Hog wrestling in Wisconsin

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This is the time of year where “county fairs” are popping up all over the United States.  These community events almost invariably center around animal exploitation, with 3/4 of the attractions in some way animal-related (not even including the food element).  I suspect that if animals and animal products were removed from most county fairs, you’d be left with a few rickety rides and a cotton candy machine.

The other day, Chad posted a link to this slideshow over at the Food Fight Blog.  It’s from a “hog wrestling” event in Wisconsin.  The following image is the first one displayed in the slideshow.  I’m showing it here in its original size to be sure it sinks in.

pig-wrestling

(Justin Connaher, Sheboyganpress.com) 

This picture’s been on my mind since I first saw it.  To me, it illustrates how far so many people are from the reality of animal suffering.

The event has its own web site at eldoradohogwrestle.org.  It’s sponsored by the Eldorado (Wisconsin) Fire Department/Lions Club and is “a timed competition where four person teams enter the “watery/mud” arena and try to catch-a-pig.”  Each pig is “used” one time and “treated humanely,” ensured by three people in the arena that “guarantee that no harm will come to the pig.”

The site then snarkily adds, “(At least not until it is taken to “market” on Monday morning.)”  Because as long as you treat them humanely while wrestling them for sport on Sunday, it’s OK to slit their throats come Monday.

Really, it’s pretty amazing how they go out of their way to describe how well the animals are treated during the event:

Hog wrestling is a timed competition where four person teams enter the “watery/mud” arena and try to catch-a-pig.  The goal is to catch, control and then carry the pig to the center of the ring, and then lifted up onto a padded barrel in 60 seconds or less.  Each hog is only used once!  Sixty teams try to “ham it up” in one way or another; but it is the slippery pigs that are the center of attention.  The porkers are clearly in the element, the competitors clearly are not.  The pigs are treated humanely; otherwise the entire team will get disqualified! We have two officials and a “hose man” in the arena with each team to guarantee that no harm will come to the pig.  (At least not until it is taken to “market” on Monday morning.)  The hogs immediately get hosed down with water, walked back to a shaded area to rest, which is more than our contestants get!  The whole thing ends up being a tremendous amount of fun as thousands of people look on under the blazing sun and temperatures (and beer) that make most people sweat like er, well..like pigs!

I don’t know about you, but to me, the picture above doesn’t depict a “humane” event.

Is it humane to drag these animals into an “event” that they obviously didn’t agree to?  Is it humane to confuse, scare, and hurt the pig by letting him be attacked and wrestled to the ground by groups of four (with names like “Team Deliverance” (pictured above), “P.E.T.A.” (how much you wanna bet that’s short for the oh-so-clever “People Eating Tasty Animals”), and “Bringing Home the Bacon”).

The picture above depicts a scared animal being tackled violently to the ground with what looks to be a bruised or bloodied leg.  Children and their families look on, smiling at this “silly” event.  To them, it might as well be a “kiss-the-pig” contest because, hey, the pigs are “in their element.” Yet, I doubt a single one of them could provide any reason why an event like this is either OK or necessary.

This is not a victimless event.  This is not fun for all.  This is not entertainment.

(Since my entry on hog-dog rodeos several years ago drew a slew of idiots, I’ll state right now that when the hog wrestling defenders arrive, any comments I deem trollish will be deleted.  Period.)

Tease this, you comic idiots

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Today’s Blondie:

blondie-22

Yeah, haha.  Nothing like secretly serving a dead animal to a vegetarian for humor!  Tee-hee… so funny!  How about we chop off your arm and serve it back to you, on the sly, tough guy?  Just so we can tease you!  “Haha, you ate your arm!”

I hope Blondie punches them both in the nose in the next panel.

(No, I don’t really take this seriously.  I mean, it’s Blondie.  But after this limp attempt at humor, perhaps I’m a bit touchy.  I am, after all, a humorless vegan.)

Review: Teese Vegan Cheese

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teese-vb When I heard all of the initial buzz surrounding Chicago Soy Dairy’s new vegan cheese, I was excited to try it out.  They’d posted some intriguing video showing how it melted versus Follow Your Heart’s cheese and given the mediocre competition, I figured Teese to be the new frontrunner in vegan cheeses.

The folks at Chicago Soy Dairy were kind enough to send along a log of Teese for me to try out.  And so I did.

My wife and I tried Teese in a few different settings.  We had it on top of meatball subs, on a pizza, and plain, on crackers.  Teese tasted decent enough by itself on crackers.  It wasn’t a perfect replication of dairy cheese, but is probably the closest to mozzarella that I’ve tasted soy cheese get.  The real test, though was in the melting.

When vegans gather, it’s inevitable that they joke about Follow Your Heart’s not-really-bold claim on their packaging that “It melts!”  Teese is supposed to pick up where Follow Your Heart left off and melt more like dairy cheese.  From all accounts I’ve seen, it does indeed melt quite well in commercial settings on pizza.  In our kitchen, though, we had a little less luck.  In fact, it melted pretty much like Follow Your Heart.  Certain parts melted really well while others looked like they weren’t even in the oven.  I suspect that commercial kitchens have ovens that heat a little more evenly.

Melting issues aside (besides, others have had more luck), they did make darn good tasting meatball subs and I’ve tried lobbying local pizzerias (unsuccessfully, so far) to start offering Teese pizzas based on the success at home.  A Teese pizza might just be good enough to win over those straggling lacto-ovos.

Where Teese really wins, though, is price.  Sheese and Cheezly are still crazy expensive (and pretty awesome), costing over a dollar per ounce.  Teese, per ounce, is the same price as Follow Your Heart’s cheese, about 47 cents per.  (I won’t even bring up Veganrella, because I’m not entirely sure it’s actually meant to be eaten.)  Availability isn’t nearly as widespread as Follow Your Heart, but if it ever reaches the level of their Temptation Ice Cream, they’ll be in good shape.

We haven’t reached the promised land of perfect vegan cheese yet, but we’re edging ever closer thanks to products like Teese.