vegansaurus!

03/15/2014

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: calves, Gore, crabs and more!  »

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Want to end your week with some good news? We banned veal crates in Kentucky!

More good news? Major supermarket chain Supervalu announced another step toward eliminating gestation crates from its pork supply chain this week. Could the writing on the wall for this archaic practice be clearer?

Concerned about the California drought? James McWilliams has some advice in The NY Times: try eating less meat. And Mother Jones magazine created this infographic showing how much water it takes to create different types of dairy (and dairy alternative) products. Here’s a teaser: 9 gallons for a glass of soy milk and 90 gallons for one Greek yogurt.

If you’re concerned about the drought, you might also be concerned about climate change. On that topic, in a new interview, former vice president Al Gore commented, “Over a year ago I changed my diet to a vegan diet….In a visceral way, I felt better, so I’ve continued with it and I’m likely to continue it for the rest of my life.”

Perhaps that’ll inspire others to think about their diets as well, which could be good news for crabs and lobsters. The Washington Post reports this week on research indicating that these animals, who we routinely boil alive, do in fact feel pain.

Speaking of causing animals pain, The NY Times editorial board came out in favor of California’s egg laying hen welfare law, which is under assault from numerous states suing to invalidate it. The paper unequivocally asserts that “the court should dismiss the case.”

Lastly, I was honored to be a guest on Our Hen House this week, a fun podcast worth checking out.

Have a great weekend!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at http://twitter.com/pshapiro

P.S. Video of the week: I have a feeling this isn’t going to work out so well for the squirrel…

11/01/2013

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use  »

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

The National Archives recently released new 1906 correspondence between President Roosevelt and Upton Sinclair about deplorable slaughter plant conditions depicted in Sinclair’s novel,The Jungle. Wondering how they compare to today’s conditions? I have an op-ed published in the Chicago Sun-Times on that very topic!

Speaking of The Jungle, an A1 story in the Washington Post this week begins with this harrowing sentence: “Nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are unintentionally boiled alive each year in U.S. slaughterhouses, often because fast-moving lines fail to kill the birds before they are dropped into scalding water, Agriculture Department records show.”

Finally, the land of Philly Cheesesteaks is becoming the next Meatless Mondays hot spot! Check out what the Philadelphia City Council just did. Maybe the city of brotherly love will love Chipotle’s new vegan Sofritas burrito? Ellen certainly wants them to, and so does the Wonder Woman who runs HSUS’s Meatless Monday efforts!

P.S. Video of the week: Pigs just wanna have fun! Watch them make their own muddy slip-n-slide trail…

05/15/2013

Did you know: PCRM has a vegan-food-only office!  »

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PCRM! Sometimes amazing, sometimes embarrassing, but always working toward a vegan world, which we can certainly appreciate. And in service of that goal, the organization has a vegan-food-only office policy, which the Washington Post reported on this week for … reasons.

PCRM has also piloted vegan eating programs at other workplaces in the Washington area. In one instance, they worked with a group of employees at Geico’s Chevy Chase headquarters. The nonprofit asked the insurance group to adopt a vegan diet and offered them weekly instruction on how to make healthy, tasty and cost-effective vegan choices. After 22 weeks, they compared employees in that group to Geico employees who hadn’t received the training. The vegan group lost more weight, reported improved physical health and said they saw a decrease in food costs.

Of course people are always yapping about how veganism will MAKE YOU THIN at which point YOU WILL WIN LIFE, which is a dumb lie. But are we going to criticize a cruelty-free office kitchen? Of course not. Health vegans, we love you too. Everyone’s welcome on team vegan.

[Photo by Justina Davies via Flickr]

(Source: Washington Post)

07/16/2012

Subway’s New DC Vegan Offerings: The WaPo Has a Review!  »

Only people in the DC area are getting to enjoy Subway’s new line of meaty vegan sandwiches. I was wishing I had a teleportation machine a couple weeks ago when I had to pay a dollar extra for some measly squeeze-bag avocado on my salad-on-a-bun at a gas station in Pine Junction, CO. Yes, I’d love some Daiya with that whine.

Lucky for Andrea Sachs, she’s in the area, and she’s got the full low-down on her experience over on the Washington Post’s All We Can Eat blog. My summary: They’re about what you’d expect from Subway. But way better than salad-on-a-bun.

I’ll be in DC in October, so maybe I’ll get to try them myself. Until then, let’s keep lobbying Subway to bring these nationwide! Hot dog!

06/22/2012

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use!  »

It’s that time: WE LOVE PAUL!!!

Big news: We banned gestation crates for pigs, veal crates for calves, and tail-docking for cattle in Rhode Island. The governor just signed the bills! This makes RI the ninth state to ban gestation crates, seventh on veal crates, and third on tail-docking.

Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about a battery egg producer who started a fake new industry trade group to help the pork and beef lobbies try to kill hen protection legislation. (In fact, the beef industry’s trade group says its “number one priority” is to kill the federal bill.)

Today’s Chicago Tribune has a big story on the battle in California about force-feeding ducks for foie gras. (The ban takes effect July 1 and is being fought by agribusiness interests.)

Back to the Post, it had a good op-ed in Sunday’s paper asking why meat is being served at the Rio climate conference, and HSUS’s CEO had a nice blog about that op-ed.

Video of the week: Baby goats being cruelly exploited for their massage talents… :- )

11/23/2011

Taste Test! What’s the Best Vegan Turkey Substitute?  »

This photo is from the WaPo.

You know what I’m pissed about? That no one invited ME to participate in this taste test the Washington Post ran, comparing six un-turkey alternatives you could be having at your table this week, or whenever else you feel the need for turkey alternatives.

Spoiler alert: Tofurky and Field Roast won. By a lot. They’re my favs, especially Field Roast products, so I’m not surprised.

What I am surprised about: There are six vegan turkey alternatives?! A major daily newspaper is covering this?! Their write-up is nuanced enough to explain why people might say no to dead flesh on the table (health, environment, animal rights) AND to point out that fake turkey has some issues of its own (highly processed, weird ingredients, questionable environmental impact)?! 

I’ve never served one of these guys before— last year I stuffed pumpkins with polenta and seitan bourgignon, the year before I made cholent from Veganomicon and a lentil stew, stay tuned for this year’s plans… But I’ve eaten them and I get the appeal. I’m glad they exist. And I’m glad the mainstream world is paying attention to them. 

Things are changing. Slowly. Yay! Something to be thankful for!

Ok here are the results (you can see them bigger here):

Agree? Disagree? Tell us below!

10/20/2011

Wild Animals Dead in Ohio; Cute Dolphin Photos to Ease Trauma  »

You’ve probably heard all about the super-sad situation in Ohio this week, but in case not, grab a pint of Coconut Bliss for consolation (but not a spoon, because you’ll just want to poke your eyes out with it):

The worst wildlife preserve owner ever killed himself after letting 56 of his dangerous exotic pets out to roam the wild. Freakin’ lions, tigers, and leopards were all scared and miserable in Zanesville, Ohio, as were the residents of said hamlet. 

Sheriff’s deputies figured the only way to solve the problem was to shoot the animals. The death toll as of 9:30 Thursday morning, according to the Washington Post, “includ[es] 18 rare Bengal tigers, 16 lions, six black bears, two grizzlies, three mountain lions and a baboon. Only six animals were captured alive.”

ARHRHGHH! This guy should not have been allowed to keep those poor animals in cages, but he didn’t have to ensure their slaughter to save them from circuses or shitty zoos.

Our hero Rachel Maddow had Jack Hanna on her show last night to discuss the tragedy.

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]

"The Humane Society on Wednesday urged Ohio to immediately issue emergency restrictions on the sale and possession of dangerous wild animals," reports USA Today.

Now, are some pictures of a nice person helping to save an orphan dolphin that might ease the utter desolation you now feel:


Awww. So I guess that’s good, at least. Go see more dolphin pics on Buzzfeed if you need a bigger dose.

[Thanks to Kristina Bjoran for alerting me to both stories.]

08/01/2011

Industrial farming is killing the oceans  »

Remember how the ocean’s fucked? It’s still fucked, especially in France, where the beaches are unfit for human presence because of “Up-stream releases of manure from intensive farming that overload the near-shore waters with nitrates.” It causes growth of a seaweed that releases a toxic gas!

Farm effluent is so amazing. It creates dead zones in places like the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay, which now covers 83 miles of that body of water. Back in December of 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a plan “to dramatically reduce the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that states can allow in the bay from municipalities and farms,” but guess whose opposition is blocking the EPA from implementing it: the American Farm Bureau Federation’s! Of course! Because dead zones are caused by runoff from those giant places food comes from, farms and feedlots.

In Brittany, 31 wild boars were found dead last week; the animals “‘were not [otherwise] sick and they did not drown.’” People can’t visit the beaches there because they could release pockets of the toxic gas the algae produces and die. How would this happen? By, you know, slipping and falling in the algae, or running, or walking. Not that anyone wants to play on a beach covered in horrible slime.

Industrial farming! It feeds most of the world while it kills the oceans! The best part of history is always when you realize no one’s planned more than like 10 minutes into the future.

