Here we go again: PETA expands its definition of bestiality!  »

Thanks, PETA, for writing this garbage. And thanks, HuffPo, for publishing it. You didn’t pay ol’ V.P. for Policy Bruce Friedrich to publish this, did you? Please say no. Because if you did pay for it, the written word has no monetary value anymore and I am giving up and starting my career as a driver for a public transit agency. Any public transit agency.

Look, Peta, beginning your “All of this is bestiality” attack by using the Webster’s definition marks your position as weak. You know who starts their theses with the definition of a keyword? Grade-schoolers. Already you’ve lost some respect from your readers capable of making mature arguments—i.e., ages 12 and up.

Everyone with a soul would agree that an individual who “repeatedly jam[s] his finger into a turkey’s vagina” is a person whose relationships with animals and sexuality are deeply damaged, and should not work anywhere near animals. However, not everyone with a soul would agree that an individual who “masturbate[s pigs] to collect their semen” in order to artificially inseminate a sow with it has deeply damaged relationships with sexuality and animals. Ohhhh, you say, why is it illegal when someone touches a pig’s penis for sexytimes but legal when someone does it for future pig creation? That “glaring contradiction…just doesn’t add up”!

Duh, Peta. Duh, there’s a difference. It’s called “intent.” It’s called “sexual gratification of the abuser.” It’s called “A bestialist has sexual feelings toward the animal, or wants to act out sexual fantasies with the animal.” Farmers whose turkeys are too grotesquely gigantic to mate naturally and require human intervention generally do not look for or obtain sexual gratification from this work.

If you want people to take you seriously, Peta, try writing seriously instead of sensationally. It is fucking disgusting, artificially inseminating “livestock,” but calling it bestiality, really? Physical abuse of animals for the sexual gratification of the abuser is different than physical abuse of animals to aid in the reproductive process. In a Venn Diagram, there’d be overlap, but they are separate issues, and conflating them doesn’t help make your point. Maybe farmers might consider artificial insemination animal abuse, maybe possibly, but no way will they agree that they engage in bestiality.

Saying something like that lowers you to the level of the terrible assholes who brandish those gruesome signs in front of “family planning” clinics, all “YOU ARE MURDERING YOUR CHILD LOOK UPON THE HORROR OF AN ABORTION BABY-KILLER.” When you immediately take an extreme position, you lose the ear of any of the middle-grounders who might have listened to you, had you said something less insane. The President isn’t a socialist, and all farmers aren’t animal-fuckers.

Of course these practices are horrifying: the physical abuse farm animals are forced to endure is a major reason why we don’t eat animals. I am not defending it. Thanks for putting me in this position, Peta; I love being on the side of Big Ag and meat-eating! But for sweet sensibility’s sake, omnivores are not “participating” in “having sex with animals.” They are definitely supporting a fucked up, inhuman system! Just not a system that condones bestiality.

Now, please: Shut up, Peta.


Watch out! True Blood will make you vegan!  »

If you read Steve’s post a little while back about animal rights in True Blood, then you are already aware of the show’s hidden vegan agenda—but wait! There’s more! Andrea Chalupa wrote at the Huffington Post yesterday that True Blood is making her want to be vegan. Turns out the flesh-ripping violence makes meat dinners kind of unappetizing:

Eating meat and watching True Blood doesn’t always sit well, so in the spirit of the conscientious Bill Compton, our Sundays have gone vegan, and no one is complaining.

She enlists the help of Happy Herbivore, one of my favorite, ever-cheerful twitterers, and learns to make vegan biscuit pot pie. Dude, holler at your girl and mail that to my house like yesterday because that sounds GOOD.

This is both awesome and hilarious. Chalupa says of vegan cooking, “It’s actually quite delicious and easy to cook,” and, “that after enough trials, you start to notice your taste for meat waning.” This I love because I feel the same way. Maybe when I first became vegetarian at a wee 18 years old, I did miss some meat. But I find the longer I don’t eat meat, the less I want to eat meat. Now I think meat is straight-up nasty. I had similar problems when I became vegan but I’ve already noticed that I find cheese a bit repulsive.

Another funny bit is that I just had this conversation the other day and Chalupa backs me up: Bill of True Blood is totally vegan—or at least he aspires to a vegan lifestyle. My friend was asking one of those omnivore questions a la, “if you were on a desert island…” but this time it was, “What if you’re a vampire and need blood to live?!” Those omnivores and their hypothetical questions! It never gets old. I told them that with the synthetic blood, vampires need not be murderers any more. And everyone lived happily ever after.

[cartoon by Megan Rascal!]


If god didn’t want you to eat pangolin, why did he make them out of meat?  »

I don’t have a lot to say in response to this Huffington Post slide show of animals that are going extinct because people won’t stop eating them except this: what the fuck, meat eaters?

The striking thing about this list, really, is the diversity of the animals that are being threatened. Gorillas? Check. Giant salamanders? Check. Pangolins? Check. Mind boggled? Double-check.

[photo via the CBC]





Yoga, Veganism, and Complaining: I Love Them All So Much  »

I’m a yogi, in the American sense: a couple times a week, I go to a class to practice Hatha yoga, mostly for strength and flexibility. I try to meditate at the appropriate time, but it’s hardly the focus of my practice. There’s a big difference between what I do and what real yogis do: they are trying to reach a pinnacle of meditative ecstasy and therefore achieve “liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death.” I am trying to look good with my shirt off.

When I read the New York Times article about food and yoga, I thought “now I know how new vegetarians feel when they listen to grumpy old vegans talking about honey.”  People really criticize each other about this stuff? Don’t they have anything better to do? What happened to the worldly suffering? But if you think about it, that’s intimately related. The first proscription of yogic teaching is ahimsa, the principle of nonviolence towards living things. How can one be liberated from suffering if one does not embrace nonviolence?

Good question! Let’s ask Sadie Nardini, who apparently started this whole shitshow by writing a somewhat schizophrenic piece about her yoga-practicing, meat-eating ways in the Huffington Post. The Times piece is about the rift in the yoga community between those who eat anything they please, and those who think yoga compels practitioners to (at least) vegetarianism. But below the surface, it’s just as much about the culture of judgment some find in the community.

Nardini’s piece is all about that judgment. Making a fairly offensive Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell comparison, she argues that meat-eaters need to “stay in the closet” to reach the good graces of top-tier yoga instructors.  It’s easy to imagine that she wrote the piece to drum up publicity: “I’m risking a lot doing this, as I am moving to a larger arena in my own teaching, and could turn off the very people who are taking me there” [emphasis mine].  But motivation regardless, do yogis need to be vegan? If they’re not, do they need to hide their diet? Can yogis judge each other for this stuff?

Here’s the thing: the rules are pretty clear. Even Nardini, in her rejection of vegetarianism, makes an argument from ahimsa. It’s a spurious one: she brings up all the canards we’ve heard a thousand times before, about plants feeling pain and insects being killed with the harvest of grain and really it’s fine if you just honor the animal you’re eating and first and foremost, some people just need to eat meat or else they feel yucky and self-harm is the worst of all. Of course, we know the answers to all of these ridiculous objections. If you clear them out of the way, ahimsa is pretty straightforward: avoid doing violence.

Yoga, the real kind, is like any other discipline. There are rules you have to follow. It’s certainly not desirable for yogis to pass judgment on each other for failing to adhere to the rules; ideally, that would be an internal drive. But the thing is, if you’re not following the principles of yoga, you’re doing it wrong. No judgment need be attached to that; it’s just an evaluation of the rules. Much as with “vegetarians” who eat chicken, or “vegans” who eat eggs, it doesn’t matter if your reasons are good.  And it doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person.* It just means you’re not living up to the title you claim.

You can’t make the argument from ahimsa that it’s ok to eat meat; it doesn’t hold water. Eat whatever you want, but don’t pretend that you’re living up to the ideals of a yogi. Start your own thing, be a flexiyogini or whatever, but don’t dilute a meaningful term just because you want the benefits without living up to the responsibilities. We see enough of that already.

*OK yes it does, but because you’re killing chickens, not because you’re breaking rules.

This guest-post has been brought to you by Joel, of Joel and Nibbler.


Vegan Halloween candy, Oprah (!), weekend events, and FINALLY: findings from Japanese whaling research! All in this week’s link-o-rama!  »

Meaverly's computer is out of commission right now (ugh computers are such pieces of shit, except this one, i love you, computer, you are very attractive, please don't explode on me) and so I'm taking over this ship. Get ready to crash into the rocks! Gloriously!


Natalie Portman is gonna be on Top Chef. WILL IT BE AN ALL-VEGAN EPISODE, now that she is recently vegan!? I mean, we think she is but we’ve been confused before! Here’s hoping the episode is totally vegan but we’re not planning on it because OMG COOKING VEGAN FOOD NIGHTMARE HOW WILL WE FIND FLAVOR WITHOUT USING BABY BLOOD!?!? Didn’t they once have a Quickfire challenge where they had to cook fellow contestant’s children? I’m pretty sure that was in Season 3.

