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Q&A With the Founder of Seattle Farmed Animal Save. Join Us in Enumclaw!

Kris stands with the "Animals Are Not Property" sign alongside Ryan and Shannon Hill of Sky's The Limit Sanctuary, Paul and Maggie Bowen, and Dave Roers outside the Enunclaw Live Animal Auction in June.

Kris stands with the “Animals Are Not Property” sign alongside Ryan and Shannon Hill of Sky’s The Limit Sanctuary, Paul and Maggie Bowen, and Dave Roers outside the Enunclaw Live Animal Auction in June.

Kristina Giovanetti is the founder of Seattle Farmed Animal Save, a nonprofit that’s part of The Save Movement, a global effort that started in December 2010 with Toronto Pig Save. The idea is to bear witness to animals sent to slaughter in our own communities. Kris has been holding personal vigils at the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion’s live animal auction for about a year and invites everyone to join her.

The next vigil is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 15. As the Facebook invitation says, “We are a grassroots, love-based, and peaceful organization. We believe in non-violence and the transformational power of compassion. We follow a Tolstoyian perspective in that we do not believe in turning away from suffering, but instead moving closer to it.” It’s a heart-wrenching experience to watch roosters, geese, rabbits and others struggle and cry out as they are auctioned. There are almost always day-old dairy calves, piglets, lambs and baby goats — and once a month, they auction horses that are sold for slaughter.

It’s also powerful to stand on the road outside the pavilion with signs reminding people that animals don’t belong to us, encouraging them to go vegan, and to honk for the pigs. A surprising number of people honk! A lot yell for us to “get a job,” too, which is puzzling and good for a laugh.

Here’s a Q&A with Kris about The Save Movement in Seattle:

What moved you to start a branch of The Save Movement here?
In June 2016, I attended an all-day vigil in Toronto with Anita, the founder of The Save Movement. We spent 16 hours bearing witness outside pig, cow, and chicken slaughterhouses. The pigs deeply affected me – looking into their eyes, you can really see the fear, you can sense their suffering in a profound way.

Pigs are very much like dogs and to lock eyes with them, to reach out and stroke them in an attempt to provide a moment of comfort and then watch the truck turn into the slaughterhouse where you know they will be brutally killed just moments later is a life changing event.

That day in Toronto I became an activist.

When did you start going to the Enumclaw Live Animal Auction? What have you seen there?
When I returned home, I immediately started looking for places near me to connect with the animals and share their stories. My first trip to the auction barn in Enumclaw was in July 2016.

I’ve seen so many horrible things there – the chickens are transported in cardboard boxes with a few air holes punched in the sides. There is a stone-faced woman who always works the birds. She reaches in, pins their wings behind their back and yanks them out of the box. The birds are screaming, literally screaming as she holds them high and waves them around in the air for a few seconds as the auctioneer works the crowd and finally sells them for 3 to maybe 9 dollars. Then the woman shoves the screaming and terrified bird back into the box, head first.

The day-old male dairy calves always stay with me, in my mind, for days after I see them. They still have umbilical cords dangling from their bellies and look absolutely bewildered. They have no idea they are being sold to become veal calves and will spend the next few weeks chained to a crate and will then be killed.

This place sells lambs and baby goats, too. The babies are always very hard to see.  But I think the spent dairy cows are the most heartbreaking of all. They are absolutely skin and bones – it looks like they haven’t been fed for weeks. Their bodies are emaciated and they have large, swollen udders. But it’s the look in their eyes and the way they hang their head that just rips my heart out. These sweet, gentle beings have been impregnated over and over again, and have had their calves stolen from them every single time. Their bodies have been exploited and pushed absolutely to the breaking point. And when their milk production begins to wane, the farmers stop feeding them, then sell them to slaughter to become cheap hamburger meat. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching to see them.

What does it mean to you to bear witness as these animals are sold? What is the power of bearing witness? 

Bearing witness is being present in the face of injustice and trying to help.  When we bear witness we become the situation – we connect with our entire body and mind.  And from that, action arises.  The purpose of bearing witness is to provide love and compassion to these animals, to share their stories, to show the reality of animal agriculture, raising awareness to the public, and helping people make the connection.  People need to understand what goes on so they will make the decision to stop supporting it.
How do people react to the protest? What do you think of the calls to “get a job”?  

