Humane Society investigates Cal-Maine battery cage farm: surprise, it’s a hellscape »
This is absolutely the least disturbing photo of the 12 released today by the Humane Society as part of its 28-day undercover investigation at a Cal-Maine factory farm in Texas. Each hen is allowed “67 square inches” of space in which to live and die; the cages are stacked on top of each other; and there are approximate 1 million hens laying eggs at this place.
The investigation showed dead hens left in cages with living hens. It showed hens covered in manure from the hens in the cages above them. It showed hens with massive wounds left untreated. It showed eggs covered in the hens’ blood and manure. Eggs: “nature’s perfect food!”
Cal-Maine recalled “24,000 dozen,” which is to say 288,000 eggs on Friday, Nov. 5, because one of its suppliers had had its eggs test positive for Salmonella Enteriditis! This supplier, Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC in Croton, Ohio, presumably still keeps its hens in battery cages, as the agreement reached in January of this year prohibits the building of new battery cages. Looking at the photos of the Cal-Maine facility in Texas, it’s not hard to see how naughty Salmonella might hop from the hens’ excrement to their eggs. California’s egg-eaters and its chickens are so lucky for Prop. 2, right? Except that one of the recalled brands sells eggs all over California, ha ha ha.
The detailed report from HSUS [pdf] is a very good, if nauseating read. It’ll be nice/depressing/appalling to see the omnivorous (food) world’s reaction to this. Meanwhile, anyone for a nice cruelty-free dessert? Or maybe wait a little while until you’ve recovered from that horror show.
HSUS wants you to be a better activist. Learn how on Monday! »
It is marvelous, isn’t it, being vegan? Every new dish you make is Amazing! and every new restaurant is an Adventure! and you know, you 100-percent absolutely no-question zero-doubt Know that your lifestyle choices are the Right Ones. No animals suffered for your food or clothes or shiny hair, and doesn’t it feel great to have such a clean conscience?
It’s just that, as a vegan, you know that living animal-product-free is the minimum. That’s one of the secrets you learn once you’ve properly committed yourself to veganism, right? The anger and guilt and shame you feel for the treatment of animals the world over; they are so strong, and impossible to assuage with a vegan diet alone. No, you’ve got to do something.
Bay Area residents (and visitors with good timing!) are in luck, because on Monday, Nov. 15, the Humane Society of the United States will be holding a free community seminar on how to properly do something, namely, effectively advocating for animals. Because as much as you’d like to chain yourself to a pet shop door and demand all the animals within are given to rescue organizations, that is really not the best use of your time and energy.
Instead, the seminar will address “factory farming, wildlife protection, puppy mills, and local animal issues, and will offer techniques for improving your persuasiveness and engagement as a citizen advocate.” That last one will be especially pertinent, “improving your persuasiveness and engagement as a citizen advocate.” So no more yelling at owners of purebred puppies in Dolores Park, then? Or standing by the “organic” meat section at Whole Foods and snorting really loudly and derisively whenever someone picks up a package? Check.
Here is the best part, as far as your Vegansaurus is concerned: the seminar will be led by HSUS California State Director Jennifer Fearing, a.k.a. the HBIC of the passage of Prop. 2. She directed a hardworking team to victory despite mighty opposition from giant egg conglomerates, which is impressive on its own, but she is awesome in general—you’ll see. Eighth District state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) will also attend, and “will be available to chat with folks and answer questions,” so that’s all right.
It’s completely FREE and should be helpful—HSUS is doing amazing work nationwide. All you have to do is RSVP, and then be at the SF SPCA at 250 Florida St. at 16th Street by 7 p.m. on Monday! The meeting is scheduled to end at 9 p.m. Animals need advocates who know what they’re doing, and this is a wonderful opportunity to learn what exactly a good animal advocate does. So go! Tell your friends—even, no, especially the non-vegan ones, and RSVP for all of you and go!
