Why are tens of thousands of pigs dying in China? »
NPR investigates, but fails to find out why 18,000 pigs died during January and February in the Zhejiang village of Zhulin, or why nearly 3,000 dead pigs were found in the Huangpu River last week. The Huangpu supplies Shanghai with drinking water.
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post quoted Zhejiang villagers saying farmers dumped pigs in the river because there were too many for government disposal areas. In addition, villagers said some farmers may have dumped pigs because of a crackdown on selling diseased pigs for human consumption.
Pork is the most popular meat in China. Half the world’s pigs live there, as The Salt has previously reported. China’s state media reported this week that 46 people have been jailed in Zhejiang for selling diseased pigs. Last year, police in the province confiscated about 11 tons of meat from sick pigs, according to the state-run China Daily.
The only things we know for sure is that those pigs lived terrible lives, and that they didn’t deserve whatever awful death came to them. Better check the sources of all your pork products, omnivores.
[Photo by Wolfgang Staudt via Flickr]
Say goodbye to the polar bear »
Too bad, polar bears, but a bunch of us humans don’t want to stop selling your pelts on the open market, so you can expect to be hunted to extinction.
This issue is tied up with politics surrounding Canada’s First Nations, specifically the Inuit:
There are about 25,000 polar bears left in the world with an estimated 16,000 living in the Canadian Arctic. Canada is the only country that permits the export of polar bear parts.
Each year around 600 polar bears are killed there, mainly by native hunters. According to Inuit representatives, the pelts from around 300 bears are sold for rugs. Other parts including fangs and paws are also exported.
The Inuit say they get an average of $4,850 per pelt. They argue that this is a critical economic resource for a people that do not have much else.
The trouble with that argument is that in conjunction with global warming destroying their ecosystem, the bears won’t be around to hunt much longer. Say goodbye to polar bears, everyone; the next generations won’t even know what they are.
“Everything’s gonna go to hell, and we’re gonna be fine—as long as the doughnuts still taste right.”
Let’s take some business advice from Erin McKenna of Babycakes! Business Insider has a neat little profile of the super-successful Ms. McKenna, who confirms she’s opening bakeries in San Francisco and Chicago! Hooray!
Sugary pastel chocolate-filled toadstools from Andie’s Specialty Sweets, coming to you from Dallas, Texas, via etsy! Maybe you saw them in a recent issue of Chickpea magazine? They’re super-cute, probably delicious, and perfect for a fancy vegan Easter basket (very Martha, right?). Andie’s Specialty Sweets isn’t all vegan, but a number of their adorable products are. These toadstools are filled with fair-trade chocolate, too! I love fancy candies.
World to cool it on shark-finning, at least for five species »
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) voted this week to restrict permits on exporting the fins of five species of sharks, to end trade in all freshwater sawfish, and restrict exports of manta rays’ gill plates.
Previous Cites meetings had seen similar protection proposals for sharks rejected, but new support from Latin American and west African countries, and the promise of cash from the European Union to help change fishing practices, won the day. The decisions could be reopened for debate at the final plenary session of the summit and potentially overturned. If, not all the measures will be implemented after an 18-month period in which enforcement measures can be set up.
A little less needless human destruction of the oceans! Keep up the totally necessary and hopefully not-too-late work, Cites.
[Photo by Clifton Beard via Flickr]
Polluted English waterways are shrinking otters’ penis bones »
All the harmless-to-us chemicals we humans are flushing down our sinks and toilets have effects on the creatures living in our waterways. In England, otters, which made a valiant comeback after being nearly wiped out by chemical pollution, are now turning up with smaller penis bones, which scientists believe is linked to modern contaminants.
Dr Chadwick said: “With many of these contaminants, there can be all sorts of different sources… so it might be things like drugs that we’re taking and they flush through our sewerage systems and end up in the rivers.”
She added that dust from industrial production travelling into the atmosphere could also carry contaminants that end up in rivers as rainfall, even travelling long distances between countries.
Sorry, otters. All those lovely Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals that help us thrive are slowly murdering you.
“People are very quick to say: otters are in our rivers. That must mean rivers are perfect, they’re so clean, everything’s fine again… but it’s not really that simple,” said [Countryfile director Anna ] Jones.
[Photo by Keven Law via Flickr]
Everyone’s favorite sloth videographer, Lucy Cooke, has a new book about the residents of the Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. Preview some of the delightful images (and get links to buy your own precious copy) at Slothville!
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.
Marketplace loves the Veggie Grill! »
My dad was on NPR yesterday, selling Kai Ryssdal on plant-based fast casual food. Woo, go dad!
Vegansaurus pal and all-around wonderful human being Kate Dollarhyde brought to our attention to this interview with her dad, Greg Dollarhyde,* who is CEO of the Veggie Grill! Which everyone should love, as it is terrific. Look at that salad!
Click through to find out what cities can look forward to their own Veggie Grills in the near future (hint: outside of California!).
[Photo by Michael Liu via Flickr]
*[The original post misidentified the first name of Kate’s dad. His name is Greg Dollarhyde, not Steve. Vegansaurus regrets the error]
Watch out for aspartame, milk-drinkers! »
Per national food-issues watchdog Parke Wilde at U.S. Food Policy blog, little dairy-consumers could be ingesting fun new chemicals in their federally purchased school-lunch milks!
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have petitioned FDA to modify the standard of identity for milk, permitting companies to add a non-calorie sweetener without additional labeling.
The petition proposes to allow dairy companies to add the non-nutritive sweetener aspartame to milk, without being required to label the milk as “low-calorie” or “low-sugar.” Currently, aspartame is allowed in milk (just as in diet soda), but such milk must be labeled to let the consumer know.
It appears the dairy industry is especially interested in marketing low-calorie flavored milk through child nutrition programs.
Oh boy! What lucky boys and girls, drinking delicious, artificially flavored milk, full of even more artificial sweeteners! And the dairy industry wouldn’t even have to tell them about it! Gosh, you’d think if milk-sellers were so proud of their newest clever way of tricking children into consuming their hell-beverage, they’d announce it in a super-cool ad, not petition the FDA to hide their action. Why, it’s almost as if the dairy industry doesn’t want adults to know what’s inside the new-and-improved, lower-sugar, “better”-for-kids milk products.
The dairy industry lie (by omission) to us? Perish the thought.
[Photo by cinderellasg via Flickr]