Thursday, July 22


Headin' out to Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown later this morning. See you if you're there, and if not, you'll just have to wait till I get back - unless I find time to blog from there somehow.

Wednesday, July 21


The Food Allergy Labeling Bill passed, which means being vegan (or eating carefully in general) just got a little easier, in that you don't have to memorize every possible variant of milk product when reading labels. Foodmakers will be required to list any of the eight most common food allergens: wheat, milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, or eggs. It's not just to make more work for people, but eliminating a deadly product-labeling loophole. "David Parkinson, 14, said he was caught by that loophole once drinking a smoothie that did not list milk as an ingredient, but included it as a stabilizer. The company did not think it was enough to cause a reaction, 'but four hours later I found myself in the hospital,' he said.

Tuesday, July 20


It's long been alleged, and pretty much understood, but now it's breathtakingly clear that KFC's suppliers are involved in animal cruelty. And yes, that's above and beyond the standard cruelty inherent in factory farming and slaughtering. Video footage shows "slaughterhouse workers for one supplier jumping up and down on live chickens, drop-kicking them like footballs and slamming them into walls, apparently for fun." One KFC advisor said the tape "contains some of the worst scenes of animal cruelty that I have ever witnessed," reports The New York Times. "Prominent veterinarians, including those on the company's animal welfare advisory board, called for shutting the plant and dismissing or prosecuting its managers." But KFC, unsurprisingly, is sticking to other "tough" measures: "[T]hey said they would seek dismissal of the workers, inspect the slaughterhouse more often and end their relationship if the cruelty was repeated." Right, if the cruelty is repeated - and videotaped and sent to the New York Times - again. Meanwhile, for anyone who feels they need to see it, the footage will be available at

The tape was taken surreptitiously by a PETA investigator who worked from October 2003 to May 2004 at a Pilgrim's Pride plant that won KFC's "Supplier of the Year" award in 1997. The undercover told the Times that he saw "hundreds" of acts of cruelty, including workers tearing beaks off, ripping a bird's head off to write graffiti in blood, spitting tobacco juice into birds' mouths, plucking feathers to "make it snow," suffocating a chicken by tying a latex glove over its head, and squeezing birds like water balloons to spray feces over other birds. Hmmmmm... First thought: Wasn't this "isolated event" that happened to be caught on tape the same thing that Virgil Butler talked about workers doing at his Tyson plant several states away? And Second Thought: Spraying feces over other birds sounds like a good recipe for listeria. Wonder if Pilgrim's Pride was ever... oh, that's right, they only caused the biggest freaking recall in U.S. history over their deadly listeria-packed poultry products.
In other words: Once again, cruelty to animals isn't just bad for the animals - it's bad for everybody.
UPDATE 7/21: Pilgrim's Pride says they've fired 11 of the people involved in the abuse. It's a good start, anyway. Also: HSUS demands Congressional hearings. Good luck with that one.


Heh. Just applying the same logic to headline writing as those stories on calcium studies that wind up headlined "Drink More Milk!" or studies on Omega-3s that say "You Must Eat Fish For Your Heart." The truth behind this one is not quite so sexy, but it's still worth noting: "Eating vegetables like broccoli and spinach may help older women retain some memory abilities later on, while avoiding obesity in middle age lowers the risk of later Alzheimer's disease in both sexes, new studies suggest." In other words, even if veggies won't make you smarter now, they'll help stop you from getting stupider earlier.

Monday, July 19


Several Los Angeles companies and 10 people were charged with violating federal food safety laws by selling tons of contaminated meat, shipping tainted cheese and importing animal parts that might carry the poultry-killing Exotic Newcastle Disease. As to the first charge: Leonard Meat Co. of Vernon was accused Thursday of selling rat-chewed and feces-contaminated meat in 2001. Federal inspectors seized 13,000 pounds of meat in that case alone, but there's more about the other violations. I'll only point out here that meat and its by-products, by virtue of being, well, dead, are singularly suited for these kinds of contamination.