Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use  »


It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!

This week, the National Conference of State Legislatures issued a letter opposing Iowa Rep. Steve King’s dangerously anti-animal amendment to the farm bill, writing that it “would preempt vital state agricultural policies designed to protect the safety and well being of our farmland, waterways, forests and most importantly, our constituents.”

Speaking of the King amendment, my mom already called her rep. and two senators about the King amendment. Did you? If not, you’d have to be dumber than a four-year-old! (Read on; it makes sense…)

And speaking of four-year-olds, are chickens smarter than them? Scientists think so. Check out this thought-provoking op-ed in today’s New York Daily News.

HSUS is suing the Raleigh Transit Authority for rejecting its anti-gestation crate ads. Want to see the ad and coverage of this suit? Read on!

And finally, new market research shows that more than a third of Americans are now eating meat alternatives, and the vast majority of those people are meat-reducers, not vegetarians.

P.S. Video the week: Cat dressed as shark riding robotic vacuum. Need I say more?

P.P.S. Screening dates announced for Speciesism: The Movie!


It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

imageIt’s Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, animals!

It was a roller coaster of a week, with the biggest news being that the House farm bill—which contained no animal welfare improvements but did contain Iowa Rep. Steve King’s anti-animal provision—was killed yesterday!

(Regrettably, the meat industry lobby prevented a House vote on federal legislation to help egg-laying hens. The fight continues.)

In related news, want to read a great Mother Jones story? The title says it all: “You Won’t Believe What Pork Producers Do to Pregnant Pigs.”

The New York Times editorial board this week slammed the animal ag sector, calling it an “industry that thrives on ignorance.”

And finally, check out this article: “Study suggests chickens are smarter than toddlers.”

P.S. Video of the week: Stephen Colbert’s take last night on the farm bill dispute between Rep. Steve King and HSUS. It’s truly amazing.

P.P.S. 140 years ago this week, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting. Oh, how societal norms change …



Young women dressed in fake fur were seen chasing doughty nationalist supporters down London’s Whitehall as a large number of security forces in iridescent jackets looked on from police lines.

Led by Queen guitarist Brian May, protesters in fancy dress demanded an end to the government’s cull of badgers, brought in to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

They chanted: “Smash the cull! Smash the BNP!”

BNP candidate Clifford Le May was left with a bloody nose after being caught up in a rival enclave of human rights activists.


Right on, British badger-lovers. Nuts to fascist political parties and nuts to people who fuck with the ecosystem and then try to fix it by fucking with it more. And who doesn’t prefer a badger to a fascist?


Tennessee state representative accuses Humane Society of “Tape and Rape”  »

Just when we thought public officials were done making flagrant misstatements about rape, they’ve gone and done it again. The latest: this ag-gag proponent in the Tennessee legislature compares animal activists to child sex traffickers and rapists. Here’s the heinous e-mail, printed in full courtesy of the Tennessean:

From: Andy Holt []
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:26 PM
To: Kayci McLeod
Cc: Andy Holt
Subject: RE: Please Oppose HB 1191
Ms. McLeod,

I am extremely pleased that we were able to pass HB 1191 today to help protect livestock in Tennessee from suffering months of needless investigation that propagandist groups of radical animal activists, like your fraudulent and reprehensibly disgusting organization of maligned animal abuse profiteering corporatists, who are intent on using animals the same way human-traffickers use 17 year old women. You work for a pathetic excuse for an organization and a pathetic group of sensationalists who seek to profit from animal abuse. I am glad, as an aside, that we have limited your preferred fund-raising methods here in the state of Tennessee; a method that I refer to as “tape and rape.” Best wishes for the failure of your organization and it’s true intent.

Andy Holt
State Representative—District 76
Weakley & Northern Carroll Counties
205 War Memorial Building
301 6th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243

In light of all the horrible acts large and small perpetrated by misguided individuals and corporations who profit from animal suffering (this guy’s a hog farmer as well as legislator—talk about a multi-taskhole!), more and more people are realizing how important it is that we can take animal abusers to task by exposing cruelty towards animals through investigations. Even the New York Times knows what’s up! Whether or not you’re not from Tennessee, please feel free to e-mail this man until the cows come home.


