Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale - SUCCESS!

We've heard lots of awesome, wonderful things about this past weekend's Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, but none could make us more happy than hearing that the San Francisco vegan bake sale made a whopping $3,000!!! Three thousand!! And some of that gets to go to the animals at the sanctuary - Howie says that might be enough cash to make a bath of money big enough for his robust girth! East Bay Animal Advocates, another awesome group, will also receive a portion of the proceeds. Yeah.

We want to thank The Urban Housewife and Vegansaurus for organizing the event and also to the folks who donated their time and baked goods! You made many a vegan and non-vegan happy!! You also made the animals at the sanctuary very happy, even though they tell us Happy to them is Cupcakes + Peppermint Patties + Cookies all in their bellahs.

Read about the success and see some mouth-watering photos (seriously, I nearly licked the screen...Frank the potbellied pig says that's gross) here at The Urban Housewife. Please leave a nice comment letting them know they rock for organizing the event and that all the bakers and volunteers are full of vegan-love for donating their time and products for this event.

Calgary Stampede v. Vancouver Humane Society

The Vancouver Humane Society attempted to submit an ad that offered an alternative view to the popular Calgary Stampede and Rodeo. The Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun both refused to publish the ad.

You can see the Vancouver Humane Society's ad here. In it, a "cowboy" takes down a 3-mos old calf in the "tie-down" roping event in which a frightened calf is released into an arena, followed by a "cowboy" on a horse. The calf is roped by the neck and three of his legs are tied. Now I don't know about you, but when I'm running full force away from something scary (which I try and avoid), I think it would be quite painful to have a rope flung around my neck (or any part of my body) and yanked forcefully back. I could be a secret masochist and really like that sort of thing, but doubtful.

According to the Vancouver Humane Society, one of the newspapers refused because, in their opinion, they did not agree with the ad. Huh? Since when do you have to agree with an ad that, for all intents and purposes is hardly extreme or over the top, to publish it in your newspaper? Why bother with an opinion section or letters to the editor if dissenting opinion isn't a viable option? The ad in question doesn't show gory images. It doesn't mention the Calgary Stampede specifically. It does not do much but offer a dissenting opinion, that maybe there is something wrong with rodeos and hey! here's an example.

The Calgary Sun has posted this editorial on why they chose not to run the ad. Poor taste. That's their reason. Wait, that's their second reason. Their primary reason is that the Vancouver Humane Society is located in, well, British Columbia which, while in Canada, is not in Alberta. It's apparently a West Coast versus Midwest feud that us, being in California, totally understand. I mean, hello, we feud with ourselves (Southern Californians remain baffled as to why us Northern Californians refuse to add "the" before Highway 80 or Highway 5). So we can get the "whole outsider" thing (we even shun insiders!). That isn't a valid reason to offer a dissenting opinion, even if that dissenting opinion comes from fellow Canadians next door or Fresno, in our case. Yes, perhaps 85% of Calgarians love the Stampede but the Stampede is an international affair and maybe, if people knew how cruel some events in the Stampede are by their very nature, they would be less inclined to spend their money in Calgary.

And that, I think, is the REAL issue - economics. The Calgary Stampede is huge. When I say huge, I mean huge. It's considered an integral aspect of Calgary tourism revenue. Over the course of ten days, more than a million people will visit from dozens of countries. That's big tourist bucks for Calgary. Or it could be that this event is heralded as The Most Important Cultural Event for Calgary Ever. I don't know whether to be embarrassed or bemused on behalf of Canadians everywhere that culture is being defined as 2 million dollars in overall prize money (thanks to the federal government), strapping belts onto genitals of wild horses, bringing down 3-mos-old calves or big belts and wranglers. Perhaps that is unfair - after all, we view cattle and horses as animals worthy of respect, compassion and the right to exhibit their natural behaviors in a natural setting. No rodeo can offer that. We have a fundamentally different view on animals than rodeos.

For the farmed animals, that is a good thing. We commend the Vancouver Humane Society for doing what shelters within Alberta refused to do - speak up for the animals.

The Calgary Sun and Herald both accept letters to the editor. Accept probably being defined differently by the two newspapers.

