Category Archives: News of Note

Urge Law Enforcement to Seize Animals in House of Horrors

The Houses of Horror in question are Willard’s Rodent Factory (yes, it’s actually called a factory – how truthful) in Brighton, CO,  and the pet store Jurassic Pets in Thornton, CO.  A recent undercover investigation revealed horrific conditions in both places.  Witnesses found animals languishing and dying in cramped, putrid enclosures filled with feces at Jurassic Pets, and evidence provided by the investigator did allow the Thornton police to raid the store, where they rescued some of the suffering mammals, reptiles and amphibians.  However, the Adams County Colorado Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) has thus far refused to help the thousands of animals at Willard’s Rodent Factory, owned by Lynn and Kenneth Kubic.  This in spite of the fact that law enforcement has had more than ample evidence of persistent, widespread neglect, abuse and cruelty for at least two MONTHS.

According to the undercover investigator, “the Kubics and their workers admitted to “whacking” rats and mice—swinging them by the tail and hitting them against surfaces in an effort to kill them. Hundreds of rats and mice drowned at Willards Rodent Factory when the tubs housing them flooded, while those who were ill or injured were thrown outside to be torn apart by cats.

The Kubics failed to provide effective veterinary care or euthanasia to scores of ill and/or injured animals—including a rat whose face was apparently chewed off, a hedgehog whose infected eye was neglected for so long that it shrank and lost all vision, and reptiles with mucus oozing from their mouths. Thousands of fish and hundreds of other animals perished—with many left to rot alongside live animals—and ailing survivors were routinely thrown into the freezer to die.”

crowded horse troughOwners and management were fully aware of the horrifying conditions and systematic neglect of the mammals, reptiles and amphibians there and obviously didn’t care. How is this still continuing??

PLEASE, take 5 minutes and write (and/or, as always, call) to the sheriff’s office, and ask them to seize all the animals at the Willards Rodent Factory, and end their suffering.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office                                                                                          332 North 19th Avenue                                                                                          Brighton, Colorado 80601                                                                                              (303) 654-1850

And the general moral of the story is:  NEVER. EVER.  shop at stores that sell any live animals. Those little beings come from somewhere, somewhere that PROFITS from churning them out, and chances are really good it was a hellhole.

Seattle’s Wayward Vegan Cafe is expanding!

…and they need your help!

Seattle is a great place to be a vegan. I eat out a lot because so many restaurants have vegan options. I especially like eating at vegan restaurants. Supporting vegan business owners is important–and who doesn’t love a menu where you can choose from anything on the menu?

Wayward Vegan Café is “all vegan, all the time.” The food is amazing, the prices are reasonable, and the staff is super friendly.

The folks at Wayward are moving to a bigger, brighter location, not too far from their current digs on The Ave. The new spot sounds great, but the kitchen is seriously lacking. So Wayward started a fundraising campaign on Ingiegogo.

This isn’t a boring donation either. For your contribution, you can get neat rewards, like t-shirts, buttons, stickers, a meal, your name on the donor wall, a dinner party for 10, or free coffee for a year!

Please go to the fundraising page and pitch in. Every bit helps.

wayward logo

All vegan, all the time!

Update On the Angora Action Alert

Remember this when you feel as if nothing ever changes, and nothing you do makes any difference: after receiving more than ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND emails from people demanding that they ditch angora, huge upscale French clothing company Lacoste has just confirmed that it is removing all angora wool products from its shelves and has requested to be added to the list of retailers that do not sell angora.  The list now includes Gap (which owns Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta), Express, Lands’ End, QVC, French Connection, Forever 21, New Look, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, H & M, Marks & Spencer, Limited Brands, IZOD, and Eddie Bauer.

How much does it cost you to write a few lines? Five minutes, maybe. If all of those one hundred thousand people had decided a five-minute letter/email was just too much to ask of them,  if all of them had thought, “It’s OK, someone else will do it” — nothing would have changed.  And let’s not forget the phenomenal courage of the undercover investigator who visited almost a dozen rabbit farms in China and documented the horrors. China supplies 90% of the world’s angora, yet has neither humane standards for the treatment of the rabbits nor penalties for abuse.

It’s not the war, true, but it’s a battle.

 

Food Giant Scared of Eggless Mayo

 

Look familiar? You have probably seen this and already tried it, wondering if it gets better than Vegenaise. (Does it? My vote is no, but that’s beside the point here.) You may also have heard that the food giant Unilever is suing the start-up company Hampton Creek, maker of this spread that tastes like mayonnaise but contains yellow peas instead of eggs (Whirled Peas! Literally!)  — hence the logo that depicts an egg with a pea shoot growing through it.  For us, the most important aspect of Just Mayo is that no one got hurt to make it.  The lawsuit contends that Hampton Creek is guilty of false advertising and fraud (because Unilever, which sells $60 BILLION worth of stuff worldwide under 1,000 different brand names, is SO concerned about false advertising) — and, the crux of the matter, is denting sales of its own mayonnaise products, marketed under the brand names Hellmann’s and Best Foods. (Wait, isn’t that how capitalism works?!)

