Posts tagged veganism

Cheese and ammonia

While the connection between the potent greenhouse gas methane and meat production is an easy one (i.e. ever had a dog with … um, ‘flatus’?), the effects of cheese production on the environment isn’t always as well announced and, in this case, is under-reported.  In a recent EPA press release, a cheese manufacturer in Oregon was hand-slapped for releasing dangerous ammonia and not notifying authorities.   See below:

From: U.S. EPA <>
Date: 05/23/2012
Subject: News Release: Oregon cheese processing company pays EPA penalty for failing to report ammonia release

Oregon cheese processing company pays EPA penalty for failing to report ammonia release

(Seattle— May 23, 2012) Columbia River Processing, Inc. failed to report an anhydrous ammonia release at its Boardman, Oregon cheese processing facility in June 2008. The company agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that includes a $42,435 penalty.

On June 30, 2008, an electrical storm caused power surges that disrupted the computers and compressors that control the ammonia system at the facility. The computer failure caused a pressure relief valve to open, releasing nearly 2,500 pounds of ammonia into the environment, according to the EPA settlement. Columbia River Processing failed to immediately notify local and state agencies about the release. No injuries were reported at the time of the incident.

According to Wally Moon, EPA Preparedness and Prevention Unit Manager in Seattle, these cases are about protecting workers, emergency responders and the community.

“When unintended chemical releases occur, every minute counts,” said EPA’s Moon. “Emergency responders need to be notified promptly to react effectively.”

Ammonia is a pungent, toxic gas that attacks skin, eyes, throat, and lungs and can cause serious injury or death.

The ammonia release and the failure to notify appropriate agencies are violations of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

For information on EPA’s Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, visit

For more about toxic effects of Anhydrous Ammonia (NIOSH GUIDE):

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The Chronicles of Veg Fest (Seattle, 2012)

VegFest Seattle rocked!  I’m mean, it just really did.  My husband Eric and I attended four years ago, and there wasn’t that much I could eat because I don’t eat dairy or eggs.  This time, I left full to the brim with vegan samples.

Like I said, it rocked!

Our morning started with a “run in” with security (actually I just took his picture.)

Then we met some lively pickle people who raised these ‘pickle-saurus’.  Is this why we have security at Veg Fest?

There was plenty of veggie ‘meats’ to go around.  And a tried a new vegan ‘meat’ called EcoVegan that wasn’t just really good, it was fabulous!

Lots of good books and authors to meet.

But the best part was definitely some absolutely wonderful vegan cheese.   Let’s face it.  Up until about 5 years ago, vegan cheese wasn’t that great.  Now it’s not only good, it’s a delicacy! This one, from HeidiHo Organics was the best at Veg Fest.

We can’t forget how much we appreciate our animal friends and the wonderful people who care for homeless or marginalized animals.  Here are some of their pictures.

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Pet Lovers for Obama is pandering?

Finally a political campaign that takes pet lovers seriously.

For as along as I can remember, my love for animals and my interest in helping all types animals avoid suffering is somehow seen as weak.  Somehow, the fact that I love cats, dogs, rabbits, cows, pigs and sheep and care deeply about wild animals and habitat conservation isn’t taken as seriously as my other beliefs in participatory government, the right to free speech, women’s access to health care and promotion of human rights and respect for all people regardless of religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, mental health, or political ideology.

The image of an ‘animal lover’ as irrational or unrealistic seems to give other people the right to disregard our thoughts, opinions and judgements as ill-considered or label our decisions as “just because she likes animals so much.”

Yet the truth is that a spectrum of animals lovers, from dog owners to vegans, are scattered throughout our society and, until recently haven’t been noticed by mainstream society as a force to be reckoned with. But why shouldn’t they?  The ideology to protect animals is a closely help belief my many Americans, and is based on our ability to empathize with other beings just like our laws to protect human society.

