Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Is the California Slaughterhouse Closing?

From Wayne Pacelle's blog:
The Wall Street Journal reports on its front page today that the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co., with annual revenues of about $100 million, is expected to permanently shut down as a result of the fallout from The HSUS investigation into the dairy cow slaughter plant's operations. "I don't see any way we can reopen," the company's general manager told the newspaper. USDA officials announced last Thursday that they will require Hallmark/Westland to pay for the costs associated with destroying and replacing meat sold to the USDA and funneled to states through the National School Lunch Program and other federal assistance programs.

Let's hope this slaughterhouse closes! If this tactic proves to be effective, maybe we should focus more on undercover investigations.

Read Wayne's entire blog post here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

From the Vegan Blogosphere

Here's a sample of what's currently going on in the vegan blogosphere:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Off-Topic: I Miss My Mom

My Mom died one year ago today, after battling acute myeloid leukemia for 10 months.

I tried to persuade her to change her diet, but was unsuccessful. I want everyone to know that diseases like these can be avoided. The food we eat is killing us. Please consider a vegan diet.

Mom: I miss you terribly and love you very much. I hope to meet up with you again in another life.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Casey Affleck on Veganism

Casey Affleck is vegan? Wow, I'm out of the loop with pop culture. Anyway, I came across the following video of him on YouTube, explaining why he is vegan.

I already liked his acting, but now he's even cooler. Is his brother vegan too?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Veganizing Your Pets

You switched to a vegan diet, but you're still feeding your pets a meat-based diet. Why? Have you wondered why our pets are dying from the same diseases we are? Because they're eating the same crap most of us are.

My dog was euthanized at the early age of nine. He had tumors growing all over his body and had developed cancer. I blame this on the crappy food he was fed (Science Diet). I'm sure many of you are aware of the horrors of the pet food industry, especially with the mass recalls not too long ago. But, are you aware that many pet food companies have relationships with veterinary colleges? They use these relationships to push products on soon-to-be veterinarians. For example, Hill's Pet Nutrition, the company that owns Science Diet, "provides financial and educational support to nearly every veterinary college in North America, as well as to veterinary students attending those institutions. This commitment to the profession includes Hill's sponsored teaching programs, residencies and faculty programs in veterinary schools and teaching hospitals all over the world" (DVM News Magazine, August 2004).

Anyway, after going vegan, I realized it was time to move my dog to a vegan diet as well. Meet Reilly (he's on your left). Reilly is eight years old and has been on a vegan diet for five years. He actually does a lot better on vegan food. He used to throw up after eating his meat-based food and was never too excited about eating. Since switching him to Evolution, he gets very excited about eating and never gets sick. I feel so much better feeding him quality food, made without animal byproducts, growth hormones, and animal testing.

Reilly's food regimen

Reilly is fed twice a day. As I mentioned above, I feed him Evolution Gourmet Pasta Dog Kibble. Moist food is much better for your pets, so I always soak it. I pour a bunch of kibble into his bowl and add just enough steam-distilled water to cover the kibble. I let this soak for at least 15 minutes. Then, I add a little Green Mush, made by Health Force (I love this company). In the morning, I also add one serving of vegetarian glucosamine. I give him glucosamine because 1) he had distemper as a puppy and 2) big dogs are more prone to joint and back problems (he's 80 pounds). He goes crazy for this food and looks forward to breakfast and dinner.

Now, onto the cats (I live with two cats). This is Owen. He is five years old and has been on a vegan diet for four years. We rescued Owen from a chain smoker who, because she forced him to live in a smoke-filled house, gave him breathing problems. His wheezing has improved, but he still wheezes a lot.

Like many other vegans, we started him out on a meat-based diet because we heard rumors of cats not being able to be vegan. Well, I'm here to tell you that's just false. Owen is a healthy cat, aside from the wheezing, and is obsessed with his food. When it's time to eat, he won't stop whining until he's fed. Like Reilly, he enjoys his vegan food better than the standard diet he was on before.

