Update on the 50,000 chickens left to starve, many rescued need your help! »
One of the rescued hens. You can see more pictures of the rescue on Flickr.
We got an update from Marji at Animal Place:
We actually took out 4,610 hens total - more than 3,000 are currently at our Rescue Ranch facility. The hens were released into Animal Place and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary custody. They are slowly recovering…we could really use help w/ this rescue. This is the largest and most expensive rescue we have ever undertaken.
Please donate if you can! So sad! They need our help!
Update on the 50,000 chickens left to starve in California »
The news site wouldn’t let me embed their video…come join us in the 21st century, KTVU! This is a still though—they can’t stop my screengrabbing! Can’t stop won’t stop.
Here’s an update on the 50,000 chickens that were left for dead in Stanislaus County. Apparently, while most of the 50,000 chickens were euthanized because of their poor condition or they were already dead when rescuers got there, 500 chickens have been rescued. Still, 2000 chickens have to stay over night without food again. I’m not sure if that means they are being rescued tomorrow or just that they definitely aren’t being rescued tonight.
A petition has been started on Care2 to let the shelters rescue the surviving chickens. It takes a minute to sign and certainly can’t hurt the situation! Happy petitioning.
A bill proposes a shark fin ban in New York State! Also: Shark fins may have neurotoxins! Whaa? »
Sharksavers.org has lots of great info in the fight against shark finning.
On Tuesday, legislators in New York State announced a bill that, following the example of Western states, would ban the sale, trading, possession and distribution of shark fins, possibly as of 2013. California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington are enacting similar bans that were passed last year, while Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia have legislation pending.
The bill in New York is sponsored in the Assembly by Alan Maisel, Linda B. Rosenthal and Grace Meng, who represents the heavily Asian district of Flushing, Queens, and is the only Asian-American in the Assembly. Identical bills are expected to be introduced in both houses of the Legislature.
Yay! Let’s keep this party going! Everybody ban shark fins! Except on sharks—those are cool.
There might be even more reason to ban shark fins, a new study says:
Researchers from University of Miami sampled fin clips from seven different species of sharks collected in South Florida coastal waters and analyzed its contents. Upon examination, they detected cyanobacterial neurotoxin BMAA (Î²-N-methylamino-L-alanine) in the fins of all species with concentrations ranging from 144 to 1836 ng/mg wet weight.
Mind you, the neurotoxin BMAA has been linked to the development of neurodegenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
The report suggests that consumption of shark fins may increase the risk for human exposure to the cyanobacterial neurotoxin BMAA. Until more is known about the possible link of BMAA to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, it may be prudent to limit exposure of BMAA in the human diet, according to the researchers.
Shark-finning is all around grody! Go New York! Read more about the bill introduction and actions you can take on the Humane Society’s website. WildAid invites you to sign their "Say No" pledge to end shark finning. You could also spread around their super infographic—everyone loves and infographic!:
Craptastrophe: Pig manure foam is making factory farms explode. »
Large midwestern hog farms have for the last few years been battling a mysterious foam that is forming on top of their barns. In the worst case scenarios, the foam blocks ventilation ducts and the barns explode — yes, explode — killing the thousands of hogs inside.
This is so disgusting and sad. The most recent explosion was last Sept., killing 1,500 pigs and injuring a worker.
Here’s a news story about it:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
This story is as gross as the lighthearted Green Acres scenes are inappropriate. I’m sure you also like how the reporting talks about the monetary loss and makes no mention of the pigs that die in explosions or any workers that are injured (#priorities).
For more info on this story, our boyfriend Tom Philpott has some good coverage over at Mother Jones. He makes the point that these explosions are relatively rare. Except that six crap-foam explosions since 2009 kind of seems like a lot to me, even though there are thousands of facilities that haven’t exploded. But however rare these explosions have been, Philpott says that the foam itself “has become alarmingly common.” So we can probably expect some more explosions in the future.
