Where’s Jaime??

Hi everyone, and yes I am still here! I haven’t posted anything for almost a month now. As practically every person who identifies as an activist in any movement knows, burnout (in some form) is inevitable. I’ve found that over the summer I have spent most of my waking hours reading over animal rights blogs, books, news reports, and anything else I can get my hands on. Sometimes there are good stories to be found, heartwarming stories of compassion. But more often then not, harmful legislation is being passed, bastardly humans are doing evil things to animals, or some idiotic moron actually tries to convince us that humans are naturally better then animals.

What I’m saying is that I found I needed to step back from the movement for a little while and somehow try to restore my faith in humanity. Not to mention that with school starting up next week and a desperate job search in the works, I don’t have the time I did a while back to keep the Vegan Bug up to date.

So, with that, I will be back! Hopefully within the next week I will return to my regular blogging schedule!

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Roundup of Tidbits

  • The USDA is paying dead farmers $1.1 billion!

    For 1999 through 2005, USDA paid $1.1 billion in farm payments in the names of 172,801 deceased individuals (either as an individual recipient or as a member of an entity). Of this total, 40 percent went to those who had been dead for 3 or more years, and 19 percent to those dead for 7 or more years.

  • The Farm Bill is up for House vote today. It will reach the Senate in September.
  • This is just strange. And funny. Airport security seized a “dense clay-like substance” – a block of cheese!
  • This makes me embarassed to live in California. Obesity is in a never-ending downward spiral.
  • Another nutritious bar reaching the market. Vegan, organic, and raw! No wonder it’s named he Raw Organic Food Bar.
  • Killer whales are the most poluted European arctic mammal. Just more proof that the animal rights movement and the environmental sustainability movement are interconnected beyond belief.

7 Gorillas in 7 Months

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, one national park has seen too much death in the last seven months. Four gorillas were found shot dead this week, following three gorilla murders in pervious months. MSNBC reports,

The four were members of a family group known as Rugendo, and the male served as a leader of that group, which the IGCP feared would now be compromised. “Before the killings the Rugendo group comprised 12 individuals,” the IGCP said. “Six are confirmed as safe, but two gorillas, a female and an infant, are missing.”

These gorillas are an endangered species. Barely 700 mountain gorillas roam in the wild, and none in captivity. It is believed that individual disagreements are leading to these meaningless deaths. The park is planning to provide 24 hour security. The gorillas will be burried inside the park.

Kangaroo Skin Ban

Adidas went to court challenging the 36 year ban on selling kangaroo skin in California so that they may be able to legally sell their shoes in the state. They argued that because fedral law no longer offers protection for these animals and therefore makes it legal to use their body parts, state law should take a back seat. The California Supreme Court up heald the ban. So, for now Adidas is illegally selling their shoes through retailers who either don’t know better or just don’t care.

But the biggest threat comes from Adidas lobbying congress. The Los Angeles Times indicates,

“The ban, however, could still be repealed by the state Legislature or struck down on other legal grounds as the case proceeds. The state Senate voted in May to end the ban on importing and selling kangaroo parts, and that bill is now in the Assembly. Since 2003, the first year the bill was introduced, Adidas America has spent $435,693 lobbying the Legislature, state filings show.”

I was first alerted to this through DawnWatch, and to read a tiny article on the subject check out Grist.

Profit Dies in Heat

1,100 cattle have died in a northeast heat wave. When I hear this story, I immediately mourn the deaths and curse humanity. But, when reporters hear this story, they side with humanity and curse mother nature.

First of all, these cattle did not just die of heat and humidity. Had they been offered humane living conditions and environmental protection, they would have survived.

What I find most disturbing is the way in which animals are regrded as property.

Julie Walker, associate professor of Animal and Range Science at South Dakota State University [said], “Typically, we don’t see it in the range animals as much as those confined,” Walker said. “These, as I understand it, were close to finished,” she said, comparing that condition to the way heat and humidity might affect a human carrying additional weight.

And forget the fact that these are lives we are talking about, what about the money!

Braun said he didn’t have insurance coverage for loss of animals because of heat. Most are not covered for such a scenario, which means operators and cattle producers lost thousands of dollars this week.

So, here we have it. Who cares about the lives of these animals, it’s all about the profit.

Randomness

Fair Warning: Two random things that have practically nothing to do with veganism.

First, Salon.com wrote up a summary of the YouTube/CNN Democratic Debate. You can also watch clips on YouTube.com. Normally I’m not much for politics, but I sense a glimmer of hope for our country in the coming election. And there’s even a vegan running: Dennis Kucinich.

