Mojave Desert Animal Rescue robbed twice over the weekend, because people are terrible  »

Mojave Desert Animal Rescue is a wonderful and necessary nonprofit that helps out homeless people with pets. They register people’s animals (collecting spay/neuter and vaccination information), and provide food for them. They also provide emergency supplies for homeless people who can’t stay at shelters because they have pets. And over the weekend, some horrible, heartless jerks robbed MDAR’s warehouse twice.

The thieves took almost everything in the warehouse, including “canned food, both for human consumption and for pets, veterinary supplies, jackets, coats, socks,” and they tried to take a backhoe. MDAR founder and Director Annie Lancaster told the San Bernadino Sun

You can tell they just threw things across the room and just completely trashed the place. … I mean who does that? We had signs in there that clearly said we were a charity and there were pictures of the homeless people we’ve helped and their pets and they still had the heart to do something like this? I just don’t understand.

It’s winter in the high desert. People are the WORST. 

You can donate here to help out MDAR. Read more about this gross crime at the Sun.

[Story via Ken Layne at The Awl, where he covers the animal beat! Photo via MDAR]


Hunters gleefully torture wolves since Idaho removed federal protection  »

This is Forest Service employee Josh Bransford happily posing with a wolf he trapped in Idaho. The wolf wasn’t just trapped; when some passing motorists saw the limping animal, they thought it’d be super fun to non-fatally shoot the trapped wolf a few times. Bransford posted some pics online and people were positively giddy. Awesome.

People make me so sick sometimes. This is exactly what people opposed to the de-listing were worried about. This isn’t just an animal who’s threatened by habitat loss or something, hunters and farmers hate wolves. They are in competition with them. It’s not like a few will be killed now, these dudes are out for blood. 

According to Environment News Service, people are calling for Bransford to be fired. Though you’re allowed to kill wolves now, there are actually rules about it:

Idaho state law makes it a crime for a person who “causes or procures any animal to be cruelly treated, or who, having the charge or custody of any animal either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to cruelty.” The law also requires that “destruction of animals for population control,” the stated reason for wolf trapping, be carried out humanely.

Stopping to pose while an animal hobbles in pain is certainly not carrying out the murder humanely. Though I don’t know that Idaho actually cares about enforcing laws. They certainly don’t care about upholding promises. From Earth Island Journal:

Removal of Endangered Species Act protection for the wolf was based on the assurances of state game agencies that they would manage wolves to ensure survival of the species and approval of state wolf management plans by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Idaho has since abandoned the targets of its state plan and instead said it will seek to reduce the population from roughly 1,000 wolves to as low as 150 wolves. Since the delisting, 375 wolves have been reported killed in Idaho. Idaho’s wolf hunt remains open in portions of the state.

As you know, wolves were removed from the federal protection list last year in Idaho and Montana. Since then:

By late March some 117 Idaho wolves had been killed in traps and snares, and another 251 shot. Montana saw 166 killed, for a total of 534 wolves out of an estimated 1150 in the two states. Although Montana’s season ended in February, Idaho is not quite done. Both states have announced plans for increased hunting in the 2012-2013, and discussions are underway among hunting groups and state officials to allow private donations to establish wolf bounties.

Wolf bounties? They aren’t criminals—they’re animals just trying to live! This is so absurd. As you can see, it’s not like there a gagillion wolves walking around. This animal that was nearly wiped off the earth has rebounded to a little more than a thousand in those areas. How does an animal go from federal protection to being legally culled by half? There needs to be national intervention. States shouldn’t be able to just do whatever they want with regard to their environment and wildlife. This is bullshit. I’m angry!


Stolen and abused dog Toto still needs funds for surgery!  »

I checked in with the SF SPCA to see how the money-raising was going for Toto, and they still have $730 more to go! And they need it before Feb. 10th! They also said, “Toto is doing well! Yvette, his owner, says he was pretty tired last week after the vet appointment, but seems a lot better now… ‘more pep in his step.’ She’s getting him a lot of new toys to encourage him to keep playing and be active.”

If you don’t remember what happened, here’s the story from Rachel’s previous post:

Toto the dog got kidnapped and tortured, ARG. Why are people such evil bastards?

