California court rules selling banned foie gras isn’t “free speech”  »


Turns out that selling foie gras products in California after the state ban took effect last July is still illegal. Or at least it’s totally not free speech, as La Toque restaurant in Napa unsuccessfully argued. Per our pals at Animal Legal Defense Fund:

 In a ruling by the Napa County Superior Court, the Sonoma County-based ALDF successfully defeated La Toque’s anti- SLAPP (a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion which aimed to allow their continued illegal sale of force-fed foie gras products as a “protest” protected by the freedom of speech. The court denied La Toque’s motion and agreed that illegally selling foie gras is not protected by the freedom of speech.

Despite the state ban, ALDF’s undercover investigations have revealed that La Toque routinely sells foie gras, the enlarged livers of force-fed birds, in clear violation of California Health and Safety Code § 25982. The lawsuit alleges that La Toque aims to circumvent the law by calling its actual sales of foie gras “gifts.”

Nonsense! And now they have to stop. It’s been fully 13 years since the ban passed and a year since it was implemented, and people are still crying about it. Like there aren’t 10 million other meals to make out of tortured animal bodies. Come on, you whiny babies.

Your Vegansaurus of course thinks the Regal Vegan’s Faux Gras is tops, but none of us has ever even tasted overstuffed goose liver—because we’re not total jerks. Foie gras is banned in California! Accept it and move on!

[photo of Périgord geese by JanetandPhil via Flickr]


Stop New York’s annual slaughter of geese!  »

imageGothamist rounds up the info on the Department of Agriculture’s annual New York City-area goose-murder, this year targeted at the geese living in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Is that actual irony? It’s certainly disgusting.

If you want to help stop the totally unnecessary murder of hundreds of geese, get more info from Goose Watch NYC, and sign the petition addressed to Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

[Photo by Peter Roan via Flickr]


Americans eating feces-filled fish! Yum yum!  »

Love to eat dead water animals? Well, enjoy some pig and geese shit with your tasty tilapia carcass! YUM YUM. 

Yep, Americans are consuming insane amounts of dead fish that were raised on feces in China (where, according to Bloomberg, 27 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from). Check it out:

At Chen Qiang’s tilapia farm in Yangjiang city in China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, Chen feeds fish partly with feces from hundreds of pigs and geese. That practice is dangerous for American consumers, says Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety. ‘The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes like salmonella,’ says Doyle, who has studied foodborne diseases in China.


On a sweltering, overcast day in August, the smell of excrement is overpowering. After seeing dead fish on the surface, Chen, 45, wades barefoot into his murky pond to open a pipe that adds fresh water from a nearby canal. Exporters buy his fish to sell to U.S. companies.

So, not only are your dead fish being fed shit, they’re actually being raised in it, too. Well, the ones who even survive the ordeal and make it into your shitty dinner. Pro tip for home cooks: just douse with extra fresh lemon juice to cover up that shit stank! Oh, and maybe get a tetanus shot? And also, a barf bag?

And it’s not just fish! Shrimp, one of the absolute worst things you can eat if you give a shit about the environment or AMAZING SEA TURTLES (Indonesian shrimp trawlers kill 26 pounds of sea creatures for every 1 pound of shrimp they collect! ONE POUND. Please read Eating Animals for more fun facts like this!) is feeling the funk, too. It all starts at Ngoc Sinh Seafoods Trading & Processing Export Enterprise in Vietnam (8 percent of the shrimp Americans eat comes from Vietnam), where dead shrimps are stored in water that’s deemed “not safe for drinking” and “workers stand on a dirty floor sorting shrimp one hot September day. There’s trash on the floor, and flies crawl over baskets of processed shrimp stacked in an unchilled room in Ca Mau.”

Seriously, someone get me to Long John Silver’s for a basket of deep-fried salmonella STAT! USA! USA!

[H/t to genius news juggernaut Eve Batey for the awesome/awful link!]


Love at Farm Sanctuary! I thought I was hearing things when she said those geese were 25 years old. I had no idea geese lived that long! And they get to spend all their days together. So sweet. I love the pigs best though—you know how I love pigs! 

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my animal friends, and you guys too!


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.


Trade your down for coconuts!  »

[The Insular Jacket from Nau—it’s filled with Cocona!]

