On Listeria, Cantaloupe, and Cows: A Rant  »

Rarr! Cantaloupe are scary now. That sucks. Though this one from chrisdonia on Flickr is obviously cute and awesome.

You’ve most likely heard about the whole huge Listeria food-poisoning thing going on, right? If not: Twenty-five people have died and more may still from food poisoning that, it turns out, came from eating cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado that was contaminated with Listeria bacteria (which I love saying and laugh every time I hear, even though Listeria bacteria are nasty little buggers).

This outbreak saga has been dragging on for a couple months now, and because it started in Colorado, I ended up hearing about it pretty early on, before they’d even figured out the cause. At first, all the news stories talked about how Listeria most often shows up in processed meats and cheeses. “Ick!” I thought. “Luckily the vegans are safe.”

THEN it turned out that the deadly stuff was coming from cantaloupe. And that’s when I got mad.

I’d just finished reading the excellent Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, of which he devotes a big chunk to detailing the connection between CAFOs (factory farms) and infectious disease. The gist: We’re all gonna die of the plague because of the horrible diseases that thrive in those hellholes, whether we support them or not.

Thus it was with great confidence that I began proclaiming that the cantaloupe thing was going to trace back to factory farming somehow. Poor plants, taking the fall for what was at heart a systemic problem with the meat industry. Anything that makes people eat less fruit is a national tragedy in my book.

Well, last week the FDA release their first report about their investigation into Jensen Farms.


I was right. Kind of.

Turns out that gross equipment in Jensen’s fruit-packing house helped spread the Listeria. And no one can be quite sure where the bacteria came from. But the FDA’s best theory is that a particular truck that hauled damaged fruit to a cow farm might have brought the bacteria back.

I wish the evidence were clearer-cut. Obviously the cantaloupe farmers messed up, and it’s not all the meat industry’s fault. BUT STILL. I challenge you all to be agents of the cantaloupe’s resurrection. Buy melons when they’re in season! Eat them! Don’t get poisoned—buy from small farmers and wash the outsides! But redeem the poor cantaloupe!

And let’s get rid of factory farms, already.


Peta’s 30th Anniversary Gala: Celebrities winning awards for being naked!  »

We dig much of the actual work that Peta does, but as vegans, it’s disappointing to see an animal-rights group give Humanitarian Awards to celebrities who eat meat, dairy, and eggs, and who wear silk, wool, and leather. It’s like, YAY! You’re a little bit famous! And you don’t wear fur! For now! Here are awards and acclaim and goodie bags for Taking a Stand in the ultra-conservative cold-weather climate of Los Angeles.

It’s all just a bit of a letdown. In the Peta theme of all publicity is good publicity (???), here’s our breakdown of the awards:

Eli Roth (barf) received a Humanitarian Award for posing with an enormous snake to raise awareness of animal cruelty.

(Would this face condone ultra-violent misogyny?)

Christian Serratos (WHO??? oh, she who played “Angela” in Twilight) received a Humanitarian Award for posing naked in the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ad series, and participating in the “Save the Seals” celebrity ad series.

Dave Navarro (Finally! A name we recognize! FOR BEING A PROFESSIONAL CRAZY PERSON. Oh, and for being married to the biggest idiot in recorded history) received a Humanitarian Award for posing naked in an “Ink, Not Mink” ad.

(KD Lang after a bender)

Olivia Munn received a Humanitarian Award for posing naked to protest elephants in the circus.

Joanna Krupa, professional good-looking person NO REALLY WILL SOMEONE TELLS US WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE, received a Humanitarian Award for posing naked in two pro-animal-adoption ads titled “Be an Angel to Animals,” and for posing naked in the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” series.

Non-famous persons Emily McCoy and Emily Lavender/Rose McCoy (WHO?? the awards page says “Emily and Rose McCoy” but the news info page credits “Emily McCoy and Emily Lavender”) received a Humanitarian Award for protesting the Canadian seal hunt at a conference for the Fisheries Council of Canada on Oct. 28, 2009. No, really.

Kelly Osbourne received an award from us for being the strangest-looking skinny person in all the land. You can’t shrink the size of your head, Kelly! 


(What hath Phen-phen wrought?)

Kellan Lutz (WHO?? Oh, who played “Emmett” in Twilight) received a Humanitarian Award for posing with his dog to raise awareness of animal adoption.

Charo (OH HELL YEAH) received a Humanitarian Award for making an anti-bullfighting video.

(What is there to say really? If we look this good/are alive when we’re a hundred, we’ll be rocking this exact same outfit.)

Lea Michele received a Humanitarian Award for posing in an ad to protest carriage-horse abuse in New York City.

Eva Mendes received a Humanitarian Award for posing naked in the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ad series. She’s very pretty, we’ll give her that. 

Anjelica Huston received a Humanitarian Award for her video protesting the use of great apes in the entertainment industry. We cannot make fun as she is the greatest actor of our generation(s) and starred in The Witches and we will love her forever and ever.

Non-famous person Christina Cho received the Nanci Alexander Award for turning her vehicle into a McCruelty-mobile.

Dan Neri received the Bea Arthur Activist Award for his work on the ABC (Animal Birth Control) ad campaign. 

Shirley Manson receives an award from us for stopping making music. GOOD JOB! Also, for having the fiercest hair in the western hemisphere.

(WORK IT, Ginger! Also, you were a total badass T-1000, we’re ascurred!)

And then there’s the usual crazy suspect:
Pamela Anderson(-Lee? -Kid Rock? -Some other rock n’ roll bad-boy/professional weirdo?), Peta’s Queen, looking amazing. We have mad respect for this total lunatic. She is so sexxxy and soooo insaaane that we must bow down. Plus, she has the boobs of a 400-pound woman on a 98-pound frame WORK IT, CRAZY.

(Nice sunglasses!)

AND OF COURSE, Joaquin Phoenix, who was probably in character and ate someone that night.

(Don’t fuck with him, son! He might be playing Richard Ramirez for his next film or some shit!)

[With additional reporting from Laura! All photos from Peta!]

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