By the board of NARN
After news spread that a beloved Seattle restaurant, Bamboo Garden, which had been marketing and advertising itself as vegan, was serving ingredients containing dairy and eggs, emotions have been running high within the vegan community. As a vegan animal rights organization, we at NARN share your shock, dismay, and disappointment on hearing the news. It felt like such a betrayal, especially since many of us have been going there for years, having had countless meals there with many of our fellow activists and friends, often before and after demos, protests, tabling and outreach. Who can miss the animal rights pamphlets in the lobby, including “What’s Wrong With Dairy and Eggs,” or the “Meat Free Zone” lobby sign with featured illustrations of eggs and dairy crossed out with the word “Vegan” written in large red letters? While those pamphlets were not reflective of the views of Bamboo Garden and just a result of them allowing activists to leave pamphlets and post signs in the lobby, the vegan branding was present in many ways. The business’s legal name (Chinese Vegan Inc), email address, and Yelp description were just a few places Bamboo Garden identified as vegan.
Obviously at a vegetarian or omnivore restaurant, our vigilance is up, asking questions to ensure that there aren’t any undisclosed animal ingredients in what we order. At a restaurant where it was advertised that everything but the fortune cookies were vegan, we felt safe. Even when people have asked, they were assured that all the faux meats were vegan. Now it is apparent that is not the case, and many people are angry that their ethics were compromised.
We certainly understand these feelings, but we have noticed that some of the social media reactions included troubling racism, as well as unnecessarily spiteful and malicious comments.
While the racist comments have been dealt with swiftly by group administrators, it is still disappointing to see; part of being vegan is being compassionate towards people as well as animals. Feeling betrayal is one thing, but hate is simply not justified or excusable.
Since the initial expose, a few members of the vegan community modeled true compassionate behavior and reached out to Bamboo Garden. Two of those individuals, Lee and Jamie, met with Bamboo Garden to discuss ways to assure greater transparency and allow customers to order items that have been confirmed to be vegan. They looked at the ingredients list of every packaged food used at the restaurant, combed through the entire menu and reorganized all 120 dishes to distinct categories: vegan, can be made vegan, and vegetarian. They also created a template for new menus that clearly state what is, what can be, and what isn’t vegan.
Lastly, efforts are underway by those individuals to identify wholesale restaurant suppliers that can bring in more vegan and kosher food items to the kitchen, with the long-term goal to have Bamboo Garden become a truly vegan restaurant.
Since the initial story, others have approached Bamboo Garden for an explanation, and while the owners were contrite and anxious to clear things up, they gave seemingly contradictory information. We wanted to find out ourselves, so two NARN Board Members (one of whom spoke Cantonese) and another associate that spoke Cantonese arranged for a meeting with the owners. We knew that language and cultural barrier might have been an issue, so having Cantonese speakers talk to the owners was a vital part of clearing up the confusion. At that meeting, we were told that at the time of the ownership change in 2011, the person who became the owner and ordering manager was given instructions of which supplier to use, but not specific products. Over the years, certain products were discontinued, the supplier recommended similar ones in place of the original products. The products were checked for the proper kosher designation, but the actual ingredients were never checked. While the owner/ordering manager is vegetarian, the kitchen staff are not vegetarians and knew less about vegetarianism than the manager. They just prepare the food as directed. The owners stated they want to make amends with all of their customers — they did not intentionally lie about what they have been serving, but acknowledged they were wrong and will learn from the situation.
At the moment, Bamboo Garden has no plans to become a vegan restaurant. One stumbling block they cite is an apparently difficulty finding products that are vegan and kosher. Maintaining their Kosher Certification (which is Dairy Kosher and was not violated according to Rabbi Gallor of their certifying organization, Va’ad HaRabanim of Greater Seattle) is important to Bamboo Garden. Additionally, the owners of Bamboo Garden simply don’t seem interested in being an all vegan restaurant, but they do want to cater to vegans. While we remain hopeful that they will eventually become a vegan restaurant, since that is the best thing for the animals, it is understandable that many of us will have a hard time trusting them again. It’s up to each of us individually to make that judgment for ourselves. If you do patronize Bamboo Garden again, we do encourage you to clearly state that you are vegan, or that you want a vegan meal. Ask about ingredients, and ask to view packaging, if you feel any doubt.
Following is the conversation that took place (in Cantonese) on April 27 with a co-owner of the restaurant:
Bamboo Garden: I have never looked at the ingredients. I didn’t know about the ingredients since I was an employee. I took over the responsibility of the inventory after the switch of the ownership.
NARN: You have been here for a long time?
Bamboo Garden: Yes. It wasn’t me that was ordering the restaurant products.
