vegansaurus!

08/02/2011

Guest post: Mercy For Animals calls out those jerks at the Milk Board  »

About a week ago, I was working in my lab when one of my fellow scientists started asking me about the articles I’ve been writing about the sexist milk debacle. This scientist is originally from India and is vegetarian. We started discussing the differences in milk products in India versus those found in the United States, and how the milk itself is collected.

I was floored by his comments. It’s well known that cows are considered holy in India, and that they are respected creatures. But my colleague told me that they collect milk from their cows “respectfully” and that the local communities came together and created almost a “milk co-op.” No competition, no harmful conditions, and pretty expensive milk.

I felt stupid explaining the methods widely used in the United States after hearing that. I was embarrassed to explain the concept of veal. I felt rude talking about “rape racks.” I felt mortified explaining all the reasons milk is so cheap in this country.

After hearing all that, my colleague decided that he would not consume dairy any longer. The next day, I saw him sipping a little container of soymilk. Six days later, he told me he was still sticking with it, and asked about non-dairy ice cream options. My favorite part about this story is that it just took the truth. He listened, he understood, and that was it.

Mercy for Animals (MFA) decided to create a vegan spin on the sexist milk ads that we’ve been vomiting over for the last few weeks. The MFA ads show ladies holding blood-splattered milk cartons (which instantly reminded me of this ad for Dexter), stating “PMS? No, I’m livid with milk industry for abusing and killing cows.”

The ads are meant to “set the record straight about the milk industry’s true relationship with the female reproductive system,” according to an MFA blog post. The ads will run in Ms. magazine, the feminist magazine that headed up the change.org campaign that helped get the original milk ads removed.

A few weeks ago, the Milk Board responded to the criticism of their idiotic ad campaign by taking down their website everythingidoiswrong.org and replacing it with gotdiscussion.org, which displays carefully selected comments from their supporters and critics. Despite the unrelenting voice of many animal rights organizations, as well as individuals that commented on the Milk Board’s Facebook debate, the new website lacks representation of such comments. So, it should be interesting to see how the Milk Board responds to the new Mercy for Animals campaign. We can only hope they won’t take legal action like they did when PETA did essentially the same exact thing.

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She’ll gross you out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

07/27/2011

Guest post: the Milk Board is still rude  »

Two weeks ago, the Milk Board launched an incredibly sexist ad campaign claiming that chugging a buttload of milk will cure PMS woes, both for the ladies experiencing the symptoms, and for their heteronormative male partners. These claims were based on a research article published in 1998, which the Milk Board called a “recent study.”

In those short two weeks, the Milk Board learned that PMS isn’t the only thing that can make women irritable and blood-hungry—being insulted and attacked makes us that way too! (but, apparently we’re that way all the time, right? Oh wait…). In response to all the negative media coverage of the campaign, the Milk Board changed strides. The previous everythingidoiswrong.org has been changed to gotdiscussion.org (oh, witty!) as they attempt to clean up their mess. They also issued on of the weakest apologies in the history of corporate fuckups:

The sincerest part is the sentence that says, “Others thought it was funny and educational.” Let’s not forget that this is the same Milk Board that told us “happy cows come from California.” They tried to sue PETA in 2007, too.

Don’t be fooled, though. This group of sexists still thinks they deserve a pat on the back and a cookie for their irrational campaign. Our buddy Steve James told the New York Times, “Taking down everythingidoiswrong.org is not a failure in any way. I don’t see it as ending it or pulling the plug. We accomplished what we set out to accomplish.”

The Milk Board is also encouraging people to “join the discussion” on their Facebook page (which you have to “like” before you can participate). If you are hungry for some mindless arguing and repetitive banter that insists that “milking cows relieves the pain in their swollen utters”, and “Some girls get cranky when they’re on their periods. Some don’t,” then by all means, join in!

Also, this is some bullshit:

There’s really nothing I love more than watching a pair of harpies throw floppy slices of cheese at each other. [Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]

If you’d like to voice your concern about the Milk Board’s consistent attempts to encourage sexist stereotypes and mask the real issues within the milk industry, feel free to contact Jocilyn Preskar, director of public affairs for the California Department of Food & Agriculture at (916) 654.0317. While Steve James’ phone number and email address are conveniently missing from the internet, his LinkedIn account is fully available!

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She grosses people out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

07/13/2011

Hey ladies, the Milk Board thinks you’re a bitch!  »

Yesterday was a rare occasion: I ventured away from my home in the East Bay to take a leisurely stroll through San Francisco with my partner. The sun was out; no one had mindlessly shoved past me on the sidewalk. I naively thought that nothing could ruin this perfect day.

Then the dairy industry swooped in and took a giant, sexist shit on my day with their new ad campaign that is plastered all over the city.

As if “Got Milk” ads and posters weren’t disgusting enough with their trademark milk mustache, the Milk Board has decided to also explain that women are horrible, moody and unreasonable because of our menstrual cycles. To broadcast their views, they’ve created the Everything I Do is Wrong campaign, claiming that milk can ease symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), based on a “recent” (1998) study. This isn’t the first time they’ve cited such studies and used depictions of panicked, fearful and powerless men frantically purchasing milk for their untamable female partners.

[can’t see the video? watch it on Vegansaurus.com]

Let’s look at all the things that are obviously wrong with this campaign:

  1. The Milk Board doesn’t say how much milk ladies would have to consume to have an effect on their PMS symptoms. According to the 1998 study, women would have to drink at least four glasses of milk per day, every day, to show some ease of PMS symptoms (fatigue and insomnia were not affected). On top of that, noticeable changes wouldn’t even begin until after three months of your daily milky medicine.
  2. According to the World Health Organization, the amount of calcium absorbed into your system decreases the more of it you consume.
  3. Milk and dairy products aren’t the only available sources of calcium, but are the unhealthiest! Leafy greens, soy, grains, beans and some fruits are incredibly high in calcium. In order to meet the daily recommendation, you’d only need to consume one cup of tofu, or two cups of cooked spinach, or a feast of figs! And don’t even get me started on quinoa and kale.
  4. Oh, Milk Board? None of the above foods have cholesterol or the saturated fats that are associated with milk! Actually, while I’m at it, let’s also mention that consuming excess fats is actually bad for your menstrual cycle, too. Speaking of excess crap, the “Got Milk?” website claims that drinking milk will make you prettier and “less frumpy.”
  5. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Milk Board Executive Director Steve James says that they went into the ad campaign with “a little trepidation” because PMS is a “sensitive subject.” Other members of the Milk Board claim that the ads are “tasteful,” “fun,” and “effective.” Sure, effective in pissing us off and insulting our intelligence! Hey dudes, maybe it’s a sensitive subject because the media continues to play on blatantly sexist stereotypes that all women are blood-hungry bitches during their periods?

James’ interview ends on a high note: “We did it in the past, but the women just didn’t drink enough milk. If they’d only drink enough, we wouldn’t come back.” Instead of encouraging women to exercise regularly, drink enough water, and eat a balanced diet, the Milk Board wants ladies to consume 1,460 glasses of cholesterol-loaded and cruelty-derived milk a year with the weak promise that it might help you not be a huge bitch all the time, and that it will save your heterosexual relationship from the mighty curse of monthly menstruation.

Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She grosses people out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter.

04/21/2011

Clearing the MeatPhotoGate air!   »

Disclaimer: I am a columnist and the editor-at-large for VegNews magazine. I obviously have ties to the magazine and I am proud of my relationship with them. That said, I am not in the office for day-to-day decisions, and other than emailing my advice on how I thought this whole thing should be dealt with, I haven’t talked to them about it. Because I have ties with VegNews, I didn’t want to comment on the situation unless I could be 100 percent honest about my feelings, and I feel I can be now. Yay for expressing feelings! (I say that because I’m a woman.)

When the whole thing surfaced, I have to admit, I was taken aback. I knew that VegNews used stock photos (I mean, I have eyes) and honestly, I didn’t think it was a huge deal. I thought it was industry standard, and dismissed it as that. Bigger things to tackle, etc. Reading a lot of the insightful and brilliant comments on Megan’s post (our readers are the BEST. Even when you’re mad at us, I still love you for being all opinionated and sassy and on it!) and all over the internet, I realize now that I was wrong about the use of stock photos. Although I sympathized with VegNews' initial response, I knew when I read it that it wasn't the apology and commitment to change that people needed to hear. I think it’s understandable that VegNews responded the way they did because when you’re the target of an exposé!!!-style post like that, your natural inclination is to defend yourself. They’re human, just like all of us. I know I’ve said stuff here on Vegansaurus that was not right, and been called out, and had to eat shit and promise to be and do better.

