Wednesday, August 31


Give your poor overworked eyes a break and treat your ears to the second episode of VEGCAST, the Veggie Podcast. A podcast is like a radio show you can listen to on your MP3 player (or your computer) whenever you want, and VegCast is a mix of news, interviews, commentary, and music from veggie musicians.

This is the Sounds of Summerfest edition, looking back at Vegetarian Summerfest 2005, where VegCast was first announced. In addition to sound clips from the conference, we have music from two artists who played there, namely Will Tuttle and Kyle Vincent, and an in-depth interview with Dr. Michael Greger, who is now Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States. And in Science Fact this week, a look at how a vegan diet can help stop or reverse prostate cancer.

Vegcast: Bringing you the sound of vegetarianism since July of this year.

Tuesday, August 30


This is a delightful phrasing, packing in both meanings of "Stooge" - a) the audience "volunteer" who's secretly working for you, and b) one of the trio of comically incompetent buffoons - and both with perfect accuracy.

  • The quote comes from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who has fought the importation of young Canadian cattle over BSE concerns. His full quote was: "A few years ago, the four big meat companies, they expanded their role in this country. They bought a U.S. company called the United States Department of Agriculture. They are a bunch of stooges. The USDA crawled right into bed with them (the meat companies) and they run our internal policy and our international (beef) policy." Not often you hear a high-ranking official put it so bluntly.

  • Schweitzer may have been thinking of the specific stoogery of the August 19th (you'll never guess what day of the week that was) recall of 1,856 pounds of potential high-risk bone-in beef that had entered our country improperly from Canada. Even R-CALF was livid, expressing disappointment in the USDA's "failures," and in the fact that "although the processing facility, Green Bay Dressed Beef, voluntarily recalled the bone-in beef at issue, the recall was not initiated until Aug. 19, more than two weeks after this cow was processed." Yeah, that is kinda odd, ain't it?

  • Earlier that same week, it was revealed that "inspectors cited meatpackers more than 1,000 times over a 17-month period for violating rules concerning the removal of tissue associated with mad cow disease." While apologists try to downplay the "non-compliance" citations as trivial, the reports do indeed document "instances of meatpackers failing to properly remove 'specified risk materials' or SRMs-- brains, spinal cord tissue and other tissues that scientists say harbor the disease." Which means these entered the US food supply. 

  • And a couple days later, the Stooges admitted - only after a specific inquiry on this from the Associated Press -- that they had done no test other than IHC on at least 9,000 cows. You may remember IHC as the test that falsely cleared a Mad Cow back in November, an error we didn't find out about -- and wouldn't have, if the USDA chief had his way - until June of this year. Now, how exactly did that happen, again?

  • Funny you should ask. And even funnier that you expect the Stooges to provide an answer. After their lengthy taxpayer-funded investigation into that embarrassing and suspicious snafu, the final answer is... "Gosh, we just dunno!" Duh... Klonk!!! Whoop-whoop-whoop... Why I oughta...

    It's hilarious, except that these knuckleheads are in charge of an industry that has literal life-and-death consequences for all of us.


    OK, first of all, as in any such case there may be allegations flying that are not 100% confirmed, so I will preface this whole thing with a big "IF TRUE..."

    But that said, the reported SHAC-like tactics of activists who have successfully shut down a guinea-pig farm in the UK must be condemned, loudly and publicly, by anyone who takes veganism seriously. When Pat Robertson calls for a foreign leader's assassination, it's damning that the Republican leadership with whom he fraternizes and works is silent. And it's the same thing with our movement. This stuff is beyond the pale, and if we don't disclaim it our ideology seems to collapse into it by default.

    So you'll hear no applause from this quarter on this "victory" in the war over lab animals. "The Hall family at Darley Oaks Farm in Staffordshire said in a statement they would return to traditional farming in the hope that the remains of a relative would be returned to her grave. The family have also endured a paedophile smear campaign, the cutting of electricity and phone lines and regular protests. Farm workers and their families have also been targeted." This is shameful, and the perpetrators behind such stuff (other than "regular protests" of course) should understand that they are helping to destroy the credibility of all vegetarians with their violent zealotry. Grave-robbing extremists force family to close guinea pig farm goes one headline, and while it's sensationalist, it's unfortunately accurate. Great job tarring our peace movement as one of mindless violence, you cretins.


    Here are a bunch of quick unrelated items that occurred during the past couple weeks, which I just wanna get off the plate sooner rather than later, so let's rip through 'em...

  • Tuna sales are off an estimated $150 million, or 10 percent, in the last year after a joint FDA/EPA advisory that children and pregnant women should not eat more than a can of tuna a week due to the risks of mercury in tuna. So that industry is explicitly following in the footsteps of the dairy industry, creating a bogus campaign to bamboozle consumers into paying for more of their toxic product.

  • More animals join the learning circle - Once again animals turn out to be smarter and more like us that previously thought, as it's found that killer whales and chimpanzees both pass on "traditions" to other members of their group. The findings add to evidence that cultural learning is widespread among animals.

  • Zoo elephants have no educational value, expert says in Chicago, while here in Philadelphia it turns out that our Zoo elephants may have to leave town unless PA taxpayers are willing to cough up millions of dollars for major expansion of the animals' prison cells.

    OK, it looks like these others are gonna need posts of their own. Thanks for coming back for more Meat Facts, folks.


    Pressing national events have forced me to end my blogging vacation one day early as I rushed back to MeatFactville to get this word out to you. Geez, what a disaster down south, but I'm not going to go on about it because there are plenty of blogs where that's relevant, and right now, it isn't here.