The Elephant who cried when he was freed might go back into captivity!  »


Do you guys remember the wonderful story of Raju? We were so so so happy when Raju was rescued two months ago. This is his new life, with all his fresh jackfruit he gets now:


But now his cruel former “owner”/abuser has filed legal documents to take him back! YOU CAN HELP! 

From Wildlife SOS, India:

What you can do now:

1.) Sign the petition

2.) Donate to our elephant legal fund (select “elephant legal fund” from the dropdown list on the donation form)

3.) Send an email (recipients and instructions here)

Show them that the world cares! Raju should never wear chains again!

UPDATE: I wrote this Friday, they’ve added an FAQ since then


Elephant Raju is saved after 50 years of abuse, cries during rescue  »

imageThis is Raju! See how happy he looks? Well happiness is a brand new feeling for Raju as he was only recently rescued from years of abuse. Get the tissues! No, really, I might be crying a bit.


Raju had been working as a begging elephant in Allahabad. People would give the mahout tips in exchange for ‘blessings’ by Raju. Most of the food he got was inappropriate for an elephant. However, half starving, Raju would eat almost anything.

His mahout would beat him to make him keep begging and he was made to wear spiked chains that dug into his skin. 


But after 50 years, Raju has finally been rescued, thanks to Wildlife SOS, India. Raju’s “owner” didn’t want to give him up:

His mahout and previous owner were non-cooperative and made things very difficult to rescue Raju. They put more chains on him and pulled the spikes tighter and then had people blocking the roads leading to the rescue truck. 

Awful!!! Makes me so mad! But Wildlife SOS did not give up! But after dealing with those terrible people, Raju himself was a challenge. It took a while to gain enough trust with Raju to get him on the truck to safety, but after coaxing with fruit, they say Raju realized he was finally in good hands, and he began to cry.

imageFrom Wildlife SOS:

Have you ever seen a grown elephant cry? This photo is a reminder to all that elephants have strong emotional lives and they have the ability to suffer deeply. This photo was taken of Raju when the rescue mission first began. He had a flood of tears from his eyes when our team first moved in to secure his freedom Some would question that Raju was truly weeping. However, our team that witnessed this moment know differently. This photo is shared at this moment not with the intention of depressing everybody, but with the hope that we can use it as an educational tool to enlighten others that elephants around the world need our help.

Here’s Raju now! This is him munching on a jackfruit at the sanctuary. He looks so pleased!!!!

imageAnd Wildlife SOS bought a literal truckload of jackfruit for him!

imageThese are the elephants he will now live with:

imageHe’ll finally have elephant companions!

If you want to help Raju, they have a donation page just for him. You can also donate directly to Wildlife SOS India to support their work to save other abused elephants. Help if you can!


Court rules to send abused elephant Sunder to sanctuary!  »


This is exciting! Sunder has been chained and abused for years while PETA India has campaigned for his release. Finally, the high court of Bombay ruled in favor of PETA! HUZZAH!

ONE PROBLEM. Sunder was supposed to be freed in 2012:

The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after constant chaining and beatings came to light, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release to a sanctuary on 21 August 2012 and 9 November 2012, respectively. However, those orders were never carried out, and Sunder was then spirited away at the behest of Kore and hidden in an old poultry shed, where he remained in chains. In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing that his mahout was violently beating him, and veterinarians and elephant experts who examined Sunder found him scarred, wounded and chained so tightly that he couldn’t lie down.

It wasn’t a ruling by the high court so maybe it’s different this time. Regardless, I’m happy that the government of India is on Sunder’s side! And let’s all hope to the highest hope that this time Sunder gets his sanctuary! My heart goes out to you, sweet ele!

I’m not sure if there’s an easy way to donate to the sanctuary Sunder is supposed to go to, but here is some info on that. You can donate to PETA India here


McDonald’s to open all-veg restaurants in India! Globalization party!  »

Veg combo from McDonald’s in Jaipur

Turns out McDonald’s, with is half-vegetarian menu in its Indian restaurants, isn’t “capturing the market” on the subcontinent as successfully as the great McDonald’s globalization overlords would like. How do you successfully sell your chemically delicious, primarily cow-based edible food-like items to a country where many citizens eschew cow-based foods, many others abstain from pig-based foods, and many others don’t eat animal flesh at all?

When the McAloo Tikki isn’t enough: the homemade vegan McAloo Tikki.

McDonald’s, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen to open an all-vegetarian restaurant in Amritsar, a Sikh holy city. When it opens “in the middle of next year,” it will be the world’s first meatless McDonald’s, to be followed by the second meatless McDonald’s in Katra Vaishno Devi, near the Hindu holy site of Vaishno Devi. There just aren’t enough Indian citizens eating at McDonald’s, see, and opening restaurants that serve food that conforms to most of the religious and cultural diets observed by Indian people will fix that, for sure.