Pigs in your blankets, our jerk governor, stopping animal-torture porn, chocolates good and bad, and hottt vegan action in this week’s HUGE-ASS link-o-rama! »
Hey North Bay, busy on Monday, Sept. 21? There’s a sign-making party in Petaluma for World Farmed Animals Day (coming up!) that you could attend. Contact Kate Danaher for further information—location, supplies needed, etc.— and be ready for action from 6 to 9 p.m.
Win an ice cream party with Coconut Bliss ice cream! You guys this stuff is AMAZING, the cappuccino flavor is the best coffee ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Enter the contest, invite Vegansaurus, have the NIGHT of your LIFE.
California passed Prop. 2 in November, totally awesome! Going further, the state legislature recently passed a bill banning tail-docking in the dairy industry—just the kind of action we hoped the vote would spur. UNFORTUNATELY, our meathead (hilarious!!!) governor still has not signed that bill into law. All kinds of good-looking and/or famous people support it; join them, California residents, and tell that overtanned insanator to end the needless suffering of dairy cows already.
Farm Sanctuary’s newsletter, incidentally, is attractive and informative; if you need more email, this is something worth reading.
SF Appeal ran a great piece about how to get vegan options into restaurants, and it includes an interview with Laura so what’s not to love? No, really. SAY IT TO MY FACE. Signed, Laura.
What’s wrong with the world: Torture porn is back! Or, “back,” because, what in the HELL? Help HSUS remind Congress that filming the cruel deaths of animals for people’s sexual gratification is FUCKED UP BEYOND BELIEF and should be banned forever, no question. Honestly, what kind of freakshow wouldn’t ban this?
Ezra Klein, Vegansaurus’ honorary little brother, is extremely concerned by all the antibiotics in your animals—a full 70 percent of antibiotics in the U.S. are used in “food animal production,” which is dooming meat-eaters to death by super-bacteria, like, tomorrow. Whoops, guys.
Meat chocolate. With salami aftertaste. On purpose. Gag.
An employee of a Brazilian McDonald’s sued the company, using Super Size Me as evidence to prove that eating the devil’s own food-type products daily for two years had deleterious effects on his health. Ooh, someone sued McDonald’s, thrilling—except, he didn’t introduce the film until his appeal, which he won. Fuck yeah, little guy.
The Oakland Fire Department responded to a “shots fired” call in May, and found the victim to be an itty bitty pit bull puppy with multiple gunshot wounds! They named him Remy, and thanks to their efforts he is better, but not fully recovered. Oakland Animal Shelter is asking for donations to cover the costs of the many surgeries poor little Remy has had and will need. If everyone who entered our contests donated $5, it’d be really helpful. You cannot deny the puppy in a cast.
Did you know that Vegansaurus (OK, Meave) loves the opera? SFMike of Civic Center blog says that opening night is a terrible time to go, but Leah Garchik reports a bright spot: While “[f]ewer than 10 dinner guests had RSVP’d pledges of allegiance to broccoli; at dinner, 170 declared themselves veggies.” It appears as if the upper echelons of San Francisco society have decided eating veg is in (again?), to which we say, lay off the fur and we can be BFFs, you beautiful lunatics.
Vegan.com brings us news from Harvard, specifically that The Crimson editorial board supports campus-wide “Meatless Mondays” and demands more and better vegetarian dishes in the dining halls. You smartypants overprivileged Muppet Babies have your hearts in the right place; demand and ye shall receive! (that’s how it works for you guys, right?)
Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma traced what happened to the body parts of a specific commercially raised pig and discovered a lot more than packaged meat. As savvy Vegansaurus readers will already know, that single pig wound up in 185 items. SO GROSS. The best/worst part is all of the non-food items the pig is used in automobile paint, cigarette filters, chewing gum and best of all, BULLETS. It’s extremely frustrating being vegan in a world like this.
Several Football stars are going (mostly) vegan. I mean, bros who play football are like, the very definition of manly, right? I mean they beat each other up and grab crotches all day long and these ones (the manliest of all!) happen to sit down to organic, vegan meals. How delightful! Is fuckyeahveganfootballplayingbros.tumblr.com taken?
