The most interesting information from NPR’s Meat Week is that eating meat is terrible for the planet »
[Source: J.L. Capper, Journal of Animal Science, December, 2011.
Credit: Producers: Eliza Barclay, Jessica Stoller-Conrad; Designer: Kevin Uhrmacher/NPR]
I listened to NPR’s Meat Week stories because I always listen to Morning Edition in the wee hours while I’m getting ready for work every day (two-hour commute party!), and am a prisoner to whatever they put on the radio. At the end of June, it was all about dead flesh. Too cool.
Here’s a summary for you, so you know what we talk about when we talk about eating meat.
Day One: Some dope who follows the Paleo diet (and does CrossFit, shocking!) is an expert witness in “We Evolved to Eat Meat, but How Much Is Too Much?” Yes. Did they ask this guy on purpose, knowing he’d come off like an idiot? Maybe. NPR, you tricksters.
Day Two: In “The Making of Meat-Eating America,” we learn that Americans eat meat because we are wealthy and can afford it, plus it’s cheaper here. Also, technology! The railway shipped sides of beef from sea to shining sea! But we’re eating less now, mostly because it’s fucking unhealthy to eat so many animals.
Day Three: Nationally we’re choking down fewer dead cows (“red meat”) than ever before. “Why There’s Less Red Meat on Many American Plates” explores “changing trends in meat consumption,” namely, with a few exceptions—like those back-to-prehistoric times dolts—people are cutting back, because we care about our health, and our planet (n.b. the above infographic), and all those animal lives. Except chickens, it’s totally cool to eat chickens, right?
Day Four: You want independent farming? “Unlike Chicken and Pork, Beef Still Begins with Small Family Ranches” will see your independent farming and raise you a “the cattle industry is bottle-shaped,” in which the wide bottom is the many smaller ranches where cows are artificially inseminated to make new cows, the shoulders are the feedlots where not-yet-year-old cows are sent to put on grain-weight, and the neck is the four packing companies that kill-n-pack 82 percent of the edible cow sold in the U.S. Gosh, the death industry is revolting.
Day Five: Hey look, meaty billboards!
So there’s your Meat Week: Americans love eating animals, but maybe less than they used to (except chickens); the meat industry isn’t very big but it sure is mighty, and really horrible for the environment. Cool story, NPR.
NPR wants to “crack the code” of vegan cheese analogs! »
Rachel Estabrook at NPR’s The Salt blog gets into the science of vegan cheese analogs, and poses some interesting questions. Why are we so obsessed with making some vegan cheeses behave exactly like casein-ful animal’s milk cheese? How are food scientists working on replicating this “hold onto itself and then lightly let go and then hold onto itself” action that makes dairy cheese melt? Which company has been the most successful so far, and who else is trying?
That answer is illustrated by this photo of Easy Vegan Info’s mac & cheese pizza with Daiya (here’s her recipe, I know what you really want). Yes, according to vegan cheese code-crackers, Daiya makes the best meltable vegan cheese on the market. Being a hardcore Follow Your Heart fan, I take issue with this assertion as nonsense, but also Daiya is a total gutbomb for me and I don’t eat it.* To each her own!
Maybe this new line of shredded vegan cheeses from Galaxy Natural Foods will be the melting vegan cheese that unites us on such a divisive subject. Has anyone tried it yet? It was supposed to be out in April and it’s already May! Give us our new toy, already.
If you want to discuss your most beloved/despised vegan cheeses here, please feel free. Category is: It melts!
*OK I might make an exception for this beauty.
[photo by Kelly Garbato via Flickr]
There may now be slightly less bear-murdering in New York state.
NPR reports that New York state, which has allowed the hunting of black bears since governments started making laws regarding wild animal-killing, has just passed the very first regulations on the trade of black bear parts. Wildlife officials don’t want people killing black bears in neighboring states and selling them in New York; poaching bears “has been a problem nationwide for years,” which this law is designed to combat.
Now, anyone selling bear parts in New York must document that the bears whose bodies once held those parts—particularly gallbladders—were killed legally. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem in New York, where permitted hunters can kill black bears, easy peasy. See, they’re not mad about killing bears, they’re mad about killing bears illegally, only for the gallbladders and paws, for use in “Asian medicine.”
Yeah, “Asian medicine.” Remember how in some Asian countries, they farm bears for their bile, and it’s absolutely fucking disgusting? In the U.S., they poach wild bears, take their gallbladders, and leave their bodies. Man we are the BEST at animals, right, humanity?
Listen to the whole story, or read it at NPR. Obviously we hate all bear-killing, but if this law stops the murder of bears exclusively for a few of their parts, it’s not the most objectionable thing. Right?
Today Abby Bean tipped us to the story of a rooster who spends his days outside Gus’s Fried Chicken restaurant in Collierville, Tenn. Everyone thinks it’s so funny! “He runs this place!” exclaims the titular Gus. People have called the local Animal Care and Control out of concern that the rooster will be hit by a car. He’s like their mascot!
Why do patrons of a fried chicken restaurant love to see a live, (relatively) free rooster outside of the place where they go to devour this rooster’s fellow birds? The fine people at Suicide Food (RIP) know: When the animal you’re about to eat seems to approve, and even encourage (this rooster “greets” patrons, remember) your consumption of it, you no longer have to feel guilty about causing a living being to suffer and die for your meal.
No matter what his true intentions, this rooster has become a chicken ambassador; his presence tells people, “I’m a chicken, and if I haven’t yet burned this place that cooks my dead fellows to the goddamn ground, then it must be acceptable in my moral universe. Fried chicken for all!”
I wonder how long until someone tries to feed the rooster a piece of chicken.
Celebrate fake meats for the Meatout! »
In honor of today’s Meatout, NPR’s The Salt blog got all excited over the rise in vegan meat analogues. According to the Global New Products Database, “110 new meat substitute products were introduced in 2010 and 2011,” and in 2011, sales of frozen meat substitutes hit $267 million.
I know not everyone loves the fake meats, but they’re so tasty. Do you know how many omnivores I’ve turned into Golden Era superfans? SO MANY, is the answer. So many superfans.
What are your favorite supermarket fake meats? I love Gardein’s chipotle lime crispy fingers, and basically every “mock” animal they sell at Asian groceries. (Also Soy Curls, but those don’t count here.) And I don’t think you can beat a sandwich with peppered Tofurky, spicy mustard, pickles, and lettuce. Though Janet Hudson’s Oklahoma sandwich does look insanely good.
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.