But now the SF SPCA is taking care of him and they need your help to raise $5000 by February 10th to pay for his surgeries!

Here’s the story, according to the SPCA:

“Toto is a 12-year-old Yorkie who was stolen from his fenced-in yard. Eight months later he was returned to his owner’s doorstep, in a crate, with multiple injuries including missing front teeth and a missing left eye. His owner rushed him to a vet hospital but couldn’t afford the necessary medical procedures. Toto is now receiving care at the SF SPCA Veterinary Hospital.”

To help, click here, or make a $10 donation by texting “SPCA” to 27722.

If you don’t have the cash, you could help by spreading the word to the rich people who do, especially the 1%, they all love tiny dogs, right? Go Toto go!

So if you can, please help Toto! This is such a terrible thing to happen. Maybe we can offset it by being the best support community ever. 


I’d be happy to help wedge stale bread up the bird’s asshole. LOLZ FUNNY CAUSE IT’S TRUE. Someecards has gotten considerably lamer but this card is rad. Send it to all your friends with a “NOT!” or a “PSYCH!” in the email attachment and that’s that. Also, please remind them that turkeys RULE!
[via ohohmydarlin]

I’d be happy to help wedge stale bread up the bird’s asshole. LOLZ FUNNY CAUSE IT’S TRUE. Someecards has gotten considerably lamer but this card is rad. Send it to all your friends with a “NOT!” or a “PSYCH!” in the email attachment and that’s that. Also, please remind them that turkeys RULE!

[via ohohmydarlin]

(Source: hill-betty)


Monkeys on drugs!! FOR SCIENCE!!!  »

Oh, motherfucker. You never know where a news story will lead you, right? Like how “The USDA is full of racists! Black people are taking over the country and ruining it for all the white people!” hideousness turned out to be “A USDA employee grew as a person before coming to work at the USDA! Andrew Breitbart is a disgusting racist and people are shockingly willing to listen to him!” Or the “evidence of widespread corruption” that shut down ACORN that were actually complete fabrications? Nasty stuff.

Here’s another one! But there isn’t any conveniently edited videotape, and the victims aren’t humans, so it probably won’t get much attention. It deserves outrage, though. See, the other day, some grumpy Republican senators released a report criticizing some of the projects that had received money through the stimulus program. Naturally, the writers of the report gave these projects extremely ridiculous titles, so as to stir up as much shallow controversy as possible. “Yoga and hot flashes!” Who needs to study the effects of yoga on reducing hot flashes in breast cancer survivors? That shit is INSANE! Replacing the windows in the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument? But it is closed and the U.S. Forest Service doesn’t plan on reopening it! And anyway, just the WINDOWS? Are you trying to give John McCain a rage-induced heart attack right now?

The most controversial, or at least the one that received the most frivolous name and onto which ol’ Nevadan crazypants Sharron Angle latched quite firmly, is “Monkeys Getting High For Science”—more specifically, a $71,623 grant to the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center to “[help] protect very important research that will have significant impact on public health in regards to cocaine addiction and the issue of relapse.” On monkeys. And yes, that does sound fucking crazy. What are the scientists of WFUBMC talking about, and are they really experimenting with monkeys and cocaine? Is this even the most important part of the story?

Considering the rest of the story is like: “The report is very accusatory, doesn’t get its facts exactly right, and the senators probably could’ve better spent their time passing some motherfucking legislation, those lazy bastards,” yes, it is. A quick keyword Google found the official WFUBMC faculty pages for Michael A. Nader, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology, and Paul Czoty, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology, both of the WFU Translational Science Institute and Primate Center. These two gentlemen are particularly important because, listed under their names are their recent publications, the majority of which are credited to both of them, and which go as far back as April 2006. Of Nader’s 41 listed articles, 26, or 63 percent, are specifically on the effects of cocaine (or withholding cocaine from already addicted) monkeys; one is on the effects of MDMA on monkeys. Of Czoty’s 32 listed articles, 19, or 59 percent, are on the effects of cocaine (or withholding cocaine from already addicted) monkeys; he was a contributor to the study on MDMA and monkeys.

The spokesperson for WFUBMC told a half-truth, at least; the stimulus money didn’t create a new program to “get monkeys high for science.” It’s in its fifth year, at least—I couldn’t find anything earlier using the search feature. Animal experiments are fucking disgusting, but animal experiments using cocaine? Where did the cocaine come from? Does WFU have permission to grow coca and process it into cocaine? That is the only ethical option for obtaining the cocaine—you can’t imagine scientists buying it off the street, and if so, that would actually make them the most evil scientists performing research in the name of “helping people” since the atomic bomb was created. Because you know drugs have a really, really high human cost, and unless you can ethically source them—just like your food, and your clothes!—you should not consume them.

But: the monkeys. They make the monkeys “self-administer” the cocaine, which seems eminently more despicable than giving it to them like medication or food. Just, here you go, monkey, here’s some cocaine! Take it! There are several studies on the effects of “the reinforcing strength of cocaine”; one on “Vulnerability to cocaine abuse in socially housed female monkeys”; and this one is my favorite: “Impulsivity and vulnerability to cocaine self-administration in adult rhesus monkeys exposed to cocaine in utero.” They give cocaine to pregnant monkeys, then give cocaine to their babies once they’ve become adults! Just to, you know, see what happens. Because rhesus monkeys are EXACTLY LIKE HUMANS! All this work, creating generations of cocaine-addicted monkeys, will provide us with so much valuable information on—what? How to cure cocaine addiction in humans? Except that, again, monkey physiology is not human physiology; a rhesus monkey’s brain is not a human’s brain. How are these scientists so sure the horrific things they’re doing will have any positive effect on humanity at all? Further, what gives them the right to perform these obscene experiments on any nonhuman, non-consenting animal—it’s their humanity, right? Their implicit human superiority?

Agreeing with useless, time-wasting politicians is irritating, but they probably did us a favor calling attention to these gross experiments. Of course they did it all wrong, but they weren’t paying attention to the important parts: the parts where the government is helping to pay for Wake Forest University to continue to torture monkeys with drugs. Everything is terrible, hooray!


Thieving with a vengeance  »

I generally like people to get along. I think it’s nice, and me feeling that way makes it easier for me to believe I’m an OK person. However, every once in a while, something happens that really pisses me off, and I have to talk about it to everyone, and this is happening right now, so I have to tell you about Vegetarian With A Vengeance! ARRRRRG!


We all know the seminal vegan cookbook Vegan With a Vengeance by the talented Isa Chandra Moskowitz, right? Well, it turns out that FIVE YEARS after it was published, Grub Street Publishing in the UK (the owner of the publishing rights to Vegan With a Vengeance in the UK) is releasing Vegetarian With a Vengeance on July 30. That’s right—a vegetarian cookbook with a disingenuously familiar name. What the hell?

Understandably annoyed by this apparent biting, Ms. Moskowitz recently posted about Vegetarian With a Vengeance on her Twitter feed, prompting an outpouring of vegan rage, which overflowed onto Vegetarian With a Vengeance's Amazon page. How has Grub Street responded to the criticism/vegan shitstorm? Oh, only in the most mature and professional manner possible: by posting a poorly written, unclear screed in the discussion thread on the Amazon page. No press release, no post on the company site, no Facebook announcement—no communication of any kind save a few internally inconsistent comments buried within a thread on another company’s website. Clearly, this is a publisher that cares deeply about the vegan and vegetarian community.

It turns out that the book was originally written in Danish, and there’s some debate about whether the Danish title, Vegetarisk Vellyst, translates to Vegetarian With a Vengeance or not. My buddy Ditte, who is Danish (is from/lives in Denmark Danish, not Danish American, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but let’s just say she speaks good Danish), swears up and down that the only really plausible translation is “Vegetarian Delight,” which Google seems to agree with. The publisher swears (in the Amazon thread) that it was the authors who came up with the scurrilous translation and that the publisher snapped it up because they thought it would do well because of its similarity to Ms. Moskowitz’s book’s name—not that they intended to ride her coattails or anything. In any event, it seems clear that Grub Street was attempting to capitalize on the association the creatively translated title would buy them with Vegan With a Vengeance, even if it’s unclear who did the actual creative translating (you all can wade through the Amazon discussion and draw your own conclusions—I’m not your mom!).

The whole thing is a confusing, frustrating, dumb mess, and it’s really sad to see. Not to be all starfucker or anything, but I know Isa. She’s a nice person who is a great cook and writes fucking awesome recipes. She’s generous with her time and her recipes, but more than that, she’s an example for all vegan cookbook authors out there when it comes to being a good member of the vegan community, giving credit where it’s due (example here), and dealing with conflict in a responsible way. Not to say that we should canonize Ms. Moskowitz, but I’m left wondering why it was too much to ask that the people looking to make a profit in vegan (or vegetarian) dollars treat the people in the community with a little respect.

I’m really happy to see all the vegan books coming down the pike. It’s awesome that there are so many great options out there, with more being released every day, and I’m really happy for the authors of these books. But I’m also worried, and incidents like this make me more so. It’s great that businesses are figuring out that vegan money spends just as green as, um, other money, but it’s not as great that businesses are figuring out how to exploit the vegan community to make a quick buck. Veg publishing is, apparently, a business worth getting into these days, and I’m worried that I’m going to start seeing other vegan authors taking hits from shady publishing houses, or unscrupulous vegan authors who “borrow” recipes unattributed and unchecked by their publishers. And don’t even get me started on authors who back out of their publishing contracts six days before printing, causing the only all-vegan publishing venture I was aware of to decide that maybe the book business isn’t the way to go, costing all future vegan authors the possibility of an all-vegan ethical-as-fuck publisher. All this is to say: ugh. Can we please just get some fucking unity in the fucking scene?

Because that’s really it, right? Being vegan (and vegetarian to an extent) means being a conscientious consumer. It means abstaining from the products that come from the death or suffering or stealing from another living thing. I guess we’ve been lucky that we could mostly take for granted that buying a veg cookbook was a pretty safe bet, ethically speaking—until now. Dig a little deeper when you’re putting down your hard-earned dollars, and let’s give our money to the people who are interested in doing the right thing, not making a quick buck. We have this amazing luxury in that we can pick and choose what vegan books we want to support, so let’s (non-dairy) milk it for all its worth! We may not all agree on which authors/publishers/books are the best choices, but the point is that the thinking about it and putting in the effort is a worthwhile thing to do. For the vegans, for the animals, let’s do this!



Unhappy cows, the power of YouTube, and a loserly D.A.’s office  »

An undercover video exposé of a New York dairy farm made the rounds on YouTube earlier this week. I haven’t watched it (even reading the description was monumentally depressing), but it apparently featured tail-docking. Tail-docking is the process of cutting off a calves’ tails, ostensibly to prevent them from flicking manure (and spreading disease) when they grow up.

Now, besides the fact that they wouldn’t BE flicking their own filth into each others’ eyes if they weren’t all jammed in like Lincoln Logs, this is uncool for several reasons. First, it hurts a lot (no pain meds). Second, it doesn’t work (studies prove it!).

Worst of all, though, can you imagine being a cow without a tail—unable to flick away flies? It would drive anyone nuts. In fact, it makes these cows are so miserable that it may even interfere with their milk production.

The people who produced the video showed it to the Cayuga District Attorney’s office, and tried to get them to investigate the dairy farm. The Cayuga D.A. wussed out:

Assistant District Attorney Diane Adsit said in an email that many of the actions shown in the videotapes “are commonly accepted practices used to protect both animals and farmers on large dairy farms.”
"While shocking to look at, these practices are not necessarily illegal," Adsit said. If an investigation by the local SPCA leads the organization to file animal-cruelty charges, "we will prosecute anyone so charged," she said.

If you read the stomach-turning description of what actually went down, it’s clear that she either hasn’t seen the video or doesn’t know what she’s talking about. We’re not just talking about a little rough treatment here.

The good news is, New York State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal announced the introduction of a bill to ban tail-docking (Yay!). It’s already illegal in California and most of Europe; hopefully New York will be next.

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