Archive for November, 2008

What’s for dinner?  This, which can be seen in a recent PETA undercover video:

[The video shows] stomach-turning brutality. Workers are seen smashing birds into loading cages like basketballs, stomping heads and breaking necks, apparently for fun, even pretending to rape one.

On the tape, one worker describes losing his temper at a tom who pecked him, marking its head with a pen so he could find it again, fetching a broomstick, ramming it down the bird’s gullet and holding it up in the air while shouting “Let this be a lesson to y’all” at the rest of the flock.

His supervisor later excuses such behavior by saying, “Every once and a while, everybody gets agitated and has to kill a bird.” Noting that only two of his crew “really like to do it,” he says they are otherwise steady workers and adds: “As long as they don’t do it a lot, I don’t really say too much about it.”

Well, that sounds DELICIOUS, doesn’t it?!  Um, yeah, I think I’ll stick to my Field Roast Celebration Roast. What about you?

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Wow.  I have to say that our nation escaped a complete disaster when we elected the Obama-Biden ticket as opposed to McCain-Palin.  Sarah Palin was recently interviewed at a farm (slaughter-house??) “pardoning” a turkey for Thanksgiving, while right behind her another turkey is meeting its demise–and she could care less.  She’s happy go-lucky the whole time talking about how grateful she is for her family and blahblahblah – completely oblivious to the fact that an animal is struggling to live right behind her for what seems like an eternity (actually over 3 minutes, which would be quite a long time if you were suffering horribly).

Meanwhile, the guy who’s doing the killing keeps staring at Palin and at the camera presumably thinking this is the greatest day of his entire life: “Look, ma! I’m on TV and I’m killin’ a bird!”  What an accomplishment!

Here’s the video – it’s not overly graphic, but not really what I’d call “pleasant” to watch either – so, watch at your own risk.  Anyway, with any luck, maybe a few people who saw it will think twice about turkey this Thanksgiving.

For some reason I can’t embed the video in this post, so check it out HERE.

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When I went down to Florida to visit my sister, we made a trip to Ocala to visit the Kindred Spirits Sanctuary. Here are some of my pictures!

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A great PSA illustrating the importance of spaying & neutering your pets!

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If you’ve been following the whole debate about what to do with all the wild horses in the western United States, then you probably know that there was a possibility that thousands of these beautiful animals would be rounded up and potentially euthanized. Well, it looks like the horses might actually “win” this one, thanks to a wealthy philanthropist & horse lover, Madeleine Pickens (wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens) who recently announced that she would adopt not just the doomed wild horses but most or all of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens. While she looks for land that would be appropriate for the horses, the Bureau of Land Management will continue to care for the animals for another year.

Wild horse & burro populations have become more “problematic” as of late, because while their populations are growing, the number of people willing or able to adopt them has fallen, as feed prices have skyrocketed, and the economy has dipped into a serious recession:

The federal government has been rounding up wild horses since the 1980s, putting them in holding facilities and offering them for adoption to horse lovers, who promise not to sell them for slaughter. But the roundups became aggressive under the Bush administration. As of June, BLM was holding 30,088 animals, more than triple the 9,807 held in 2001…. Meanwhile, the pace of adoptions has been falling as the cost of feeding and caring for the wild horses has skyrocketed. The price tag to federal taxpayers for maintaining the horses tripled from $7 million in 2000 to $21 million in 2007. Hay prices for one short-term holding facility in Nevada rose from about $160 per ton in 2007 to almost $300 per ton in 2008, for example.

Luckily, these American icons will not meet the fate that many of their predecessors have, thanks to Ms. Pickens.

See, this is why I should be a billionaire – I’d be a totally good billionaire!  I’d save lots of animals and throw money at different non-profits that were doing animal advocacy work. AND I’d be able to volunteer my time instead of working for a paycheck.  It seems ideal….so, yeah, I should be a billionaire. Heck, even being a millionaire would suffice.  How can I make that happen?  Dear Lottery, pick me….??

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This weekend on the plane back to Minneapolis from Tampa, I sat behind a gentleman whose blaze orange hunting cap said “If it Flie’s It Die’s” – just like that. “Flie’s” and “Die’s” – because that makes total sense.  I laughed, partially because I couldn’t help but wonder what hunting gear company didn’t get someone who knows a little grammar to check over their products prior to production, and partially because I was sporting my t-shirt that says “Be Their Voice – Go Vegetarian!” You’ll notice that THAT is grammatically correct – you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.

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I’ve decided I don’t really talk enough about food on this blog, and that’s just unacceptable given how much of it I eat every day.  So, I think it’s time to start a little feature on Creature Talk called “Veg-Friendly Restaurant Reviews”!  First up is my favorite local Minneapolis restaurant: French Meadow Bakery.

