Friday, September 10

THIS JUST IN: ZOOS ARE DANGEROUS people and non-humans as well, apparently: "The Houston Zoo staff members tried feverishly to save Kimba's life, but the 13-year-old female Asian elephant died Monday afternoon after a sudden illness." Shortly thereafter, at a Chicago Zoo, a zoo keeper was attacked by lions and remains in serious condition with multiple bite wounds and lacerations. But zoos are safe as ever, right? "Zoo officials say the public was never in danger, but one visitor said she saw one of the 250-pound female lions on the public side of the moat. 'I was quite nervous,' said Delores Thompson of Elmwood Park. 'When I saw the lion there, I started to run.'" But "Zoo officials adamantly denied Thompson’s claim, saying it was impossible for a lion to make the 20-foot leap." Oh, OK. And yet... "The zoo was evacuated for 15 minutes. 'One of the zookeepers came up running and yelled to us, "You have to leave quickly" and pointed to the exit,' said Kathy Neisser of Chicago, who was at the zoo with her two 6-year-old boys." Hmmmmmmmm... wonder what the big hurry was.


The case was so cut-and-dried: Crazy vegan dad kidnaps his own son from his mother-in-law and hides out in woods, spouting kooky crap to the police. And that's how the New York Daily News reported it. When I read the first reports, even I thought "Oh great, another crazy vegan parent, who will be used to represent all of us." But when a second-day story "quoted" the father as saying he'd kill the child if cops closed in, I thought, wait a second. That doesn't sound very vegan. Granted, the quote was sourced in the article to the mother-in-law, but the paper then printed it as a subhed without attribution, as though it were "fact" (or the closest thing - a quote disseminated by police). The next day, when the mother-in-law agreed to feed the baby a vegan diet, the paper called it "another bizarre twist" that the father was denying the quote: "Raphael Spindell, father of 14-month-old Andrey, called Brooklyn cops yesterday and denied threatening to kill his son and himself if the police closed in. 'I never threatened to kill my kid. I love my kid,' Spindell told a cop, according to a high-ranking police official. Additionally, Spindell denied that he spent the four days "hiding in the woods," as the mother-in-law had told police. "He said he, wife Alexandra Spindell and their son stayed at a friend's house while negotiating the handover." Plus he said he snatched the boy from the Coney Island home of his mother-in-law after finding cleaning products within the toddler's reach, and a case of milk-based infant formula. Now, there were apparently some credible malnutrition issues in this case to start with, but it's worth noting that in a custody battle the press blithely reported as fact the claims of one side against the other, in a way that I'd expect would not have happened if that other hadn't been vegan.


As usual, this mainstream press report about the rights of ethical students to refuse participation in dissection of animals reduces the discussion to cartoonish terms: "Students squeamish about dissecting frogs and worms in biology class would be allowed to opt out of the well known rite of passage and instead learn about the anatomy of animals on computer software programs under a measure approved by the Massachusetts Legislature last night." Awwww, they're squeamish, isn't that cute? And again: "The legislation, prompted by students who object to the notion of putting slimy creatures under the knife, would add Massachusetts to the nine states that already allow alternatives to dissection." See, because the students in question don't have any ethical principles involved - it's just the "slimy creatures" thing. Bggleeaagh! Unfortunately for these "sensitive" youngsters, "it faces likely opposition from Governor Mitt Romney, who vetoed a similar legislation earlier this summer in part because he said it 'would send the unintended message that animal research is frowned upon' in Massachusetts, home to an extensive biomedical research industry." [my emphasis.] Oh, well, that motivation doesn't deserve any additional comment or anything, does it, Boston Globe? Yeeesh. Talk about "squeamish."

Thursday, September 9


I'm no advocate of solving problems with violence, but self-defense in an already lethal situation is a time-honored exception - so Meat Facts salutes the dog who stopped an idiot who was attempting to murder all of his puppies, "accidentally" turning the gun on the man himslef. "A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver's trigger. Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn't find them a home, according to the sheriff's office. On Monday, Bradford was holding two puppies -- one in his arms and another in his left hand -- when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger of the .38-caliber revolver. The gun then discharged, the sheriff's report said."


Middle age and elderly women whose diets include a lot of red meat appear to have an increased risk of developing diabetes, according to a report in the medical journal Diabetes Care. A total of 37,309 participants in the Women's Health Study were followed for an average of 8.8 years. In terms of specific meats linked to diabetes, bacon and hot dogs were identified as two of the worst offenders.

Wednesday, September 8


"She is given to bursting out with such statements as: 'Any woman who isn't a feminist is an idiot!'" reports this newspaper article on Susan Powter, of "Stop the Insanity" fame. (I don't see why we should limit that statement to women, but that's a subject for another blog.) No more shaved head, but she "still has the muscles, the machine-gun delivery and the righteous anger that has endeared her to millions of women." A vegan, Powter says of the meat and dairy industries, "I'm just pissy enough to tell the truth," she says. "I'm not afraid of rage." If only we could Stop the Insanity of institutionalized animal abuse.

Tuesday, September 7


I almost never watch TV, but the Olympics were on last month, and I couldn't help but see a couple of new "Defend Your Chicken" commercials from McDonald's. I forgot to blog about it at the time, but was reminded when a "These Are Mine, so Keep on Drivin'" billboard went up near my workplace.

As blogger Sam notes, the idea seems to be to make the latest retread chicken-style-meat-product sound appealing by assuring you that you're at risk of thievery from everybody else. To someone who doesn't spend enough time (I guess) steeped in consumerist mass communications, this seems like the height of cynical desperation: An appeal to the most basic us-vs-them attitudes fostered by rampant capitalism. But then I realized the paranoia represented in these ads also strikes a chord with meat eaters who are nervous that their delicious chicken "tenders" will someday be taken away by a shift in cultural mores. Poor folks. What you don't realize is, the worst part of the whole thing is, when the time comes, you're gonna voluntarily take the chicken away from yourself. The horror!