*yow! The link-o-rama is racy today! all making painful jokes with single-entendres and using words like “racy.” The heat is getting to us!
**the only difference between this scenario and Saturdays at Vegansaurus HQ is that our frosting, ahem, “escapades” involve swimsuits and aprons instead of matching onesies. yow!
A little Vegansaurus post-Prop. 2 activism! ow! »
Hello awesome Vegansaurus readers! Here is a chance to do some great animal activism from the comfort of your own couch. Or if you’re like us, bed. We are total lazy-asses.
In the wake of Prop 2, which outlawed the confinement of hens in battery cages, several California businesses have been moving away from using eggs from caged hens. However, Double Rainbow Ice Cream is still using eggs from hens who are confined in barren battery cages. Double Rainbow is based in San Francisco, where Prop 2 got 72 percent of the vote. Please write Double Rainbow and ask them to follow the lead of SF voters by ending the use of eggs from caged hens in their products.
Battery cage confinement is one of the worst practices in factory farming, where hens are crammed into cages so small they spend their entire lives barely able to move. Please let Double Rainbow know that you will not support this kind of animal cruelty, and that you respectfully request that they adopt a cage-free egg policy.
Letters and emails can be sent to:
Double Rainbow Gourmet Ice Creams, Inc.
275 South Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Please let us know if you send a letter or email, so we can keep track of how many we are sending. We want to make sure to send them as many as possible!
Thanks so much for all of your hard work for the animals! And a review to come shortly today! PROMISE!
Farm animals, it seems, were everywhere in 2008. One year ago, a shocking slaughterhouse investigation revealed workers torturing downed dairy cows — and prompted the nation’s largest-ever meat recall. And the year ended with California’s landslide vote passing Proposition 2, which will free nearly 20 million hens, pigs and calves from tiny, immobilizing cages on factory farms — in the nation’s largest agriculture state, no less.
…Americans were universally outraged when they viewed the slaughter plant footage exposing workers using forklifts, prods and water boarding to force sick and injured cows to their feet and into the kill box. Congress held eight hearings that addressed not only food safety risks of allowing meat from diseased animals into the food supply, but also on the wanton, extreme cruelty perpetrated against the animals. The California legislature enacted stronger regulations against slaughtering downed cows and other animals. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans to prohibit the slaughter of downed cows with no exceptions.
Prop 2 is the most popular citizen ballot initiative in California history, attracting a 63.5 percent landslide. More than eight million people voted in support of the idea that farm animals deserve at least enough room to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs. Oprah devoted an entire show to the issue. The New York Times editorialized in favor of the measure. The media’s interest in and public’s support for Prop 2 demonstrated one of its basic tenets: that concern for all animals, including those raised for food, is consistent with the better nature of every one of us.
In 2008, Americans sent an unmistakable signal to Big Agribusiness that we will not tolerate the kinds of cruelty that have become standard practice. We unequivocally established farm animal protection as a social issue worthy of our concern on a national scale. And we recognized our collective responsibility to show mercy and compassion for those from whom we take so much. As we head into February and the rest of 2009, let’s work to accomplish even more.„
Your Friday afternoon quote!
“Moving Forward for Farm Animals” by Erin Williams, HSUS communications director for the factory farming campaign, in The Huffington Post.
Friday link-o-rama! »
1. Prop 2 passes in a landslide!!! This makes California the first state in the U.S. to ban battery cages (!!!!), and adds it to the list of states that have banned veal crates and gestation crates! It’s hard to describe how historic this win is but we’re incredibly excited to see these much needed changes in the industry. Next stop, everyone mandated to go vegan! KIDDING! KINDA!
2. A roundup of favorite sellers of vegan goods on Etsy, from New Vegetarian Life (blog appears to be down for now, so here is the Google cache link). Also, check out Etsy for Animals. A bunch of charitable craftsters donate goods to sell and 100% of the proceeds go to a different animal charity each month. SO AWESOME. We’ve purchased dog collars and vegan dog treats from them. According to Hazel, the treats are delicious. We love Etsy!
