I was listening to NPR while getting ready for work on Friday morning, as I do, when this story from Planet Money came on, and ugh, you guys. In “Meet Claudia, the High-Tech Cow,” Adam Davidson tells us all about how today’s dairy cows are more machine than animal, their every action carefully monitored, controlled, and adjusted for optimum milk-producing capability.
It’s so gross, you guys! Dairy is absolutely disgusting. As are the extremes of capitalism: ”The free market forced that to happen,” he says. “Because either you were going to make a lot of milk … quickly and efficiently … or you wouldn’t be in business.” Money makes the world go round! And turns cows into literal milk machines! Fuck a living creature, we need cheap milk from perfectly replicated robots. Of course the story says nothing about the cows’ living conditions or quality of life, what with them having none to speak of. To wit: “Claudia,” the cow “Ferrari,” gets a name, while the cows that aren’t as genetically perfect are just numbers.
Technology is great and I am happy if modern science is solving our problems. But when technological advances detract from the value of other creatures’ lives, how valuable is it?
Top 10 links of the week: a hopscotch game through the playground of veganism! »
Your cute pet video of the week! I just love how intense the kitty is. Like, so intense.
Philly.com has a message for you: not all vegans are white! I really never got this stereotype, maybe because I’m from Philadelphia and the first vegans I ever knew were Black Panthers. Of course, it makes sense if there are more white vegans in the US than other ethnicities because there are more white people in the US than other ethnicities. Bonus: the piece features Vegan Mainstream’s mom!
New Yorkers, take the A/C to Nostrand Avenue and get ready for an affordable fake meat extravaganza! One of Vegansaurus’ very favorite sites, Broke-Ass Stuart, is here to guide you through this reasonably-priced TVP adventure!
You’ve probably heard, but in case you haven’t, Mary Kay and some other brands have started animal testing again. Good idea? People are more aware of the cruelty-free label then ever. I hope this tanks them.
From Scientific America, a dingo named Sterling used a table to steal name tags. He’s at some kind of “Centre” that I don’t know about but still, animals are supre cool.
From Treehugger: Global warming could give rise to miniature animals. I am trying SO HARD not to be excited. I’m not, I swear.
National Geographic presents the “Rhino Wars” in pictures. Pretty sad stuff. Poor rhinos.
Fit Sugar has the lowdown on the top vegan protein sources. It’s a very short list. But I like to see us in the mainstream!
Vanity Fair has an interview with one of my faves, Brigitte Bardot! She gets into her love and activism for animals.
“I am not playing political games,” she says. “I don’t care. I don’t bother with that. I belong to no party and I am militant for no one. All of my causes, including the most radical, are motivated by the defense of animals.”
I love you, BB!
Paul Shapiro presents: Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
I’m honored to be on CNN Headline News this weekend with the great Jane Velez-Mitchell discussing progress for pigs and HSUS’s latest undercover investigations into gestation crate factory farms. Check it out.
In a new piece about HSUS, the editor of Pork Magazine calls us “well organized, well funded and relentless.” Always nice to be able to agree on something…
NPR did a nice piece on Morning Edition this past Friday about the federal effort to ban barren battery cages and require “eggs from caged hens” labeling on egg cartons. While we’re on the topic of NPR, Marketplace had a great piece by the awesome Mark Bittman about why Americans are eating fewer animals.
Want to read a new interview with Wayne Pacelle about his campus dining hall advocacy when he was in college? Your wish = my command.
But wait, there’s more!
Compassion Over Killing this morning released a new undercover investigation at a gestation crate factory farm in Iowa, a state where big ag interests are currently trying to ban such exposés with an “ag-gag” bill. Check it out and share.
The media coverage on our announcement that McDonald’s is moving to end gestation crate confinement in its US supply chain was significant. There’s too much to include here, but just a few selected excerpts:
CNN Money: “McDonald’s said it will get its pork suppliers to phase out the use of immobilizing cages for pregnant pigs, a move that was applauded by the Humane Society of the United States, but not the pork industry.”
MSNBC: “Earthquake in the pig business: McDonald’s to end use of restraining crates”
NY Times: “The buying power of McDonald’s adds a significant new dimension to the war on the practice.”
Chicago Sun-Times editorial board: “Now let’s ban those torture pens for pigs in Illinois.”
NY Times blog: “In the world of big-time meat supply, there are two kinds of producers: those who sell to McDonald’s and those wish they could.”
Chicago Tribune: “By setting the process in motion, McDonald’s could be providing the tipping point to change in the $97 billion pork industry.”
Lincoln Journal Star: “In calling for phasing out gestation crates for pregnant hogs, the world’s largest restaurant chain will put much more pressure on pork producers than any state ever could.”
Video of the week: I’ve been shocked by how many people actually cared to watch my winning contribution to a Super Bowl party food contest, but here you go:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Paul Shapiro presents: Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
First, some good news: A bill (H.R. 3798) was introduced in the Congress this week to ban barren battery cages for laying hens, ban starvation molting, require egg producers to label “eggs from caged hens” on their cartons, and more. You can see a joint statement from major animal protection organizations on why they support this bill, and a joint statement from nearly all of the agribusiness trade groups on why they oppose it. Who would you side with?
I was on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday talking about the above effort to help laying hens. Check it out.
Some bad news: The U.S. Supreme Court this week struck down portions of a law passed in California shortly after HSUS’s landmark Hallmark/Westland slaughter plant investigation (which led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history). While federal regulations still prohibit the slaughter of adult downer cattle for human consumption, the parts of California’s law prohibiting slaughtering other downer animals are no longer in effect.
Back to good news: Get a coffin, since Florida’s “ag-gag” legislation is now officially dead. However, Iowa is still debating its whistle-blower suppression bill, and similar bills are still pending in other states.
Time has a compelling online video about undercover investigations and these ag-gag bills that you won’t want to miss.
Video of the week: Ever try to teach a pig to sit? Here you go.
Paul Shapiro Presents: Animal News You Can Use! (Thanksgiving Edition!) »
It’s time for the next installment of Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! This time, it’s THANKSGIVING-STYLE, boooy! Take it away, Paul! I’m thinking we might need an adorable graphic for this? Anyone want to make us one? In return, I will give you a gigantic Thanksgiving high-five! What a feeling!
Well, if you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard about Mercy For Animals’ potent new investigation at Sparboe Foods, one of the sole egg producers in the country lobbying against the federal effort to ban barren battery cages. In the wake of the investigation, both McDonald’s and Target dropped Sparboe as a supplier.
MFA’s investigation resulted in massive news coverage, including a powerful 20/20 segment along with much other ABC News content (including a couple minutes of me hanging out with chickens talking about battery cages). Amusingly, a spokesman for the egg company claimed the video was “staged,” only to have the company later publicly correct him, asserting they have no evidence of that.
The NPR affiliate in DC sat down with me for lunch to talk about veg eating and Meatless Monday. You can listen to the six-minute segment here.
Finally, the headline says it all: “Talking Turkey: 9 out of 10 retail turkey samples contaminated with fecal bacteria.”
Have a nice holiday… :-)
P.S. No, the above video of me with chickens isn’t the video of the week. This cow playing with a ball is.
Big news: The REAL Paleo diet is pretty damn close to vegetarian! HA! »
Apparently the paleo diet wasn’t exactly meat meat meat. It was mostly veggies. On NPR’s food blog, anthropologist Barbara King lays it down:
Our ancestors began to eat meat in large quantities around 2 million years ago, when the first Homo forms began regular use of stone tool technology. Before that, the diet of australopithecines and their relatives was overwhelmingly plant-based, judging from clues in teeth and bones. I could argue that the more genuine “paleo” diet was vegetarian.
BAM! That’s called science taking one for the team. Thank you for being so brave and smart, science!
