Friday, May 6


"Two animal welfare experts said they resigned as advisors to fast-food chain KFC after the company asked them to sign an agreement preventing them from speaking publicly about its policies on such issues as animal slaughter. Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University and Dr. Ian Duncan of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, said they stepped down from KFC parent Yum Brands Inc.'s animal welfare committee this week after being sent the agreement, which Grandin said would have required them to refer all media inquiries to KFC's corporate headquarters."

This is a well-deserved hit for KFC's PR, but it once again raises the question of why "animal empathizer" Grandin provides "ethical" cover for such scumbags. And what's up with this? "KFC spokeswoman Bonnie Warschauer said the contract was no different from previous confidentiality agreements members of the animal welfare committee, including Grandin and Duncan, have signed. 'It's just the same confidentiality agreement they've always had. We're just asking everybody to re-sign it,' Warschauer said. She did not specify why the company was asking committee members to sign the agreement again, and added that she did not know whether other members of the committee had signed it." Uhhhhh..... huh. Well, that sure makes sense.

Thursday, May 5


A new Stanford University School of Medicine study has shown that it's not just the low-fat nature of a vegetarian diet that makes it healthier than standard meat-based diets - it's that eating plants is healthier in and of itself.

Although the plant-based diet in the study was meatless, the longtime vegetarian who set it up diplomatically points out that the AHA includes non-vegetarian options in their "heart-healthy" definition. That's fine for now, but let's put 'em up against these "power plants" and see if those guidelines could use some simplifying.

Wednesday, May 4


The issue of elephants in captivity continues to grow in public consciousness, unfortunately due to coverage of martyred elephants. "Wankie" is the latest, having died in transit from Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo to another zoo in Utah following the death of her two elephant companions earlier this year. The feds are investigating and protesters are calling for the zoo's president to resign, as yet another death there sparks yet another investigation.

Some reactions amount to speculation, e.g. Ray Ryan, who cared for all three elephants previously and predicted they would not survive the climate and smaller space: "What they did is they took the elephant's persona away. She gave up. She just dropped dead. It's like, 'Where else are you going to ship me?'" Others are more sweeping, but seem pretty hard to refute. "We know zoos are killing elephants," said RaeLeann Smith of In Defense Of Animals. "The lack of space causes captivity-induced ailments."

Notice all the discussion of lack of space? Now let's see how RaeLeann Smith's claim is rebutted: "But zoo officials say their animals are never mistreated. 'We felt very comfortable with the quality of care with our exhibit,' Lincoln Park Zoo President Kevin Bell said at a news conference." Hmmmm. Any mention of the chief problem, space? It reminds me of the panther in this short film, who keeps going on about the lack of spaaace. How come zoos can't hear that?

On the bright side, though, it does look as though Cole Bros. Circus is taking the elephant "phase-out" seriously, at least on a town-by-town basis. "It's a big decision to make to do something like this," said Bill Tebbetts, marketing director for the circus. "(But) it's a better show."


Just an interesting tidbit in this newfound-dinosaur story headlined "Newfound dinosaur shows transition from carnivore to vegetarian" - "Caught in the act of evolution, the odd-looking, feathered dinosaur was becoming more vegetarian, moving away from its meat-eating ancestors." Evolution, you say? So why should we pay attention to any "humans were meant to eat meat" arguments? Hey, even if that were true, who cares? It's called evolving, baby.


Remember the commentators who whined, upon discovery of the first U.S. Mad Cow case, that it was us vegetarians who were hurting the (beef) economy by blowing the whole thing out of proportion and scaring away U.S. beef consumers? Well, as was obvious to thinking persons then and is now documented, it was in fact the beef industry's own blundering that caused the damage: "The most significant economic impact of BSE is from lost beef export markets," said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky. That's to the tune of $4.7 billion in 2004. And for anyone who needs it spelled out: "The study also concluded that voluntary testing for the disease would have provided an economic gain to the beef industry despite the added testing costs."