Owen's food regimen

Owen is also fed twice a day. I feed him Evolution Gourmet Pasta Cat Kibble. Moist food is even more important for cats in order to prevent urinary tract infections, so his food is always soaked. (See my previous post on preventing urinary tract infections in cats.) I soak Owen's food much longer than Reilly's because 1) I try to feed him as quickly as possible to minimize whining and 2) I really don't want him to get urinary tract infections. He's a male tabby, so he's very prone to them.

So, here's what I do: I mix 1 1/2 parts kibble with 1 part water and store it in the fridge. When it's time for him to eat, I add some of the food to his bowl and combine with Green Mush and Enzymes pH. Enzymes pH is made by a company called All the Best Pet Care, located here in Seattle. The product is not currently sold anywhere online, but you can order directly from them via phone. I know Vegan Essentials is currently working on getting the product, so hopefully we can expect it to be online in the near future. If you can't come across Enzymes pH, see my prior post on preventing urinary tract infections for a homemade substitute you can use instead.

The youngest in the family is Delilah. She's about four months old and still very much a kitten. I spoke with a vegan veterinarian about her diet, who recommended I feed her Vegekit, made by Harbingers of a New Age, at least until she is one. Vegekit is properly formulated for kittens and is better for cats under one year of age than Evolution. When she turns one, I'll be switching her to Evolution.

Delilah's food regimen

Delilah is fed twice a day. As I mentioned above, I feed her Vegekit. Just like Owen, she goes crazy when it's time to eat. The combination of two cats whining hysterically sometimes drives me a little crazy. She's just so cute, so she's gets away with murder. So, here's how I feed her: I used to follow the standard recipe in the Vegekit instructions for making kibble, but after doing that twice it proved to be a major hassle. So, I now make her food using the Chickpea Tofu recipe, also available in the Vegekit instructions. The ingredients are basically chickpeas, tofu, yeast powder, oil, and Vegekit. I add everything into the food processor and blend. It's much easier. When serving her food, I sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top, which she really loves.

The importance of water

It's very important to give your pets fresh, clean water. I give them only steam-distilled water, made by my Waterwise 8800. This is also what I exclusively drink, as our tap water is full of contaminants and Brita filters don't remove much. I use the Drinkwell Pet Fountain and small bowls as water sources for my cats.

Products I recommend

Below is a list of products I mentioned above and highly recommend.

Trusted companies I order from

Below is a list of trusted companies I order from.

Do any of your pets follow vegan diets? Do you have any questions about switching them to vegan diets? Please feel free to comment. I'm more than happy to help you in any way I can.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Musical Influences on Going Vegan

Isn't music wonderful? Isn't it great how it can influence your mood, outlook, and even your actions? I partially credit punk music for me going vegan.

I grew up on punk, especially political and hardcore bands. The lyrics really opened my eyes to the world and helped me see how things really worked.

One of the first punk bands I got into was AFI. Now, to my knowledge, they don't have any songs directly about veganism; however, I learned Davey Havok (the lead singer) was vegan and was intrigued. I also grew up on Anti-Flag and quickly learned that two of the band members (lead singer and drummer) are vegans. That got my thinking about it and helped me to come to the realization that animal liberation is another struggle we must incorporate into our lives as political activists. Over time, animal rights became my main driving force. It's the area I have chosen to focus on, as only we can speak for them.

Two of the bands I credit the most for my switch to veganism are Good Riddance and Propagandhi. Good Riddance has just one song about animal rights (Waste), but it really got to me and made me think about what I was doing. Propagandhi has a number of songs about animal rights and really helped me connect the dots between all struggles.

I wasn't into Earth Crisis before I was vegan, but I did get heavily into them after going vegan. They have turned numerous people vegan and have really helped the movement. Listening to Earth Crisis reinforces my values and dedication to the animal rights movement.

Music can be used as a tool to help us spread our message. The animals need us and we need to attack institutionalized speciesism on all fronts. Music is just one way, but it is an effective means of influencing change.

Thank you Good Riddance, Propagandhi, Anti-Flag, AFI, and Earth Crisis.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is the End to Animal Testing in Sight?

The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Toxicology Program, and the National Institutes of Health have all signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" to develop new methods of evaluating the safety of drugs and chemicals for humans.

