This Week’s Good and Bad: April 30, 2011

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This week’s bad…

What do you do when you’re 19-years-old and a complete jerk? You eat at McDonald’s and then purposely run over ducklings with your hummer, like Dillon Robert Pearce of Ann Arbor, Michigan, according to police.

Peace was arraigned on Tuesday on a charge of killing an animal. Magistrate Thomas Truesdell set bond at $5,000.

(via Obscure Store)

This week’s good…

The headline says it all: Child builds tiny cart for Joe the paraplegic bunny

Prepare for the unbearable cuteness:

(Via Mary Martin)

This Week’s Good and Bad: April 22, 2011

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This week’s bad…

This week’s bad comes from Mercy for Animals, the team behind a number of undercover videos exposing the cruelty inherent to animal agriculture. This time around, they’ve got a video from E6 Cattle Company in Hart, Texas. E6 raises calves for use on dairy farms. As you’d expect, the video is brutal.

The video shows (from the MfA site):

  • Workers bludgeoning calves in their skulls with pickaxes and hammers – often involving 5 to 6 blows, sometimes more – before rendering the animals unconscious
  • Beaten calves, still alive and conscious, thrown onto dead piles
  • Workers kicking downed calves in the head, and standing on their necks and ribs
  • Calves confined to squalid hutches, thick with manure and urine buildup, and barely large enough for the calves to turn around or fully extend their legs
  • Gruesome injuries and afflictions, including open sores, swollen joints and severed hooves
  • Ill, injured and dying calves denied medical care
  • The budding horns of calves burned out their skulls without painkillers

Awful stuff. Keep this video handy for the next time someone tells you that “drinking milk doesn’t hurt the cow.”

(It should be noted that the final message the viewer is left with is “Boycott animal abuse. Go vegetarian.” Why would they choose to use “vegetarian” instead of “vegan”? Because, you know, going (lacto-ovo) vegetarian ain’t gonna stop this type of abuse at all. In fact, it might increase it since vegetarians often increase milk, cheese, butter, etc. consumption after they stop eating meat. We can say vegan when advocating for animals. It’s not a dirty word.)

This week’s good…

Deb tweeted a recipe she found today for homemade margarine. It doesn’t use palm oil, instead using a mix of corn or sunflower oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, blended with some coconut creamer and a few other things. And the good news? It tastes mighty fine on a bagel.

I’d use a touch more salt than they call for here. And when they say a “dash” of turmeric, they mean it. I put in a touch too much and things got a bit too yellow. Otherwise, it’s good stuff.

It’s nice to have an easy homemade option that’s an alternative to palm oil-based margarines. (To catch up on everything palm oil, Deb’s original post continues to be a great resource and the comment section is still active.)

This Week’s Good and Bad

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This is a feature I’ve been kicking around in my head for a little while now, something to get me blogging here on a more regular basis. Let’s see how long this weekly idea lasts.

The concept here is pretty simple: each week, focusing briefly on one good thing that’s happened in vegan news (vegan news being something animal-related, health-related, etc.) and one not-so-great thing. The “bad” item is hopefully something that we can learn from and not just shake our heads and become despondent about. So, let’s try this out.

This week’s bad…

I think given how it was all over the vegan blogosphere, twitterverse, and Facebook… galaxy?, it would be hard to mention something other than quarrygirl’s uncovering of VegNews‘ dirty little secret: not all of the food photos in their magazines or on their site are photos they’ve taken. In fact, the pictures might not even be of the food pictured. And to top it off, some of the photos are of meat and other decidedly non-vegan items. The most facepalming of the images is the shot of ribs that had the bones Photoshopped out before publication. Seriously, guys?

The response has ranged from “are we really going to spend time concerned ourselves with this?” to “OMG WE MUST CANCEL OUR SUBSCRIPTIONS, WRITE MANY ANGRY TWEETS, AND GO KICK SOMEONE IN THE NADS!” My take on it is somewhere in the middle, leaning toward the latter, perhaps minus the nad kicking.

Sure, it’s not the end of the world and it’s not like they were making meat dishes specifically to take pictures of them. These were stock photos. However, there is a lot to dislike about the situation. For one, they were not up front about their use of stock photos that contain meat. As a vegan publication, that’s the type of thing that you need to just not do. And it’s pretty clear they knew they shouldn’t be doing it, otherwise they would have made some sort of disclaimer somewhere about it (I’d hope). It’s disappointing and deceptive that this practice went on for so long.

In addition, I read that they’ve used vegan photographers in the past, but that they’ve been unable to reimburse them. A lot of photographers are OK with that, with the whole help-a-vegan-out mentality. Yet, in VegNews‘ apology, they seem to indicate that they can’t afford to take pictures of every item or to pay vegan photographers… but they can buy stock photos? Listen, I know stock photos are cheap and that the magazine industry’s in a tough place, but there were surely a lot of people out there willing to help.

Lastly, when people tried to bring the issue up on VegNews‘ blog, the comments were deleted and the initial commenter was told he was being “inappropriate and mean-spirited.” Even if the tone was off (I don’t know if it was), that’s a crappy way to respond as a magazine.

So, yeah, I’m pretty disgusted by the whole thing. It sucks for readers and supporters of the magazine and it sucks for vegan photographers that probably would have been more than willing to help out. But, do I hope the magazine folds because of it? No. I want them to pull through, fix it, and keep being a magazine that does a pretty good job reaching out to the mainstream. And hopefully that is what will happen.

This week’s good…

There’s one dog on Flickr whose photos I’ve followed for years. He’s a bluetick coonhound named Hugo that totally reminds me of Amina. I think they would have gotten along if they’d ever met.

Anyway, I came across this photo this week and the accompanying story. It’s too cute not to share.