A popular vegan argument against dairy consumption has been revealed to be false!

The myth often repeated by die-hard vegans including myself is “Man is the only species to consume the milk of another species.”

A careful analysis of YouTube cute animal videos shows that there’s a whole lot of interspecies nursing going on. It’s not just cows nursing people!

If you’re online, you can see cats nursing baby squirrels; dogs nursing kittens; goats nursing foals; cats nursing puppies; dogs nursing fawns; cats nursing, yes, ducklings.

We’re not alone in our love for the milk of a different animal! (And who said YouTube animal videos are a waste of time?)

Not so fast. Several animal advocacy groups have already clarified the statement, pointing out: We’re the only species to consume the milk of another species as adults, on a regular basis.

Those tiny squirrels were in an emergency situation. Their mother, for some reason, wasn’t there. The cat took over, protecting them from starvation and death.

Especially for human grown-ups, milkshakes and Cheezits are not the only remedies protecting us against starvation and death. There ARE other things to eat in America. After all, we’re not baby squirrels, alone in somebody’s backyard, crying for Mommy.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


When it comes to image, Obama’s got the same problem as vegans.

One day, Fox news says he’s a dictator bent on closing down churches, taking everyone’s money and forcing kindergarteners to watch gay porn and the next day, he’s a namby-pamby and the secret owner of a pink sweater.

Same with vegans: one day we’re overbearing assholes trying to take over the world, giving the vote to cows, pigs and chickens and forcing everyone else to eat nothing but tofu and spinach. And the next day, we’re yoga-fied, space-cadets in need of hospitalization due to protein deficiency.

A friend of mine, also an activist, asked me, “Why did you call your blog, Vicious Vegan?”

“Oh, it was because I wanted to try and make veganism seem more cool – less New Age hippie and more punk.” I said, off the top.

Actually, Vicious Vegan is a joke, poking fun at the idea of vegans as cruel sanctimonious fun-killers or as militant threats to people and property. It’s also poking fun at the idea of the 90-pound, aroma-therapy sniffing, lettuce-munching vegan air head.

So the mystery remains: what IS the most ideal “vegan image?” Wow, that is such a Guy Debord kind of question!

Don’t know Guy Debord? I don’t really know either, but from what I understand, the French philosopher argued that our whole society is based on image. Even when you fight the pressure to have an image – you’ve got one: “the person who fights having an image” or “the rebel.”

Hopeless, huh? Oh those depressing French!

Well, the image thing is kind of important, according to Nick Cooney who wrote the super book, “A Change of Heart” where he argues that activists embrace a kind of image flexibility. If you’re talking to a group of stuffy businesspeople, put on a suit or a nice dress, for godssakes! Banish “fuck” and “shit” from your vocab. If you’re, say leafleting at a Warp Tour concert, that cut-up black T-shirt should work fine and you can say “shit” all you want.

Cooney insists that activists best to avoid an “us versus them” scenario, if you possibly can. So far, that tactic hasn’t worked very well for Obama. Maybe vegans will have better luck ducking the negative images society has for us.

Right now, though, I better stop writing. I’m feeling weak from protein deficiency. I think I should lie down and eat some soy nuts before I faint.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


Wherever you go, vegan, you’ll hear the same question:

In Turkey: Nerede sizin protein, alabilirim? Or in Holland: Waar je je eiwitten? Or in Mexico: De donde obtiene su protein? WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN? There are so many smart-ass answers to that question, the mind reels:

From beer.

I chew on my fingernails.

It’s amazing how much protein there is in tree bark.

From drinking my own urine.

Bragg’s Aminos

Hershey’s dark chocolate.

Mostly from TV.

From licking my windshield in the morning.

Perhaps a better response would be to answer a question with a question, Socratic style: How much protein do you think you need?

Of course, practically nobody knows, but most people think they must eat some meat or cheese or fish or eggs with every meal in order to get enough protein. It’s the terror that has swept America: not having enough protein.

It’s been estimated that most Americans get about half of their calories from animal foods and about half come from highly processed foods like chips, cookies, sodas, candy and oil. So if that’s everybody’s diet, what are you, Ms. “plant-based, low-fat, whole foods diet,” eating, for god sakes?

Figuring out what a vegan might eat on a daily basis defies most people’s imagination. So they figure we vegans must be starving.

But wait a minute, we don’t look like we’re starving. Then we must secretly be suffering from an invisible lack of protein possibly coupled with a lack of junk food. Maybe vegans have kwashiorkor, which is the medical term for protein deficiency. (So far, there’s no medical term for ‘lack of junk food.’)

