vegansaurus!

05/24/2013

It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!

Still happy about the Tennessee governor’s veto of his state’s ag-gag bill? So is the state’s largest paper, which editorialized this week that “On every level, ‘ag gag’ was a failure” and that “the legislation was built upon a lie.”

The new ag-gag battle is in North Carolina, where a bill is pending in the state legislature. You can read the HSUS state director’s op-ed on the issue.

You knew that foie gras production was terrible for the birds. Do you know how the farm workers are treated? Here’s the Financial Times’ coverage of the issue.

Ever wonder about the guy behind most of the attacks on HSUS? The Boston Globe had a major front-page exposé on meat industry frontman Rick Berman (of the so-called “Center for Consumer Freedom”) and his campaign against HSUS. Appropriately, the piece is entitled, “Washington’s robust market for attacks, half-truths.”

And on the polar opposite end of the spectrum, Peter Singer has a great new TED talk on effective altruism that’s worth your time.

P.S. Video of the week:

The most inefficient—and cutest—way a cat has ever drunk water.

05/03/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals!

First, some good news in our campaign to eradicate gestation crates from pork production: The top eight grocers in Canada (including Walmart Canada) committed to phase out gestation crates. This led one ag reporter to editorialize, “It seems to me like you might as well stick a fork in its butt and turn it over: the gestation stall debate is done.”

Now, some more good news: The Indiana ag-gag bill was killed this week.

I had a new op-ed on CNN.com this week about ag-gag bills that you may want to check out. Also, you may be interested in another new piece of mine (this one on Huffington Post) about the pork industry’s Orwellian name game. And I was glad to do an interview on HuffPost Live this week.

In Tennessee, the ag-gag bill’s sponsor, pork producer state Rep. Andy Holt, created headlines when he sent an email to my coworker comparing HSUS’s cruelty exposés to rape and human trafficking, even calling our work “tape and rape.” There was a lot of attention on this repulsive comparison, but this one

The Tennessee governor is still deciding whether to sign or veto the ag-gag bill. In the meantime, more than 300 Tennessee clergy members sent a letter to him urging a veto.

A woman was arrested in Utah this week for taking photos of a slaughter plant from public property, though the charges were subsequently dropped, leading the Salt Lake Tribune to editorialize that it’s an “ag-gag backfire.”

A new ag-gag bill was introduced in Pennsylvania this week, and the Wayne Independent is the first paper in the state to editorialize against it, asserting that it “goes against everything this country has stood for since its inception.”

Finally, you’ve heard of schools doing Meatless Mondays, but have you heard of them going all-vegetarian? Now you have. Perhaps that’s no surprise, especially considering that a new Consumer Reports study found 90 percent of retail turkey samples contain dangerous bacteria. Whatever the reason may be, meat-free eating is catching on in a major way. As one AP article this week proclaimed: “Vegetarian cooking goes mainstream.”

P.S. Video of the week: Cat loves vacuum

P.P.S. Too fascinating not to share: With smoking declining, U.S. tobacco growers are turning to growing chick peas to supply the increasing demand for hummus. Apparently the invisible hand of the free market is working==and it likes to dip veggies in hummus.

04/30/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

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It’s Paul Shapiro's Animal News You Can Use! Yay, Paul! Yay, Animals

Another big week: Ellen DeGeneres had Wayne Pacelle on her show to talk about the ag-gag fight, while we waged a full court press urging Tennessee’s governor to veto the ag-gag bill now on his desk that would essentially ban whistleblowing exposés of animal cruelty. You can see the new TV ad HSUS is running, along with significant other efforts we’re putting into the state, leading to coverage noting that “never has Gov. Bill Haslam received so much communication on a single issue.”

Nearly every major newspaper in Tennessee is urging Gov. Haslam to veto the bill. The Tennessean decried it as “despicable and unconstitutional.” The Daily News Journal called the bill “ridiculous, immature and idiotic.” The News-Sentinel also put it bluntly, ridiculing the legislation as a “mendacious and despicable measure.”

The ACLU is now getting more involved in the ag-gag battle, including in Tennessee. Meanwhile, in Indiana, the state’s ag-gag bill advanced further in the legislative process, leading the Indianapolis Star to editorialize against the bill, calling it “extremely misguided.”

Here’s a new interview of mine on the ag-gag issue and other farm animal protection topics.

Finally, legislation to ban barren battery cages for laying hens and require battery cage egg cartons to be labeled as “eggs from caged hens” wasre-introduced in the Congress this week, enjoying support from a wide array of animal protection groups and the egg industry’s trade association, though still opposed by nearly every national meat and dairy trade group.

P.S. Video of the week: And the lion shall lay down with the lamb …

P.P.S. New resources of the week: A new HSUS Earth Day-themed Meatless Monday infographic, and a new site by some friends of mine you may be interested in checking out!