04/18/2011

Wolves to be removed from endangered species lists in five states. Go USA!  »

[PBS special: Hunting Wolves, Saving Wolves. Shows both sides of the argument. Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]

It’s official: in 50-some days, five states are set to take gray wolves off the endangered species list. This is the first time Congress has removed a species from the endangered list. This is not good. You would hope that an animal’s being removed from the endangered species list would mean that the species* had rebounded something fierce—that’s not the case here. The wolf population has recovered a lot from near extinction but that’s not why the wolves are being de-listed. In this case, politics triumphs over science. The Northern Rockies has something like 1,700 wolves and they are just making it too darn hard to hunt. The federal government has relinquished control and the individual states will now “manage” the wolf population on their own. I totally trust a bunch of hunters to manage an endangered species. There are a few super-duper legitimate restrictions; for example, under the new deal, Montana, who currently has a little less than 600 wolves, would have to keep a minimum of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs. That sounds totally reasonable—75 percent of the species could be wiped out. It’s like, how few can we keep around so that we can rebuild the species once we deplete it again?

The whole thing is depraved. The way they went about it is just as bad as the motivation behind the de-listing. They slipped it into the budget agreement and it’s total bullshit. Why is that legal? And we can’t have realistically expected the President to refuse to sign the budget and shut down the government for wolves. Fucking Congress. I wasn’t aware of this because I’m not that into right-wing politics but according to the Washington Post, “The endangered act has long been reviled by conservatives who see it as a hindrance to economic development.” Damn endangered species, always getting in the way of making money. I’m sure the conservatives are super excited now that they no longer have to go through the usual channels with regards to endangered species—congress has got their back.

Like I said last week, this sets a terrible precedent for other endangered species. Bison and grizzles are already in danger. I just hope there’s not a budget agreement next time polar bears get too rowdy. 

If you want to help, check out Defenders of Wildlife, Earth Justice and the Humane Society.

*I don’t generally like this word but I’ve used it because that’s the word the government uses and you know what I mean.

04/11/2011

Dear Abby, thanks for bothing  »

Carolyn Hax, an advice columnist for the Washington Post, appears to be a big jerk. She received a question from a very worried vegan and her answer is straight-up dismissive. Anonymous asked Hax for some marriage advice: she and her husband had always been dedicated vegans and all of a sudden her husband started eating meat again. She writes, “Now I feel duped. And seeing meat in our refrig hurts,” and asks at the end, “Do principles trump love?”

Here’s a portion of Hax’s response:
[F]or all your reverence for animals, you’re not showing much respect for the mammal you married. With my emphasis added, I’m going to give your words back to you: “How can someone I love not see the cruelty.” Your love determines how someone else thinks?

I appreciate your passion and sympathize with your predicament—dramatic change in a spouse is difficult, no matter what form it takes—but you need to take a couple of rhetorical steps back to your side of the personal responsibility line. He is entitled to his own principles, which includes the right to revisit, revise or reject them.

That mammal comment, oh my god shut up. And I’m confused: How is she not showing respect to her husband? By disagreeing with him? Because a good wife always agrees with her husband? Remember that, ladies! Hax is right, the husband can do whatever he wants because guess what, everyone can do whatever they want, but she is completely belittling Anonymous’ concern. Would she say the same to a devout Jewish person whose Jewish spouse suddenly wanted to be Catholic? If certain values are an essential part of your existence and you enter into a relationship with someone who shares those values, it’s a big fucking deal if they do a 180.

For myself, I would never get into a relationship with a pro-lifer because I completely reject that stance. If my spouse started condemning abortion rights, I would have a huge problem with that. And vice versa—could a devoted pro-lifer be in a relationship with someone pro-choice? The values aren’t just different, they’re inherently conflicted. She’s vegan and he directly contributes to animal suffering. If she entered into the relationship knowing that, that is one thing, but if part of her feelings for her husband were based on their shared values, that’s totally different.

I asked our own Laura Beck, who writes an advice column for VegNews, what her advice would be and she was happy to help out:

Dump the chump! Or at least get counseling because this shit will fester out of control if it’s not addressed stat! Respect is the foundation of every (good) relationship, and if you don’t respect someone’s choices, you’re gonna have a hard time getting freaky with them. Although, the husband might have a hard time getting freaky anyway, with all that rotting meat in his penis.

Also, if anyone has questions for me to answer in Ask Laura, please to email me! I answer everything from sex to love to sexy love and also questions involving food, politics, Super Mario Kart, dogs, cats, koala bears, home pickling, serial killers (area of expertise), squirrels, rats (the squirrels of the sewers!), the world wide web, hacking (legal and not), Law & Order: SVU, fashion, fatshion, binge-eating (i.e., treating yourself right), and being pretty. 

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