The thing is, the symptoms of kwashiorkor are anything but subtle – the skin and hair turn a reddish orange. People with the ailment also suffer from diarrhea, weakness, apathy, fatigue. When you see pictures of starving children with their stick-like legs and their bulging abdomens, you’re seeing kwashiorkor. The children are suffering from a severe lack of calories first and foremost.

If you’re consuming enough calories it is most likely that you’re consuming enough protein, even if all those calories are coming from plants.

Back to the original question: how much protein do you think you need? The answer kind of depends on who you ask. If you ask the United States government, you will hear 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. If you ask the World Health Organization, you’ll hear 38 grams for men and 29 grams for women.

A generous bowl of cooked oatmeal will give you 12 grams of protein. A piece of whole wheat bread will give you 4 grams. A cup of cooked lentils will give you 16 grams. Two tablespoons of peanut butter will give you 8 grams. There are 8 grams of protein in a cup of cow’s milk and 8 grams of protein in a cup of soy milk. See where I’m going here? It’s not hard to get enough protein eating plants.

Whoa! you say. What was that about plant protein being an incomplete protein?

While both animal foods and plant foods have all the essential amino acids, some plant foods are low in specific essential amino acids. The Center for Disease Controls recommends that vegans and vegetarians combine different plant foods, such as rice and beans or peanut butter and bread. Dr. John McDougall explains that combining is fine but it doesn’t have to happen at once in the same meal! Bread on Monday and peanut butter on Friday is fine, he says.

The National Institutes of Health has said that most of us Americans eat more protein than we actually need. The NIH cautions that consuming animal protein means consuming saturated fat and LDL (the bad kind) cholesterol which is a risk factor for heart disease.

They also note for those with kidney disease, a low-protein diet is often recommended.

So there’s really no worry about protein, as long as you gnaw on some tree bark on Tuesday and lick the windshield by Friday.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


Spotting my “Go Vegan” T-shirt, the mushroom guy at the farmers’ market fixed his stare on me and said, “What about honey?”

Having been vegan for a while, I knew that question was a ruse. The REAL question is, “How crazy are you?” and/or “Anyone who’s whacked out enough to befriend insects must be a TOTAL loser.”

In the good old days I used to like to answer the honey inquiry with a casual, “Oh, I don’t worry about honey too much” as proof of my sanity. No problem here – just move along, folks.

But unfortunately now I do worry about honey, or more, specifically, about the bees. As anyone who has not been living under a rock knows, the bees are having a rough time. And as anyone who studied fourth grade science knows, we need the freaking bees.

So this time, with the mushroom guy, I decided to be honest: “Actually, I’m kind of worried about the bee population.” He understood that and suddenly seemed interested. “Did you know that Einstein said we only had four years left after the bees are gone?” I continued.

Then he seemed upset, which made me feel kind of guilty, so I tried: “Look we’ve got mushrooms! They don’t need pollinators.”

My attempt at making the guy feel better didn’t really work: “Yeah we can all live underground eating mushrooms,” he said.

When I got home, I looked it up and found out the Einstein quote is an urban myth. Einstein probably didn’t say it. And if all the bees keel over, we WILL be in deep doo doo, but probably not all dead in four years. Bee pollination is responsible for about one third of our food I learned.

So does honey production actually hurt bees? Is it why we’re seeing so much colony collapse?

I can’t say I know the answer to that question. Obviously, mono-cropping hurts bees and probably the widespread use of herbicides such as Round-Up and neonicotinoid insecticides hurts bees, but what about raising bees for honey?

The first thing humans might want to know is that bees make honey for themselves not for us, just like dairy cows make milk for their calves, not for us. The bees gather the nectar from blossoming flowers and make honey so they’ll have something to eat during the winter.

But once the honey’s made, some bee keepers harvest the honey in fall and spring, substituting sugar water for the honey. (It’s similar for calves – they get high fructose corn syrup instead of mother’s milk.) Maybe bees do fine on sugar water, but backyard bee keeper Chris Combs doubts it:

“I don’t bring anything into the hives that the bees wouldn’t bring in there themselves,” he said.

Combs calls the sugar water the “bee equivalent of McDonald’s.” He only harvests honey in the spring when it’s clear the bees themselves will have enough honey to eat: “This is not about harvesting honey but about what keeps bees healthy,” he told ECO – RI News.

