EVERYTHING VEGAN

September 15, 2014 7:56 pm

Here Be Dragons
Photograph by Stefano Unterthiner, National Geographic
An adult Komodo dragon hangs out near Indonesia’s Komodo village. With people living inside the dragon-protecting Komodo National Park and poorly marked boundaries for wildlife habitat, encounters with lizards are inevitable. Most end without injury.
See more pictures from the January 2014 feature story “Once Upon a Dragon.”

Here Be Dragons

Photograph by Stefano Unterthiner, National Geographic

An adult Komodo dragon hangs out near Indonesia’s Komodo village. With people living inside the dragon-protecting Komodo National Park and poorly marked boundaries for wildlife habitat, encounters with lizards are inevitable. Most end without injury.

See more pictures from the January 2014 feature story “Once Upon a Dragon.”

(Source: National Geographic, via heckyeahreptiles)

 
7:55 pm
Dedicated Vet Performs Life-Saving Surgery On A Little Goldfish

"This is the story of a hearty little swimmer named George, whose life is  as priceless as any other.
Last week, George’s guardian brought her beloved fish to veterinarians at Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia in hopes that they might help save his life. The 10-year-old fish had developed a tumor on his head, and the tumor was making it increasingly difficult for him to swim or feed normally.
Dr. Tristan Rich, who assessed the fish’s condition, told the guardian that he could either put the fish to sleep, or attempt to remove the growth. Performing surgery, especially on fish, can be a risky and costly endeavor, but George’s owner agreed that it was worth it.
"It can be a few hundred dollars, and mostly it’s charged for the standard anesthetic, also depending on the time it takes. The actual procedure is quick and straightforward," Dr. Rich told the Sydney Morning Herald. “[But] it’s quite fiddly, as you can imagine with an 80-gram fish, and you’ve got to make sure you can control any blood loss. He can only lose about half a mil [milliliter].”
While removing the tumor itself takes no small amount of precision, putting the fish under anesthesia and keeping him breathing is a science all its own. Vet staff describe the procedure on their Facebook page:

Dr Tristan Rich, head of Lort Smith’s exotic and wildlife vet team, set up three buckets – one with a knock out dose of anaesthetic, one with a maintenance level of anaesthetic, and one with clean water as the recovery unit.Once George was asleep, Dr Tristan ran a tube from the maintenance bucket which was being oxygenated, into George’s mouth, so that the water with the maintenance dose of anaesthetic washed over his gills.Dr Tristan worked quickly to remove the large tumour, although the size of it meant that he had to use a gelatine sponge to control the bleeding during surgery. The size of the wound meant it was difficult to seal, so Dr Tristan put in four sutures then sealed the rest of the wound with tissue glue.

(Lort Smith Animal Hospital)
After the 45-minute surgery, George was returned to an oxygen-rich bucket to begin his recovery. Thanks to Dr. Rich’s skill and dedication to saving the life of even the most unlikely of patients, the shiny little fish is back on his fins. The vet says he’s performed such procedures less than a dozen times, but he’s clearly developed an expertise.
“The surgery went swimmingly and George has now returned home with his loving guardian,” says Dr. Rich.”         

Dedicated Vet Performs Life-Saving Surgery On A Little Goldfish

"This is the story of a hearty little swimmer named George, whose life is  as priceless as any other.

Last week, George’s guardian brought her beloved fish to veterinarians at Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne, Australia in hopes that they might help save his life. The 10-year-old fish had developed a tumor on his head, and the tumor was making it increasingly difficult for him to swim or feed normally.

Dr. Tristan Rich, who assessed the fish’s condition, told the guardian that he could either put the fish to sleep, or attempt to remove the growth. Performing surgery, especially on fish, can be a risky and costly endeavor, but George’s owner agreed that it was worth it.

"It can be a few hundred dollars, and mostly it’s charged for the standard anesthetic, also depending on the time it takes. The actual procedure is quick and straightforward," Dr. Rich told the Sydney Morning Herald. “[But] it’s quite fiddly, as you can imagine with an 80-gram fish, and you’ve got to make sure you can control any blood loss. He can only lose about half a mil [milliliter].”

While removing the tumor itself takes no small amount of precision, putting the fish under anesthesia and keeping him breathing is a science all its own. Vet staff describe the procedure on their Facebook page:

Dr Tristan Rich, head of Lort Smith’s exotic and wildlife vet team, set up three buckets – one with a knock out dose of anaesthetic, one with a maintenance level of anaesthetic, and one with clean water as the recovery unit.

Once George was asleep, Dr Tristan ran a tube from the maintenance bucket which was being oxygenated, into George’s mouth, so that the water with the maintenance dose of anaesthetic washed over his gills.

