With little fanfare, a notice appeared on the Indian Directorate of Foreign Trade’s website on July 3rd, simply stating that the import of foie gras, the “fatty liver” of geese, is now prohibited. Produced mainly in France, in recent years it had found a place in high-end Indian restaurants. AND…contrary to so much legislation here in the US that only takes effect in 300 years, this takes effect IMMEDIATELY.
It follows a campaign launched by the activist group Animal Equality, that together with PETA India, also managed to have the extremely cruel bullock cart races and all bull events banned throughout India in May of this year.
Their report to the Indian government included an investigation of a Spanish farm that was supplying liver to Indian restaurants. The Spanish investigation was one of seven shocking foie gras investigations carried out by the group in 2012-2013 in France and Spain.
While countries such as Israel, Germany and England have banned the production of foie gras, and the U.S. state of California banned its production and consumption in 2012, India is the only country to ban imports.
In 2013 India also banned shows involving any cetaceans throughout the country.
In June, Wildlife Services released a 655-page report in which it acknowledged killing over four million animals last year. This total includes over 75,000 coyotes, 420 black bears, 3,700 foxes, 12,200 prairie dogs, as well as beavers, wolves, mountain lions, otters, , ferrets, birds, and other animals. It’s a secretive, wasteful, ineffective and cruel war on wildlife. One they need to not only continue but grow. One that, fyi, you are largely financing.
Bear in mind that these four million animals are not only shot (and we know how often that is NOT a quick death) from land and from the air, but also trapped, burned and poisoned — methods that cause hours/days of agony before death , and the deaths of countless other non-target (and non-reported) animals. In addition, I think we have probably all seen appalling news stories and videos about Wildlife Services employees routinely practising extreme cruelty, leaving animals to die in traps from exposure or starvation, attacking trapped coyotes for fun, and even brutalizing domestic dogs.
It is also good to remember that while all of these animals were killed because they were somehow inconveniencing humans, a large number died specifically because they were inconveniencing humans producing meat – so many that Wildlife Services has been termed a subsidy for the livestock industry.
Wildlife Services operates with little public oversight and few rules requiring that it use the best available science, non-lethal methods, or techniques to reduce the deaths of nontarget animals — or even the suffering of target animals. There is a growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, to change this. Let’s add to it.
Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
phone (202) 720-3631
fax (202) 720-2166
Animal liberation group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) will be stopping by Seattle on their West Coast tour this July. The first day the organizers from the East Bay Area chapter of DxE will speak about the origins of the network, its organizing principles and its current campaigns. This will also be a place for discussion, where we will trade ideas and hear about the struggles and campaigns that Seattle is involved with.
The second day of their tour will be a day of action, where they will collectively plan and implement actions at different locations across the city with those who want to get involved based on what they learned during the first day.
The purpose of the tour is to strengthen the network and relationships with activist communities through face-to-face interaction. As part of the “network” in NARN, we are excited to learn from activists doing new things and figure what can be applied in Seattle.
Please join DxE, NARN, and your local animal liberation community for this event before you head out for any giant vegan BBQ potlucks. This will be a great way to really kick off the Seattle summer! If you are unsure about DxE, anti-corporate activism, civil disobedience, humane myth-busting, or any part of their campaign, this is a great time to learn more. Free of course!
It seems that the entire world should now be aware of the carnage of dolphins in a bay filled with their own blood in Taiji, Japan. It is less widely known that the Danish Faroe Islands — just 200 miles from Scotland — host their own annual cetacean slaughter.
Much like in Taiji, the hunt starts when fishing boats sight a pod of whales or dolphins, and drive them into a bay. However, in the Faroe Islands, 23 different bays are used, not just one (which makes sabotaging or even just recording the hunts much more difficult). Every member in the pod is driven or pulled onto the beach with ropes and using a blunt hook in their blowhole. Then they are hacked to death. Faroese citizens take part and rush into the water to join in the slaughter, sparing no one, not mothers, babies, or pregnant females.