3. Do Dairy Products Help or Hinder Bone Loss? A discussion of the controversy over milk’s effects on bone density, and a “dairy addict” gets a bone scan (a rather unscientific sample size of one, mind). From Grass Dirt Corn.
4. Where President-Elect Obama Stands on Agriculture. Looks hopeful. Via Vegan.com. Also, as heard in his victory speech, President-Elect Obama (so exciting to type that!), promised his daughters a puppy. Luckily, Michelle Obama announced that they would be adopting a rescue puppy! Woohoo! Sign the online thank you card to the Obama family for choosing the best kind of dog, a rescued one! To the puppy that gets adopted by them: YOU ARE THE LUCKIEST G-D PUPPY IN THE WORLD I WISH I WERE YOU I AM SO JEALOUS!!!
Update: you have to watch this, it’s so cute. Obama talking about how his preference is a mutt, like him! But also Malia is allergic so it has to be a dog that won’t make her sneeze all the time. MIGHT I SUGGEST, a purebred rescue dog! There are tons! A poodle is perfect for people with allergies and there are lots of poodle rescues! Puppies, even! And I’m sure they rescue would bend over backwards to get the first family their first pick of adorable puppy!
5. Winter will soon be upon us and we at Vegansaurus know how hard it is to find an adorable vegan winter coat. Fucking wool WTF?! We found a great post on Vegan Fashion Blog about cute winter coats. We also suggest thrift stores, online vegan shops like Alternative Outfitters and places like H&M, Target and Old Navy where a bunch of the coats are vegan just because they’re too cheap to buy animal products. Of course there are all the other crappy things about companies like that. Ugh, life is impossible sometimes.
6. This is the kind of thing that gives us vegans a bad name. Please stop.
And I just could not decide between this single adorable white baby koala, and an entire adorable species of pink fairy armadillos.
Post-election fallout: Some people just don’t get it »
NO. No, fighting for animal rights and fighting for human rights are not mutually exclusive battles. As a volunteer for the Prop. 2 campaign in San Francisco, I can say it took a lot of convincing to get people on our side, whereas the No on 8 signs appeared in windows citywide seemingly overnight. No one I know voted for Prop. 8, and we are all extremely upset over its apparent passage.
BUT Prop. 2 is groundbreaking legislation, and farm animals deserve the freedoms this is going to give them. Locking up chickens six-to-eight to a cage for their entire lives is unacceptable. It’s inhumane and disgusting, and this election proved that a majority of California voters finally believe that too.
It is too easy to ignore the treatment of animals raised for food—animals no one thinks of as “cute,” they live in their own filth, when their limbs break they stay broken—but in the nation’s largest agricultural state, we have now promised to pay attention. Prop. 2 gives a voice to the voiceless food animals, without altering the fundamental relationship most people have with them.
Gay people have voices, and advocates. We will fix this. If Prop. 8 does pass, it will be challenged in the courts, and a proposition overturning it will go on the 2010 ballot, and Californians will recognize gay marriage again, for the third and FINAL time. I am sorry that the No on 8 campaign was unsuccessful; it certainly wasn’t for a lack of money or sponsorship: PG&E, Levi’s, Google, Apple—major corporations came out against it, as did the papers, and the celebrities, and everyone with a heart and a brain. It shouldn’t have passed, but it did.
You might say the same thing about Prop. 2, except that the Humane Society ran its campaign extremely well, and the workers and volunteers were tireless, and we ultimately succeeded. Maybe because we felt the odds against it passing were so great, HSUS knew not to give up to let up; maybe opponents felt that the odds of Prop. 8 passing were so small, it didn’t seem like they had to fight it as hard as we proponents did.