NARN: What about the kitchen staff?
Bamboo Garden: They know less than me. They won’t understand vegetarianism. They are not vegetarians. They just prepare the food as told….. When they asked to see the ingredients, I was nervous that there was something wrong. They mentioned the ingredients having milk, and I didn’t know.
NARN: How long has Bamboo Garden been ordering from these suppliers?
Bamboo Garden: For as long as I have been here. I was directed to the suppliers we ordered from, but I’m unsure if the products themselves are the same ones the old owner had been ordering.
NARN: Do you know if the products being ordered prior to the 2011 ownership switch were vegan? How many years have these products containing dairy/eggs been served?
Bamboo Garden: I really don’t know. I was told where to go to reorder, and over the years, certain products would get discontinued and the suppliers would send me similar ones in place of the original products. We haven’t read the labels or ingredients. We just knew they were vegetarian.
Bamboo Garden: I just knew the OU symbol [the kosher designation]. I never knew D means dairy. When I saw OUD, I knew it meant OU. We have someone coming in regularly to inspect and ensure that everything is Kosher compliant. We just listen to the Rabbi, and we are told everything is good to serve.
NARN: What was the reason you didn’t allow for the people to see the packaging when asked?
Bamboo Garden: I didn’t know what that meant. I also didn’t know what they were looking for. I was really nervous and was afraid of what consequences may follow if I were to give them the packaging (lawsuits, etc.) I now know that was a mistake on my part, and I am sorry for not letting them see the packaging.
NARN: What is your plan moving forward?
Bamboo Garden: We are getting help from [vegan community members] Lee and Jamie, and they are helping us figure out what is vegan and vegan friendly. We will have everything clearly labeled on our menus. They are coming back in a few days to show us their revisions. We have been encouraged to ask every single customer (on the phone/dine-in) to distinguish if they are vegan and make sure they do not get something that has eggs and dairy.
NARN: In the interim, are you confident that you know what all the ingredients are as of today?
Bamboo Garden: Yes, they (Lee and Jamie) walked us through the kitchen, looked at all the ingredients, sauces, and have taught us what to look for. Honestly, it wasn’t until the pictures surfaced online, with the ingredients circled that I knew there were dairy and eggs in there. The word whey is completely new to me. I only know the words milk and eggs , but now I know what to watch for.
NARN: To confirm, this will remain as a vegetarian restaurant, and not a vegan one?
Bamboo Garden: We have thought about it, and we don’t have plans to be a vegan restaurant. It doesn’t seem possible at this time because we need to be remain as a Kosher restaurant. If there is something that is both Kosher and vegan, it would make everything easier…. We have vegan chicken available as of right now since February, due to the ones we usually order were out. However, we still have the some of non-vegan chicken in the kitchen. We have tested the vegan chicken out and have been told by customers they prefer the old (vegetarian) ones. At this point, we have made the decision to continue carrying both and will re-order the vegetarian versions once they become available again.
NARN: Is there a message you would like to send out to all of Bamboo Garden’s patrons that have been impacted by the recent happenings?
Bamboo Garden: All I can is sorry. We are sorry and I would like to apologize to everyone who has been affected by this. We want to make amends with all of our customers; we have had many that have been supporters of this restaurant for decades. We did not intentionally lie about what we have been serving, but we acknowledge we are wrong. We have been very wrong and we will learn from this. If they are willing to come to Bamboo Garden, I can apologize in person to each customer….. All I can say is sorry. I’m unsure if I can say anything beyond that in person (if customers return), as I don’t speak the English language well. Thank you for giving us a chance to have a statement.
The permission that Washington, Oregon and Idaho received to kill sea lions expires on June 30, and they’ve requested a five-year extention.
Fewer than 20 comments have been made so far. One is from Duane
“Boomer” Wright, general manager of the Sea Lion Caves near Florence, OR. He says it looks like there isn’t enough food for the Steller and California sea lions, and points to the extinction of the Japanese sea lion.
Japan’s fishing industry once blamed sea lions for their low catches; now they’re trying to reintroduce sea lions to reestablish the ecosystem, he wrote.
“I think we should take that as evidence that killing sea lions will not increase the salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia. The solution to this problem is to increase the population of the salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and all rivers and tributaries along the Oregon Coast. Sea lions, whether California or Steller should not be used as a scapegoat for our misuse of our natural resources,” Wright wrote.
Please add your voice here. The deadline is April 27.
The event is canceled! Thank you for being a voice for animals.
Please thank pastors Dr. John Paisley and Ken Griffin for doing the right thing (emails below).
On Sunday, April 3rd, Riverview Baptist Church in Pasco, Washington, is planning a “Chicken Chase.”