In allowing this to continue, Denmark is in violation of three conventions it has signed vowing to do everything in its capacity to protect pilot whales – the Bern Convention, Bonn Convention and ASCOBANS. Pilot whales are classified as “strictly protected” under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Even harassing whales and dolphins is a crime in Europe.
The Faroe Islanders have one of the highest standards of living in the world, so the slaughter of entire pods of small cetaceans is not to provide jobs for ‘starving subsistence fishermen’, nor to satisfy the unconscionable demand for performers at marine parks, nor even to feed hungry mouths. Faroese health officials have condemned pilot whale meat as unsafe for human consumption (due to mercury, PCBs, dioxins and DDT derivatives); especially as Faroese children already show higher levels of poisonous mercury than anyone else in the world. The annual Faroese ‘hunt’ — called the Grindadrap or Grind — still takes place because it is apparently considered ‘traditional fun’.
Unborn Pilot whale calves are cut out of their mothers’ murdered bodies (Undercover images credit: Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd – 2010)
Sea Shepherd has been disrupting the Grind since 1983, in spite of considerable violence against them. Video footage they obtained has provided the basis for several documentaries. Sea Shepherd’s Operation Grindstop this year will include calling the Danish government to task for providing EU subsidies and loans to the Faroe Islands which openly flaunt European laws protecting cetaceans, and working to gain direct support from members of the European Parliament. Sea Shepherd is also researching the possibility of creating a defensive wall of sound outside the Grind coves to deter migrating cetaceans. Efforts are being made to identify the Faroese fishing vessels used in Grind hunts, as well as their owners, for the purposes of naming and shaming them as well as having them blacklisted as EU fish suppliers. Sea Shepherd also intends to further publicize the fact that the Faroe Islanders kill hundreds of dolphins as well as pilot whales. For this reason the logo for Operation Grindstop 2014 features both a pilot whale and a dolphin (see below). It is to be hoped that all this will have a detrimental effect on the Faroese tourist industry.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen if one Faroe Islander stood alone on the beach of a Grind cove and held out his arms and shouted, “NO MORE!”
Chickens killed for meat have short, brutal lives. Unfortunately, the government is considering new rules that would allow the poultry industry to kill even more birds per minute.
When workers lock birds into shackles, the chickens’ leg bones often break. If workers are forced to shackle birds faster, they’ll handle the animals even more roughly, which will cause even more suffering.
Of course, not eating chickens or other animals is the best solution, but on behalf of the billions of birds being killed and eaten by people every year, please take action.
Please call your representative and politely say, “As a constituent, I’m calling to express my concern that the USDA’s proposed poultry slaughter rules would result in higher rates of food contamination, animal suffering, and worker injury. Please support Congresswoman DeLauro’s Agriculture Appropriations bill amendment prohibiting the USDA from spending any funds to implement the ‘Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection’ rule.”
Please follow up by contacting your representative using this form from HSUS so he or she can get your concerns in writing.
I thought about a title for this post for quite a while. I wanted something that would make you stop and decide to read more. Maybe if the title were “The Best Cheese in the World”, you would stop and look, and by the time you found out it wasn’t about cheese, you would understand why I told you it was.
If you are reading this, chances are you are vegan. You have fought your cheese battle and won, fought your cute-leather-shoe battle and made do, fought your chocolate battle and either decided you like dark chocolate because it is way healthier, or — like me — decided to just do without. Your supermarkets are smaller than other peoples’: they have no meat, no fish, and no dairy aisles. Hopefully, I am about to give you one more battle to win, and am about to make your grocery store smaller still. Because palm oil isn’t vegan.
