Guest post: Queen Esther was vegan! Make some cookies to celebrate!  »

Hey Jews! Did you know that Queen Esther was a total vegan? It’s true, at least according to this article. It’s probably kind of a stretch—she did live like a million years ago—but I’ll stake claim on any historical vegans I can get. Plus, she was a QUEEN. She totally saved all of the Jews from being murdered, according to the story of the Jewish holiday of Purim. Also, based on this totally historically accurate painting on her Wikipedia page, she was SUPER SEXY.

Hot, kingdom-ruling, AND a humanitarian vegan? Score!

In celebration of this fantastic discovery, and since Purim happens this Wednesday, let’s all make vegan hamantaschen! Haman-what?! They’re really delicious buttery sugar cookies, filled with jam and shaped like little three-pointed elf hats. THERE’S NOTHING BAD ABOUT THAT.

Happy vegan Purim!
Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time hiking, reading, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods, and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she is an editor for an environmental and engineering firm.

[photo by Raquelita via Food52]


Guest Post: Your tax money pays for capturing wild horses! That sucks!  »

It’s tax season! Hooray! Unless you owe the government money, in which case, boo!

In honor of this wonderful/horrendous season, I’ll be taking an occasional look at some of the excellent and also awful programs your tax money supports. Doesn’t that sound fantastic/terrible?

Have you heard of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)? It is a section of the Department of the Interior that manages 245 million acres of public land across the country. On about 26 million of these acres live wild horses, which the BLM occasionally rounds up, imprisons, and sells off to private buyers in an effort to “maintain the integrity of the land” on which the horses live, graze, and mate. Those that are not sold are kept in holding pens for the rest of their lives, often separated from their herd and forced to live in captivity. What’s up with that? According to this story on, the BLM claims that there are an “excessive” number of wild horses, and these gathers are necessary to the health of the land for other uses, like recreation, cattle and sheep grazing, and mining and energy companies seeking grazing, water, and mineral rights on the land the horses and burros have roamed for hundreds of years. However, photos from a 2011 gather show cattle ranchers moving in their cows to graze on the very same land from which wild horses were removed only a day earlier.

How exactly is grazing cattle helping to maintain the health of the land, you ask? Shocker of the century: many of the decisions made by the BLM are recommended by an advisory board “largely composed of livestock permittees.” Oh, and there’s also that tiny business of installing a $3 billion dollar, 675-mile pipeline to carry natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon across the herd’s habitat. Wouldn’t want horses getting in the way of THAT.

Worst of all, these gathers are traumatic and dangerous to the horses. Low-flying helicopters frighten the horses into running into traps. Horses have died as a result of the gathers, despite the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which stipulates that “it is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”

An average of 10,600 animals are removed from the land each year at a cost of between $70 and $90 million. Million, people! That’s a pretty good chunk o’ tax money, much of which is delegated for helicopter operators, private land owners and horse sterilization. And according to the BLM’s own estimates, there will be at least twice as many wild horses (57,000) living in holding pens this year than roaming free.

Want to tell the government where they can shove your tax money that you oppose your tax money being used for the capture of wild horses? Visit the Cloud Foundation to find out great ways to take action! And while you’re there, check out these photos of Cloud, the wild horse who inspired this organization! So majestic and awesome!

Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time hiking, reading, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods, and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she is an editor for an environmental and engineering firm.


Guest post: Black bears need your help in Connecticut!   »

Black bears are in trouble in Connecticut! I know what you’re thinking: “There are bears in Connecticut? I thought Connecticut was just full of old rich people sitting around counting their money.” And you’d be RIGHT; that part totally sucks. But we have bears, too! They are awesome! And right now the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has asked the governor to allow permits to some idiots to go out and shoot black bears dead because apparently we have too many now, even though we have had approximately NONE for the past 150 years since they went extinct in the state around 1850. EXTINCT, guys.

The government is basing this assumption on complete hearsay, rather than any actual scientific evidence of the number of bears that currently exist in the state. I think we have too many old rich people in the state and maybe they should provide permits for broke folks like me to—I digress.

Over the past couple decades the black bear population has totally rebounded, because bears are hardcore like that, and now people are all upset: They’re seeing bears more often, and occasionally one gets in someone’s backyard and rummages through their smelly garbage. Look, if you don’t want to see animals in your backyard, don’t have a motherfucking backyard; animals lived there before you and probably don’t give a shit whether you think you own the grass or not. And also, maybe don’t have such smelly garbage, NASTY.

