Friday, April 1


No foolin' - Frank Perdue, who built an international corporation from the killing of chickens, and one of whose signature quotes was "the prime ingredient of success is fear," died today "following a brief illness." Well, maybe a little bit of foolin' - what was that unstated "brief illness," anyway?

Thursday, March 31

1000 WORDS

"It's just horrific out there. There is blood all across the ice and seal carcasses as far as the eye can see."
- Rebecca Aldworth, HSUS.



Along with the demise of foie gras, the elimination of elephants (and next, tigers) from circus entertainment continues its inexorable march, as the public slowly becomes more and more awake to what an idiotically cruel institution it is. I don't track every single piece expressing this in every paper, but when it's in the New York Times people tend to pay attention. So in this otherwise straightforward account of a circus show, we get a digression:

    Everyone gasped when six women lay down like human markers on a ruler and let an elephant named Asia navigate the small paces between them. Asia did this with great care. Elephants never lose their air of remote dignity even when they must sit on stools and raise their front legs like small dogs. I couldn't help wishing that the circus had used men in this human marker routine. What a novelty: men are rarely asked to expose themselves passively to danger. They are still the ones cracking whips as Bengal tigers (beautiful but a little fat) walk in circles, occasionally roar and run in and out of cages that look too small for them. Their trainer, Taba, did not seem worthy of them. But our consciousness has changed. We worry about how the animals are trained and treated.
Yes we do. Now it's time to go beyond worrying and do something about it.

UPDATE: Just ran across this related story: Elephants are the only land mammal other than primates that can undeniably copy sounds - an imitative skill based in their intensive social bonding.

Wednesday, March 30


Yeah, it's a big "surprise," all right. Some coverage of this study has focused only on the strict numbers on bone mass, missing the bigger picture, which the Globe, at least, gets: In a piece headlined "Strict vegetarians -- surprise -- have healthy bones," they report that "People who adhere strictly to raw food vegetarian diets are thin but have surprisingly robust bones, US researchers reported yesterday. Although nutritionists and the food industry have warned that a diet without dairy foods can lead to the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, the team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found the vegans they studied had many of the signs of strong bones." The study, appearing in this week's Archives of Internal medicine, compared "18 average Americans with 18 strict raw food vegans ages 33 to 85. All ate a diet that included unprepared foods such vegetables, fruits, nuts, and sprouted grains."

But wait, there's more: "Fontana expected the vegans to have low vitamin D levels because they avoid all animal products including dairy. But in fact their vitamin D levels were 'markedly higher' than average." Huh? Why would that be? "These people are clever enough to expose themselves to sunlight to increase their concentrations of vitamin D," Fontana said. Oh, so raw veganism doesn't just help your bones, it makes you smarter - to the point that you get enough sun not only to make up for all the Vitamin D you're missing from dairy, but enough to give you more than milk-drinkers! It's either that or dairy foods make you stupid, and we know that's not possible, right?

Tuesday, March 29


"Foie Gras" is still a mainstay of gourmet dining in the United States, but it's becoming clear that its days as such are numbered. Anti-foie gras legislation is being considered in Oregon, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Get this: "Some bills would make it a criminal act even to possess the delicacy." Uh, yeah, I'll hold my breath till that happens. The article also follows up with more detail on that Pittsburgh post from a few weeks back: "Activists recently persuaded about 10 restaurants to stop serving foie gras in Pittsburgh." Great job!

UPDATE 4/7: Chicago fight picks up steam: Alderman wants foie gras off menus. Stay tuned...

Monday, March 28


I will grant right away that this story is exceptional, wayyy out of the ordinary - at least I hope like hell it is! - but as with all "bad" meat stories it has a certain perverse relevance. A woman eating Wendy's chili, expecting only the "regular" form of meat, found herself biting into a severed human finger: "The woman scooped up a mouthful of the steamy stew and bit down on the digit before spitting it out." Think that's as gross as it can get? "Health officials said the fingertip is approximately an inch-and-a-half long. They believe it belongs to a woman because of the long, manicured nail." Ewwwwww. Who wants to eat a human finger with a nail still attached? Wouldn't you much rather be munching on the normal fast food meat components, like good ol' hog anus?

UPDATE 4/24: While the perverse relevance of the claim remains, law enforement officials are now saying the finger-in-chili story was a malicious hoax and have arrested the woman. So don't worry, folks, the chili's human finger-free - it's only grade-A hog anus in there!