I saw this on Ecouterre and it’s pretty awesome. This jacket is insulated with Cocona, an insulation made from discarded coconut husks!:


n 1 a: Trademarked name for a lightweight, breathable fiber derived from coconut-husk waste discarded by the food-service industry. b: Reduced to charcoal, combined with recycled polyester, and spun to maximize its surface area for warmth retention and moisture wicking. c: Said to resist odors better than traditional polyester fill. 2: Used in Nau’s insular jacket, a two-layer, sealed-seam shell with a helmet-compatible hood that the Portland clothier describes as “made for the mountain.”

Totally rad. Down is the worst. Geese are plucked live on some farms because it yields more down (if you kill them first, you only get one batch of feathers). And as the video linked above shows, it’s virtually impossible to be sure the down you are buying doesn’t come from live-plucking. So how about an environmentally friendly, cruelty-free alternative! Huzzah!


Prospect Park goose slaughter continues  »

File under things to actually get mad about: New York City is set to kill more Canada geese in Prospect Park again this year. Last year, they killed hundreds without telling anyone but people noticed the geese were gone and it came out. This year, they’ve hired a “biologist” who, as the Brooklyn Paper describes it, is a gun-toting sharpshooter. Damn. Do people really go into biology thinking they will eventually be a goose sniper? Last year, they gassed the geese, they will probably do that again. I can’t imagine it will be straight-up Duck Hunt out there.

The city’s reason for killing the geese this year and last year is that they say the geese pose a risk to airplanes. Originally, they were killing birds within a five mile radius of the airport but they expanded the area to include Prospect Park, which is seven miles away. Why? I don’t know. People that oppose the mass goose murder say that 1. there are more humane ways to control the goose population and 2. the geese in Prospect Park are permanent residents now and don’t migrate north for the winter, so they aren’t the geese a plane would come in contact with.

Friends of Animals contends that the real issue for the USDA is the goose droppings. WTF? And here’s an appalling quote from Friends of Animals: “Mayor Bloomberg oversaw the gassing of 1,676 geese in city parks throughout the five boroughs last summer. A USDA report revealed that 89 percent of geese observed at sites throughout New York City and western Nassau have been killed.” God damn.

I’ll try to find more ways to help but for the time being, here’s what you can do:

Tell Mayor Bloomberg and city officials: Stop the killing and harassment of Canada Geese.

Contact Mayor Bloomberg to oppose the slaughter and harassment of geese in New York City:

  • If you live in New York City, you can call the Mayor’s office at 311.
  • Outside of New York City, call 212-NEW-YORK.
  • Fax a message: 212-788-8123.
  • Send an email to the Mayor.

[Photo of geese in Prospect Park by Robert Judge]


Top 10 links of the week!  »


RIP Knut. Knut the polar bear died this week and it’s very sad. But don’t worry! He’s going to be stuffed and mounted! Vegetarian Star has the details.

New York is crazy for veggie burgers! The New York Times is totally in love with veggie burgers this week. I’m like, way to be late to the party! But welcome all the same.

Laura busts heads. If you didn’t read our Laura’s response to that lame Ecosalon piece, read Luara’s response to that lame Ecosalon piece.

Laura plays nice. AOL City’s Best interviewed our own Laura! She’s blowing up. I’m not the least bit jealous—her coattails suit me just fine! You go, girl.

Tsunami dolphin saved. There have been some bittersweet animals stories coming out of Japan, not the least of which is the rescue of a little baby dolphin in a rice field. There is a picture on the other end of this link, boy is there a picture.

Breast milk from cows. Um, in China, they are totally creating cows that produce human milk. I’m sure they are treating the cows really great too. People seem grossed out but how is it any grosser than drinking regular cow milk? I ask you. Both come out of cow nipples.

Saber-toothed vegetarian? Everyone is so excited about this new discovery: a saber-toothed vegetarian monster! (Monster is the scientific term).

More oil, more problems. Nightingale island, home to half the world’s population of northern rockhopper penguins, is covered in oil. People are working to save the cute, funny-haired penguins but there is a lack of supplies and help on the remote island. This is a bummer. I don’t think I’m getting a joke out of this.

Get ready for kitten season! Kitten season is just around the corner and Paw Nation has ten really great tips on caring for your new bundle of indifference.

New York City murders geese. New York is set to kill more Canada geese, see what you can do to help stop them!

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