But if you're a brave soul (and I know you are), then write a letter questioning the ethics of denying an ad based on "economics" and "fear of the outside"...

Calgary Sun:
Calgary Herald

California: Stop the selling of animals in parking lots

In California, animals can legally be sold in parking lots and alongside the road. Animals are often exposed to the elements, left without proper shelter, food and water, and sold in unsanitary conditions. Animals are rarely vet-checked and may pose a health risk to both humans and other animals.

There is a bill, sponsored by the California Animal Association, that would ban the sale of animals in parking lots and alongside the road.

AB 1122, introduced by Assemblymember Lieu passed through the Assembly and is now in the Senate Public Safety committee. We need your help immediately to get this legislation passed!

What you can do:
Please contact members of the Senate Public Safety Committee and ask them to SUPPORT AB1122. This is especially vital for those of you who are members of the senators' districts. To find out who your legislator is, please go here.

Senate Public Safety Committee Members
Senator Mark Leno:
Senator John J. Benoit
Senator Gilbert Cedillo
Senator Loni Hancock
Senator Robert Huff
Senator Darrell Steinberg
Senator Roderick Wright

Talking Points:
- Animals sold in parking lots and along the road may have serious health problems that show up soon after purchase
- Animals pose a health risk due to unsanitary housing conditions
- Animals are not treated by veterinarians
- Animals may not be provided proper food and water

Please contact the Public Safety committee members as soon as possible - the animals thank you!

Daring calf photo....

That's right, Summer and Freedom, have decided to bare it all in this shocking new photo! We warn you, there are a couple of cute little calf tooshes in this photo - it may not be work or child safe!

All kidding aside, this photo shows the primary reasons Summer and Freedom were not bought by any of the farmers at the auction. Freedom doesn't have a tail and may have problems in the future because of it (he will definitely have many fly-woes). Summer (foreground) is very skinny and was very sickly when he first arrived. Because of his sickness, he lost a lot of hair that is - thankfully - growing back in wonderfully.

These two little guys are the dark underbelly of the dairy industry - the cruelty behind that glass of milk. Male dairy calves are absolutely worthless; farmers make no money off of them, even at auction. They are treated like trash.

But now they are happy and safe. It is a joy to watch them revel in being Calf Who Runs Free and Calf who Chews Hair. They prance and leap, exuding the carefree energy of the young. It will be fun watching them grow up, I'm sure you'll enjoy it too!

Food, Inc.

n Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Learn more

Chickens and turkeys

This is Tulip. Now, I usually associate spring and vibrancy with tulip. Tulip the hen begs to differ. In her opinion, Tulip is angry and full of haughty glares of disdain. We are okay with this Tulip. Spices things up a bit.

Chickens aren't the only residents here, there are turkeys too. And sometimes, rarely really, the chickens and turkeys connect in a positive way. Newman is the rooster on the left and Zarriah is the turkey hen on the right. Newman has been following Zarriah around lately, and this was just a sweet moment of togetherness. No pecking (normal), no fights, no fear, just two different species reaching out.

Farmacology: Antibiotic resistance

A very provocative article in the most recent edition of Johns Hopkins Magazine entitled "Farmacology".

For decades, the livestock industry has perpetrated a grave injustice by providing subtherapeutic levels of antimicrobials in animal feed. The use of antimicrobials, some the same or in the same family as antibiotics used in humans, increases the growth rate of animals and farmers are always looking for ways to get animals fatter, cheaper and quicker.

Knowledge that subtherapeutic use could increase antibiotic resistant bacteria isn't new. Alexander Fleming warned in 1945 that his discovery, penicillin, when used in doses insufficient to treat disease could create penicillin-resistant bacteria. In 1951, UC Davis scientists published a paper that subtherapeutic use of streptomycin in turkeys resulted in streptomycin-resistant coliform bacteria (within three days, no less).

What is so disturbing about the use of antibiotics in the livestock sector is the abject lack of transparency. There are no federal or state laws that require farmers to share the nutrient content of animal feed nor are there reporting regulations. We don't know how much antibiotics are being used - we just know that it's a lot and that the antibiotics are ending up in our air and water. Best guesses put it at between 17-24 million pounds of antibiotics are used as additives annually (guesses that the pork and broiler industry folks consider outlandishly high, no surprise there).

