Last week, Mercy for Animals released this video documenting the horrible cruelty at a catfish slaughterhouse in Mesquite, Texas. This video is not for kids—brace yourself. I watched it once and that’s all I can handle. Mostly, they are skinning the catfish alive while they are still flopping around and gasping for air. It’s highly disturbing. Over and over, I just kept thinking, “why can’t they just kill them first?” They specifically tell the undercover worker to “clean them” while the fish are still alive. Why?
If you don’t already know: yes, fish can feel pain. Fish are also a lot smarter than people assume. Isn’t that always the way? Go to Mercy for Animal’s website to see how you can take action and/or donate to the cause.
University of Texas is torturing animals: how you can help! »
Peta, everyone’s favorite, just exposed the disgusting treatment of animals in the University of Texas labs. It’s REALLY disturbing: they are giving sheep spinal cord injuries, burning pigs’ skin with Bunsen burners, and cutting up dogs’ colons. USEFUL and HELPFUL, for sure.
It takes one minute to email the university president with Peta’s email form. Peta has filed a complaint with the USDA. We’ll see what happens, but in the meantime please take a moment to email UT.
[Images from Peta.org]
VEGAN CARNE GUISADA! Wes of Don’t Lose Your Lunch is officially the Best Vegan in Texas. Title upgradable to Best Vegan West of the Mississippi if a cast-iron Dutch oven full of this manna arrives at my doorstep before spring.
Vegan sushi, why what a delightful brunch! These little gems come from Pepper Tree in Houston, Texas, and I do believe a person could eat 50 of them in one sitting, they look so light and fresh and tasty. Now what would you drink at fruit-and-vegetable-sushi brunch: shōchū cocktails? Um, yes. OK, field trip to Houston!
[photo by laceygerard]
Humane Society investigates Cal-Maine battery cage farm: surprise, it’s a hellscape »
This is absolutely the least disturbing photo of the 12 released today by the Humane Society as part of its 28-day undercover investigation at a Cal-Maine factory farm in Texas. Each hen is allowed “67 square inches” of space in which to live and die; the cages are stacked on top of each other; and there are approximate 1 million hens laying eggs at this place.
The investigation showed dead hens left in cages with living hens. It showed hens covered in manure from the hens in the cages above them. It showed hens with massive wounds left untreated. It showed eggs covered in the hens’ blood and manure. Eggs: “nature’s perfect food!”
Cal-Maine recalled “24,000 dozen,” which is to say 288,000 eggs on Friday, Nov. 5, because one of its suppliers had had its eggs test positive for Salmonella Enteriditis! This supplier, Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC in Croton, Ohio, presumably still keeps its hens in battery cages, as the agreement reached in January of this year prohibits the building of new battery cages. Looking at the photos of the Cal-Maine facility in Texas, it’s not hard to see how naughty Salmonella might hop from the hens’ excrement to their eggs. California’s egg-eaters and its chickens are so lucky for Prop. 2, right? Except that one of the recalled brands sells eggs all over California, ha ha ha.
The detailed report from HSUS [pdf] is a very good, if nauseating read. It’ll be nice/depressing/appalling to see the omnivorous (food) world’s reaction to this. Meanwhile, anyone for a nice cruelty-free dessert? Or maybe wait a little while until you’ve recovered from that horror show.
Hello, Friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
Man, kids these days. Remember when the awesome college part-time job was waiting tables or bartending or working in a video store (personal favorite!)? And remember when KFC wasn’t paying coeds $500 a pop to hand out fliers while wearing pants with “Double Down” emblazoned on their “buns”? Yeah, me too! So WHAT HAPPENED? KFC has been struggling as of late (apparently they lost 7 percent of revenue in the last year?) and it turns out that their target audience can’t even recognize the Colonel anymore. So instead of thinking “Dude, our problem is that our food is super-gross and also unfit for consumption, so maybe we should get rid of that monstrosity we introduced last year and rethink our horrible horrible menu as well as our choice to be known as chicken murderers,” they decided that their best course of action was to rent ad space on the behinds of college women. This is bad for several reasons. Number one: STOP KILLING CHICKENS! Number two: This is hella sexist. Why do you have to advertise on lady lumps? That is degrading! Number three: Goddamn, are those pants ugly and ill-fitting. KFC is desperately trying to sell “fun and sexy” but is coming up with “fire-engine-red wedgie.” NO ONE WANTS ANY OF THAT! Thank god some colleges are against this, but it really makes you wonder exactly what’s going through the minds of the college deans (deans are like principals, right?) [Ed: Sometimes! Depends on the structure] who do allow this on their campuses. Probably nothing good.
Here’s another thing that’s wrong with today: Hog Out Month in Texas. Have you guys heard about this? Apparently Texas is SOOOOOO overrun with feral hogs that its department of agriculture has decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. In fact, the department (run by the delightful Todd Staples) is not only encouraging people to go out and take vengeance on these monsters that destroy farmland, parks, and GOLF COURSES (I knew we would get there eventually), but is actually offering grants to spur the Texas counties into a veritable Hogocaust. They’re giving away cash prizes! Let trappers onto your land to turn it into a grisly bloodbath, and your county could win up to $25,000! It’s not just for money, though. It’s a challenge! Like in fifth grade, when you were supposed to read 20 books over the summer and then you would get a free book from the library? Just like that! Except with less reading and more muffled squeals of anguish. And the smell of burning flesh.
But sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES, good things happen. Usually it’s all fire and brimstone, though, and things that make me toss and turn in bed at night. Which is unfortunate because Allen thinks we have bedbugs now, so every time I accidentally kick him as I am pondering the plight of the human race and the cruelty we all visit upon the animals and each other, he wakes up and insists that a bedbug has bitten him. And then he gets the flashlight. I hate it when he gets the flashlight. Anyway, GOOD THINGS. On Oct. 3 Colombia celebrated World Animal Day for the first time, and over 500 people marched through the streets to stand up against the mistreatment of animals. This video is awesome, and what’s even more awesome is the closing message: “Even though animals cannot speak, they deserve love and respect.” Why can’t we all just get along?
That’s it for this week! Please leave suggestions for next week in the comments, or email me. Have an awesome Wednesday!
The finest cows, the genetically superior ones, are put on a different regimen. AbiGrace is the Browns’—and the breed’s—rock star in this category. She will be overstimulated for maximum egg production and inseminated with choice sperm. The resulting embryos, as many as a dozen, will be flushed and frozen. Donnell could sell those embryos for more than $1,000 a pop on the Internet if he chose, but usually they are inserted into surrogate cows—proven dams that don’t, let’s say, have the genetics to be worth breeding. AbiGrace can then be stimulated to make more embryos, and more still.
Without scientific assistance, a mature cow will produce one calf a year; with embryo transfer, AbiGrace can crank out 25.„
You have got to read this article, “Breeding the Perfect Bull,” in the April Smithsonian magazine. It’s absolutely nuts. These cows and bulls are “free-range,” as in, they don’t live on feedlots and eat corn-offal composites; they wander West Texas eating grass and looking chill. Until of course it’s time for them to be fattened for slaughter, when they are sent to feedlots and the cowboys who bred them don’t have to deal with what happens to them there.
But, you know, whatever helps you sleep at night!
Recipe: Veggie fries! »
Recipe review spoiler alert: these were a huge hit for dinner last night. Both Jordan,14, and Jon Alex, eight, gave the veggie fries two thumbs up and the okay sign while chewing with their mouths full. (They are presented here as tofu crisps, but no way in hell would they have tried anything called “tofu crisps”) Eight-month-old Ehren, full from his lunch of macaroni and applesauce, did not participate this time.
• 16 ounces extra-firm tofu or super-firm tofu
• 1 Tbsp curry powder
• 1 to 2 tsps coarse sea salt
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 1 Tbsp agave nectar
• 2 Tbsps peanut oil
My grocery store did not carry extra-firm or super-firm tofu, and my travels to Hong Kong Market didn’t begin until after a two-hour search for seaweed for an upcoming Vegansaurus recipe, and by the time I made it to Hong Kong Market, I was looking only for seaweed and lotus root and was totally like fuck the super-firm tofu, it’s cold and rainy, and as soon as I started slicing the hard tofu, I knew I should have looked for the super-firm. You’ll need super-firm tofu for this recipe, even in icy-cold weather.
Slice tofu as you would cut potatoes for French fries. Lightly grease baking sheet with spray oil. Mix marinade ingredients in a small bowl. If you decide to double the marinade amount, double all ingredients but the sea salt.
The marinade got a “smells good” from eight-year-old Jon Alex as I was shielding his view of the tofu with my body. I wasn’t sure if I’d made enough to cover 16 oz, so I made more after covering half the slices on the baking sheet. If I’d had the super firm, I would have dipped each slice into the marinade bowl. The hard tofu was too mushy to handle with my fingers more than once. So it stayed on the baking sheet as I spread the marinade with my fingers.
Dip each slice into marinade, covering both sides. Or, you can try pouring the marinade onto the slices and spreading it with your fingers.
Broil in oven about 15 to 20 minutes, turning over slices about halfway through. This is when you’ll especially appreciate the super firm tofu.
With the raw baby carrots and chilled lotus root slices, this was our dinner. We—one adult, a teenage girl and a growing boy—were all full and even had a few leftover tofu slices. Of course, the veggie fries can always be served with soup or veggie burgers. Once I’m released from the hospital after what I’m sure is double pneumonia, we’ll make these for dinner or afternoon snacks. Great recipe.
This is another guest post from Erica Mullenix from Houston, Texas. While not vegan, she and her family are transitioning to more healthful food choices (like vegan cookies!). Erica blogs at Free Fringes and tweets as @hmx5.
Recipe review: Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles! »
[Ed.: This is a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s and Terri Hope Romero’s new cookbook, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Isa posted the recipe on the PPK blog in September.]
Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 Tbs. almond milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (or more vanilla extract if you have no chocolate)
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 part Firefly sweet tea vodka
1 part sweet tea
[for sipping over ice while preparing cookie dough and carrying 20-lb. baby strapped to your boobies]
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the topping ingredients together on a flat plate. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil, sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix in extracts.
Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added, mix until you’ve got pliable dough.
Roll dough into walnut-sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly two-inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least two inches apart (they do spread). This should be easy. The bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers so you can just flip them over onto the baking sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. They should be a bit spread and crackly on top.
Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I always lay out all the ingredients beforehand because I am notoriously forgetful. If I can look at each one and see it’s been touched, I know it’s in there somewhere.
I forgot to set out the non-dairy milk for the group photo. It was in the fridge sleeping with the enemy.
The dough should never look pureed. Stop mixing when ingredients are simply folded into each other.
I was slightly disturbed by the uneven number. I tried to ignore it. Don’t judge me.
Looks nothing like the pictures in the book, but seriously, when does that ever happen?
Ehren, eight months. He seemed to like them, but he also eats paper, cardboard and Chapstick.
Jordan, 14, liked them, even with the unusual cayenne pepper, but she is not my pickiest consumer. She tends to eat what is placed before her without complaint.However, she did pack the leftovers to share with her English class.
Jon Alex, eight, my semi-foodie who considers the Breakfast Jack the zenith of gourmet living. He did not like the cayenne pepper and voted nay when the cookies were presented for an up or down vote.
There was no need to announce these were vegan cookies or to explain what a vegan is; I introduce new foods to the kids without much fanfare, which lessens their suspicions. I didn’t find these cookies super-rich or creamy, but I think that’s more the fault of the unsweetened chocolate powder and missing, unfriended butter than the non-dairy milk.
Verdict: we probably won’t make these again, but Jordan likes the almond milk, so she’ll drink it over the next few days. I’ll also need to find another use for the pure maple syrup that cost me six bucks for that little bottle, like the Maple Family doesn’t care we’re in a recession or anything. Mr. Maple can be a dick.
This guest post has been brought to you by Erica Mullenix (and her unbearably adorable children) from Houston, Texas. While not vegan, she and her family are transitioning to more healthful food choices (like vegan cookies!). Erica blogs at Free Fringes and tweets as @hmx5.