We get about an equal number of supportive people and angry people, and a lot of people just pass by with no visible or audible reaction.  The supportive people will honk in a friendly manner and give a thumbs up.  The angry people show us their middle finger and yell at us.  The comment to “get a job” is so curious to me because we hear it all the time, and I’ve heard it at vigils all over the world.  I think what they are really saying is that we should do something constructive with our time.

Are there also slaughterhouses near Seattle? Where are they, and what do you know about them? 

Yes, there are two slaughterhouses within an hour of Seattle that we have investigated and will be holding vigils at.  Both of them are north of the city, around Stanwood and Mt Vernon.  The Draper Valley chicken slaughterhouse kills more than 800,000 chickens each week.

Do you plan to have vigils at the slaughterhouses, too?  

Absolutely!  We are learning the truck schedules and will be starting vigils up there very soon.

Seattle Farmed Animal Save

 

Please follow Seattle Farmed Animal Save on Facebook and on Instagram, and join Kris in Enumclaw next weekend.

If you happen to be in Europe this fall, she’ll also be speaking in Luxembourg in September at the International Animal Rights Conference.

Tell Your Lawmakers: Plant Milks Are Milk, Too

A lawmaker from Wisconsin had the bright idea that milk should be labeled milk only if it’s dairy. She wants to limit the use of yogurt and cheese, too. She’s wrong, of course. The dictionary could tell her that.

Nevertheless, Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s DAIRY PRIDE Act (some people need the all caps) has picked up some steam.

Please call you senators to remind them about the dictionary — and that there are more important things to be spending time on than changing the definition of milk.

In Washington state, our senators are:

Patty Murray: (202) 224-2621

Maria Cantwell: (202) 224-3441

If you’re in another state, here’s an easy way to look up your senators’ contact info.

New Ag-Gag in Arkansas: Let’s Stop This Thing

From the Animal Legal Defense Fund:

A proposed new Ag-Gag bill is being considered by Arkansas lawmakers, and we need your help to stop it from becoming law. Factory farms want to keep their cruel practices hidden from the public, and industry lobbyists push Ag-Gag laws to accomplish that goal.

House Bill 1665 has already passed the Arkansas House and moved out of committee in the Senate. The law would allow factory farm employers to sue whistleblowers directly, making them vulnerable to expensive lawsuits all for trying to do the right thing. Such intimidation will effectively keep those who see animal cruelty from speaking up.  Arkansas’s version of Ag-Gag is written so broadly that it would also ban undercover investigations of virtually all private entities, including daycare centers and restaurants. This law would silence conscientious employees who wish to report wrongdoing.

Call or email the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to politely inform them that if this bill passes, you won’t be visiting the state.

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism: 501-682-7777

It’s incredibly important to always be calm and polite when speaking with decision makers and other officials who might influence them. Keep your call short and simple, and consider using the script below.

“Hello, my name is __________ and I’m calling to let you know that even though Arkansas is a beautiful state, I will not be visiting if HB 1665 becomes law.”

Shut Down this Unlicensed Slaughterhouse

Why is Vilog Livestock, a slaughterhouse in Auburn, WA, still operating, despite losing its license two years ago?

Rickson Vilog, owner of the slaughterhouse, has been ordered to remove all livestock from his property by Dec. 22 or face daily fines. Will that make a difference? Let’s make sure it does!

Please contact the Attorney General’s office and ask that they enforce the law.

Main Phone (360) 753-6200

Consumer Protection (Mon-Fri from 10-3) 1-800-551-4636 (in-state only)

General Complaint Form

Vilog had his first fines in 2011 and is still killing animals. It’s time to shut him down!

 

Tell regulators new ‘humane’ rules don’t fly

The U.S. government wants factory farms that use unanesthetized castration, debeaking, dehorning and prolonged extreme confinement to be able to label their meat as “humane.”

As the Huffington Post puts it, “Up is down, black is white, and this meat was ‘raised with care.'”

Please let the U.S. Department of Agriculture know that the truth actually means something to consumers in this country. We’re in a public comment period for proposed new guidelines from the department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and you can leave your comment here.

Here’s what I sent: “You seriously think meat farms should be able to define ‘humane’ on their own? How can you call yourselves regulators any more? The truth actually means something to consumers and to farms that do bother to treat animals with some humanity. Please do your job.”

For context, here’s part of the toothless new proposed guideline:

“For animal welfare claims, such as ‘Raised with Care’ or ‘Humanely Raised,’ FSIS will only approve a claim if a statement is provided on the label showing ownership and including an explanation of the meaning of the claim for consumers, e.g., ‘TMB Ranch Defines Raised with Care as [explain the meaning of the claim on the label]’ or ‘TMB Ranch Defines Sustainably Raised as [explain meaning of the claim on the label].'”

How is that even regulation? Sounds like somebody’s taking a page from bank regulators, who have allowed financial institutions to do way too much self-regulation.

That kind of laziness hurts consumers and, in this case, would hurt farms that have more humane practices. If factory farms can charge higher prices because they’re pretending to treat animals better than they actually do — and have the blessing of regulators in doing so — it could put the smaller, more humane farmers out of business.

Perdue Farms and Kroger have settled lawsuits about such labeling, and now the goverment wants to make it okay.

One Perdue chicken farmer turned against Perdue, a company he’d done business with, because of its misleading claims, as The New York Times reported.

The farmer invited Compassion in World Farming to make this video to show the truth of these chicken’s miserable lives, which include lameness, filth, raw skin and a lack of sunshine and fresh air:

Food Empowerment Day at Drizzle & Shine

Local vegan boutique Drizzle & Shine donates a portion of sales to a different non-profit each month. Food Empowerment Project is their non-profit for July. In addition to donating a percentage of the monthly sales total, Drizzle & Shine is hosting Food Empowerment Day at the store and will be offering 10% off all purchases with an additional 10% going to Food Empowerment Project.

Come visit and meet some of the local FEP volunteers and try some fair-trade, vegan chocolate!

Where: Drizzle & Shine, 102 15th Ave East (Capitol Hill), Seattle, WA 98112
Date: July 30th, 2016
Time: From noon to 4 pm.

Food Empowerment Day

Food Empowerment Project is an organization that is working to create a more just and sustainable world through the food choices we make. They are a fantastic organization that is creating a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, the unavailability of healthy foods in communities of color and low-income areas, and the importance of not purchasing chocolate that comes from the worst forms of child labor.

Check out their app, Chocolate List, in Google Play or in the Apple App Store. It’s a great resource to help you source companies that make vegan, slave-free chocolate.

Ask Lawmakers to Add Farmed Animals to the Animal Welfare Act

Undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals Canada is licensed under CC by 2.0

Even if you missed NARN’s letter-writing party this week, there’s still a way you can write to advocate for the billions of pigs, cows, chickens and other animals who, every single day, endure a living hell of unspeakable torture:

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) of 1966 sets minimum standards for animal care and guards against abuse. However, the more than 9 billion farmed animals that die each year and many small animals used in laboratories are excluded.

Two laws are in place for slaughter and transport, but they are full of loopholes and rarely enforced. State anti-cruelty laws also fail farmed animals by exemption, leaving the agricultural industry to self-regulate and put profits before animal stewardship.

No federal law saves farmed animals from having their testicles, tails, horns, beaks and toes cut off without anesthesia or pain management. No federal law prevents male chicks (“byproducts” of the egg industry) from being tossed onto conveyor belts and ground up alive. No federal law stops geese from being force-fed until their organs fail, or chickens from being starved so they’ll start laying eggs again, or fish from being exposed to light 24 hours a day to speed their growth. No federal law saves animals from being confined in spaces so small they can’t turn around, stretch out, extend their wings or lie down comfortably.

NARN and In Defense of Animals invite you to tell your Congressional lawmakers that farmed animals need to be included in the Animal Welfare Act. Feel free to personalize and submit the letter below to:

Dear [Lawmaker name here],

As a voter who cares deeply about animals, I’m asking for an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 54) to extend legal protections to farmed animals.

Shockingly, there are no laws in place to protect the more than nine billion farmed animals who are slaughtered in the United States every year from abuse and acts of cruelty while they are being bred and raised. Farmed animals, like pigs, fish, sheep, cows and chickens are routinely subjected to painful and barbaric procedures.