Martin Stephens of the Humane Society of the United States said, "We believe this is the beginning of the end for animal testing. We think the (conversion) process will take about 10 years."

Are government agencies finally realizing what animal rights activists have known for years? Testing on animals yields no results that are beneficial to humans.

So, what new methods do they plan on utilizing? Human cells and computerized testing machines. Am I the only one wondering why they're only realizing this now? I've never understood why scientists didn't just grow human cells in labs and test directly on those.

Regardless, this is a huge win for animals. I wonder if this has to do with the increasing pressure animal rights activists are putting on government agencies and corporations. I'd like to think so. Let's keep the pressure on them. When animal testing is a thing of the past, people will look back on it in horror and wonder why it was ever done in the first place. Let's send it to the history books as soon as possible.

Here's the article I came across in USA Today: Three U.S. agencies aim to end animal testing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Review: So Delicious Soy Yogurt

The Whole Foods in Seattle just started carrying So Delicious soy yogurt. I heard about this a while ago and have been anxiously awaiting its arrival.

I bought two flavors: cinnamon bun and blueberry. Cinnamon bun was actually a little too sugary, even for me. Blueberry, however, was really good.

Pros: Taste, consistency, live active cultures

Cons: Fruit isn't organic, too much sugar

Here's a quick ingredients comparison of blueberry So Delicious (SD) and blueberry Whole Soy (WS).
  • Container size: 6oz each

  • Organic blueberries: Neither

  • Calories: 150 each

  • Sugar: 23g (SD), 18g (WS)

  • Protein: 6g each

  • Calcium: 30% RDA each

  • Vitamin B12: 30% RDA (SD), none (WS)

  • Live active cultures: 6 (SD), 4 (WS)

I'm not positive which I like more. I'll have to do some more taste-testing. However, I do recommend you try So Delicious soy yogurt. It's definitely good, and not runny like Silk.

USDA Recalls Beef From California Slaughterhouse

Today, the USDA recalled 143 million pounds of beef from the California slaughterhouse secretly investigated by HSUS. This beef recall is the largest ever in the United States.

"Officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs, but they believe most of the meat probably has already been eaten."

I'm hoping this company goes out of business. Well done HSUS!

Article: USDA orders nation's largest beef recall

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Earth Crisis Kicks Off National Tour

Vegan straight edge band Earth Crisis kicks off a month-long national tour on February 29th with a show in Worcester, MA. I'm really happy they're coming to Seattle!

For those of you who haven't heard of them, they "recorded and performed from 1991 until 2001, broke up and reunited in 2007." They are a political band and sing about animal liberation and the straight edge lifestyle. Read more at Wikipedia.

They've had a huge impact on my life, influencing me to research veganism and straight edge.

See their tour schedule here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Charges Filed Against California Slaughterhouse

Remember the HSUS undercover video of the slaughterhouse in California (see previous blog entry here)? Well, charges have been filed against two individuals seen abusing cows in the video!

Straight from Wayne Pacelle's mouth:
I just got out of a press conference in San Bernardino with District Attorney Michael Ramos. At the press conference—which was crowded with print, radio, and television reporters—he announced his filing of charges against two individuals, including felony animal cruelty charges against one, for the appalling abuses The HSUS documented at a dairy cow slaughter plant in Chino, Calif. It's the latest positive step in the unfolding of an extraordinary hidden camera investigation that has pricked the conscience of the nation about how animals raised for food are treated.

I am so pleased that District Attorney Ramos took this action, and on behalf of the entire HSUS family, I offered my praise and thanks to him. He gave a powerful and moving statement about not tolerating animal cruelty in society, whether the act is done to "a beloved family pet or a cow at a slaughterhouse." He added, "Unnecessary cruelty will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent allowed by law."

Justice is being served in this case. Two individuals who did awful things to animals are likely to lose their freedom for some time. District Attorney Ramos has stated that his investigation continues. Meanwhile, the USDA and its Office of Inspector General are also continuing their investigations. The slaughter plant has been temporarily shuttered, and given the behavior exhibited, it should not reopen with the current owners in charge.

Way to go HSUS!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Seattle Vegfest is Approaching

Seattle's annual Vegfest is rapidly approaching! Vegfest 2008 will take place from on March 29 & 30th from 10am - 6pm. It will again be held at the Exhibition Hall at Seattle Center.

Tickets are only $5 (kids 12 and under are free) and grant you the following:
  • Over 500 free food samples

  • Cooking demonstrations

  • Speakers (doctors and dietitians)

  • Vast selection of books

I attended last year's event, which drew several thousand people (I believe I remember reading 5,000). Anyway, So Delicious was one of the companies there handing out free samples of vegan ice cream! That's where I first tasted my beloved Cookie Dough ice cream.

Also, Vegetarians of Washington (the organizing group), was offering a discounted registration fee to join their organization. I opted to do so and now receive discounts at many vegan-friendly businesses in the area. I also got a bunch of coupons good at local vegetarian and vegan restaurants and stores.

I highly recommend you attend. It was so much fun last year. Oh, and if you go, be sure to go hungry, as you can fill up on all the free samples!

New PETA Commercial: Adopt, Don't Buy

Vegan Chai pointed me to this new PETA commercial about adopting dogs from shelters instead of buying from breeders:

I'm usually not too fond of PETA commercials and advertisements, as they tend to objectify women to get their point across. (See my earlier post on the new vegan strip club in Portland for my take on this). I actually really like this commercial, though.

I bet the breeders won't be too happy, but I don't care. Breeding animals should be banned, as millions of animals die each year in our shelters. My dog is from the shelter and I couldn't love him any more. Please adopt, don't shop.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Vegan Strip Club Opens in Portland

The first vegan strip club has opened in Portland. Casa Diablo serves all vegan food and is smoke-free. As this article says, "You won't find any meat at a new spot in Portland, but you will find a whole lot of flesh." Here's the video that was on the news.

The owner, Johnny Diablo, states, "My very sole purpose in life is to save as many creatures from pain and suffering as possible." Diablo was quoted as saying, "We put the meat on the pole, not on the plate." I think he said the worst possible thing he could have. He's using the PETA method by attempting to remove the objectification of one group by objectifying another.

The debate about the strip club appears to be heavily divided amongst the animal rights community. For example, there are now five pages of discussions on this thread on the Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness forums.

Here's an article titled, "The Sexual Politics of No Meat" on Be sure to check out the opinions represented in the comments there as well.

What do you think? Is everything fair game in the name of animal liberation? Do you think the dancers are being objectified? I'd really like your opinions. Please feel free to comment on this post.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Easily Stay on Top of Vegan Blogs

Vegan Talk has been added to the list of vegetarian and vegan blogs syndicated at Vegan Blog Tracker! Thanks for adding me.

Vegan Blog Tracker states that it brings "the freshest veg*n blog posts from around the web delivered right to your door." It's like an RSS reader for vegetarian/vegan blogs! It's a wonderful idea. They are currently tracking 39 blogs. When one of those blogs is updated, the new post is displayed on the Vegan Blog Tracker website.

If you haven't seen Vegan Blog Tracker yet, you should check it out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Review of Skinny Bitch in the Kitch

(Image courtesy of The Times)

I came across a review of the book Skinny Bitch in the Kitch in South Africa's The Times. The cookbook is a follow-up to Skinny Bitch, written by Rory Freedman (left) and Kim Barnouin.

Here are some excerpts:

The authors' new cookbook, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, was published in December and reached No 6 on The New York Times best-seller list in the paperback advice category.

Skinny Bitch in the Kitch helpfully condenses the entire contents of the first book down to three pages (meat is murder; carbohydrates do not make you fat; always read the ingredients and don’t eat anything you can't pronounce).

After Skinny Bitch was published, the authors were overwhelmed by requests for recipes and menus. "There comes a time in your life when you have to learn to cook," Barnouin said. "For us, this was it."

The cookbook makes little use of the traditional Asian meat substitutes (there is only one recipe each for seitan and tempeh) but there is a lot of frozen Italian "sausage" and vegan creamer sprinkled around.

The authors go beyond veganism at many points, rejecting olive oil for cooking in favour of coconut oil (they believe heating olive oil makes it dangerous to health) and disallowing non-whole-grain foods like semolina pasta and white rice.

The authors do occasionally take a break from swearing to ... encourage readers to eat their fill of foods like avocados, nuts and fruit without worrying about calories and carbs. [Freedman says,] "Just stuff yourself with things that are good for you, and you will be fine."

Read the whole review here.

How to Make Your Own Natural Food Coloring

I just came across a great post on The Urban Vegan about how to make your own (natural) food coloring.

Check out these vegan cupcakes with really colorful frosting!

(Image courtesy of The Urban Vegan)

Here's an excerpt:

Yellow: Add 1/4 tsp and a large pinch of stale turmeric to the icing. Turmeric is often used to give vegan puddings and tofu scrambles that "eggy" shade. This is a good use for turmeric that's past its prime, since stale turmeric is fairly flavor neutral.

Blush: Using a sieve, mash the juice from 3 fresh or thawed frozen raspberries directly into the icing.

Mint green: With a fork, mash 1/4 of a small avocado until creamy. Mix this into your icing. [The avocado makes your icing thinner, but in a fluffy, pleasant way.]

Raspberry: Using a sieve, mash the juice from 6 fresh or thawed frozen blueberries and 6 fresh or thawed frozen blackberries directly into the icing.

Go check out the post to see how to make the frosting for yourself.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Are you Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D may not be a concern for you if you live in Florida, but here in the Pacific Northwest it's near impossible to get enough vitamin D from the sun half of the year. That's why I supplement, and I recommend you do the same if you live in a climate like mine (or your line of work keeps you indoors).

So, what happens if you're deficient in vitamin D? Here are just a few conditions caused by vitamin D deficiency, taken from a great article on NaturalNews:
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Osteoporosis

  • Schizophrenia

  • Increased risk of developing diabetes and cancer

Chances are fairly good you're deficient in vitamin D, especially if you're a vegan living in a northern climate and not currently supplementing. Take a look at at the staggering occurrence of vitamin D deficiency in the United States (taken from NaturalNews):
  • 40% of the U.S. population

  • 76% of pregnant mothers

  • 32% of doctors and med school students

  • Up to 60% of all hospital patients

  • Up to 80% of nursing home patients

So, what can you do to prevent vitamin D deficiency? Spend time outdoors and soak up natural sunlight. If this isn't possible or you can't rely on the sun, you should supplement.

How much should you take? The currently recommended daily amount in the United States is 400 IU, although there is evidence to show this is far too low (see this article). Canadians are now told to take 1000 IU a day. My recommendation is to base it on the amount of sunlight you expect to receive that day. For example, I expect to receive virtually none here in Seattle today, so I'll be shooting for 1000 IU. If you expect to get a little, feel free to cut down your dosage. Also, I recommend spreading out your dosages. For example, I taken one vitamin D tablet in the morning and one in the evening.

Where can you get vegan vitamin D? Just remember that vitamin D3 is never vegan and vitamin D2 is always vegan. You can get some vitamin D from fortified soy milk, but I wouldn't rely on that alone because you'd have to drink the entire container just to get the current RDA (400 IU). Personally, I take Vegan D, made by VegLife. You can buy it here on Vegan Essentials or at any Whole Foods. Your local health food store may also carry it. I think I paid about $6.00 for a container of 100 tablets.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Presidential Candidates and Animal Rights

Alas, Dennis Kucinich, the only presidential candidate I would voted for, dropped out. It would have been great to have a vegan in the White House.

However, Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, has some great information available on the remaining 2008 presidential candidates on his blog, Animals & Politics. Below are some snippets.

Hillary Clinton
  • In her questionnaire response, Clinton indicates her support for every major animal protection bill in Congress, and says she will work with executive agencies to implement humane policies and adequate funding and enforcement for animal welfare laws.

  • "From preventing dog fighting to preventing horse slaughter to addressing global warming, I will work to ensure that these issues get the attention and support they deserve."

  • In her seven years in the U.S. Senate, Clinton has been a consistent supporter of animal protection, scoring 100 percent on the Humane Scorecard for the 108th Congress, and 100+ for the 109th Congress. She is currently a co-sponsor of legislation dealing with horse slaughter and animal fighting, and she previously co-sponsored legislation to stop the processing of "downer" livestock and to crack down on abusive puppy mills where dogs are cruelly confined and treated like production machines. She has also signed letters requesting more funds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to step up enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal animal fighting law.

Barack Obama
  • In his questionnaire response, Obama pledges support for nearly every animal protection bill currently pending in Congress, and he says he will work with executive agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make their policies more humane. He writes of the important role animals play in our lives, as companions in our homes, as wildlife in their own environments, and as service animals working with law enforcement and assisting persons with disabilities.

  • In his eight years as an Illinois state senator, Obama voted for at least a dozen animal protection laws that came up during that time. He supported measures, among others, to allow the creation of pet trusts to provide for the long-term care of companion animals; to upgrade the penalties for cruelty to animals; to require psychological counseling for people who abuse animals; to require that veterinarians report suspected acts of cruelty and animal fighting; and to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption—which was significant because, at the time, Illinois was one of only two states (with Texas) where horse slaughter plants operated.

  • Senator Obama scored 20 percent on the 2005 Humane Scorecard because he voted to end horse slaughter, but at the time, had not yet co-sponsored bills dealing with animal fighting, puppy mills, or downer livestock, or signed the enforcement funding letter. His score improved to 60 percent on the 2006 Humane Scorecard, as he signed onto the animal fighting bill and the funding letter. For 2007, Obama will receive credit on the scorecard for co-sponsoring the animal fighting and horse slaughter legislation, but he has not yet co-sponsored major animal welfare bills such as the Pet Safety and Protection Act.

  • Obama has said that he supports the rights of hunters and sportsmen.

John McCain
  • In the U.S. Senate, McCain has been a strong supporter of numerous animal welfare issues, earning scores of up to 75 percent on the Humane Scorecard. He has voted for and co-sponsored legislation to stop horse slaughter, and voted to eliminate a $2 million subsidy for the mink industry. He has co-sponsored bills to stop the interstate shipment of birds for cockfighting and to stop the poaching of bears by ending the trade in their gall bladders and other viscera.

  • He took an anti-animal position by supporting an amendment to the California Desert Protection Act which would have allowed sport hunting in the Mojave National Park. Senator McCain has been a leader in the effort to stop global warming, and he opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to many wildlife species.

Read the entire articles: Hillary Clinon, Barack Obama, John McCain.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bob Barker to Donate $1 Million for Animal Ethics Program

Bob Barker, ex-host of "The Price is Right," will donate $1 million to his alma mater, Drury University, to establish a new animal ethics program.

From the Drury University press release:

The initial course at Drury titled "Animal Ethics" will educate students about issues that directly affect the lives of animals. As a multidisciplinary class, the course will be team-taught with professors with expertise from the fields of biology, law, sustainability, psychology, criminology, philosophy, religion and anthropology. The Animal Ethics course will be offered for the first time in the spring of 2010. Several law schools, including Harvard and Stanford, have received gifts from Barker to help fund the study of Animal Rights, but this is the first time Barker has funded an undergraduate program in Animal Rights.

Bob Barker was quoted as saying, "If young people are introduced to the terrible exploitation and mistreatment of animals in society, it will help influence them in anything they do" (Associated Press article).

I love Bob Barker! I think this course will be instrumental in introducing students to animal rights.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Product Review: Vegan Dexter Belt from Truth

I just received my new vegan belt in the mail from MooShoes! I needed something more professional than the one I've had for a while (it's made from recycled bike tires). So, I ordered the black Dexter belt, made by Canadian-based company Truth.

I like the belt a lot. It looks great and will work well for those days I go into the office. I paid $40 for it on MooShoes. Note: For those of you who happen to live in the Seattle area, you can pick up a Truth belt from Sidecar. Be careful when choosing a size, as I ordered a small and it was too small. My waist size is 32 and a medium fits me perfectly. MooShoes was happy to do the exchange for me (thanks).

There's no need to buy leather. Be kind to the animals and choose a vegan belt. Just a few places you can buy cruelty-free belts online: MooShoes, Pangea, Truth, and Vegan Essentials.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections in Cats

Some cats are prone to urinary tract infections, especially males and tabbies. I have a male tabby cat so I was forced to come up with a solution. My concoction I've whipped up for Owen, my cat, is outlined below.

First and most importantly, I add a product called Enzymes pH (made by All the Best Pet Care) to his food. I do this every time I feed him. If you don't live in the Seattle area you can place an order over the phone. I'm not aware of anywhere you can purchase it online. If you know of somewhere, please let me know. You can always create a quick, decent substitute by mixing cranberry extract and vitamin C (1:1 ratio). Note: I've done this before when I didn't have any Enzymes pH and it has worked, but I do not know how well it works long-term.

Next, I bought a Drinkwell Pet Fountain. This product was invented by a veterinarian. It works by continuously circulating water, which prevents your cat from drinking stale, sitting water. Mine operates in phases, however, as my cat is very picky and only seems to want to drink water from places he's not supposed to (the sink, our cups, and the dog's bowl). I get frustrated with him not drinking from it and let it empty. I may try replacing the dog's bowl with a bigger pet fountain. Anyway, this tactic has been recommended by several veterinarians as a way to encourage your cat to drink.

If you're going to do one method, buy (or create) Enzymes pH. Using that alone has been extremely effective at preventing urinary tract infections. In fact, Owen has had just one in recent memory, which was due to the stress of having a new kitten in the apartment.

Note: I plan on discussing how to cure a urinary tract infection yourself in a forthcoming post.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Humane Society and AVAR Join Forces

Back in January the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced they were joining forces with the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR). This merger will result in the formation of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA).

Anyway, I recently came across an article on Newsday on this merger. I was astonished by the following paragraph:

The Rabies Challenge Fund, which she [an AVAR member] helped found, is testing the duration of immunity of the rabies vaccine to see if it extends as far as five to seven years. At the end of the vaccine trial, all the beagles will be euthanized so their brains can be examined for signs of the disease - the only definitive way to diagnose rabies.

I don't think a veterinarian for animal rights would test on beagles. I hope the newly-formed HSVMA does away with this. I'm going to assume this member of AVAR is an outcast and does not represent the organization as a whole.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

AR2008 Discounted Registration Fee

Animal Rights 2008 National Conference (AR2008) will be held from August 14-18 in Alexandria, VA (outside of Washington, DC). Registration is $80 (half off) if you register by February 15. After then the fee increases gradually until it reaches $160 in August. So, if you're going to go, register now.

Here are the highlights of this year's event:
  • 100 sessions
  • 90 speakers from 60 animal protection groups in 9 countries
  • Sessions on personal skills, activism, organizing, and outreach
  • Cruelty-free shopping
  • 80 videos
  • 90 free exhibits

Go to the AR2008 website for more info.

Friday, February 1, 2008

HSUS Video Removes Beef from Seattle Schools

The Humane Society of the United States has released a video containing undercover footage of workers in a slaughterhouse beating downer cows in order to use them for slaughter. Downer cows are legally not allowed in the food supply because they present a health hazard (not unlike meat in general).

The slaughterhouse is the Hallmark Meat Packing Company, located in Chino, CA. The USDA has said it will investigate the slaughterhouse and its affiliated Westland Meat Company. Westland Meat Company supplies meat to schools in 36 states.

As a result of the video, all public schools here in Seattle have stopped serving beef. I commend the Seattle public school system on their decision and mailed them a letter:

I commend you on your decision to stop serving beef in Seattle public schools. Like many other Seattle residents, I was outraged and horrified when I saw the Humane Society’s investigation of the Hallmark Meat Packing Company’s slaughterhouse.

Aside from the health concerns associated with serving illegally-processed beef from the slaughterhouse, the violence depicted in the video is not something I want children in our city affiliated with.

I wholeheartedly support your smart decision to ban all beef in our public schools and hope that your decision stands firm. We should protect the health of our children and avoid affiliation with these products of violence.

Here's the article and blog post from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.