UN Court calls bullshit on Japan’s whaling program! »
Image from Greenpeace.
Yay! The International Court of Justice has ordered a temporary halt on Japan’s annual whale slaughter! The UN Court does not think the program is truly in the name of science (screw science anyway, save all the whales!). And according to BBC, Japan said it will honor the ruling.
Reading a summary of the judgment, presiding Judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia said that the present “research program,” dating to 2005, has involved the killing of 3,600 minke whales and a number of fin whales, but that its “scientific output to date appears limited.” The ruling suggested instead that Japan’s whaling hunt served political and economic reasons.
Lawyers attending the proceedings said there was a gasp in the audience when Judge Tomka ordered Japan to immediately “revoke all whaling permits” and not issue any new ones under the existing program.
AWESOME! Let’s hope it sticks!!!
A final note from Captain Alex Cornelissen of the deservedly proud Sea Shepherd Global:
Though Japan’s unrelenting harpoons have continued to drive many species of whales toward extinction, Sea Shepherd is hopeful that in the wake of the ICJ’s ruling, it is whaling that will be driven into the pages of the history books.
Anonymous appears to be taking on the dolphin slaughter in Japan. They are so scary! I’m not super into scaring people but I’m also super against rounding up and slaughtering dolphins. Then again, I don’t want cows being mass slaughtered either, which happens here every damn day. Let’s just say across the board, I’m not into slaughtering. Go figure.
via Abby Bean, I spy on her FB.
Guest post: Japan resumes whaling, I resume crying »
I’ve been following the updates from Taiji, Japan on Twitter—Taiji is where The Cove was filmed, and where every year dolphins are slaughtered in a cove for low-priced and mercury-laden meat after the ones suitable for “fun” (read: awful) places like SeaWorld are picked out and sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Sad things happen there. Sea Shepherd is in Japan bearing witness to the dolphins killed in Taiji in the hopes that the world will take notice and put pressure on Japan to stop it.
This created chunks of sadness in my Twitter feed—between videos about cute cats and Vegan MoFo blog posts—and now I’ve started seeing tweets about this as well: Japan is going to resume its “scientific” whaling program after stopping it due to pressure from groups like Sea Shepherd. (I put “scientific” in quotes because that’s totally not the case.) Why you gotta do me like this, Japan?!
Officials announced on Tuesday that Japan will resume whale hunting in the Southern Ocean this winter, and stated their intentions to protect their ships.
"The Fisheries Agency will send a patrol boat and take increased measures to strengthen the protection given to the research whaling ships," Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano said at a news conference Tuesday.
Fortunately, the Sea Shepherd crew are a bunch of badasses and don’t plan to make the hunt easy for Japan.
They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again…. We will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion of arrogant greed into what is an established sanctuary for the whales.
That’s from a statement by Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson, who says that more than 100 people will be in the Southern Ocean to block the Japanese whaling fleet. How can you help? For starters, you can support Sea Shepherd so they can continue their work. You can sign a petition against whaling at Whales Revenge. You can write to your government reps to make it clear you don’t support whaling, and you want them to make their lack of support for whaling known as well. Adopt a whale from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. And you could talk to people about why whales are awesome and whaling is not, and encourage them to take action too. Highly recommended: following Sea Shepherd’s updates, online and/or Twitter.
Have any other suggestions on how awesome Vegansaurus readers can fight whaling in the Southern Ocean? Tell us about them in the comments!
photo by John Krzesinski via Flickr
Snails are the new cockroaches! »
You know how people talk about the world ending and the only beings that survive will be Cher and the cockroaches? Well, now they’ve got company, because snails can be digested by birds and come out inexplicably healthy. This shocking and somewhat disgusting news comes from research being done in Japan, where grad students are studying bird feces. I do not know about you, but this sounds like one of the worst jobs ever to me. I cannot imagine getting up in the morning and knowing that I would spend the day messing around with bird poop for scientific research. not even if I loved science. not even if I loved it enough to marry it, which I don’t.
The point, however, is not how much I dislike bird poop; what is more important is the fact that tiny snails (not the big kind, yo) can apparently grab onto the insides of the birds’ digestive systems and catch a ride back out into the wild, where they emerge healthy and with a kick-ass story to tell. The only issue I have with this is that in order to find out how many snails would survive, the researchers have to feed the birds multitudes of snails and then see how many will come out the other end. I recognize that this is the circle of life and all, but I kind of feel bad for the snails, who were probably not expecting to get ingested in such large numbers with only 15 percent coming back to tell their tale. I also wonder what these results mean and how they could be useful beyond giving Cher a new audience to perform to after the apocalypse. What do you guys think?
