Dead zones on the rise

No, they aren't the subject of a future vamp flick, but they are sucking the life out of the oceans. A dead zone is an area of water so low in oxygen it cannot sustain life. Dead zones happen when, for a variety of reasons, there is a sudden upsurge in photosynthesizing phytoplankton. The phytoplankton produce organic matter that sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it is gobbled up by oxygen-loving bacteria. More organic matter means more bacteria and thus less oxygen. Fish, crabs and other sea life suffer the consequences and can die off.

One of the largest dead zones is the expansive 8,000 square mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The reason? Fertilizer and nitrogen rich manure from all the farms and agricultural operations whose runoff ends up in the Mississippi river and thus the Gulf of Mexico. Fertilizer makes a very hospitable environment for phytoplankton.

While fertilizer usage could conceivably be limited, the dead zones of the world are becoming more common possibly because of global warming gases from fossil fuels. Even more frightening is how long these affected areas may need to recover - it isn't just decades, it may be hundreds to thousands of years before healing can occur.

A 2006 UN report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow revealed that the livestock sector is responsible for 18% of all human-caused global warming causing gases, more so than transportation. In many ways, the livestock sector is facilitating dead zones - from manure runoff to global warming gas emissions, the price of producing meat, dairy and eggs continues to run high for our planet.

Do your part by eliminating meat, dairy and eggs from your diet. Learn how by reading our Going Vegan pamphlet online. Buy local and, when possible, organic. Learn more about getting your produce from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Buying produce this way may be more economical than you might think. Find a CSA near you by visiting Of course, we encourage you to find a CSA that does not slaughter any animals!

Animal Spotlight: Goat Pow Wow

We're not sure what exactly Gilbert (left), Laura (middle) and Charlene (pygmy) are talking about, but it seems to have brought a smile to Laura's face!

Gilbert and Laura both come from horrible cases of cruelty - Gilbert was hog-tied and nearly slaughtered, while Laura was being dragged around at auction by a severely broken leg. Charlene was actually a "house goat" who lived in a small condo for several years, spending most of her life in a dog crate.

That's all behind them, of course. They'd rather spend their days grazing and hanging out. What a team they make!

Animal Spotlight: Virginia & Lenny

It was hard to pick just one of these photos, so here are all three. They look like sheep with a message across the ages, maybe one of hope or kindness. Probably "more apples, please".

Virginia and Lenny are two special sheep. Virginia was rescued from a live-market slaughterhouse. She arrived skinny and with crackling, sickly lungs. At one point, she was in renal failure and we were almost certain she didn't have long to live. On a warm evening, this petite ewe gave birth to one big, healthy lamb. Even the vets were shocked - they had no clue she would be pregnant!

Having a baby transformed Virginia from a sickly, shy ewe to a relatively healthy, protective mom. Her health improved dramatically, even though Lenny proved to be quite the energy suck. Their bond is incredibly strong and we know Lenny will grow up to be as beautiful, gentle and probably as shy, as his mom.

On air cruelty & UN climate expert promotes eating less meat

Pattrice over at Eastern Shore Sanctuary's blog writes about how a San Francisco based radio station, LIVE 105, is planning on chasing several chickens on-air on Inauguration day (tomorrow).

How you can help:

There is, of course, one more cause for concern about this particular event. Why, on the day that our nation’s first African American president will be inaugurated, will radio hosts be making jokes about eating chicken?

Don’t wait to protest after the fact. Stop this event before it happens. Call the producers of LIVE 105 at (415) 478-5483 and insist that in-studio animal abuse is not funny, on Inauguration Day or any other day.


or email: - the show itself - Dave Numme the show's producer

In more positive news, the UN's top climate scientist has encouraged people to reduce their consumption of meat, citing its devastating impact on the environment and global warming. The production of meat releases more greenhouse gases than cars. Reducing your environmental footprint by reducing meat consumption is a great start - going vegan should always be the ultimate goal. It's the overall best diet for our bodies, super healthy for the planet and, of course, incredibly kind to animals.

CA: Don't tax vet bills

Governor Schwarzenegger wants to define taking your sick, diseased, distressed animal to a vet as a "luxury" item, imposing a 10.5% tax on veterinary medical services.

Since when is being a responsible guardian considered a "luxury"?

There are 15 million dogs and cats in California and dog and cat guardians spend nearly 2.75 billion dollars on veterinary services. Animal Place is no stranger to vet bills - we spend tens of thousands of dollars a year to provide optimal care to all the animals at the sanctuary. This isn't a luxury, these costs are a necessity for us and for the millions of people who choose to welcome animals into their homes.

We appreciate that times are tough, that we need to look at creative ways to stimulate our state's economy. But taxing necessary medical care for the 15 + million animals in the state is not only unfair, it's cruel. With unemployment rising, people should not have to make a difficult choice between what might be an affordable medical procedure for their companion and killing/relinquishing their animal because of the extra taxation.

You can help:

Call the Governor's office:
From HSUS Humane Action Alert:
Please make a brief, polite phone call to Governor Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841 and urge him to remove the Fido Fine from the budget proposal. When you call, please select your language choice, then press 5 to leave your opinion on a current issue, then press 1 to select the issue of extending the sales tax to veterinary services, and then press 2 to oppose this proposal. After calling, please send a follow-up email to your state legislators and urge them to reject the Governor’s proposal.

Contact your representative:
Tell them to remove the Fido fine from the budget proposal.

You can find out who your legislator is here

Rufus enjoys weather

Rufus the rooster is enjoying the unusually warm weather at the sanctuary (probably not as much as the humans, though).

Here he is basking in the sun, the light glinting off his flame-orange feathers.

Rufus was rescued by Animal Place more than a year ago from a cockfighting bust in northern California. He was just a baby then but his fate would have been violent and tragic either as a fighting rooster or euthanized at a shelter. Rufus lives the good life now, though, with his own flock of hens and two other roosters to keep him company.

Vote for vegan lunches

1 in 200 kids "vegetarian"

This news according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study in 2007 that surveyed 9,000 parents on alternative medicine.

Vegetarian kids are so mainly for ethical reasons, the whole "this turkey wing once belonged to
<<---- an actual turkey (except Leland has all his wings) concept. This is great, of course, as we need more compassionate future role models for the next generations.

Leland may fan his feathers in joy over the news but he's waiting for that number to go from 1 in 200 to 1 in 2...then he'll be really impressed.

Coconut Walnut Date Recipe

My grandma loved baking bread; she'd fill her small apartment kitchen with the scents of fresh wheat rolls or sourdough loaves. I do not have crystal clear memories of her, but my nose remembers - I smell bread baking and I see strong wrinkled hands kneading dough, remember the heat of the kitchen and the taste of a hot, fresh roll. Grandma also loved to bake anything that required as little sugar as possible (she also only offered sugar-free hard candies which, to my 9-yr-old sugar-loving self, was quite tragic). Over the holidays, my mom brought out one of my grandma's favorite recipes and we easily veganized it. We hope you'll enjoy it too! -Marji Beach, Education Coordinator

Enough Ener-g egg replacer for 3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c chopped dates
1 c flaked coconut
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Add to the egg replacer the sugar, walnuts, dates, coconut, vanilla extract, almond extract. Mix together.

Place mixture into casserole dish and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Let mixture cool. When mixture is cool, form into small balls and roll in powder sugar. Eat.

Photo by yours truly