vegansaurus!

01/18/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!

How many factory farmers does it take to screw in a light bulb? It doesn’t matter since they want to keep us in the dark anyway! How? Read on.

Rather than trying to prevent animal abuse on factory farms and in slaughter plants, the industry is trying to prevent the public from finding out about that abuse in the first place. So far in 2013, numerous states have introduced anti-whistleblower bills (aka ag-gag bills) aimed at criminalizing investigations at factory farms. You can read coverage of the fight this week in New Hampshire and Nebraska over this.

Did you see the news about fitness fanatic and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel touting the benefits of the Engine 2 (vegan) diet?

The Philadelphia Inquirer has an interesting story about the controversy surrounding battery caged laying hens being displayed at Pennsylvania’s Farm Show.

Finally, in the common sense department, new research provides further evidence that crabs and lobsters feel pain..

P.S. Video the week: Just what you always wanted…feline reactions to printers.

11/06/2012

Your Vegansaurus November 2012 ballot measure voting guide!  »


Have you voted yet? There aren’t a ton of animal- or food-related measures on the ballots this year; still, it is important to vote. It’s not always easy or clear, but we have to make an effort.

We used Ballotpedia to research the propositions, just like last time, but for further information you can check your local secretary of state’s site, or your preferred nonprofit political group’s voting guide (i.e., Vote411 from the League of Women Voters). Because this is Vegansaurus, we’re limiting our guide to animal-related issues.

Alabama: Amendment 1YES—maybe!
Why: We don’t understand the complexities of the Forever Wild Land Trust, but it seems good, and the World Wildlife Fund is for it. Alabamans who know more about the FWLT should opine.

Arizona: Prop. 120 - NO!
Why: Arizona appears to be full of jerks who think they can do whatever they want to anyone and anything within their borders, just because they’re Arizonans. This could undermine all kinds of federal protections on public lands, including those on wildlife. Shades of Prop. 109, eh guys? Quit being stupid jerks already.

California: Prop. 37 - YES—maybe!
Why: Honestly, there are good arguments for and against Prop. 37, but ultimately we are really uncomfortable voting in agreement with Monsanto, so, provisional yes.

Idaho: HJR 2 - NO!
Why: This amendment “forever preserve[s]” the right to “hunt, fish, and trap” in Idaho, which makes it immediately gross to us, but it would also make it more difficult both to protect the populations of the animals being hunted, fished, and trapped, and to conserve other wildlife.

Kentucky: House Bill 1 - NO!
Why: Again, guys, “mandat[ing] that hunting and fishing should never be outlawed in the state without the vote of the people” isn’t going to make there be more animals to hunt and fish.

Maine: Question 3 - YES!
Why: It appears to make it easier to buy land for protection and preservation by the state? Save the land and its wildlife!

NebraskaAmendment 2 - NO!
Why: For the billionth time, amending a state constitution to protect your residents’ right to hunt forever and ever is ridiculous pandering to hunters. Also, “stat[ing] that public hunting, fishing, and harvesting of wildlife shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife” rubs us the wrong way. You gonna take up hunting cats to reduce feral populations, too? Gross.

Mountain Lion Hunting Permit Measure - NO!
Why: It sets up a fee-based lottery for mountain lion hunting permits, without limiting the number of permits or specifying recipients of the money raised by the lottery tickets. Also, we hate hunting.

North Dakota: Measure 3 - NO!
Why: It “calls for a constitutional amendment that would block any law ‘which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices.’” In other words, it is a big Fuck You to any future farm animal protection legislation, through the state or federal government. This is because North Dakota is afraid of the Humane Society.

Measure 5 - YES!
Why: No, it doesn’t extend its protections far enough regarding the animals or the abuse, but it is far better than the law now. Plus it is supported by adorable North Dakotan animals, which is a weak reason, but still valid.

Oregon: Measure 81 - YES!
Why: If you’re going to allow fishing, better make it harder to overfish. Honestly, Oregon, are you looking to fish wild salmon to extinction?

Wyoming: Constitutional Amendment B - NO!
Why: This is the fourth HUNTING FOR ALL FOREVER ballot measure in this election (just like 2010!), which we find pretty gross. What are you hunters so afraid of, that you think you have to amend your state constitution to protect your right to kill (mostly) wild animals? This type of legislation is a slap in the face of every citizen without equal rights. How dare you put the rights of animal-killers ahead of any other human being? You’re all fucking jerks.

Good luck, compatriots! Please, get out there and vote!

[Photo by Jocelyn Augustino for Obama for America via Flickr]

03/14/2012

Working at a slaughterhouse is 100 percent horrific  »

Hey, I want to depress you, so let’s learn about slaughterhouses. Avi Solomon at BoingBoing has a big, interesting interview with professor Timothy Pachirat, who worked undercover at a Nebraska slaughterhouse for five months, and published a book about his experiences in November. Surprise, it’s a nightmare! But it’s a nightmare that illustrations lots of modern horrors:

Avi: Why did you choose to go undercover in a slaughterhouse?

Timothy: I wanted to understand how massive processes of violence become normalized in modern society, and I wanted to do so from the perspective of those who work in the slaughterhouse. My hunch was that close attention to how the work of industrialized killing is performed might illuminate not only how the realities of industrialized animal slaughter are made tolerable, but also the way distance and concealment operate in analogous social processes: war executed by volunteer armies; the subcontracting of organized terror to mercenaries; and the violence underlying the manufacturing of thousands of items and components we make contact with in our everyday lives.

Go read the entire thing, it’s intense, and fascinating. Modern life is rubbish.

06/23/2011

This dog has bionic legs! It’s crazy, like the future happened at some point while my face was stuck in a giant bowl of chocolate soy ice cream!

The poor dog lost his feet as a puppy when his evil cruel humans abandoned him in the Nebraska winter and he got frozen into a puddle (note to self: don’t stand in puddles in Nebraska in the winter). But loving wonderful humans helped him out and now he’s got FOUR prosthetic legs and seems to be a very happy guy. Though awkward. But awkward is cute.

Incredible Features via Techland

06/09/2011

Isa’s kitty benefit dinner makes me almost wish I lived in Omaha  »

OMG this photo makes me SO jealous. I want to be that woman with the tattoos and great arms holding a heart-shaped bowl of raspberries next to the freakin’ QUEEN of vegan food, my hero Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Who cares that I’d have to go live in Omaha.* Isa I love you!

This pic is from a benefit dinner Isa threw last Sunday, to raise money for Feline Friendz kitty rescue. She’s got a full report on the PPK blog, including drool-inducing photos of the food she whipped up. She says she took extra care because in Omaha, the stakes are high (no vegan pizza raining from the sky).

Maybe we can convince her to go on tour? I guess just continuing to write cookbooks might be enough.

*Actually Omaha is pretty up-and-coming, it turns out. Get in now before it turns into Brooklyn! No offense, Brooklyn!

01/24/2011

Bird deaths caused by avicide in USDA “shocker”  »

It’s just that the starlings in South Dakota “were defecating on a farmer’s cattle feed across the state line in Nebraska,” and whoops, they dropped dead in midair, inconveniently missing the state whose resident had put a contract out on their lives altogether. Funny how that works.

This is part of an ongoing program called “Bye Bye Blackbird”—cleverly titled by some USDA employee in the ’60s—that exists solely for the “eradication” (read: MURDER) of birds that have become pests. Sorry, endangered species, but the poisons used to kill all your avian pals don’t differentiate between “good” birds and “bad” ones, so the rusty blackbird is dying alongside “pests” like those cow-feed-ruining starlings, grackles, cowbirds, and red-winged blackbirds. Whoops, again! But if the dang birds aren’t pooping everywhere they’re eating up all the feed for the cows we people need to kill to feed our gaping maws, so someone has to suffer. I know, I  know—hungry birds? in the winter? Knock me over with a feather. Too bad they won’t just quietly hide away and starve to death, like nice homeless people. Thousands of birds falling dead from the sky is just so—creepy. I mean, it’s not like the USDA is going to stop using avicides, or cattle farmers won’t contract out the totally necessary bird-killing to professional murderers. Goodness.

[Photo of the second-ever banded rusty blackbird by Stylurus; thanks to Truthout for the story]

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