Second, who needs a mansion? Seriously. The past few trips back to my hometown, Sacramento, have left me somewhat furious towards humanity. Everywhere you go, massive multi-million dollar homes stand. Who needs that much? That much space? That much money? That much of anything? Those homes are completely wasteful and unsustainable. Imagine the amount of energy it takes to heat and cool such a large space. And you know that homes like this must be filled with every ammenety and technology available to man. Plus, consider the amount of material used to build such a house (or castle, as the case may be.)

Now, don’t think I’m anti-technology, anti-freedom, or God forbid, anti-money. But why must people exhibit their status so? Even if every mansion was “green,” it would still be wasting. Simply the fact that some people want so much space is a waste. Furthermore, these homeowners have become immersed in consumer culture and feel that they must prove their worth via exhibiting wealth. If people have enough money to build their own $4 million house, they should be using it in a more worthwhile, caring, compassionate, helpful, generous, (insert you own word here) way.

What actually convinced me to write up this little rant was this article on Treehugger. It shows that as homes have increased in size over the past few decades, the number of occupants has decreased. Also, some states are enacting laws to counteract “monster homes.”

If you live in, or want to live in, a monster home, you are embracing your constitutional right to property. Congrats. But if you are happy in a reasonable home, you are helping to sustain you community without endless, unnecessary ammeneties. Plus, people won’t drive by and make a joke about you compensating for something.

Learn Something New Every Day: Hugo, Pelosi, and more

Now, I know that I’ve been doing a lot of linking posts lately, and by default not enough original posts. Well, rest assured, I am planning a series of Vegan Nutrition 101 posts. It’s basically going to be the absolute basics of what every vegan (or vegetarian…..or omni) should know. Anywho, these are a few things to keep your mind busy in the meantime.

  • While organics are on the rise we all still know how expensive they can be. SmartMoney’s Keli Grant has five ideas for finding cheaper organics. My personal favorite: Local farmers. Who would’a thunk?
  • The Farm Bill is up for vote this week, which Nancy Pelosi is “very proud” of. It would send millions to corn, cotton, and a few other major crops. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an expert on the subject, but that just doesn’t sound right. Muchless, something to be “very pround” of. Rep. Ron Kind has promised to ammend (or rather, correct) the bill. All ammendments must be submitted by the 24th, Tuesday.
  • A vegetarian restaurant in Brooklyn, Counter, is serving up fruity cocktails for dinner. As one customer said, “I drank my dinner a couple of times. I’m kind of proud of that… [made with] muddled cucumber. That’s a vegetable, right?” The cocktails are full of anioxidants, vegetable purees, and vitamins. And, supposedly, don’t leave you with a hangover. So, go ahead, drink up, just don’t lie to yourself; Cucumber is not a vegetable!
  • This makes me sick to my stomach. The sizzle of decaying flesh is just the frosting on the cake.
  • Another species saved from extinction! The El Segundo blue butterfly is alive an kicking in Southern California. The species was entered to the endangered species list in 1976.
  • Another reason to hate McDonalds. They have been attempting to change their image by cutting out the supersize menu and adding salads, fruit, etc. Their latest addition is the 42 oz “Hugo” drink. Full of regular soda, it contains 410 calories (the equivalent of a small meal.) Drink 5, and you’ve had your share of energy intake for the day. Am I the only one that is reminded of Hugo on Lost?
  • Castleberry Food is recalling it’s chili and dog food after finding the meat was contaminated with botulism. What? Humans are eating the same meat as their pets? Not much of a suprize, but at least they are spreading disease evenly throughout the animal kingdom.
  • Genetically modified rice has been on our shelves since 2001. Constmerist reports,

    Six years ago, Avenits Crop Science introduced Liberty Link, a transgenic rice strain resistant to Liberty, an Aventis weed killer. The Liberty Link experiment ended abruptly when StarLink – a transgenic corn strain made by Aventis that was approved only for use in animal feed, not for human consumption – was found in Kraft taco shells.

    In 2006 Liberty Link was found in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana in products such ar Budweiser and Uncle Ben’s. Up until this point the mutant rice was not approved by the FDA, but faced with the decision to recall massive amounts of rice, and rice containing products, they instead opted to approve it, without testing.

    Their reasoning? The mutant rice was similar to mutant corn and canola that hadn’t yet harmed American consumers.