Archive: July 2009

The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 14

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

Alaska Wilderness League: President Obama: America’s Arctic Deserves Protection

American Rivers: RiverAlert: Protect Our Rivers, Lakes, and Streams from Mining Waste Pollution

Dr. Debra Durham @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: All Chimpanzees Deserve Sanctuary

Center for Biological Diversity: One Week Left to Speak Out for Endangered Species

Center for Biological Diversity: Real Protection for Roadless Areas Needed Now

DawnWatch: The brilliant movie “The Cove” opens tonight 7/31/09

DawnWatch: CNN’s Cafferty asks if wild animals belong in circuses 7/24/09

DawnWatch: “The Meat of the Matter” –Washington Post on meat and global warming 7/29/09

DawnWatch: NPR and legislation on chimps in research 7/21/09

Earthjustice: Help EPA Against “Secret” Coal Permit

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Portrait of Benjamin, a Thylacine. And also, housekeeping.

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Those of you who do your blog reading the old-fashioned way – i.e., by actually visiting said blogs (how November 2008!) – have probably been admiring easyVegan’s new look for a few days now. (If you’re reading this on MySpace or through Bloglines, Google Reader or the like, you’re missing out!) Throughout June and into July, I was hard at work on a series of new banner graphics for the site. I finished them a few weeks ago, but Shane only got around to adding them to the site on Monday. (In his defense, they required some programming magic to properly work their mojo.)

So far, there are 77 images, set to display randomly and rotate every 90 minutes. The majority are work safe, but if you happen to draw a swear word or naughty image, there’s a handy-dandy “Reload Banner” button located in the sidebar, right above the search box. Don’t say I never did anything for ya.

You can find out more about each image, as well as the motivation behind the project, on the Banner Credits page. Not to rehash what I wrote over there, but I was tired of the blog’s old look and name; the old banner image was so plain! I wasn’t keen on the idea of up and moving the site, though, so I figured a face lift was in order. Spiff things up, you know? I didn’t change a whole lot – just the banner, really, and I also simplified the background image so the site wouldn’t look overly cluttered and busy – but I love the result. The new banners, which are primarily comprised of photos and artwork I already enjoyed, are so shiny and pretty! I’ve already cycled through a few clicks of the “Reload” button, just to see what would pop up. Ahem.

2006-12-15 - KC-Artspace - Cryptozoology-0107

Karma, in particular, has an interesting back story. The animal depicted on the banner is a Thylacine – a Tasmanian Tiger. Or rather, it’s a picture of a sculpture of a Thylacine. The sculpture is (was?) part of a traveling exhibit called Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale, which Shane and I saw at the Kansas City Art Institute’s Artspace in December 2006. Cryptozoology is the study of cryptids; a cryptid being an animal thought – but not proven – to exist. You know, like mermaids, Bigfoot, Yeti, etc.

Cryptozoology is more Shane’s kind of thing. (Not that he believes in unicorns; rather, he enjoys myths and legends, and is fascinated by people who do champion the existence of Sasquatch.) But I love animals and museums, so when he suggested that we check out the exhibit, I was totally down with it.

Most of the exhibits were really quite amusing – very X-Files-ish.

For the conspiracy theorists, the door to the Department of Cryptozoology at the Federal Wildlife Commission:

2006-12-15 - KC-Artspace - Cryptozoology-0041

Some sort of ridiculously adorable unicorn-doggy hybrid:

2006-12-15 - KC-Artspace - Cryptozoology-0020

ZOMG, WANT! She’s probably not vegan, though.

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Coming Soon: Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Animal Companion Day!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

2006-09-30 - PM-Kaylee&JayneMake5-0299

I’m usually one to roll my eyes at pseudo-holidays – National Hot Dog Day, anyone?; and, hell, even some of the “real” holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving – but I’m pleasantly surprised to see that Petfinder has designated August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day:

To help senior, special-needs and other often-overlooked pets find homes, We’ve named August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable- Pet Day. Visit our special section to:

* Get widgets to help pets find homes
* Find out which pets have it hardest
* Read touching adoption stories
* Learn why “less adoptable” pets rule!

And help us spread the word: Some pets are “less adoptable,” but they’re just as lovable!

Which animals have it hardest, you wonder?

Big black dogs. FIV+ cats. Senior pets. Special-needs pets. To help these and other often-overlooked pets find homes, Petfinder has named August 12 “Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day.”

We asked our shelter and rescue group members: Which pets are the hardest to place?

Here’s what they said:

* 30% senior/older pets
* 15% pets with medical problems
* 13% victims of breed prejudice
* 10% shy pets
* 10% those who need to be the only pet

“Pit Bulls are the No. 1 dog put down in our local shelters. There are too many of them, and there is never enough time to get them all adopted.”

“There’s also a ‘big black cat syndrome’! Hard to believe, but many people are still biased against black cats, especially if they’re big.”

“Once a dog is past 1-2 years old, people flat-out expect it to be housetrained. They consider the dog too old to be trained if they’re not housetrained by 2.”

(Links mine.)

Speciesist language aside (HIM! People expect HIM to be housetrained!), I love the idea of promoting not just adoption, but the adoption of “special needs” animals, who usually fare worse in shelters and rescues alike. (Though, happily, some rescues do specialize in hard-to-place animals, while others provide them permanent sanctuary; Old Dog Haven is a personal favorite!)

My own family is a mix of “normal” and “special needs” animals.

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Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 5

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Sarah Palin - Bear Skin

It’s been way too long since my last intersectionality roundup. Between work and drugs (settle down, I’m referring to the prescription kind!) I got a little distracted, with little-to-no time for blogging – or blog reading, for that matter. Thus, many of these links are a little older, as in the beginning of July old. No less interesting, just…they’ve probably been around the blocks a time or two. They still need some love and attention though, mkay?

Striking at the Roots: LGBT Compassion Campaigns for Social Justice

Mark Hawthorne interviews LGBT Compassion founder Andrew Zollman, touching upon animal rights, LGBTQ issues and the confluence of the two. (Y’all might recall that I wrote about LGBT Compassion in the last edition of ‘Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs.’)

Animals Rights @ Change .org: Butchers Are Hot. Blood Is Sexy. Killing Is Hip. This Is Not Progress.

No excerpt or explanation necessary. Expect this one to hit Feministing, since it celebrates women killers as well as their male counterparts.

Vegansaurus: The Fat Vegan, or OH HELL NO YOU DID NOT.

Vegan guru/purveyor of meals in a cup Dr. McDougall recently published an article in his newsletter titled “The Fat Vegan.” GREAT. Yet another thing to shame fat people into being embarrassed about their weight but this time from a vegan perspective. […]

At the SF Pride Parade this year, there was a float from the folks at SF Bay Vegetarians, and it made me so proud to see such a diverse group of vegans, not just the stereotypical sallow honkies. We need people of all sizes, shapes and colors to fight against animal cruelty.

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The Bechdel Test & An Animal-Friendly Film List

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Update, 3/18/10: I will see you an animal-friendly film list and raise you television, music, literature and theater. All this and more at POP! goes The Vegan.

Recently, Lindsay at Female Impersonator was struck with the notion to compile a list of films that pass the Bechdel Test. In researching the issue, she found several existing sites which essentially offer the same service, and served them up in a mini link roundup. This all got me thinking about pop culture, female representation, feminist flicks – and, from there, the non-human animal equivalents.

For those who have never heard of the Bechdel Test, it’s pretty simple. The “test” is a set of criteria which a movie must meet or exceed in order to “pass,” namely:

1. There [are] at least two named female characters who
2. talk to each other
3. about something besides a man.

The Bechdel Test – also called the Mo Movie Measure or Dykes to Watch Out For – was popularized by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, in a 1985 strip of the comic Dykes to Watch Out For called “The Rule.”

Like I said, pretty simple; and yet, precious few films pass (and many of these, just barely). For example, check out the Bechdel Test Movie List, a sort of user-generated database that rates films on each of the three criteria. It’s not a super-long list, and only about half of the icons are smiling with approval.

Feminist blogs are just as prone to misogynist trolls as animal rights blogs are to those of the speciesist variety; pop culture criticism, in particular, seems to bring the anti-feminist trolls out in droves. (Dudes do not like it when women try to encroach on “their” pop culture, I tell you what.) The mere mention of the “Bechdel Test” is enough to elicit a self-righteous wave of privileged male backlash – despite the rather low bar set by said “test.”

In defending my review of Vantage Point (which passed the test, but barely), I observed,

Rather than being “bullshit,” the Bechdel test is the minimum fucking standard that (most) movies should be held to. It’s pretty simple: two women, who utter at least two sentences to one another during the course of 90+ minutes, about something other than teh menses. Like, seriously: two women, two sentences, not revolving around men. That’s a low bar, especially when you consider that almost every damn movie ever made in the history of the world features two+ men, talking to each other, about something other than women. And yet, somehow it’s a huge fucking ordeal for Hollywood to make a film that features two women whose lives do not revolve around men.

I say “most” because, obviously, there will be the odd exception; movies set in all-male spaces, such as an all-male school or such, can be excused for not featuring (m)any female characters, just as movies set in all-female spaces may not have equal male representation.

Okay, so I was a wee bit angry, given that I was responding to a (now-banished) troll, but you get the idea.