As you know, animals are confined in spaces so small they can’t turn around, stretch their limbs or extend their wings, or lie down comfortably. Without anesthesia or pain management of any kind, their testicles, tails, horns, beaks, and toes are cut off. Male chicks in the egg industry are tossed onto conveyor belts and ground up alive. Geese are force fed until their organs fail, while chickens are routinely starved to induce egg laying, and fish are exposed to light 24 hours a day to speed their growth.

Farmed animals are exempt from the AWA and from most state anti-cruelty laws, leaving the agricultural industry to self-regulate and put profits before animal stewardship. While some animals exploited for food are covered under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, no federal law regulates how farmed animals are bred and raised.

Recently proposed amendments, such as the amendment concerning captive marine mammals, have sought to address gaps in the Animal Welfare Act. Farmed animals should not and cannot continue to be left vulnerable to acts of cruelty.

Every day, billions of pigs, cows, fish, chickens, and other animals face unspeakable suffering and torture. Please stand up for their welfare and amend the AWA to include standards for the housing and treatment of farmed animals.

Thank you,

Photo: Undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals Canada is licensed under CC by 2.0

Just Say No to Backyard Flocks

We’re reposting this great article with permission from Ducks and Clucks:

ducks and clucks1

The backlash continues to grow against the urban farming trend when it comes to backyard flocks. In recent years, cities across the US have revised land use codes to permit backyard flocks. But now those same cities are seeing an increase in neighbor complaints, dumped and surrendered chickens and even rat infestations.

It’s a complex issue with emotional and political implications including social justice, personal freedom and self-sufficiency. But animal shelters and rescue groups will tell you it’s just gotten out of hand.

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating ducks and clucks for over nine years now. There hasn’t been a single day in that time when I am not at or beyond capacity. I don’t know of any reputable, safe sanctuary in the entire NW that isn’t also at capacity and constantly seeking safe homes for dumped poultry. Not one. It’s becoming a crisis and the animals are suffering.

One of the biggest problems we see when people decide to get backyard chickens is the information available is almost entirely skewed towards the positive aspects of urban flock keeping. Just look at this beautiful spread of chicken coops and accessories by Williams Sonoma:

ducks and clucks2

You know what’s missing from those professionally-photographed and beautifully-styled yuppy urban farms? A LOT. A WHOLE LOT.

reality_collage

Here’s our collage of the reality of many backyard flocks. This is just a few snapshots of what happens every day with backyard flocks. Not quite as romantic and beautiful as the Williams Sonoma catalog, is it?

This collage includes aggressive ducks or roosters that bite children, infected wounds from dumped geese attacked by dogs, chicken $#!t covered in flies, an injured rescued rooster covered in lice, a raccoon bite down to the vertebrae, raccoons, bloody wing from raccoon attack, hawks, $#!t-covered deck and porch, and rats… lots of rats.

So obviously we discourage backyard flocks. You don’t rescue over 100 birds in 9 years and come out thinking backyard flocks are an awesome idea. This isn’t to say that everyone is doing it wrong. But enough people are regretting their choice to get flocks that it’s causing a big problem for shelters and sanctuaries, and way too much unnecessary suffering for the animals caught in the middle.

So here’s our list of tips to seriously consider before ever taking on the commitment of a backyard flock. But honestly? Just don’t do it.

Tip #1: Protecting urban chickens is costly but required. Chicken wire is not predator proof. Hens are extremely vulnerable to predators like hawks, eagles, raccoons and dogs. Raccoons can reach right through chicken wire to eat hens through the wire, and often work in groups. Eagles and hawks don’t pick up hens and fly away with them, they just take a piece. Roomy coops with hardware cloth on all sides, top and bottom can provide safety for urban hens.

Tip #2: Roosters may be illegal where you live. When hatching chicks, what will you do with all the male chicks? There is no local or state agency to help with animal control issues for urban flocks. Resources at local shelters are very slim and most aren’t well-equipped to house poultry or other farm animals. Two roosters will fight and injure each other. Factory farms and hatcheries routinely grind up male baby chicks while they’re still alive. It is difficult to acquire hens without taking part in the cruelty that male chicks face. Ask before you buy, “What happens to the male chicks?”

Tip #3: Hens get sick. What will you do? When a hen is sick, do you know where to go for urgent treatment? It is important to ensure that even backyard hens are free from suffering and neglect. Basic veterinary care for infections, parasites or injuries can start at $80 and run into the hundreds of dollars. Birds are much better than dogs or cats at hiding illness, so it is critical to get them care quickly. Are you prepared to ensure your birds don’t suffer?

