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12/06/2012

After Prop. 37: What does its defeat mean for the food movement?  »

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Apparently I’m on the post-Prop. 37 beat. I don’t even know how I feel about food labeling, you guys! And yet. If it weren’t for food labels, how would we vegans eat? How would anyone with a food allergy get by? It’d be all produce, all the time, and we’d be full of vegetables and miserable (I don’t want to live in a world without Field Roast Italian sausages). Plus, food justice (or whatever) is a vegan issue. Everyone should have access to enough nutritious, delicious food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

The Friedman Sprout, “the student newspaper of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, has a neat article by M.E. Malone on the repercussions of its defeat, and the future of the “food movement” (so uncomfortable with that label).

“I am not sure the strict line between the definitions of GMO technology and non-GMO technology is really the right way to distinguish bad technologies from good technologies,” [Parke Wilde, associate professor at the Friedman School] said. Wilde added that there are legitimate concerns about GMO technologies, including “the control of seed varieties by a single corporation and the flawed [Food and Drug Administration] review of proposed GMO salmon,” that are unrelated to the gene manipulation process.

(Ha ha fuck off, GMO salmon. As if farmed salmon weren’t trouble enough.)

TL;DR: Of course we have a right to know what’s in our food. On the other hand, if we don’t sufficiently understand the technologies used in producing both GMO and non-GMO foods, how can we regulate them? At least we can agree on our hatred of monocultures, right?

[Photo by Nuclear Winter via Flickr]

11/29/2012

Proposition 37 failed, but we can still figure out what’s going on with our produce. Mike Kahn made this three-minute video about Price Lookup Codes (PLUs)—the digits on the stickers on your grocery-store produce—to teach us how to read them and use them to learn how a food was grown.

Bay Area Bites also has some more information on how to identify genetically modified and engineered foods.

My favorite organic food? Pepple’s Donuts, duh.
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[Photo via donut king Josh Levine’s Instagram, which you should follow because DONUTS]

11/06/2012

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]

10/17/2012

2012 election: What’s up with California’s Proposition 37?  »

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Vegansaurus loves voting. It is our right to have it, and our privilege to exercise it. Voting is tops!

That said, actually voting can be terribly confusing, especially here in California, land of the endless ballot propositions! There are always so many, and they are not all as straightforward as 2008’s beloved Prop. 2. This year we’ve got 11, some directly contradicting others ON THE SAME BALLOT, WHY.

KQED’s Calfornia Report recently reported on Prop. 37, “Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling Initiative Statute,” as part of its series on all 11 of California’s 2012 ballot initiatives. Here’s the latest report, by science reporter Amy Standen: 

Prop. 37 is endorsed by our pals at Pepple’s Donuts (check out the signs in the shop!), and the wonderful human beings at Dr. Bronner’s.

On the other hand, Adam of the wonderful Say What, Michael Pollan? blog has a well researched, reasonable, and scathing critique of Prop. 37. He concludes that

… Proposition 37 is bad politics. Dragging ill-informed and uninterested consumers into a dirty political fight and expecting them to make “conscientious” consumer decisions is not the way to spur social progress. And spreading misinformation isn’t going to help that. If Proposition 37 is how the food movement will prove itself, count me out.

For more information on Prop. 37, check out the California Secretary of State’s official guide, and KQED’s ongoing coverage. How do you think you’ll vote? I still have no idea.

[Photo by Nuclear Winter via Flickr]

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