooray! Unless you owe the government money, in which case, boo!

In honor of this wonderful/horrendous season, I’ll be taking an occasional look at some of the excellent and also awful programs your tax money supports. Doesn’t that sound fantastic/terrible?

Have you heard of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)? It is a section of the Department of the Interior that manages 245 million acres of public land across the country. On about 26 million of these acres live wild horses, which the BLM occasionally rounds up, imprisons, and sells off to private buyers in an effort to “maintain the integrity of the land” on which the horses live, graze, and mate. Those that are not sold are kept in holding pens for the rest of their lives, often separated from their herd and forced to live in captivity. What’s up with that? According to this story on, the BLM claims that there are an “excessive” number of wild horses, and these gathers are necessary to the health of the land for other uses, like recreation, cattle and sheep grazing, and mining and energy companies seeking grazing, water, and mineral rights on the land the horses and burros have roamed for hundreds of years. However, photos from a 2011 gather show cattle ranchers moving in their cows to graze on the very same land from which wild horses were removed only a day earlier.

How exactly is grazing cattle helping to maintain the health of the land, you ask? Shocker of the century: many of the decisions made by the BLM are recommended by an advisory board “largely composed of livestock permittees.” Oh, and there’s also that tiny business of installing a $3 billion dollar, 675-mile pipeline to carry natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon across the herd’s habitat. Wouldn’t want horses getting in the way of THAT.

Worst of all, these gathers are traumatic and dangerous to the horses. Low-flying helicopters frighten the horses into running into traps. Horses have died as a result of the gathers, despite the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which stipulates that “it is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”

An average of 10,600 animals are removed from the land each year at a cost of between $70 and $90 million. Million, people! That’s a pretty good chunk o’ tax money, much of which is delegated for helicopter operators, private land owners and horse sterilization. And according to the BLM’s own estimates, there will be at least twice as many wild horses (57,000) living in holding pens this year than roaming free.

Want to tell the government where they can shove your tax money that you oppose your tax money being used for the capture of wild horses? Visit the Cloud Foundation to find out great ways to take action! And while you’re there, check out these photos of Cloud, the wild horse who inspired this organization! So majestic and awesome!

Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time hiking, reading, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods, and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she is an editor for an environmental and engineering firm.


Animal News You Can Use: a Paul Shapiro production!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!

Like good news? Here you go: Americans are eating 12 percent less meat than we were just five years ago. For real. Interesting takes by Mark Bittman and Forbes on the issue.

Not so good news: Six states—Florida, New York, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, and Nebraska—now have “ag-gag” bills pending in their legislatures; the bills seek to criminalize whistle-blowing at factory farms. See what Wayne Pacelle’s got to say on the topic.

In better news, did you see that Martha Stewart’s speaking out for farm animals? Check her out.

Back to bad news: In a sickening display of the foxes guarding the hen house, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture leaked confidential info about an upcoming cruelty raid on a Butterball turkey facility in advance. Weak.

And finally, some really good news: Video of the week: Rat and cat sharing. I’ve seriously watched this thing like five times now. It’s just amazing.


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