To this, I’d also like to add that fans of the Bechdel Test, by and large, don’t expect every film, without exception, to pass; this would be unrealistic. Films set in all-male spaces, or that focus on men’s relationships with one another, are obviously less likely to pass, and with good reason. The problem lies not in any individual film, but in the overwhelming number of movies that fail the test – it’s collective. Likewise, there are very few films that predominantly feature women (so much so that the film would fail a male version of the Bechdel Test – the “reverse Bechdel,” if you will); and those that do are more often than not dismissed as “chick flicks” (whereas movies featuring a preponderance of men are simply “flicks”). Add it all up, and Hollywood, we have a problem.

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Sweet & Spicy Pasta Salad, Gone Mild for the Dogs

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

That’s right; not only do I bake my furkids tofu loafs and casseroles, I also make them pasta salads!

The following dish is based on a recipe I printed off the internets. I’ve long since forgotten from whence it came, but the original is titled “Super Duper Bean Salad.” Which is kind of stupid and nondescript, so I’ve renamed my version “Sweet & Spicy Pasta Salad, Gone Mild.” Mild is good when you’re catering to canine palates, but if you’d like to adapt this recipe for the humans in your household, double (or even triple) the “sauce,” and add some extra spices to taste. (Included in the original recipe – but excluded in my version – are salt and chili powder.) Then you’ll have a truly sweet and spicy dish.

Sweet & Spicy Pasta Salad, Gone Mild

2009-07-26 - Sweet-Spicy-Mild Pasta Salad - 0002


3 14 to 16 ounce bricks of tofu, firm or extra firm
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3 tablespoons minced garlic
A dash of black pepper and cumin
4 cups whole wheat pasta, dry
4 cups broccoli florets
4 cups mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, green beans, etc.)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds

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The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 13

Friday, July 24th, 2009

FYI: It’s kind of late notice, but I wanted to include this email I received from PETA anyhow:

Our investigation into the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is making waves around the world! And now that we’ve exposed the horrible treatment that elephants and tigers receive at the hands of Ringling, PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange will be on “Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell” tonight to discuss the details surrounding this historic investigation. Don’t miss it!

What: PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange discusses our investigation into Ringling’s abuse of animals.
When: Tonight, Friday July 24, 7 p.m. EST (and again from 9-10 p.m. and 12 midnight-1 a.m.)
Where: CNN Headline News (HLN)

For more information about the investigation, please visit

Whether you catch the show or not, please send Jane Velez-Mitchell a note of thanks for covering PETA’s investigation. As far as the MSM goes, Issues is a rather animal-friendly hour.

Now back to our regularly scheduled link roundup!

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

1Sky: Fax Your Senators: Pass a Strong Clean Energy Bill!

Alaska Wilderness League: Tell Sec. Salazar: Reverse bad decisions on Bristol Bay [If you use the sample letter provided, please edit for speciesism.]

Alley Cat Allies: Thank Florida Prosecutors for Enforcing Anti-Cruelty Laws



Animal Person: Urgent Appeal for Flex, the Greyhound

Animal Person: On Vegan Devastation at PF Chang’s

Stephanie @ Animal Rights @ Change .org: Fundraising for Animals by Endangering and Killing Animals: Take Action (You can view the post here, and/or take action here. Please do – I received the same e-vite as Stephanie, and was equally shocked and appalled to see the HSMO holding a BBQ & polo event to raise funds for the care of horses, cows, pigs and other farmed animals! “Cognitive dissonance” doesn’t even begin to describe it.)

Animal Welfare Institute (AWI): THE COVE – Coming Soon to a Theater near You!

Audubon: Protect the Ozark National Scenic Riverways

The Cancer Project: Petition to Major League Baseball’s Commissioner Bud Selig

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Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf: Italian Tofu Styley

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

After the furkids finished up the uber-beany Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf I made them a few weeks back, I decided to try another variation, this time with fewer beans (it was a gassy week ’round the Garbato-Brady household!) and more tofu.

Like the first incarnation, the Italian Tofu “Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf” is based on the “Hearty Hound Loaf” recipe found in the Three Dog Bakery Cookbook – sans animal parts. Unlike the last loaf, I divided this batter between two glass baking pans – a 15″x10.5″x2″ pan, and a second, slightly smaller one (I’d offer the measurements, but I’m currently trapped under a napping rat terrier). The middle of each loaf, while still moist, was obviously cooked much more thoroughly.

Though I only used half the tomato paste called for in Three Dog Bakery’s recipe, the husband reports that the loaf is “really good – very tomato-y.” I’ve also caught him picking off crumbs here and there as he feeds the dog-kids. So guardians, y’all might enjoy this concoction too! (There’s no shame in eating “dog food,” as long as it’s not made of lips and ass!)

Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf: Italian Tofu Styley

2009-07-17 - Hearty Hound Loaf 2 - 0004


16 ounces dried beans OR 6 cups cooked beans OR 3 pounds cooked beans OR 4 16 ounce cans of beans (I used dried black beans)
3 14 to 16 ounce bricks of tofu, firm or extra firm
12 ounces of tomato paste (6 ounces will suffice if you’d like to make a lower-sodium recipe)
4 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 cup green peppers, chopped
4 cups mixed vegetables (i.e., corn, peas, carrots, etc.)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup or so of raw sunflower seeds to garnish (optional)

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Quick links: AR2009 Recap

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Nope, I wasn’t able to attend (believe you me, y’all would’ve heard about it for weeks beforehand if I had!), but since I didn’t quite get around to blogging today, I’m going to direct you to some of the bloggers who did attend. There’s plenty of good reading to go around!

Elaine at Vegan Soapbox live blogged the event; I count at least 16 posts with AR2009 in the title. (Though I could be wrong; I got into some poison ivy over the weekend, and am all groggy and double-vision-y on the ‘roids and ‘histamines. Again. So if you click on over to VS and only see 8 posts, do me a solid and keep it to yourself, mkay? Bah, I’m so doped up I actually used the phrase “do me a solid.” I hate that saying.)

Anyhow, you can view a list of all Elaine’s AR 2009 posts using the AR 2009 topic link.

Deb at Invisible Voices has two pieces up so far: AR2009, part 1 and AR2009, part 2. I haven’t had a chance to read part 2 yet, but if it’s only half as interesting as part 1, it’s a keeper!

Stephanie at Animal Rights hasn’t yet been able to do much blogging about the event, but do go read this touching piece about her flight into LA from St. Louis. It’ll make your day.

Finally, the always awesome pattrice jones reposted her 2007 talk on “Nurturing Activism.” Do go check it out!

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"Generic" Individuals: The Ultimate in Speciesist Doublespeak

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Last week, I was watching an episode of The People’s Court I’d recorded back in May (DON’T JUDGE ME!!), and I happened to catch a “teaser” for that night’s news broadcast. NBC Action News in Kansas City, dog bless ’em, was doing an exposé of local area restaurants. Their crime? Trying to pass off “generic” fish(es) as red snapper fish(es).

It’s not very high-tech, but here’s a photo I took of the commercial’s fish graphics:

2009-07-08 - Fish Switch - 0002

So what’s wrong with this picture?

Well, there’s no such thing as “generic” fish. In fact, to refer to a group of sentient individuals (spanning one or more species) as “generic” is the ultimate in speciesist doublespeak.

Admittedly, I’m no expert on “fishing” or “seafood”; I’ve never been “fishing,” and was never an enthusiastic consumer of “seafood,” even in my omni days. Thinking at first that “generic fish” might be an industry or “fishing” term, I hit the Google. A search for the term “generic fish” didn’t turn up any such slang, just websites promoting “generic” fish clip art or selling “generic” fish oil capsules. Wiki wasn’t much help, either; most of the hits for “generic fish” are in the context of “this is the generic term for x species of fish.” As far as I can tell, KSHB pulled the term out of its keister.

(Granted, I could certainly be mistaken, in which case I welcome a correction! I’m not sure widespread use of the term would make it any less problematic, however.)

No doubt, what KSHB actually meant was “less expensive fish(es),” or “more common fish species,” etc. As in, the customer is paying for an expensive, “exotic” species of fish and receiving a cheap substitute, thus being cheated out of their hard-earned money. (Nevermind the many fishes who were cheated out of their very lives.)

Interestingly, the news reports on KSHB’s website do not refer to “generic” fish, though they do contain equally speciesist terms (for example, referring to the “cheaper” fishes as “counterfeit” foodstuffs).

Also note how I refer to fishes plural, rather than fish singular. The latter, more common usage implies that fish(es) are a single, indistinguishable lump of food, an inseparable mass of stuff – kind of like wine or crushed tomatoes.

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The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 12

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

1Sky: Fax Your Senators: Pass a Strong Clean Energy Bill!

Animal Rights @ Change .org: Lucky, Tina, Jewel, and Queenie: Speak Up for These Elephants

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR): Write a Letter to the Editor in Support of the AETA 4 and Our Civil Liberties

Corporate Accountability International: Tell Coke CEO Muhtar Kent to tell us where Dasani comes from!

CREDO Action: Tell Vilsack: Don’t log Tongass National Forest!