Never think that animal rights activists value animal rights over human rights. Consider that what we want is equality on a much greater scale; we want a society where all beings can live free from violence and hunger and hatred. Personally, I give my time to animals and my money to people, and I feel all right with that division. Maybe, instead of railing against the citizens who were so good as to pass Prop. 2 voting “for the cute animals,” you the outraged might give your time and money to the new fight against Prop. 8. I’m sure it’s needed.
I went and ate a bunch of chicken with Ed tonight and I was really exhausted from eating so much celebration food that I came home and spaced out in front of episodes of Picket Fences on my computer and tried to decompress. I don’t know if this point has been brought up or not, and I’m sure it probably has by this late hour, but I feel like I gotta say something:
It appears that the ban on gay marriage is going to get passed, as well as Prop 2, which as Spiegs put it is basically asking that we give chickens “more legroom”.
What this tells me, California, is that you value the life of a chicken that was breed for your consumption more than you do about equal rights for your fellow man. Uh, hey guys? That’s fucking retarded.
No, I mean. I get it. Animals are cute. When you were voting to pass Prop 2, you were thinking “Oh, yeah. Well, I like animals. Sure!” But it’s about more than that, as is banning gay marriage. Voting no on the ban was not about letting the homos catch up to you and possibly beat you in the race of life, you fucking bigots. It was about preventing permanent restrictions on our rights. If you can’t look outside of yourself to find a reason to care, think about a right that you have been afforded as a citizen of this country being taken away from you because you are a part of any marginalized group. If that’s the kinda thing we’re into, then I want to ban all James Francos from boning any not mes.
Anyway, people are fucking idiots, but it’s OK. We have a black president, I have Sour Patch Kids.
Vegan election party treats »
Happy Election Day, ya’ll!!! It should come as no surprise that all the Vegansaurs are very Pro-Bama, as well as very firmly Yes on 2.
Many of you will be throwing election parties tonight to watch the returns (and hopefully cry like a baby when Obama wins) and I thought I’d give you a little help with your menu.
1. Serve Silk Nog
Silk Nog has made its triumphant return to grocery stores for the holiday season and there is no time to start drinking it like tonight; a well lubricated throat more effectively yells at the television.
2. Blue Food
Jezebel recommended eating blue food in honor of a Democratic victory, which I think is a really cool idea. Here are some ideas: Vegan LunchBox gives us an incredibly easy blueberry pie recipe. Or you can follow the lead of La Vegan Loca and make these gorgeous Obama-themed blueberry cookies. If you don’t have time for that, there’s the wonderful Terra Blue potato chips (anyone want to buy some blue potatoes and try out Laura’s microwaved potato chips? Let us know if you do!). You could also try your hand at veganizing blue mashed potatoes or if you really want to take this theme to the next level, buy some faux bleu cheese, or Bleu Sheese. What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway has a wonderful-looking recipe for an arugula and Bleu Sheese pizza.
3. Get all patriotic
Today is a pretty awesome day to be an American. If you are really, really proud of your country (or want to get ready to be proud of your country when Obama takes it back), have some patriotic treats ready. You can make red, white, and blue cupcakes, or you can make all of the patriotic food listed in this Associated Content article, “How to Make Patriotic Salads and Veggie Finger Foods.” Highlights include: Festive Fourth of July Slaw!—we recommend Wildwood Garlic Aioli or Vegenaise as mayo substitutions—and Stars and Stripes Vinagrette! Patriotism demands exclamation points!!
You could also, you know, celebrate like Real (vegan) America: get a 24-pack of your favorite nonpartisan beer (that means nothing from the Anheuser-Busch company, my friends), a package of Tofurky sausages, a bag of tater tots, and a package of Newman-O’s, and gorge yourselves on junk food and malt liquor.
Here’s to the future!
[Silk Nog photo by vigilant20]
LIBERTE EGALITE POULETS: Yes on Prop. 2! »
Californians who vote no on Prop. 2 deserve the same treatment they’re condemning the pigs, calves, and chickens to.
Do you know how many of us vegans have been working to get this proposition passed, because we care about the way you people treat the animals you eat?
