Working at a slaughterhouse is 100 percent horrific  »

Hey, I want to depress you, so let’s learn about slaughterhouses. Avi Solomon at BoingBoing has a big, interesting interview with professor Timothy Pachirat, who worked undercover at a Nebraska slaughterhouse for five months, and published a book about his experiences in November. Surprise, it’s a nightmare! But it’s a nightmare that illustrations lots of modern horrors:

Avi: Why did you choose to go undercover in a slaughterhouse?

Timothy: I wanted to understand how massive processes of violence become normalized in modern society, and I wanted to do so from the perspective of those who work in the slaughterhouse. My hunch was that close attention to how the work of industrialized killing is performed might illuminate not only how the realities of industrialized animal slaughter are made tolerable, but also the way distance and concealment operate in analogous social processes: war executed by volunteer armies; the subcontracting of organized terror to mercenaries; and the violence underlying the manufacturing of thousands of items and components we make contact with in our everyday lives.

Go read the entire thing, it’s intense, and fascinating. Modern life is rubbish.


Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

You guys, I was wrong about only my pride being hurt in my fall down the stairs the other week. Turns out my body lulled me into a false sense of security with this whole “you only twisted your ankle” bit, and then threw me a curveball by taking my back out again. Honestly, I do not know how long I am going to survive, considering how often I’m falling down stairs, having my feet run over by shopping carts, and laying around watching Pawn Stars in an ibuprofen haze (600 mg! Holla!). Actually, the last part is pretty OK, considering that I could be doing much worse TV-wise. I’ve also been swearing a lot more now that scientific studies are telling me that it has a numbing effect and am enjoying flashing the webpages that informed me of this at Allen every time that he informs me that referring to things as “goddamn dinner, fuckers!” instead of saying “I’m hungry” is “not very nice.”

Speaking of Allen, we had our third anniversary last week. Trust me, no one is more surprised that he hasn’t yet murdered me and left me at the bottom of a lake somewhere than me. Instead, he actually bought me a new pair of professional shoes (sensible!) and took me out to dinner at Millennium (delicious!). I hadn’t eaten at Millennium since about 2005 because I am a bigger fan of shiny electronics than food, but goddamn (stop telling me not to swear, mom! It’s numbing my pain!), you guys, it was amazing, and I have the least refined palate in history! The best part of the dinner (besides spending time with my sweet babboo), was our server, Elizabeth, with whom I share an allergy to Codeine, and the table behind us that was made up of four middle-aged men talking about show tunes and bitchy out-of-town guests. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to turn around and screech “OH MY GOD! I ALSO LOVE THAT RECORDING OF FOLLIES!” at them, but making sure that I was not the only one having a good time really sobered me up. God, I hate being in a stable and responsible relationship.

Here’s something else that sobered me up: The comments that I got two weeks ago that suggested that the cow in the “jumping cow” video may have not been unhappy. I have to admit, my first thought was also “man, this video is cute” but changed to “WTF!” the second I saw the riding crop. I see a lot of these kinds of videos, though, and so I thought that this week we could all play a game: Cute, or OFFENSIVE and WRONG.

Our subject is the now-infamous baby-penguin-getting-tickled video. This video is adorable because the penguin seems fairly happy wandering around being cute, but here are my questions: Is it okay to tickle a baby penguin? And does the fact that this penguin is at a zoo cancel out any cuteness inherent to the act of a penguin freaking out by the affection they are receiving? On one hand, sure, penguins need love, but on the other, I see the tag on the penguin’s wing. Seriously? We couldn’t not tag and cage a penguin? Is it really necessary to do that for our amusement? Because here’s my issue: There is no reason for zoos other than to show us animals for amusement at the cost of the animals’ freedom. Therefore, is looking at these cute videos and hoping for more of them morally and/or ethically wrong? I honestly don’t have an answer for that and would love to gear your thoughts. NOW BACK TO THE OUTRAGE!

You know what I’m outraged about today? Butchering. It’s not enough that we have to deal with this whole “happy meat” and “humanely raised and butchered animals” myth (pro-tip: If an animal is butchered for food, it is not humane and they are not happy), but now there is this whole new “woe is me, the Bay Area only has one humane slaughterhouse left. Seriously? Animals are getting killed and your one concern is that we can’t “eat local”? You know what we can eat local? Fruits and vegetable and grains! We can make some delicious food out of that!

I guarantee that if you choose to click on the link and read the article, you will be sure that you are reading something from The Onion. What really does it for me is the fond memories that people have of slaughtering animals. You know what I have fond memories of? Going to Disneyland! Who in their right mind not only has fond memories of a hog-slaughter, but then decides to actually talk about it to the press? That is not even a thing! Just a quick reminder: Kissing your boyfriend on Space Mountain is a fond memory that you can tell your grandchildren about. Watching a hog defecate as its throat is slit, pumping geysers of blood into the air, should never be considered a fond memory.*

You know what, though? You don’t even need to have fond memories about butchering when you can take part at a Butcher Party. What continues to be wrong with people? Who decided that this was a good idea? The article mentions that one of the events featured a real gallows where dead animals hung by their necks and manipulated goat heads greeted the patrons! Delightful! Who needs a garden party or a barbecue when you can rent out a butcher to show you how to best desecrate a corpse! Way to go, humanity! Each week I think we can’t get any lower and each week you say “You know, Mark, there’s this thing on the internet…”

That’s it for this week! Send me links for next week and have a butcher-free Wednesday!