Dr Tristan worked quickly to remove the large tumour, although the size of it meant that he had to use a gelatine sponge to control the bleeding during surgery. The size of the wound meant it was difficult to seal, so Dr Tristan put in four sutures then sealed the rest of the wound with tissue glue.

image(Lort Smith Animal Hospital)

After the 45-minute surgery, George was returned to an oxygen-rich bucket to begin his recovery. Thanks to Dr. Rich’s skill and dedication to saving the life of even the most unlikely of patients, the shiny little fish is back on his fins. The vet says he’s performed such procedures less than a dozen times, but he’s clearly developed an expertise.

“The surgery went swimmingly and George has now returned home with his loving guardian,” says Dr. Rich.”         

 
7:48 pm

abvegansociety:

image

They are vulnerable. And we exploit them.

Because we have to? *Because we want to.*

The Abolitionist Vegan Society

www.WhyVeganism.com

 
5:00 pm

(Source: ltm, via art-and-veganism)

 
4:59 pm

wtfevolution:

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the fun stuff inside.

Preorder: Amazon, Powell’s Books, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound

 
4:39 pm
 
2:15 pm

from-meat-to-bean:

kvitvarg:

Take time to watch this.

GO WATCH THIS NOW!

In case you missed it, reblogging.

"The movie starts as a first-person journey to sustainability for Kip Andersen. He’s a self-proclaimed environmentalist, but it’s not until some serious digging that Kip discovers the devastating impact of the meat and dairy industries on the environment. As someone who turns to organizations like Greenpeace and Surfrider for info and guidance, Kip wonders why they have almost no information on the number one cause of environmental destruction (i.e. meat and dairy). He goes to speak to these organizations and films interviews (sometimes secretly).  By the middle of the movie, we have what shapes up to be a very real conspiracy. I know, sounds melodramatic, but watch the movie. There is no more appropriate word than conspiracy. The groups that are supposed to be helping the environment are spitting out more crap than a factory farm. Really, it’s bonkers.” -vegansaurus

(via animalsandtrees)

 
12:17 pm
"I want to shake people awake. I want people to look at the material and react to it. I want to make them aware of individual responsibility, both for themselves and for the rest of the human race. It has become easy to be complacent about the world."

Robert Rauschenberg

(Source: cinoh, via mohenjo-daro)

 
12:00 pm 11:57 am
malformalady:

Bloom of moon jellyfish

malformalady:

Bloom of moon jellyfish

(via shinoddddd)

 
11:55 am 11:34 am
Pasture Raised Eggs: the Humane, Sustainable Fiction

"In a recent article in Civil Eats by author Brie Mazurek, a farmer named Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farm in Dixon, California gets a chance to puff up his more humane vision for pasture raised eggs. His solution? For one thing, in response to his customers’ frequent concerns over the killing of male chicks at the hatcheries which supply nearly all egg farms, from factory farms to backyard hen keepers, Walker now breeds his own birds instead.

To this end, he is asking his supporters — consumers seeking truly humane, sustainable egg products — to fund this project. But we did a bit of detective work and found that, contrary to his sustainability and “ecosystem” rhetoric, Walker appears to be living in a sprawling McMansion as shown in the aerial photograph from Google Maps. More on the “ecological” and “sustainable” claims he makes about his farm later in this article.

In the following, I’ve addressed several points and claims made by both Mazurek and Walker.


Civil Eats: “…many conscientious eaters go out of their way to purchase pasture-raised eggs laid by happy chickens, …”

Red jungle fowl Photo: Goldy RS

Red jungle fowl Photo: Goldy RS

My response: Many conscientious eaters would do well to learn that a pasture is nothing like a natural habitat for chickens. Chickens originate from, and still inhabit, tropical rainforests where they have evolved “happily” for millions of years. Their brains, behaviors and natural instincts have been shaped by one of the most complex, diverse and dynamic ecosystems on the planet. A largely tree-less, open farm “pasture” is an artificial, foreign environment in which chickens feel vulnerable and exposed to predators. Pasture-raised chickens frequently exhibit heightened cortisol levels (a stress hormone) indicating a sense of being in danger. In fact, it is the pasture farmers themselves who are so often complaining about the number of chickens they’ve lost to predators. In contrast, chickens in their natural rainforest habitat create their own social order that collectively — and very successfully — thwarts predators, with the help of abundant trees. Some studies have shown that chickens successfully survive a predator attack 90% of the time in their natural environment.

Moreover, forcing animals to live in an environment that is foreign to them and that places them in harm’s way — and breaking up their natural social order so that we can exploit them for their eggs and flesh — is neither “conscientious” nor “natural.” Finally, to do so contradicts what most of us claim to already believe, that it is wrong to harm animals unnecessarily and when we could so easily avoid it.