By FDA regulations, mayonnaise contains egg yolks.  Just Mayo does not, it is true, but then it doesn’t call itself mayonnaise either. Also, considering Hampton Creek specifically markets the eggless-ness of Just Mayo, it can hardly be said to be creating false impressions.  Nevertheless, Unilever’s suit alleges it will suffer “irreparable harm” from Just Mayo, feigns concern that “consumers are being misled”, and demands damages of three times Hampton Creek’s profits, plus legal fees, plus the recall of all Just Mayo products and marketing materials, and a change in logo.

In the first 24 hours of the story going public, Hampton Creek received 18,000 messages of support.  Unilever and Hellmann’s were deluged by negative comments. And the media visibility for Just Mayo has been estimated at the equivalent of advertising worth $20+ million in just the first week after the lawsuit was filed. HA!

During that time Unilever was busy quietly cleaning a bunch of it’s own websites and product descriptions, which were found LIKEWISE not to conform to the rules it was trying to set for Just Mayo.

Just Mayo is already on the shelves in chains like Costco, Target and WalMart, and Hampton  Creek has also begun selling Just Cookies, an eggless, dairy-free cookie dough in four varieties. Will Keebler’s elves be lining up at their own lawyer’s office to accuse Hampton Creek of fraud in their use of the word “Cookies”??

Monsters Continue to Sell (and buy) Angora and Fur

Angora Rabbit Recap
It’s been more than a year since PETA released undercover footage of angora rabbits who had their fur violently ripped out by the fistful so that it could be used in sweaters and accessories. While numerous companies have acted ethically and responsibly by discontinuing angora sales after viewing the footage, fashion company BCBG Max Azria continues to profit from this cruel industry. BCBG also sells fur from Asiatic raccoons (also known as raccoon dogs)—animals who are often slammed to the ground and beaten on fur farms.

These animals need you now more than ever! Please call BCBG today at 877-707-2224 and urge it to stop selling angora and fur immediately! (Press 2 and speak to a customer service representative.)

Here’s an example of what to say: “I’m calling to urge you to stop selling angora and fur. As long as BCBG continues to profit from torturing animals, I won’t shop at your stores.”

(Action Alert courtesy of PETA; thanks)

Thinking Animals: A lecture series

Have you heard about the lecture series coming to UW in the new year?

Thinking Animals: Species, Power and the Politics of Care in the World is a four-part series being held at the Henry Art Gallery Auditorium at the University of Washington. The lectures are presented in partnership with the UW’s Critical Animal Studies working group.

If you’d like to learn more about the history, politics, and cultural dynamics of how humans see (or don’t see) animals, then grab a ticket for the series today!

For an in-depth review of the event, check out Christie Lagally’s article in City Living Seattle.

Single tickets for each event may be purchased for $20 at the door on the day of the event. The box office will open at 6:00 PM.

Speakers, Dates and Topics:

January 9: John Marzluff (School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, UW Seattle), “Welcome to Subirdia: Sharing our neighborhoods with wrens, robins, woodpeckers, and other wildlife.”

January 30: Wayne Pacelle (CEO of the Humane Society of the US), “Animal Protection in the 21st Century: Finding Clarity in Our Tangled, Contradictory Relationship with Animals.”

February 13: Kathryn Gillespie (Geography, UW Seattle), “The Cow with Ear Tag #1389: Species, Place and Power in U.S. Animal Agriculture.”

February 27: Lousia Mackenzie (French and Italian Studies at UW Seattle), “Thinking with Cats.”

March 6: María Elena García (Comparative History of Ideas and the Jackson School of International Studies, UW Seattle) and Tony Lucero (Jackson School of International Studies, UW Seattle), “Dancing Guinea Pigs and a Heroic Rottweiler: Animals, Culture, and Politics in Peru.”

All lectures start at 7 pm. For more information, please check out the Seattle Arts & Lectures page.

Has Daiya Betrayed Us?

daiya

Daiya (pronounced Day-ah) Foods, Inc. has been our cheesy savior since 2008, when it was founded as a “vegan cheese company”.  Its shreds, slices, wedges, cream cheese and most recently, pizza,  have made the conversion to veganism easier for a lot of people, as well as making the vegan version of conventional foods more familiar. Daiya is probably what most of us are thinking of when someone says, “Oh, I could never do without the cheese!” and we say, “You don’t have to!” Daiya cheese is made from cassava and arrowroot and contains no animal products. It has received multiple awards, including from VegNews and PETA. Its founders, Andre Kroecher and Greg Blake, are vegans, and the company was never been shy about using the word VEGAN.  Ethical and successful…wow.