In the article, an experiment is described in which researchers traveled behind a truck transporting broiler birds to the slaughterhouse. Air measurements for enterococci bacteria were taken before and after. Prior to driving behind these trucks, samples taken from the air and from surfaces in the vehicle showed no antibiotic-resistant enterococci bacteria. After the trip? A quarter of the bacteria were resistant to several antimicrobials, including tetracycline, erythomycin and streptomycin. Scary stuff.

I think the essence of this issue is summed up by a quote at the end from Ellen Silbergeld (PhD) who has done numerous studies on the issues of antibiotic resistance.

These are feed additives. It's like using antibiotics as hair dye. We have this practice of permitting the addition of almost any antibiotic that you can think of to animal feed, for no therapeutic purpose, under conditions that absolutely favor the rise of resistancy. We have no controls or management of these wastes. Our food safety system is a shambles. This is a situation that is widely recognized by the World Health Organization, the American Medical Assocation, and by others, and nothing happens! It's astounding to me!.....

Sometimes I think we're such a dumb species, we don't deserve to survive on this planet. I mean, how many times do we have to do this?"
Thousands of people die annually from antibiotic resistance. Thousands. Now some of it could be due to overuse of antibiotics in the human medical field. But certainly the situation is exacerbated exponentially by using antimicrobials in a manner that is certain to create a friendly environment for resistance.

Choosing a vegan and vegetarian diet is certainly helpful as it reduces the demand for cheap meat, dairy and eggs. But we must all pull together to stop this - vegans and vegetarians won't be saved from antibiotic resistance when the bacteria can travel from person-person, fly-person or from simply traveling behind a tractor hauling birds to their death.

There are two federal bills that would phase out the use of antimicrobials as additives:

H.R. 1549 and S. 619 - you can ask your respresentatives to co-sponsore the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act by using this form.

You can learn more here at (a website of the Pew Charitable Trusts).

Summer and Freedom, two new calves

Our youngest and most recent residents are two adorable Jersey calves - Summer and Freedom.

Both were rescued from an auction where calves were being sold for between $3-20. The calves were all male, all Jerseys or Holsteins - all byproducts of the dairy industry.

We'll be reporting on the experience at auction in our next newsletter. For now, please enjoy a photo of the two little ones.

Aren't they precious?

Making the grade: A Grass Valley Update

This move from our 60-acre sanctuary in Vacaville to a 600-acre sanctuary in Grass Valley has been stressful and exciting....and we haven't even really moved yet!

After finalizing the purchase of the property, setting up our monthly mortgage (you can help with that!), we set out to find the perfect spots for chicken, rabbit, pig and potbellied pig barns. It wasn't easy! We had to work within the guidelines set forth by Nevada County Land Trust which included only building where existing buildings are in place and only adding structures within a 5-acre parcel. It was a challenge, but after weeks of meetings and discussions, we finally decided on four great sites for the barns!

These aren't pictures of the barns (they're not up yet) but are pictures of where the barns will go.

Rabbits have a prime spot - nestled amongst some beautiful trees with an awesome view.

The rabbits will be getting a 1/3 more indoor space and a predator-proof, enriched outdoor area with tunnels and a lot of great and safe digging spots. We think they will be in bunny heaven!

The building in the background is one of the animal caregiver's cottages!

The pig barn is about the same size as our current barn but since the pigs will be getting their very own digs (no sheep, goats or cows allowed!) they will have access to more stalls. Right now, the goats and sheep like to steal stalls from the pigs!

We will be putting in a pig pond at some point and there is a lot of shade to keep our porcine friends cool.

The barn in the background will be for the cattle!

The chickens and turkeys will be enjoying a much more spacious barn and an enriched outdoor area. Their current setup has some steeper sections that are hard to navigate for some birds. The new spot is flat with trees, boulders and shrubbery. The chickens may even get a chance to roost in the trees, a behavior that is very ingrained into these birds.