There’s speculation that the urban farm movement is helping to keep bees alive. Normally, I’m not a cheerleader for the urban farm movement, especially when it involves chickens and goats, but if they’re helping the bees to survive, that’s a good thing.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


A lot of carnivores got pretty upset when they found out they’d unknowingly been eating so-called “pink slime,” (scraps from the slaughterhouse floor “sterilized” with ammonia). Some even wanted to go vegan after that…but, alas, they found slime in vegan food too!


Whoa, whoa, whoa, you don’t have to eat slime to be vegan. Just avoid these foods:

1) TOFU. Yes, tofu, that white gelatinous stuff that sort of wobbles on its own has probably turned off more people to veganism than anything else. Once my dad was happily scarfing down tofu lasagna made by my sister-in-law. “Wow! This is great,” he said. “You like it?” she said. “I made it with tofu.” My dad swallowed seemingly with great difficulty and set his fork down.

Nobody has to eat tofu to be a vegan. Really, it’s not in the vegan rule book.

If slimy tofu turns you off, you’ll really want to avoid so-called “Silken tofu.” They should just call it “extra slimy tofu,” because that stuff will slide across a counter on its belly to the floor if you’re not careful.

I’ve used Silken tofu to make chocolate mousse. But if you don’t like sweet, chocolaty, light as a feather dessert that could compete with anything you’d get in France, have an apple.

Speaking of fruit. The slimiest of the slimy has to be the MANGO. Rich golden orange and as sweet as cotton candy, mango practically does the hula. But again, you don’t have to eat it. Have some watermelon.

Moving on to vegetables: don’t eat the OKRA. I don’t care if it’s fried, it’s still gotta an extremely high slime content.

2) Some would argue that ALL vegetables are slimy. No they’re not! Just eat the damn vegetables. Vegans, like everybody else, need them. (We also need whole grains, potatoes and beans.)

3) CHIA SEED DRINKS. Yup, they’re extremely slimy. Unfortunately, when chia seeds get wet they get slimy just like flax seeds do. First of all there’s no need to get them wet and make a slimy “drink” out of them or a slimy breakfast Jello out of them. You can eat them dry and maybe you should eat them dry: great source of omega-3’s.

4) NATTO. Fermented soybeans. You can not find vegan food more slimy than this, yet it’s a favorite in Japan. Definitely not a hit in America. Some American food writers charitably call it “an acquired taste.” Yet, Anthony Bourdain, a food writer not known for his graciousness or his charity, spat it out: “an unbelievably foul, rank, slimy, glutenous and stringly goop…if the taste wasn’t bad enough, there’s the texture. There’s just no way to eat the stuff.” There you have it. Americans who don’t like slime: Enjoy a great bowl of lentil chili instead.

5) COOKED MUSHROOMS. Nothing like chia seed drinks or Natto, but somewhat slimy.
Only a die-hard slime-a-phobe, would worry about them.

Yes, we vegans and vegetarians have our share of slimy foods, but at least ours aren’t made from the body parts of suffering cows, hosed down with ammonia and hidden in other foods. Gotta give us that.

Go veg!

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –


With so many vegans and vegetarians running around these days, a lot of meat eaters are feeling really isolated and alone. So Smithfield Farmland, a pork producer, has come up with an idea to benefit one of the most beleaguered but growing segments of the population: bacon eaters.

“Bacon has seen its status in pop culture continue to rise,” said marketer Erin Turley to the New York Times recently. “Yet, up to this point there has not been a community to gather and share the love.”

But now we have the “Farmland Bacon Club!”

Smithfield Farmland, the creator of the club, is one of several pig killing companies owned by Smithfield. Yeah, yeah, that was the company that was recently bought up by the Chinese.

Anybody can join the club for free; just go to the website, Farmland Bacon Club. But brace yourself for a whole lotta fun. Not only are there all sorts of bacon ads to look at, but bacon games to play, bacon T-shirts to buy, bacon contests to enter, bacon slogans to chuckle over and, the best, bacon videos to watch.

One bacon video was of the world’s first “bacon wedding,” where a slightly debauched looking bride carried a bouquet of bacon. Wearing a bacon tie, the groom looked to be her perfect match. The background music? Heavy metal, of course.


“We definitely see this as a long-term way to add value to our customers’ lives in a really fun way,” said another one of the Smithfield corporate types quoted in the article.

I wonder how eating bacon and sucking up bacon advertising would “add value” to anyone’s life. Studies show that eating processed meat like bacon actually shortens people’s lives. Maybe the knowledge that you’re not going to live that long makes you enjoy more what you’ve got left. Or maybe the exuberant eating of bacon makes you forget the animal abuse and the pollution caused by the industry.