No word on how much of the menu will be vegan, but we’ll take this. When a major international corporation chooses “less harmful” over “totally and completely harmful and cruel and awful,” we’ll take it. Abolition would be best, but abolition doesn’t sell. What does sell? Fried potatoes. Baby steps won’t help the animals being tortured and killed today, but it will prevent some from being tortured and murdered tomorrow.

Vegansaurus still hates McDonald’s on principle, and of course this move is completely profit-driven. Still, we appreciate them seeing the potential profits in meatless. Congratulations, India; enjoy your chemically delicious meatless menu.

Original story and quotes from Agence France-Presse.

[top photo by Owen Lin via Flickr; vegan McAloo Tikki by k. christensen via Tumblr]


Top 10 links of the week!: A harlem shuffle through the dance floor of veganism!  »

Scary rooster Puff has it in for kitty Blacko! This is kind of sad. 

Grist’s Protein Angst series is still killing it! My new favorite: Never mind the meat—worry about eating enough plants. This is what I’m always thinking! Like, dude, I get enough protein, do you get enough veggies?! There is so much concern over our nutrients but I’d bet meat-mouths are not hitting all the nutritional points!

A whole town in India relocated to make room for tigers! That’s nice. 

McDonald’s thinks trying their food is less risky than petting stray pitbulls. People are not pleased. But I’m glad our standards are now risky and less risky. Obviously they are implying you may get bit by a dog; generally I want my food to be on an entirely different scale than getting bit by a dog—not just less “risky.”

From Ecouterre, fur trapping season ends with record high of non-target animal deaths. That means exactly what you think it means.

Choosing Raw has another great post on PCRM and fat-shaming (though we discourage the use of “overweight” as it maintains there is a specific weight you should be). Gena stresses the need to focus on using “honest language, honest facts, and honest statistics.” Here here!

Australia is up in arms over recent footage documenting inhumane conditions in a Sydney slaughterhouse. You can see the video on the linked page. It’s pretty rugged. The one good thing though is it seems like Australia actually does stuff when footage like this surfaces. The slaughterhouse in question was immediately closed (I don’t know if it was permanently closed but still, swift action).

An NYT editorial calls for humane national standards in egg production!

You know we’ve been discussion palm oil lately, well Grist is here to help you break free of the palm oil grasp!

From HuffPo, you may have already heard about this but if not: Westminster severed ties with Pedigree because they didn’t want to see images of puppies behind bars during commercial breaks. Stay classy, Westminster!

From Ecorazzi, Ian Somerhalder (see below) is getting an award from the Humane Society! I have an award for him too! IN MY PANTS. Sorry guys, I can’t help it, he’s the hotness times god damn. 


Guest post: personalized Valentine’s videos from Animal Aid Unlimited!   »

The coolest gift since the mix tape was invented: a personalized video dedicated to your loved one, featuring an adorable rescued animal, from a totally rad animal rights organization. Customizing your gift is easy: just tell them your loved one’s name, and pick the animal you want to sponsor—you even get to pick the song that will play in the background. Then, after a donation of just $100, plus the time it takes to produce the video, a link to your personalized clip appears in your email inbox, ready to share with that special someone. It’s the best gift ever!!

Animal Aid Unlimited is a great organization, located in Udaipur, India, that I was lucky enough to visit while on a trip with VegVoyages (best tour company ever!). The work they do reaches a ridiculous amount of animals, thanks to their unique situation: In India, animals are allowed to roam freely in the streets, so Animal Aid can take in sick and injured animals, give them life-saving medical care, and if they are fit enough to survive on the streets, release them back to the same place they were taken from. Those who are unlikely to survive on their own are given permanent homes at the sanctuary. This policy allows them to treat tens of thousands of animals without the problem of overcrowding faced by American shelters, and no-kill shelters in particular.

The other unique thing about Animal Aid unlimited is that they are able to provide a high level of medical care to the animals at an incredibly low cost. Some examples of this are: • $6,800 a year to pay for a full time Veterinarian • $1,100 a year for a Veterinary nurse • $100 pays for rabies inoculations for 160 animals These two factors combine to bring Animal Aid’s supporters some great bang for their donation buck: not only is Animal Aid in a position to help more animals than would be possible elsewhere, but it costs less to help each animal than it would at home. With every dollar helping so much, you can rest assured that your donation will be going to a good cause.

If you want your video by Feb, 14, you should get your orders in sooner rather than later, because these people are animal rescuers, not magical elves who can make videos overnight. I already put in my order for my hubby’s V-day video, and you should too! It’s a better gift than the one he wanted (a manometer—I mean WTF!?—totally not romantic), and we both get a warm fuzzy feeling inside from helping save some cute critters. What’s better than that? If you can’t get it by Valentine’s Day, just let your significant other/person-you’re-bumpin’-uglies-with that you made the donation. Then, when the video arrives, you show it to them and get laid twice for the price of one! You’re welcome.

