Leading scholars in the field of comparative psychology have explored the question “Do animals have reflective minds able to self-regulate perception, reasoning and memory?” Indications are that animals do share functional parallels with humans’ conscious metacognition — that is, our ability to reflect on our own mental processes as well as guide and optimize them. Read all about it at Science Daily.
It’s an informative and enjoyable film about the importance of juicing and eating real food. While not all the contributors adhere to a vegan diet, they do offer info and opinions that make a lot of sense, often citing scientific evidence. Even vegans aren’t immune to the unhealthful impact of processed, fried and sugary foods — there’s a lot for us to learn here too.
For the next 10 days, you can watch the film online HERE.
The New York Times is calling all carnivores to participate in a nationwide contest where the winner will make the strongest possible case for eating meat. Ariel Kaminer, who writes The Ethicist” column, says she wants to hear from “those who love meat” since they “have had surprisingly little to say” in response to those who “have dominated the discussion about the ethics of eating.”
Since the ethics — or rightness/wrongness — of this issue have been debated since the cow-eaters come home, this contest idea seems boring at best. That’s because ethical choices are often based on one’s own moral compass (what you consider wrong may seem OK or even right to someone else) or that of a group (e.g., Christian ethics). Historical, physiological, cultural, etc., reasons for eating meat are often cited in the context of ethics. Big yawn.
Now if the question posed to carnivores were “Why is it humane to eat meat?” — that might spark some compelling copy. A convincing justification for eating animals in the context of compassion, mercy and kindness would certainly be something to read.
Scientific proof that vegans are healthy, happy and hot:
Good: When it comes to baking, bye-bye butter. It is shortening’s time to shine (as any Earth Balance fan will already know). Read more HERE.
Bad: We’re sorry to report that our favorite politician, two-time former Democratic presidential candidate, eight-term congressman and animal rights advocate Dennis Kucinich, lost the Ohio primary election. Read or listen to the full story on NPR.
Ugly: Of the 75 people who spoke in the public comment period at the CA Fish & Game meeting, only a half-dozen or so called for its president Dan Richards to resign. The rest who spoke supported him and his efforts keep his post, after he killed a mountain lion in Idaho. Check out the meeting’s proceedings HERE.
Undefeated boxing champion Tim Bradley, Jr. has adopted a vegan diet with the expectation that it’ll give him the edge when he faces off with world-renowned champion Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on June 9. As Bradley told the Wall Street Journal, “My thoughts are clearer, crisp. I am sharp. Everything is working perfectly—I feel clean. It’s a weird feeling, man. It’s just a weird feeling.”
That’s a bright, shiny example of the transformational nature of a healthful vegan diet.
Read more of the interview and Bradley’s training on a vegan diet HERE.
This is the kind of things that really stinks. The New York State Department of Enivironmental Conservation wants to extend bobcat trapping season by a couple of months “to provide additional opportunity to harvest a renewable natural resource.” So says the DEC’s Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources in a recent email. In plain language, this means trap and kill more bobcats.
The three stated goals of the DEC’s drafted plan are “maintaining viable population levels, providing for sustainable use and enjoyment by the public, and minimizing negative bobcat-human interaction.” As reported in Metroland, when “asked for specifics on bobcat attacks on humans, DEC staff said they were unaware of any in the last five years. The ‘negative interaction’ referred to in the plan, they clarified, is the killing of small livestock.”
So there you go: The bobcats are killing the chickens before the owners can send them to slaughter. And it doesn’t hurt that the price for bobcat pelts range from $50 to $200. So extending bobcat killing season is a win-win for everyone–but bobcats … and the small livestock that need to be protected from them.
Read more on the Metroland website.
^ Proof that antibiotics used on livestock do breed drug resistant bacteria that infect humans. This downright scary piece on the Discover Magazine website cites definitive evidence that a drug-resistant strain of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) hopped from people to factory-farmed pigs, acquired resistance to another antibiotic being fed to the pigs, and then leapt back into humans, taking its new resistance with it. As reported on the Discover Magazine website, “This strain, called MRSA ST398 or CC398, is now causing 1 out of 4 cases of MRSA in some regions of the Netherlands [pdf], where it arose, and it has also been found across the Atlantic in nearly half of the meat in US commerce. After this strain arose in 2004, the European Union began to ban the use of antibiotics in livestock feed. In the United States, however, where most of the antibiotics in circulation are being used in farming, no such regulation exists.” Chew on that one.
^ California Fish and Game Commission President Dan Richards is sticking to his guns. Despite the fact that 40 CA Assembly members and the Lt. Governor have requested his resignation after a photo surfaced (see story below) of him posing with the dead mountain lion he killed on a recent hunt in Idaho, where it is legal to kill the big cats. Richards said in a letter yesterday, addressed to Assemblyman Ben Hueso (who authored the request for his resignation) and copied to Gov. Brown and John Laird, the state’s Secretary of Natural Resources, that he’s not going to resign.