MeWOW: Hank the Cat comes in third in the Virginia Senate race!  »

I don’t know if that headline worked at all and I already wrote about this over at Jezebel but it’s just too awesome not to talk about more! He’s a cat! And he got 6,000 votes! It’s just too good.

 Hank the Cat ran on a pro-feline, job-creation, unlimited access to Fancy Feast (salmon supreme flavor) platform. This is not a joke, this is our reality. Well, maybe it’s both, but CATS 4 PREZ IN 2016.

Do you think he’s also available for marriage? Because I want to date a cat who’s going somewhere, these lazy-ass dogs in my life DON’T EVEN HAVE JOBS. Jesus.

Oh, and of course Tuxedo Stan, who did not win his mayoral race in Halifax because of a ridiculous technicality. All the cats for president of all the countries!!


Your Vegansaurus November 2012 ballot measure voting guide!  »

Have you voted yet? There aren’t a ton of animal- or food-related measures on the ballots this year; still, it is important to vote. It’s not always easy or clear, but we have to make an effort.

We used Ballotpedia to research the propositions, just like last time, but for further information you can check your local secretary of state’s site, or your preferred nonprofit political group’s voting guide (i.e., Vote411 from the League of Women Voters). Because this is Vegansaurus, we’re limiting our guide to animal-related issues.

Alabama: Amendment 1YES—maybe!
Why: We don’t understand the complexities of the Forever Wild Land Trust, but it seems good, and the World Wildlife Fund is for it. Alabamans who know more about the FWLT should opine.

Arizona: Prop. 120 - NO!
Why: Arizona appears to be full of jerks who think they can do whatever they want to anyone and anything within their borders, just because they’re Arizonans. This could undermine all kinds of federal protections on public lands, including those on wildlife. Shades of Prop. 109, eh guys? Quit being stupid jerks already.

California: Prop. 37 - YES—maybe!
Why: Honestly, there are good arguments for and against Prop. 37, but ultimately we are really uncomfortable voting in agreement with Monsanto, so, provisional yes.

Idaho: HJR 2 - NO!
Why: This amendment “forever preserve[s]” the right to “hunt, fish, and trap” in Idaho, which makes it immediately gross to us, but it would also make it more difficult both to protect the populations of the animals being hunted, fished, and trapped, and to conserve other wildlife.

Kentucky: House Bill 1 - NO!
Why: Again, guys, “mandat[ing] that hunting and fishing should never be outlawed in the state without the vote of the people” isn’t going to make there be more animals to hunt and fish.

Maine: Question 3 - YES!
Why: It appears to make it easier to buy land for protection and preservation by the state? Save the land and its wildlife!

NebraskaAmendment 2 - NO!
Why: For the billionth time, amending a state constitution to protect your residents’ right to hunt forever and ever is ridiculous pandering to hunters. Also, “stat[ing] that public hunting, fishing, and harvesting of wildlife shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife” rubs us the wrong way. You gonna take up hunting cats to reduce feral populations, too? Gross.

Mountain Lion Hunting Permit Measure - NO!
Why: It sets up a fee-based lottery for mountain lion hunting permits, without limiting the number of permits or specifying recipients of the money raised by the lottery tickets. Also, we hate hunting.

North Dakota: Measure 3 - NO!
Why: It “calls for a constitutional amendment that would block any law ‘which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices.’” In other words, it is a big Fuck You to any future farm animal protection legislation, through the state or federal government. This is because North Dakota is afraid of the Humane Society.

Measure 5 - YES!
Why: No, it doesn’t extend its protections far enough regarding the animals or the abuse, but it is far better than the law now. Plus it is supported by adorable North Dakotan animals, which is a weak reason, but still valid.

Oregon: Measure 81 - YES!
Why: If you’re going to allow fishing, better make it harder to overfish. Honestly, Oregon, are you looking to fish wild salmon to extinction?

Wyoming: Constitutional Amendment B - NO!
Why: This is the fourth HUNTING FOR ALL FOREVER ballot measure in this election (just like 2010!), which we find pretty gross. What are you hunters so afraid of, that you think you have to amend your state constitution to protect your right to kill (mostly) wild animals? This type of legislation is a slap in the face of every citizen without equal rights. How dare you put the rights of animal-killers ahead of any other human being? You’re all fucking jerks.

Good luck, compatriots! Please, get out there and vote!

