Friday, May 29, 2009

How vegetarians get their protein

From fmylife.com:
Today, I was at my boyfriend's house. I've been a vegetarian for 4 years, and his mother made lasagna with meat in it. After telling her I don't eat meat, my boyfriend's father proceeds to say "we know who's meat she does eat." My boyfriend, his mother, and I were standing right there. FML
Many inappropriate things enter and exit the omnivore's mouth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Francione on Pets

Listen to what Gary Francione has to say about pet ownership in a February 2009 interview:



In short, he argues that "we cannot justify domestication" or continued breeding of animals to serve as companions, but that we have a moral obligation to take care of the animals that we have already brought into existence.

Francione draws a somewhat gratuitous comparison to slavery in response to a question about humans who may have no source of friendship other than their companion animals. This analogy is weak since the primary concern with slavery was not whether the individuals should continue to exist and breed into the future, but whether their status should be that of a subordinate class of people. Since there is no way for most dog species to survive without human guardianship, opposing the pet industry is equivalent to opposing the legitimacy of the existence of these animals. Ridding ourselves of the mindset of domestication does not just require that we get rid of the pet-owner relationship, but that we actively do things to get rid of the species as well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Role of Satire

It sometimes seems that the comedic realm is one of the greatest forums for consciousness-raising efforts. Granted a cloak of immunity, comedians are able to say things others won’t, because their remarks can easily be written off as punchlines without social truth. It is no wonder, then, that Jon Stewart (and his cohorts) thrived during the Bush era, which was characterized by concealment and its lack of transparency.

Similarly, South Park sometimes takes the meat industry head on. This clip from an episode titled “Fun With Veal” is working at both the comedic and the social level:



The rows of wide-eyed cows look back at the parallel rows of wide-eyed children, as this fun field trip inadvertently turns into an exposé of an injustice. Cartman - the gluttonous and irreverent embodiment of opportunistic capitalism - upholds the "meathead" viewpoint of the fat kid who thinks cute animals are tasty. Kyle’s claim that “city kids get to go to museums for field trips, we get cow farms,” brings to light the urban versus rural disparity. As the bourgeois, museum-visiting kids are presumably also a part of the strain of society that consumes this veal, the rural “redneck” children of south park depict a relationship with meat that does not extract the animals from it. As industrial factory farming takes residence in areas with scarce populations, urbanization distances consumers from the meat they eat to the point where the industry becomes invisible and impenetrable. South Park’s project, then, is not only to take the children behind these closed doors, but also to take the viewer to a place that is otherwise inaccessible to them.

This episode adheres to the general South Park formula, where critical examination of a social wrong is immediately followed by the characters flippantly dismissing their cause, none the wiser:



After the children somewhat successfully save the baby cows, Stan’s brief foray into vegetarianism is brought to a close when it literally turns him into a “pussy.” The political message of South Park episodes is difficult to ascertain and sometimes the end-goal is the shock the slapstick humor elicits rather than a real call for social action. The 8-year-old boys, however, almost always serve as mouthpieces for some deep social criticism, as their tabula rasa naiveté renders common and overlooked absurdities anew. In the end, the viewer cannot comfortably accept and inhabit the characters' rejection of vegetarianism, so is left with an unsettling sense that all is not as it should be. The social criticism that occurs prior to the final punchline is where the consciousness-raising efforts of comedy lie, as the humor is not sufficient compensation for our new painful state of awareness.

watch the entire "Fun with Veal" episode here.

Why vegetarian feminists are upset with PETA

by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, founder and editor of Equal Writes

You wouldn't think that feminism and animal rights activism would be mutually exclusive ventures, but even if they offered me a job, I would never work for PETA (and in this frosty economy, no less!). This is not because I love fur, leather shoes, or pepperoni pizza - with the possible exception of my vintage cowboy boots, I could, and do, live happily without all three. In fact, I'm a lifelong vegetarian. I've never eaten beef or pork (except for the occasional hot dog when I was 5, before my father told me that they eat cat in Africa and I made the Lisa Simpson connection between lambs and lamb chops), and I stopped eating all meat when I was 10, so I think I have pretty good vegetarian street cred. I cried in the middle of a cafe earlier this year while reading a Michael Pollan article about cattle raised for beef (read it - it made me go vegan for three months before I got anemia from my college dining halls) - it's incredibly easy to get me worked up about animal rights issues, and if there were more than 24 hours in the day, I would be devoting time to animal rights activism.

