Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!
What a week!
First, the dangerous and notorious King amendment in the farm bill was, well, let’s just say humanely euthanized.
Third, California’s landmark law banning the sale and production of foie gras was upheld as constitutional.
Fourth, the New Jersey legislature is again working to ban gestation crates, and our bill to do just that unanimously passed out of committee yesterday.
Fifth, Kathy Freston’s petition asking McDonald’s to add a veggie burger is making headlines, including in the Wall Street Journal.
Finally, Fox News did a great story on the future of animal product alternatives. In fact, meat reduction efforts in Sweden are so effective that desperate meat industry reps have taken to passing out free burgers to kids outside of schools!
P.S. Video of the week: This gorilla would totally own any mosh pit.
Tennessee state representative accuses Humane Society of “Tape and Rape” »
Just when we thought public officials were done making flagrant misstatements about rape, they’ve gone and done it again. The latest: this ag-gag proponent in the Tennessee legislature compares animal activists to child sex traffickers and rapists. Here’s the heinous e-mail, printed in full courtesy of the Tennessean:
From: Andy Holt [email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:26 PM
To: Kayci McLeod
Cc: Andy Holt
Subject: RE: Please Oppose HB 1191
I am extremely pleased that we were able to pass HB 1191 today to help protect livestock in Tennessee from suffering months of needless investigation that propagandist groups of radical animal activists, like your fraudulent and reprehensibly disgusting organization of maligned animal abuse profiteering corporatists, who are intent on using animals the same way human-traffickers use 17 year old women. You work for a pathetic excuse for an organization and a pathetic group of sensationalists who seek to profit from animal abuse. I am glad, as an aside, that we have limited your preferred fund-raising methods here in the state of Tennessee; a method that I refer to as “tape and rape.” Best wishes for the failure of your organization and it’s true intent.
State Representative—District 76
Weakley & Northern Carroll Counties
205 War Memorial Building
301 6th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243
In light of all the horrible acts large and small perpetrated by misguided individuals and corporations who profit from animal suffering (this guy’s a hog farmer as well as legislator—talk about a multi-taskhole!), more and more people are realizing how important it is that we can take animal abusers to task by exposing cruelty towards animals through investigations. Even the New York Times knows what’s up! Whether or not you’re not from Tennessee, please feel free to e-mail this man until the cows come home.
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
Wow, a lot’s happened since the last email update. Oscar Mayer, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and Baja Fresh all announced that after working with HSUS they’re going to be ending gestation crate confinement of pigs in their supply chains. The progress is so dramatic that Meatingplace magazine (a meat industry trade journal) commented, “The progression of this issue exemplifies how quickly the Humane Society of the United States can affect change.”
Even more, the Des Moines Register reported on a pork producer who wants to obtain gestation crates, but doesn’t because of “the possibility that the retailers and the Humane Society will make a crate ban stick.”
Want to know what the future holds for meat alternatives? Great guy and New Harvest founder Jason Matheny offers his insights to WorldWatch in this fascinating interview. (On a related topic, don’t miss Mark Bittman’s new NYT piece on his experience curing his illness by cutting dairy.)
And hey, there’s still hope for me to play in the NFL!
P.S. Video of the week: If I can play in the NFL, cats can play patty-cake:
Here’s a handy infographic about Canada’s commercial seal slaughter from the Humane Society. Check out the whole thing.
Stupid seal slaughter. Makes me so sick! But damn it, I love an infographic. I wish we could go back to middle school and just learn everything through infographics. OR osmosis. Just kidding, I’d rather die than be thirteen again. Hang in there, tweens! It gets slightly kind of better.
OMG RIDIC! It’s a baby cow! It looks like the love child of Alf and a Beanie Baby! Do they always look like that? So fuzzy! So cute! I NEED one. I’ll trade my kidney for one! And you can have my liver too—though it’s partially damaged.
This is from the Humane Society’s Farm Animal Protection Campaign Facebook page. Cute pictures appear to be a trend over there so “like” them for more! (There’s baby piggies!)
UPDATE: Apparently this photo was taken by Matthew Rawlings who works at a vet clinic.
Obama’s 2011 animal welfare report card according to the Humane Society. Not looking that good! You’ll never get into the right college with those grades, Mr. President. And then you won’t meet the right people, won’t get the right job, and you’ll end up in charge of some super jerky nation instead of a nice one.
Vegan Gift Guide: Great vegan gifts for omnis! »
I am a world class gift-giver. Everybody says so. Like, even Jesus. And for my gift to you, I’m going to share some of my present ideas for this holiday season! Now, I think gifts should be all about who you’re giving them to, not about who you are. A lot of people buy gifts they themselves would like without thinking of what the recipient likes. You like books, your friend likes music—you buy them music, not a book! Simple enough, but it seems to allude many people.
What I’m getting at is your gifts for the omnis in your life shouldn’t be all about your veganism. Trust me, your fam knows you’re vegan (and if they don’t, they’ll get a clue when you bust out the soy nog), you don’t have to remind them again when it’s present time. But at the same time, you can’t be buying them leather jackets! So what to do? Buy secretly vegan gifts! You forgo the "Bacon had a Mom" shirt and get them gifts they will like that happen to be vegan—and maybe do a little good on the sly. Like something that benefits the environment; no one will suspect that it is secretly helping vegans! But it’s like I always say, we vegans have to protect the environment because that’s where all the animals live! And hey, if it’s trendy waxed canvas instead of leather, no one will think twice. But you’ll know it’s vegan! Oh, you’ll know.
Without further ado, great gifts vegans can buy omnis!:
If you didn’t know, people love coffee. I swear! It’s true! And in New York and Philly, the biggest thing in coffee is La Colombe. People are crazy for it. It’s at all the posh places. It’s really good! But what’s better, their ethics are out of control. They do direct trade, invest in the community, worry about the rainforest and all that good stuff. And it’s shade-grown so the birds are OK! Laura told me about that, I didn’t even know. But yeah, some coffee is bad for birds!
So you can impress the hipster, urbanite, or coffee-lover in your life by getting them the coolest thing in coffee while secretly knowing the birds and rainforest are OK and your ethics are intact!
You know what moms are? Cold. Like, all the time. OK, sometimes they are annoyingly hot, but they spend much of their time being cold. So what better gift than a scarf?! Not a bulky, winter-wear scarf; a pretty, indoor scarf to keep them warm in rooms that are actually a perfectly reasonable temperature. And they can take them off if they get hot! Perf.
And if your mom is like mine, she has entered what I once read described as, “the Goddess Phase.” My mom and all her friends are in the Goddess Phase—You’d know it if you saw it! It’s all about loose linen clothes, beaded necklaces, herbal tea, etc. A scarf is so goddess. Plus, these scarfs are all cotton, vegetable-dyed and super organic. Up with cotton, down with wool!
You know what dads need? Classy, relaxed clothing. Things that make them look like the distinguished old gentlemen that they are while also keeping their old gentlemen bodies comfortable. So something like this cotton half sweatshirt/half sweater is just the thing! While everyone else is giving him stuffy silk ties and itchy wool sweaters, you’ll be like, “Blammo!” Organic cotton! And it doesn’t hurt that Threads 4 Thought is a sustainable brand that supports great organizations like Natural Resource Defense Council. They even have their own world-saving effort, Girl 2 Girl, that seeks to empower girls throughout the world. Can I get a huzzah?!
Need a cheeky yet utilitarian gift for your sweetie? How about cruelty-free underoos from vegan-owned Purrfect Pineapples! All their products are sweatshop and animal-free. They are also handmade and they do custom orders! So if they don’t have your size or you have some wacky design, they can make it happen.
When your main squeeze opens this present, no way will they be like, “OMG stop pushing your beliefs on me!” They will be like, “OMG let’s do it!” And your love-making will be that much more satisfying knowing you supported a vegan biz. Also, sorry I said love-making. Bleh, love. And making. Bleh.
Know a wine lover, a sustainable design enthusiast and/or someone with a new place? These wine tumblers would make a great present. Not only are they recycled, but they’re totally meta! Kind of? You’d be drinking wine from tumblers made of wine bottles! Whatever, it’s cool and they are pretty. And environmentally friendly!
This eco-friendly, fair trade necklace also happens to be approved by my sister so YOU KNOW it’s cute. She suggests pairing it with some gold for a real WHAM BAM effect. World of Good, where you can purchase this hotness, also points out: "The beautiful jewelry of the collection is made by Ecuadorian artisans from natural, local rain forest materials. This not only helps the artisans earn a living wage, but it also helps to protect the rain forest by creating a profitable and low impact use of its materials." I love stuff like that! Where you make keeping environmental and animal stuff more valuable than killing it all. That rules.
You may say to yourself, “What about the kids?!” Well, I’ve got a little something for them too! This cute book comes with a plush dog AND has tactile stuff on the pages for kiddies to mess with. And the best part? It benefits the Humane Society! Or maybe the tactile stuff is the best part, I used to love that fuzzy bunny book. Sigh. That was awesome.
Wait, wait, wait, the best part is that kids love books (for some wacky reason) and kids love animals, so no one will suspect that you are secretly indoctrinating them into the vegan lifestyle! Haaaa, that is the best.
OK, here’s my bid for the cheap secret santa gift. At $6.50, this cookie mix (which contains no animal ingredients on its own) is fair-trade, eco-friendly and supports the Women’s Bean Project, “an innovative social enterprise in Denver, Colorado which benefits women with a history of poverty and chronic unemployment.” If that is not enough for you, it funds 14 bowls of food for shelter animals!
And this is a good generic present because it’s not some dumb, cheapo thing the recipient is going to be stuck with; they can actually use it and it goes away. And cookies are yummy!
I know many book collectors and they are a nutty lot. They are obsessed! And one thing I have learned is, unless you are getting them some rare first edition, never try to buy them an actual book as a gift; If it’s a book they wanted, they will have already gotten it by the time you’re trading presents. If they don’t have it, it’s because they don’t want it. Another thing I have learned is the bane of the book collector’s existence is when they loan a book to someone and never get it back. It haunts them in the wee hours. The solution? Book labels! And if you recall, not only are these labels eco-friendly, but use our “VEGANSAURUS” coupon code at Boygirlparty’s etsy store and you will get 10 percent off your order and 10 percent of the sale will be donated to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. You’ll help animals AND your book-enthusiast will feel like someone finally understands their deep-seated collector’s anxiety.
Another thing: these book labels would make a good gift for kids too. Like I said, kids love books; Another thing kids love is laying claim to things. With these labels, they can tell the whole world this is their book. Plus, look at that cute elephant!
This is perfect for the gentleman or aspiring gentleman. Or just anyone who likes to stay groomed. Or really, anyone who’s gone through puberty. If they don’t know already, they will find out: shaving brushes rule! They work as a gentle exfoliant so you can get a nice smooth shave with less irritation. That’s what makes this a great present: it’s classy, utilitarian, and works better. And with this kit, you get all-natural, environmentally friendly, vegan soap and a brush free of badger hair. Yay! Bleh, badger hair. Leave it for the badgers.
So those are my recommendations! I spent a lot of time on them! Because I love you. And because gift-giving should be a pleasure, not a chore! I hope these help with that. Have fun and be merry!
Hog farm sued for ignoring sexual harassment »
[The plaintiff] says she and her co-workers were subjected to peepholes in the women’s showers, their underwear being stolen from their lockers and found wet with a substance one reported to be semen, unwanted groping and hugging by male workers, and sex-related drawings in a break room.
Murphy-Brown’s lawyers said they did everything they could to stop the harassment. They also suggested the women drilled the peepholes themselves? OK. The jury decided the corporation didn’t take adequate measures to stop the harassment but didn’t act in malice, so they awarded the plaintiff $30,000.
Not that sexual harassment doesn’t happen everywhere all the time, but the meat industry has a history of not giving a shit about its employees. We’ve all read “Blood, Sweat, and Fear" by now, right? Smithfield Foods, the corporation that owns Murphy-Brown, is allover that study. But here’s Smithfield’s policy on harassment:
Smithfield is committed to providing our employees with a nondiscriminatory work environment free of any type of harassment per company policy and the law. Supervisory employees must investigate all complaints of harassment and employees are advised on their responsibility to report violations. The company will take appropriate disciplinary actions for violation of policy or law.
"Free of any type of harassment" means free of sexual harassment. But they don’t mention sexual harassment specifically, which is a big red flag to me. You don’t even address it in your workers’ rights policies? At least pretend you care about it on paper.
Like I said, sexual harassment happens allover all the time but here’s my main point: If they can’t keep their own employees safe, how can we trust them to keep “humane” conditions for the animals they are charged with? Animals who can’t complain to the boss, who are completely helpless and voiceless?
For a laugh, a quote from Murphy-Brown’s site:
"At Murphy-Brown, our commitment to producing high-quality pork products while protecting the environment and promoting animal welfare isn’t just a motto, it’s how we operate."
Yeeeah, doubt it.
As a bonus, here’s the Humane Society’s video on gestation crates and conditions for hogs at Smithfield Foods:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
Keep up the good work, bros.
The Humane Society has a car donation program, One Car One Difference, where you can donate a car (in any condition) and they will auction it off and use the proceeds for their anti-dog fighting efforts. Cool program but REALLY I’m posting this because that pic is just totally adorable! Isn’t it? The dog is all, “OMG YOU’RE SO AWESOME I LOVE YOU TELL ME MORE.”
But wait, there’s more cuteness. They have this adorbs story about a little boy and his pit:
Terrance and Elmo diverted from dogfighting
Elmo was about to be sent into the horrific world of dogfighting. His master, then 11-year old Terrance, had seen it before and didn’t understand that it was wrong. It was just what you did with your dogs.
But Elmo and Terrance are no longer on a path to dogfighting. In fact, they are now prime examples of how The Humane Society of the United States is ending dogfighting, one dog owner at a time.
Star students at dog training school
"When I first got Elmo, I was thinking about dogfighting," says Terrance, now 13. "Then I ran into a man with a dog and a dog training school."The man was from HSUS’ End Dogfighting program. He changed Terrance’s attitudes and behavior, and helped prevent Elmo from becoming a tragic victim.
Terrance continues. “I taught Elmo how to sit and stay and be a well behaved dog. Instead of teaching him the wrong thing, going out there and killing another dog, I’m teaching him the right thing, and encouraging him to be a good dog. He doesn’t mistreat me, and I don’t mistreat him.” The young dog trainer and responsible dog owner concludes, “Be great with your dog, and no dogfighting!”
Holy cannoli try not to die of adorable overload.
You know what is awesome about dogs? All they want to do is shower you with affection. I mean, sometimes they wanna eat food and sniff butts, but mostly they just want to love you (unless they’ve been trained to do otherwise, and that’s totally not the dogs’ fault). So that’s why I’m SUPER-PISSED when police officers bust down doors and shoot family pets.
Wait, it gets better: It’s frequently THE WRONG EFFING HOUSE. So not only are the cops raiding the homes of totally innocent people; they’re also murdering hundreds to thousands of Labradors, terriers, and even freakin’ chihuahuas, just hanging out, doing what dogs do: running up to the guest/intruder to see what’s what. In no instance have any witnesses agreed with police departments’ claims that the dogs were behaving aggressively. In many cases, shots are fired ridiculously close to unarmed civilians, in one case killing a woman and causing an infant to lose his hand (N.B. This asshole was ACQUITTED). Even when no humans are physically hurt, the loss of a close companion is traumatic emotionally.
And the trigger-happy police say this is standard operating procedure? I say it is bullshit. You might think that postal workers are more at risk for dog attacks, but they’re given training on how to deal with aggressive pets, at worst using mace (not ideal, but better than killing the dog). The ASPCA and the Humane Society say they’d love to provide this kind of training for police officers, but only a few departments nationwide make good on this offer.
Nothing but NOTHING makes me more upset than abused animals, especially when they weren’t doing anything wrong. Should we start a campaign? Protect our pups! Police for pooches! Other good slogans? Otherwise, PLEASE get a hold of your local police department, and demand that they take advantage of the training resources that local animal-care organizations (SPCA, Humane Society, etc.) provide.