Upcoming Zor Shrine Circus Protest and Planning Meeting (Madison)

Alliance for Animals will be protesting the Zor Shrine Circus that will be taking place in Madison from February 17th-19th.

We need your help to speak up for the animals who spend their lifetimes in loneliness and suffering.

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Protest Planning Meeting:
Protest Planning Meeting Facebook Event Page

Monday, Febuary 13th
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Sequoya Library
4340 Tokay Blvd
Madison, WI 53711

Protest Information:
Circus Protest Event Page

Saturday, February 18
12:30 – 2:30 pm
Outside of the Alliant Energy Center

For more information contact Lynn at lynn@allanimals.org

Click here for more information on the Zor Shrine Circus.

 

 

 

Justice for 12

By Aaron Yarmel

I love the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am inspired by its students, and I have only the utmost respect for its professors, administrators, and staff who continually produce new knowledge and serve our community in extraordinary ways. Given what I have just said, it might seem surprising that I would request that the USDA levy a large fine against UW-Madison. Yet that is exactly what I am about to do.

In October of 2016, the Guardian reported that, “Last year, 12 primates escaped enclosures at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Each of these animals suffered injuries, with some losing portions of their tongues and others needing amputations of their digits.” Such articles do not merely reflect poorly on the individuals who allowed the harm to take place. They reflect poorly on our entire community by sending a clear message: the rights of primates are not respected here.

The USDA is currently investigating UW-Madison for potential violations of the animal welfare act. A small fine—a slap on the wrist—will not meaningfully challenge the injustices committed against those 12 primates. For this reason, I urge you to write to the following address and ask that the maximum fine be levied:

Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer,
Director, USDA, Eastern Region,
(919) 855-7100
Betty.J.Goldentyer@usda.gov
aceast@aphis.usda.gov

Your email (like this blog post) is not an attack against our community or our great university. Rather, it is an expression of hope for what we can build if we work together to fight for the rights of all animals.

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Seeking Mad City Vegan Fest 2017 Coordinator (Paid Position)

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We’re seeking an Events Coordinator to lead the successful Mad City Vegan Fest, now in its seventh year, to continue to carry the message of veganism into the media spotlight and public consciousness. Past Mad City Vegan Fests have drawn as many as 3,500 visitors and have highlighted the benefits of a vegan lifestyle for the animals, the environment, and human health. We’re interested in a creative team player who has excellent written and verbal communication skills as well as experience overseeing large events from conception to completion, including budgeting.

The Coordinator will join the Executive Director of Alliance for Animals and the Environment and an enthusiastic team of volunteer organizers who have already begun working on next year’s event.

The event is June 17, 2017.  Expected start date early December of 2016. Work will continue through approximately June 24th, 2017.

Part Time: Will range from five-ten hours a week to twenty-five hours a week closer to the date of the event.

This position offers a stipend that is negotiable based on experience and agreed upon duties.

We will be accepting applications through November 18th, 2016.

To apply please send your resume and a cover letter which details your event planning experience to info@veganfest.org.

Primary Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Work with Alliance for Animals and the Environment staff and Board to represent the Alliance and the Fest in an appropriate and professional manner
  • Manage Fest budget and be accountable to Alliance staff and Board for expenditures
  • Work with a team of volunteers
  • Maintain website
  • Communicate with speakers, vendors, exhibitors and the venue
  • Coordinate advertising with committee (posters, social media, etc.)
  • Draft letters and other documents as needed in order to support the Fest
  • Analyze the success of the Fest and adjust strategy and approach accordingly
  • Seek out opportunities to promote the Fest and represent the Alliance to television outlets, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines
  • Conduct research and analysis on Fest goals
  • Perform any other duties as assigned

POSITION REQUIREMENTS        

  • Previous event coordination management experience
  • Adherence to a vegan lifestyle
  • Thorough knowledge of animal rights issues
  • Proven excellent research and analytical skills
  • Experience using web tools, social media, and word processing software
  • Demonstrated ability to think critically and creatively
  • Proven ability to communicate with a variety of people in a professional and personable manner
  • Demonstrated exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Proven ability to take initiative and follow through
  • Demonstrated ability to multitask, work with minimal direct oversight, and meet deadlines
  • Support for the Alliance for Animal’s philosophy and the ability to professionally advocate the Alliance’s positions on issues
  • Commitment to the objectives of the organization
  • Experience in project management software preferred
  • In or willing to relocate to the Madison Metro Area (Wisconsin)

Dairy: It Does a Conscience Bad

 

By: Michael Finn

Dairy products are oftentimes considered harmless, especially when compared to the overt violence present within the meat industry. In reality there is little difference between the two. Both possess an overwhelming amount of suffering and death. Just as meat requires the bloodshed of countless animals, giant dairy plants routinely involve the confinement, neglect, abuse, mutilation, and death of millions of animals – including babies.

Dehorning

Dehorning is a common procedures dairy cows suffer every day in the United States. During this vicious process cows are held securely into place by a device known as a “head bail.” Often done without anesthetic or pain killers, their horns are sawed, seared with red hot irons, and chemically burned with “caustic paste,” or clipped off with a tool known as a “guillotine dehorner.” Cows wail in pain as nerves and blood vessels at the base of their horns are severed. Many endure fractures, profuse blood loss, infection, psychological distress, tissue necrosis, sinusitis, and in some cases, even death.

Calves often have caustic paste and red hot irons applied to the soft skin covering their horn buds – a process known as”disbudding.” Because the blood vessels in their horns are not quite developed before 2 months of age, the industry will often conduct the procedure on them at or before this time. Sometimes this is completely done without the usage of pain control.

Tail Docking

While banned in California back in 2009, tail docking is still practiced throughout many dairy facilities across our country. It’s reported that 1.3 million dairy cows endure this procedure every year. Just as with dehorning, animals suffer this procedure often without any anesthetic or pain control. The process begins when thick, elastrator bands are slipped on the animals’ tails. This is done in an effort to stop blood flow. As circulation to the tissue ceases, the remaining portion of the appendage begins to die. Eventually, it grows necrotic and shrivels. At this point, it’s either manually removed or severed with a tool.

Because cows use their tails as a means of communication, as well as relief from insects, having them removed seriously lowers their quality of living. When bands are placed on their tails in an effort to impede circulation, the cows experience cruel and unnecessary discomfort and pain.

Growth Hormones

To increase milk production, some dairy cows are given a synthetic growth hormone called, “Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH),” also known as, “Bovine Somatotropin (bGH)”. In addition to increased milk flow, this hormone causes rapid growth. While it’s been approved by the FDA in the United States, it’s not permitted in Canada, The European Union, Australia, Japan, Israel, and New Zealand.

This synthetic hormone was manufactured specifically for the dairy industry by Monsanto (an agricultural/biotechnology manufacturer). While many claim rBGH poses no threat for humans to consume, there have been reports that argue it’s connection to the rise of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and precocious puberty. Because of its usage, the dairy industry produces four times the amount of milk that they did in the 1950s. Every time you consume dairy products, you consume rBGH.

Mastitis & pus

As a result of being milked continuously, many cows develop inflammation of their mammary glands – a condition known as “mastitis.” When this occurs, somatic cells, including white blood cells (pus) and skin cells, will enter the cow’s milk supply. This occurs in response to inflammation.

Although the industry tests for somatic cells in the milk, the FDA permits their minute presence in products intended for human consumption. As nasty as it sounds, every time you drink milk, you’re ingesting pus and skin cells.

Slaughter 

In a natural setting, cows can live up to 20 years or more. Dairy cows, however, have a lifespan of 4-5 years, as they’re sent to slaughter. This can happen for many reasons. If a cow develops mastitis, or other illness, they could be killed instead of treated. If they become lame (unable to stand/walk) they may also be sent to the slaughterhouse as well. Because some dairy cows spend their entire lives on concrete floors spattered with urine and feces, they often become lame by the age of 5. This is so common, in fact, that the industry has a name for these animals: “Downers.”

Veal

The market for veal is kept strong through the vicious cycle of artificial insemination, which is prevalent within the dairy industry. Because dairy cows are continuously impregnated (against their will), they produce numerous offspring. When these babies are born, they’re generally taken from their mother the very first day of life. They scream for the loving touch of their parent. Some cows bellow for days, and sometimes weeks, after their babies are taken from them.

If the calf is male, it either goes to a veal or beef farm. If it’s female, the baby will be prepped for a lifetime of servitude within the dairy plant. At some veal farms, the babies are tied/chained down so they cannot move. This is done so their meat will be soft and tender. They’re fed diets low in nutrients and iron to keep their flesh light in color. This often results in them developing anemia and other health related illnesses. They’re often lame, as their muscles were never allowed to develop.

If you’ve ever seen a multitude of tiny huts stretching in rows along the highway, chances are that veal calves are suffering inside.