When you think of the meaning of ‘vegan’, it doesn’t ONLY mean ‘no animal ingredients’; for most of us, there is a very strong element of ‘no animal suffering‘ and that is why palm oil fails. Palm oil sneaks into almost as many things as dairy does, and causes terrible suffering as more and more forest is destroyed to make way for palm plantations. Critically endangered orangutans, whose last holdout is the Indonesian rainforest of Sumatra and Borneo, are the most visible victims. I am not including the photo that made me a believer in the split second it took to absorb the sight of a burned-but-alive orangutan, covering her face with her hands. These only-everso-slightly-different non-humans, whose name means ‘people of the forest’, are chased, shot, poisoned, burned and beaten, and their homeland destroyed and bulldozered at such a rate that according to this short slide show –
– it may be gone in ten years. Gone. Along with the orangutans, the elephants, the tigers, the rhinos — and an incredibly long list of others, because the Indonesian rainforest contains 12% of the world’s mammal species, and 17% of all known bird species. And it is estimated that more than half of Indonesia’s species have never even been recorded. At this rate they will disappear unrecorded.
A French documentarist named Patrick Rouxel made a short documentary about the palm oil/rainforest crisis, simply called “Green”. Watch it:
Not all palm oil comes from burning out orangutans and poisoning elephants in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Some of it comes from Malaysia. Some is termed “sustainable”. The Earth Balance margarine so beloved of vegans contains palm oil, and Earth Balance is proud to say 30% of it is “sustainable”. I freely admit that where animals are concerned, I tend to be a glass-bone-dry person. But if 30% is “sustainable”, what is the other 70%? And where colossal amounts of money are to be made, the word “sustainable” can become as flexible as those standing to profit from it wish. And those palm plantations in It’s-OK-Malaysia? They are being created in someone‘s ex-habitat. Maybe the someone isn’t as heartrending as an orangutan infant, as photogenic as a Sumatran tiger, or as big as an elephant, but their home is being destroyed and burned and bulldozed nevertheless.
Let me tell you why.
For crap. The popular mass movement away from trans fats caused a gap that palm oil has filled. It is mainly in processed foods, crackers, chips, cookies, boxed cereals, candy, cake, pastries, bread spreads (check your peanut butter!),and margarine. It is in about half of all boxed foods. Many of those foods got tossed out in battles you have already won. And luckily none of them are crucial to your survival.
Face it: margarine is a cultural habit. You know how many millions of people around the world would look at you blankly if you told them you only eat bread with grease wiped on it? If you don’t want to give up wiping grease on your bread, I can give you a good, easy, much-healthier margarine recipe, and you can make your own from now on. You can also skip that step and use straight coconut oil for everything you used margarine for. Unrefined for a slight coconut taste, refined for no taste at all. And you wouldn’t believe all the health benefits coconut oil is meant to have. Palm oil is also in all kinds of utterly unnecessary beauty products, toiletries, laundry and kitchen products, even ones claiming ‘bio’, ‘enviro’ or ‘green’ status. (Btw, PETA has a great list of excellent DIY, completely cruelty-free beauty and cleaning agents.) The following list of foods and other products containing palm oil comes from BOS (Borneo Orangutan Survival) Australia. Many of the things listed are non-vegan and so you would not be eating them anyway, and many are specifically Australian, but the list will give you a very good idea what foods to suspect in the US, too.
So watch the movie and the slide show, and research for yourself what eating crap you shouldn’t be eating anyway is causing in places not your own back yard. And I think you will sit back with the same feeling you had when you first watched “Meet Your Meat” or whatever it was that made you change your life, and you will see why palm oil isn’t vegan. Because vegan isn’t just the letter of the law, it’s the spirit, too. And we are strong people when it comes to giving up things and not looking back. So much so, I don’t think you will mind that I just bulldozed another aisle or two of your supermarket.
Volunteers for Sea Lions Still Needed at the
Bonneville Dam and in Astoria, Oregon
In Defense of Animals and the Sea Lion Defense Brigade (SLDB) are seeking passionate, dedicated individuals to be volunteer observers through the end of May at the Bonneville Dam and in Astoria, Oregon near Pier 36. The Columbia River sea lions need reliable eyes and ears on the river to assist in ending the lethal removal program.
If you have a still camera, binoculars, and/or video equipment and time to help, please volunteer with SLDB at either the Bonneville Dam or in Astoria.
The sea lion killing program is more about politics than sound science. Sea lions are being trapped, branded, and killed for eating only 1% of the fish, while human predation is at an all time high.
Sea Lions are being scapegoated by the fishing industry. Science shows the importance of protecting keystone species in the ecology and removing these species from an eco-system causes harm to the system as a whole.
For information about how you can help, or to volunteer, please contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the planet, every day is Earth Day. It’s never a bad time to make positive changes. Here’s the info from the Pasado’s post:
Washington dairy farms produce 20 million pounds of waste each day.
This waste isn’t regulated by outside agencies, and it seeps into our groundwater and enters streams directly through runoff. The dairy and meat industries’ disposal and storage methods are incredibly destructive to our environment, dangerous to human health, and damaging to domestic and wild animals.
Animals are treated horrifically on these farms.
Because animals are nothing more than a commodity on dairy and beef farms, they often spend their entire lives standing in several inches of their own waste.
Take action and help Pasado’s save countless lives!
How To Help
Please contact Governor Inslee and ask him to require the Department of Ecology to issue new State Waste Discharge General Permits for factory farms. Call Governor Inslee at 360.902.4111 or copy and paste the following suggested email into the Governor’s contact us form. (To make even more an impact please consider drafting a letter in your own words.)
Dear Governor Inslee, Please direct the Washington Department of Ecology to issue a strong National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) and State Waste Discharge General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (“CAFOs”) that do business in the State of Washington. The current CAFO General Permit was issued in 2006 and expired July 21, 2011. No new permit has been issued. It is imperative that the Department of Ecology issue a permit that contains the following requirements: (1) universal coverage for all medium and large CAFOs; (2) mandatory surface and groundwater monitoring; and (3) implementation of best waste management practices.
I sincerely hope that you take this request seriously and act swiftly. Issuing a new CAFO General Permit will not only bring us into compliance with the law, but in addition it will:
Be a small step toward improved conditions for farmed animals who currently spend their entire lives in their own waste.
Be a significant step toward improvements in our groundwater and freshwater streams.
Be a significant step toward mitigating human health hazards created by the situation as it now stands.
Please act now, Governor Inslee, and help to guide our state to becoming a national leader in environmental and animal welfare policy.
Washington Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs / Factory Farms) dispose of animal waste in ways that have devastating effects on our ground water, streams and oceans. The Department of Ecology regulates this practice through a permit system REQUIRED by the federal Clean Water Act and the Washington Water Pollution Control Act. However, the current permit system expired in 2011 and it has serious flaws, including covering only 12 of the 1183 CAFOs in Washington.
The Department of Ecology needs to issue a new CAFO permit that contains:
Required coverage for 100% of medium and large CAFOs/Factory Farms.
Mandatory surface and groundwater monitoring.
Implementation of the best waste management practices.
We believe the Department of Ecology is open to this; however they are well aware of the immense power of the animal agriculture industries. They need the influence of a directive from Governor Inslee in order to make this happen.
In less than a week, the Seattle premier of Speciesism: The Movie will be showing at The Varsity Theater.
I bought a copy if the documentary a couple of months ago and I loved it! I’ll be at the movie theater to see it again. The film follows Mark Devries across the country, as he sets out to figure out why humans see ourselves as the most important species and how we decide which animals are “food” and which are “pets.”
Devries learns a lot on his journey, and you’ll get see his awakening as he talks to animal rights experts, people on the street, and people in the “food animal” industries.
Lucky for us, Mark Devries will be in Seattle for the showing of Speciesism, and will be leading a Q&A session afterwards. You won’t want to miss it! Hear first-hand how making this movie shaped and changed his ideas. Maybe it will change yours too!
When: Thursday, April 3rd at 7 pm Where: Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105