[Photo by Jocelyn Augustino for Obama for America via Flickr]


International political news: Tuxedo Stan for mayor of Halifax! For the kitties!  »

Meet Tuxedo Stan! Although he can’t actually run for mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, because of some speciesist Halifax law preventing cats from running for mayor, Stan can raise awareness of the importance of spaying or neutering cats. Also, he and his campaign manager, Hugh Chisolm, are impeccably dressed gentlemen, which we support on principle. I mean, just look at them:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

You can throw your support to Tuxedo Stan on Facebook and Twitter, and find out all about him on his fine website. According to his bio, Stan and his three brothers were born three weeks after their pregnant mother was rescued from the streets of Nova Scotia. LOOK AT THIS FACE:

Binge on photos of the candidate here and here.

Halifax elections happen on Saturday, Oct. 20. While none of us can vote for Stan, we can vote for his pet cause: Spay Day HRM, which helps “students & low-income families to spay & neuter their cat.” I love political season.

[Photos from Tuxedo Stan’s many internet outlets. Link to story via the wonderful Julie Klausner]


Hey, animal-rights advocates in North Dakota! Here is some news you can use!


North Dakota Pets Rally to Fight Animal Cruelty

There are only two states in the U.S. that don’t recognize animal cruelty as a serious crime: North and South Dakota. A measure on the ballot this November seeks to change that in North Dakota.

Pets of all stripes have come out in support of Measure 5, which would make extreme animal cruelty to dogs, cats and horses a felony in the state.

If your pet supports this measure, you can upload his pic here.

Get it together, North Dakota. South Dakota is the superior Dakota by dint of Mount Rushmore alone; by protecting your pets, you can achieve the higher status your geographical location would seem to warrant!

If you don’t believe us, trust the endorsements Measure 5 has received by organizations you love, like HSUS, Best Friends Animal Society, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. And if you don’t care about them, care about these 100 percent adorable animals who are all about protecting their brethren and sistren. Yes on 5, North Dakotans!


Open discussion: Veganism is a creed, and a creed is a human right! Right?  »

Oh, Canada. Camille Labchuck, a Toronto law student, says that “a person’s right to live a vegan lifestyle … is a right that all people should have,” and therefore should be protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code, which is meant to “prevent discrimination and harassment” because of many reasons, including “creed (religion).”

Camille says “creed” is inexactly defined by the legislation, and so including vegan and vegetarian beliefs as protected under the OHRC is possible. I think that’s cool. San Francisco prisoners are supposed to get vegan meals, when requested, but where else are your dietary practices legally protected?

Considering veganism a “religion” makes me feel culty and uncomfortable. But if the legal definition of “creed” matched the dictionary defintion—“a set of beliefs or aims that guide someone’s actions”—I would be all right with that. Because yes, being vegan affects basically everything I do, and I would like my fellow vegans’ right to follow their beliefs protected under law. Even if it is only in one Canadian province (and Britain!). Today Canada, tomorrow the U.N. Human Rights Council!

What do you think? Should the rights of vegans to observe a vegan lifestyle be considered analogous to religious and political groups’ rights to exist? Of course, right?

Unrelatedly, did you know that Canada has a Vegan Danish Bakery?! Ô je t’adore, Canada!

[photo by cacaye via Flickr]


Tell Your Senator: Hunting in National Parks is THE WORST IDEA!  »

Don’t let this finger be a gun!! Photo by Furryscaly on

Hunting: Not as terrible as factory farms on the spectrum of evil, but still not the favorite thing of we, the vegans. Hunting in National Parks where it’s been heretofore prohibited? SO NOT A GOOD IDEA.

But there’s a bill in the Senate right now that could open a bunch of national park lands (especially the weird ones, like “national historic parks”), to hunting. The National Parks Conservation Association is asking us citizens to contact our senators and tell them to fix it!

Here’s the thing: the NCPA is only worried about the national parks. They want the senators to just change a few words to make sure the parks are clearly excluded from this new hunting law. I’m on board with that, and it seems a battle they might actually win if they get enough people to call. 

But they’re not opposing the Sportsman Heritage Act as a whole. Which is something you might want to consider. It makes it OK to import dead polar bears from Canada, and helps support hunting on other federal land. Either way, give a call/write your leaders so they know not to let people kill squirrels at the Frederick Douglass Memorial, so f-ed up!

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