Rennet

The production of cheese often utilizes an enzyme known as “Rennin” or “Rennet.” This enzyme is found within the GI tracts of cud chewing animals, such as calves. The enzyme acts as a curdling agent, which is why it’s used in the cheese making process. Although the enzyme can be synthetically derived, or even plant based, it often comes from the stomach linings of baby calves.

Environmental hazards

Every day the dairy industry is responsible for producing thousands of tons of urine and feces. Obviously, this is not good for the environment, as it seeps into streams, lakes, ponds, and drinking water. It’s estimated that the dairy industry is responsible for creating 1.65 billion tons of manure each year. Similarly, the amount of methane gas that cows produce surmounts that of every automotive in the world combined. In regards to water usage, it takes 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single gallon of milk.

What can you do?

One of the best ways to combat the horrors of the dairy industry is to simply abstain from consuming milk, cheese, and other dairy products. By choosing compassion over consumption,  you will dramatically decrease the suffering these animals experience. Moreover, you will ensure that our planet prospers for years to come.

Living without dairy has never been easier. There are a multitude of completely dairy free products that you can choose from that are tastier, healthier, better for the environment, and more compassionate. Some of these products include Tofutti, Follow your Heart, Daiya, Earth Balance, Just Mayo, and others.

Remember, every time we sit down to eat we make a choice. When we choose not to consume animal products, it’s a victory for animals all across the world. Don’t let the dairy industry contaminate your conscience…  Consider going vegan today!

For more reading check out the links below! 

Milk is Cruel 
Dairy’s Dark Side
10 Dairy Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know
10 Facts about the Dairy Industry that Will Shock You

 

 

Be Kind to Bugs

by: Michael Finn

From an early age, most of us are taught to avoid bugs at all costs. For this reason, overcoming the fear of them is often very difficult. Socially, we consider insects as “pests” who are expendable in every sense of the word. But while insects can sometimes be “creepy”, or can cause potential problems around the house, they are living creatures who deserve respect and compassion. Bugs don’t want to be squished, stomped on, sprayed, or crushed. So before you go running for a shoe or a can of Raid, consider these tips!

Eliminate sources of food and shelter

One of the most important things you can do to decrease the presence of insects around your house is eliminate clutter. Outside the perimeter of your home, remove anything that may serve as shelter for bugs, such as weeds, leaves, and other debris that promotes moisture buildup.

Vacuum regularly, dust, and clean up crumbs, dirty laundry, and other clutter inside as well. Predatory insects, such as spiders & centipedes, will go where their food is, so when you keep your home tidy, their food source will diminish. Eventually, if you follow the same routine, the bugs will have no reason to hang around your place.

Catch and release

If you find an insect inside your home, don’t freak out and try to kill it. Usually, if you’re calm and gentle, you can safely capture it and take it back outside – where it wants to be.

For spiders and centipedes, you can take a jar or wad of soft tissue paper and quickly catch them. Make sure not to squeeze or injure them, however. If the insect you’re catching has wings, be extra careful not to rip or break them in any way. To ensure the insect won’t return, release it far from your house. Try not to drop it near anything that could harm it, such as ant hills, puddles, or webs.

In the event of problems with ants or fruit flies, immediately remove all sources of food. Watch to see where the bugs are coming in from. Once you’ve determined their route(s), seal the cracks/holes with caulk or silicone.

Although unorthodox, it’s possible to humanely remove colonies of ants from your home by placing a hard piece of candy in a jar. When the ants swarm to the candy, you can seal them inside and take them somewhere that is safe and far from your house. A humane fruit-fly trap is similar. Click here for information on how to make one.

Try natural repellents

You can use plenty of everyday household items to repel insects around your home. A ½ ammonia ½ water mixture can be used to spray the perimeter of your house to keep spiders away. Essential oils, such as lavender and peppermint are also useful for this purpose as well. Cinnamon, ground coffee, citrus peel, and chili powder can be a useful ant repellents. Spray your yard with a garlic/water mixture to deter mosquitoes from massing around windows and doors.

Never buy products that test on animals

If natural repellents simply won’t work, and you’re desperate to rid yourself of an infestation, don’t purchase products that brutally test on animals, such as Raid. If you’ve absolutely tried everything to no avail, consider brands like EcoSMART. While this product will kill/repel insects, it’s easy on the environment and doesn’t involve animal testing in its production. While I’m not condoning the eradication of insects, if such a means must be used, it’s best to cause the least amount of harm!