Meat consumption is responsible for more human deaths per year (45,000 on average) than black bears (1 on average), so if you’re really that scared of shit and A=B and A+B=C then maybe stop chowing down on the steaks instead of shooting beautiful harmless bears that are just moseying around. Black bears are like the most docile of all the bears!

They’ve already approved this malarkey in New Jersey, without any scientific evidence of increased bear sightings there. Significant errors were found in the tally of reports, and hunters went all murder-happy and started killing mother bears and cubs and see what happens when you give morons permission to shoot stuff?

This is my drawn-out way of asking you guys to join me in telling the governor to NOT allow black bear hunting in Connecticut. Kids, the bears need our help, and every signature counts, so do me the biggest favor ever and sign my petition. I will love you forever and also I promise I won’t come after you when they issue the rich people hunting permits. Unless you own a pink KitchenAid standing mixer, ‘cause goddamn I really want one. The end. Sign the petition.

Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time hiking, reading, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods, and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she is an editor for an environmental and engineering firm.

[image, “Cub’s first look at the world,” courtesy the North American Bear Center]


Rio: not just another stupid kids’ movie!  »

I just went to see the new animated movie Rio and you guys? Go see the movie! It is so insanely cute! So cute, other things that you once considered cute will now look just averagely cute in comparison. Like, my own kid suddenly looked kind of ragged after we saw the movie and I was like “Dude, you better step up your cute game or I might have to rent your room out to a cuddly little blue pelican who talks like Mark Zuckerberg and does the samba and drinks hot chocolate with a straw.” Whatever, wouldn’t you?

But, there’s more to this review than how damn cute the movie is. Yes, it gets better! I won’t give anything important away, but the basic premise of the movie is that Blu (the Mark Zuckerberg-voiced* bird) is savagely ripped from his beautiful home in the Brazilian rainforest as a little baby and taken to freezing cold, depressing Minnesota to be sold in a pet store. Sorry, Minnesota peeps, I’m sure it is a very lovely state but not for a bird from Brazil. I mean, have you ever been to Brazil? I haven’t either but damn it looks beautiful.

Blu is like the last male of his entire species alive on the planet, which is not really an exaggeration because we just love to destroy birds’ natural habitats, don’t we? So he has to go back to Brazil. When he goes back, all sorts of shenanigans occur. Of course, along the way he meets all kinds of little bird friends and they sing little bird songs because hell, this is a kids movie, and some of them rap. Little rapping birds? ESSENTIAL. In typical Disney-esqe fashion there is an all-encompassing moral which is basically: Hey kids! It may seem cool to have exotic animals as pets, but really? Animals don’t like to be in cages! They have feelings just like us! They want to be free and fly around the rainforest and rap and stuff!

I think this is fantastic. First there was Wall-E, which was all, “Humans are destroying the planet! Stop!” And now the animal rights movement gets a Disney movie too. And I really think movies like Rio can be a great tool to increase awareness about animal rights issues in children. I was even surprised that the movie chose to so bluntly illustrate (pun not intended but, bonus!) the evils of the animal trade, even making a point to show some sad-looking injured birds that were rescued from trappers and being rehabilitated. The viewer really feels strongly for the all of the animal characters in the movie, and wants them to break free of the cages and live out their lives in the wild where they belong and are obviously happiest, and for children this is an incredibly important lesson, creating a basis for rejecting current socially accepted forms of entertainment/animal abuse like the circus

Go see Rio. If you don’t have a kid to bring with you and you feel like a mega-creeper going to kid’s movie, borrow someone else’s! Just make sure you ask permission first.

Full disclosure: I was not compensated in any way by the creators of Rio for this review. But I would totally accept it if offered because I’m broke. Twentieth Century Fox, what up? Call me.

*Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t actually provide the voice of the bird. It’s that kid that played Mark Zuckerberg in the Facebook movie. I think. But whatever, I don’t even know his name but I do know Mark Zuckerberg’s name so that is how I am referring to him because I am efficient like that. [Ed.: it’s Jesse Eisenberg, my total boyfriend.]

Rachel Gary is from Connecticut, where she spends most of her time pretending to be a ninja with her son, hiking, tricking her family into eating delicious vegan baked goods and avoiding doing laundry. As her responsible adult alter ego, she gets paid by a major grocery chain to educate its customers and employees about the benefits of a plant-based diet and how to cook awesome vegan food. IShe is kind of a slacker so she has no website or Twitter account to refer you to. But she will soon, she promises! Maybe!

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