Even though we’re nearing the end of October, Vegan MoFo is still in full swing! If you’re interested in winning some awesome handmade cups & dishes, head to Vessels & Wares to enter! You have to put down your favorite blog entry and PLEASE GOD let it be one from Vegansaurus because I’m like srsly close to the edge today.

Vegan chef Tal Ronnen was on Oprah. THAT IS CORRECT. Now, his book is the 3rd best selling thing on ALL OF AMAZON. Such is the power of the mighty, mighty O. IF you missed it, you can check out his recipes from the show and BUY HIS BOOK. Because it’s really great. And we want him to beat out Sarah Palin and take the #1 spot on Amazon! YOU CANNOT LET SARAH PALIN WIN. I need you to fight like we did back in 2008, people.

Remember when the UN Report, LIvestock’s Long Shadow, came out and everyone was terrified and disgusted? Well, apparently that report grossly underestimates exactly how bad animal agriculture is for the earth. Blarg.

Wayne Pacelle, head honcho of HSUS, posted a great blog entry on 50 things you can do for animals. Definitely worth a read and then TAKE SOME ACTION, LAZY.

Speaking of lists, Rory Freeman has a great one up at Crazy Sexy Life. It’s all about how to be a better person and it’s not all schmaltzy and lame, it’s full of good advice. NOW IF ONLY I COULD TAKE IT.

FINALLY, the results from all the Japanese whaling research (read: killing whales and not doing any research) are in: whales eat krill; and, you can’t inject whale sperm into a cow egg and get a hybrid whale-cow. SERIOUSLY. If this makes you really mad—and it must because you have a brain and a heart—donate to Sea Shepherd so that they can get better at doing what they’re doing because even if they look crazy sometimes (read: almost 100 percent of the time), they are the only ones out there doing this and they will get better.

VegNews has up an awesome definitive guide to vegan Halloween candy because we’re all totally fat around here and gotta have it.

You’ve probably for sure seen this but if not, it’s a HOUND DOG hanging with an ORANGUTAN. Watch it and you’ll want to gouge out your eyeballs when you’re done because you’ll never see something so great again. And you’re into self-mutilation. I guess you’d need to have those two things going for you.

The long awaited, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, isn’t available on Amazon yet but Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe has it if you need it gotta have it right now. Which, you might because COOKIES!!!

If you’re all about the street food, there is an event in the Mission on Saturday, Oct. 24th. I can’t tell exactly what it is, film screenings, mainly, I think. There will be lots of food carts on the scene, many vegan friendly. No guarantees obviously b/c those crazy cart food people can change at any moment because nobody is regulating their shit but here’s hoping! I know Wholesome Bakery is all-vegan and they’ll be there so yeah WOO!

Rod Rotundi, he of the BEST NAME EVER, is promoting his new book, Raw Food for Real People, also on Saturday from 3 to 4 p.m. at Omnivore Books. It’s cool that OMNIvore Books is doing a veg event so let’s all show up and turn it out for the vegans and maybe they’ll do more in the future! Oh also, there will totally be free food at this event so I’m gearing up by not eating today (lie) and most of the day tomorrow (lie).


Parents Raising Free-Range Vegans: You’ll Eat That Nugget, and Like It?   »

Parents rule. Literally, they’re supposed to be the rule makers, the head of the household, the buck stops before somebody gets grounded. But sometimes, like last night’s parental usurping by BalloonBoy Falcon Heene (“we did this for a show”), kids know best.

Highly publicized accounts of vegan parenting gone tragically wrong muddle the ongoing debate: should parents raise their children vegan? My favorite vegan parenting philosophy, told to me by the parent of a two-year-old being raised animal-free, “Right now, I’m in charge of what goes in her mouth. If she wanted to eat dog poop, I’d stop her. That’s my job while she can’t decide.” Disclosure: Despite the number of adorable sprites populating my friends’ Facebook feeds, I have no kids. I have also eaten dog poop, but I WAS two at the time, and the memory only exists in legend. It underscores the notion though: tiny kids just don’t know better.

What happens when kids are a little older and do know better? Blame it on the information age if you want to use the pejorative—but kids have access to more knowledge and are making corresponding life realizations earlier. Whether it’s more middle schoolers coming out of the closet, or more kids raised on chicken nuggets deciding, while still sitting at their parents’ table, anything in nugget format isn’t food—how should parents react?

This week, Huffington Post blogger, Donna Fish, wrote a post entitled, “Help! My Daughter’s a Vegan.” She launched in right away, “Am I supposed to be happy about this?” continuing to say that thinking about food too much seems “dogmatic and obsessive.” A mom who loves her T-bones she acknowledges she’s playing dietary roulette, citing the ground-beef paralyzed dancer, but meh—cheeseburgers are good! The conflict of an omnivorous parent of a veg child is summed up, “I have had to go against the fact that I hate that she is doing this, and support her.”

And then the kick-cringer: “Maybe it will just be a stage.” This isn’t a unique reaction. Longtime vegetarian Mike tells of a similar parental response: “My mom told me ‘it won’t last.’ That was 13 years ago. Does that make me veg out of spite?”

When a child makes a decision in opposition of a parent’s beliefs, to what extent are parents required to support it? On the scale from allowing it to happen, to making sure there are veg options on the grocery list and soy milk in the fridge, it strikes me that hoping it’s a stage is on the patronizing side. If a child is old enough to articulate that they don’t want to eat animals and provide an age-appropriate reason, to undermine that assertion of self, logic, and compassion is to prove that they’re not willing to support other expressions, be they “I’m gay” or “you made all of Colorado look for me while you made me hide in the garage.” Not cool. But, it takes a village (I hear.) Even if we don’t have kids ourselves, we can still be solid vegan role models for kids who might not have them at home—and a resource of info for parents who might be facing parenting a turned-veg kid. Maybe buttons? “I’m a Vegan, (Let Your Kid) Ask Me How.”

How supportive were your parents (or friends or significant others) when you vegged out? Is support important? There’s plenty o’ room for your coming out stories below…

P.S. If you’re a parent whose kid has seen the veg and you’re figuring out how to support their decision—whoooo! Here’s a treat for the trick or: the Top 10 Vegan Halloween Treats. If your kid wants to dress as a chicken instead of eat one, filling up their pumpkin it’s as easy as those good ol’ ABC123s.

This is the latest article in a recurring series, The Vegan Diplomat; The Art and Politics of Being Vegan in any Situation Society Throws on Your Plate, brought to us by the lovely Zoë Stagg. Zoë writes about politics, pop culture, and social media. She went cold-tofurkey—total omnivore to vegan on April 26, 2006 and never looked back. Despite her rural upbringing and the fact that her dad may have wanted her to enter the Dairy Princess pageant in high school, she firmly believes in the conservative nature of veganism. Her last non-vegan meal was a Turkey Lean Pocket. Ew.



Farm animals, it seems, were everywhere in 2008. One year ago, a shocking slaughterhouse investigation revealed workers torturing downed dairy cows — and prompted the nation’s largest-ever meat recall. And the year ended with California’s landslide vote passing Proposition 2, which will free nearly 20 million hens, pigs and calves from tiny, immobilizing cages on factory farms — in the nation’s largest agriculture state, no less.

…Americans were universally outraged when they viewed the slaughter plant footage exposing workers using forklifts, prods and water boarding to force sick and injured cows to their feet and into the kill box. Congress held eight hearings that addressed not only food safety risks of allowing meat from diseased animals into the food supply, but also on the wanton, extreme cruelty perpetrated against the animals. The California legislature enacted stronger regulations against slaughtering downed cows and other animals. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans to prohibit the slaughter of downed cows with no exceptions.

Prop 2 is the most popular citizen ballot initiative in California history, attracting a 63.5 percent landslide. More than eight million people voted in support of the idea that farm animals deserve at least enough room to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs. Oprah devoted an entire show to the issue. The New York Times editorialized in favor of the measure. The media’s interest in and public’s support for Prop 2 demonstrated one of its basic tenets: that concern for all animals, including those raised for food, is consistent with the better nature of every one of us.

In 2008, Americans sent an unmistakable signal to Big Agribusiness that we will not tolerate the kinds of cruelty that have become standard practice. We unequivocally established farm animal protection as a social issue worthy of our concern on a national scale. And we recognized our collective responsibility to show mercy and compassion for those from whom we take so much. As we head into February and the rest of 2009, let’s work to accomplish even more.


Your Friday afternoon quote!

"Moving Forward for Farm Animals" by Erin Williams, HSUS communications director for the factory farming campaign, in The Huffington Post.

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