Friday, April 16


"Former Kansas Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker, wife of the U.S. ambassador to Japan, is asking the Agriculture Department to reconsider its refusal to let American meatpackers do their own tests for mad cow disease. Creekstone Farms has said Japanese buyers were willing to accept its beef if the company tested every animal and had Agriculture
Department certification." The USDA rejected the license on the grounds that there's "no scientific reason to test every animal." Hmmmm... how about the science of, No Test, No Overseas Market?

UPDATE 4/19: The New York Times weighs in editorially: "What is most worrying about this entire incident is not that Creekstone will not be able to do the tests, or even that the federal government appears to be discouraging a minor concession that would lead to both exports and jobs. If the cattle industry has the clout to sway a government department on this kind of issue, it probably has the clout to influence federal officials when it comes to questions much closer to the interests of American consumers." Gosh, ya think?


I've tried to avoid saying anything about Ye Grande Seal-Clubbing Jaunt, because it's just too screwed up to even derive any ironic commentary. But it's got to be said - this is egregious. "Aldworth said conscious seal pups were being sliced open and injured seals were piled up and left to die. As the seal hunt got under way this week, the federal government responded to activists' objections by saying that the cull is vital for the local economy and good for replenishing depleted cod stocks." Oh, fine, good for the economy, why didn't you say so. How anyone can observe the actions of these human garbage, much less participate in them (actively or financially), without wanting to vomit, is incomprehensible to me.

Thursday, April 15


That wordplay - used in a majority of the headlines - is the only explanation I can come up with for why this story is showing up in more than two dozen papers today. Is the journalistic community at large just now catching up to the concept of virtual dissections? "Morgan Merrick, a vegan who eats no meat, dairy products or eggs, believes it is wrong to dissect frogs and fetal pigs in the name of science." Thanks to previous trailblazing work in this field by Francione and others, there was no big brouhaha over this - "By midday, an alternative was reached. Morgan could perform a virtual fetal pig dissection via the Internet." Not a very dramatic story, maybe, but it stands perhaps as a milestone in how far we've come since the days when objecting to animal dissection was unthinkable.

Wednesday, April 14


Keeping in mind that once our cattle industry does actually change its practices, there will still be many years of backlog in the system that could spell BSE disaster for any given burger-eater, it's somewhat troubling that the much-ballyhooed feed regulations announced three months ago - banning cow blood in anything fed to cows, for instance - are still not being enforced in the least.

"Despite the urgent tone of that January announcement," the Boston Globe notes, "the proposed rules have yet to go into effect, and farmers can use the risky feed with impunity." They add that the rules, to become enforceable, "must be published in the Federal Register, a daily compendium of federal government actions. In January, federal health officials said it would be only a matter of days. But, to date, they have not appeared." Well, they've got a lot on their plate, you know?

Monday, April 12


That's what you'll need - the dead-president kind - if you want to keep drinking milk regularly, and lord knows there's no other way to build healthy bones, is there? But forget about how essential it is to human health - there's finally some big money to be made off of milk, as the massive historical dairy glut has been countered by factors such as Mad Cow and the Posilac ruling. So you'll pay anywhere from $3.15 to $4.00 a gallon for the white stuff this summer. Is that a milk mustache on your face, or did you just do a spit-take?