Mark Shuttleworth on Tribalism

This piece by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth about tribalism in free software offers points that are equally relevant to the animal advocacy community.

I’ve always been amused that I face virtually no anger from anyone connected with the meat industry, but gargantuan amounts from people who share my interest in animal protection. Tribalism at work. Link.

Trader Joe’s Tycoon Dies

Theo Albrecht, the billionaire behind Trader Joe’s, has died. Seems like a good time to mention the chain’s unprecedented list of vegan foods [PDF], which was updated just this past April. Hoist a glass of Two Buck Chuck merlot in Albrecht’s memory. Link.

Update: Mahi Klosterhalfen emailed me:

[Albrecht was also] the first one to drop battery cage eggs in Germany (because the Albert Schweitzer Foundation convinced him to do so back in 2003.)

Chicken Industry Bickers Over How Far to Pervert the Word “Natural”

Chicken producers and the USDA are debating the terms under which chicken meat can be labeled “natural.”

I’d have no problem with this word being used to describe meat from unmedicated birds who pecked the dirt outdoors in grassy, uncrowded conditions. But neither side of this debate is entertaining any such requirement.

Instead, this debate is being restricted to what sorts of substances can be added the the birds’ carcasses. Link.

Colbert’s Thought for Food

One key ingredient to restoring some sanity to the American diet involves mocking the food industry for its crap offerings. These people need to be publicly shamed for the garbage they sell, and for their deliberate efforts to hook children on a life of junk foods.

And nobody’s so cut out for this job as Stephen Colbert. He lets the industry have it with both barrels in this segment. He’s not offering any solutions, but he’s planting seeds of outrage that will one day lead to great change. Link.

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought For Food – Cereal, Foot-Long Cheeseburger & Ecobot III
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Viva Vegan Giveaway

The only certainties in life are death, taxes, and the fact that five readers will win a copy of Terry Hope Romero’s Viva Vegan! this Monday. And of those three certainties, I’d say the free cookbook thing is probably the best off the bunch. Latin-style food has been hugely underrepresented in vegan cookbooks, but this new book sets everything right.

Contest open to USA residents only. Enter here.

More on the State Fair Cow Shooting

Solid follow-up reporting to this week’s story of the pregnant cow being fatally shot at California’s State Fair.

You could understand why cows would be shown at state fairs—it’s tradition, after all; a stupid tradition but tradition nonetheless. But why a pregnant cow? Turns out she was part of a live-birth exhibit, which is apparently a common attraction at state fairs.

One protester yesterday offered a perfect sound bite to frame the issue:

That cow should not have been here to give birth in the first place. It’s just wrong.

So, basically: a cow who was days, if not hours away from giving birth tried to get the hell out of this crazy situation, and was gunned down by cops given the green light by a veterinarian who later called her a “nutcase.” Link.

Vegans Stupidly Aren’t Taking Their B-12

Some strong new evidence has come in that vegans, as a group, are royally fucking up when it comes to taking their B-12—and it’s showing up on their blood tests. Ginny Messina summarizes:

The researchers looked at diets and serum levels of B12 in 226 omnivores, 231 vegetarians and 232 vegans. Mean serum B12 levels in vegans were 33% lower than in the vegetarians and 57% percent lower than in the omnivores.

Ginny goes on to make a convincing argument that some top authors in the veggie movement have given advice that borders on reckless when it comes to being sure you’re getting enough B-12.

B-12 deficiencies are not to be trifled with; they’ll creep up on you over time and can cause irreversible damage before you even realize something’s wrong. These deficiencies are also incredibly easy to avoid: just get a good cheap B-12 supplement and take it regularly.

Damn, people, just do this. Link.

Spinach Soufflé or Frozen Puke Brick?

Ah, yes, the 1970s: a golden era when vegetarianism was considered weird and dangerous, and veganism was nearly unheard of. The decade that saw the coining of that marvelous question: “where do you get your protein?”

And if you want to know why Americans were terrified of vegetables, look no further than the processed food of that era. Exhibit A: a Stouffer’s product that CopyRanter calls a “frozen puke brick.” Which, come to think of it, would also be a great name for a band or for a wireless network.

Check out two ads for this product here and here.

Stouffer’s actually had the balls to call this travesty a “soufflé.”

No wonder vegetarians of the 1970s had their work cut out for them.