The event is as cruel as it sounds. Chickens will be released into an arena so children can chase them, catch them, and “win” the chickens. Chickens are delicate, and this terrifying event will no doubt cause injury and stress to the poor animals. And when caught, how do kids properly care for them? This event fails to help kids learn to respect animals and reinforces the idea that they are simply toys and here for our entertainment.
Please ask Riverview Baptist Church to do the right thing and host an alternative event instead (an event in which all the participants are there of their own free will).
You can send polite comments to:
Dr. John Paisley, Senior Pastor
Click here to send an email
Ken Griffin, Co-Pastor
Click here to send an email
Riverview Baptist Church
4921 W. Wernett
Pasco, WA 99301
The blood infection that killed Chai in Oklahoma City came after the elephant lost 1,050 pounds in the short time since she’d left Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, The Seattle Times learned from a public records request.
Chai was weighed only twice at the Oklahoma zoo, records show, although she’d dropped from 8,150 pounds when she left Seattle on April 15 to 7,100 pounds when she died in January.
An Oklahoma City zoo veterinarian said they relied on a visual scoring system. “You couldn’t see her ribs, nothing that would indicate the degree of fat loss that was going on,” Jennifer D’Agostino told Times reporter Sandi Doughton. (Today’s paper also included the supposedly celebratory news that the Woodland Park Zoo has named a baby gorilla it bred in captivity. Her name is Yola.)
If a veterinarian couldn’t see Chai’s deterioration, it would be even harder for a Woodland Park Zoo docent who visited Oklahama City and wrote that Chai’s last days were “happy.”
Now we know they were horrific. Twice in the weeks before she died, Chai was unable to stand up.
We also know from the records Doughton received that Bamboo, the other Seattle elephant who was transferred to Oklahoma instead of to a sanctuary, was distressed enough during one public performance that she knocked Chai off her feet.
It’s not too late to get Bamboo to a sanctuary. On the advice of Nancy Pennington and Alyne Fortgang, co-founders of the Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, please do these two things in Chai’s memory:
1. Write an email to Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council. Addresses to cut and paste are below. Just one line will do!
2. Sign this petition: http://www.peta.org/action/action-alerts/oklahoma-city-zoo-close-elephant-exhibit/
email@example.com, Ed.firstname.lastname@example.org,Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov, email@example.com ,Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov,
Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov, Lorena.Gonzalez@seattle.gov, Rob.firstname.lastname@example.org
SeaWorld says Tilikum is “beginning to deteriorate,” which likely means that the long-suffering orca who actually has deteriorated for years is dying.
While it’s too late to release Tilikum, who was captured as a youngster more than three decades ago off Iceland, the Puget Sound’s own Lolita can still know freedom.
A “retirement” plan would reverse her 1970 capture in a Whidbey Island cove, a tragedy in which seven oracas were ensnared.
“The waters churned and boiled white with agitated whales fighting to escape from the confining nets,” Sandra Pollard wrote in the book “Puget Sound Whales for Sale,” as quoted in an extensive look at the subject by The Stranger.
“Their desperation and terror was all too apparent as they spy-hopped repeatedly, raising their strikingly colored black-and-white heads from the water”—to look around—”coupled with high-pitched shrieks and cries echoing across the usually tranquil cove,” she wrote.
A witness told The Stranger, “It was the weirdest sound I have ever heard in my life. Like babies crying but much louder.“
Lolita — also known as Tokitae — is the only orca captured that day who’s still alive.
An 8-minute video depicts her daily life at the Miami Seaquarium.
A member of L-pod, she belongs to the Southern Resident population, which includes “Granny,” an orca believed to be more than a century old.
It’s time to bring Lolita/Tokitae home, as outlined in a retirement plan with action items we can do to move that agenda forward.
In addition, please join us at the Empty the Tanks event at Westlake Park near Pike Place Market on Saturday, May 11, at 11 a.m.
Let’s keep up the pressure to free Lolita/Tokitae, so she can enjoy a life in open waters rather than lingering and dying as Tilikum is.
Photos from NOAA
A recent PETA undercover investigation has revealed horrific suffering of animals in warehouses at an animal supplier.
Reptiles by Mack supplies tens of thousands of frogs, lizards, turtles, snakes, bearded dragons, and other reptiles to PetSmart and other retail stores. The animals are confined in filthy, crowded plastic tubs and deprived of necessities like food and water, heat and UV lamps, and veterinary attention. Many emaciated animals had already died or were killed in lieu or veterinary care.
Severely crowded bearded dragons fought over food, leading to mangled limbs, some just left by workers to rot off. One worker said that he had cut off a bearded dragon’s leg with wire cutters and “snap[ped]” off their tails with his fingers.