Or maybe… eating bacon and laughing at those whimpy vegan types, makes one feel more like a man. “The bacon-lover demographic traditionally skews male,” said another pork marketer who was yacking to the New York Times, adding that the Bacon Club website also “aimed at women.”
Nice words: “aimed at.”

It’s a big bacon tent, folks. Smithfield not only invites women to join the club and spend money on bacon they even welcome vegetarians’ spending power! One such vegetarian, “Marla H.” was dubbed the June member of the month and crowned with the title of “vegbaconterian.” It was explained that Marla “revealed (on the website) that she’s a vegetarian who makes an exception for bacon. If that’s not love for bacon, we don’t know what is!”

Ok, I used to like to eat bacon, especially if it was kind of burnt. In a way, bacon is the perfect junk food: sweet, salty and greasy. It’s the kind of food that people get sort of addicted to, so addicted they start putting it in everything: chocolate, ice cream, peanut butter cookies. Or they start wrapping all sorts of food with bacon. County fairs sometimes sell bacon on a stick.

Maybe you’re thinking the Farmland Bacon Club is sort of like AA. That would definitely be a stretch.

“The Farmland brand is to pork what Tyson is to chicken,” said yet another suit talking to the Times. “We’re about every single piece of the pig.”

Except “the piece” that cries.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


Who are the animal friends and animal enemies in Congress? Well, I’ve smoked them out; gotten them out of their big-ass, extremely comfortable offices in D.C. into the daylight of the Internet.

And here’s a surprise: The Democratic Party is friendlier to farm animals than the Republican Party, according to a Humane Society-United States 2013 survey. OK, not much of a surprise.

HSUS gave each elected official in Congress a score ranging from 100 (the best as far as animals go) to 0 (the pits as far as animals go.) Some 19 Democratic senators and one Republican senator (Susan Collins of Maine) received scores of 100. And 36 Republicans and three Democrats in the Senate received scores of 0.

If you check out the HSUS scorecard, you’ll see lots senators trying to have it both ways — animal frenemies. (You can download it from here.)

I know, I know, over all, Congress has been quite busy fucking over animals and animal activists in the last couple of years, but there have been some important successes. The Draconian “King Amendment” in the House was defeated in January of this year, for example. That thing would have nullified the few farm animal protections laws that have managed to pass in some states, including California’s Proposition 2.

Now, there are elections coming up. Mid-terms in November. I wanted to find out which Animal Hundred Pointers and which Vomitus Zeros were up for reelection. (I’m pretty proud to say that in my state of California, both our senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein got 100 points each, but neither of them is up for reelection this year.)

The Hundred Pointers facing challengers for their Senate seats are:

Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois.
Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana.
Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts.
Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.
Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon.
Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii.

The Vomitus Zeros facing challenges are:

Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama.
Jim Risch, Republican of Idaho.
Kay Hagan, Democrat of North Carolina.
Jim Inofe, Republican of Oklahoma.
Mike Enzi, Republican of Wyoming.

Most of these people have their elections already fairly locked up. But there are some vulnerable ones.

Among the weaker Hundred Pointers are Mary Landrieu and possibly Brian Schatz – Landrieu, because she’s fairly progressive in the bright red state of Louisiana; Schatz because, although he can take some comfort in the fact that he’s a Democrat in a blue state, he’s not that popular.

The only vulnerable Vomitus Zero is North Carolina senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat. If she’s defeated by a Republican, chances are, little will change with regards to animals. But a lot might change with regards to other issues.

I KNOW some people are so disgusted with politics and disappointed that Obama hasn’t been able to put a dent in the corporate hegemony, they don’t want to vote at all. The whole “hope thing” makes my stomach hurt too. You feel like a fool for voting or trying to vote. (Hegemony, in case you don’t know, means “power.” I usually like to spell it “hegemoney.”)

But anyway, if I can make the tiniest molecule of a difference I’m willing to play the fool and vote whenever I can. It’s part of being a vegan.

A footnote on Barbara Boxer: Yes, she opposed the King Amendment and HSUS gave her 100 points for 2013. In 2007 she co-sponsored bills that outlawed horse slaughter, that strengthened existing laws against animal fighting and that called for better treatment of downer cows, but these days we noticed that she’s also billing herself as a “strong voice for California’s dairy industry” and helped convince the USDA to include a $60 million cheese purchase for its feeding program. Might send her a note reminding her of dairy cow rights and dairy industry nitrates in California water.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


Don’t you just love the 4th of July patriotism? America: great. Europe: lame. Not so fast cowboy. When it comes to stupidly and unnecessarily torturing small animals for the noble cause of cosmetics manufacturing, it’s America that’s lame.

