Friday, October 1

HOORAYYYY!!!... uh, kind of...

Victory is ours in California yesterday, as Governor Schwarzengger actually signs the anti-foie-gas bill!

But let's not start partying just yet. Read the fine print: "California will end the force feeding of ducks, geese and other birds to produce the gourmet liver product foie gras by 2012 under legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger. The bill will also ban the sale of foie gras in California starting that same year if it's obtained by force feeding birds." So basically, the bird-exploiters have eight years to some up with some other, slightly different way of producing the same product, or they can stop selling it at that point. Baby steps, indeed.

Thursday, September 30


"Ancient herbal remedies used for centuries in Indian cooking and in preparing dishes in the far east have the potential to control diabetes and treat cancer, according to a team of London scientists. Researchers from the department of pharmacy at King's College London say they have found scientific justification for the use of alternative medicine.

Scientists believe that the Indian curry leaf - an ingredient in many curry dishes and used in traditional Indian healing, may contain agents that slow down the rate of starch-to-glucose breakdown in people with diabetes. The tree's leaves could control the amount of glucose entering the bloodstream."

Tuesday, September 28


Here's another milestone in the burgeoning bird-flu pandemic that we won't pay attention to until it's too late: "Thailand said on Tuesday it had found its first known probable case of a human being infecting another with bird flu, but insisted it was an isolated incident that posed little risk to the greater population." Oh, phew. I thought this might be important, but it's just another ISOLATED INCIDENTtm. Move along, nothing to see here.

Monday, September 27


Well, it's late September - almost time for gun-wielding idiots to go out and prove their manhood by shooting animals that aren't paying enough attention, including, of course, human animals. The latest trend in the UK, where they've already started, is to get even more of an advantage over defenseless prey by "lamping," i.e. hunting at night and shining "a bright light to blind their quarry and target[ing] the reflection in its eyes."

It's working great, at least on humans. Earlier this month a 13-year-old boy was shot dead by his own stepfather on a "lamping" trip when he was mistaken for a fox, and a wildlife expert was shot in August by a "lamper" who mistook his night-vision binoculars for fox's eyes. And now a 12-year-old boy is fighting for his life after being shot in the head by a suspected "lamper" while he and his father were walking their dog.

I can't imagine any thinking, feeling person being unmoved by this account (though of course, as being a hunter requires blocking both of these activities, they'll be exempt, rationalizing it as "the price that must be paid" for their freedom to kill whatever they choose): "The man and his son are Castleford people and they had been walking down the track for about a mile when they saw a bright light over to the left and then the boy suddenly screamed out in pain. He fell back, holding his head, in his dad's arms and the man realised his son had been shot. He then carried him the mile back up the track. It must have been absolutely heart-breaking and a hell of a job for the man."