But I’m telling you, I did not come around immediately! As it stands now, I’m super-stoked about their sincere apology and I’m ready to move on with them to become an even better and radder magazine. There are incredible, passionate people who work at VegNews—some of the best vegans (and people!) I know—and I would honestly say that even if I didn’t have ties. Hell, I wouldn’t be involved with them if I didn’t think that! Life is too short to half-ass it, know what I’m sayin’?? So, now you know what’s up with me, because my opinions are very important and that’s why I blog! Also, for the occasional free sample of candy. That is also why I blog!

But before I can move on, there are a few things I would like to clear up as a self-appointed MeatGate Scandal Expert (you love it) (maybe). A lot of information and misinformation has been going around and it’s hard to know who to listen to. Different authorities in the vegan community took different stances and I think that’s good and everyone should have their say. Now normally, your girl (that’s me!) doesn’t like to talk smack on other vegans—ex-vegans, bring it on! but vegans, not so much. But when someone is exploiting a situation and spreading misinformation, I gotta start flapping my gums. That’s why I want to address Erik Marcus’ whole reaction over on Vegan.com. I was disappointed and a little freaked out by how he handled things. He’s posted 10 times on this issue. For real, 10 TIMES. AS OF YET. To put this in perspective: Quarrygirl, the blog that “broke” the story, posted TWICE. Marcus? TEN TIMES. I mean, I guess it’s a break from his incessant blogging and reblogging of Jamie “save America’s fat kids via organic skinless chicken breasts!” Oliver and Mark “not vegan but okay we love him too” Bittman, but jeezus louiseus!

I’d like to respond to a few of the things he said. As someone who is involved with VegNews, I know some things the general public does not (read: I’m fancy), and so I thought it would be helpful to clear up some of Marcus’ not quite-truths and frankly kinda-crazy statements. Fun! Here goes:


In the beginning
, Marcus was dropping bombs like:

I should offer some analysis: with the exception of the New Yorker, the Economist, and a handful of other periodicals, most magazines suck. 

That should read, “With the exception of a handful of white-male-dominated magazines that I read when Mark Bittman tweets about them, all magazines suck, because I am an expert on magazines!” Did a magazine kill his mom? Really, it’s just bizarre and snobbish.

More wisdom:

It’s the same kind of sociopathic know-you’re-gonna-get-caught-but-do-it-anyway behavior you would expect from a Ted Haggard, a Larry Craig, or a Bernie Madoff.

He just compared VegNews to BERNIE MADOFF. I’m sorry, WHAT? No, they are still a vegan magazine with a dedicated vegan staff, who are doing a lot for the cause. They are not sociopaths swindling people out of their life savings. Some perspective, please.

But enough about VegNews. Niche lifestyle magazines are for chumps who still think it’s the 1990s. They’re filled with ads for overpriced supplements and yuppie doohickeys, and the editorial content is typically assembled by short-timers who don’t give a shit.

Just a cheap, weird blow. Niche lifestyle magazines are actually doing pretty OK right now, and I’d love to know where he gets his intelligence. And this is rich: FILLED WITH ADS for OVERPRICED SUPPLEMENTS. All Vegan.com does is push supplements so Marcus can make money off the site! It’s called RUNNING A BUSINESS. As for the bit about “short-timers who don’t give a shit”, many of the contributors to VegNews are people Marcus links to all the time, including Mat Thomas and Mark Hawthorne. It’s clear to me he hasn’t read the magazine in a long time (maybe ever?). He later states that VegNews doesn’t pay its writers, and I know that to be untrue. I feel like he’s been holding onto some grudge toward VegNews for eons and saw this as the time to unleash his bottled up anger. Kinda like when you have all these things you want to say to your mom and then one day you just burn her house down? Kinda like that. And what really sucks about the whole thing is many of his posts could have just been sent to the editors at VegNews. As he was on the advisory board, he could have advised them a bit instead of posting 10 times. There’s something to be said for getting two sides to a story, too.

VegNews has always had the chance to leverage strong editorial judgment to bring you the very best of the vegan world, but they consistently squander that opportunity and instead give you lowest-common denominator crap like wedding issues, celebrity fluff, and popularity contest awards.

Again, he obviously hasn’t read VegNews in awhile (or ever), because they have some of the strongest, hardest-hitting reporting on vegan issues out there! Just a few that come to mind are Mark Hawthorne’s excellent “Injustice for All” piece on the human cost of factory farming, Marla Rose’s plastics exposé, Mat Thomas’ piece on food recalls, and “The Price of Free Speech” by Will Potter. Yeah, total fluff. Marcus also gripes about how their content isn’t available for free online. Again, they’re a business, and never claimed otherwise! If he’s as concerned about the trees as he says he is, they offer a tree-free edition. Also, they provide updated blog posts on their website every day. Honestly, about as many as Marcus does, with the added bonus of no begging-for-money posts. I get it, I make a little money off of Vegansaurus (roughly  25 cents a post, no joke) but I never attacked anyone else for trying to earn a living. Plus, he gripes about their celebrity coverage and writes about Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman on the regular! I mean, so do we but we love that that shit and don’t claim otherwise! Methinks he’s upset he never won any of the popularity contests. :(

After VegNews issued an apology [pdf]Marcus wrote:

A post-mortem on this mess and its favorable conclusion: QuarryGirl and I—as well as everyone else pushing VegNews to do the right thing—got a lot of criticism for our efforts this week. 

Uh, dude. Don’t count yourself in with Quarrygirl. They had the balls to BREAK the story and do not have a relationship with VegNews. Up until the day of the scandal, Marcus was on VegNews' advisory board. He needs to stop taking credit for something he didn’t do. I also enjoy that he refers to Quarrygirl as she, when it was Mr. Meaner, another writer on the site, who broke the story. It’s a website, dude, it’s not a “she.” I mean, if Marcus thinks he’s in the trenches with QG doing god’s work, he should at least come correct. Another difference between Quarrygirl and Vegan.com? Quarrygirl allows comments, whereas Vegan.com does not. Ironic that he should run his mouth about VegNews' commenting policy and not leave himself open to deal with public response. Uh, I guess you can comment on his Facebook page if you have an account and want to give him more “likes.”

It’s clear to me that Marcus has a bone to pick with the publication for whatever reason. Maybe it didn’t want to go to the prom with him? Tears!

I totally understand the need for everyone to talk about this publicly and to sort out their feelings. People need to be heard, changes needed to be made, and ultimately, it’ll make VegNews and the vegan community even stronger. And that’s exciting! Let’s take veganism to the Next Level, and I know VegNews will be there making the movement look pretty and smart. Now that this thing has been done to death,* I’m excited to put my energy into pushing forward the movement, too!** Of course, I had to get a word in on all this shiz because DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS FOR ME TO KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT!? I swear, I developed hemorrhoids from the strain. LAURA! GROSS! What? You wanted to know how I feel, and now you know! Now, who wants to get drunk and talk about kittens? Holler at your girl!

*Those of you who asked for my contribution, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. You know I’m one wordy bitch with THINGS! to SAY! Did someone say something about getting drunk? Because YES PLEASE.

**Like, check out these vegan geniuses who are already launching a vegan stock photo site! It’s the same geniuses behind Food for Lovers vegan queso, that Texas-style cheesy wonder food we love! Here’s to vegans coming up with solutions and making that shit happen. To you, I raise my plate of MEGA NACHOS and my Tofutti Cutie (breakfast!) because you’re rad!

Epilogue to this long-ass post because I know you’d like to hear more from me: Marcus is still at it! Just today, Marcus blogged about Nikki Bennoit getting arrested for leafletting at a community college and then goes on to basically bag on community colleges for being less than “real” colleges. Yuck. Way to make all vegans look like snob elitist jerks.

04/11/2011

Natalie Portman, please stop talking about your diet!  »

Because I am an asshole who hates myself, I continue to follow the story of Natalie Portman’s ever-changing veganity. I mean, until today. Today I cry, “uncle!” You win, Portman. I just can’t care anymore. That is, AFTER THIS LITTLE BIT OF RANTY BUSINESS.

My tale of “is she or isn’t she?” woe started a couple years ago, and was finally brought to resolution when she announced on HuffPo that she was FOR SURE 100 percent VEGAN. But all good things must come to an end, and so in January Vogue* Portman was all, “I’m vegan when dining out and vegetarian at home!” (Because that makes sense!) AND THEN, she apparently cooked her fiance a whole dead chicken or something (this was allegedly in People magazine, but I never saw it and can’t find anything on the internet because I don’t really feel like trying today) and NOW THIS.

Her pregnant body spoke to her (it’s a miracle!) and was all, “Eat eggs and helllllllla cookies!” and she was all, “OK, body!” It’s especially obnoxious because there are a million places to get vegan cookies in Los Angeles. Maybe she just needed to holler at quarrygirl? She’d hook her up with a million vegan cookies, and they’d be the best motherflipping cookies ever! I can’t speak to the egg thing because they gross me out, but unless she’s cracking them open and sucking them down raw, there are good vegan subs for pretty much every eggy thing you could desire. From tofu scrambles to custards, vegan chefs got your back! As far as resources for a healthy vegan pregnancy, there are about a billion and you know if ANYONE can access them, it’s Natalie “I HAVE ALL THE RESOURCES” Portman!

Aside from thinking her reasoning is bullshit, I just kinda wish she’d shut the fuck up about it. It’s like, I don’t really give a shit if Natalie Portman eats bloody steaks 24/7, I just don’t want her to broadcast it to the world. Obviously people look up to and emulate her because she’s famous and that’s how our shit culture works, and if the egregious abuse and murder of animals used for food upsets her to the extent she claims it does, why talk about anything but veganism when speaking publicly? Or if that’s not an option: JUST SAY NOTHING.

I get it, she needs some fucking cookies and vegan cookies are slightly harder to find than ones made with eggs, so she’s eating egg cookies. I say, eat all of the egg cookies, Natalie Portman. In fact, I think you’d look amazing as a fellow fatty, BUT PLEASE JUST STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. People look up to you; help educate them about the atrocity of animal agriculture instead of your own fluctuating diet. Use your platform for good. I know you get it and you care, and you have the opportunity to inform millions on how fucked it all is. I know it’s not right and it’s not fair and you didn’t ask for this responsibility, but you have a huge platform and it’s gross to me if you use it for anything but talking about how disgusting and disturbing slaughterhouses and factory farms are and how amazing vegan food is. And if you can’t do that, the least you could do is not talk about it at all.

*OMG, that whole article is soooooo amaaaazing and hilarious. One of her friends basically says that everyone is born with the face they deserve, and that’s why Portman is so beautiful! Um, yes, those kids born with cleft palettes are obviously total assholes. SO AMAZING.

01/28/2011

Shut up, NPR: “Why Bacon Is A Gateway To Meat For Vegetarians”  »

NPR has gone totally punch-in-the-faceable with its article exploring the science behind bacon’s mass appeal, particularly to people who don’t eat meat.

Come on, Eliza Barclay: this trend piece is already three years old, people who rescind on their commitment not to eat animals aren’t exemplary of the veg community, and not all humanity is in love with bacon, anyway. Me, I didn’t like it even as an omnivore, and when I was an omnivore, I declined no meats, however foreign and terrifying. Bacon never did it for me, and I am not the only one.

I can’t believe it’s 2011 and the media are still acting like bacon is the be-all, end-all of foods. “We even talked to vegetarians about this, and one said, ‘I have long thought if for some reason I ever started eating meat again, I would start with bacon.’” Wikipedia doesn’t accept one anonymous source as legit proof for a claim, and omitting the specific number of vegetarians you “talked to about this” is pretty telling—even a toothpaste will tell you how many dentists recommend it.

This article is unimaginative, obnoxious, and misspells the name of the author of Vegetarianism: Movement or Moment—how are you gonna use Donna Maurer’s Howard Lyman-recommended book to help work your dumbass angle and then not even bother to get her name right? Fucking FAIL on all counts, NPR.

01/21/2011

The “Why I Stopped Being a Vegetarian” article in The Guardian: Lady, you’re an IDIOT.  »

I’m not going to even dignify this with a real response because goddamn, what a fucking idiot. I will simply copy and paste our rebuttal to the Mother Jones piece that we published earlier this month because it pretty much sums up how pathetic this woman is:

 The Guardian published an interview with Jenna Woginrich, a former vegetarian who started raising and killing animals so she could justify eating them. Woginrich was vegetarian until, she says, she realized that: 

One way to make sure the animals I ate lived a happy, respectable life was to raise them myself. I would learn to butcher a free-range chicken, raise a pig without antibiotics and rear lambs on green hillside pastures. I would come back to meat eating, and I would do it because of my love for animals.