What does Grist think the solution is?:
The pork industry has been funding research into the foam and how to stop it. But as I see it the answer is simple. Get the pigs out of the barns and onto pasture, and raise them at a less intensified scale without the need for huge manure-storage “facilities.”
While that’s preferable to exploding barns, I’d go a different direction: free the pigs! Maybe a hotdog isn’t worth all this trouble.
Dude, all Northern California Café Gratitude locations are CLOSING?! »
SFist has the word and we’re trying to get to the bottom of it! Café Gratitude, why you have to be so crazy? Can’t you just serve up your delicious kale bowls and key lime cheesecake and STOP BEING A CULT? So annoyed at them. SO ANNOYED! Where will I get my delicious coffee shakes?? THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE, GODDAMMIT, GRATITUDE! My question of the day is: “WTF YOU GUYS!?”
More TK because we’re hella going New Tales of Sherlock Holmes on this shit.
UPDATE: SFist talked to Shandra Gilbert, Gratitude’s Director of Operations, who explained to us that, yes, Gracias Madre is also up for sale. Alas.
Et tu, Gracias Madre!??!!?
UPDATE 2: We now know for a fact that many employees (like, higher-up employees) had NO CLUE this was happening. They found out via SFist. Really nice, Café Gratitude.
UPDATE 3: We talked to Steve Sommers of Kumin Sommers LLC, who filed the two current lawsuits against Café Gratitude. He told us some interesting things! They mainly concern their tip-pooling practice, which goes like this: Every penny generated in tips and sales goes into same pool of money. At end of the day, they tabulate how much they should have earned from food sales, and they remove that amount from the pool— this, says Sommers, is called “breakage,” and it “shoulders the risk of the business onto the employees,” and is illegal. Next, they take 20 percent from the remaining money and send it to the central kitchen. Finally, they divide the remaining money among all the employees, from the managers to the janitors. Sommers says that one of his clients, Sara Stevens, would collect $200 in tips per night and only pocket $40. She is suing for between $80,000 and $85,000 in lost tips, and missed fuel and rest breaks.
The second lawsuit comes from their CURRENT—as in, he was still an employee as of 2:30 p.m. today, when we spoke with Sommers—bookkeeper, Ravi Shankar. He was being paid a salary as an exempt employee, which is illegal, and is suing for about $60,000 in overtime pay.
Sommers says that they have offered to let the Engelharts—Gratitude’s owners—“pay over time, if it’s a matter of money,” but by closing all their Northern California restaurants “they are scapegoating these two people.” Sommers also notes that once he filed these suits, Gratitude purchased three industrial shredders. “What are they hiding?” he asks.
It’s a legitimate question!
Also of note: These suits are entirely unconnected with Landmark and all that weirdness the East Bay Express wrote about in 2009.
UPDATE 4: Just heard from another (current) employee who said that they’re for sure being sold and that so is Gracias Madre, and it looks like there might already be a buyer for Gracias Madre, and it’s a big corporation. They didn’t tell the employees who the big corporation is (we’re thinking of starting the rumor that it’s McDonald’s! You in!?), but all Café Gratitude employees and central kitchen employees are getting fired. Super sad and shitty.
UPDATE 5: We just got news from a tipster (thank you!) that the Gratitude’s commercial kitchen and offices building on 14th Street is for sale. Asking price is $1.895 million, agent is Rob Maccarone at TRI Commercial. Check out the brochure here.
Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi are opening a vegan restaurant in Los Angeles! »
How fucking cool is THIS?! It’ll be on Ventura Avenue in the San Fernando Valley, and I will move to Los Angeles to eat there. And you think I’m joshing, but I am totally serious. Fuck a San Francisco Bay Area, I need to have dinner with Ellen and Portia like I’M MEANT TO.
I will move there and we will eat every meal at their restaurant and we’ll be best friends and they’ll adopt me and we will have so many hugs and then we will watch television and swim in the infinity pool at the mansion-house they bought me.
