Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What This Vegan Eats

I haven't been posting much in December, since work and new friends have kept me occupied. It feels as if I just shared photos of the various concoctions I've thrown together recently. With almost two weeks' vacation looming, I anticipate having more time to spend updating this thing. In the interim:

Grape tomatoes, scallions and roasted red pepper hummus on a small whole wheat pita. Steamed asparagus with Dijonaise sprinkled with nutritional yeast.

Sweet and spicy Thai coconut curry soup with red lentils, coconut milk, onions, turnip, carrots, green pepper, jasmine rice, green curry paste, organic brown sugar and keffir lime leaves.

Organic tofu marinated in tamari, dredged through whole wheat flour/nutritional yeast/black pepper and pan-fried. Dill pickle, hot banana peppers, mustard and tahini on whole wheat. Vanilla almond milk.

Spicy green Thai coconut curry with onions, carrots, green pepper, potato, tofu and water chestnuts. Sesame-ginger udon noodles with scallions.

Brown rice and lentil casserole with onions and soya sauce.

Plain (salt/sugar-free) organic peanut butter and organic strawberry jam on kamut bread. Hot cuppa tea.

Tofu marinated in tamari, coated in multigrain flour/nutritional yeast/garam masala, coriander and pepper and pan-fried. Tangy dipping sauce. Stir-fried green and orange bell peppers, zucchini, sprouts, crushed garlic, ginger, tamari and sesame oil.

Asian stirfry with a bit of mild leftover Thai curry paste and tamari. Onions, celery, carrots, green pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and mung bean sprouts.

Homemade seitan, ketchup, long macaroni noodles with seitan gravy & extra nooch, chopped spinach cooked with a bit of coconut milk & curry paste.

A wrap before the wrapping: Lettuce, tomato, red onion, hot banana peppers, dill pickle, roasted red pepper hummus, Vegenaise and ground flax.

Soup: Pinto beans, quinoa, tomatoes, collards, green beans and carrots. Seasoned with chipotle, smoked paprika, garlic and dried orange peel.

Whole wheat pita w/roasted garlic hummus, tofu/carrots/celery cooked with salsa & crushed garlic. Steamed frozen asparagus (which isn't half as nice as steamed fresh asparagus).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

HSUS: Carving Out a Niche for Family Farmers One Campaign at a Time

HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle has popped up in dozens of mainstream articles over the years to defend HSUS to American farmers. Pieces in which he insists that HSUS is not a pro-vegan organization have shown up anywhere and everywhere to assuage the fears of those who raise animals for human consumption. Now it seems that even those who raise animals for slaughter themselves are stepping up to defend it for the work it has accomplished to make the idea of consuming animal products even more acceptable (dare I say 'palatable'?) to the general public.

HSUS' director of rural development and outreach, Joe Maxwell, is actually a Missouri hog farmer. He recently spoke on HSUS' behalf at a Nebraska Farmers Union state convention to explain how HSUS helps both facilitate and ameliorate sales for American farmers who raise animals for slaughter. Nebraska Farmers Union president John Hansen even emphasized its'

"commitment to help develop and expand marketing opportunities to help reward farmers and ranchers for producing livestock in a mutually agreeable fashion."
Perhaps I'm oversimplifying things, but to me, this sounds an awful lot like taking the millions in donations HSUS receives each year and investing them into animal agribusiness to help promote and perpetuate the continued exploitation of animals.

Joe Maxwell, as it turns out, could be a poster child for how lucrative HSUS' welfarist or regulationist work has been to American farmers. According to the article, Maxwell
is not only a member of HSUS, but also raises hogs and is part of a cooperative group of farmers who sell certified pork into whole foods and other markets for a premium using a value-based method of humane animal production.
The "humane" label, it seems, can indeed be more profitable to farmers. Lump HSUS' rewards to them in with this aforementioned premium and it sounds as if collaboration with HSUS can only be a win-win situation for them. Maxwell reinforces this clearly, stating: "They have helped create a market that has allowed my family to continue to raise pigs when most people can't find a way to do that."

HSUS' mandate seems to be to give a kinder gentler appearance to the raising of nonhuman animals for slaughter. According to Maxwell, even its support base consists of those who choose to continue to consume animals. One suspects that its supporters and staff would also like to think of their continuing to do so as somehow possibly involving a kinder gentler process, as Maxwell defends HSUS as striving to bring this to its supporters:
"They want to find more ways to assist family farmers," Maxwell said. "Why do they want to do that? Because they believe that it is more likely family farmers are exactly who HSUS' 11 million people are likely to buy products from."

He said 95 percent of the members of the HSUS are meat eaters and HSUS is not a "vegan organization."
Although Pacelle and some of his HSUS cronies like Paul Shapiro have already made it repeatedly clear in mainstream media that HSUS is not a pro-vegan organization, it's interesting to hear its director of rural development and outreach overtly describe both HSUS' financial supporters and staff as being the people with perhaps the greatest interest in the success of HSUS' campaigns so that they too, in turn, may continue to consume nonhuman animals and their products with less guilt:
"They want to find more ways to assist family farmers," Maxwell said. "Why do they want to do that? Because they believe that it is more likely family farmers are exactly who HSUS' 11 million people are likely to buy products from."

He said 95 percent of the members of the HSUS are meat eaters and HSUS is not a "vegan organization."


HSUS would rather reach out to organizations, such as the Nebraska Farmers Union, that are willing not only to work toward common goals of humane animal welfare, but also to create marketing opportunities for those producers to sell their animal products to a growing market of people who are asking for that type of accountability when it comes to the humane treatment of farm animals.
So perhaps, then, it isn't an oversimplification to assess HSUS' goings on with the millions in donations it receives as its -- quite literally -- investing in the continued practice of treating nonhuman animals as things existing for human pleasure. It's also become even more undeniable that their goings on are tantamount to what Gary L. Francione has described as the selling of indulgences. But as Francione has written,
buying a few shares of cage-free egg compassion from some organization is not going to keep animals out of the hell that most certainly exists for them and in which they suffer and die every day.
Perhaps even more so than ever before, we need to focus on formulating and delivering a clear unequivocal message -- the simple message that nonhuman animals are not ours to use, that their exploitation is immoral, and that their consumption is in no way necessary. It may not be profitable to deliver this message, but in terms of what it is that we each owe nonhuman animals, it is surely the right thing to do. To learn more, please visit Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach.