Category Archives: legislation

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.
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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“The ban, however, could still be repealed by the state Legislature or struck down on other legal grounds as the case proceeds.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.

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.

Spay-Neuter Bill on the Back Burner

As many of you know, a spay-neuter bill has been in the works in California for a while now. The bill would mandate all dogs and cats get sterilized by 6 months or pay a $500 fine. There were exeptions written into this legislation, such as show dogs, animals of poor health, etc. The goal of the bill is to cut down on companion animal reproduction and therefore ease the strain on shelters. I’ve heard that this peice of legislation prompted more public response (emails, calls, etc.) than any other in decades.

Yesterday, assemblyman Lloyd Levine who led the bill through congress tried to ammend it hoping to improve its chances of being voted into law. The ammendment he proposed would only require sterilization after an animal showed signs of violence. In the end, the ammendment was not added to the bill and the bill was shelved. Assemblyman Lloyd Levine plans to revisit the bill again next year.

I have to say that this outcome does not suprise me in the least. Most people have major issues with being told how to treat their property. However, the fact that this bill got as far as it did is a good sign, not good enough unfortunately, but good. Perhaps we will see a more compassionate outcome in a year.

Tourism Hurting the Galapagos

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) announced that the amount of tourism through the Galapagos Islands is endangering its delicate ecosystem. Tourism has boomed in the Islands over the past 15 years, making it necessary for Unesco to put the Galapagos on its List of World Heritage in Danger. To learn more about the condition of the Galapagos, visit

Saving Austrailian Wildlife

Austrailian leaders are planning to build a 1,740 mile corridor for wildlife and vegetation to escape some of the effects of global warming. This corridor will span the east coast where forest and vegetation is already flourishing.

The most recent of global warming issue in Austrailia is a study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization which proves the southeast coastal waters of the continent are warming at a quicker rate than any other areas in the southern hemisphere.

Farm Bill Remix

The U.S. house of Representatives Committee on Agriculture recently changed the farm bill – for the better. The released the latest version in which Section 123 of Title 1 had been removed. Section 123 read, “no State or locality shall make any law prohibiting the use in commerce of an article that the Secretary of Agriculture has (1) inspected and passed; or (2) determined to be of non-regulated status.” Basically it would strike a number of laws from the books including laws prohibiting horse slaughter to puppy mill restriction.

Additionally, the farm bill was posed to give a $12 million subsidy to the veal industry, but the latest version has removed this earmark.

HSUS has been advocating for these changes since the first release of the farm bill. What would we do without them to read the fine print for us?