The New York Times exposes the corrupt and dangerous world of horse racing »
An NYT must-read and must-watch:
Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys: The new economics of horse racing are making an always-dangerous game even more so, as lax oversight puts animal and rider at risk.
Shit is fucked!:
On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America. Many are inexpensive horses racing with little regulatory protection in pursuit of bigger and bigger prizes. These deaths often go unexamined, the bodies shipped to rendering plants and landfills rather than to pathologists who might have discovered why the horses broke down.
In 2008, after a Kentucky Derby horse, Eight Belles, broke two ankles on national television and was euthanized, Congress extracted promises from the racing industry to make its sport safer. While safety measures like bans on anabolic steroids have been enacted, assessing their impact has been difficult because many tracks do not keep accurate accident figures or will not release them.
But an investigation by The New York Times has found that industry practices continue to put animal and rider at risk. A computer analysis of data from more than 150,000 races, along with injury reports, drug test results and interviews, shows an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation and a fatal breakdown rate that remains far worse than in most of the world.
All for this “sport.” I encourage you to read the rest.
NYT has a really cute video about nutria in Washington state! They won’t let me embed it though because they are total jerks but click through and you can watch it.
This lil’ guy is so cute! All the fur stuff is a downer but it’s historical background—a lot of historical background is a downer. #truth
The New York Times wants to know why eating meat is ethical, I’d totally like to know too. »
NYT has issued an essay challenge that has had me chuckling all day:
"Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat: A Contest"
I think this is an excellent challenge, because for real, tell me. However, I just can’t imagine a solid answer. Of course if I could, I probably wouldn’t be vegan.
Let’s pretend they don’t call everyone “carnivores” throughout the article, because I think they did that to appeal to the many omnivores who don’t understand what that word means. I cannot however ignore that they called vegans “[vegetarians’] hard-core inner circle.” Vegetarians are more like the soft shell of hard-core omnivores. If we were picking teams, I’d go with all the lactose-intolerant people first; you still have the death, but there’s a little less torture. But again, I guess they are trying to appeal to “carnivores” who only know vegans as The Other.
The panel of judges is my favorite part because it’s like, “let’s round up every white male who writes about why you should go vegan without actually going vegan!” Ta da: Peter Singer, Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Jonathan Safran Foer and Andrew Light. I think the white male part says more about society than food writing in particular but they could have found at least one vegan judge. Shouldn’t a solid argument be able to sway the opposition? The group we have here is pretty much dudes who are looking for a good reason to eat meat—that seems a little skewed.
I also love the rules:
Rules: This is a very specific contest. Don’t tell us why you like meat, why organic trumps local or why your food is yours to choose. Just tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat.
Because you know they are still going to get a million and one essays about the American right to eat hamburgers and why bacon tastes good. Happy reading, bros!
I for one am really curious to see the winning essay. I’m going to be so disappointed if it’s the same-old bullshit! I would really like to see a proposed reason to eat meat other than “it tastes good” so I can respect my omnivorous peers a little more. What would really be funny though is if no one comes up with a winning essay. I mean, these dudes haven’t found the ethical reason to eat meat, and they’ve been working on that for a while! It would be really funny if the whole thing just dies because they couldn’t get a good enough entry.
What I’m really hoping is that after reading a million awful attempts to justify eating meat, these judges just get totally embarrassed that they aren’t vegan yet and finally walk the walk!
[Image from NYT by Russell Bell]
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!:
Top 10 links of the week: a joyful skip through veganism! »
[Downer that the whale is in captivity but we can still appreciate its beauty. PS: Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Sorry dudes, I haven’t done links in a few weeks, so this list spans the last month or so. Were you guys sad without links? Which kinds of links do you like the best? I want to know so I can do the best possible job!
"Here’s the big secret that no one wants to talk about: We’re not very good at keeping what’s inside a cow’s intestines out of the meat." Ew. From Huffpo, "Doctors Take Aim at Antibiotic Resistance from Factory Farming.”
Apparently in Ukraine, restaurants keep bears and make them drink vodka. Well, not any more! Really though, wtf.
From Grist: “Is your Cheese Killing the Planet?” The article says, “bottom line: the vegans are right,” but I think their real message is one we’ve heard many a time: “bottom line: CHEESE IS YUM YUM! WEEEEEE!” Maybe we can add some comments.
Good piece from NYT: “Stop Using Chimps as Guinea Pigs.” Word.
Should we be surprised at cruelty in industrial farming? Em, no. An opinion piece from the Guardian.
Some AR peeps burnt down a building in Germany that was set to be a factory farm. Discussion topic of the week: What do you think about property destruction as a form of protest in the animal rights movement? Or any movement, I guess.
From Treehugger, study reveals mammal populations are down. Fucking A, you thought you just had to worry about the fish!
Bonus link: If I don’t say this every week, I mean this every week: don’t forget to read our Laura’s Week in Vegan over at SFWeekly every Friday! And leave comments to make her feel nice. Laura deserves to feel nice. We all do! Except some people.
Top 10 links of the week! A breezy ride through veganism! »
[your animal viral video of the week! I don’t understand what’s going on. Where is this? Is this like a private dolphin?]
I can tell you guys have big things to worry about but if you have time to care about the seal hunt, you should keep an eye on the Humane Society’s “Live from the Ice” reporting.
Yo, did you know there’s a debate about whether or not it’s ethical for vegans and vegetarians to eat mock meat? Me neither! This Dish is Veg has a post about it, read it and tell me what you think.
Some 20-year-old killed a cat to perfect her outfit for a Lady Gaga show. I don’t want to talk about it.
Treehugger has good news about the gorilla population in the Congo! Gorillas are just amazing. Like, you can’t not be amazed when you look at them. Plus, they’re nearly vegan (I hear sometimes they eat bugs)! They don’t eat cows and they still manage to be all strong and diesel.
If you didn’t get enough Laura this week, check out The Week in Vegan. She mentions Shakira, who rules. I’m sold. Read it and comment!
News gets cute this week: “Research shows that man’s best friend categorizes people as generous or mean by keeping tabs on how they treat others.” That’s how everyone’s dog knows YOU’RE the softy! Read all about it at the Daily Mail.
Read Ricky Gervais’ letter calling for the director of NIH to help 14 chimpanzees that have been sent to a research facility in Texas. Ricky Gervais is just the man. I don’t know what he could do to make me like him more but I think it would involve free vegan cinnamon rolls. Or roller-skates.
Wolves can’t catch a break. Groups are in the process of trying to de-list wolves as an endangered species in the Great Lakes area. The New York Times has the story. I’m getting fucking sick of this. It’s like, you almost wipe out a species and then after hard work, the species begins to flourish and then you want to kill them again. WTF?
Friends of Animals has a brief update on the wolf de-listing rider in the budget proposal. It’s on it’s way to the prez! Fucking awesome!
Going vegan for lent »
The New York Times has a recipe for those going vegan for lent—it’s the lovely baked beans with mint, peppers and tomatoes you see above. Raised a heathen, I don’t know much about lent other than what I learned in 40 Days and 40 Nights. It’s a very educational movie actually; I learned that date-rape is OK if the victim is male and that lent means you give up something you like for 40 days. Or do you give up something bad? I don’t know, I remember someone I knew gave up cursing, which is kind of a bad thing. I had a boss who gave up pretzels one year. Don’t know where pretzels fall on the good versus evil scale. But how common is it to go vegan for lent?
Here’s what my super secret source says lent is all about:
Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer—through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial—for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the death and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It also says that various forms of fasting have gone on during lent in different places throughout history including abstaining from meat and sometimes dairy. So I guess going vegan or vegetarian has a precedence. I have to say though that I don’t like this whole connotation between vegan and self-denial. It’s like saying not eating babies is self-denial! Well, sort of. You get what I mean! Or, maybe not. Well OK, it went like this: the other day I was saying something about not enjoying going to dinner parties where I can’t eat anything and my sister was like, “but you could eat something” and I’m like “um, no, nothing is vegan” and she’s like, “yeah, but you could" so I’m like, "yeah, and you could eat babies!” Or better still, I was like, “would you tell Jewish and Muslim peeps, ‘yeah but you could eat pork?’” Totally won her over! I’m serious; I gave up sarcasm for lent.
So, you see what I mean? It’s like saying not buying plastic bottles is self-denial. Besides, being vegan is fun! It’s a non-stop party! If you’re not a square from Delaware, somebody say, “oh yeah!”
In which the New York Times Magazine demonstrates they kinda hate vegans, but really love pretentious dudes who put weird shit in ice cream! »
The New York Times Magazine printed a 4,000 word
advertisement for article about Humphrey Slocombe that included some rather negative/poorly researched Vegansaurus mentions. I know standards for the NYT mag aren’t too high—look at the kind of folks they work with; But still, disappointing. Anyway, I wrote a letter to the editor as a response and am going to publish it in full here because at this moment, I’m righteously indignant and can’t nobody stop me!
Aaaaannnnd so, without further ado:
My blog, Vegansaurus, was mentioned several times in Elizabeth Weil’s piece, “I’ll Take a Scoop of Prosciutto, Please” regarding Jake Godby, the proprietor of the alternative ice cream shop “Humphrey Slocombe.” Six paragraphs of the 4,000 word article were devoted to critics of the establishment, Vegansaurus foremost among them.
Intriguingly, although Godby’s opinion of Vegansaurus and the San Francisco vegan community were strongly conveyed, his critics were given no opportunity to respond to his assertions or the distorted history Weil reports as fact. Our review of Humphrey Slocombe was not linked in the article (although the link advertising Humphrey Slocombe demonstrates your content management system has this capability). Nor were any of the editors of Vegansaurus contacted for comment.
Had I been asked for comment, I would have informed Weil that, contrary to her assertion that our website “started” the “conflict” between Godby and the SF vegan community, community protests against Humphrey Slocomb’s indifference to animal welfare pre-dates my post on Vegansaurus. I also would have told her that I intended my review to be a partial defense of the establishment for offering vegan choices. I later amended the review after reader comments cataloged Godby’s history of aggressive antipathy to contentious eaters.
As the article itself notes without comment, Godby leaves meat in a vegan grocery as a form of recreation. Given how the article opts to demonstrate Godby’s distaste for vegans and vegetarians, it seems particularly irresponsible for the reporter to deny his targets an opportunity to offer their perspective.
We would also have been happy to offer our assistance as to the correct use of contemporary media terminology—she describes our website as a “vegan collective,” a term employed nowhere on our site. It’s an odd way to describe a publication, unless one is seeking to subtly discredit its authors by implying they are some sort of subterranean cabal, rather than a group of free-lance writers with a popular website. Would you refer to the the New York Times as a “news collective”?
It is great that she did take the time to meet the folks behind the twitter account Jasper Slobrushe, but couldn’t even take the two minutes to shoot an email our direction.
That at no point neither Weil nor the editors we presume examined this article before it appeared in print or online noted these points seems especially odd, given how many traditional journalists (though, to be fair, I do not know that either Weil nor her editors make this argument) argue that their work has more value that that of many folks who work exclusively online (aka bloggers) because the traditional folks ‘pick up the phone’ or ‘actually get comment from people.’
I am hopeful you can respond to my concerns,
A Founding Editor