=The New Indian Pariahs: Vegetarians. Turns out even though there are some 300 million vegetarians in India, in the new affluent urban India, meat has become a status symbol. Check out this interesting account of a San Francisco vegetarian who returns to her homeland to find that now meat is the food.
= Are you a vegan who misses the taste of fried egg in the morning? Then be on the lookout for The Vegg, the world’s first completely vegan fried egg substitute. See what Mother Nature Network has to say about it.
* You can’t get clear running on gooey butter cake consciousness. When asked about the backlash to her diabetes announcement on Friday’s Today Show, Paula Deen responded: “I think it was from a few people that were kinda mean about it and hold it against me. But the people that care for me, Al, they came out like you wouldn’t believe, and they were the people that I care about.” She just doesn’t get it. People weren’t being mean, they were expressing outrage and sadness that she still clung to the hope that she could continue on a path of dietary suicide, pop a pill and all would be well. We care about you, Paula. And were oh so disappointed that you don’t seem to care enough about yourself to make the changes that can save you. Excuses repress clarity, Paula. Garbage In + Disease = … well we hope you’ll come around before then.
* Talk to your doctor about what’s in your prescription meds. Sure you scour the ingredient lists of the supplements and over-the-counter drugs you take to ensure none contain inactive ingredients (known as “excipients”) of animal origin. But what about the meds your doctor prescribes? Turns out many contain animal-based substances, the most common being gelatin (it’s the stuff that forms the shell of pharmaceutical capsules and forms powder into a solid pill). Read more at CNN and BBC. And the next time you’re prescribed a medication, ask your doctor about its composition. If you’re taking prescription drugs now, call the pharmacist who dispensed it. You have a right to know what you are consuming.
^ Utah “Ag Gag” bill passes House — urgent action needed from vegans who live in Utah. This bill targets anyone who photographs or films factory farm abuses. Check out Will Potter’s report on his website Green Is the New Red. And if you live in Utah, please contact your senators and let them know that the state should be prosecuting people who abuse animals, not those who expose the abuse. Will’s got the full Senate list on his site. Please act quickly. The bill is headed to the Utah State Senate this week.
^ Allergan’s non-animal test for Botox gains approval from European Regulators. Allergan has shown that it is possible to replace the cruel mouse bioasssay. The U.S, Canada and Switzerland have already approved the in-vitro test for both medical and cosmetic versions of Botox. Let’s see if other companies manufacturing botulinum toxin products, including Ipsen and Merz,will follow Allergan’s lead. Read more HERE.
= Now this is Kindness. Located in Hartville, Wyoming, Kindness Ranch takes in animals that have been used for research and testing, either at facilities or universities across the U.S. Kindness cares for and rehabilitates a wide variety of animal including dogs, cats, pigs, sheep — even rats. How cool is that!
= You go, Gav! California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has called for the resignation of California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards. Richards recently traveled to Idaho for the opportunity to hunt and kill a mountain lion, then the proud hunter posed for a pic with his trophy prize. Read the full text of Newsom’s letter HERE.
A recent study by University of Miami scientists suggests that the consumption of shark fin soup may pose a significant health risk for degenerative brain diseases. The findings, published in the journal Marine Drugs, indicate that shark fins contain a high concentration of BMAA, which is a neurotoxin linked to neurodegenerative diseases in humans including Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS).
Sadly, sharks are among the most threatened of marine species worldwide due to unsustainable overfishing. They are primarily killed for their fins to fuel the growing demand for shark fin soup.
Read more at Science Daily.
Kiyo Mondo, Neil Hammerschlag, Margaret Basile, John Pablo, Sandra A. Banack, Deborah C. Mash. Cyanobacterial Neurotoxin β-N-Methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) in Shark Fins. Marine Drugs, 2012; 10 (2): 509 DOI: 10.3390/md10020509
President of the California Fish and Game Commission Daniel Richards, who has the responsibility of protecting mountain lions in his home state, recently traveled to Idaho for the opportunity to hunt and kill a mountain lion. Richards paid $7,000 for a guided mountain lion hunt. With the help of professional guides and hounds, he stalked the big cat through the forest, chased him up a tree, then shot him.
Since 1990, the year California voters passed the Wildlife Protection Act, the hunting of mountain lions has been illegal. While this is a legal activity in Idaho, it is the responsibility of the Fish and Game Commission president to show a respect for wildlife and uphold California law–wherever he may be.
Please visit the Humane Society of the United States website to learn more and, if you live in California, sign a petition to let the California Fish and Game Commission know that this disregard for wildlife is unacceptable.
