Holiday Guide to Vegan Treats (for Wisconsinites)

Holiday Bake Sale in Appleton, WI, Dec 12 – 13

THIS WEEKEND, check out the Fox Valley Vegan Bake Sale‘s Holiday Bake Sale! All information and pictures are courtesy of the organizer, Anna:

Friday, Dec 12, 5 –  8 pm AND Saturday, Dec 13, 10 am – 1 pm

At The Free Market, located at 734 W. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton, WI

All proceeds go to two very deserving organizations – Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary and Sea Shepherd.

Picture credit to Fox Valley Vegan Bake Sale:

Picture credit to Fox Valley Vegan Bake Sale:

Vegan Holiday Treats Exchange in Madison, WI, Dec 21

The weekend after that, the Madison Unitarian Plant Based Eating Group is having a Vegan Holiday Treats Exchange!

Here are the details from the organizer, Sara:

Sunday, December 21 from 12:30-1:00 pm (after the 11am service) in Courtyard Room C. Bring two dozen vegan treats (24) and a container to carry your treats home – leave with a varied holiday plate of delicious treats to bring to your holiday gatherings or hoard for yourself! Questions? Please contact Sara 608-957-2392

You do not have to attend services or be a member of the Unitarian Society to participate in this event.

Directions and parking:

Thanks, Anna and Sara, for letting us know! Hope that many of you can make it to these two delicious events!

Silent Vigil for the Kalin Monkeys Tomorrow

From Ann and Leslie:

It is supposed to be a balmy 40 degrees on Thursday. If you could come to the event 30-minutes before it is scheduled to start, I will bring our signs and we can stand in front of the building until the panel discussion is set to begin.  We also have some wonderful flyers from ALDF that we can give to those attending the discussion.

If you cannot attend the panel discussion itself but have time to stop by for the 30-minute vigil, please do.

The more of us who show our continuing opposition to these experiments, the better.

A generous sponsor has offered to cover rides, so call 608-255-1234 & mention the Vigil to get a free cab ride there & back!  Rides available from 5:30 – 10 pm.
Read below for more information on IACUCS and animal research.

Photo credit to Animal Legal Defense Fund.

1. The questionable protocol that led to approval of the Kalin maternal deprivation experiment.
2. More on the experiment from former Alliance co-director and fierce primate advocate, Rick Bogle:

3. Here are 2 excellent analyses of IACUC committees.

Nov 6, 2012 Institutional animal care and use committees need greater ethical diversity  -Lawrence Arthur Hansen

Animals 20122(1), 68-75; doi:10.3390/ani2010068 Analysis of Animal Research Ethics Committee Membership at American Institutions, Lawrence A. Hansen 1, Justin R. Goodman 2,3,* and Alka Chandna

Thanks to Leslie for organizing the vigil and to Ann for all the links!

The Lion Whisperer and the Best Way to Love Wild Animals

(h/t to Dawnwatch. Click here to send a thank you to CBS.)

If you have 15 minutes free today, I recommend 60 Minutes’ segment on The Lion Whisperer. The segment juxtaposes a hard look at the canned hunting industry with some beautiful footage of human-lion interaction. N.B.: There is footage of lions being killed in a canned hunting setting, but that is the only graphic footage, and there is plenty of warning before it happens.

As tempting as it is to want to visit wild animal petting zoos when visiting other countries, those kinds of establishments come at a price to the animals themselves. As one of the interviewees says about halfway through this video:

Whenever you pet a lion cub, you are directly enriching the canned lion industry.

In many cases, the only industry interested in adult wild animals is the canned hunting industry. They are too expensive and too dangerous for any other purpose.

So how can you be kind to animals when traveling? Be wary of environments where wild animals are available to be petted by humans. I’ll mention two more below, before letting you know some humane alternatives.

Another popular industry is “dolphin petting pools.” These can be found in the US and in other countries. For a brief overview of the problems, read the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society’s one page summary. The pools are harmful to dolphins:

 …unsafe, unsanitary and overcrowded conditions…

and dangerous to humans

Petting Pool visitors are also at risk from physical
harm….Several incidents of bites, head butts and trapped
hands were observed during the research.

Happy dolphin not in a pool! From

Happy dolphin not in a pool!

Hitting a little closer to home, especially at this time of year, another wild animal enterprise that puts both animals and humans at risk are the elephant rides at the circus. Our friends at Animal Defenders International do great educating the public about the cruelty of circuses. This article mentions some of the damage escaped elephants can do:

An eyewitness reported the elephants were “breaking mirrors off, pulling panels off, breaking the windows out” of vehicles as they ran through the lot. Seeing the severe damage done shows how powerful these animals are. If the elephants were being used for children’s rides at the time, the consequences might have been tragic.

The Alliance has education campaigns about the circus every year, January – March. Contact if you would like to stand outside the circus in your hometown and hand out literature.

We do this! Well, we hand out leaflets in front of the circus. Come join us!

Let’s get back to the original question: how can you do ethical tourism if you love animals and want them to be a part of your travels?

The safest option is to love animals from a distance. There are all kinds of options for dolphin and whale watching and ethical safaris. You can get scuba certified or try snuba, or go on hikes.

What if you want to touch the animals? Well, that’s a greyer area. There are options for swimming with dolphins in the wild. My family went on one of those trips, and we really enjoyed it. We didn’t touch the dolphins, and we only briefly saw them, but it was amazing to be in their presence. After reading this post from Responsible Travel, I don’t know that I would do it again. It’s hard to know how ethical the company is, and I wouldn’t want to take the risk of working with a company that harasses dolphins for the sake of tourist enjoyment.

Another option, if you are in a place with wild elephants, is to skip the tourist venues and visit a sanctuary. This post has suggestions for ethical elephant encounters in South Asia.

If you don’t want to research all of this on your own, there are lots of people willing to help you, from places selling ethical travel packages to vegan travel agents. It can be more expensive, but you know your money is going to good places. My brother and his girlfriend used one of these services when planning their trip to Tanzania, and they really enjoyed the experience.

The bottom line is that if you’re going to interact with wild animals, do some research into the risk to them and to you before handing your money over. And when in doubt, go by this rule that I always follow:

There is always a greater love. Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals ‘love’ them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.
– Edwin Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons: The Journal of a Naturalist’s Year: April 28.

You may enjoy your vacation most of all if you just take some pictures, and donate the money you would have spent on wild animal enterprises to an organization helping to keep those animals safe and healthy.

Thursday, Dec 11th 2014: Ask your questions about IACUCs and more!

A message from our anti-vivisection chair, Leslie:

A Rare Opportunity to Question the Biases and Conflicts of Interest Inherent in the Approval and Oversight of Animal Research

Many of you are aware that the Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture regarding the process used (abused?) by the University of Wisconsin when it approved Ned Kalin’s maternal deprivation experiments.  On Thursday, December 11, the UW Madison will host a presentation regarding the procedure used to approve animal research and the legal mandates and limitations of that process.  The panel (composed of UW faculty/employees) will address the following questions and will also take questions from the audience:

How are research protocols involving animals reviewed and approved?
Who is on the review committees?
How often are labs and facilities inspected, and by whom?
What are the legal and regulatory standards for animal research?

Panel members:

  • Eric Sandgren, Director of UW-Madison’s Research Animal Resources Center
  • Craig Berridge, Chair of the UW Letters and Science Animal Care and Use Committee
  • Dreux Watermolen: Non-affiliated Members of the UW Letters and Science Animal Care and Use Committee

Time and Location:

7:00pm – 9:00pm
Thursday, December 11, 2014
1111 Biotechnology Auditorium
UW Biotechnology Center
425 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706

Parking available in Lot 20 (1390 University Ave.), Lot 17 (1525 Engineering Dr.), and under Union South (enter at 1320 W. Dayton St.).

Here is a campus map that you can use to locate the the UW Biotechnology Center and nearby parking:

Nicholas Kristof: Abusing Chickens We Eat


Ann sent us this opinion article from The New York Times. The author, Nicholas Kristof, gives us an in depth look at Perdue’s chickens, starting with what the company chairman says, and ending with what the company really does.

“Doing the right thing is things like treating your chickens humanely,” Jim Perdue, the company’s chairman, says in a promotional video. The company’s labels carry a seal of approval from the Department of Agriculture asserting that the bird was “raised cage free,” and sometimes “humanely raised,” although it says it is phasing that one out

Enter Craig Watts, 48, a North Carolina farmer who says he raises about 720,000 chickens each year for Perdue. He watched the video of Jim Perdue and had an attack of conscience. “My jaw just dropped,” he said. “It couldn’t get any further from the truth.”

So Watts opened his four chicken barns to show how a Perdue chicken lives. It’s a hellish sight.

Watts invited an animal welfare group, Compassion in World Farming, to document conditions, and it has spent months doing so. The organization has just released the resulting video on its website.

I haven’t watched the video, but I’m just going to give a trigger warning for graphic imagery. Kristof describes what he sees underneath the embedded video.

Most shocking is that the bellies of nearly all the chickens have lost their feathers and are raw, angry, red flesh. The entire underside of almost every chicken is a huge, continuous bedsore. As a farmboy who raised small flocks of chickens and geese, I never saw anything like that.

Though these poor birds are suffering and continue to suffer, Kristof himself comes to an epiphany that may point him in a kinder direction in the future:

Torture a single chicken and you risk arrest. Abuse hundreds of thousands of chickens for their entire lives? That’s agribusiness.

I don’t know where to draw the lines. But when chickens have huge open bedsores on their undersides, I wonder if that isn’t less animal husbandry than animal abuse.

These kinds of first person accounts of transformation are heartening to read, and they’re what we’re working towards every day at Alliance for Animals and the Environment. Thanks Ann, for sharing! If you can, send an email to the New York Times ( thanking them for their coverage, comment on the article, or share directly from the website through facebook or twitter (h/t to DawnWatch).

If you’re interested in learning more about chicken welfare, I recommend this article entitled Detailed Discussions of Legal Protections of the Domestic Chicken in the United States and Europe. I know that sounds wordy, but here is the summary:

From an animal welfare perspective, there are no federal regulations regarding the breeding, rearing, sale, transportation, or slaughter of chickens.

Chickens are exempt from the Animal Welfare Act, the Humane Slaughter Act, and most transportation laws at state and federal levels. Wisconsin is slightly better than most!:

Only four states, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Connecticut specifically require the humane transportation of poultry, but the states statutes are often vaguely worded and the fines for violating these statutes are usually negligible.

If you are having trouble switching from chicken to veggie chicken, the Alliance has a brand new vegan mentor program. Just email and we’ll set you up with a vegan friend in the Madison area! Soon, you’ll be feeling great, loving the food you eat, and completely comfortable getting the chicken off of your plate and into your arms.