Trouble is, for some time now non-vegan things have been sneaking in. Not that your Daiya pizza now secretly contains bacon, or that beef fat is being surreptitiously added to your cheddar shreds, but references to meat, and recipes containing meat have begun surfacing on the Daiya website and Facebook page, and a subtle verbal shift away from “vegan” (with its ethical connotations) and towards “dairy-free” (now referring to human health and food allergies) has taken place.

To begin with, this passed largely unnoticed.  However, as the news has become more widely disseminated, a growing number of vegans find this seriously offensive.  A vegan cheese company, founded by vegans, promoting recipes that contain beef, turkey, ham, fish, and eggs?  Four hundred-odd people have ‘liked’ the Boycott Daiya FB page. This does feel like a betrayal. A abolition-vs-welfare kind of betrayal. We had decided Daiya was abolitionist and they turn out to be welfarist. Or worse. Since we all know with gut-wrenching clarity that a ham roll-up or seafood salad is not … NOT… just a “food choice”.  However.

Having reached all the vegan world, was Daiya’s growth as a vegan cheese company, while little short of meteoric, pretty much limited to the growth of the number of vegans?  Would we would prefer them to remain small and ethical, rather than become huge at the expense of any compromise with suffering?  And this is where the abolition-vs-welfare thing comes in. As we know, even though about 2/3 of the human population is lactose intolerant, this does NOT stop them eating cheese.  While we are all abolitionists at heart, would we prefer they eat real cheese and get upset stomachs (yes, I know, we don’t care about that bit) or Daiya and don’t?  Isn’t every bag of Daiya shreds (which, just fyi, do not contain palm oil, although some of the other Daiya products do) bought better than a bag of real shredded cheese? As a very large and successful company, would Daiya have the power to effect more change for the better than a relatively small and insignificant one?  Is Daiya poised to become the next Silk? Just thoughts. And I haven’t finished thinking this one through yet.  For what it’s worth (likely not a whole bunch) company spokespeople profess injured innocence:

“We are sorry for offending you. That was certainly not our intention. Here at Daiya, we simply try to provide resources and recommendations (which include our many user-submitted recipes) that might appeal to the many different people who love our products.”

For more info about the boycott, visit: https://www.facebook.com/daiyahurtsanimals?fref=nf

and to tell Daiya what you think, https://www.facebook.com/daiyafoods

 

Cowboy Hats Get Papers

Last year, at the Tacoma Rodeo, a friend explained to his 4-year-old son, who kept mistakenly leafleting protesters,  how to be more successful: target the people in cowboy hats, not the ones holding signs. Thereafter Danny handed anti-rodeo literature to people in Western attire, telling each one “Cowboy hats get papers!”  When we are engaged in activism, we all make split-second assumptions based on appearance: Camo Cap won’t sign my petition but Birkenstock Sandals will; Fake Eyelashes won’t give a damn about my leaflet but Pierced Hoodie will take one. Business Suit is going to say something rude but Fleece Vest will be nice. And I know from my own experience that we are very often wrong. Business Suit turns out to be a PETA member, Pierced Hoodie is a rude little shit, but Camo Cap brings his wife back to sign, too.

I was reminded of that when I read an article another friend sent me about Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa Co, in Arizona.  He is known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff”. He also has a reputation as a racist and a redneck, and has been accused of abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations, amongst others. He has been found guilty of the “worst pattern of racial profiling in US history”, and his jails have been twice ruled unconstitutional. He is also known for his investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate, and his unending claim that it is a forgery.

HOWEVER… I found it fascinating that the following is ALSO true of Sheriff Arpaio, and I trust you will too.

Animal Crimes Investigations Unit (ACIU)
Hotline Number: (602) 876-1681
Email: animal_cruelty@mcso.maricopa.gov

Sheriff Arpaio created the Animal Crimes Investigations Unit over a decade ago and to this day, it remains one of the only units of its kind in existence inside a law enforcement agency.The unit currently leads the way in enforcing animal cruelty laws, some of which are still in their infancy stages, and in doing so, is helping to create case law. The unit’s work also provides an example for other law enforcement agencies in this groundbreaking area. Sheriff Arpaio feels the work done by this unit is critical for a number of reasons not the least of which is this fact: there is a significant correlation between those individuals who perpetrate violent crimes against animals and those who eventually commit crimes against people.

Every year, the unit receives thousands of animal cruelty reports to the hotline Sheriff Arpaio established.

Specially trained detectives investigate every call. These investigations have resulted in the seizure of thousands of animals and produced hundreds of arrests since the unit’s inception.

The detectives are assisted by Sheriff’s posse personnel trained in animal cruelty investigations. Utilizing these posse members reduces response time and saves taxpayers money.

When an animal is seized from an abusive or neglectful owner, it is turned over to and cared for at our MASH (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Safe Haven) unit. MASH utilizes an innovative program of supervised inmates to care for the animals, thus providing the inmates with animal care training and therapy.

During the history of this unit many notable investigations have resulted in arrest. These cases have received local, state, national, and even international attention. Some such investigations have included:

  • The successful felony prosecution of a celebrity who, until his run in with this Sheriff’s office, had eluded felony conviction for decades
  • Record single animal seizures in the hundreds (animals ranging from dogs, cats, and horses to reptiles and monkeys)
  • Mass arrest of 69 people for blood sport/animal fighting (cockfight)
  • Investigations resulting in long jail sentences for animal cruelty
  • Arrests for bestiality, dog fighting, cockfighting
  • Charges for associated crimes discovered during cruelty investigations included drug possession, child abuse, fraud, Booking single suspects for in excess of 100 felony animal cruelty counts
  • Many of these cases set precedence for being the first of their kind arrests

When probable cause is established in an animal cruelty investigation, the suspect is booked into Sheriff Arpaio’s Jail. Exceptions to this are only made in extenuating circumstances when the booking is not in the best interest of the community.

Sheriff Arpaio’s Animal Crimes Investigations Unit is constantly asked to consult with other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation which are seeking advice on how to properly conduct successful animal cruelty investigations. Arpaio’s unit is also asked to provide training to other agencies. The Animal Crimes Investigations Unit is proud to lead the way in this field and as such, has been the recipient of numerous accolades and awards.

Please! Help Needed to Stop Wolf Killers IN Washington!

 

One wolf, a pup, has already been shot from a helicopter by a hunter hired by the State of Washington using your tax dollars. Yesterday, Monday, Fish & Wildlife hunters were out again, targeting more wolves from what is known as the Huckleberry Pack.  The state could have used rubber bullets or paintball rounds to harass the wolves, but instead resorted immediately to airborne snipers.

aerialgunning

Why? Wolves from that pack have allegedly killed about 20 sheep and injured three more.  Wolves were driven to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. Their population has grown to about 50 wolves again today, but an entire pack was exterminated in 2012 to stop cattle depredation. A lot of ranchers and hunters object to the presence of wolves, saying they prey on livestock (which the  ranchers want to sell to other people to kill) and deer (which the hunters want to kill themselves for fun).  The next time some hunter uses the  the excuse that they need to keep the deer population down, remember that they suddenly object when wolves start doing that naturally for them.

Fish & Wildlife say that non-lethal methods have been used, but we know they have refused multiple offers of help for non-lethal coexistence, including from WSU.  F&W also points out that the livestock owner has not done anything to attract the wolves — apart, of course, from choosing to pasture 1800 sheep in wolf country, just three miles from the known location of the wolves’ den.

The sheep were already meant to have been moved, but were not.

PLEASE call AND email Governor Inslee and tell him to immediately ground the helicopters, get Department of Wildlife staff on the ground to get the sheep out of this area, and to NEVER let this happen again.

and/or

360-902-4111.

 Thank you.

We Need Comments NOW Against the New UW Lab

As you know, the University of Washington’s Board of Regents approved plans for a new Animal Research and Care Facility (ARCF) at the UW.  It is now being considered by the UW’s Environmental and Land Use Compliance department, which can decide to NOT let the proposed lab plans go forward — and they are currently taking public comments.  If they receive an AVALANCHE of letters, they cannot ignore them.  So please, read the information below and then submit your comment to help prevent this lab from being built.    animal-testing

           THE ARCF WOULD DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF PRIMATES, PIGS, AND RABBITS THAT THE UW CAN TORTURE.                                                      It is SO important that it never be built.

You can review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement here: http://f2.washington.edu/cpo/projects/sepa

Please submit your comments (and try to keep them polite, professional and focused) by this Wednesday, August 27, to Jan Arntz, Environmental and Land Use Compliance: jarntz@uw.edu

Ideas for comments: 
1. Follow comments with questions. Questions are more difficult for the UW to dismiss without addressing. Examples of such questions are: What has the UW done to ensure that XXX impacts are mitigated? Did the UW consider XXX and if so what did it find? If not, why not?
2. Raise public involvement issues. Has the UW really considered the concerns of the public, including pressure to consider alternatives to using animals in research? Members of the Board of Regents admitted to not doing outside research about the lab, animal testing, or alternatives to animal testing and did not consider much of the public comment submitted to them prior to voting for the ARCF.
3. Incorporate comments of others by reference, including anyone else opposed to the construction, possibly including members of a group you work with.
4. Comment on everything, even if it seems small. Comment on environmental impacts, consistency with broader UW plans (including reputation), UW’s history of violations in their labs, and compliance with all other laws. Animal Welfare Act regulations, environmental regulations, etc.