Welcome to protection under California’s Endangered Species Act, great white shark!  »


Great whites are the scariest sharks ever, thanks to movies and television and their natural aura of gruesome death, but of course also despite the protections we already had in place for them, commercial fishing is reckless and whoops, we’re accidentally killing them so fish-eaters can eat fish.

Great whites have been off-limits to commercial and sport fishing under California law since 1994, Reuters noted.  However, the fish, particularly young ones, still wind up as “bycatch” in gill-nets intended for halibut, swordfish and white sea bass off of California and Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.  Such bycatch, also known as “incidental taking,” has been unrestricted.

But now (for a month already!), thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, great whites are now protected under the state Endangered Species Act. They’re not on the Endangered Species list, but this news is progress toward that end. Save the great white! Don’t let the Pacific (completely) go to hell because a bunch of jerks are hungry for fish steaks.

[Story via Ken Layne’s animal beat. Photo by KQED Quest via Flickr]


In Boulder, Colo., on Sunday night, a hundreds of people held a candlelight vigil for a bull elk killed by a police officer and a sheriff’s deputy on Jan. 1. Mourners were angered and saddened, telling the Boulder Daily Camera that “It was a beautiful, beautiful elk” who they felt was a “guardian” and “ part of the neighborhood,” who had returned to the Mapleton Hill area for two years.

Get the full story at the Daily Camera, where you can learn such fun facts as the police officer suspected of killing the elk owns a taxidermy website, and see the photos the men took of their kill. People in Boulder are rightfully very angry about their harmless neighborhood elk being killed just for being their harmless neighborhood elk.

Edit: The video is down! But it’s very sweet; go watch it at the Daily Camera.

[Story via Ken Layne at The Awl, where he covers the animal beat]


Mojave Desert Animal Rescue robbed twice over the weekend, because people are terrible  »

Mojave Desert Animal Rescue is a wonderful and necessary nonprofit that helps out homeless people with pets. They register people’s animals (collecting spay/neuter and vaccination information), and provide food for them. They also provide emergency supplies for homeless people who can’t stay at shelters because they have pets. And over the weekend, some horrible, heartless jerks robbed MDAR’s warehouse twice.

The thieves took almost everything in the warehouse, including “canned food, both for human consumption and for pets, veterinary supplies, jackets, coats, socks,” and they tried to take a backhoe. MDAR founder and Director Annie Lancaster told the San Bernadino Sun

You can tell they just threw things across the room and just completely trashed the place. … I mean who does that? We had signs in there that clearly said we were a charity and there were pictures of the homeless people we’ve helped and their pets and they still had the heart to do something like this? I just don’t understand.

It’s winter in the high desert. People are the WORST. 

You can donate here to help out MDAR. Read more about this gross crime at the Sun.

[Story via Ken Layne at The Awl, where he covers the animal beat! Photo via MDAR]


Sea otters now free to traverse the entire California coast!  »

Did you know that since 1987, sea otters were federally banned from going past Point Conception in Santa Barbara County? That’s right, every time you saw a sea otter in the wilds of Southern California (except off San Nicolas Island), it was breaking the law! Are you imagining them in little raccoon-style eye masks now, because I totally am.

It gets more ridiculous: Between 1987 and 2001, authorities actually relocated—as in, physically moved—otters that strayed past the completely arbitrary boundary. And the ones that defied the law by daring to live south of that imaginary border weren’t even granted federal protection as an endangered species, despite being the same species as the otters living in the “acceptable”  area!

As of Dec. 18, 2012, though, our otter pals are officially allowed to roam the California coast at will, and the U.S. government extends endangered species protection to every tricksy sea weasel swimming with us.

Further details at the Santa Cruz Sentinel and The Awl.

[Photo by Mike Baird via Flickr]


This is why you’re vegan: Your Halloween candy is made by slaves  »

You read that article in Good last week by Kristen Howerton, about the big candy companies using child-slave labor to harvest the cocoa beans to make their chocolate; of course you did, you care about child-slave labor. It’s fucking disgusting, it’s outrageous, it’s major U.S. candy companies—“Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and the U.S. division of Cadbury"—directly profiting from child slaves. CHILD SLAVES

It’s also not the most shocking news we’ve ever heard. Nike, right? That scandal broke when I was in high school and I still can’t buy Nike. I read No Logo the year I graduated, and 11 years later (I’m an old), when my conscience feels weak, I still think about the international exploitation of people and animals, and think, yes, this is why I’m vegan.

U.S. candy companies did shock us this week when the New York Times reported on the Hershey Company’s exploitation of exchange students working in their factory IN HERSHEY, PA. Yes, for real: These people came over as Ph.D. candidates and were forced to work “physically arduous” jobs at $8 per hour with “steep deductions from their paychecks for housing, transportation and insurance.” They were kept isolated and poor, and the program’s sponsor ignored the students’ requests for help for months. Horrifying.

Sadie of Tiger Beatdown is sufficiently enraged. And what we—and our pal Kate Dollarhyde—would add to Sadie’s anger is relief, that being vegan, we don’t participate in the exploitation of animals, and now, because these companies don’t make vegan candy, we don’t participate in the exploitation of exchange students, either. Like it’s not enough to make the shitty chocolates from horrible cow’s milk, you have to force foreign engineering students to make the shitty chocolates, too? Hershey’s, you are the goddamn worst.

Fair Trade, you guys. It costs more because it isn’t made by LITERAL SLAVES. Thank goodness we’re vegan. If anyone wants to join us, we’re planning on taking over some abandoned suburban tract homes and growing our own food and never participating in the corporatocracy again.

Or you could just patronize companies on the Food Empowerment Project’s fair trade chocolate list. Might be simpler, though not nearly as fun.

[photos, from top: QuintanaRoo; tofutti break; norwichnuts via Flickr]

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