Did you know that the Humane Society had to get it these laws passed by voter mandate because the state legislature is owned by the farming industry, and would never make these kind of humane changes on its own?
Did you know the anti-Prop. 2 campaign is primarily funded by out-of-state companies? If the passage of this proposition would increase out-of-state egg importation, why do you suppose these companies are so invested in preventing it?
The state had to force the USDA and the American Egg Board—your tax dollars at work!—to stop buying anti-Prop. 2 ads in September. The federal government caught in a scheme to illegally influence an election! Why do you suppose that is? Perhaps you can extrapolate; when does the government, particularly the federal government, ever willingly accept stricter regulations, health and humane treatment of animals regardless?
I haven’t bought an egg in over four years. But if you still think of eggs as incredible and edible and all that, you have a responsibility as a conscious person to consider the animal from which those eggs come. All those chickens know in their short lives is pain, misery and fear. Why wouldn’t you take that away, now that you’re given the chance?
“It would cost more,” incidentally, is a lot of nonsense. It will not cost considerably more. It will not put all the independent egg farmers across the state out of business—how many do you suppose aren’t actually connected to massive farming conglomerates, by the way? “It would cost more,” sounds so much more disgusting coming from people who have never seriously considered the cost of eggs before. How patronizing, that you suddenly care about “California’s working families” and their heavy reliance on cheap eggs for their daily protein requirements. Don’t worry, your pals at the corner store and the checkstand and the laundromat are going to be fine, jerks.
I’m excited to be excited about the results of an election tomorrow. Don’t fuck it up.
[photo via www.doolittlefarmyarn.com]
Review: Udupi Palace! »
The first time I went to Udupi Palace, we were a group of eight, and our bill for eight dosas, four (or five) appetizers, and six (or seven) beers was something like $120. That is (hang on, I have to work out the math) $15 per person, for that much food! Incredible. I guess their overhead is lower because they are a vegetarian establishment and do not have to pay for things like the bodies of murdered lambs, which tend to cost more than vegetables and grains. Their dosas are enormous, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and the different fillings are delicious. They have a large selection of vegan tidbits, but look carefully for yogurt sauce, it is a wily foe. The plain coconut chutney is scrumptious, though not very adventurous for the spicy-minded among us. You get two other, spicier chutneys for dipping, so worry not.
That first excursion was on a Tuesday night during its first month of business, and by 8 p.m. the place was packed. At that point they had a few kinks to work out with service; that said, they certainly were generous with the water, which is very smart and considerate, especially of weaklings like me who can’t handle even moderately spicy food.
I had the Udupi special spring dosa, which came with the standard Mysore Masala filling plus spring vegetables ($7.95). It was delicious, and way too much for me to finish at one meal. One of my dining companions got the spinach masala dosa, which made me want to order next time, it was so good. The fried idli and sambar vada were really, really tasty as well.
My gentleman friend and I stopped in for an early dinner last Sunday, four months after my first trip (eating in is saving money!), and we split a Mysore Masala dosa and an idli, which was plenty of food to carry us through until bedtime. It’s still delicious, and your water glass never stays empty.
In sum, Udupi Palace’s menu is quite superior to its neighbor Dosa’s, and significantly less expensive as well. It is the best South Indian food I have had in the city, and I will definitely eat there again. And again and again. Nuts to you, Dosa the restaurant, with your overpriced menu and your pushy waitstaff and your pretensions. Udupi serves the dosa of the overprivileged middle-class, and we will have our meal for $3 cheaper, and we will use that $3 to buy an expensive gourmet coffee, which will make us feel guilty for wasting money we could have saved by drinking coffee at home, so when we arrive at our extremely overpriced apartments that we can afford because of our low-level white-collar jobs, we will use our computers to donate money to causes like the Yes on 2 campaign because by god we are overprivileged jerks who appreciate our ability to buy Indian street food at 500 times its price in India, and we show it by giving some of our wardrobe money to charity! DAMN IT!
[photos via yelp]