LA bans bullhooks! Huzzah!  »


Yay! Good news for eles! Los Angeles has officially banned the use of bullhooks—i.e. that awful fire poker-looking thing above that Ringling Brothers and other circuses use to “guide” elephants. They also happen to use it to beat elephants. Because they love them so much. 

As the LA Times says, this kind of just makes it so circuses can’t go to LA. As the LA Times also says, 

Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros., said the ordinance would have the effect of “kicking us out of Los Angeles.”

Ringling allows trainers and elephants to be in close proximity — or “free contact” — and therefore the tool must be used for safety purposes, Payne said. He contends that the company’s handlers use it professionally and humanely.

The Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits North American zoos, has instructed all its members, by 2014, to allow only restricted contact between keepers and elephants — meaning there will be a barrier at all times between person and pachyderm. Although the association does not expressly prohibit bullhooks, restricted contact lessens the need to use them.

If the circus can’t come to town without bullhooks, then it shouldn’t come.


Sadly, apparently it might take up to three years to take effect but it’s still a super great advance in the terrible treatment of imprisoned eles. 

A classic Megan Rascal cartoon. 


Rejoice! Looking at cute animal photos is good for you!  »

Good news, everyone! Time to go find kittens, puppies, and bunnies online!

Wired Science reports on a new study that suggests looking at cute animal pictures can improve your concentration. The research was done in Japan, where cute overload is basically the national condition.

Cute baby animals help you concentrate, but they don’t help you just generally be smarter, though, so probably better to use kitten flashcards while studying but not while at cocktail parties. Though that would make you popular in other ways, so go for it! Bring kitten flashcards!

[Photo via cute overload]


Good news: the diving horse show is NOT returning!  »

Huzzah! The people have spoken! Atlantic City will not be bringing the diving horse show this summer! Happy day! Sometimes things do work out.

Steel Pier owner Tony Catanoso had this to say: “We just felt that since Atlantic City is moving forward, we should move forward with it…. We should create new memories for visitors instead of recreating old ones.”

Yay! What should the new attraction be instead? I’m thinking giant ball pit! Like GIANT. Like Olympic-size swimming pool. OR, the world’s biggest moon bounce! That you can go on even if you are a grown-up! I love moon bounces, but they never let me in them any more. Sad face. 


Good news for sharks!  »

The Bahamas are known not only as the shark-diving capital of the world but also for a local seafood company that had plans to export shark meat and fins to Hong Kong last year. Gross! Luckily, the Bahamas has just banned commercial shark fishing! More than 40 species of sharks can breathe (not really, they have gills) easy now. Pick up a Bahama Mama or pina colada, sharks, and toast to your new protection! I just love the thought of a shark just hanging out, wearing sunglasses and somehow holding a frosty drink in his or her fin, kinda like this:


Good news!: Unilever stops animal testing for tea!  »

Peta has been fighting against Unilever and their cruel animals tests for Lipton tea and PG Tips for many years and finally, Unilever has promised to end testing animals for tea effective immediately! Huzzah! This is super good news considering Lipton is "the best-selling branded tea in the world."

From Unilever’s site:

Unilever remains committed to its ambition of eliminating animal testing by investing in alternative methods.

Where legal or regulatory requirements call for testing on animals to demonstrate the safety of Unilever’s tea-based beverages or ingredients, Unilever seeks to minimise the testing required and the number of animals involved, and the testing is provided by third parties.

Unilever has made a substantial investment in new non-animal approaches to research and testing including, since 2004, an annual investment of €3m on non-animal approaches for assuring consumer safety. Our research has made good progress in developing new approaches and we work continually with international research and policy groups to share our experience.

Yay for good news! Of course, according to Peta, Unilever has many other companies that do test on animals, and don’t miss the magic words “the testing is provided by third parties,” but this is progress. The tests they were doing for Lipton were all about like eating a ton of sugar and fat and seeing if tea helps you not die. First of all, it’s pretty easy to find some people who already eat a ton of fat and sugar and test the tea on them; second, torturing animals so that we humans can sit around eating poison and not die is ridiculous. Eff that!


Flexitarians: top marketing trend of 2011  »

USA Today
did a piece on the top 10 marketing trends of 2011 (there’s finally a microwave popcorn bowl-bag!) and guess what popped up as number six? Everybody’s favorite, flexitarians!:

Some 47 percent of Americans are trying to reduce meat consumption. That’s the flexitarian (flexible vegetarian) trend that the MorningStar Farms division of Kellogg (K) has latched onto.

In March, it will roll out its first complete soy-based breakfast entrees: Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuits and Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuits… The target: Boomer women, says Cathy Schneck, vice president of marketing at Kellogg Frozen Foods. Some 75 percent of its customers eat some kind of meat—but just want to eat less.

I thought maybe “complete soy-based” meant the new Morning Star products would have vegan cheese, etc. but I checked and the stuff is already out and totally cow. Dang it, Morningstar! They get on my last nerve. But they do seem to have a lot more vegan products than I remember. I want their Chik Patties to be vegan! I used to love those in my teens.

So I didn’t know 47 percent of Americans are trying to eat less meat, that’s a lot! And I didn’t know that meat-eaters bought so much fake meat; didn’t they all used to be terrified of meat substitutes? I have seen this in “boomer women” myself, actually; my mom and her friends definitely rock the meat substitutes. She loves her veggie burgers!

Some recent commenters have declaimed against championing anything short of veganism, but I see things like this as great news. It’s part of the whole vegan-as-mainstream trend—and when I say trend, I don’t mean “fad.” In most of the last century, vegetarians were looked on as total freaks, and now they are totally normal. There’s been a consistent upswing in vegetarianism since the ’90s. That could be us! We are the vegetarians of the 21st century! This is a good trend.

[I was tipped off about this article by Meatless Monday’s twitter feed. You should follow it; they are cutesy, I’m into it.]

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