Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Drop Dairy Challenge

When you think of dairy farms, what comes to mind? Idyllic green pastures dotted with grazing bovine?
Perhaps rough yet gentle hands calmly milking at dawn?
Maybe at worst mechanized, yet humane, operations?
Think again. 
An in-depth investigation by Mercy for Animals into dairy farms in the US uncovers some of the industry's most gruesome and cruel practices. For those of you who are ready to give up dairy, this is a heart wrenching, sometimes stomach turning, must-read. 
"Day 1
The mechanic training me says of the cows, "You'll learn to hate them." He screams profanities at them and occasionally whips them with a frayed steel cable. He charges at others with a large wrench," writes the investigator in their diary.
"Day 16
(...) I also observed workers feeding the calves. They held the calves' necks between their legs, yanked their heads up and dumped formula down their throats. An uncooperative calf was frustrating one worker, so he kicked her so hard that she flew back several feet against the wall of her stall."

The investigation goes on to describe how the cows are milked despite being chock full of growth hormones, sick, or lame. Accordingly, unless a cow was recently administered penicillin, all milk goes to market.

Cows and calves are beaten, tortured, and, when finally too sick, simply left to die. When cows are too weak to be impregnated, in order to artificially produce milk, they are sent the slaughter house, sold as either meat or dog food.

Still think there's nothing cruel about dairy?

I first read of the investigation on Chloé Jo Davis' Girlie Girl Army who, with Kind Green Planet, is challenging everyone to drop dairy for one week.

A few weeks ago, I confessed to having slipped back into my dairy-eating ways and pledged to return to my compassionate diet. After reading the undercover notes, I strongly urge everyone to take the Drop Dairy Challenge along with me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dog Fighting Investigation on Animal Planet

Next Monday, January 25th at 10:00 pm, Animal Planet will air its investigation on dog fighting in the US. The episode, part of the channel's new series of quarterly specials, "Animal Planet Investigates: Dog Fighting" spotlights the work of the Humane Society of the United States and its anti-dog fighting operations.

The special investigates the world of dog fighting and explores the urban street culture that propagates the practice, law enforcement challenges, and the push to increase penalties.

Read more at HSUS and help spread the word to End Dog Fighting.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili on a Chilly Lunch Hour

Winter has, it seems, been here for a very long time. Winter months, I find, can be some of the hardest for this struggling vegan. Most nights, I want to snuggle up on the couch with a steaming mug of hot chocolate or a big bowl of mac'n'cheese.

For today's chilly lunchtime hour, I heated up a pot of (leftover) Sweet Potato Chili and whipped up some creamy polenta. As I have blogged this recipe before, leftovers seemed most fitting!

Now, polenta might not be your first choice with chili. However, polenta is a common go-to in my kitchen: quick, easy, and versatile. It is the perfect substitute for rice on those days where I neither have time nor energy and need a warm meal fast. Served fresh off the stove, polenta is soft and creamy.

1 cup corn meal
4 cups water
Pinch of salt

1- Once water is at a rolling boil, add cornmeal (polenta) whisking non-stop to prevent lumps.
2- After all cornmeal has been added, reduce heat to a low simmer and continue stirring, using your whisk or fork, until thick.
3- Cover pot and continue to stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking. Cook 10-15 minutes.

 Heat up leftovers...

And serve with piping hot Sweet Potato Chili.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Life's Fine Balance

When you write and blog for others all day long, it can be hard to find the time, (mental) energy, and creativity for one’s self--something that I had never considered when I first set out on this little adventure of mine.

I know writers who are so dedicated to their personal projects that they not only manage to etch out blocks of time for themselves in a week, but manage to productively use them! This is not to say that I am not dedicated to this project, despite what these last few months may demonstrate, but merely that I wasn’t endowed with the gift of balance. I often find myself going full-tilt in one direction with blinders on like an out-of-control calèche—something that I continuously need to work on with my calèche-driver Anne Waymann.

On top of the seemingly leaky hourglass, I also recently fell off the wagon. In October, when we were experiencing an unseasonable deep freeze on the East coast of Canada, I fell ill with a particularly nasty throat infection. It surprisingly kicked up a deeply suppressed cheese addiction.

And I’ve been gorging since.

So as part of the New Year, I have renewed some promises to myself: To write more for me and you, and To eat cheese no more.

I didn’t name myself the struggling vegan for nothing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Update: Quebec Passes Anti-SLAPP Law

A last update to Louise's story that I have been following and writing about for Rush PR News. Yesterday Quebec was the first province to pass anti-SLAPP legislation. This new law not only gives judges the power to throw a case out that they deem abusive, or a SLAPP suit, but also gives defendants the right to recuperate costs incurred by their legal battle.

For some, this could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Most importantly, the legislation applies to all cases currently in front of the court. This is fantastic news for Louise Auger and all others speaking out against injustices in our world.

For more on this story, please read my story "Anti-SLAPP Legislation Passed in Quebec".