Civil Eats: “ ‘We are on a mission to put the old breeds of poultry back to work,’ he [Walker] says. While such birds may produce fewer eggs and put on pounds more slowly than modern breeds, they tend to be more healthy, resilient, and productive in the long run.”

My response: The “old” breeds are still manipulated to reproduce an unnatural number of eggs. By contrast, wild chickens lay only a few clutches of eggs, or 10 to 15 eggs per year. Like all birds, they lay eggs only during breeding season and only for the purpose of reproducing. (1) Painful and often fatal reproductive disorders and diseases resulting from this history of invasive genetic manipulation for overproduction of eggs are still commonly reported in so-called heritage breeds as well.

pasture raised

“This poor hen had so much [rotten egg material] inside her it tore open the lining that carries the eggs, & the old eggs that never made it out had spilled into her body. These old eggs had turned into firm yellow masses & there was no way for any egg behind them to travel out…I had a huge amount of light yellow mass-like things that felt like boiled eggs or semi hard cheese in feel.” -Description of fatal egg peritonitis in a heritage breed backyard hen. Post-mortem photo: Old Batz Farm/labeled for reuse

Civil Eats: “As the flock grows, the birds must be carefully tracked. Each time a hen goes to lay an egg, a door closes behind her (in what is called a trap nest) so that the bird and her egg can be recorded by Eatwell staff. The best of the best will be selected for hatching.”

My response: There is essentially no difference in the intent and practice of breeding chickens for specific traits in Walker’s method described above, and the selective breeding methods used by industrial hatcheries that farmers like Walker already claim to oppose. Both rely on dominating and exploiting the female reproductive system, weeding out “inferior” animals in favor of those with “superior” traits, with the goal of increasing productivity and profit. The end goal is still one of more efficient exploitation. If we were to apply this same mentality and methodology to our treatment of certain groups of human beings, we would be looking at something like the Nazi scientists and ideologues who promoted a vision of an “optimal” Aryan race. If it’s immoral to dominate and manipulate human animals in such a manner, then how can it possibly be moral to control and modify non human animals in this way, particularly when the latter have no way of consenting? Arbitrary prejudice is the basis for both instances of breeding and manipulating sentient beings.

Civil Eats: “The males will be raised to maturity and processed for meat, providing additional income for the farm.”

My response: How does the farmer define “maturity?” What does that mean for a bird with a natural lifespan of 8 to 15 years? How many weeks is he allowed to live past the mere seven weeks of life of a typical “broiler” chicken on an industrial farm? A few more weeks, perhaps? If so, he is hardly “mature” at this point, but rather still in his infancy. Walker pretends he’s doing the male chicks a favor by letting them “mature” into slightly older infants before he needlessly butchers them for meat.

Civil Eats: “Chickens play an invaluable role in the farm’s ecosystem, having eliminated the need for compost and external fertilizers.”

My response: Since when is a farm a “natural ecosystem”? And why would you want to eliminate compost, nature’s own free fertilizer, and replace it with excrement from domesticated “invasive” species? I checked in with our seasoned sustainability expert, Will Anderson, to get more answers. He wrote: “At Eatwell Farm, chickens may be indispensable to the egg and chicken meat business, but not to an ecosystem. In the far more limited sense, chickens do cycle nutrients back to the soil, but those nutrients required the artificial addition of more energy and water intensive inputs in the form of 30 tons of organic wheat grown specifically to feed the chickens (see http://www.cuesa.org/seller/eatwell-farm). Eatwell’s agroecosystem does not increase biomass for the ecosystem, but removes much of it when sold as food and the chickens are taken to slaughter.”

pasture raised

Tolhurst Organic farm is a large-scale veganic growing operation that has been producing commercial-yield vegetables without any animal inputs for more than a decade.

Civil Eats: “The real core issue here is getting animals back on farms and out of these confinement operations,” says Walker. “Yes, we want their eggs, and the meat is great, too, but the reason we have our chickens is that they eat the pasture and fertilize the ground. All our organic vegetables are grown with fertility from cover crops and chickens.”

My response: Again I defer to Will Anderson: “Veganic agriculture provides the compost for crops minus the waste of wheat [used for chicken feed] and loss of chicken and dairy lives while using less energy, land, and water. Like others who celebrate animal agriculture, Nigel Walker seems not to ask what could be better. As a result, they overlook the fact that these practices are not sustainable given the extent of global ecosystem destruction, and, more obviously, are not needed as food.”