But I'm also a lifelong feminist, and I have been increasingly shocked and horrified by PETA's casual exploitation of gender stereotypes and objectification of the female body in an effort to raise support for its activism. If you've seen any of PETA's ads, you know what I'm talking about. This commercial was banned from the Super Bowl, for obvious reasons (surely there are ways to convince people to go vegetarian without showing a scantily clad woman preparing to fuck a bunch of asparagus), but PETA has repeatedly launched advertisements which throw respect for women (or, for that matter, for men) out the window in the name of animal liberation. Just a few examples: Alicia Silverstone stripped naked for a PETA ad, with the tagline "I'm a vegetarian" above her obviously airbrushed body. The strippers of Rick's Cabaret posed nude for another ad campaign, which declared "We'd rather go topless than wear fur." In a demonstration last year, PETA used a pregnant woman in a cage as part of a demonstration against mistreated pigs. And just to prove that they could perpetuate damaging male stereotypes as well as sexualizing women, PETA produced an ad last year featuring Mickey Rourke, who inveighed upon viewers to "have the cojones to fix your dog." Sometimes they like to use a psuedo-feminist, "love your body" type of rhetoric to mask the fact that they're blatantly exploiting women's bodies (tagline: "Be comfortable in your own skin: don't wear fur"). But usually, PETA throws itself behind campaigns that unashamedly objectify women in the service of "justice."

This is similar to problems that I have with other methods used to encourage people - usually women - to go vegan. On Princeton's feminist and gender issues blog, Equal Writes (shameless plug: I'm a co-editor), I wrote a post about the "Skinny Bitch" book series, which play on women's insecurities about their bodies to shame them into changing their diet. Another post on this blog points out the obvious problems in encouraging girls to stop eating meat because it will "make you fat" (another one from PETA - it boggles my mind that they're not called out more often for this shit). The really aggravating thing for me, though, is that vegetarianism is in many ways a healthier diet. So why tell women that veganism is the way for them to become a "skinny bitch" rather than a "healthy woman"? Because it's easier to play on women's existing negative self-image. Our culture has done a great job of laying the groundwork for anyone to shame women into eating proscriptively, and rather than helping women feel better about their bodies - and at the same time, work for animal rights - PETA and other activists take the low road.

The problem, at the most fundamental level, is that we're not acknowledging intersectionality. This is not something that's limited to animal rights activists - American Apparel is a great example of a company which uses women's bodies to sell clothes that were made under decent working conditions - apparently, we can't have happy workers and desexualized models (for a more in-depth rant, I've written two posts, linked here and here, about American Apparel on Equal Writes). Why can't we humanize animals in the attempt to make people care about the way that they're mistreated, rather than dehumanizing women?

Animals, women and workers are frequently denied full rights as living creatures. But using women to gain rights for animals is not really progress. And what does it say about the movement itself if the only way to convince people to treat animals with respect and dignity is to sex it up? Why not show images of slaughterhouses, rather than assuring us that greased-up naked women don't eat meat (and please, just because Playboy does it, doesn't make it ok - they're not trying to take some kind of moral high ground)? Why not tell people that it's actually healthier to eat less meat, rather than telling women that it's the only way they'll get skinny? It's desperate and tacky and offensive to promote justice for one cause at the expense of another. And it makes it impossible for me to respect an organization that logically I should love.

I'd also like to note that PETA's advertisements have recently strayed into the realm of racism (beyond the fact that the vast majority of their nekkid models are white). Last year, there were discussions of renting ad space on the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico, for billboards that equated a carnivorous diet with the border patrol. The billboards, in English and Spanish, would offer the caution: "If the Border Patrol Doesn't Get You, the Chicken and Burgers Will - Go Vegan." I'm not sure what the status is with these ads, but the very idea that this is an acceptable strategy is totally unbelievable. The images on the billboards are definitely racist, and content aside, what the hell is the idea behind giving the U.S. government money to support its fucked-up immigration policies?

I'd love to see the day when animal rights activists acknowledge the connections between abuse of animals and abuse of women. But I will never get behind any organization that so flippantly disregards health, self-esteem, and the female body. Thanks, PETA, for trying to promote your issues through misogyny and racism. And until it's willing to take the road of basic decency and stop using tired stereotypes and "sexy" advertising tropes, I'll keeping throwing up in my mouth at the mention of its name. I don't know how many converts PETA's gotten from these ad campaigns, but it's definitely lost my support.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Circuses good for elephants?