04/29/2013

Tennessee state representative accuses Humane Society of “Tape and Rape”  »

Just when we thought public officials were done making flagrant misstatements about rape, they’ve gone and done it again. The latest: this ag-gag proponent in the Tennessee legislature compares animal activists to child sex traffickers and rapists. Here’s the heinous e-mail, printed in full courtesy of the Tennessean:

From: Andy Holt [rep.andy.holt@capitol.tn.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:26 PM
To: Kayci McLeod
Cc: Andy Holt
Subject: RE: Please Oppose HB 1191
Ms. McLeod,

I am extremely pleased that we were able to pass HB 1191 today to help protect livestock in Tennessee from suffering months of needless investigation that propagandist groups of radical animal activists, like your fraudulent and reprehensibly disgusting organization of maligned animal abuse profiteering corporatists, who are intent on using animals the same way human-traffickers use 17 year old women. You work for a pathetic excuse for an organization and a pathetic group of sensationalists who seek to profit from animal abuse. I am glad, as an aside, that we have limited your preferred fund-raising methods here in the state of Tennessee; a method that I refer to as “tape and rape.” Best wishes for the failure of your organization and it’s true intent.

Andy Holt
State Representative—District 76
Weakley & Northern Carroll Counties
205 War Memorial Building
301 6th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243
615.741.7847
rep.andy.holt@capitol.tn.gov

In light of all the horrible acts large and small perpetrated by misguided individuals and corporations who profit from animal suffering (this guy’s a hog farmer as well as legislator—talk about a multi-taskhole!), more and more people are realizing how important it is that we can take animal abusers to task by exposing cruelty towards animals through investigations. Even the New York Times knows what’s up! Whether or not you’re not from Tennessee, please feel free to e-mail this man until the cows come home.

04/17/2012

Today Abby Bean tipped us to the story of a rooster who spends his days outside Gus’s Fried Chicken restaurant in Collierville, Tenn. Everyone thinks it’s so funny! “He runs this place!” exclaims the titular Gus. People have called the local Animal Care and Control out of concern that the rooster will be hit by a car. He’s like their mascot!

Why do patrons of a fried chicken restaurant love to see a live, (relatively) free rooster outside of the place where they go to devour this rooster’s fellow birds? The fine people at Suicide Food (RIP) know: When the animal you’re about to eat seems to approve, and even encourage (this rooster “greets” patrons, remember) your consumption of it, you no longer have to feel guilty about causing a living being to suffer and die for your meal.

No matter what his true intentions, this rooster has become a chicken ambassador; his presence tells people, “I’m a chicken, and if I haven’t yet burned this place that cooks my dead fellows to the goddamn ground, then it must be acceptable in my moral universe. Fried chicken for all!”

I wonder how long until someone tries to feed the rooster a piece of chicken.

11/03/2010

Vegans vote 2010: November election results!  »

A mixed bag, you guys. We are really, really happy that Arizonans failed Prop. 109 and that Missourians passed Prop. B; it is pretty depressing that the three other constitutional amendments to guarantee the RIGHT to KILL STUFF passed, and with such high margins; it’s much more depressing that you can still shoot animals in a damn pen in North Dakota. What kind of a jerk are you, you won’t even make an effort to kill an animal like an adult? You are the kind of person who absolutely should not have a hunting license, if you won’t even put yourself in any discomfort or risk missing. Disgusting.

Wag of the finger to your Vegansaurus’ state, whose voters failed Prop. 21 because they hate protected wilderness or something. Extra high-fives to Montana voters for finally getting this initiative passed 20 years after the first attempt. We’re really sad about Nancy Pelosi, you guys. That weepy orange puppet of the tobacco companies is just The Worst and we can’t imagine having to stomach even more of his gross face for the next two years. Happy elections, everyone.

Arizona: Prop. 109 - Failed!
Prop. 110 - Failed.
Prop. 301 - Failed!
With 37 of 39 precincts reporting, Prop. 110 failed by 5,000 votes. Not much! Still, Prop. 109 was much more important, and you clobbered it. Excellent work!

Arkansas: Issue 1 - Passed.
Boo, Arkansas. “Better safe than sorry,” my foot.

California: Prop. 21 - Failed.
It wouldn’t even have affected residents! Dang it, you guys.

Iowa: Measure 1 - Passed!
Good job, Iowans! With a solid percentage, too.

Missouri: Prop. B  - Passed!
This was super-tight, you guys! Fewer than 60,000 votes between passing and failing. You should be so proud of yourselves. How long until it goes into effect?

Montana: I-161 - Passed!
Hey all right. Kill those elk, get that money, Montana.