That’s why I was so “surprised” to see political quibbling resulting from the Obama campaign’s ‘Pet Lovers for Obama‘ that called this sub-campaign simply ‘pandering’ to voters (ref: TheBlaze, The Business Insider).  You can pretty much call any political campaign ‘pandering’ based on the abysmal track record that politicians, in general, have on following through with campaign promises (sometimes through no fault of their own).  So why is “Pet Lovers for Obama” called pandering and “Women for Obama” not?

I think that answer is quite simply that the Obama Campaign thought of it first.  They publicly admitted to Americans that the love you have for animals close to your heart is important, valid and real, and they have confidence in you as a voter to make good decisions.

Whatever your vote in local, statewide or national elections this coming November, please remember that your voice as an animal lover, as a pet owner, and/or as a vegan/vegetarian matters.  Remember to vote.

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Nope, ‘dontfearthevegan’ (.com)

Pigs at Pigs Peace

My husband and I were enjoying lunch at our all time favorite vegan restaurant, Wayward Vegan Cafe when we enjoyed a pleasant surprise.  A young Girl Scout was selling vegan cakes to raise money for her troop and our local Pigs Peace Sanctuary.

Her courage led us to the website  It’s a site on great vegan cooking and vegan lifestyles, including a great entry on being a vegan girl scout.  Check it out here.

Also, you have to try this vegan cake!  Why bother with animal products when vegan baking tastes this good!

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Sad, but true. And it doesn’t have to be this way.

Factory farming is likely one of the greatest atrocities of our modern-day.   Cows, pigs, sheep, lambs, and chickens suffer horribly and needlessly in the name of profit and even in the name of “progress”.  Meanwhile, while our government subsidizes animal-based agriculture at the expense of tax payers, the increase in human consumption of meat and dairy has led to extraordinary health problems due to obesity, cholesterol, and excess protein intake resulting from eating those animal products.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Factory farming is not necessary.   See the video below shown during the recent Grammy Awards.

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Why Occupy Wall Street includes the fight for animal welfare

When the Occupy Wall Street protests began to thrive in the US and around the world, frequent commentary on lack of focus or specific demands seem to litter the media.  But the more I watched and waited,  I began to realize this movement has never been out of focus, it’s just too big for our current lens.

Some realization came while watching a compelling commentary by a literature graduate student in NY regarding his efforts to establish a library at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations (see YouTube).  He knew that his efforts to simply provide knowledge was a protest in itself.

This is equally true with the issue of animal welfare.  Once people are aware of animal cruelty and torture — particularly in the case of farm animals —  no matter how gruesome the reality may be, the knowledge of the issue allows us the option to forgo participation in a cruel system, and often easily disarm the problem by economic participation in the alternatives.

But this isn’t breaking news….

As was so eloquently reported by One Green Planet and effectively detailed in this article by the Animal Legal Defense Fund,  the ‘Occupy’ movement has included the welfare of animals as a justifiable demand on the reform of, not just corporate America, but America in general.

From vegan-ism to banning pet stores sales, our struggle to stop the cruel and horrific treatment of farm, wild and companion animals has often glided  along side other issues of  inflation, pesticide use, heart disease and environmental degradation — or so we may have thought.

But, as it turns out, we are not alone — whether meat eater, farmer, feral cat rescuer, hunter or conservation biologist, none of us wants the cruel treatment of animals, just like none of us wants to be controlled by corporations exhibiting  greed, inequality and illegal or abusive action.

So I find it very natural that Occupy protests include the demand for corporations to end the cruel, industrialized and institutionalized  treatment of animals.  This demand is no longer too big to be considered for mass reform. In fact at this point, improving welfare for animals in all situations, is practically a simple first step.

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Milk cows get some assistance from a Seattle law firm

Here is an interesting and tragic article on a group trying to end systematic killing of dairy cows.  Like all factory farming, dairy-farming, which depends on constant breeding of cows, ends up being a cruel practice when new-born calves are taken from their mothers shortly after birth and mothers are used for milk than then slaughtered.   In this case, a law group in Seattle is assisting the Compassion Over Killing group when one of their investigations into animal welfare revealed what appears to be milk price-fixing by additional slaughtering of cows.  See article here.

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