#ForTheGhosts

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

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The much-anticipated animal rights documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine is coming out in just a few weeks, and the folks involved need our help to get the word out! The film follows renown photographer Jo-Anne McArthur over the course of the year as she bears witness to the suffering of the billions of animals exploited in the food, fashion, entertainment, and research industries. The film is part of a larger, ongoing photo project, We the Animals, now in its 15th year. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, no doubt you’ve seen some of Jo-Anne’s photos.

(This picture of Sonny the calf – shown on his rescue day in the banner above – is among my favorites!)

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You can find (some really amazing) banners, graphics, Facebook cover photos, press kits, and more on the film’s website at www.theghostsinourmachine.com. Private Vimeo screenings are available to those bloggers who would like to review the film and/or interview the filmmakers.

To see a list of upcoming screenings – or request one in your community – click here.

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New Documentary ‘The Ghosts in Our Machine’ Begins U.S. Theatrical Release in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco

TORONTO, ON – The Ghosts in Our Machine, the acclaimed documentary film about the dramatic reality largely hidden from our view – the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world – will begin an awards-season run in four major U.S. markets this fall.

Award-winning filmmaker Liz Marshall’s progressive, consciousness-raising documentary will be released in New York on Nov. 8 at Village East Cinema, in Los Angeles on Nov. 15 at Laemmle Music Hall, and will later expand to San Francisco and Boston with dates and theaters to be announced soon. The film enjoyed a successful world premiere earlier this year at Canada’s Hot Docs film festival, where it was voted a Top 10 Audience Favorite, and has since been booked in 11 cities across Canada.

Marshall directs The Ghosts in Our Machine through the heart and lens of award-winning animal photographer Jo-Anne McArthur. Over the course of a year, Marshall shadows McArthur throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe as she documents animal stories, with each photograph and story serving as a window into global industries using animals for food, clothing, entertainment and biomedical research. McArthur’s epic photo project We Animals is comprised of thousands of photographs taken around the world, documenting animals with heart-breaking empathic vividness.

This visually arresting one-of-a-kind documentary shines a cinematic light on the animals we don’t easily acknowledge – the “ghosts” – who are trapped within the cogs of our voracious consumer world. Haunting and heart-warming, audiences encounter a diverse cast of animal subjects who invite us to consider whether non-human animals are property to be owned and used, or sentient beings deserving of rights. The Ghosts in Our Machine also charts McArthur’s efforts to bring wider attention to a topic most of humankind strives hard to avoid.

“With the exception of our companion animals and a few wild and stray species within our urban environments, we experience animals daily as the food, clothing, animal tested goods and entertainment we make of them,” said Marshall. “This moral dilemma is often hidden from our view.”

“I feel like I’m a war photographer,” McArthur says in the film. “I am photographing history, and photographing changes in history right now, in terms of animal rights and where it’s going.”

Since early development and during filming, the project has attracted the attention of progressives and celebrities alike, with kudos from Woody Harrelson, Bill Maher, James Cromwell, Bob Barker, and other international animal and environmental advocates. Radiohead agreed to have their iconic song, “Give Up The Ghost,” in the film.

The film’s website (www.theghostsinourmachine.com) offers a number of interactive educational tools including a guided five-day “Ghost-Free Journey” to lead participants on adopting a vegan lifestyle, and a stunning and innovative flash story by award-winning interactive artists The Goggles (Welcome to Pine Point; Adbusters).

(More below the fold…)

Occupy Compassion

Monday, May 28th, 2012

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Anyone involved in the Occupy protests? If so, you might be interested in these cards from In Defense of Animals:

Spring is here and the Occupiers are back in the streets. We must speak out for the 99% of animals who are threatened with human-imposed suffering due to cruelty, exploitation, habitat loss and environmental devastation.

Introduce the progressive people in your community to animal rights issues. IDA’s popular Occupy Compassion cards are being distributed at Occupy events all over the world. Contact us for free cards to hand out at your Occupy protest anywhere in the U.S. If you are outside the U.S., a donation to offset mailing costs would be appreciated. For more information or to request Occupy Compassion cards, contact hope@idausa.org.

It’s a nice start, but I’d love to see a more strongly worded vegan message. Or, um, a vegan message, period. Maybe someone could make that happen? With a link to www.govegannow.com, perhaps? Uncompromising vegan url is uncompromising.

Buy ALL the things!

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

2012-03-14 - Goodies from Food Fight - 0026

Can I just tell y’all how much I love this “Support Your Local Vegan Grocery” tote from Food Fight? (If only I had a local vegan grocery to support!) Most totes tend toward the dinky, especially for grocery shopping purposes, but this thing is ginormous! Bigger even than the VegNews tote the mag gives out with 3-year subscriptions. And it’s make out of recycle plastic bottles to boot!

As you can see, I snagged it – along with a box full of vegan goodies – during the Emergency Turlock Hen Rescue Benefit Day. Speaking of, Animal Place is selling a special “fancy pants” poster to help raise funds for the 1,000 hens who are still staying with them. Designed by Sharie Lesniak in the Shepard Fairey style (is that a thing?), the poster features a lovely white, red, and blue hen under the heading “ADOPT.”

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It’s super-cute (and yes, I bought one for my own bad self. Along with a tee!)

(More below the fold…)

Got those red state blues.

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Blue Girl

More like “Green Girl, Red State.” CC image via DieselDemon on Flickr.
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Perhaps the greatest downside to living in a rural area, and particularly a rural area in an already red state? Knowing that you’ve not a snowball’s chance in hell of electing a politician who even approximates your values and beliefs. “Approximates,” not “shares” – I hold enough unpopular opinions to know that I’ll never live to see a politician on the state or federal level with whom I see eye to on most issues, not even if I up and move to San Francisco. That said, I don’t expect to be outright insulted for my beliefs when contacting an elected representative, in a polite and respectful manner, about pending legislation.

What follows is an email exchange I had with my state House Representative, Glen Klippenstein (R-MO, 5th District), about Missouri House Bill 1860, our state’s answer to the increasing popularity of “ag gag” bills. (Check out Will Potter’s excellent coverage of this and other forms of activist repression at Green is the New Red.) I was responding to an action alert sent out by PETA; usually I edit form letters, both to personalize them and to scrub them of any speciesism (distressingly common in form letters from enviro groups), but at the state level I’m fairly certain that mine is the only copy my representatives will receive. (Though in retrospect, I really should have replaced the link to meat.org with a different resource. No matter how unfair and undeserved the reputation, referring to a website run by what’s widely regarded as a “radical extremist” group really isn’t the best choice. That and I’d rather not be associated with them in any way, shape, or form, thankyouverymuch.)