The European Union, Norway, India and Israel have all banned the use of animals for testing beauty products, meaning that rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs won’t have to die for mascara anymore in those countries.

And even China, which is becoming more sensitive to animal rights has repealed a law that insisted all cosmetics in that country be inflicted on animals.

And the U.S.? Well, we’re trying.

Two house representatives, one Democrat and one Republican have introduced legislation to ban the use of animals for testing beauty products sold or manufactured in this country. They’re calling it the Humane Cosmetics Act.

So if you’d like to add your name to a petition supporting it, you can do that here.

Meanwhile please buy cruelty-free beauty products. The battle is not over.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


Food activists, if you feel your positivity slipping a bit, here’s some books you don’t want to read:

1) “Meatonomics: How the Rigged Economics of Meat and Dairy Make You Consume Too Much” by David Robinson Simon.

2) “Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health” by Joseph Keon.

3) “Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry” by Gail Eisnitz

4) “Green is the New Red: The Inside Account of a Social Movement Under Siege” by Will Potter

5) “Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose To Eat Is Killing the Planet and Us” by Richard Oppenlander.

Each of these books in their own ways can scare and depress almost anybody in the veg world, or, for that matter, in the “real world.”

Let’s start with “Meatonomics,” which is not so much scary or disgusting as it is infuriating and frustrating. This jaw-grinder shows how the animal foods industry is totally ripping us off. You think the oil industry has it good with the feds giving them $10 billion in subsidies every year? Well, the animal food industry gets $38 billion in annual federal subsidies and that price tag doesn’t include all the environmental damage they cause.

Part of those tax-payer dollars go (of course) into corporate coffers. But another part of those tax dollars go to keeping the cost of animal foods relatively low. And those cheap prices for meat, dairy and eggs and relatively high prices for fruits and vegetables help keep the whole meat-eating thing in America going strong.

If you read that book (which I don’t advise) you will realize, “We have met the enemy and the enemy is the $1 hamburger.”

Another book which should be strictly avoided is the dreaded “Whitewash,” which is about the horror we euphemistically call the “dairy industry,” and how drinking milk, eating cheese and the rest can impact human health. A definite “don’t read,” unless you’re still eating cheese.

Next is “Slaughterhouse.” That book has been sitting on my shelf in the living room unopened for about two years. The reason I’m scared to look at it is that the very worst, most disgusting animal abuse described in “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer came from Gail Einitz’s “Slaughterhouse.”

“Green is the New Red” is another book that should be blacklisted by depressed vegans. In this book you’ll find out how animal rights activists who have engaged in nothing more than protesting, making speeches and property destruction have been tried and convicted in federal court as “eco-terrorists,” and are, as I write this, serving sentences in prison – some as long as 20 years!

“Comfortably Unaware” is a devastating book if you worry about the habitability of the planet. If you (stupidly) read this book the way I did you’ll acquire such handy information as “During every one second of time in just the United States alone, 89,000 pounds of excrement is produced by the chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep, goats and cows raised and killed for us to eat.” You’ll learn how a big portion of global warming is caused by the livestock industry (more than the transportation sector.) You’ll also get the troubling realization that there’s actually no such thing as “sustainable livestock production” and that grass-fed cows produce twice as much methane as factory-farmed cows.

Ok, so maybe you’ve already read these books and you’re depressed as hell. What to do? As a person who is now Uncomfortably Aware, you’d be perfect to leaflet for Vegan Outreach! If you happen to live in a big city, it’s quite possible that they have a group of VO pamphleteers in your area. If not maybe you can start a group.

The great thing about leafleting is you’re actually doing something. Once you’re out there handing out leaflets you’ll quickly learn that the most successful leafleters are happy and if they’re not happy, they act happy. Acting happy can often lead to the real thing and it can lead to spreading the vegan word.

Another thing you might try is drawing vegan cartoons and posting them on Facebook. It can put you in a good mood. Well, it can also put you in a bad mood if nobody likes them. OK, don’t draw vegan cartoons.

I think the best joy-generator (besides large checks for money arriving in the mail) is exercise. I love, love, love that. Of course, there’s always vegan chocolate cake (Thank you Colleen Patrick Goudreau), vegan pizza, avocado sushi roll, lentil enchiladas, tofu lasagna and on and on and on.

Go vegan!

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —