Friday, July 4


This is a couple days old, but I wanted to have something positive about America - land that I love - to post on July 4: U.S. Court Rejects DEA Ban on Hemp Foods. For those who don't get the connection, there's a little fat called Omega-3... As to hemp itself, "its oil is found in lotions, soap and cosmetics and in a host of foods, including energy bars, waffles, milk-free cheese, veggie burgers and bread." Go waffles! USA! USA!

Thursday, July 3


In the new Charlies Angels sequel, reviewers keep remarking that Demi Moore looks as hot as, or hotter than, her younger co-stars. One outlet sez that Demi "owes her sizzling new look to Hollywood's hottest new chef, who refuses to cook his culinary delights. ... Juliano's raw treats feature no meat or dairy products." Hmmm.

In terms of plotlines, animal rights and vegetarianism seem to be turning up with more frequency. Rather than quirky supporting characters, vegetarians are moving into lead roles. Last year's My Big Fat Greek Wedding had a vegetarian romantic lead (though the argument could be made that John Corbett still played only a supporting character), and Hollywood Homocide boasts a vegan as one of the mismatched cops in this buddy movie.

In Legally Blonde 2, animal rights becomes a main plot point, the cause for which Elle fights and wins. And in a rare move, this "message" carried over into the real-life shoewear - Reese Witherspoon wore 63 pairs, no leather on any of 'em. Unfortunately, like all the other movies mentioned, this one seems to kind of suck. For a movie that uses vegetarianism/AR in a surprisingly effective way, and which doesn't suck, check out Scotland, PA, an update of MacBeth, in which "McDuff is convinced there's foul play at the new center of the fast food universe."


The news sites have made a big deal about it, but I don't have much to say about the big Kraft-to-make-cheese-less-like-complete-junk story... except to note that it's a clear outcome of those "frivolous" fast-food lawsuits. This USA Today story, which includes some others in the trend, spells it out with a subhead: "Looking to stay out of court."

Wednesday, July 2


"The government should encourage people to eat less fat and meat," is how Reuters summarizes the NIH panel's report on cancer-causing dioxins in animal fats. The administration is too cheap (or too scared?) to actually test the levels of dioxins in these foods, so warnings have to be vague and theoretical. But the scientists stress that "The government should teach women and girls to eat less of the fats found in meat, poultry, fatty fish and whole milk years before they become pregnant to protect their offspring from harmful dioxins." In other words, we're screwed already by our poisoned environment, but maybe we can give our kids a fighting chance with a more vegan diet.

Tuesday, July 1


You have to wonder if the recent revelation that "far from trying to keep numbers down, [joint hunt masters in England] were trying to encourage foxes to breed in order to have sufficient numbers to hunt" had anything to do with it. Either way, though, "a majority of lawmakers in the House of Commons voted Monday for an outright ban on fox hunting with hounds, rejecting a government proposal for strict controls." The legislation is still not definitive, and it wouldn't take effect until 2005, and it's just fox hunting with hounds, but still... this is a watershed moment. Consciousness is growing, and it ain't going away.

Monday, June 30


You know the one I mean - the War on E.Coli! Oh, it's going swimmingly - but don't swim in Georgia's Lake Lanier, where a tanker truck spilled its contents - chicken blood - resulting in a spike in E.Coli there. And don't drink the water in Cook, Minnesota, because it's chock full of E.Coli.

But these are just teasers - the real issue, of course, is how the USDA is clamping down on meatpackers to stop people from getting sick and dying from feces-smeared beef. Well, gee: Stampede Meats (an unfortunate enough moniker, though when the story broke on Friday (*cough*), it was only tied to a distributor called "Farmer's Pride" - sound familiar?) has just recalled 739,000 Pounds (370 tons) of Beef, not just for suspicion of E.Coli, but because four people have already been sickened by the company's steaks. "Steaks are not usually considered a high-risk source of E. coli, but the government said the Stampede products had been injected with tenderizers and other solutions, and the injections increased the risk of contamination." Again, sound familiar?

And in a further tie to the previous post, Kirk Smith, supervisor of MDH's foodborne illness investigation team, said it is not known how widely the products were distributed. Boy, how convenient for the meatpackers, who with the help of their friends in the GOP just scuttled a law that would vastly improve tracking and tracing of meat.
UPDATE 7/9: The E. Coli that sickened people has been connected to the Stampede meat recall, says the AP, with MSNBC pointing out that this now means everyone should be wary of steaks. Well, yeah.


A certain vegetarian protester is getting a lot of press for standing up to the Bush administration in a stark free-speech dispute. Brett Bursey was arrested for "trespassing" at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport in October during Bush's visit because he was protesting the president's warmongering, while pro-GOP demonstrators in the same space were not "trespassing." The original charge was dropped and replaced with a more convoluted one, resulting in a legal technicality that's just delayed Bursey's trial. This will be one to watch.

Sunday, June 29


As the Canadian livestock industry continues to reel from the effect of "one sick cow," patriotic Canadians are being urged to bail them out: "Consumers should beef up their barbecues with roasting cuts instead of regular steaks for Canada Day celebrations to help beleaguered cattle producers survive the mad cow scare, says a campaign by the industry." This comes as a report of Mad Sheep (where BSE originally came from, supposedly) in Canada makes everybody jumpy, and a report slamming the industry for lax safety procedures makes them all defensive.

And meanwhile, back in the USA, Tom Harkin calls for a full BSE report from the USDA, which apparently knows something that Botswana doesn't - or is it the other way around? Somehow the latter got it into their heads that it's not safe to feed cattle the manure of chickens who have eaten cattle. What could possibly go wrong?