Marie Dadap is a fat vegan extraordinaire whose life won’t be complete until someone makes a vegan brie. You can reach her at marie [at] dadap [dot] net. This is her second post for us, you can see the first one (DONUTS) here (DONUTS).


Elephant freed from Indian temple to live at enormous zoological park!  »

This time I have some good news from Peta; Peta India and local activists finally convinced the temple where Mariappan, the elephant, had been chained for nine years to send the him to Arignar Anna Zoological Park. Yay! The park sounds kind of cool: It’s nearly 1,500 acres, with a 228-acre “rescue and rehabilitation center,” which makes it not only India’s biggest zoological garden, but one of the biggest in the world.

They do have elephant rides, which is SHITTY but way better than being chained by all four legs in a dingy room for nine years. Lots of things are better than that.

Elephants are my favorite animal and this is super great! Happy day!

[Picture of Mariappan free from his chains and getting a fresh bath outside before he travels to Arignar Anna from]


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].



Spice economics, school lunch wars, pretty clothes, the politics of animal protection and MORE in today’s link-o-rama!  »

Nightmare blog: Fed Up with Lunch, in which an anonymous public school teacher buys lunch every day in the cafeteria, photographs it, and discusses how in/edible it is. She also has guest-bloggers, and supports the Healthy School Lunches program, because seriously this “food” is vile and nearly inedible.

Fun-times vegan-style events!
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution premiers tonight on ABC at 8 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific), and you can watch the first episode right now online, too.

Tomorrow, Saturday Mar. 27 Mission Street Food is having a vegetarian night, with many vegan options available! We know, we know, and you don’t have to go, but when they make vegan food it is very good, so.

The LGBT Army of Compassion will hold a “peaceful demonstration” against animal cruelty on Sunday, Mar. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Northeast corner of the Heart of the City Farmers Market at U.N. Plaza. Click here for further information.

Greens is throwing a huge party for its 30th anniversary, which is a huge deal, as Greens was the very first haute vegetarian cuisine restaurant. The “gala” will be at the San Francisco Zen Center on Saturday, Apr. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m., preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the “pre-reception” cost $50; tickets for the gala, $200; combined, $225. If you want to take me, I’ll go—I have lots of nice dresses and shoes! Though there’s a better chance of my putting out if we just go to Millennium, because hi, all that’s vegan.

Items of social and political import!
Do you live in the Berkeley area? Do you need a part- or full-time job? Maoz Vegetarian is hiring!

Tobey Maguire helped open a Teaching Garden in Inglewood, Calif. this week, in support of the Child Nutrition Act (Healthy School Lunches Program, what!). Hooray!

Food banks like Meals on Wheels have been delivering pet food along with human food, because broke people can’t feed themselves or their animals.

Help save wolves, before Sarah Palin guns them all down for high ratings on the T.V. You read the news, you know I am not kidding.

Would you like to hear a story about the popularity of chicken wings? It’s vile! Especially the part about how they make “boneless” chicken wings, puke.

How about an odd, lovely essay regarding hummingbirds and mid-19th-century American writers?

The talented, beautiful, amazing Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture has a feature on vegan fashion on

H&M launched its Garden Collection this week, clothes made of organic and recycled materials. Go on, look at the pretty things. [link from SuperVegan!]

This is the titular Oliver, of The Daily Oliver, not enjoying riding the subway in his “travel case.” There are pictures of him looking happier but come on, THAT FACE.

It’s conclusive: high-fructose corn syrup is much worse for you than regular sugar. Unfortunately science proved this by feeding obscene amounts of HFCS to rats. The scientists who performed the experiments sure look happy, though!

Foreign Policy would like to know why it’s cool to protect elephant ivory but not bluefin tuna or sharks. The answer: the economic/political status of the countries on either side of the issue.

In China, the latest national economic bubble is in the garlic market, while gangs are smuggling saffron into India.

In Taiwan, the Ministry of Education has recommended schools serve one vegetarian meal per week, for environmental and health reasons.

Ol’ Gavin Newsom wants to convert unused public land in San Francisco into gardens, which is great, but also “easy-to-assemble chicken coops,” which is ridiculous. Let Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns tell you about how raising backyard chickens is not all scattering feed from a bucket and communing with your hens.

Kombucha: it solves all your health problems, forever, and you can make it in your closet. All the hippest hippies in the Bay Area are brewing it.

The state of Maryland is really pissed about oyster-poaching, and has seriously increased the penalties for violators. Poachers blame the crackdown for their poaching, because everyone loves a good “vicious circle” argument!

Mormons love Jell-O! Especially things like “shredded carrots, peas, and cubed ham—in gifts of Jell-O molds.” This is the Lord’s Food, y’all.

Would Mormon Jesus want you to "green up" your sex life? Vegansaurus does, duh.

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