She actually wrote that, that the way to love something is to kill it and eat it. She got waaaaaay into “sustainable” meat and thought, Oh, snap! I better start a farm where I raise and kill animals because that’s the way to teach everyone about sustainable dining—SLOW FOOD FOREVA! She’s obviously not the brightest bulb, but there are thousands of dumb-ass Slow Foodies who think the way to feed the world is through reducing meat consumption, and when it comes to their own diets there’s not a veg item in sight. You see, they mean “reducing the meat consumption for everyone else.” Lead by example? That’s asinine!

It’s like the problem with Michael Pollan’s elitism: these Slow Food dummies are so intent on showing the world that there’s “sustainable meat” (a whopping fewer-than-1 percent of it!) that they ignore the much larger, more important lesson: WE ALL NEED TO EAT LESS MEAT. Well, not us vegans, but you know, the rest of you fuckers. The constant message the world needs to hear from the Slow Food movement is EAT LESS MEAT. Then, if they want to get into where the meat that people “should” eat comes from, fine. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. Global meat consumption has increased 500 percent since 1950 and people who care about sustainable dining should (one more time with feeling): EAT FEWER DEAD ANIMALS.

Jenna Woginrich, you ma’am, are a straight-up nincompoop. You’re doing the exact opposite of what you think you’re doing and you’re being so ridiculously vocal about it that it’s hurting the cause at an even larger scale. Just go hide your shameful face in a corner while you butcher the pigs who grew to trust you, and then sell their carcasses to extremely rich people so you can all feel better about eating dead animals. I hope all her friends read that and are running in the other direction. You know what they say: lay down with Jenna tonight and you’re gonna end up in her stir-fry tomorrow! Way to rock the system! I know Slow Food people are our supposedly vegan “allies,” but they could be less hypocritical about animal-eating issues.

And just because I love it so much and I need something to counteract the negativity of this piece, here is a picture of BABY OWL cuddling a STUFFED OWL TOY. What?! I can’t even directly look at this picture because my heart will explode IT IS TOO MUCH.
[photo via Ladyxo]

11/04/2010

So necessary: Stella McCartney’s cashmere jumper for baby  »

Stella McCartney gets on my last goddamn nerve with her vegetarian BS. I’m glad she doesn’t use leather but can she cool it with the wool already? For fuck’s sake! I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was to see this cashmere number in her new children’s clothing collection. I know, the tiny model is hella cute, but let’s get real: an $88 US cashmere onesie? OBNOXIOUS. It’s like, “How to raise a d-bag, 101.” Can I get a witness?!

For good measure, here’s a little cashmere crash-course:

Cashmere is made from the coats of cashmere goats. When you buy a ‘beautiful’ cashmere garment, know that you have supported the killing of several goats that weren’t quite beautiful enough. Cashmere goats are harshly judged and those with ‘defects’ in their coats are typically killed before reaching two years of age. Industry experts estimate that farmers kill 50 to 80 per cent of the young goats whose coats do not meet standards.—Global Action Network

Cashmere goats are raised in crowded filthy stalls [and] sheared when they need their wool coats the most, in the winter. Exposed to the cold, these goats are more susceptible to illnesses. Ear-notched, de-horned and castrated without anesthesia, they are sold for meat after their first fiber harvest. With the depressed global economy, there is a glut of cashmere wool on the market so now many herds are simply butchered rather than used for their wool.—Animal Protection League of New Jersey

Adorably, if you buy the Stella for Kids “Leo sweatshirt” for a mere $36 US, the company will donate a whole £1 GB to Meat Free Monday, Ltd. That’s $1.61 US, or 4.5 percent! Less than sales tax, even. But don’t worry, Leo is made from organic cotton. Better than cashmere, amirite? Hey, at least no one purposely slaughtered a goat for your kid’s sweater!

Here we go again: PETA expands its definition of bestiality!  »

Thanks, PETA, for writing this garbage. And thanks, HuffPo, for publishing it. You didn’t pay ol’ V.P. for Policy Bruce Friedrich to publish this, did you? Please say no. Because if you did pay for it, the written word has no monetary value anymore and I am giving up and starting my career as a driver for a public transit agency. Any public transit agency.

Look, Peta, beginning your “All of this is bestiality” attack by using the Webster’s definition marks your position as weak. You know who starts their theses with the definition of a keyword? Grade-schoolers. Already you’ve lost some respect from your readers capable of making mature arguments—i.e., ages 12 and up.