Oh! And then they will bake me chocolate chip cookies and they’ll tuck me into bed and I really have to stop doing this because it’s really making me hate my life. Ugh.
Anyway, another awesome vegan restaurant for Los Angeles, owned by famous vegans, and life is great there and it’s the worst everywhere else. TH-TH-THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!
Police academy hangs dog from flagpole, Mexico gets PISSED »
These pictures surfaced on Twitter last night along with a gagillion tweets with the hashtag #cachorroneza (Neza puppy) denouncing the abuse of the poor pup. Who would do that to a puppy? Mexico is pissed! The location of the flagpole has been identified as Colegio de la Agencia de Seguridad Estatal in the city of Neza, Mexico. What I can gather from google translate (my Spanish is rusty!), that’s a
private* police academy.
Some news sources have covered the story but there’s been no explanation from the school about WTF happened. They are however now aware of the power of social media to get the word out! It’s a great tool for civil unrest, is it not?
As terrible as this action is, the reaction from the public makes me feel hopeful that there are good people in the world who don’t think you can just do whatever you want to an animal. Go Mexico! Go Twitter!
I hope you are safe now, cachorro Neza, but I worry you are not. I will wish for the best though! You deserve a nice family and a warm bed.
*Update: Readers have told me it’s public and run by the government. Awful!
Read this: the Ration is great food writing »
Shocking revelation: your Vegansaurus is a media omnivore. It’s that pesky reading addiction; our eyes are probably ruined from all the reading we do, in print and online. The newest best thing to read on the internet is the Ration, “a project on food and health by the UC Berkeley along with students from University of Missouri, Harvard University and City University, London.” No, Michael “shut up” Pollan doesn’t seem to be involved with it, which is great, because man has that guy earned his nickname.
The Ration has only been up since last week, but its archives already look bountiful. They’ve got a story on prescription produce that’s informative without being (too) preachy, one on the health and well being of agricultural workers, one on a new aspect of the food industry’s stupidity, and an article on meat glue that is fascinatingly gross/grossly fascinating. The infographics are beautiful, like these interactive ones on the sources of calories in the U.S. and the changing nutritional density of our produce. Its videos are also quite compelling.
The Ration is gorgeous and interesting and I hope it fulfills its enormous potential. What we need more of is intelligent reporting on food.
Hellmann’s expands cage-free recipes, becomes slightly less terrible »
Mayonnaise company Hellmann’s has been making light mayo with 100 percent cage-free eggs since last year, but now it has two more recipes for which to be proud of itself: Canola Cholesterol-Free Mayonnaise and Reduced Fat Mayonnaise with Olive Oil. So thanks, mayo-ingesting people of the world, for making the first attempt at humaneness on such a grand scale so popular!
All that comes out to 5.6 million pounds of eggs, impacting 177,000 hens. Since Hellman’s claims to be moving toward cage-free eggs for its entire product line, the number of hens feeling just a bit better about life will increase to 1.8 million. That’s a lot of hens!
Why is this good news? Because it’s better than nothing. It’s harder for average omnis to disavow all animal products at once than it is for them to pay more attention to what they’re eating and where it comes from. I know “cage-free” doesn’t mean the hens have great lives, but American Humane Certified eggs (as Hellmann’s are) come from a henhouse with clean and sufficient food and water, limited stress, resting area, etc. So while it’s not perfect, can we not agree that it is progress?
Let’s all be vegan and live forever! »
[can’t see the video? watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
Happy birthday to Loreen Dinwiddie, who has an awesome name and just turned 108 years young! She credits her vegan diet, which she started in 1922 with her husband, for her longevity.
Loreen, a Seventh-Day Adventist, says she draws her diet from biblical teachings: “People say to me, ‘you don’t have any aches or pains and you’re feeling great at 108, what do you do?’ Well, do what God tells you to do. It is all in the Bible.”
I personally don’t do the religion thing, but I won’t pick a bone with you over what made you go vegan, so rock on. We’re gonna live forever!