DawnWatch: Wonderful NY Times Magazine cover story on whales — 7/12/09

Defenders of Wildlife: Help End Aerial Wolf Killing: Urge Your Representative to Co-Sponsor the PAW Act

Defenders of Wildlife: Join Jeff Corwin to Help Save Wildlife Threatened by Global Warming [American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454)]

Farm Sanctuary: Don’t All Egg-Laying Hens Deserve to Stretch Their Wings? [California AB 1437]

Farm Sanctuary: Michigan: Hurry – Help Keep the Fox Out of the Henhouse [HB 5127 and HB 5128 / SB 654 and SB 655]

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Everyday Activism: 10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

As a participant in the first two annual Blog Action Days (environment and poverty), I received an invite to participate in today’s Summer of Social Good simultaneous blog post project. At 12 PM EDT, the following post – “10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media” – will go live across 300 or so blogs. (Naturally, I’m wee bit late!)

While the authors encourage each blogger to edit the post to better reflect her blog’s focus, I’ll admit that I haven’t had a chance to remix it, not as fully as I would have liked, anyhow. I have included a few notes here and there, though, in brackets for clarity.

Besides, with a little bit of creativity of reinterpretation, each of the ten tips can easily be applied to animal advocacy efforts!


This post is a collaboration between Mashable’s Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell‘s “10 Ways” series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.


Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.

Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

[If daily blogging sounds like too much of a hassle, you can also volunteer to guest post at a larger group blog. If you have a certain area of expertise – say, managing feral cat populations – offer to share your knowledge in a series of narrowly focused posts.

Whether you author your own blog or not, consider joining the community as a regular reader and commenter. Many of the larger blogs have active and thriving readerships, taking discussions to the next level. If you regularly read non-AR blogs, this can be an excellent opportunity to inject your animal activism into other areas of your life. For example, don’t be afraid to call out a blogger you otherwise respect for engaging in speciesism. – Kelly]

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Kinship Circle: Update – A Chance for Stu!

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Guarded *happydance*.

Thanks to all who contacted LAAS to demand clemency for Stu! Thus far, it seems to have worked; Stu’s upcoming date of execution was stayed, and though he’s not out of the woods yet, it looks like the red tape’s being cleared for his eventual release. The next LAAS meeting is scheduled for 7/27, so keep an eye out for further updates.

(Vegan) cookies for everyone!

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at]
Date: Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 8:55 PM
Subject: Update – A Chance for Stu!

Kinship Circle - 2009-06-18 - Stu On Death Row for 4 Years 01


7/13/09- UPDATE: A Chance For Stu!

FULL STORY: Board of Animal Services moves to amend L.A. Code to free Stu!

Dear Kinship Circle Supporters:

We’ve followed Stu’s saga since 2005. Today, the fate of this wrongfully impounded, non-dangerous dog hinged upon the Los Angeles Board of Animal Services Commissioners (7/13/09) meeting.

If Stu hadn’t made it on today’s agenda, his euthanasia date would have remained 7/23/09 — as circulated in our last alert: 7/5/09: Stu Dies July 23. Stop Them. Single-custody dog cases are not ordinarily the type issues covered in KC alerts. Stu is different. His case is so glaringly unjust.

On 6/18/09 we asked you to flood Los Angeles offices with pleas for Stu’s Life. You did. On 7/5/09 we urged you flood ’em again in order to repeal Stu’s 7/23/09 execution date — despite testimony from acclaimed animal experts that Stu poses no threat to humans. You did.

Bottom line: As of today, there is no euthanasia date for Stu. Politics run thick so we can’t claim victory yet. But, things look good for Stu!

“We Win! I Think… Much mention was made of full email boxes and messages from people all over the world!” Jeff de la Rosa

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The Not-So-Curious Case of the Absent Referent

Monday, July 13th, 2009

As much as I’d like to write a post today – I have two book reviews and two sex/meat type posts on the back burner – I’m afraid I’m utterly exhausted after a day spent vacuuming, scrubbing, washing and dusting. Ozzy’s room alone took me a few hours to clean; I don’t give it a thorough scrubdown very often, and so it was starting to resemble a giant, slimy hairball, no lie. And oh, the litter!

Luckily, though, I have a new guest post up at My original title was “The Not-So-Curious Case of the Absent Referent,” but Stephanie and I agreed that it was a little too academic, so we came up with “Women, Cows, Speed Bags, and Steaks: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others” instead. Check it out here, and leave a comment if you’re so inclined.

Before you head over there, though, take a stab at the riddle: which of those things is not like the others, and why?

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Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf & 4th of July pics

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Update, 7/15/09:

2009-07-14 - Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf - 0002

Here’s a photo of the loaf. It actually held up much better than I expected; even though the center isn’t fully cooked, the beans and peanut butter are sticky enough to bind it together. And the dogs love it! Once this dish is finished, I think I’ll try another loaf concoction, but with mashed tofu instead of beans.