North Dakota: Measure 2 - Failed.
Back to the shootin’ pen with you, North Dakotan wildlife, so the rich spoiled people can feel good about what skilled “hunters” they are. Cass, Grand Forks, and Sioux Counties: you’re still cool.

Oregon: Measure 76 - Passed!
Nice work. Not sure who would vote against such a gimme, but still, nice work, citizens.

South Carolina: Amendment 1 - Passed.
Oh South Carolina. Passed with nearly 89 percent of the vote. At least North Dakota had the grace to fail the “no more shooting at caged animals” measure at 43.5 percent to 56.5 percent. You all just swept this “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of squirrels with my .22” amendment on through.

Tennessee: Constitutional Amendment - Passed.
You’re the worst, 90 percent of Tennessee voters. Nearly 1.3 million of you all thought, My goodness, you know what we need? The right to bear arms AND use them to shoot bears, in Tennessee, forever. Seriously, was this Basil Marceaux dot com’s scheme? That man does seem to like a gun.

11/02/2010

Your Vegansaurus November 2010 ballot measure voting guide!  »

Have you voted yet today? If not, your Vegansaurus has compiled a list of the animal-rights-related legislation on the ballots this election, with advice on how we would vote on each question along with a brief explanation. The pink dinosaur is a helpful dinosaur.

The pink dinosaur is a politically active dinosaur, too! You had better vote today, friends—your two valid excuses are that you have already voted by absentee ballot, or are prohibited for legal reasons (underage, felon, are actually a very clever non-human animal, etc.). We used Ballotpedia to get the basic information for all the measures; you can also look at your local secretary of state’s site, or google a bit for more comprehensive voting guides. Now: read this, get out, and vote.

Arizona: Prop. 109 - NO!
Why: The Humane Society calls it a “power grab to grab to block future wildlife protection ballot initiatives.” Also we think amending any state’s constitution to add “the right to hunt stuff” sort of cheapens the idea of a constitution (not to mention, hunting is gross).
Prop. 110 - YES!
Why: Would you rather have state trust land secretly sold at massive discounts, or have its use put to a vote, as it belongs to you, the citizens of Arizona?
Prop. 301 - NO!
Why: You don’t want the “leftover” money in your state’s land conservation fund thrown into your general fund, do you? Unless you don’t like public land.

Arkansas: Issue 1 - NO!
Why: This is another proposed state constitutional amendment guaranteeing citizens—of Arkansas this time, duh—the right to hunt. Yuck. Better, the National Rifle Association says that the amendment would give Arkansans the “strongest right to hunt and fish in the United States.” Shut it down.

California: Prop. 21 - YES!
Why: It creates a source of funding for our state parks that doesn’t rely on state funds, which do tend to fluctuate. All the wildlife and nature preservation organizations are for it.

Iowa: Measure 1 - YES!
Why: First, permanent revenue for your state parks, soil and water restoration, and the other lovely projects is good, and it’s supported by nature and wildlife preservation organizations. Second, it’s sort of vaguely opposed by the Iowa Farm Bureau and no one else.

Missouri: Prop. B  - YES!
Why: We’ve mentioned Prop. B a bit; HSUS talks about it much more often; here’s a little article in the NY Times, too. If you don’t vote for the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, then you hate puppies, and what kind of person hates puppies?

Montana: I-161 - YES!
Why: Yes it’s odd that your Vegansaurus is advising a “yes” vote on a hunting initiative, but this one is different: It increases the costs of licenses for out-of-state hunters, allows for future adjustment of these costs for inflation, and some of the new income would go to preserving and restoring habitat. If your state allows hunting, why not get something positive out of it?

North Dakota: Measure 2 - YES!
Why: What kind of soulless jerk “hunts” by shooting “big-game” animals in a pen? Sometimes they’re even TAME? Oh right, people like this killer. Anyway, Measure 2 makes it illegal to set it up, profit from it, or do the shooting—what kind of “thrill of the chase” hunting bullshit is it if you aren’t even chasing? Jesus. Please vote “yes.”

Oregon: Measure 76 - YES!
Why: It extends the “15 percent of state lottery profits fund natural resources” plan. No one in Oregon has registered any official arguments against it. So.

South Carolina: Amendment 1 - NO!
Why: This is the third—alphabetically speaking—state constitutional amendment that would make it a right of every South Carolina citizen to hunt and fish. Obviously as vegans we find that disgusting, but as U.S. citizens we find “hunting and fishing” to be significantly less important than, say, “universal suffrage.”

Tennessee: Constitutional Amendment: NO!
Why: How insecure are you in the existing laws that you feel it necessary to amend your state constitution to guarantee your rights to hunt and fish forever and ever? Someday, Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee, you’ll look at these amendments with the same chagrin as the nation does the 18th Amendment. Maybe you want to avoid that by not doing any amending in the first place.

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