Tip #4: Chicken feed attracts rats and chicken droppings attract flies. Cleaning and maintaining urban coops on smaller lots can be difficult and time consuming. Flies and rats bring parasites and illnesses with them that can infect hens and other household pets. Rat populations can easily get out of control and often damage homes.

Tip #5: Hens don’t lay eggs every day. Many urban farmers get hens to ensure their families have humanely-raised, fresh eggs to eat. But hens have natural cycles that change as the seasons change, and sometimes they don’t lay eggs. Laying an egg every day takes a lot of nutrients, especially calcium. Poor nutrition or poor breeding can cause many hens to be prone to reproductive cancers and other maladies like prolapse and egg binding. First-time farmers often need to be reminded that hens are not egg-laying machines and each hen is an individual. Egg-laying hens reach their peak at 18-months but can live more than 10-years.

Tip #6: Hens crow too. While generally not as loud as roosters, hens crow too. Hens cluck in the morning quite early to be let out of their predator-proof nesting areas. In the summer when days are long, the hen crows can begin at 4:15am. Neighbors will tend to think you are illegally keeping roosters if they hear crowing, and may complain. Also, some hens cluck loudly when they lay eggs. It is important to keep in mind if you have close neighbors.

Tip #7: Each hen has a unique personality. While some breeds have specific characteristics, every hen is her own chicken. While they can be charismatic, emotional and interactive, some hens will attack and injure less dominant hens, especially if space or food is limited. Other hens will eat their own eggs. Some will chase other household pets or pluck out their own feathers. They are unique individuals and don’t always get along.

In summary, because hens are easy to hatch and cheap to buy, they are often treated as disposable animals. And hens that no longer lay eggs are considered useless. But when it comes to suffering, all animals are created equal. With proper care and attention, hens can live up to 10+ years. Before becoming responsible for the care and happiness of any living being, do all the research you can, and be wary of anyone who makes urban chicken coops seem simple and easy. It is a years-long commitment with daily, required care.

P.S. If you still still STILL think a backyard flock is for you, ADOPT! Please adopt. Do not buy or hatch while so many healthy, beautiful, loving, friendly birds languish in shelters.

Answers From Bamboo Garden Co-Owner

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.

Bamboo Garden New Menu 2016

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.

Before Thursday, sound the alert about a dairy expansion planned for King County

tall-chief-bannerAmazingly, King County has drawn up plan to sell land to the largest landowner in the Snoqualmie Valley — a confinement dairy that uses GMOs, Roundup and synthetic fertilizers — rather than to Seattle Tilth.

A King County Council committee will vote Thursday on the sale of the Tall Chief Golf Course to Keller Dairy, already the area’s largest landowner.

King County bought the property in 2013 for about $4.5 million to save it from development.

Despite a strong proposal from the highly respected non-profit Seattle Tilth, the county’s Natural Resources and Parks Department decided to sell the land for roughly $700,000 to expand the dairy.

Speak out against King County Ordinance 2015-0425!

It’s urgent: Messages must be sent before 8 a.m. Thursday:

  • Sign this petition.
  • Spread the word! Link to the Save Tall Chief website.
  • Write a quick email to council members, with the subject line “Vote “no” on King Co. Ordinance 2015-0425, the Tall Chief land sale for a confinement dairy” and a message like: “I’m writing to ask that you vote against King County Ordinance 2015-0425. This is not the best use of our government-owned property, particularly when Seattle Tilth has a better plan on the table.” Here are the email addresses, which you can paste all at once if you’re in a hurry: 
    • dave.upthegrove@kingcounty.gov
    • larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov
    • kathy.lambert@kingcounty.gov
    • joe.mcdermott@kingcounty.gov
    • reagan.dunn@kingcounty.gov
    • dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov
    • rod.dembowski@kingcounty.gov,
    • larry.gossett@kingcounty.gov
    • jane.hague@kingcounty.gov
    • pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov
  • Attend the King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee meeting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, at which members will discuss and vote on King County Ordinance 2015-0425. Double check  at this link before you leave to ensure it’s still on the agenda.  Here’s the address: King County Courthouse, 516 Third Avenue,  Room 1001, Seattle.