So I think that means all those disciples of the paleo diet better switch to a diet of almost exclusively veggies, right? And some grains? And a whole shit load less dead animal. And at the very least, the next time you run into the paleo diet bullshit, you can have some valuable information to BAM! them with. And most importantly, you can just call them out on being on a low carb diet like a little Zone dieting Atkins dieter. It’s like, if you’re only gonna eat bacon wrapped chicken breasts on beds of lettuce, at least admit it’s because you’re on some creepy diet, and not because you’re “getting back” to what our ancestors ate. DONE AND DONE!
Yvonne the renegade is the coolest cow in Europe »
NPR has collected the amazing story of a six-year-old German cow called Yvonne, who three months ago got past an electric barrier and escaped to the forest, where she’s been living ever since. Why did she run? Perhaps a sense of impending doom, as her owners had intended her for the slaughterhouse. Her nominal owners have offered 10,000 euro for her safe return, but in the time as a fugitive Yvonne has become a sort of folk hero for the residents of Zangberg.
Yvonne has successfully avoided accidental and deliberate death so far, and brought significant, international attention and tourist traffic to Zangberg. Not bad for an animal who might’ve been Zangberg’s supper. Everyone’s happy! Except maybe her previous owners, and the people who run Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary—they want Yvonne to make a permanent home at their facility, but they can’t catch her, either. Some of us just need to be free.
[photo by Josef Enzinger/dapd via NPR]
Shut up, NPR: “Why Bacon Is A Gateway To Meat For Vegetarians” »
NPR has gone totally punch-in-the-faceable with its article exploring the science behind bacon’s mass appeal, particularly to people who don’t eat meat.
Come on, Eliza Barclay: this trend piece is already three years old, people who rescind on their commitment not to eat animals aren’t exemplary of the veg community, and not all humanity is in love with bacon, anyway. Me, I didn’t like it even as an omnivore, and when I was an omnivore, I declined no meats, however foreign and terrifying. Bacon never did it for me, and I am not the only one.
I can’t believe it’s 2011 and the media are still acting like bacon is the be-all, end-all of foods. “We even talked to vegetarians about this, and one said, ‘I have long thought if for some reason I ever started eating meat again, I would start with bacon.’” Wikipedia doesn’t accept one anonymous source as legit proof for a claim, and omitting the specific number of vegetarians you “talked to about this” is pretty telling—even a toothpaste will tell you how many dentists recommend it.
This article is unimaginative, obnoxious, and misspells the name of the author of Vegetarianism: Movement or Moment—how are you gonna use Donna Maurer’s Howard Lyman-recommended book to help work your dumbass angle and then not even bother to get her name right? Fucking FAIL on all counts, NPR.
The End Dogfighting campaign: the HSUS helps ex-dogfighters with education and looooove »
Stereotypically, your Vegansaurus loves public radio. We also love dogs, DUH, and pit bulls particularly. Today’s Morning Edition returned that love hundredfold, with a story about personal and canine redemption.
The End Dogfighting campaign began in Chicago in 2006, expanded to Atlanta in 2008, and has just begun in Philadelphia. It “recruits former dogfighters and young, at-risk pit bull owners to take weekly training classes with their pets.” And you know what happens when people take their dogs to quality training classes on a regular basis? MAGIC—or, you know, the humans and animals develop mutual respect and love. According to Chicago program leader Tio Hardiman, “there’s a connection between fighting pit bulls and struggling to live in a violent society…. [K]eeping guys out of the world of dogfighting is good for them, their dogs, their families and the rest of the community.”
They also say that Michael Vick’s “testimony” about his former dogfighting exploits is really helpful, as he shares a socioeconomic background with many of the programs’ participants. Look at multimillionaire, making a difference!
What you need to do, though, is go to NPR and listen to Elizabeth Fiedler’s report—like all dogfighting stories, it’s got some horrific elements, but hearing the people talk about their experiences themselves, while the dogs bark all happily in the background, is way more valuable than reading a description.