Everyone with a soul would agree that an individual who “repeatedly jam[s] his finger into a turkey’s vagina” is a person whose relationships with animals and sexuality are deeply damaged, and should not work anywhere near animals. However, not everyone with a soul would agree that an individual who “masturbate[s pigs] to collect their semen” in order to artificially inseminate a sow with it has deeply damaged relationships with sexuality and animals. Ohhhh, you say, why is it illegal when someone touches a pig’s penis for sexytimes but legal when someone does it for future pig creation? That “glaring contradiction…just doesn’t add up”!

Duh, Peta. Duh, there’s a difference. It’s called “intent.” It’s called “sexual gratification of the abuser.” It’s called “A bestialist has sexual feelings toward the animal, or wants to act out sexual fantasies with the animal.” Farmers whose turkeys are too grotesquely gigantic to mate naturally and require human intervention generally do not look for or obtain sexual gratification from this work.

If you want people to take you seriously, Peta, try writing seriously instead of sensationally. It is fucking disgusting, artificially inseminating “livestock,” but calling it bestiality, really? Physical abuse of animals for the sexual gratification of the abuser is different than physical abuse of animals to aid in the reproductive process. In a Venn Diagram, there’d be overlap, but they are separate issues, and conflating them doesn’t help make your point. Maybe farmers might consider artificial insemination animal abuse, maybe possibly, but no way will they agree that they engage in bestiality.

Saying something like that lowers you to the level of the terrible assholes who brandish those gruesome signs in front of “family planning” clinics, all “YOU ARE MURDERING YOUR CHILD LOOK UPON THE HORROR OF AN ABORTION BABY-KILLER.” When you immediately take an extreme position, you lose the ear of any of the middle-grounders who might have listened to you, had you said something less insane. The President isn’t a socialist, and all farmers aren’t animal-fuckers.

Of course these practices are horrifying: the physical abuse farm animals are forced to endure is a major reason why we don’t eat animals. I am not defending it. Thanks for putting me in this position, Peta; I love being on the side of Big Ag and meat-eating! But for sweet sensibility’s sake, omnivores are not “participating” in “having sex with animals.” They are definitely supporting a fucked up, inhuman system! Just not a system that condones bestiality.

Now, please: Shut up, Peta.

10/04/2010

Sharks of Kuwait, sharks of D.C.  »

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) spent the second-to-last day of the Senate before its “autumn recess” complaining about Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) attempt to pass, among other animal protection legislation,* S. 850, the Shark Conservation Act. This is the Senate’s version of H.R. 81, which passed the House in March 2009; both bills would “prohibit removal any of the fins of a shark (including the tail) and discarding the shark carcass at sea,” and make even possessing shark fins unattached to shark bodies illegal. This is good stuff! But could Sen. Dr. Tom “rampant lesbianism” Coburn allow the Senate to save hundreds of thousands of sharks? What are you, new? Apparently the bill has “been proffered for special interest groups,” but not special interest groups that give Tom Coburn money, so it’s not worth his precious time.

All over the world, actually, sharks are being slaughtered at an obscene rate. In this episode of Witness, Al Jazeera’s documentary show, a small crew chums the waters of the Arabian Gulf off Kuwait looking for sharks. It’s narrated and filmed in an almost emotionless manner, but some of the scenes are heart-wrenching. Shark embryos are said to be a source of virility, so even though adult sharks aren’t usually eaten, the unborn babies are. It’s 22 minutes long, and completely astonishing. As one of the researchers says, anyone can go to South Africa and see a white shark, but who even knows to go to Kuwait? Definitely watch it in full screen.


[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com]

For further information on international work to protect sharks, visit the Shark Alliance, or the Pew Charitable Trusts Shark Conservation campaign.

*The other legislation ol’ Harry Reid was looking to get passed was “the Crane Conservation Act, marine mammals rescue assistance legislation, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act, and the Southern Sea Otter Recovery and Research Act.” Man, fuck that Tom Coburn. Fuck him right in the ear.

Update: Let’s not forget that Sen. Coburn has also placed holds on legislation that would give $1 billion to Haiti; make settlements worth $3.4 billion with Native Americans and black farmers; allow the government to purchase land to build a National Women’s History Museum; give aid to victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda; provide financial aid and training to caregivers of disabled veterans, investigate “unsolved Civil Rights-era crimes from before 1970”; help prevent veterans from committing suicide; and also, the Genetic Information Non-Disclosure Act. Why? Who knows? Maybe Jesus told him to be a hateful human being with no compassion whatsoever! Fuck that guy in both ears.

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