In the days before delicious and vegan dog food blogs, I collected my favorite recipes in a three-ring binder. Two of ’em, actually: one for the humans, another for the dogs. The dogs’ binder is literally twice as large as the humans’. Priorities, people, priorities.

(Sadly, Ozzy doesn’t get any home-cooked food, let alone a binder, since I’m not at all comfortable cooking for a cat. Technically, he’s “Shane’s cat,” as the husband adopted him well before I came into the picture. Thus, I can all-too-conveniently delegate/relinquish all food- and health-related decisions re: Ozzy to the Mr. Consequently, Ozzy is the only omni in the house. End tangent.)

Anyhow, I’ve been wanting to mix their menu up a little lately, so last night I pulled out the doggeh binder in search of recipes. Instead of following any one recipe verbatim, I decided to veganize the “Hearty Hound Loaf” from the Three Dog Bakery Cookbook. Naturally, I also had to rename the dish; “Have-a-Heart(y) Hound Loaf” struck my fancy since, unlike the original recipe, mine does not include the corpses of other animals (in this case, turkeys).

Actually, to say that I merely veganized the recipe isn’t wholly accurate; more like I used it as a starting point to develop my own loaf-like dish. Here, the cooked and mashed beans act as a stand-in for “ground turkey”; the peanut butter replaces the tomato paste (though this is optional); and Liquid Smoke is the main spice, as opposed to sage and garlic. And did I mention that I quadrupled the original?

I considered adding some Vegedog to the mix – but it’s got an awfully strong smell, and I wasn’t quite sure if/how it would change the taste of the loaf. I purchased a small trial size of the Vegedog a few years back, and it’s been sitting in the back of my cupboard ever since. I haven’t a clue what to do with it, and the accompanying recipes aren’t much help.

For starters, the serving sizes are huge! The Soy Kibble recipe, for example, calls for 33 cups of whole wheat flour, 14 1/8 cups of soy flour, 2 3/4 cups corn meal, 1 cup yeast powder, and 1/3 cup baking powder! Who has that much flour on hand!? Plus, I already have vegetarian (possibly vegan; DelMonte has yet to return my emails) dog kibble – I don’t need to make my own. The food I do make, I use to “dress up” the kibble and add some variety to their meals. So crazy massive serving sizes of diy kibble, not so helpful.

Readers, help a doggy mama out! How do you use Vegedog?

And I know I’m probably rambling at this point, but a word on dried beans. For a long time, I refused to use them, opting instead for the canned stuff. I assumed (wrongly, it turns out) that 1) dried beans would be a huge pain in the ass to prepare; and 2) they couldn’t be all that much cheaper than the canned stuff.

In point o’ facts, dried beans aren’t all that much of an inconvenience; really, they just require a little foresight. (I soak mine the night before I plan to use them.) Price wise, 16 oz. of dried beans cost roughly the same as 16 oz. of canned beans. But when you do the math – a 16 oz. bag of dried beans yields 6 cups of cooked beans, while a 16 oz. can of beans equals a mere 1.5 cups of beans (!) – the dried beans are a steal!

Plus, no added salt, which is a huge plus, as Kaylee was diagnosed with a heart murmur on her last trip to the vet. He can’t say for sure that a low-sodium diet will keep her ticker from getting worse, but if there’s even the slightest chance it’ll extend her life, I’ll do it. (We switched to dried beans the next shopping trip after her diagnosis.) She’s like a second mother to me – my canine mom, if you will. Sweetest old lady you could ever hope to meet. I only wish we could have adopted her earlier, before she became elible for an AARP membership, and before her old “owners” did such a number on her. But I digress. Yet again.

Moral of the story: dried beans, not so bad.

Anyway. The husband went to Vegas for TAM7 this weekend, taking my good camera with him. The backup’s on the fritz, so unfortunately, I don’t have a photo for y’all. Sucks. I’ll try to snap one on Monday, though it probably won’t be very pretty. (I expect the loaf to crumble when I transfer it to a storage container.) Next time, maybe.

Instead, I leave you with pictures of Kaylee, hiding in the bathroom cabinets during the 4th of July fireworks display/Armageddon. (That’s what it must have felt like for the dogs, anyway – doubly so since the park where the display is held sits only two properties away from our place.) Peedee’s in a few of the pictures, too, but I think he was just keeping the old lady company.

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The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 11

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Action Alerts: Animal & Environmental Advocacy

Alaska Wilderness League: Urge science in Arctic fishing decision

AVAAZ: Join the call for a strong climate treaty!

Center for Biological Diversity: Help Protect the Grand Canyon From New Uranium Mining

Center for Biological Diversity: Speak Up for a Strong Endangered Species Act Today

Earthjustice: President Obama, Protect America’s Roadless National Forests

Ecological Internet / The Rainforest Portal: Action Alert: Swiss Francs Threaten Indonesian Rainforests

Ecological Internet / The Rainforest Portal: Tell Papua New Guinea and British Royalty: Climate Solutions Have No Place for Continued Industrial Primary Forest Destruction

Farm Sanctuary: Ask Your Representative to Sign On to End Cruel Combat Training

Farm Sanctuary: Tell the USDA You Want to Know How Animals Are Raised

Farm Sanctuary: Don’t All Egg-Laying Hens Deserve to Stretch Their Wings? [California]

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Easy Vegan Summer Treats: Frozen Banana Slices

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Because I’m a crazy awesome doggy mama, I’m always on the lookout for toys and treats with which to spoil my dog-kids. So when I saw this recipe for banana “Ice Cream” at It’s a Vegan Dog’s Life, I knew I wanted to try it.

But, alas! – We don’t own any ice cube trays! (Drats, foiled again.) Ice cube trays are now on my shopping list, somewhere between plastic canisters and pastry flour, but some good that does me today.

Instead, I decided to try freezing banana slices as a quick fix. The dogs used to love chewing on plain ole ice cubs, but we had to put the kibosh on that when one of Rennie’s teefies came loose. (“Too much hard chewing,” admonished the vet.) That, and I’ve heard talk on the internets that ice cubes (and extremely cold, icy water) can cause digestive problems in dogs. Possibly this is an urban legend; but I thought I’d throw it out there, just in case.

When frozen, bananas aren’t nearly as dense and hard as ice cubes, so they make for a nice, cold snack on a hot summer day. A nice, cold snack that won’t snap your furkid’s teeth in half! Plus, you can always half-freeze the slices or let them thaw a little before serving. Don’t let them thaw completely, though, as freezing and thawing changes the banana’s cell structure, such that a frozen-and-defrosted banana becomes very mushy and gooey.

Take it from me; I learned the hard way (naturally!):

2009-07-10 - Frozen Banana Slices - 0005

Mushy or not, the dogs still gobbled ’em up.

In human food news, last night I tried out Vivacious Vegan’s Best Brownies Ever. Super-yummy, and very easy to make. It’s a vegan recipe, so no pesky egg or dairy substitutions. Which actually makes this recipe easier than a boxed mix, even. I have a horrible track record with brownies – somehow, I always manage to burn them – but even I couldn’t mess this one up.

2009-07-10 - Vivacious Vegan Brownies - 0006

As you can see, I used Dandies marshmallows in place of the walnuts. It was a risky choice – given my aforementioned ineptitude at brownie baking, and Dandies’ official status as a precious natural resource (shinier than diamonds, more valuable than a brick of gold, I tell ya) – but in the end, it totally paid off. Vegan win!

(One suggestion should you choose to try this recipe with Dandies, or any vegan marshmallows, for that matter. Fold the marshmallows into the batter last thing, preferably as you’re pouring the batter into the baking pan. This will keep the Dandies from browning and/or burning before the brownies are done baking.)

That’s my Friday food blogging. What have y’all been up to in the kitch?

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Sexy Meat, No. 2: Flirty Fish & Beefy Chicken

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Updated, 11/18/09: Ben @ Suicide Food has an absolutely pornirific take on McCormick’s sexy fish centerfold.

It’s been a few months in the making, but here’s entry No. 2 in the “Sexy Meat” series. This set of advertisements from McCormick is unique in that it features explicitly female and male “meat.”

Let’s start with the female, who is represented by a flirtatious fish (again with the fish, oy vey!).

McCormick - Fish

The ad above features an obviously female fish: she has oversized, cartoonish eyes; long, lush eyelashes (seemingly curled, even); and wispy fins, one of which she touches to her lipsticked, collagen-enhanced lips in a flirtatious gesture. She rests, splayed out, on a platter, as if being presented for your pleasure and consumption. Not as if; exactly like. Her tail is raised in the air, giving the appearance of an arched back (or raised buttocks? It’s hard to tell; she’s a fish, after all!). An anonymous, faceless consumer – also obviously female – hovers above, pouring a stream of McCormick’s mustard on the fish’s head. The scene vaguely resembles a, ahem, money shot.

Though not relevant to determining her gender, it’s worth noting that the fish’s skin is gruesome in appearance, to say the least. She appears to have grilled or roasted, to the degree that her scales are almost unrecognizable as such; they’re dark tan in color and even bear dark burn marks from the grill. And yet, she seems so happy and…aroused.

The text reads, “Tu comida se va a poner más buena,” which Google translates into “Your meal will bring more good”…though I’m guessing that’s rough at best.