According to agricultural and plant pathology expert Dr. Steve Savage, “Manure is also a non-ideal fertilizer in many ways.” “The animals didn’t ‘make’ any of those nutrients [needed to fertilize crops]. For instance, the ~2% nitrogen in cow manure came from whatever they ate (grass, corn, soybeans…) …The cow is just passing a bit of that along.” Using manure as a fertilizer has the added disadvantage of creating more greenhouse gases and wasting more water and feed inputs to produce the same crop yields. (2)

As for the scale of such an operation, where does all the land needed to give animals a “natural” farm life come from?, asks author and program director of United Poultry Concerns, Hope Bohanec. “At any given time, there are 100 million head of cattle and 70 million pigs alive in the U.S. Currently, only about 9 percent of all livestock is pasture raised. How would we ever have the land to pasture raise them all? To give all farmed animals the space they need to have even a semblance of a natural life, we would have to destroy millions more acres of wild areas, forests, prairies, and wetlands to accommodate them. There is not enough land on the planet, or even two planets, to free-range all the billions of pigs, sheep, turkeys, ducks, and chickens. We would need closer to five planet Earths. It simply cannot be done. Free-ranging animals for food can never be more than a specialty market for a few elite buyers.” (3)

Civil Eats: “We’re trying to find a bird that can live outside, where it can express all of its chickenness…”

My response: Where can chickens actually express “all of their chickenness?” Well, we can turn to sanctuaries who have rescued these birds from the farming industry and who value them, not as units of production, but for their intrinsic value as autonomous individuals who have names and unique personalities. We can also turn to recent scientific research that confirms what many who have observed chickens closely for years have long known to be true. What we’ve learned about the avian brain and behavior in just the last 15 years contradicts hundreds of years of misinformed views about chickens and other birds. Much of what was previously thought to be the exclusive domain of human / primate communication, brain and cognitive function, and social behavior is now being discovered in chickens and other birds. (4)

chickens-in-tree

Rescued chickens roosting in a tree at Willowite Sanctuary. photo: Pete Crosbie

Farms, whether pasture-based or not, value animals only to the extent that they provide a resource to that farm. That will never change. Animals regarded as pieces of property are treated as property, regardless of whatever feel-good fictions are used to mask this reality. It is anthropocentric and prejudicial to claim that animals desire or deserve to be used and killed as our resources. Quite the opposite is true and easy to conclude from simple observation. Animals regularly and clearly demonstrate an interest in staying alive and living freely and, like us, in avoiding pain, suffering and death — all of which interests are denied them when they are exploited for their flesh, eggs and milk.

(1) 12 Egg Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

(2) Dr. Steve Savage , No, Cows Don’t Make Fertilizer

(3) Hope Bohanec, The Humane Hoax

(4) Robert Grillo, Chicken Behavior: An Overview of Recent Science”

 
September 14, 2014 7:50 pm
libutron:

Red-legged Seriema - Cariama cristata
It is said that the Red-legged Seriema, Cariama cristata, and its relative Black-legged Seriema (Chunga burmeisteri), both included in the poorly known Cariamidae Family, are the closest living relatives of giant predatory Cenozoic birds. However, despite their large size, loud vocalizations, and overall conspicuousness, relatively little has been published on this family, which is surprising considering how common they are in many areas of South America.
Cariama cristata is known for eating a large range of small animals, and is famous for being on of the few species that will eat venomous coral snakes. These birds are monogamous and territorial.
The Red-legged Seriema occurs in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, and is often associated with open, seasonally inundated conditions such as mesic savanna or wetland periphery.
Other common names: Chuna Patas Rojas, Chuña Patas Rojas.
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo credit: ©Peter Schoen | Parque Nacional Serra da Canastra, Minas Gerais, Brazil (2010)

libutron:

Red-legged Seriema - Cariama cristata

It is said that the Red-legged Seriema, Cariama cristata, and its relative Black-legged Seriema (Chunga burmeisteri), both included in the poorly known Cariamidae Family, are the closest living relatives of giant predatory Cenozoic birds. However, despite their large size, loud vocalizations, and overall conspicuousness, relatively little has been published on this family, which is surprising considering how common they are in many areas of South America.

Cariama cristata is known for eating a large range of small animals, and is famous for being on of the few species that will eat venomous coral snakes. These birds are monogamous and territorial.

The Red-legged Seriema occurs in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, and is often associated with open, seasonally inundated conditions such as mesic savanna or wetland periphery.

Other common names: Chuna Patas Rojas, Chuña Patas Rojas.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Peter Schoen | Parque Nacional Serra da Canastra, Minas Gerais, Brazil (2010)

(via wolffeeder)

 
7:38 pm 7:06 pm

(via veganimal)