It’s Paul Shapiro’s weekly Animal News You Can Use! »
Want to read a great AP story about the proponents of anti-whistleblower “ag-gag” bills getting part of their bodies (I’ll let you be the judge) handed to them at a legislative hearing in Nebraska yesterday? Also, the ag-friendly Bakersfield Californian editorial board slammed the supporters of a similar California bill this week, saying how they’re “amazed by the audacity of the cattle industry.”
Good week in statehouses for farm animals, with a New Jersey ag committee passing a bill to ban gestation crates and a Colorado committee doing the same on a bill to ban dairy cow tail-docking. We’ll continue working hard to further advance these bills.
There’s a fascinating story out today about a meat industry front man who admits he created a fake Facebook profile posing as an animal activist in order to criticize HSUS and encourage other animal activists to do the same.
After extensive dialogue with HSUS, Bob Evans is the latest food giant to announce it wants to phase out gestation crates. And the National Pork Board did a survey with promising results about the changing attitudes of pork producers to the gestation crate issue.
Think you’re the only one who finds promise in plant-based products? These billionaires are with you.
Finally, students! If you want “Skinny Bitch” Rory Freedman, VegNews editorial director Elizabeth Castoria, and HSUS’s Kristie Middleton to read your essay, enter HSUS’s Meatless Monday essay contest now!
Video of the week: Justin Timberlake on SNL singing about vegan eating. Words can’t describe how great it is.
Photo of the week: My cats enjoying their catio!
Reminder: Cory Booker is a hero and a national treasure. Impertinently, he is also very handsome.
Stay safe, East Coast Vegansaurs.
Escaped cow gets sanctuary! »
Aww, his poor ears! Effed.
This is Mike Jr. He escaped from a slaughterhouse in New Jersey on April 10. Eventually, he found his way to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary! Here’s the story:
[Mike Jr.] eluded capture for hours and even waded into the Passaic River (yuck!). Police used vehicles to ram into the calf in an effort to bring him under control until a tranquilizer gun could be obtained. The story was picked up by local news and in the piece the slaughterhouse owner said he would release the calf to an unspecified farm.
Suspicious of the kind of farm that he might end up at, uber-volunteer Mike Stura, who lives not too far away, called us early the next morning. We agreed we could help and Mike dropped everything to go get the calf. He has a truck and a recently-acquired trailer for just this purpose. It turns out the calf had already been transported to another slaughterhouse (not the “farm” as promised on the news), but Mike pursued it and was able to convince the owner to release him. We named him “Mike Jr.” after his rescuer. We arranged for human Mike to take bovine Mike to a local vet to clear him to cross state lines and treat the wounds and abrasions. After some blood work, vaccinations, and cleaning the wounds, the Mikes were given the “go” to head upstate to WFAS.
Mike Jr. is enjoying his first days of freedom and roaming the pasture with other rescued cows and steer. Rest assured he will never end up at the end of a fork!
We’ve all heard stories about animals that escape from the clutches of the meat industry and find a home at one sanctuary or another. Does anyone else find this phenomenon as odd as I do? Specifically, the part about how the slaughterhouse owner decides the animal deserves freedom because it somehow escaped.
I’m always glad to see an animal get to sanctuary, but it’s so funny that when people see a runaway animal, they react like, “What will and determination! S/he deserves to be free!” I’m just like, “you know that this cow is just like all the other ones that are about to be slaughtered?” Right? I feel like it’s a weird American Spirit thing. Or that this cow has proved itself smarter or more sentient than the others, so it deserves freedom.
What do you think it is? Any ideas? It’s fascinating!
Mike Jr. and his new BFF Kayli! For more pictures of Mike Jr., check out the WFAS page.
Good news: the diving horse show is NOT returning! »
Huzzah! The people have spoken! Atlantic City will not be bringing the diving horse show this summer! Happy day! Sometimes things do work out.
Steel Pier owner Tony Catanoso had this to say: “We just felt that since Atlantic City is moving forward, we should move forward with it…. We should create new memories for visitors instead of recreating old ones.”
Yay! What should the new attraction be instead? I’m thinking giant ball pit! Like GIANT. Like Olympic-size swimming pool. OR, the world’s biggest moon bounce! That you can go on even if you are a grown-up! I love moon bounces, but they never let me in them any more. Sad face.
Diving horse show returning to Atlantic City? No mother-loving way. »
Are you kidding me? The Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey wants to bring back the diving horse show this summer—as in the “show” where a horse dives into a pool from 40 feet in the air. What the actual fuck, AC? Come on. There is nothing right about this. It’s depraved and shameful. This is the kind of news that makes me want to take a two hour shower to try to wash off the contemptibility of humanity.
But don’t worry guys, the Steel Pier has done their research:
In the course of making the decision to include the diving horse, Steel Pier Associates conducted significant research into past practices, including speaking with people who were directly involved in the act that occurred in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Through this research, we determined there was no animal cruelty or abuse that occurred in the past.
So their method of research was to ask the very people that condoned the diving horse show in the past if they condone the diving horse show? Wow, make way for science! Obviously they definitely shouldn’t consult the Humane Society, who is strongly opposed to the show.
People, we can’t let this happen. Let’s call these mofos! The press release says “for more information contact Sharon Franz, Sales and Marketing Director for Steel Pier at 609-345-4893” so let’s call her! And one of the Steel Pier owners, Tony Catanoso, has been super outspoken about how great this will be. Let’s call Tony Catanoso! I found this on the Facebook group opposed to the diving horse show:
Atlantic Amusements Pier
705 Route 9
Erma , NJ 08204
Pier (609) 345-4893
Phone: (609) 898-7640
Fax: (609) 898-7646
Write him! Call him! Tell him this is not OK!
Guest post: Black bears need your help in Connecticut! »
Black bears are in trouble in Connecticut! I know what you’re thinking: “There are bears in Connecticut? I thought Connecticut was just full of old rich people sitting around counting their money.” And you’d be RIGHT; that part totally sucks. But we have bears, too! They are awesome! And right now the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has asked the governor to allow permits to some idiots to go out and shoot black bears dead because apparently we have too many now, even though we have had approximately NONE for the past 150 years since they went extinct in the state around 1850. EXTINCT, guys.
The government is basing this assumption on complete hearsay, rather than any actual scientific evidence of the number of bears that currently exist in the state. I think we have too many old rich people in the state and maybe they should provide permits for broke folks like me to—I digress.
Over the past couple decades the black bear population has totally rebounded, because bears are hardcore like that, and now people are all upset: They’re seeing bears more often, and occasionally one gets in someone’s backyard and rummages through their smelly garbage. Look, if you don’t want to see animals in your backyard, don’t have a motherfucking backyard; animals lived there before you and probably don’t give a shit whether you think you own the grass or not. And also, maybe don’t have such smelly garbage, NASTY.
Meat consumption is responsible for more human deaths per year (45,000 on average) than black bears (1 on average), so if you’re really that scared of shit and A=B and A+B=C then maybe stop chowing down on the steaks instead of shooting beautiful harmless bears that are just moseying around. Black bears are like the most docile of all the bears!
They’ve already approved this malarkey in New Jersey, without any scientific evidence of increased bear sightings there. Significant errors were found in the tally of reports, and hunters went all murder-happy and started killing mother bears and cubs and see what happens when you give morons permission to shoot stuff?
This is my drawn-out way of asking you guys to join me in telling the governor to NOT allow black bear hunting in Connecticut. Kids, the bears need our help, and every signature counts, so do me the biggest favor ever and sign my petition. I will love you forever and also I promise I won’t come after you when they issue the rich people hunting permits. Unless you own a pink KitchenAid standing mixer, ‘cause goddamn I really want one. The end. Sign the petition.
Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time hiking, reading, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods, and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she is an editor for an environmental and engineering firm.
[image, “Cub’s first look at the world,” courtesy the North American Bear Center]
We love Cory Booker because he loves the animals! »
Did you see the post about Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker in the Post the other day? The Humane Society of the United States gave him the Humane Public Servant award last week for his work building Patrick’s Place, a “state-of-the-art animal shelter” named for a pit bull who was found in a Newark trash can, starving to death.
Sometime between then and receiving this HSUS award, Mayor Booker stopped eating meat, because of the animals. Part of his anti-animal-cruelty campaign is to stop eating meat! It seems like the most obvious thing in the world, but they don’t make those Shelter Pet Project commercials just for non-meat-eaters. For most of the country, there’s a huge disconnect between donating some towels to an animal shelter and actually taking preventative measures against animal cruelty. But not for Cory Booker! He gets it.
Growing up a half-New Jerseyan, I heard a looooot of Newark jokes. It’s a pit, they’d say, it’s the worst. Nothing more terrible in Jersey than Newark (the response to that is, Have you seen Trenton?). But since its citizens elected Cory Booker mayor, its fortunes have risen. Risen! I wish our young, go-getting mayor had been half as useful. I mean, sure, marry the gay citizenry, but what about infrastructure? What about jobs? What are you even doing in the Lieutenant Governor’s seat except killing time doing your hair until you can run for governor and smarmily fuck up the state GODDAMN IT.
Laura says if you want to learn more about a younger Cory Booker, watch Street Fight, the Oscar-nominated documentary about his failed campaign for mayor in 2002. It’s on Netflix instant! It’s a trifecta of awesome—a documentary whose handsome star is an idealistic politician—so watching it would probably improve your life. Especially when you remember that later, he wins! And grows into an even better person! Cory Booker, he is pretty great.
[photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons]
Cupcakefest is gonna rock New Jersey on Saturday! Go eat cake! »
The Nico Blues will play to an audience of cupcakes on Saturday. Minus 10 for the moose on the right wall, but plus 30 for the carrots on the back wall. Carrots!
Sweet Avenue Bake Shop—which we hear is awesome from reliable ‘sauruses (see what I did there?)—is co-sponsoring an all-day music and CUPCAKE festival in New Jersey this Saturday. Screw the music, I want cake, but to each his own I suppose.
Cupcake Festival 2011 is FREE (
though I bet the cake isn’t UPDATE from Danielle at Sweet Avenue: “While we’ll be selling regular-sized cupcakes at our shop all day, every Cupcakefest we hand out thousands of free mini cupcakes all day!” SCORE!) and proceeds from raffles and other such shenanigans will go to an animal shelter in New Jersey. The poor creatures are already in New Jersey, let’s help them, shall we?
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
I usually stay away from new year’s resolutions because I always resolve to do more water aerobics and end up eating more cake, which isn’t really a problem for me because I love cake but it’s a problem for poor Allen who has a nervous breakdown when he opens the fridge only to be confronted with a dangerous amount of frosting and my mom spends every night over at our house chowing down on baked goods and talking with me about the old country. This year is going to be different, however. I was going to be more positive and stop thinking bad thoughts about people, but NeNe Leakes took that one from me. Then I was going to drink more water and less soda, but Laura felt that she should handle that one this year and god help me if I share a resolution with anyone (SOCIAL SUICIDE). Then I had this amazing idea of being a better boyfriend and treating my significant other to luxury resorts and extravagant surprises, but Allen beat me to THAT, so I’ve decided to stick with something simple and unique—to swear less, and cause the grisly demise of fewer people.
The second part of my resolution is already proving super-hard* because there are people like the South Carolina State Coon Hunters Association trying to get oh-so-clever “coon hunters” license plates in order to show their pride of hunting raccoons (why?) and ensure their hunting rights are not infringed upon. There are concerns that these license plates are racist, but there seems to be very little concern that these people are proud of killing raccoons. I pose this question to you, associated coon hunters: What is the point? I know that there is some reason you want to shoot raccoons, but I just do not understand it. I read Where the Red Fern Grows in school and while I found it heart-warming, I did not understand the point of the hunting. I read it again during a horrible break-up and still didn’t understand it. You want to make yourself a hat? For what? You don’t need a hat. You need a conscience!
What is wrong with this world? Is it bear-hunting, specifically? I think it’s bear-hunting. Yes, friends, there is no way to better celebrate the season than by bagging your loved ones a bear. Just think of the joy on their faces when you present them with a bear carcass. Who wants an iPod or a DSi when you can make your own bear oil—it’s great for culinary use AND soap-making? If you agree with me, you should really sign up for 2011’s Black Bear
Hunt I MEAN “HARVEST” EXTRAVAGANZA in New Jersey. Last year’s “harvest” of the state’s black bears was held from Dec. 6 to 11 and over 590 bears were successfully harvested by area hunters. A quick look at the FAQ provides one with delightful answers to all of the burning bear-harvesting questions you might have. For example, did you know that hunting (because seriously, “harvesting”?) a mother bear who is with her cubs is totally acceptable and encouraged? Hunters are supposed to take the first clear shot that comes their way so any one bear is fair game! Cubs, too? SURE! All classes and genders of black bear may be shot as long as you have the correct permit and will wait to quarter your bear until after you’ve checked it in! Wait, can I hunt the bears from an elevated position in order to give the Bears no time or means to defend themselves from my bullets? Are you an idiot? OF COURSE! As long as you buy the permit!
But that’s not enough! Let’s also subject bears to the same humiliations we subjected the other animals too during Halloween. Let’s stick a messed-up snowman in its cage at the zoo and see how happy it is!
Really? Does the look on this bear’s face not say it all? Is it not the saddest, most heart-breaking, “Oh, the humanity!” grimace that you have ever seen? Will I ever get a response to the question I ask every week: What is wrong with people?
Send me links for next week and have an awesome first Wednesday of the year!
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
Hey, guys! Last week was kind of a downer, huh? Lots of animals dying and people sitting around being thankful for the trussed and and gutted giant birds they’re sacrificing to show just how blessed they have been this year. That was sad. But Thanksgiving was also awesome because of all the “Gentle Thanksgiving” photos and messages you guys sent in! Really gave me hope as I was lecturing Allen about Turkey consumption and tempering my unadulterated rage with delicious Olive Garden wine (not at the olive garden! You can buy their Moscato at BevMo now. Hate all you want, but that is the most delicious wine you will ever drink!). Then I got a sinus infection and spent the entire weekend watching PBS and knitting. Allen’s mom taught me how to weave a scarf and I have been working on it since Friday! My friends are going to be really happy to receive their holiday presents this year. They are also probably going to be concerned about my mental state. According to my mother, swigging Olive Garden Moscato while knitting and watching Stephen Sondheim’s Birthday Celebration is apparently not the healthiest way to spend a Saturday night.
You guys ever been to New Ganges? It is probably the best vegetarian Indian restaurant in San Francisco. There is this awesome man who claims he is not the owner (spoiler alert: he totally is!) who walks around and feeds people and offers them tiny nuggets of wisdom such as “those who eat with their hands never burn their mouths,” which is both true and pretty priceless. Anyway, he often comes over and tells you about your dish and then points out that if you have one bite with sauce, and then another without, and then one with another sauce, and then one with both, you will have four different tastes. This is also priceless and true. While I cannot offer you four tastes of something amazing (spoiler alert: everything at New Ganges is amazing! Have we done a review for this restaurant? Seriously, it is the bomb!) I can offer you the following video of cats playing patty cake. In the spirit of watching it as you would eat your delicious samosas at New Ganges, I request that you first watch this video with the sound off. Let it sink in. Digest. Then, watch it again with the sound on. There, you have had two amazing tastes of one amazing video. If you are truly adventurous, you may want to listen to just the sound before putting everything together.
Two tastes are not enough? Well, here’s a third! An otter is terrorizing people—and there is footage. Personally, I do not know how an otter can terrorize people as otters generally don’t go into your house to steal shit, or fuck your car up by sticking tacos underneath the door handles or anything. That’s just not how they do. If they are fucking shit up, I humbly suggest that it has more to do with the fact that they were forced to not only eat pumpkins in October but then pose for pictures with them. That is fucking degrading. If someone forced me to do that, I would probably set fire to their house like Lisa Left Eye Lopes (because I am not going to stick to the rivers and lakes I am used to, thank you very much and DO NOT CROSS ME!) or do something Rihanna-related, OK? I am for real. Otters, however are much more forgiving. Unless they have pups to protect. or rabies. Or just hate it when people record them. Otters need privacy, too! And OK, I have nothing to say about the fact that this otter bit a dog and some people (because that sucks), but I am not surprised it bit the dude in the news report who is talking to it in a baby voice and snapping at it. And that news anchor who is all “how dangerous can otters be?”—let me tell you something, buddy: otters crack shit on their chest. I can’t do that. Can you?
In sad news, Prince Chunk died earlier this week. Prince Chunk (nee Powder) was abandoned by an elderly woman who could no longer take care of him in 2008 (due to home foreclosure and also I presume being hella old. Why you gotta abandon, though?) and was then adopted by an awesome woman (oddly enough, both the woman who abandoned him and the woman who adopted him are named Donna. Weird, huh?) who helped get his weight down and gave him an awesome life. Prince Chunk was about 10 years old and was something of a celebrity in New Jersey which, while impressive, isn’t that hard. I mean have you seen what’s been coming out of New Jersey lately? All Manzos and Staubs and Stangers, not to mention the Giudices! Jesus!
That’s all for this week folks. I would like to leave you with this final thought: Why does GMC censor Sister, Sister? And secondly, do they not realize that by censoring words like “dork” and “dang” make the show seem even more dirty? What up, GMC?
Send me tips for next week and have an awesome Wednesday!