Category Archives: animal activism


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 —


It’s hard to imagine a more gratuitous or, well, stupid, assault on animals than trophy-hunting in Africa. Yet, incredibly the New York Times has managed to run an opinion column that supports just that.

In the column, “Blame War, Not Safaris,” the author Louisa Lombard, a post-doc fellow at UC-Berkeley, draws a bead on animal rights activists, arguing that they “are missing the mark when they shame safari hunters and their hosts.”

Lombard focuses on the war-torn Central African Republic where Christians and Muslim fighters are having at it. She says the battle there is “not about white people at all.” (Somehow I find it hard to believe that any conflict in “post-colonial” Africa has “nothing to do with white people,” but OK, if she says so.)

“… attention paid to a few white hunters is at best a distraction from the more important matter of examining the roots of the crisis of political legitimacy that is ripping the country apart,” she writes.

If this war has nothing to do with the West, then why is it imperative that we shut up about trophy-hunting and “examine the roots of the crisis?”

The author argues that the hunting lodges catering to rich whites are actually a positive in the Central African Republic.

“The history of the safaris in the Central African Republic does bear the mark of colonial-era racial inequalities and it is marred by smuggling and the poor enforcement of conservation rules. But in its current regulated form, the sport is helping to maintain islands of relative peace in remote parts of the country.”

I’m all for peace, but really? Killing antelopes for peace?

It seems to me, there’s probably nothing that can be done about the war in the Republic of Central Africa, but we can do something about are the insanely rich Americans spending tens of thousands of dollars to go kill animals overseas, many of whom are endangered.

Of course, it’s not just clueless white hunters who are decimating wildlife populations in Africa. There are other causes including habitat loss for livestock production.

For me, there are few things more heart-breaking than species extinction. And why we Americans would want to put our mits on the scale tipping toward disaster is beyond me. But I guess that’s what we do. According to an editorial which ran in a National Geographic online newsletter published last year, some 60 percent of lions killed for “sport” in Africa are shipped to the U.S. as trophies.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


If you’ve ever tried to talk a relative into going vegan you know how bad family arguments can get. Sometimes even just preparing and serving vegan food to a relative can devolve into an unpleasantry: “I’m leaving!” “That’s fine.” “Fuck you.” Slam. Screeching tires.

Out of desperation I once offered my brother $50 to watch “Forks Over Knives.” I might as well have asked him to jump over the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle. Actually, I think he’d rather try to jump over the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle than watch “Forks Over Knives.”

Then there was my friend who picked up a Vegan Outreach (VO) pamphlet from a pile of them I’d left strategically in our bathroom. No, ultimately that didn’t work either.

I even tried to convert a whole classroom of fellow students to go vegan. Well, I’ve tried that with a few classes. Basically that didn’t work as far as I could tell, although I think I heard some mumbling about trying to go vegan from a couple of people.

Still, it is possible that I was a catalyst for someone going vegan. I’ve handed out hundreds of VO leaflets and the organization says that out of a 100 leaflets you probably convince two or three to go vegan. There’s an important difference, says Vegan Outreach, between proselytizing strangers and proselytizing friends. Strangers are strangers and can often be way more open to other strangers.

But friends and family members are generally animal rights sermon-resistant. Vegan Outreach says they’re a waste of your vegan activism time.

There is one way, however, that you might get through to a family member or a friend. It’s called “Silence.” That means you NEVER mention anything vegan. You don’t talk about the animals, you don’t talk about the environment and you definitely don’t talk about health or weight loss. I repeat: you definitely don’t talk about health or losing weight.

What if they ask? Psychologist and co-author of “The Pleasure Trap,” Doug Lisle suggests really low-keying it, saying something like, “Oh, this is just something I’m trying for a while – seeing how it goes.”

A vegan friend, David, has a niece who has recently gone vegan after seeing his quiet example. The teenager had heard about veganism and was curious. She figured it must be OK, since her respected uncle was doing it.

Yes, I know it’s frustrating to simply shut up and just be a vegan, but as author Will Potter details in his book, “Green is the New Red,” industry and some government officials see that lifestyle choice as indeed quite powerful.”

Animal experimenter and advocate for the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (a federal law that has been able to reclassify some non-violent animal rights activism as “terrorism,”) Edward J. Walsh has argued that “simple acts such as choosing not to wear fur, eat meat or attend rodeos ‘quietly, but effectively, promote the dissolution of our culture.’”

Whoa! Who knew that?

I don’t think we vegans are trying to promote the “dissolution of our culture,” unless “our culture” means animal cruelty, barbecues, fast food places, “Turkey Day,” Easter egg hunts, circuses and cheese fondue.”

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —