Friday, October 24


This expose on the Siegfried and Roy show from LA City Beat has some choice moments, such as the lede - "It was an accident waiting to happen" - and some fun mockery of the duo's manager. Note the conclusion: "Like the old mob-run casinos, the big brothels, and unlimited bets, wild-animal acts might simply fade into the blinding open desert. The bloom is off; let the fading begin!
UPDATE 10/27: Speaking of wild-animal acts fading away... One senior member of Barcelona's ruling Catalan Nationalist Party said it was "only a matter of time" before an official ban was proposed and that bullfighting could disappear from the city "within a few years."

"Faced with growing concern about antibiotics in livestock, the Food and Drug Administration recommended a three-step process Thursday to help ensure that drugs proposed for use on animals will not create dangerous drug-resistant germs." Gee, that's swell. I suppose it's better than helping to ensure that drugs used on animals do create dangerous drug-resistant germs, but come on - it's a little late in the game to be doing pre-planning...

Thursday, October 23


It's not just on the East & West coasts that people are demanding more vegetarian foods. The midwest is also trending veggie: "From meatless burgers and tofu hot dogs to chicken-style cutlets and Canadian veggie bacon, sales are booming to $500 million per year, according to market research from Chicago-based Mintel Consumer Intelligence," says The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.

"Shoppers are definitely asking for more vegetarian items," said Mike Thro, produce manager at Duluth's newly opened Festival Foods. "We offer several vegetarian products throughout the store, but will continue to add more because people are asking for them."


A West Nile virus outbreak has hit Wisconsin turkey handlers. "Twenty percent of those tested at the farms earlier this year were found to carry antibodies to the potentially fatal mosquito-borne virus." What's the likely transmission agent? You guessed it: Health officials in Wisconsin are focusing on a potential connection to exposure to turkey feces... West Nile was detected in the feces of female turkeys tested at one of the farms, according to the [CDC] study." Mmmmmm, West Nile...


Our "cowboy" president, whose "shooting from the hip" got our nation into a deadly quagmire overseas, is seen in this right-winger T-shirt branding his initial onto a donkey (Get it? Huh-hyuk) with a painful branding iron. It's nice when they spell it out like that - Bush is the exemplar of the animal "owner" who uses an unfair social advantage as well as lies and intimidation to subdue his opponents, both human and nonhuman. How congruent with real-life rodeo cowboys, who spend their lives showing off how powerful they are compared to defenseless, confused animals. Some of them, at least, also spend time lying about their animal-abuse practices: Yet another video shows "men striking or kicking bulls in the face or pulling their tails to agitate them before they were released into the arena. The video also showed repeated use of electric prods while the animals were confined inside chutes ["No, we never do that!"], calves being roped to the ground and some close-up footage of open sores on animals."

Wednesday, October 22


A company called TasteTech is pitching a non-dairy butter that "traps the butter flavourings within an invisible microfilm of blended vegetable oils, turning them into a free-flowing powder, and protecting them from any flavour loss." Interestingly, the first advantage mentioned is "This makes them ideal for vegans..." Who knew they cared?

Tuesday, October 21


Just wondering if these two seemingly small (and unrelated) developments may augur big changes down the road. John Mackey, CEO of the grocery chain Whole Foods, has gone from vegetarian to vegan. "I came across an argument I could not refuse: Eating animals causes pain and suffering to the animals." Personally, I don't get how you can be vegan and run a company that sells any meat, but let's wait a few months and see how this plays out.

And in a small but significant deviation, an NIH official has abandoned the company line that animal-rights concerns would never affect their decisions to test on animals: John Strandberg was asked "about the likelihood of a future ban on experimenting on chimps. Strandberg... effectively guides NIH policy on what animals are used in research. 'It wouldn't surprise me,' Strandberg carefully replied, 'that at some time in the future - I don't want to get into when - that chimpanzees are not used' in biomedical research. No matter how considered his language, Strandberg's comment represented a global shift."


In an article called "Meatless Power," Bicycling magazine explores the benefits of vegetarianism for 2-wheelers: "Just as more Americans have embraced vegetarianism, so have more cyclists. Veggie-chowers such as six-time Ironman champ Dave Scott and Tour de France stage winner Sean Yates prove that you don't lose muscle when you go meatless."

Monday, October 20


A quote from this story caught my eye - Rick Hanger supervises food service for a series of schools around Eureka, CA (on the North Coast).
Hanger "said Arcata parents often call to request more vegan and soy foods in meals. He tells them that he can't offer soy milk, for example, since it isn't approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture." Wow. Thing is, that could change: "Schools may add soymilk to menus," the Des Moines register predicts. "Dairy farmers are fighting the move, but the Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to approve the soy subsidy later this month as part of an overhaul of the government's child nutrition programs." Bear in mind the change is largely due to agressive soy industry lobbying, not due to the number of parents who want a more nutritious alternative for their kids. But there are school lunch programs that address those parents as well, including this school I've visited, Kimberton Waldorf School. "Kimberton's lunches are to other schools' what Chez Panisse is to McDonald's. Everything is organic, vegetarian and homemade. The menu is often based on what's fresh, abundant and produced locally" - and get this - the kids actually eat it! Will wonders never cease?
UPDATE 10/21: College kids are demanding serious vegan food - check out the opening of this Diamondback article: "There is growing dissatisfaction among university students with Dining Services' meal plan options. Students lament high prices, poor taste, the use of Styrofoam, a lack of quality vegetarian and vegan options (especially at South Campus Dining Hall)..."
AND: Turning their attention from accosting schoolchildren and instead addressing parents and the community, PETA filed a complaint with Miami-Dade schools over flavored milks, which are often more sugary than soda pop (and always more cruel). "In Miami-Dade, the complaint got instant action. Penny Parham, in charge of school lunches, drove to a high school, checked a milk vending machine and discovered it was selling the exact, 460-calorie Nesquick chocolate milk product referred to in the PETA complaint. 'It's coming out immediately,' she said. 'This isn't the right way to fight obesity.'" See how it works, guys? Leave those kids alone; talk to the adults.
ADDENDUM: I can't let this slide, though. I've mentioned before how cowardly reporters are to couch factual information in the mouths of sources rather than state it outright, but this is amazing. The reporter couldn't even stand behind the info listed on the Nutrition Facts Box on these products, instead ascribing this easily accessible data to PETA: "A 16-ounce bottle of Nesquick, the complaint says, has 460 calories, 16 grams of fat, 58 grams of sugar, 280 milligrams of sodium and 60 milligrams of cholesterol. It says the same amount of Pepsi contains 200 calories, 0 grams of fat, 54 grams of sugar, 25 milligrams of sodium and 0 milligrams of cholesterol." Gosh, if only there were some way of confirming or denying those wild PETA claims...


An interesting trend is the filing of animal cruelty charges against farmers, and I don't take note of all of them, but this is a pretty large-scale incident: "Dozens of cruelty charges [77, to be exact] have been laid after investigators turned up 'an animal welfare disaster' at a series of hog farms in southwestern Ontario." The Globe and Mail story goes on to cite "a brutal environment in which piglets were trampled and eaten at birth by others, where cannibalization was rampant and where some hogs rotted where they died and were eaten by rodents. In other cases, the SPCA said, heaps of corpses had been piled up behind barns and thousands had been dumped into manure tanks." Well, I'm sure it was just an isolated in - er, a series of isolated incidents...


Actually, this time it's not one animal victim, but 20,000 - the sudden drop in demand for horse urine "could devastate the horse industry and may drive some PMU ranchers to desperate measures," according to "equine industry officials." Why? What's PMU? Oh that's Pregnant Mares' Urine, or PreMaRin, which had been foisted on women for years as "hormone replacement therapy." Meanwhile a little outfit called PCRM kept yelling that the practice was not only unethical but scientifically dubious. Now that the National Institute of Health has concurred, halting the Women's Health Initiative study due to a suspected link to breast cancer, the horse exploiters are left holding the bag - which means, of course, that the horses must suffer for the ranchers' short-sighted profit-grubbing.


More reasons not to eat... a) BALTIC HERRING (can cause cancer) b) SNAILS (can kill you in a disgusting way).

More reasons to eat... SOY (cuts cholesterol, helps kidneys)