As a conservative Republican and cattle breeder (GlenKirk Farms “has sold cattle, semen, and embryos across America and worldwide” – so much for protecting the unborn!) who has served as chairman of the National Beef Promotion and Research Board, I wasn’t expecting a particularly sympathetic ear from Rep. Klippenstein. That said.

 
 

—–Original Message—–
From: Advocate [mailto:advocate@animalactivist.com] On Behalf Of Kelly Garbato
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:25 AM
To: Glen Klippenstein
Subject: Please Oppose H.B. 1860

Apr 19, 2012

Representative Glen Klippenstein
State Capitol, Room 410A
201 West Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Dear Representative Klippenstein,

I am writing as your constituent to urge you to oppose House Bill
(H.B.) 1860. This bill, which would make it a crime to photograph or record video or sound of a farm without the farm owner’s consent, is a clear attempt to prevent the public from learning about the routine cruelty that takes place on factory farms. If signed into law, it would infringe on citizens’ rights to expose cruelty to animals.

Past investigations of factory farms resulted in criminal convictions of farm managers and workers found beating, sexually abusing, stomping on, kicking, and throwing animals. To watch the video footage and see why it is so important that citizens retain their freedom to document crimes against animals on factory farms and relay the evidence to law-enforcement authorities, please visit Meat.org.

Please don’t let the farming industry hide behind closed doors: Oppose H.B. 1860.

Thank you for your attention and for all that you do for Missourians.

Sincerely,

Ms. Kelly Garbato
[Address removed]

 
 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Glen.Klippenstein@house.mo.gov
Date: Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 9:24 AM
Subject: RE: Please Oppose H.B. 1860
To: kelly.garbato@gmail.com

Kelly,
To say that this legislation is a clear attempt to prevent the public from learning about the routine cruelty that takes place on factory farms, shows extraordinary contempt for the vast majority of honorable people that actually know the real story and feed you.

Thank you for your e-mail.

Glen
Rep. Glen Klippenstein
5th District

 
 
(More below the fold…)

Tell them stories! Also: vegan experts needed, VegListings, and shopping vegan on etsy.

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Emma loves her Papa

Emma loves her papa!
CC image via flickr user Vegan Flower (Molly!).
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Hey there lovely people! I have a homework assignment for the dog people in the audience. Don’t worry, it’s short and kind of sweet and won’t distract from your holiday festivities. Dr. Frank McMillan at Best Friends Animal Society is studying human-nonhuman bonding and, as part of his background research, is soliciting stories of love and devotion from those who share their lives with dogs. How do you know that your dog friend loves you? The answer can be short or long-form, simple or multifaceted. Just TELL HIM STORIES! (Always quote His Dark Materials. ALWAYS!)

Here’s the call for submissions, which appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of Best Friends magazine:

BEST FRIENDS NEEDS YOUR HELP

If you have a dog who expresses love toward you, we would like to hear your story.

In a very special new study, we are looking in-depth at the emotions of bonding and affection – love – shown by dogs toward their human companions. For background research, we would like to collect stories of dogs’ expressions of love. The story could be about a single incident of your dog’s show of love and devotion, or the ways your dog demonstrates love within your overall relationship. It could simply be an answer to the question: How do you know your dog loves you? If you would like to share your story, please email it to Dr. Frank McMillan at dr.frank@bestfriends.org.

You may recall that I’ve written about Dr. McMillan’s research previously in this here space; see, e.g. Scientists, Poets, Changemakers and Heroes (Volunteer Opportunities & Action Alerts). (Wow, has it been two years already?) Participating in vegan-friendly research projects such as this is an awesome and fun way to contribute to science. And easy, too!

Dr. McMillan posts notices of current research opportunities in Best Friends magazine, which comes “free” with a $25 donation to Best Friends. (We made a donation in Ozzy’s name for their annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony.) In the future, I’ll try to relay new notices as quickly as possible, for those who don’t get the magazine. Forgetting is easy, since a) I tend to let my subscription lapse and b) the notices are somewhat inconspicuous and easy to miss! But I’ll do better, I promise. This stuff is important, yo!

While we’re doing the bulletin board thing, joyful vegan goddess Colleen Patrick-Goudreau recently posted this notice on her FB page:

Call for vegan experts: I’m building a directory of everything from vegan wellness practitioners (chiropractors, acupuncturists, dietitians, naturopaths, nutritionists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, massage therapists, veterinarians) to vegan cooking class instructor and chefs. Wherever you are, if you are vegan and fall into any of the first categories, please email lisa@compassionatecooks.com so we can include you. If you teach cooking classes or have a catering company or are a personal chef, please email colleendavis@compassionatecooks.com. We need the city and state your in, your name, and your website! PLEASE PASS IT ON!

Also, VegListings is a newish directory for vegetarian and vegan businesses; it might come in handy for shoppers as well as business owners, especially with the holidays fast approaching! In the past I’ve put together social justice-themed buying guides; this year, I briefly considered compiling a list of vegan shops on etsy (love me some etsy!) – and then I stumbled upon the Vegan Etsy Team page, making my idea seem redundant.

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…and I hope you will too!

So go, browse, buy (if you can). If not, maybe you’ll be inspired to give gifts crafted by your own two hands this holiday season. It’s fun!

(Image via Herbivore, by way of Vegan Etsy.)

Update, 4/9/12: Due to a recent negative experience on the site, I’m afraid that I can no longer recommend etsy to my friends, family, and readers (and ESPECIALLY not for expensive and/or custom orders!). While the majority of transactions do go smoothly, don’t expect any help from etsy’s customer service on those rare occasions when you have a problem with a seller. Seriously, they were a nightmare to work with – worse even than the seller who never delivered on my custom order, even after six months of haggling.

That said, I still love and support the many vegan storefronts on etsy, and will continue patronizing those that have a presence elsewhere on the web.

Vegan Pizza Takes Over the World!

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Vegan Pizza Takes Over the World

 
What follows is the most delicious action alert I’ve ever received from In Defense of Animals. In honor of World Go Vegan Week, IDA and Daiya want to team up with you (yeah, you!) to spread the cheesy vegan pizza love! Help persuade your local pizzeria to offer a vegan pie for World Go Vegan Week … and beyond! (Vegan Pizza Day is just a few months later, yo!) All the vegan pizza will be ours! Muahahaha!

By the by, Vegan Pizza Takes Over the World? NEEDS TO BE A COOKBOOK LIKE NOW! Make it happen, crafty chef peoples!
 

Vegan Cheese (Portland, Oregon)

 
World Go Vegan Week Begins October 24, 2011

Vegan Pizza Takes Over the World!

World Go Vegan Week (October 24 – 31) is a celebration of compassion, and a time to take action for animals, the environment, world hunger, and everyone’s well-being. This year is going to be extra special … and extra cheesy! We want to help make it even easier to be vegan, and what better way than being able to order a quick and easy pizza – with delicious vegan Daiya cheese.

You can help with just a few minutes of your time by reaching out to your local pizzeria and asking them to offer a vegan pizza. Our goal is to make eating vegan simple, fun, and accessible to every community. One of the best aspects of restaurant outreach is that a single person can make a direct and lasting difference for animals.

What you can do:

Please contact your local pizza shop and ask them to offer a vegan pizza for the week of World Go Vegan Week. Our partners at Daiya cheese have offered to provide a free sample of Daiya cheese for the pizza shop to try. Daiya cheese melts, stretches, and tastes just like traditional dairy-based cheese.

We will provide you with a letter and tips on how to approach the pizzerias. Remember, all it takes is one person to make a major difference in changing everyday restaurants into vegan-friendly havens.

To be part of spreading the vegan pizza love in your community, contact Hope Bohanec: hope@idausa.org 415-448-0058 or 707-540-1760.

Vegan pizza outreach not your cup of tea? There are many other ways to celebrate with us! Click here for other ideas to promote World Go Vegan Week.

New to veganism? Click here to order a Vegan Starter Kit.

 

veganmofo 2011 - vegan pizza takes over the world

Vegan pizza montage, bitches!
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(More below the fold…)

Disaster Relief in Japan: Animal Rescue & Vegan/Animal-Friendly Resources

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Last updated on 4/18/11 @ 11:15 AM CDT.

Jump to:

1. Introduction / Choosing a Charity
2. Human-Centered Disaster Relief, Vegan & Non
3. Animal Rescue & Disaster Relief
4. Vegan Fundraisers
5. Armchair Activism
6. News & (Somewhat Vegan) Views
7. Newsletters & Dispatches

 

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Before and after the quake, Arahama in Sendai. This image shows one continuous landscape across the rectangle–at center, see the roadway sloping slightly upward from left to right across the black bar. In the original, dynamic version of this image, the black bar can be scrolled left and right across the landscape.
Credits: Google, ABC, GeoEye
Source: cnet.com
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It’s a startling picture of how dramatic and destructive Friday’s massive earthquake actually was.

The quake, which has upgraded to a magnitude 9.0 by the Japan Meteorological Agency, may have shifted the position of Earth’s axis about 6.5 inches, Richard Gross, a geophysicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told the Los Angeles Times. The quake likely sped up the Earth’s rotation, shortening the day by 1.8 microseconds, Gross said. Also, the main island of Japan appears to have moved 8 feet, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey told CNN.

To help illustrate the damaging power of the quake and the ensuing tsunami, Google has compiled a collection of high-resolution before-and-after satellite images that depict the areas affected most by the devastation.

“We’re working to provide this data directly to response organizations on the ground to aid their efforts,” Ryan Falor, Google Crisis Response team, said in a Google Lat Long Blog post. “We hope this new updated satellite imagery is valuable for them as well as everyone else following this situation to help illustrate the extent of the damage.”

ABC News has created a presentation of the images, overlaying the before and after images for each specific area for a more immediate representation of the quake and tsunami’s devastating effects.

(Source: cnet.com)

(More below the fold…)

2011 Brazil Mudslides: Animal Rescue & Vegan Relief Resources

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Last updated on 3/14/11 @ 2:00 PM CDT.

Região Serrana 05 fevereiro 2011

Care for animals brought in by residents. © WSPA Brasil

Partnership between WSPA and UNIFESO mobilizes people to treat animals in the mountainous region: A stand of veterinary care will open this Saturday 05/02, to meet animals, victims of floods which have battered the mountainous region. Read more…
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Between the brush fires and flooding in Australia and the flash floods and landslides in Brazil, the world has seen at least several large-scale “natural” disasters in recent months – though consumers of mainstream media may be none the wiser. As with the 2010 floods in Pakistan, these emergencies have received little coverage (at least in the United States), including from animal advocacy corners.

Perhaps it’s due to “compassion fatigue” in the wake of the earthquakes in Haiti, which sparked an outpouring of support. (If not structural, but still.) I’d like to believe that, as far as fellow animal advocates are concerned, the silence is attributable to a simple lack of news to report. At least, this has been the case ’round these parts; aside from the stray plea for donations, I haven’t seen much in response to more recent disaster situations.

When I received Kinship Circle’s latest newsletter, reporting that it – in partnership with IDA – was on the ground in Brazil, providing disaster relief to the nonhuman victims of the floods and mudslides, I figured it was high time to write about the relief efforts currently underway in Brazil. Though I spent much of the morning combing through the websites of well-known animal welfare groups – including many of those that responded to previous disasters – I was only able to find a few that are currently providing aid in Brazil.

The most pressing need, of course, is for monetary donations. Please give what you can. Long-term, volunteers – bodies on the ground – are essential to providing emergency assistance as well. To this end, please also consider getting involved with an animal advocacy group that specializes in disaster response. If you live in the U.S., Kinship Circle is a good start; check out its Disaster Responder Volunteer Form for more info.

In you know of any other resources, please share! You can either email me at easyvegan [at] gmail.com, or leave in it the comments section, and I’ll tackle it it asap. Please and thank you.

Also, I’d like to remind y’all that I continue to update previous disaster hubs periodically, as new information becomes available. These include: the 2010 Pakistan Floods; the 2010 BP Oil Spill; the 2010 Earthquake in Chile; and the 2010 Earthquakes in Haiti. Additionally, I still maintain a disaster relief archive – dating back to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – over at my old blog, Smite Me! (See: Disaster Relief.) All relevant newsletters are crossposted there as well.

 

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Aerial view of damages in Poco Fundo, an isolated area in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jan. 18, 2011. (Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)
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1. Animal Rescue & Vegan Relief at a Glance

Here’s a quick roundup of the animal welfare, animal rights, and vegan groups that are either 1) directly assisting with animal rescue efforts in Brazil or 2) collecting and distributing funds to those that providing aid in the region. Please note that some of these groups may focus on “saving” farmed and working animals so that they can be further exploited in the future – and let your own ethics guide you in your decision to donate.

  • Kinship Circle and In Defense of Animals (IDA), two animal advocacy groups based in the United States, are working together to provide

    search and rescue services, veterinary treatment, including spaying and neutering, and other needed assistance. The goal, as in the aftermath of the 2010 Chile earthquake and tsunami, is to work within the structure of Brazilian agencies and bring together human, technical, and material resources.

    Both groups are experienced in disaster response and animal rescue efforts, with Kinship Circle in particular focusing disaster relief as a core mission. Kinship Circle and IDA deployed volunteers to Brazil in the weeks following the flash floods and mudslides. You can follow their progress on Kinship Circle’s website, with a special page dedicated to the campaign here: Brazil Floods & Mudslides – Field Notes. (IDA maintains an Animals in Disasters blog, but it hasn’t been updated since November ’10.) Both groups have a special nonhuman disaster relief fund to which you can donate: Kinship Circle (select “ANIMAL DISASTER AID FUND”) and IDA.

  • With an already-established presence in the region, Sociedade Mundial de Proteção Animal / World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) Brazil is engaging in direct, on-the-ground disaster relief. On its Animals in Disasters blog, the WSPA reports that, in conjunction with local university UNIFESO, it

    opened an operations centre to co-ordinate assistance to animal victims.

    The centre, situated in the worst-hit town of Teresópolis, opened on 27th January to respond to the essential emergency needs of dogs and cats, the animals most affected by the recent flooding. The centre is now holding 12 tons of dog food and one ton of cat food, as well as veterinary and other essential supplies, to be distributed according to the needs identifed by WSPA in its assesment following the disaster.

    The centre’s response team is being co-ordinated by Dr. Sérgio Vasquez, a specialist in disaster management from WSPA’s Central America, Mexico and Caribbean office. The team comprises members of WSPA Brazil and the director of a Brazilian member society, Ecosul, which co-ordinated relief in the state of Santa Catarina in 2009, as well as a profesor from UNIFESO.

    Additionally,

    In Rio’s floods and mudslides, local member societies SOS Animal, GAPA, AnimaVida and COMBINA all had animal shelters or other facilities in the disaster zone, and were able to respond initially, with the help of donations sent to WSPA Brazil. These organisations will continue to be involved as part of a WSPA-coordinated emergency response, which will focus on immediately providing food, and medical treatment. In the ensuing recovery period, WSPA will continue to co-ordinate such efforts, provide necessary shelter if required, and also engage local authorities and citizens in future preparedness for such disasters.

    The Animals in Disasters blog features a donation button for the WSPA’s Animal Disaster Fund, but the link is expired. It seems that the only way to make a donation at this time is through the WSPA’s general donation page.

    For continuing coverage, follow WSPA Brazil, as well as its Flickr feed (this set in particular: Animais em Desastres – WSPA – Região Serrana RJ – Janeiro 2010).

  • Of those groups mentioned above, I was only able to find a web presence for AnimaVida. You can read about its partnership with the WSPA here.

    At this time, AnimaVida is only able to take donations through bank deposit:

    Favorecido: AnimaVida Favored: animatable
    CNPJ: 05.855.112/0001-48 CNPJ: 05.855.112/0001-48
    Banco: 237 – BRADESCO Bank: 237 – Bradesco
    Agência: 3403-7 Agency: 3403-7
    Conta: 0041745-9 Account: 0041745-9

  • Food for Life Global (FFLG), which distributes free vegan/vegetarian meals to those in need worldwide (among other things), does not currently list the 2011 Brazil floods as one of its emergency relief programs. However, it does support a food distribution project in Rio de Janeiro.

    (More below the fold…)

  • Thank dog it’s Friday Food!

    Friday, November 5th, 2010

    As promised, today I bring you a monster link roundup of all the yummy recipes I bookmarked with delicious during the past week. Though the series title is shamelessly lifted (“borrowed”) from Stephanie, this Friday Food is different in that it includes recipes published at any time in the history of the intertubes. I do a lot of browsing and surfing – even more so given the massive Vegan MoFo blogroll and RSS feed bundle – and thus, not a little backtracking. Most of these recipes are newish – many posted just for Vegan MoFo – but don’t be surprised if you stumble upon one from 1999. In which case, par-tay like – well, you know the drill.

    And also, I am a junk food junkie. Judging from the unhealthy bent of this list, even more so than I realized. Problems, I got ’em. Sigh. So many sweets, so little time.

     

    Chocolate-coconut truffles (recipe here). CC image via floridecires on Flickr.
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    Food, delicious food!

    Homemade Tofurkey with Brown Rice Stuffing Recipe from Chow, by way of vegansaurus!

    White Trash Tater Tot Casserole with Daiya, Mac ‘n Teese® Cheese Casserole, and Cranberry Apple Crisp with Maple Syrup from SnarkyVegan

    Blueberry and Earl Grey Scones from Cookin’ Vegan & Jessica @VeganFood

    Vegan Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Relish from Veggie Terrain

    Vegan Sweet Potato Naan from Cook’s Hideout

    Kelly Beth’s Vegan Deviled Eggs (a.k.a. Potato Angels) from Vegan Etsy

    Chocolate Coconut Truffles (above) from Veggie Wedgie

    Super Fudgy Brownies (AKA Crusty Fudge) and Chocolate Viennese Whirls from Not a Rabbit

    Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse, Berry Compote and Almond Milk Ice Cream and Fried Lemon Pie and Salted Caramel Ice Cream from vegansaurus! (and Project Just Desserts guest-chefs Melisser and Bianca)

    Black Bean and Chipotle Dip from Wednesday Food Blogging

    (More below the fold…)

    2010 Pakistan Floods: Animal Rescue & Vegan Relief Resources

    Monday, August 30th, 2010

    Last updated on 8/31/10 @ 12:00 PM CDT.

    Got a tip, link, suggestion, etc. that you think I should incorporate into the list? Send it to me at easyvegan [at] gmail.com, or leave in it the comments section, and I’ll tackle it it asap. Please and thank you!
     

    Pakistan floods

    “Pakistan Floods: Displaced people fleeing Sindh streamed into Balochistan.”
    CC image via the United Nations Development Programme on Flickr and is attributed to ©Abdul Majeed Goraya_IRIN.
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    1. Animal Rescue & Vegan Relief at a Glance

    Here’s a quick roundup of the animal welfare, animal rights, and vegan groups that are either 1) directly assisting with animal rescue efforts in Pakistan or 2) collecting and distributing funds to those that providing aid in the region. Please note that a number of these groups seem to focus on “saving” farmed and working animals so that they can be further exploited in the future – and let your own ethics guide you in your decision to donate.

  • Food for Life Global (FFLG), which distributes free vegan/vegetarian meals to those in need worldwide (among other things), is partnering with affiliates in Pakistan and India to

    mobiliz[e] teams to provide meals to survivors of the recent floods in Pakistan. […] The Food for Life Pakistan Relief Team will focus on poor, minority groups who have lost their homes.

    Areas of focus include:

    Sindh Areas: Hyderabad, Khairpur, Sukkur, Gambt, Shikarpur, Larkana, Rato, Dero, Mirpur.

    Punjab Areas: Kand kut, Kambr, Karmpur, Gunspur, Gutki, Khan Garr, Khan Pur Mehr, Sultan Kut, Sehdad Kut.

    Food for Life Pakistan Relief Team will also try to collaborate with other NGOs, namely, the Swami Narayan Welfare Temple and Trust and the Pakistan Hindu Council.

    You can follow its progress here, or make a donation via the PayPal button on the main page of its website.

  • The Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is on the ground and aiding in animal rescue efforts. An 8/31 update reads:

    August 29, 2010: The Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), in collaboration with the Karachi Animal Hospital, organized a relief mission to Thatta and Makli in Sindh to provide veterinary treatment to the flood’s animal victims. […]

    Once at the EDO’s office, Zahid Hussain Jalbani, Site Manager WWF Makli, introduced us to Vickio Chohan, EDO Agriculture, Thatta, and Dr. Qaisar Jatoi, District Officer Livestock, Thatta. They inform us there are approximately 300,000 small and large animals around Makli for which there is an extreme shortage of fodder. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture estimates 3.6 million hectares of standing crops have been damaged or destroyed, and fodder for the animals has been either washed away or damaged by silt. With so much of farmland inundated by floodwaters, both people and animals have lost a vital source of food.

    After the updates by the local officials, we spent the rest of the day providing veterinary treatment to injured or sick buffaloes, cows, goats and other animals in the Thatta – Makli area. WWF arranged for two volunteers who led the way on a motorbike. People seemed pleased to see us and eagerly pointed out the injured or sick animals in their vicinity. They were extremely grateful to us for providing much needed veterinary relief to their animals, as they cannot afford to lose even one of them. A few even brought their dogs over for a checkup.

    You can follow PAWS’s progress on its blog, which is updated almost daily. Donation information is available here. PAWS has also compiled its own list of animal rescue groups working in the area.

  • The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore has deployed a special animal rescue team, comprised of UVAS students and staff members, into flooded areas in order to help provide medical assistance to affected animals. You can learn more here.
  • The Sindh Rural Support Organization (SRSO) (through its Livestock Relief Project) is “providing support for the livestock in the flood affected zone by using its veterinary doctors fully equipped with medicines and necessary equipments,” as well as providing assistance to humans affected by the disaster. You can learn more via its daily flood relief reports.
  • With a presence in the area, the Pakistan chapter of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been personally impacted by the flooding, with several offices under water. The group reports, “in these places [that have been flooded] we have suspended our regular work and are rescuing as many people as we possibly can.” You can follow events as they unfold here, or make a donation here.
  • The Brooke – a UK-based “international non-governmental organisation dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules through direct veterinary treatment and community programmes around animal health and well-being” – is collecting funds to provide food, water and vaccinations to approximately 5,000 “working animals” in the area. You can learn more here, or make a donation here.
  • The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) reports that it is “is partnering with Vets Care Club, a group of veterinary students and staff from the University of Veterinary and Animal Science in Lahore to provide feed to cows, buffalos, goats and sheep in the Layyah District, Punjab. Your donation will be used to buy nutritionally-balanced feed for animals who will most likely otherwise starve as their owners cannot afford to buy them fodder. This region has 252 farmers with 4,458 animals.” You can make a (general?) donation here.
  • The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is currently “working with a local animal and humanitarian relief agency to feed starving animals. We are closely monitoring development to see how else we can help, and have reached out to other international animal aid organizations to see how we can best work together to help Pakistan’s animals.” You can track the IFAW’s progress on its Animal Rescue Blog, or make a general (?) donation here.
  • As of 8/9/10, Humane Society International (HSI) reports that it has “connected with WSPA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to learn how we can best assist in responding to this crisis. We are reaching out to our local and government contacts in Pakistan, and will know more about our ability to help in the upcoming days.” You can make a general donation to its emergency response fund here.
  • Last but not least, Kinship Circle is providing information about animal rescue groups operating in the area. (See below for crossposted alerts.)
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    Meet Jasper, Sasha, Filipe, Teddy, Amigo and Pancho…and the Farm Animal Adoption Network!

    Saturday, June 19th, 2010

    Back in March, Farm Sanctuary came to the rescue of six calves who were left to starve at a farm in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Some were left tethered to a tractor, while others were found locked in a garage; all were abandoned by their “owner.”* Most likely castoffs of the dairy industry, the calves were weak, frail and sickly and required immediate medical care:

    After learning about the suffering calves, Farm Sanctuary immediately launched a rescue effort, and staff drove to pick up the calves halfway between the Pennsylvania farm and our New York Shelter. The calves we greeted were a terrible sight. Their eyes were sunken in from severe dehydration, and they were pale, coughing and extremely weak. They were fighting life-threatening infections, and most were unable to stand on their own. Four of the calves weighed less than they would have at birth, and their prognosis looked grim. Medical care was urgently needed to stabilize the calves, so our rescue team rushed them to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals for critical emergency care.

    The following weeks were filled with constant care and anxious waiting as these sickly calves struggled to become well. But slowly, their fragile, battered bodies began to heal, and, in time, each came home from the hospital.

    Though their lives began in violence and suffering, these babies are now safe, valued and loved. And in need of a forever home!: Farm Sanctuary is currently looking for one or more individuals to adopt dear Jasper, Sasha, Filipe, Teddy, Amigo and Pancho – as well as Vito and Clancy, two young Holstein steers who managed to escape from their captors before finding Farm Sanctuary. Thanks to Farm Sanctuary (as well as the Hillside SPCA and an anonymous tipster), these someones now have names whereas only numbers hinted at their unique, individual identities before. They are so much more than cogs in a capitalist machine, or producers of milk and flesh. They are sons, brothers, friends.

    If you are willing and able to adopt any of these sweethearts (all of whom must be rehomed in pairs), you can find contact information and addition details here.

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    The 2010 Chilean Earthquake: The Forgotten Disaster?

    Monday, June 7th, 2010

    In a recent plea for donations, Kinship Circle wondered whether the earthquake (and resulting tsunami) in Chile has become “the forgotten disaster” – in a year filled with both natural and man-made catastrophes:

    IS CHILE THE FORGOTTEN DISASTER? May, 2010: An evacuee camp in Talquahano wants to kill all its companion animals. People who lost everything in an 8.8 earthquake and tsunami can’t feed themselves. They don’t want to watch their animals starve.

    Kinship Circle and SACH intervene with food and veterinary aid. But without more funding, we can’t possibly meet the needs of 30 tent camps along Chile’s coast. We run out of sutures, latex gloves… At times we can’t afford the van rental to ferry our team, vet supplies and food.

    Still, we can’t let despair propel Chileans to shoot their own animals. This speaks volumes about Chile’s quake/tsunami victims…and how the world seems to have forgotten them. People assume they can recover on their own. They’re wrong, especially when it comes to animals.

    WHY IS THIS URGENT AND WHOM WILL IT HELP? Homeless guardians are unable to supply food or medicine to their animals. In the short term, animals require treatment for gashes, broken bones, lost limbs, dehydration, mange, worms, parasites or other illness. In the longer term, they need vaccines, nutrition and sterilization. Pre-quake strays with mange, malnutrition, infection…blend with animals stranded by disaster. The are scattered by the thousands along quake/tsunami torn towns like Villa Futura, Santa Clara Talchuano, Calita il Fiernillo, and Calita Los Morros, etc.

    Preceded by the Haitian earthquake and followed by the BP oil “spill,” the Chilean earthquake hasn’t garnered as much attention as it might have otherwise. Indeed, though I compiled link roundups for all three disasters, the Chilean post has attracted the least traffic of the three, with views falling quickly mere weeks after the earthquake. Currently, the Haitian post receives x5 as many views as its Chilean counterpart, even though it’s two months older. Likewise (and outside of my own little slice of the interwebs), I cannot remember the last time I saw coverage of the earthquake in Chile on CNN, MSNBC, or the like. (Possibly not more than a week or two after the disaster struck?)

    All of which isn’t to suggest that the survivors in Haiti and the Gulf Coast are not deserving of your support; not at all! Since most of us have limited funds and time, picking and choosing a cause or two to donate to can be a difficult, heartbreaking task. But if you have a little extra cash to spare, please consider sending it to help the survivors in Chile who have been hit doubly hard – first by the earthquake and tsunami, and later by donor fatigue.

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    PETA promised me "10 Reasons Why [I] Should Go Naked for PETA"

    Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

    …and all I got was this stupid email.

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    Gazing at her laptop, loldog is not amused. The caption on this deMotivational poster reads, “EMAIL: Taking all the fun out of attacking a real live mailman.” Image via I Has A Hot Dog! (FWIW, I was tempted to use a PETA-themed deMotivational poster, but couldn’t stomach the sexism and speciesism. They are, however, a good example of what PETA’s nude campaigns really accomplish, particularly among the male demographic advertisers so covet.)
    ——————————

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: PETA UK
    Date: Wed, May 19, 2010 at 5:36 AM
    Subject: 10 Reasons Why You Should Go Naked for PETA

    Dear Friend,

    PETA US launched its “Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign with the help of the popular rock band The Go-Go’s in 1991 in order to raise awareness of the millions of animals who are trapped, drowned, beaten and electrocuted for their fur. Since then, thousands of compassionate people have bared their bodies for PETA and its affiliates all over the world to help animals in need.

    Now you can speak up for animals by participating in PETA campaigns in your area. Just send us an e-mail and attach your photo and contact details for a chance to take part and help save animals!

    Animals always need more lovely ladies and gorgeous guys who can draw attention to our campaigns by dressing up as Lettuce Ladies, Broccoli Boys and Shower Guys/Girls and handing out vegetarian food at public events; by participating in our iconic protests; or by taking part in the many other eyebrow-and consciousness-raising events that we coordinate in order to promote animal rights!

    Have a Flickr account? Check out some of the people who have volunteered for PETA’s and PETA’s affiliates’ demonstrations!

    Ready to get started? Join the likes of Pamela Anderson, Alicia Silverstone and countless others by e-mailing us today and sending us a photo of yourself with your details. We’ll contact you the next time we need someone in your area to bare some skin to help save animals’ skins.

    Please be sure to read our terms of submission before sending us your photo.

    Sincerely,

    PETA

    ############

    [All emphases and links are PETA’s.]

    A few initial thoughts:

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    BP Oil "Spill": Animal Rescue, Disaster Relief, Action Alerts & Vegan Views

    Thursday, May 13th, 2010

    Last updated 4/20/11 @ 11:00 AM CDT.


     
     
    As with the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, I’ve decided to create a single blog post which will act as a sort of “hub” where I’ll post information, action alerts, newsletters, etc. related to the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Given that President Obama intends to push forward with previously announced plans to expand offshore drilling, there’s a special emphasis on action alerts that address fossil fuels and/or their place in proposed climate change legislation. Where appropriate, I’ve also included information on what you can do to help meet immediate disaster relief needs in the Gulf Coast region.
     
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    Bitches, Zines & Lending Libraries – and Women, Food & Consumption (Oh my!)

    Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

    2007-01-27 - Books! (and stuff) - 0013

    Kaylee can’t decide between Jane Goodall’s The Chimpanzees of Gombe and Owen & Chiras’s Natural Resource Conservation, sixth ed. What’s a gal to do!? CC image via ME on Flickr.
    ——————————

    Vegans, feminists and (especially) vegan feminists, listen up! Via Bitch Media and MP: An Online Feminist Journal come two shiny opportunities to contribute to feminist projects – and advocate for your nonhuman sisters at the same time!

    First up: Bitch Media, which recently established a Community Lending Library in Portland. Currently boasting over 1,000 books, the project welcomes donations of feminist titles. Seeing as animal advocacy oftentimes dovetails with feminism, the Lending Library is a great way to get animal rights books into the hands of non-veg feminists. So if you’ve got a spare copy of The Sexual Politics of Meat or Sistah Vegan gathering dust on your bookshelf, why not donate it to this totally rad community project? (Those with BookMooch or similar accounts can also swap books to donate directly to the library…by which I mean “ship to,” as Bitch isn’t currently listed as a member/charity on BookMooch.)

    But wait! There’s more! In its latest newsletter, Bitch announced that it would also like to build up its zine collection. Woman, feminist and/or vegan zinesters, read on for details on how to get a copy of your own zines (or your favorite zines) onto the shelves of Bitch. (Peace to All Creatures, anyone?)

    Biblio-Bitches Rejoice! Zinesters Unite!

    The Bitch Community Lending Library is open and ready for new and returning card holders to drop by. Open from 5-8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Monday-Friday by appointment, you will have a chance to browse more than 1,000 titles of feminist literature, research and writing (and maybe even take a few home?). You can also take the time to meet Bitch’s library coordinator, Ashley McAllister, who has been hard at work adding new titles, filling the shelves and familiarizing herself with the subtleties of issuing cards.

    One of the first things that Ashley wants to do in the library is start a collection of reader-donated zines. Bitch started its life as a zine and will always have a soft spot for the format, so we’re excited to honor self-publishing by creating a dedicated space for zines in our lending library. We’re adding a zine library to the 1,000-plus books already in our collection, and excited to share the breadth of self-published materials with our members.

    If you’re either a zinemaker yourself or have a zine collection that you’re looking to either pare down or donate entirely, let us know! We’re looking for zines made by and for feminist thinkers, activists, and fans, though they don’t have to be “grrrl zines” per se. Whether your zines were Xeroxed back in 1992 or just last month, we’d love to have them. If you’ve got a large collection that you want to ship to us, please contact Ashley McAllister at ashley [at] b-word.org. Otherwise, just write “zine donation” on your envelope. And look for upcoming blog posts featuring zines that show up in our mailbox!

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    "…the true nature of a pigeon shooter."

    Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

    At a February 20, 2010 pigeon shoot at the infamous Philadelphia Gun Club, […] a member of the Club viciously yelled at two female activists saying, “Go fuck yourself you rotten cunt!”

    SHARK discovered that the assailant was Richard Shackleton and that he was town attorney for Long Beach Township, NJ. At the April 9th Long Beach Township committee meeting, we confronted him about what he had done.

    What he said was shocking: “I’m happy to say that, what I said, I meant every word of it.”

    When offered a chance to apologize he said, “Absolutely not.”

    At this point, Shackleton had compounded upon his original insult by taking pride in hurting his victims. And again, during a television newscast, he refused to apologize for his vile comments.

    Referring to his despicable use of the “c” word, Shackleton said: “I think that’s what she is and I think she deserved it.”

    Quite possibly you’ve already heard about Richard Shackleton, a pigeon shooter and solicitor for Long Beach Township, New Jersey, who hurled gendered slurs at two female activists – and then, when confronted by SHARK members at a Long Beach Township committee meeting, refused to apologize for the comments? No? Then keep reading for SHARK’s ongoing reports on the situation, complete with links to recent media coverage and opportunities to take action.

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    No Kill Advocacy Center: Free Copies of Irreconcilable Differences to Elected Officials

    Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

    Irreconcilable Differences, Nathan Winograd (2009)

    Last year, Nathan Winograd and the No Kill Advocacy Center offered up free copies of Winograd’s book Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America to any elected official who requested one. Since then, Winograd has released Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart & Soul of America’s Animal Shelters, an anthology of essays related to animal rescue and the no-kill movement. As with Redemption, elected officials can receive a copy, free of charge.

    The details and fine print:

    The No Kill Advocacy Center is offering free copies of Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart & Soul of America’s Animal Shelters to any elected official.

    We need to change the way shelters operate and our director is willing to pay for it! He has generously donated “as many copies as it takes” of his award-winning book to get City Council Members, Members of the Board of Supervisors, Mayors, Assemblymen, Senators, County Commissioners, or any elected official to read it. All they have to do is ask for it.

    If we receive a letter on official stationary from them asking for a copy, we’ll send it free, no strings attached.

    Limitations:

    1. Letter must be postmarked by April 30, 2010 and sent to our address.
    2. Request must be on official stationary (No e-mails, telephone calls, or third-party requests).
    3. One book per letter and per elected official.
    4. This offer is only valid for elected officials in the U.S.
    5. There are no exceptions or extensions.

    Please let your elected officials know about this opportunity. A leader in the no-kill movement and a vegan, Winograd is a fierce and outspoken champion of nonhuman animals – of all species.

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    Earthquake in Chile: Some 700,000 Animals May Be Affected

    Saturday, March 6th, 2010

    Last updated 7/5/10 @ 8:20 PM CDT

    While the recent earthquake (and resulting tsunami) in Chile has received less coverage – at least in regards to subsequent relief efforts – than that in Haiti, I was able to find some information on animal-friendly organizations that are providing help with disaster relief. Please feel free to share any additional information in the comments!

    1. Vegan Bake Sales for Chile: As of this writing, I can’t find a post dedicated specifically to vegan bake sales to benefit Chilean quake survivors on the PPK blog, however, a search of the forums does bring up a few relevant threads. Head on over to the PPK to organize and announce your own bake sale for Chile!

    2. Food for Life Global is on the ground in Chile, providing vegan and/or vegetarian meals to quake survivors:

    BBC, Feb 28 — The death toll from Chile’s earthquake has more than doubled to 708 and is expected to rise further, President Michelle Bachelet has said. Previously about 300 people were estimated to have been killed in Saturday’s 8.8 magnitude quake – one of the most powerful recorded. Massive damage is hampering rescue teams as they struggle to reach those still buried in the rubble.

    Food for Life emergency relief teams in the area are mobilizing to provide help. Donate now!

    3. In Defense of Animals (IDA) reported on 3/18/10 that it will be sending aid to Chile:

    On February 27, Chile experienced a magnitude 8.8 earthquake, followed by two tsunamis and several weeks of aftershocks.

    IDA has already committed $5,000 to Socorro Animal Chile, SACH (Animal Relief Chile), a coalition of Chilean animal protection organizations. SACH sends three veterinarian-led teams into the field daily. We would like to send SACH even more assistance, as the need is enormous. Please help IDA continue to respond to natural disasters by contributing to our Disaster Relief Fund.

    Funds IDA raises to help animals in Chile will be used to provide:

    * Emergency sheltering for rescued animals
    * Search and rescue efforts
    * In-field sustenance (food/water program)
    * Animal transport
    * Temporary clinics to treat animals
    * Support for spay/neuter and adoption programs

    4. Finally, Kinship Circle has proven an excellent source of information on animal rescue and disaster relief efforts in Chile. All related Kinship Circle alerts are crossposted below. I’ve added additional links where necessary; the most recent alerts appear first, followed by earlier ones. You can also view a photo log of Kinship Circle’s rescue efforts in Chile on Flickr, @ KCChile.

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    Disaster Relief in Haiti: Animal Rescue & Vegan/Animal-Friendly Resources

    Thursday, January 14th, 2010

    Last updated 5/23/10 @ 9:30 PM CDT.

    “WSPA – Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts: This picture was sent on to the WSPA emergency relief team, by a photographer who is in Haiti. Domesticated animals play a significant role in Haiti, both in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and in the lengthy road to recovery.” Photo via the WSPA on Flickr.
    ——————————

    Faced with a natural disaster of this magnitude, there’s not much to say. So let’s not say anything. Instead, let’s do.

    Below I’ve compiled a list of 1) action alerts, 2) at-home fundraisers and volunteer opportunities and 3) organizations in need of monetary donations and volunteers abroad in order to assistant in the relief efforts in Haiti. As you will see, this guide is heavy on animal rescue and animal-friendly organizations – because, hello, vegan blogger here! – however, I have included resources for human-related groups as well. In particular, the action alerts section does not discriminate.

    I’ll update this post in the days and weeks to come, so please bookmark it and visit often. As of 2/8/10, I have moved it off the main page, since updates have slowed.

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    The Men Who Stare At Hug Goats

    Monday, January 4th, 2010

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    Caution: Major spoilers ahead.

    While The Men Who Stare at Goats is by no means an animal rights or overtly anti-vivisection movie, it does (happily!) have a few animal-friendly moments.

    Based on a 2004 book of the same name by journalist Jon Ronson, the film is a dramatized account of Ronson’s investigation into “psychic” warfare experiments conducted by the U.S. military in the ’70s and ’80s. Ostensibly a story for the skeptic set (indeed, that’s why the husband and I saw it in the theater), the film also at turns sentimentalizes the “free love,” hippie sensibilities and mysticism of the ’60s and ’70s. (Indeed, it concludes on a disappointingly “anything is possible if you believe” note.)

    Anyhow, along with all the “flower power” comes not a little tree- and animal-hugging. Goat-hugging, to be more specific: because the army’s more “practical” experiments involve trauma training carried out on live animals, the medical school’s in-house goats also play a role in the aforementioned psychic experimentation – the purposes of which isn’t nearly as sadistic as the trailers let on.

    Lest I get ahead of myself, here’s a brief synopsis, via Wiki:

    The film follows Ann Arbor Daily Telegram reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), who one day interviews Gus Lacey, a man who claims to have psychic abilities. Bob shrugs Lacey off as crazy. Soon after, Bob’s wife leaves him for his one-armed editor. Bob, out of anger, flies to Kuwait to investigate the Iraq War. However, he stumbles onto the story of a lifetime when he meets Special Forces operator, Lyn Cassady (George Clooney). Lyn reveals that he was part of an American army unit training psychic spies (or “Jedi Warriors”), trained to develop a range of parapsychological skills including invisibility, remote viewing, cloud bursting, walking through walls, and intuition.

    The founder of this unit, Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), traveled across America in the 1970s for six years exploring a range of New Age movements (including the Human potential movement), because of a vision he received after getting shot during the Vietnam War, and used these experiences to found the New Earth Army. In the 1980s, two of Django’s best recruits were Lyn Cassady and Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), who developed a lifelong rivalry because of their opposing views of how to implement the New Earth Army philosophy; Lyn wanted to emphasize the positive side of the teachings, whereas Larry was more interested in the dark side of the philosophy.

    In the early 2000s Bob and Lyn embark on a new mission in Iraq, where they are kidnapped by a criminal gang. They escape with fellow kidnapping victim Mahmud Daash (Waleed Zuaiter) and get rescued by a private security firm led by Todd Nixon (Robert Patrick), but get caught up in a firefight between Todd’s security firm and a rival security firm; this would later be known as the “Battle of Ramadi.” Mahmud, Bob and Lyn escape from the firefight and go to Mahmud’s house, which has been shot up by soldiers. From there Bob and Lyn leave to continue on Lyn’s vague mission involving a vision he had of Bill Django.

    Here it’s worth noting that Cassady recounts the story of Django and the New Earth Army as his Iraqi adventure with Wilton unfolds in parallel. Both tales begin on a light, humorous note, eventually taking turns for the worse. While the trailers and media interviews done in promotion of the movie tend to emphasize the New Earth Army’s more nefarious projects, Django began the program with the best of intentions: namely, achieving world peace through love and understanding. A laudable goal, to be sure – even if its implementation proved somewhat ridiculous.

    However, Hooper eventually betrays Django, assuming control of the New Earth Army in order to corrupt it. (Think of Django as Obi-Wan Kenobi to Cassady’s Luke Sywalker and Hooper’s Darth Vader.) The peace, love and understanding of Django’s ’60s and ’70s give way to the greed, militarization and subjugation of – what? The Reagen ’80s? The Clinton ’90s? The Bush ’00s? All of the above? Take your pick! (The Men Who Stare at Goats is, if not anti-war, at least anti-torture.)

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