Don’t be intimidated

I understand how daunting it can be to pick up insects (especially spiders) and carry them outdoors. With experience and patience, however, it can be done. If you find insects intimidating, try to see them in a different perspective. Really, the majority of them cannot harm you in any way. Most of them aren’t even interested in you, so you shouldn’t be afraid or threatened. The more you face your fear of insects, the less prominent it will become inside your mind. Eventually, you’ll wonder how anyone could kill them at all, despite how “ugly” or “gross” they may be.

Additional Reading

Insects May Bug Us, but Try to Be Less Trigger-Happy
Don’t Bug Out
Natural Insect Pest Control

 

 

Sea Lion Splash at the Wisconsin State Fair – Please Sign Our Petition

Link to the Petition

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The Wisconsin State Fair has scheduled Sea Lion Splash, a traveling sea lion circus, to perform several shows every day at the fair in August! To date, there has been no confirmation from the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) department that Sea Lion Splash has an exhibitor’s license. Licensees are required to meet the minimal standards of the Animal Welfare Act.

The founder, Marco Peters, crams together a few sea lions in one shallow tank, who are forced to live in an unnatural environment while on the road in the name of “family” fun. The tank is not deep enough to stimulate natural swimming behaviors and provide a thriving behavioral enrichment environment.

Californian Sea Lions are classified as ’hazardous’, suggesting that they have the ability to seriously injure a person. (Taronga Zoo, 2005). Sea lions are smart and mobile on land. A sea lion can easily move across the stage and bite somebody. A family photo with the sea lions is not a safe environment for families.

Studies have shown that sea lions are poor thermoregulators and cannot regulate their body temperature on extremely warm days. To cool off they must enter the sea and immerse themselves several times a day (Whitlow et al, 1971).  Sea lions remain closer to the shoreline and cool off in the ocean. They are generally found in sheltered, quiet bays, as well as on rocky isolated islands and just off sea coasts. (Walker et al, 1975). Sea lions tend not to go further than 16km out to sea (King 1983). However, the California coast is approximately 1,678 miles away from Wisconsin.

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The founder, Marco Peters, boasts about his experience working with Ringling Brothers.  This is nothing to boast about. Ringling Bros has been cited for numerous violations against the Animal Welfare Act, including, improper handling of dangerous animals and for failing to provide animals with veterinary care.

Sea Lion Splash is a cruel way to provide family summer fun. Taking wildlife out of their natural environment to perform tricks and for photos does not teach the public about how a sea lion lives naturally. Lessons about marine life and conservation can be taught at home or in a class room. It is not necessary to ship sea lions like cargo in a truck. Please cancel this cruel show.

Join the Alliance for Animals and the Environment in calling on the Wisconsin State Fair Board to cancel this cruel performance. Please sign this petition and share it with others.

For further information regarding the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board, please contact Marian Santiago-Lloyd at marian.santiago-lloyd@wistatefair.com.

Korean Kimchi BBQ Burgers

Submitted by Marina Drake

Original recipe from Mastering the Art of Vegan Cookingby Annie and Dan Shannon

These spectacular vegan burgers combine the signature sweet Korean BBQ sauce with a “beefy” veggie burger and spicy kimchi (a sort of hot Korean sauerkraut usually
made with napa cabbage, radishes, and green onions) to create a perfect dinner. Plus, you’ll hopefully have some leftover kimchi as a side for lunch the next day.

BURGER INGREDIENTS:
2 cups your favorite ground beef substitute
1 green onion, diced
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
dash of vegan liquid smoke flavor
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 clove garlic, minced

BBQ SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
dash of vegan liquid smoke flavor
1 tablespoon Sriracha or Thai chili sauce
1/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon ginger paste
1 clove garlic, minced

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
1 cup vegan kimchi (read labels to make sure yours is vegan; some contain fish sauce)

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DIRECTIONS:

Make the burger: In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together the vegan ground beef, green onion, molasses, ginger paste, soy sauce, vegan liquid smoke, onion powder, and garlic until blended. (NOTE: If your vegan ground beef is made from a dry mix, we’re assuming that it has been fully hydrated/prepared before beginning this recipe.) The molasses is really sticky, so this is kind of messy and weird, but it’s totally worth it —promise.

Form the mixture into 4 patties about the size of your hand. Place them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the BBQ sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together all the BBQ sauce ingredients. Set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet or frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the burgers until lightly crispy around the edges, then reduce the heat to low and brush the burgers with BBQ sauce.

Flip and coat the burgers a few times to get a nice saucy patty, but watch out for the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining burgers, adding the remaining oil after the first batch. Toast the burger buns while the burger patties are cooking. Serve each burger in a toasted bun with lots of kimchi on top.