[photo by Melissa Maples via flickr]
Top 10 links of the week: a shuffle board game through veganism! »
First of all, SO FLATTERED: We’re on Carpe Vegan’s neat Vegan 100 list: vote us to the top! Also, the San Francisco Bay Guardian totally gave us a Best of the Bay 2011 award for “Best Righteous Vegan Sass” (WHAT?) and we’re extremely pleased and honored and in very fine company so WOO AWARD WINNERS WHAT?
Apparently in Bosnia, they make bulls fight each other and they used to beat them up first to get them angry. They aren’t going to do that anymore—the beating part at least. A win? Why do people like these crazy events?
Yo! The U.S. (where I keep all my stuff) may impose sanctions on Iceland for whaling! I HOPE THOSE ICELANDIC FUCKERS GET WHAT THEY DESERVE.
Good has a vegan guide to getting it on. Like, sex.
Downer about dead baby dolphins over at HuffPo.
Birds massage each other! Birds are so smart! And kinky!
The emperor penguin Happy Feet (gag on the name, but whatevs) is recovering well, and here’s a video of him passing his penguin physical.
Whaling is a slowly dying form of murder, so we’re happy to see that Japan is hopping on the bandwagon. The country’s Fisheries Agency has released a report with its first-ever mention of discontinuing research whaling as a viable option.
The lovely Sarah M. Smart heavily contributed to these links! Thanks, Sarah!
Pearl the search and rescue dog: still amazing! »
Pearl, the ASPCA dog of the year 2010, was deployed to Japan in March following the massive earthquake and tsunami. They were in the Ofunato City area on the northeast coast, and worked from Mar. 14 to 21. So heroic! The Search Dog Foundation has more information—including videos—on Pearl and her team’s work.
Our friend Mike from Occupied Las Vegas visited the SDF and got to see some training exercises. Very dramatic.
Mike also told us that Pearl was on Wheel of Fortune on Mar. 15 as well (obviously a pre-taped episode). Your Vegansaurus is very sorry not to have reported that so you could’ve watched it, but our SDF/Pearl correspondent was having some internet-access issues during, um, February through April. Ahem. Nevertheless, we are dedicated to bringing you the SDF/Pearl news you need.
And more news! Allyn Lee told us in mid-March that A New Job for Pearl reached its sales goal, so they can sponsor a new dog to undergo the SDF training. Allyn records their progress on their Facebook page, where you can also learn about the other dogs she rescues, including a very special pit bull mix called Vinnie, whom she saved from euthanasia in April. Allyn Lee’s just giving dogs a chance to be great—and look at how great some of them can be! This means that if you haven’t bought a copy of A New Job for Pearl yet, you should; proceeds will continue to sponsor dogs at the SDF. Belated congratulations to Allyn and all the creators of A New Job for Pearl, and thanks to Pearl and her handler Ron Horetski for doing their important work. Also thanks to Mike for the information. We love tips!
Guest post: Five freaky and fantastic vegan Japanese foods you must eat now! »
Japanese food is awesome. It’s light and healthy and after eating it, you usually feel pleasantly satiated rather than weighed down (unless it’s tempura, or okonomiyaki, or—let’s just move on, shall we?). But did you know that Japan is home to some seriously freaky shizzle? If your palate is begging for variety and you need your culinary world to be rocked, we invite you to check out some of these funky Japanese foods. You will not be disappointed.
1. Devil’s got your tongue? Check out crazy konyaku!
Sometimes translated as “devil’s tongue,” konyaku is a gelatinous paste made from yams. You can sometimes find it in big gray blocks with black flecks in them (which just may be one of the most unappetizing forms a food can take), and occasionally in little ribbon shapes that are tied into a bow. If you’re feeling brave enough to try the block, you can rinse it off, and then do whatever you like to do with weird gelatinous substances. You could throw some into a stir-fry or soup to make things more interesting, or even bread and deep-fry it for a batch of “down-home country-fried devil’s tongue.” It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
2. Can’t get enough of that jelly-like weirdness? Kick it with kanten!
Kanten is another freaky-deaky Japanese substance. Sometimes called agar, sometimes agar-agar (isn’t that the best?), this algae-derived white powder can be cooked up to solidify stuff and make some very interestingly textured jellies, custards, puddings, and aspics. This is also super-popular as a diet food in Japan because of its high-fiber, low-calorie content. So you can eat as much as you want! Just as long as you don’t mind, uh, going to the bathroom later.
3. It looks like a booger, but it’s snot. Yamaimo, y’all!
Maybe it’s not polite to talk about boogers at the dinner table, but it’s really hard not to talk about snot when we’re talking yamaimo, or “mountain yam.” On the outside, it appears to be a long, thin, shaggy potato (picture Shaggy from Scooby Doo in potato form). However, once you start grating it, it turns into a white, gooey, mucous-like substance, which you can use to bind various things together, or you can just take it as is and throw it on top of a bowl of soba noodles for a dish called “tororo.” Which is probably more fun to say than it is to eat. Just sayin’.
4. Yes, it smells like feet, but it’s GOOD for you. Nasty natto!
Can you tell I’m not the biggest fan of the fermented soybeans known as natto? However, I’m adult enough to recognize that some people can actually get past the funky smell (like feet!), and texture (slimy, sticky, AND stringy!) and enjoy this stuff. Renowned for its probiotic properties, natto is said to help build a healthy digestive tract, and is even sometimes used to clean out bacteria-infested water. Well, like the old saying goes, “Good enough for bacteria-infested water, good enough for me!” If that describes your culinary philosophy, wrap some up with sushi rice in sheets of nori for nattomaki, or mix it with kimchee and rice (some people swear by this pungent combination).
5. Rockin’ renkon (a.k.a. lotus root)!
Compared to the other foods on this list, lotus root is rather mild. It doesn’t have a super-strange taste or texture, but just take a look at this and tell me it’s not freaky. Sure, the outside looks like a potato, but slice through it and you get a crazy cross-section that’s as beautiful as it is bizarre. Plus, lotus root is almost as versatile as its cousin, the potato (My apologies to any biologists who are shaking their heads in anger as they read this). You can deep-fry lotus roots for some kick-ass “potato-cousin” chips, toss them in the rice cooker along with whatever grain you’re cooking to add some variation to the mix, or chop them up into tiny pieces and put them in your rice for a crunchy and fun take on inari. Do you have any favorite recipes for these freaky foods? Feel free to share them here!
Melissa Feineman is a Japonophile writer and editor who is looking for work. You should totes hire her. Or just check out her shizzle on her rad website. You must especially read her AWESOME Japanese dating advice column, Let’s Dating!
Fundraiser for Japan! Tonight’s the night! It’s gonna be all right! ‘Cause I love you girl! Etc.! »
The hour is upon us, my friends! DJ Megan Rascal is warming up the ones and twos! We are going to 1) raise money for Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support and Americares, and 2) TURN THIS MOTHER OUT. In no particular order.
Tuesday, May 10, from 7 to 11:30 p.m. at Southpaw, 125 5th Ave. in Brooklyn.
It’s $15 and 18 and over. Yay, kids! You can hang! The event has a Facebook page and you can buy advance tickets on Southpaw’s website. Southpaw kind of rules so this should be fun! It’s only a few blocks from my place, so you might see me wheeling my records over. Say hi!
If you want a preview of my skillz, you can check out and download (for free!) a few of my mixes on Last.fm.
Come on down! Make SURE you say hi to me if you come because I don’t know anyone else who’s going. You don’t even have to say “hi,” you can get straight to the point.
Four dead in Japan thanks to E. coli »
Super shitty news out of Japan: Four people are dead and at least 56 are sick—after eating raw beef at a popular chain barbecue restaurant in Tonami in Toyama Prefecture. Totally fucking awful.
What’s really scary about this (besides EVERYTHING) is that we’re discovering more and more variations of E. coli that are super crazy dangerous. Before there was just O157:H7 to worry about, and now there are at least six more types of E. coli. Shudder. I’m telling you, we’re gonna see more and more horrific stuff like this happening.
In extra-super-disturbing news, many of these E. coli variations aren’t even looked for in labs, so there’s a chance that even the most stringently tested dead cow (that’s like 1 percent anyway) is gonna be teaming with all sorts of delicious E. coli that nobody ever even looked for. Hide your kids, hide your wife. Or you know, stop eating that (literal) shit because it ain’t safe.