Tragic video footage shows thirsty animals drinking frantically for up to four minutes when an eyewitness provided them with water.
Please tell officials that you will never buy anything from their stores as long as they continue to sell animals.
Erin Gray 623-516-3908
BC Partners Group (who own PetSmart)
If you about animals from PetSmart based on their claims of humane treatment or know anyone else who has, please contact CIDInfo@peta.org.
You can find companion-animal supplies at businesses that don’t sell animals, including small, local shops, Target, Walgreens, and online retailers.
And if you are ready to add an animal to your family, please adopt from a local animal shelter or rescue organization—never buy from a store or breeder.
The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary that asks the simple question: “Who made my clothes?”
What does that have to do with animals? Well, as an animal rights organization, NARN advocates for all sentient beings to live a full life, to be free, and to not to be used and exploited. People, animals, and the earth are often exploited in the name of business.
The True Cost is playing at Central Cinema (1411 21st Ave., Seattle WA 98122) on Sunday, March 13, 2016 @4 PM.
Click here to see the trailer.
Tickets are only $8 and are available here.
The True Cost pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?
Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, this film will take you on an eye-opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes.
The film sheds light on the wasteful nature of fast fashion and the horrible working conditions in the factories where cheap clothing is made.
We all wear clothes. Even if you don’t follow the latest trends or count “shopping” as one of your pastimes, there’s something in this film for you.
The wonderful Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, which was “founded in 2003 to provide sanctuary for chimpanzees discarded from the entertainment and biomedical testing industries,” is holding its annual fundraising shindig — which is a scrumptuous blast! — on Saturday, April 30, at 6 p.m.
Seven chimpanzees live at the sanctuary — all from a private biomedical facility in Pennsylvania. Before being used to test hepatitis vaccines and (the females) as breeders, they were captured in Africa and/or kept as pets and/or used in entertainment.
Now Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Negra live in a safe, peaceful place, making choices about how to spend their time — inside where it’s warm or adventuring outdoors. You can meet them and learn what they’re doing on the sanctuary’s blog.
You can also support them and help the sanctuary expand to be a haven for more chimpanzees by attending Hoot!, an awesome evening of vegan food and camaraderie, with a live auction, dessert dash and raffle.
Tickets are $100 through April 1, or $750 for a table of eight. Sign up before they sell out, and we’ll see you there!
Eyes on Apes, a program of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, pointed out this week that Geico’s latest commercials include a chimpanzee.
Please let the insurer know that chimpanzees — like the sanctuary’s now-retired Burrito — do not belong in entertainment.
The animated gecko we’ve all come to know as representing Geico is far more entertaining, and without the cruelty that comes with animals used in this industry.
A letter from the strangely named “American Humane Association” says it was on hand for filming and that the “monkey” and snake in the commercial were not harmed. Hmmm. Monkey?
Please email Geico’s executives (CEO Tony Nicely at email@example.com and Christine Tasher in public relations at firstname.lastname@example.org) to let them know you prefer the gecko — and if you’re insured by Geico, let them know you will switch companies if they don’t stop airing the chimpanzee footage.
We can make a difference! Thank you to Eyes on Apes and to all of you for taking action!
Here’s a sample email:
Dear Mr. Nicely and Ms. Tasher,
While we’re rallying hard to keep the University of Washington from building a new, underground animal research facility that no one but academic careerists need, a pharmaceutical lab just up the I-5 corridor appears to be doing what we’re trying to prevent: killing animals, including through neglect.
The USDA is investigating SNBL USA, the Everett-based facility of Japan-based Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories, for possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act, The Everett Daily Herald reports.
SNBL “uses monkeys, dogs, rabbits, pigs and rodents to study the effects of drugs” there, according to the Herald. It’s the West Coast’s largest monkey lab, with up to 2,000 behind cage doors.
“My monkeys are much healthier than you are,” the former high school teacher who’s making a lot more money as the second-in-command at SNBL’s Everett lab, told the Herald a couple years ago.
The USDA is looking into 34 monkey deaths brought to its attention by an animal rights activist in Ohio, Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now. The deaths did not occur in the course of research, and one — from October — was blamed by USDA inspectors on understaffing.
The monkey was strangled when its neck got caught in a cage.
Some 25 died of dehydration on their way from a breeding farm in Cambodia to the United States. Two others died of overheating after being chased by workers, and six monkeys died after apparent in-fighting to establish dominance during lives that are spent entirely as research subjects in cages.
SNBL, which likes to point out that activists are bringing attention to its deadly mistakes, also has faced complaints from the Humane Society and Pasado’s Safe Haven, the Herald has reported.