No pictures of the potbellied pig area yet, but they too will be enjoying a lot more space. Right now, they have four small potbellied pig condos - at the new place, they'll be living the high life in their penthouse suites!

As you can see, a lot is getting done. We can't wait to actually move, but we still need to put up the actual barns, install fencing and make sure the sanctuary is move-in ready for the animals.

We'll keep you posted!

On research and our own complicity

I'm sure many of you have already read Daniel Engbar's 5-part series on animal research and the dog that started the push to change how study animals are treated. You can read it here.

In some ways, society's perception of vivisection is strikingly similar to its perception of agriculture. People feel it's a necessary evil, lab work and farming...or at least the way animals are treated as unfeeling, unthinking beings is. I've never liked "necessary" coupled with "evil" - it's a bit problematic trying to cogently and logically argue for something that is objectively and viscerally repugnant.

For me, the story of Clayton says it all, all that is wrong with vivisection and all that is wrong with how researchers seem capable of empathy yet do nothing to alleviate the suffering in front of them. We read about a monkey who is essentially tortured - a titanium rod is implanted into his brain, a coil is surgically attached to his eye, he spends years strapped in a metal chair and watches a computer screen. He lives in isolation. He is denied the right to exhibit natural behaviors in a normal environment.

Yet Engbar doesn't rally to the aid of Clayton and the other monkeys in the multi-year experiment. He doesn't champion their cause, their right to be free from rods in their brains and the tedium of doing something no monkey would willingly choose. It's as if a switch has gone off - he wants us to foray into bioethics, to look at how we perceive research, to ask tough questions, yet he doesn't answer the question of why Clayton is still suffering, of why he hasn't done anything to help the animals he used.

I'm not saying it's easy to live up to your morals and ethics. It's not. We are challenged every day in small and big ways to stay true to our beliefs. I'm also not saying we succeed every time. We're not perfect. This journey is full of surprises and hiccups and wondrous things.

But to look suffering in the face, to know that you are a part of that suffering, and to do nothing, well that speaks volumes.

I also read today in the LA Times how there is a new push to use government money for research involving farmed animals. The article is written in such a way as to cheapen the lives used and discarded. Between 66-72% of all research done on pigs and sheep, according to the AAVS, causes pain and distress.

Consider writing a letter to the editor. Encourage more government funding for alternatives to vivisection not more funds diverted to inflicting pain and suffering on sentient beings. Also, it's absolutely offensive that, while some dogs and cats are given a chance at permanent placement after non-invasive research, farmed animals are not - their ability to relate to people, the costs of caring for them, their ability to feel pain and joy, are not much different from a dog or a cat. Why the discrepancy in post-research treatment?

You can send letters here: Keep it to 150 words or fewer. Be respectful and polite. Include your full name, address and phone number for verification.

World Wide Vegan Bake Sale - San Francisco

Nothing is more titillating to a vegan than a bake sale! Seriously, vegan cupcakes, cookies and proceeds benefiting Animal Place and East Bay Animal Advocates? What could be more delicious?

Nothing, really.

On June 27th and June 28th, the "Bay Area Post Punk Kitchen Crew", Vegansaurus!, and The Urban Housewife are presenting TWO exquisite vegan bake sales during World Wide Vegan Bake Sale. Not one, but two. That's twice the cupcakes for you and me. Or just me. There will also be brownies, MORE cupcakes, pies and treats for your dogs (if you have them).

Roni, from Daisy Wares is also giving away a free lip balm to anyone who buys a dozen or more cupcakes! Every month, Daisy Wares donates 10% of her sales to the sanctuary!

If you live in the Bay Area, you should definitely head to San Francisco on June 27th and June 28th for some delicious vegan baked goods, especially cupcakes. Your taste buds will not be disappointed AND you will be helping the animals at Animal Place!

SATURDAY, JUNE 27th, 2009
Time: 11 am to 4 pm
Address: 3506 16th Street at Sanchez, in front of Ike's Place!

SUNDAY, JUNE 28th, 2009
Time: 11 am to 4 pm
Address: 800 block of Capp St. (near 24th St., about 1/2 block from 24th st BART!)

We really hope you'll come out and show support for the World Wide Vegan Bake Sale!!