This gets the Graphic as Fuck rating. Very hard to watch, I won’t blame you if you don’t (unless you eat pigs, in which case you should be forced to watch it a million times). This video was released by Mercy for Animals last month, documenting cruel conditions for pigs in Walmart pork suppliers’ factories. 

Mercy for Animals is encouraging people to contact Walmart and tell them these conditions are horrible and unacceptable. So I drew attention to this campaign on our fb, which I guess means I don’t believe all animals should ultimately be free? That’s at least the conclusion one vegan came up with. 

The truth is, I do think all animals should be free to live life undisturbed by humans. I don’t think we should kill them to eat them. But what I do think is that while we work towards that ultimate goal, we should also be doing whatever we can to improve the lives of animals that are currently suffering in extremely horrible conditions. 

One fundamental issue may be that I don’t think death is the worse thing to ever happen. I think a life of pain, suffering, and misery is far worse. While I don’t want any animals killed for food, yes—I would rather a pig live the highest quality of life possible before they are killed, rather than suffering their whole lives and then being killed. I know conditions sans gestation crates aren’t anywhere near the highest quality of life, but it’s better, and what I’m really addressing is the underlying philosophy.

I also think it’s very self-important to decide that helping animals that are suffering right now isn’t worth it. They’re immediate comfort does matter and helping to alleviate their pain to any degree doesn’t mean we can’t also work towards complete freedom for all animals. It’s like the people who oppose “welfarism” have decided these animals should be left to suffer as a sacrifice to our cause. Like I’ve said in the past—tell that to a chicken being trampled on the bottom of a battery cage. Did they agree to this martyrdom?

I know the argument that promoting “happy meat” is somehow detrimental to our cause because then that 1% of people who actually eat “happy meat” will think it’s ultimately OK to eat meat. I disagree. When you really get down to it, I would rather have people eat “happy meat” than factory farm meat if it means less suffering for millions of animals. But to the point, I think anytime you make people actually consider maybe animals shouldn’t be tortured for food, you are awakening them to animal rights. You’re also awakening them to the idea that food choices are about more than what tastes good. And as we’ve seen, though many of us remain “welfarists” as they like to call us, meat sales are falling. Promoting improved living conditions for suffering animals hasn’t skyrocketed meat consumption.


HSUS undercover investigation reveals horrifying abuse of pigs at facilities that supply WalMart  »

Big news today from HSUS: They conducted undercover investigations of two pig-breeding facilities in Oklahoma, and discovered—shockingly—some pretty egregious abuse. There’s a video I only made it 29 seconds into because it’s so graphic.

Notably, one of these two facilities, the one owned by Seaboard Foods, supplies WalMart, the country’s biggest grocer. Our old friend Temple Grandin is Seaboard’s “animal welfare advisor,” and has spoken against the use of gestation crates, but “advisor” doesn’t have the same power as “boss.”

HSUS today “filed legal complaints with the U.S. Securities and Exchange and Federal Trade Commission alleging false and misleading statements about animal care” by Seaboard, which is an interesting tactic. Attack the money, because obviously if companies cared even the tiniest bit about the animals (the people, the environment), they wouldn’t allow such abhorrent practices. But everyone cares about money!

Go send an email to Seaboard Foods and Prestage Farms asking them to stop using gestation crates and being overall disgusting human beings. Thank goodness for the Humane Society.

[I can’t handle seeing those poor abused pigs so let’s take another moment to appreciate Farm Sanctuary’s Eric]


Walmart is selling flax milk?!  »

, Walmart is selling flax milk at 2,500 of their stores. Damn, Walmart! Way to be modern! Walmart is still an evil beast but it’s cool that the milk will be available in such an accessible store. This flax milk comes from a couple in North Dakota, which started producing flax 11 years ago and has a full line of products under the company Flax USA. I’ve never heard of flax milk but it does appear people have been making it at home for a while. Any readers make their own flax milk? What’s it taste like?!

Here are some of the nutrition details from the Flax USA site:

  • 50 to 60 calories per serving
  • As much calcium as dairy milk
  • Zero cholesterol
  • Zero saturated fat and zero trans fat
  • Non-GMO

Flax is a great source of omega-3 and the milk is enriched with vitamin A, D, and B12. Flax is also high in fiber! Gotta love some fiber.

I’m really into flax because it’s supposed to be good for crazy people and I need all the help I can get! Well, omega-3 is supposed to be good for crazy people and flax has got it. There was a study conducted on depressed mice (?) that showed they exhibited fewer depressive behaviors (?) when given alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the type of omega-3 that’s in flax. Of course knowing how inaccurate animal-testing can be, this isn’t the most solid evidence. And depressed mice? Really? I’m imagining a mouse that, like, won’t leave the house or take calls from friends. He’s no longer interested in things he once enjoyed.

The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine actually released a statement on this study basically saying it was inhumane and effed. They should have just tested on people; everyone already consumes foods containing ALA so it’s not like it would kill people if they tested on them. Leave the depressed mice alone. Or better, let them all go so they can come live with me or Laura and we can eat ice cream and watch Bridget Jones together. Sometimes you just need to wallow, you know?

Here’s a great “primer for the mental health professional" on omegas and major depression that collates all the different studies. It’s dense like whoa but I pulled out some points. Most of the studies are done with fish oil, not flax. In several different studies, scientists saw a correlation between low levels of omega-3s and depression. High rates of fish consumption (gross) has a correlation with lower levels of depression, bipolar disorder, season affective disorder and lower rates of postpartum depression. A small Harvard study showed that a very small amount of EPA (another omega-3) reduced aggression and depressive symptoms in women with borderline personality disorder (which is very difficult to treat). And there are a lot of other studies, OK? I can’t just tell you about all of them, I have things to do and naps to take! But basically, the journal wants you to know that there has been a ton of study results that indicate omega-3s could be really good for depression but then again, none of it could be true. Yay science!

Fish oil has different types of omega-3s than flaxseed oil but your body can convert ALA to those other types (though only at a pretty low rate). The debate over fish oil versus flaxseed oil is a bit confusing. It seems though that with flaxseed oil, your body needs to take an extra step to get omega-3 benefits by converting the ALA so it’s not as efficient as fish oil. But that’s for heart disease and cholesterol, I don’t know about mental health. It was specifically the AHA that helped the depressed mice. Some people say you just have to take more flaxseed oil. I can do that. Since we aren’t going to eat fish, it’s time to hit the flax milk!

OK, I’ve sufficiently bored everyone. Carry on!

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