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is awaiting the decision of a lawsuit that charges them with the abuse of elephants used in their shows. For over nine years animal rights activists have documented footage that shows elephants being tethered for long periods of time and trainers violently using bullhooks to teach them routines. ASPCA attorneys are arguing that these actions violate the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Watch the Today Show's segment on the lawsuit, which includes the perspective of Kenneth Feld, the chief executive of Feld Entertainment, and PETA Vice President Dan Mathews:

Feld not only purports that the elephants are treated humanely, but also asserts that the circuses are "helping to save an endangered species." While it may be true that circuses are the primary site of Asian elephant reproduction, (as factory farms are the sole site of genetically-modified turkey reproduction), Feld is using the rhetoric of endangered species to exploit animals, a technique that seems to be the primary purpose of this category. The constituent members of the "endangered species" list are species that are seen as desirable for human ends (for entertainment, visual pleasure, agribusiness, etc.). Species are constantly coming into and out of existence, so we create an arbitrary line when we create legal clauses for the protection of Asian elephants, Blue Whales, and the Snow Leopard, but not for the Pashford pot beetle. From a utilitarian perspective, the preservation of a species is usually an unjustifiable position as it comes at the expense of individual interests.

Glitzenstein, the ASPCA attorney featured in the clip, advocates a problematic moderate position: Ringling Bros. should continue to operate and use animals in their shows, but we should "make sure that something is done to improve the lives of these animals." As usual, the ASPCA does not critique the underlying assumption that these animals should be used for human entertainment at all, but takes on the most mainstream viewpoint. It seems, however, that Ringling would not be able to effectively use elephants without the bullhook (or some similar torture device). Take a look at this clip from Earthlings that shows how the bullhook is actually used:



The piercings from the bullhooks are clearly not like superficial "mosquito bites," as the handler on the Today Show suggests. They are deep stabs that are meant to drive the elephants insane. Getting rid of a torture device will inadvertently bring an end to the effective use of elephants in circus stunts, as there is no way to coerce the animals to do these tricks without the threat of serious physical harm. The lingering question of a victorious court decision is what new mechanism Ringling Bros., could employ that will serve the same end as the bullhook.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

PETA, Pets, and Extinction

I’ve always been surprised by the number of people who criticize PETA for operating animal shelters which euthanize animals. There are certainly many grounds on which to criticize PETA, but I’ve never thought the fact that they kill unwanted pets which no one is capable of providing for is a particularly good one. Ultimately, euthanizing animals which cannot reasonably be treated to a meaningful and pleasurable life is clearly consistent with the utilitarian philosophy from which many animal rights activists draw inspiration (note, for example, Peter Singer’s strident support for human euthanasia and infanticide, alongside his concern for animals). Frankly, the “hypocrisy” of PETA euthanizing animals is far less than the hypocrisy of the many “animal-lovers” who eat meat but love their pets enough to cry foul when PETA chooses the least-bad option to address the systematic problem of pet overpopulation.

A recent poster on this blog, however, offered a more intriguing allegation: that PETA’s euthanasia policy is part of a broader attempt to make pets extinct.

There are a few reasons why the elimination of pets might be bad news for humans. First off, there are the obvious uses of companion animals for assisting blind and deaf individuals. Most of us have heard about the medical and psychological studies that have shown that having pets makes human beings healthier. These are, of course, scientific attempts to codify common sense: most of us know that in a world where humans are often atomized and isolated from one another, pets provided much needed friendship, affection, and unconditional love.

My family “owns” two dogs, and I can certainly see simply from my own experience that all of the above are true. Nonetheless, I still find compelling the arguments of those who have suggested that domesticated animals are actually bad for humans in a broad sense. Jim Mason – who co-authored “The Way We Eat” with Singer in 2006 – wrote an earlier book, “An Unnatural Order,” that suggests that the subjugation of animals was, in a sense, a rehearsal for our later domination of the earth and one another. According to Mason, by dominating and domesticating animals, we create in ourselves a mindset that allows us to dominate more than just animals. It’s a complicated argument, but it’s worth considering, and it is consistent with less far-flung connections that have been demonstrated between abuses of animals and abuses of humans.

The point of being an animal rights activist, though, is that our sphere of ethical consideration is wider than just humans. And so, however we decided to weight the above evidence as to whether dogs and cats are “good” for humans, we ought also to ask whether it’s good for dogs and cats. In this respect, I have to agree with Gary Francione that if there were two dogs left on the planet, I would not let them breed.

I’m sure many of us who have derived a great deal of pleasure from the company of animals – myself included – shudder at the above statement. But when we really look at the root of the issue, I think the problem with the very idea of domesticated animals becomes clear. Fundamentally, PETA has to euthanize thousands of animals because we have bred entire species of beings that are completely helpless. Dogs and cats may seem happy, but – without being inside their heads – I imagine that their lives lack the fulfillment that would come from a free life in the wild. They are utterly dependent on others, and I submit that this means their lives can never be that much more valuable than that of a particularly well-treated human slave.

I sincerely doubt that PETA actually wants to rid the world of pets. PETA’s thinking tends to be short term and focused on the immediate alleviation of animal suffering (hence their support for things like Proposition 2 in California). I doubt something as far fetched as the elimination of pet ownership will ever make it onto their radar screen. But I do think that reconsidering our relationship with pets is important, if nothing but for the role such animals play in our broader mindset.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vegans attacked

an entry from FMyLife:
"Today, due to the cold, windy weather, I decided to wear my brand-new cute (and expensive) jacket that has a faux-fur hood. As I walked down the street, numerous PETA members attacked me with red liquid. I'm a Vegan and an animal-rights activist. FML"

F**K Grapefruit

From xkcd the webcomic.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vulcan Vegetarians


In case the new Star Trek movie hasn't already caught your interest, consider that Vulcans are committed to a vegetarian diet and way of life. This most notably includes Spock, a vegan, originally portrayed by vegetarian actor Leonard Nimoy. Vulcans are ethical vegetarians, and their philosophy of non-violence states that "It is illogical to kill without reason."

Vegetarian and Vulcan enthusiasts alike can even sport these "Live Veg and Prosper" shirts from Peta, based on the famous Vulcan saying.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mandating Vegetarianism?

Given the environmental and social externalities that result from meat production, it seems reasonable that meat consumption be federally regulated in a way similar to attempts at capping greenhouse gas emissions or banning trans fat. Of course, BBQ-loving Americans would be up in arms--literally, with their rifles and second-amendment doctrines--if the U.S. government ever came close to such a move.

The Belgian city of Ghent, however, is taking steps in this direction. While they are not going so far as to ban or criminalize meat consumption, they are going to have recommended weekly "veggie days," aimed at raising awareness about the environmental impact of meat consumption and combating obesity. Politicians and public officials will be the first to give up meat, followed by programs for schoolchildren in September. Every restaurant in the city will guarantee a vegetarian option and some will go fully vegetarian on the day.

See, Al Gore. Sometimes politicians actually take the lead on curbing their environmental footprint.

Acitivism: Life of the Undercover Investigator

Read about how one college animal rights activist has gone on to do undercover investigative work.

Going undercover for animal rights
by Van Wallach
published in the Princeton Alumni Weekly

If you viewed a recent People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) video of workers stomping on turkeys’ heads at a plant in West Virginia, you might think twice about eating turkey at Thanksgiving. One of the individuals behind planning that video was Hannah Schein ’96, an investigations specialist at PETA since 2002 who helped arrange an undercover operation at the plant.

Besides hiring and training undercover operatives, Schein does fieldwork herself. It requires drama skills and knowledge of the criminal-justice system and religious practices; Schein specializes in scrutinizing kosher food plants, which prepare meat according to Jewish dietary requirements. Investigations often start with a call from a whistleblower at a plant, alerting PETA of problems. The group tries to meet with companies to discuss concerns and solutions. If that fails and PETA decides the plant warrants an investigation, Schein gets to work. She studies a company’s operations for months, then visits a site incognito through a business or personal cover — such as by signing up for a public tour. If it’s legal, she brings hidden recording devices to note violations of animal-protection laws. She might also try to get an operative hired. After that, PETA publicizes the findings and alerts prosecutors and regulatory agencies to prod them to act.

Gaining access “can take a lot of legwork,” says Schein, a Woodrow Wilson School major at Princeton. In October 2007 she went undercover to film a kosher slaughterhouse in Uruguay that used a “shackle-and-hoist” slaughtering system: Cattle are chained by one leg and hoisted in the air to have their throats cut. In 2006 Schein and a PETA colleague confronted the singer Beyoncé in a restaurant to try to persuade her to stop wearing fur and not to include it in her clothing line.

“Our role is to hold companies’ feet to the fire in obeying the humane handling and slaughtering law,” says Schein, who now focuses on training undercover operatives and strategy for PETA more than actual fieldwork. In the Uruguay case, the publicity led rabbis in Israel to urge plants to phase out the shackle-and-hoist approach, although Schein, who observes religious dietary rules, doesn’t know if that has happened.

A passion for alleviating animals’ suffering drives Schein, a vegan who eats no meat, eggs, or dairy products. While “always an animal lover,” she ate meat and wore leather until she met her husband, PETA senior researcher Philip Schein, in 1998. At the time, both were program directors for Hillel chapters, Hannah at Princeton and Philip at Syracuse University. Philip was a vegan, and she soon adopted that lifestyle.

Undercover work for Schein and her operatives is emotionally draining and stressful: Not only are they watching animals suffer, but during an operation they have to record useful footage. “As long as I have the energy, I’ll do it,” she says. “I’d feel worse not being on the front lines.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Naked Vegetarians Satire

PETA's still going with the "sex sells" mantra, casting Alicia Silverstone in a recent ad about how vegetarianism makes her "feel better." Here's Jimmy Kimmel's spoof:
(disclaimer: video contains both flattering and unflattering nudity)


Monday, May 11, 2009

Welcome to the Monkey House

Ever wonder what it's really like to be in a battery cage? Mark Middleton, creator of Animal Visuals: Visual Resources for Animal Advocates, wants to move beyond the anthropocentric visual experience of most slaughterhouse footage into the view from the caged animal's eyes. Here's what an ordinary battery-cage hen sees when she looks around her:




Listen to Middleton's interview on Animal Voices, a Toronto-based radio show about animal liberation. Middleton talks about his motivation behind the project and how he thinks it will affect the politics of representation.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Joke of the Day

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Stop blaming Mexico

This just in. Scientists have traced swine flu (now known as H1N1) to a strain found in U.S. factory farms in 1998, when it mutated and spread at a rapid pace. Despite expert warning at the time that the virus could develop to infect humans, the pork industry has continued to relinquish itself from blame saying "swine flu" is a misnomer.

Raul Rabadan of Comunbia University's biomedical department released information tracing the gene to the H1N2 and H1N3 viruses isolated in 1998. The virus has killed 176 people so far and is thoroughly disrupting the daily operations of many nations, as China begins to quarantine Mexicans and culture feuds erupt in Egypt over pig culling.

Bob Martin, former executive director of the Pew Commission on Industrial Animal Farm Production criticized the workings of confined animal feeding operations, calling them "super-incubators for viruses."

The Pew Foundation report described the historical changes in the method of meat production in the U.S. from the small family-owned farms to intensive confinement systems. The report says, "[T]hat change has happened primarily out of view of consumers but has come at a cost to the environment and a negative impact on public health, rural communities, and the health and well-being of the animals themselves."


It'll be interesting to see how the pork industry's PR department deals with its forthcoming criticism.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Are we all terrorists?

As many of you have perhaps already heard, the animal rights’ community reached a new milestone this week when Daniel Andreas San Diego was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list (you can read about it here). San Diego is the first “domestic terrorist” to make the list, as well as the first animal rights activist. Without engaging the complex question of whether or not direct action to liberate animals is justified, I have two points to make.

The first, of course, is that the placement of San Diego on the FBI most wanted list is completely ridiculous. In the press conference they held for the announcement, Special Agent Charlene Thornton stated that “Mr. San Diego and those like him are every bit as great a threat to the peace and security of the United States as any foreign terrorist.” This assertion is patently inane. San Diego planted two bombs in a deserted office building and set them off at a time when the building was assuredly unoccupied, causing minor damage and no injuries.

The issue of whether or not actions like Diego’s are effective or justifiable is a prickly one, but whether you think this guy is a deranged misanthrope or a modern-day abolitionist, it’s clear he’s no Osama Bin Laden. While I realize that we’re not all utilitarians here, I think that most of us would be willing to agree that killing three-thousand people is worse than killing zero. Even making a comparison closer to home, it is clear San Diego is not on par with, say, Timothy McVeigh, or any other right wing militia group that has no compunctions about killing human and non-humans alike. That point, though, has been made more effectively by others. Will Potter, at greenisthenewred.com, has spent years chronicling how anti-property “violence” by environmental and animal rights activists has been blown completely out of proportion. Indeed, Potter suggests that the timing of the announcement about San Diego was probably politically motivated.

The more significant thing I want to argue here, though, is a bit less obvious. It starts with another article about alleged terrorists that details how the United States used the torture technique “waterboarding” 266 times on two Arab terrorist suspects. While San Diego and the two victims in this case – Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed – might share the label “terrorist,” as I pointed out above the similarities pretty much end there. Moreover, we in the animal rights community aren’t really supposed to care about cases like Zubaydah and Mohammed’s. After all, groups like PETA – through partnerships with conservative groups and right-wing pundits like Pat Buchanan – have consistently rejected the idea that social justice issues that do not involve animals fall into their purview. Indifference to these issues is not just a product of a few organizations, though: sociological research into the animal rights movement has consistently found animal rights activists to be some of the most single-minded single-issue activists out there.

What I think that San Diego’s case shows, though, is that animal rights activists can ignore the happenings of society at large only at their own peril. Commentators like Will Potter at greenisthenewred.com are keen to argue that the animal rights and environmental movements are being singled out and targeted, through legislation like the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Honestly, though, I think Potter is wrong. What happened to San Diego – as well as groups like the SHAC 7 who were involved in more explicitly non-violent behavior – is emblematic of a society that is deeply repressive at large.

I am often told that vegans need to present themselves as non-threatening. While to some extent this is a warning against vegans covering themselves in tattoos and piercings that are off-putting to everyone else, I think that admonition – which has a lot of currency in the movement – has deeper significance. I believe a lot of animal rights activists want to convince everyone else that we really are just in it for the animals, and we’re not going to challenge anything else. And maybe that’s what some activists want: a vegan “utopia” where animals are left unharmed but everything else – capitalism, consumerism, American international arrogance – remains the same.

Personally, I think such a society would be no utopia at all. We would do well to remember that Nazi Germany had the most pro-animal laws of any modern Western country. As I have argued, animal rights activists like the SHAC 7 are undermined more broadly by our country’s anti-terrorism and anti-crime hysteria. But more than that, I think the principles we ought to stand for – equal consideration, respect, dignity, and sustainability – are under attack both for humans and non-human animals.

I submit, then, that if every single person in the world went vegan tomorrow, we as animal rights activists should not rest a minute, but should immediately dedicate ourselves to other problems. Society needs an overhaul, and I think that animal abuse is only one symptom of much deeper problems.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Egypt's pig slaughter and meat as a political tool



Despite expert opinion that swine flu is not spread by the direct consumption of pig meat (read post about how factory farming does, however, inadvertently cause such diseases), the Egyptian government has started killing Egypt's estimated 300,000 to 350,000 pigs in an effort to prevent an outbreak.

The forceful slaughter is against the will of the pig farmers, and opposed to the recommendations of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, who say this move is an unnecessary and ineffective way to contain the disease. Violent protests and tensions are emerging between Egypt's majority Muslims (who do not consume pig products) and its Coptic Christians, who are the major constituents of the pig farmers and believe the government is using swine flu as a way to disenfranchise them. Obviously, the culling is also against the will of the pigs, though it is hard to say whether this systematic slaughter--which is expected to take one month to execute fully--is more or less brutal than what the pigs would endure through the normal course of their path to slaughter.

There seems to be an emerging relationship between animal slaughter and people of low socioeconomic status, reminiscent of the immigrant workers abuse that occurred at an American slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa last year. The Christians in Egypt are overwhelmingly poor and perceived as doing the "dirty" work of the county. It seems that the job of raising and slaughtering animals often falls on some of the poorest and most marginalized groups of people, indicating the many levels on which the practice is exploitive and dehumanizing.

Save the pork industry and call it "the hybrid flu"

Watch Jon Stewart's montage of the pork industry's desperate attempt to preserve consumer confidence:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Snoutbreak '09 - What to Call Swine Flu
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Friday, May 01, 2009

Quick Bechamel sauce

My kitchen is currently non-existent so apologies for the lack of posting. Here is an easy Bechamel sauce from the ppk website served on WW macaroni and steamed broccoli.

When water is boiling place basket with broccoli over water. Once boiling, add pasta and return brocolli to steamer.

Meanwhile, make this quick and easy sauce. I adjusted the seasoning with extra salt, garlic power, onion powder and paprika with nutmeg like the french do.Very rewarding and filling.