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Book Review: Marie Antoinette: The Journey, Antonia Fraser (2002)

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Sarah Palin in a Corset

five out of five stars

Though I’m not what you’d call a seasoned history buff – French history, in particular – I can confidently say that Antonia Fraser’s MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY is the definitive biography of Marie Antoinette. It’s hard to imagine that any historian can top this exhaustive look at the life and death of France’s most infamous Queen.

Fraser traces Marie Antoinette’s life, from privileged birth to tragic death, in great detail. (The story actually begins well before Antoinette’s birth, with a look back at the Princess’s ancestors, and ends not with the Queen’s beheading, but with the fate of her daughter, Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte.) Fraser makes extensive use of contemporary documents, most notably correspondence between Marie Antoinette and her friends and relatives, including her mother, the politically ambitious Maria Theresa. She also cites – sometimes critically – the work of historians before her. The result is a keen, nuanced examination of the life and legacy of Marie Antoinette, to whom history has not been kind.

While Antoine was, like all people, a flawed individual, she was far from the she-devil caricature drawn by her opponents. The Queen did waste the taxpayers’ money on all manner of frivolities; but then, so did her husband and other assorted members of their royal circle. (Indeed, much of this expense went towards “traditional” or “customary” labor and favors; had she tried to do away with these French traditions, the Austrian-born Queen would have been vilified just the same.) Born into privilege, she knew little of poverty, famine, or hard labor – the lot of most of her subjects. Most damningly, she actively defended France’s monarchy, positioning herself directly opposite freedom and democracy.

Even so, Marie Antoinette was a scapegoat, a receptacle for the political unrest, violence and hatred of the time. Much of the criticism directed at the Queen was predictably gender-based: she was at once stupid and frivolous – and a political mastermind capable of manipulating and cuckolding the King; a cold, frigid lover, the source of her husband’s impotence and/or asexuality – and a ravenous, insatiable whore, who either engaged in orgies with men or women, depending on whom you believe. (At her trial, she was even accused – along with her sister-in-law – of sexually abusing her own son!) Pamphlets of the time depicted the Queen in all states of undress and sexual positions, and her physical appearance was often a topic of discussion. Naturally, her body – or rather, the contents of her womb – was also a point of public interest, as her primary “job” was to bear France the next King. Sound vaguely familiar? (Hence the title of this review, which could just as easily read “Hillary Clinton in muslin.”)

Marie Antoinette was the victim not just of misogyny, but of xenophobia as well. Prior to Princess Antoine’s marriage to the Dauphin, Austria and France were rivals. The future King Louis XV had been raised on tales of “those evil Austrians,” a factor perhaps contributing to his initial indifference towards his new wife. The Princess drew no small amount of suspicion as an Austrian upon her marriage to the Dauphin, and the hatred and discrimination only grew with her unpopularity. The Queen’s loyalties were often called into question, despite the many sacrifices she made in order to become the “Mother” of France. (Imagine being forced from your family and homeland, thrust into a strange place with no friends or allies, and treated like the state’s baby machine. The Queen may have been privileged, but she was also very much oppressed.)

At 544 pages, MARIE ANTOINETTE is a hefty book; so much so, in fact, that I probably wouldn’t have “read” it had it not been available in audiobook format. Even so, it took me also a month to finish the audiobook, which clocks in at over 20 hours. Fraser’s take on Marie Antoinette is astute, informed and fascinating. Even so, I don’t think I would have made it through the print book. English is my primary language, and with no training in French, I’m certain that I would have found the French (and Austrian) names, places, words and phrases difficult to enunciate and follow. Donanda Peters makes for an engaging and charming narrator, transitioning from French to Scottish accent with ease.

My only real complaint is in Fraser’s coverage of France’s political climate during Marie Antoinette’s reign. Fraser does talk politics, but these discussions are usually framed and presented in terms of Marie Antoinette’s life, as a sort of backdrop. With no real foundation in French history, I found this rather confusing and choppy, but again, I’m a novice – history buffs will probably come to the table with all the background knowledge they need.

That said, I think hardcore history buffs and novices alike will enjoy MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY. The book is rife with feminist undertones (Fraser seems no stranger to patriarchy blaming!), so methinks it might make great leisure reading for feminist-minded women, as well. I look forward to devouring more of Antonia Fraser’s political biographies!

(This review was originally published on Amazon and Library Thing, and is also available on Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)


Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Liberation BC’s newly liberated, man-size duck needs a name!

He – well, I’m assuming he’s a he, due to the aforementioned manly stature – is Canadian and a former prisoner of a foie gras operation, so perhaps that will give you some ideas.

Me? I positively suck at this sort of thing. My first, last and only decent suggestion was “Heart-Shaped Box” for the name of a vegan bakery. I forget who ran that contest. (PETA, probably.)

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