French Meadow

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways…

  1. Breakfast:  There are so few vegan options for breakfast in this town that it’s crazy! I mean, how hard is it to put a freakin’ vegan pancake on your menu? Not very, and French Meadow knows it!  They have vegan pancakes, sausage, tofu scramble, and hashbrowns, to name a few. They also have FANTASTIC oatmeal, which you can pile high with nuts and/or fruit, with some brown sugar & soymilk on top.
  2. Men’s Bread! I know, I know, I’m not a man.  But I’ll be damned if that’s going to stop me from eating their super healthy, nutrient-packed, delicious bread.  It’s seriously fantastic, and it’s worth every penny.
  3. Bruschetta – I am something of a bruschetta connoisseur, if you will, and I have deemed French Meadow’s bruschetta as top notch.  Try it, you’ll love it. The tomatoes are always fresh, the bread is awesome, and they add capers for a little zing.
  4. Service: French Meadow’s staff always knows their stuff, and it’s nice to go to a place where you don’t have to explain what vegan means.
  5. Ambience: French Meadow has a really unique feel. During the day it’s welcoming and bakery-like, but at night it always feels really romantic to me.  And a little romance while downing some great vegan food never hurt anybody, especially if you have someone to share it with.
  6. Menu: Overall, French Meadow’s menu has great vegan options – the tempeh cutlet is one of my personal favorites. They have a vegan special every day and half-priced bottles of wine on Saturdays and Mondays – you can’t beat that!

Needs Improvement

The only thing I will say from a “needs improvement” standpoint is that while they have a TON of beautiful desserts, only a few of them are vegan.  The vegan rice krispie peanut butter bar is delicious, but a couple more options would be great.

Still, French Meadow ranks up there as probably my favorite restaurant in the entire city!

I’m headed down to Tampa, Florida this weekend to visit my sister. She’s scoped out some vegan friendly restaurants for me down there, so hopefully I’ll be able to write a little review of something from there too!

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Barack Obama & his daughters

President Elect Barack Obama’s two young daughters, Malia Anne (10) and Sasha (7), were promised that they could get a puppy if their father won the presidency.  Now that Obama has officially been elected (hooray!), it looks like these little girls will finally get their wish.  Now, I don’t know this for sure, but my guess is that most presidents of the past who have had dogs probably got fancy purebreds – “show quality” dogs.  I know a lot of smart & caring people who have gone to breeders or bought puppies at pet stores (ugh!) not realizing that essentially what they’re doing is condemning another dog who’s waiting in a shelter to death.  Until we stop creating demand from breeders and commercial breeders (puppy mills), this country will continue to euthanize millions of healthy, innocent dogs every year.

Obama knows this, and that’s why he has determined that his family’s first dog will be a rescue dog! I could not be happier.  The Obama family will be setting an example for families all across the nation, showing them that rescue is an option, and that you can find a wonderful pet at your local shelter.  Every dog in my family has come from local shelters, most as adults, and they all easily became a part of the family.

I can’t wait to see which lucky pup Malia and Sasha choose to join their family in the White House, and I hope all Americans see and follow Obama’s example!

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“With the passage of Prop 2, California becomes the 5th state to outlaw gestation crates (joining Florida, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado) and the third to outlaw veal crates (joining Arizona and Colorado).  Perhaps most significantly, it becomes the first state to ban battery cages for laying hens, who are killed in far greater numbers than either pigs or calves.”

That’s what awaited me in my email inbox this morning, courtesy of Farm Sanctuary.  How exciting is that!?  No longer will chickens in California have to live like this:

And with California’s lead, the rest of the nation’s egg laying hens might also have a chance to someday live free of cages, able to spread their wings and turn around – such modest requests, really.

I am very excited about this, and want to thank all the animal advocates who worked so hard to make this happen. I know the folks at HSUS and Farm Sanctuary have been working tirelessly to make this a reality, and how wonderful that they have another success under their belt!

To read more about Prop 2, check out these links:

Farm Sanctuary Action Alert: Success on Prop 2!

HSUS: Californians Make History

HSUS President Wayne Pacelle’s Blog: The People Have Spoken

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Check out NJ.com today for a great article posted today about veganism.  It starts out with this: “It is almost impossible to have a conversation with a vegan and not want to slam the door in disgust on your own entrenched eating habits.” From there, I knew it was going to be good.  I love reading pieces on veganism that are so positive, instead of reading about how “restrictive” and “difficult” it is.  It’s especially nice reading something like this written from an omnivore’s perspective.  Hooray for the Times of Trenton!

The article talks mostly about the ethical and health reasons for going vegan.  I have the ethical part down,  but reading this (among other things) has prompted me to think more about how my diet has and/or can affect my health.  Even though I feel like my diet has been more healthy since going vegan, I know I have a lot of room for improvement.  So, I’ve decided that it’s time to make my diet more healthy. I’m going to eat even more vegetables and whole grains, and cut back on some of my “treats”, like potato chips and french fries.  I seriously didn’t lose a single pound going vegan, and that just seems wrong, considering how much cheese and candy I used to eat. What gives? Perhaps it’s the other crap that’s still in my diet. Time for a change!

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