*Yes, this image is taken directly from Carrie.


Meat fights, meat deaths, milk pants, murder and MORE in today’s link-o-rama!  »

It’s funny when gross people things affect animals! Especially when the animals behave in a manner that reminds people of themselves! HA HA HA. [Image from the Daily Telegraph]

Fun-times vegan-related events!
Anyone going to the Maker Faire this weekend? It runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the San Mateo County Event Center, and it looks intense. Tickets cost $25 per day but probably it’s worth it for the food events alone—classes on kimchi, spicy pickles, tofu, hooch, and “growing sprouts and baby greens with and without soil.” Skip the bacon, butchery and butter classes and make it a super-productive vegan weekend.

Have you made reservations for Millennium’s Southern Comfort Dinner? It’s on Monday, what is wrong with you? Anyway, there are other fancy/fun/delicious events happening at Millennium soon if you miss this.

Ultra-veg/etari/an(?) spokesdude Paul McCartney will play at AT&T Park on July 10, tickets for which will go on sale on Monday, May 24. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

News items of varying degrees of interest!
"Famous" "person" Bethenny of The Real Housewives of New York, official naked lady for PETA, has an entire "vegetarian" recipes section on her website. I don’t believe she eats, personally, but it’s fun to pretend she cares about anything besides her “personal brand,” right?

Danger of an E. coli outbreak caused the recall of 53,000 pounds of ground beef this week. Whoops, we have no regard for animal or human safety! And yet nearly 74 percent of federal food subsidies go toward “meat” and “dairy” production. No, it makes sense.

Breaking news! The government is moving Plum Island to Kansas! “Why would a highly secure (?) facility that studies livestock diseases on a remote isle move to the absolute center of the American livestock industry, where one loose spore of Manufactured Anthrax-AIDS-Cancer-Foot & Mouth disease could wipe out the nation’s entire stock of cow anus parts used to make Fast Food Hamburgers?… It’s a great idea, if you want to kill off about 95 percent of Americans by poisoning their Extra Value Meals with weapons-grade Human Brucellosis-HIV.” That’s your agriculture, motherfuckers.

Oh and did we mention that pesticides have been linked to ADHD? And not like that inoculations = autism lie—for real. Not that all organic farmers are fucking angels, Guinness McFadden of McFadden Farm in Mendocino County, animal-torturer.

See, it’s the repeated murder of animals as a job that can turn a person criminally violent. Sorry, workers on slaughterhouse kill floors! Your job is ruining you. Science also says that eating bacon on the regular will in fact kill the hell out of you, a lot quicker than, say, bacon on the never. Excuse me, I have to take an extra-strength vitamin DUH.

When even the Daily Mail is calling out McDonald’s U.K. for purchasing chickens who had shitty, nightmare lives in Argentina, one might think a change is on the horizon. For example, Mario Batali, who loves preparations of dead pig more than life itself, now advocates Meatless Mondays. On the other hand, two Portland bros got into a fistfight over the origin of the breed of pigs they had killed and were cooking for some kind of gruesome contest. Seriously, all you need to see are the hilarious douchey photos, as reading the article may send you into a fit of rage. Because they were fighting over THE DEAD PIGS. Animal-husbandry chauvinism, fuck yeah.

Now what about Trader Joe’s—is it really an “eco-friendly” company? The Utne Reader feels conflicted on the issues (read: negative). Our other favorite grocery chain is now expanding its vegan options! But this stuff won’t be labeled “vegan” because that word’s for terrorists, so look for "Health Starts Here" signs on the new products instead. Also they’re endorsing that “Engine 2 Diet,” which according to your Vegansaur Steve is “Skinny Bitch for the hegan set,” so hooray! but also UGH. No, nothing is ever good enough, ever.

Especially not MILK SHORTS, meant to be worn while you sleep to decrease the visibility of your cellulite, you fat fuck. Abbie is disgusted and SO ARE WE. If you have insanator links that we should feature here, send them in, please.

Wonkabout features “healthy” restaurants in D.C., meaning “places that serve lots of tofu and vegetables.” Generalizations aside, they all sound pretty good.

More locally, law enforcement officials have trained a “marine mammal team”—comprising two sea lions and a dolphin—to both spot “suspicious divers” and apprehend them using a leg cuff. What is this I don’t even.

In non-manipulative awesome-nature news, coral larvae bodily listen (as in, with more than just ear-style parts) for places to colonize, and choose where to go based on positive sounds, like whatever the sounds of a solid, secure reef are. Of course, people fucking around in the oceans are ruining all this for them. Less depressingly, red-eyed tree frogs conduct bum-vibration duels in the nighttime. The aggression of tiny, adorable animals is so hard to take seriously.

Back to sad: commercial agriculture is killing all the bees. Neat! Let’s read this article and be depressed. Then let’s click on Bunneh Roulette for a while to dull the pain.

If you wanted to buy produce just like Annie Sommerville of Greens, 7x7 wants to help you. Maybe you could buy similar stuff from Hayes Valley Farm—it’s flourishing these days. Or construct your own rooftop garden, like these dudes in Chicago. Former Greens chef Deborah Madison has a new cookbook out, called Seasonal Fruit Desserts. Her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is genius and I fully expect this fruit venture to be excellent as well.


Weekend events, miracle stories, bacon-hate, breast injections, a passel of crazies and more in this week’s massive post-holiday link-o-rama!!!  »

Opening tonight at the Roxie: Mine, a documentary about New Orleans residents searching for their lost pets after Hurricane Katrina. Tickets are still available for tonight’s shows at 7 and 9, and it plays through Thursday, Jan. 14. The Roxie is at 3117 16th St., between Valencia and Guerrero Streets.

The long-awaited first-ever East Bay Vegan Bakesale is happening tomorrow, Saturday Jan. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Issues, at 20 Glen Ave. at Piedmont Avenue in Oakland!! This will be super-exciting, don’t be a jerk and miss out!!

After Saturday’s bakesale, head over to the Rocket Dog Rescue and Muttville fundraiser beer bust at Mix Bar, at 4086 18th St. at Castro Street. There’ll be snacks, entertainment, and a raffle; the fun is scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m.

On Sunday, Jan. 10 from 3 to 7 p.m. is the Food Not Bombs Vegan Chili Showdown! It’s at 3030B 16th St. at Mission Street, across from the 16th Street BART station. The entry fee is $7, and FNB will provide music and cornbread. MUSIC AND CORNBREAD ALL RIGHT.

In other weekend happenings, SFist reports that Mission Minis opens today. They have vegan options and it’s but two blocks from Vegansaurus HQ. You do the math.

Have you heard of Green Coriander? It’s a new take-out-only Indian place in San Francisco that’s offering a 20 percent discount to anyone who mentions they read about it on Mission Mission (you could say you were directed to them through MM via Vegansaurus, too, if you wanted). This week’s menu is nearly all vegan, too!

The Kitchn lists its top 25 meatless recipes from 2009, 19 of which are vegan!

A (borrrrrrring) Q & A with Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner, in which he says he is “not setting out to be a vegetarian,” which, duh and shut up, although he does say something about “chang[ing] the argument” of a libertarian, so that’s not so bad.

And then the LA Times comes back with a sound op-ed on food and farming, and not yelling so much about all of it because civility.

YES YES YES times 1 billion: the first page of the first chapter of Nicolette Hahn Niman’s new book, Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms is available online now!!! Hypocrisy has a new handbook, AWESOME!

Even Foster Farms is grossed out by the “water, salt, lemon juice solids, natural lemon flavor, cane juice, corn syrup and other natural flavorings” injected into chickens post-slaughter to make them more appetizing to consumers.

Did you catch the Bob Barker interview about the Sea Shepherd on Rachel Maddow’s show on Tuesday night? It was great, as is nearly everything to do with the great Bob Barker.

Marion Nestle predicts that the meat industry will “push back hard” this year after the beatings it took in 2009. As do we!

Finally, Grub Street proves that we are not the only ones totally grossed out by bacon on goddamn everything.

Vegan feminist hero Jill at I Blame the Patriarchy alerts us to the repulsive practices of the Bravo Meat Packing slaughterhouse in New Jersey.

It’s an epiphany miracle: a frozen kitty comes back to life!

"This guy is really afraid of cats and his friend is trying to help him with his fears! That is so helpful and nice." We really, really love The Awl.

We really, really do not love crazy people who get their cats tattooed. Also, who the fuck tattooed the cat? All of you are insane assholes.

FREE STUFF: Say the secret word—as of press time, it’s “twitter”—at Gracias Madre and get a free Eel River IPA. Tip via SFoodie.

Francis Lam rebuts that ultra-obnoxious “plants have feelings, so get off your high (figurative) horses, vegetarians” New York Times op-ed; unfortunately, he ends with precious little “just say grace for everything you’re eating” attempt to absolve the eater of culpability for everything on his/her plate, including animal products, and in doing so resolves nothing. Nice going, smarty.

The Huffington Post thinks it’s clever: a fake meat slideshow! Look, without Tofurky deli slices, Soyrizo, or shrimp crafted from root vegetables, it is incomplete to me.

What’s going on with soybean cultivation? Oh, only that growing so much of it to feed all those animals you omnivores eat is the main contributor to the destruction of South American rainforest. No big.

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