Coyotes in Canada are now being targeted in the interest of fashion. Canada Goose Inc., a clothing company that specializes in extreme-weather outerwear, is using coyote fur to trim some of its coats.
While Canada Goose states on their website that the “fur that we do use is acquired in the most humane ways,” they do not indicate exactly how that is accomplished. They also state that they “adhere to the guidelines of the Fur Council of Canada that governs fur use in our country,” yet leg holds are legal in every province in Canada, and coyotes often mutilate themselves trying to get out. See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YY-Dloe370
Please take a moment to tell Canada Goose to stop using animal fur, and add your name to the more than 1,000 signers who are boycotting their products. Click HERE to visit change.org.
If you’re on the fence about a vegan diet — or know someone who is — check out Vegan From the Inside. Even long-time vegans will benefit from giving it a read. 2,068 vegans participated in this 2011 survey, which puts to rest six common myths about plant-based diets. Vegans from around the world share the joys, rewards and challenges of their eating choices. Those who are concerned that a vegan diet isn’t healthful or satisfying will come away from the survey with the confidence that a plant-based diet isn’t just a healthy alternative. It is THE healthy alternative.
Stating the Thirteenth Amendment applies only to humans, a federal judge in San Diego dismissed an unprecedented lawsuit brought by PETA, which sought to grant constitutional protection against slavery to a group of orcas who perform at SeaWorld.
U. S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller wrote in his ruling, “As ‘slavery’ and ‘involuntary servitude’ are uniquely human activities, as those terms have been historically and contemporaneously applied, there is simply no basis to construe the Thirteenth Amendment as applying to non-humans.”
PETA attorney Jeffrey Kerr says his organization does not plan to give up the fight to protect the orcas, but he did not specify the next action.
“Today’s decision does not change the fact that the orcas who once lived naturally wild and free, are today kept as slaves by SeaWorld,” Kerr said in a statement. “PETA will regroup and determine how to continue to work for the legal protection they deserve.”
Just days before Fashion Week, which begins on February 9, British fashion designer Stella McCartney is speaking out against the leather industry. Watch Stella’s exposé of the global leather industry on PETA’s website. Then join her and pledge HERE to never wear leather again. This pledge is important — even for vegans who have already sworn off the stuff — since it will let designers, retailers and others who profit from cruelty know that skin belongs on an animal, not in someone’s closet.
Men, women — even families — with deep pockets are traveling to Africa and paying up to $15,000 for the chance to kill giraffes for sport. Armed with guns and bows, tourist hunters (from countries like Russia, the United States and Germany) track and kill these gentle giants. Death for the giraffe can be particularly inhumane and brutal when these amateur hunters miss the targeted spot on the animal, causing the giraffe to suffer tremendously before dying.
As for the tourist hunters, some simply want to have their photo taken next to the dead giraffe, others take the skin home or pay a taxidermist to mount the head so it can be taken home as a trophy or souvenir.
Despite the fact that the giraffe population has nearly halved since 1988 — falling from more than 140,000 to fewer than 80,000, the hunting continues. Giraffes are now thought to be extinct in places such as Angola, Mali and Nigeria. But in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, it is still legal to hunt them.
Please take a moment to visit change.org and sign a petition to help stop the legal hunting of giraffes in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
A pregnant orangutan and her young daughter were saved by an animal rescue group, as knife-wielding bounty hunters closed in on the pair in Borneo. Four Paws, a British-based international rescue organization, arrived at the scene to find the orangutan mother with her arms wrapped around her five-year-old daughter surrounded by the hunters.
As the Daily Mail reports, Four Paws primate expert Dr. Signe Preuschoft said, “Our arrival could not have been more timely. A few minutes later and the orangutans could have been dead. We discovered a gang of young men surrounding them and both victims were clearly petrified. The gang meanwhile were jubilant in anticipation of their rewards for catching and killing the animals.”
While the killing of orangutans in illegal in Indonesia, the law is not always strictly enforced. Some palm oil companies that have moved into the area see orangutans as pests and have placed a bounty on their heads. According to the Daily Mail, some company executives are reported to be offering up to £70 to employees for each orangutan killed on the palm oil plantations.
As for the mother and daughter orangutan, Four Paws moved them to a remote and safe area of the rainforest.
Read more at the Daily Mail.
For roosters who are forced to fight to the death, it’s a match made in heaven. The Humane Society of the United States is working with Christian groups, such as the Palmetto Family Council, to strengthen laws against this blood sport. Their efforts are focused in South Carolina, where penalties aren’t harsh enough to suppress the fights.
Currently, cockfighting is classified as a felony in 39 states; yet it remains a misdemeanor in 11 states, including South Carolina.
Clearly, cockfighting should be a felony. Yet let’s not forget that approximately nine billion chickens each year suffer unimaginable cruelties before their trip to the processing plant — all because there’s a demand for their flesh. Why is this legal?