Top 10 links of the week: A bike ride through the forest of veganism!  »

Hummus taste test at Kitchen Daily! Of course Philadelphia’s own Bobbi’s hummus rates high. It’s the best! Have you tried their white bean dip? Holy. Cannoli.

Cows have BFFs! This is important because if you keep them with their pals, they produce more milk. It also may be good for their welfare, but who cares about that!

Grist wants to know if you’d eat mutant meat! We of course wouldn’t, but crazy omnis prob already do.

PCRM wants you to help stop the terrible ferret lab at the University of Washington! Who would hurt a ferret?!

Treehugger discusses what happens when we remove the large animals from our ecosystem. Spoiler: It’s bad! Hey guys, what’s your favorite large animal?! Mine is of course elephants but everyone knows that!

Have you been keeping up with the war on wolves (I just coined that!)? Stay up to date! Defenders of Wildlife will help!

Vegan musicians are more than a trend! Agree/disagree? Who’s your favorite vegan musician?

Animal Planet has 10 animals channeling Harry Potter characters! So. Funny.

National Geographic has the story on wildlife in Afghanistan war zones—they are doing kind of OK!

If you’ve got the cash, look what you can buy from the Sea Shepherd art show:
I’m into it. This jawn is hot.


Harry Potter causes Indian owl craze, of course  »

That damn Harry Potter! His movies have given rise to a pet owl fad. At least that’s what Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh says: "Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls." He made these statements at the launch of Traffic India’s report, “Imperilled Custodians of the Night.” That’s quite a title!

A request for a white owl for a Harry Potter-themed b-day party is what initially inspired the research but from what I’m reading on Traffic’s site and the BBC piece, it seems that Harry Potter may be less of a culprit than beliefs surrounding the power of owls in Indian culture. The sacrifice of owls and their body parts are recommended for all sorts of magic and rituals. Even though hunting and trading of all Indian owls has been banned since 1972, Traffic thinks thousands are being trapped and traded every year. This time of year in particular has Ramesh and Traffic concerned as they believe the sacrifice of owls increases during Diwali, a five-day religious festival that began on Nov. 5. “Diwali should be a time for celebration across our nation, not one when our wildlife is plundered to feed ignorant superstition. India’s wildlife already faces many pressures; the additional burden of being killed out of ignorance and fear is not one that has any place in our modern society,” said Ramesh.

I’ve actually never seen any of the Harry Potter movies. I wanted to but now there are so many, it seems like such an endeavor. But jeez louise, these movies do NOT seem very vegan-friendly! I guess there are a lot of animals in the movie; you can read all about Gizmo, the owl that played Hedwig, and some of the other animals in this interview Scholastic did with animal trainer Gary Gero. He swears it’s all positive reinforcement but then again, so does Ringling Brothers. But it doesn’t matter how this bro treats his animals; portraying animals in popular culture in totally unrealistic ways gives people totally unreasonable ideas about them. People blame all these movies that act like chihuahuas are hot accessories rather than actual, living animals for the chihuahua invasion of California’s animal shelters. Guess what! Dogs have needs and don’t just pop up for comedic relief. I mean they do pop up for comedic relief, but they also pee all over your house and eat your shoes. And it’s not just movies, that’s a big criticism of zoos too; they aren’t educating children about animals, they are completely miseducating them. Nothing about a zoo is natural and it just gives people crazy ideas like those freaks that buy “exotic” pets. Like, yeah! I’m getting a tiger! And then BAM! the neighbor boy gets eaten. IT HAPPENS.

If the lives of wild animals and wild animals in captivity were portrayed realistically in popular culture, people wouldn’t be buying obviously poached owls for an eight-year-old’s birthday party. And people DEFINITELY wouldn’t be lining up for the circus if they saw what goes on behind the scenes. However, I don’t think realistic movies will ever be as popular as movies with adorable owls delivering mail. I’m saying, I seriously doubt we’ll be seeing The Cove party packs any time soon.

Click here to download Traffic’s report [pdf].

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