The new carnivores: Humans who eat only meat

raw steak on a plate
CC BY 2.0 Marius Boatca

Consuming between 2 and 4 pounds of steak daily, adherents of this new and extreme diet challenge everything that plant-based eaters believe in.

The word ‘carnivore,’ as we were taught in school, usually refers to a small group of animals, both present-day and prehistoric, that subsisted entirely on a diet of flesh. Think of carnivores, and animals like Tyrannosaurus rex, African lions, and sharks will come to mind; but now another animal has voluntarily added itself to the list, to the horror and doubt of many of its fellow species.

Enter the carnivorous human, a baffling phenomenon that is still small, yet gaining attention, both supportive and not. Proponents of carnivory claim that eating only meat, offal, and eggs — with absolutely no fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, or dairy — offers tremendous mental and physical benefits.

Shawn Baker, an orthopaedic surgeon from Orange County, California, only eats steak, a staggering 4 pounds of it each day. He switched from a diet that included salads, spinach, dairy and nuts to pure carnivore 18 months ago, and told the Guardian that his overall wellbeing has improved drastically.

“My joint pain and tendinitis went away, my sleep became excellent, my skin improved. I no longer had any bloating, cramping or other digestive problems, my libido went back to what it was in my 20s and my blood pressure normalised.”

Others claim the all-meat diet boosts mental focus, clarity, and productivity; that it has enabled them to achieve feats of physical prowess previously unattainable; and that it has simplified their lives. Baker doesn’t have to plan meals; he only asks himself how many steaks he wants. Michael Goldstein, a “bitcoin and meat maximalist” from Texas, says,

“Grocery shopping takes all of ten minutes, most of which is standing in the checkout line. I spend little time thinking about food. I only need to eat once or twice a day (no snacking or cravings). Basically, it’s the greatest productivity hack.”

Productivity aside, it is difficult to reconcile such a diet with its impact on the planet. The scientific evidence is mounting against industrial meat production and the numerous ways in which it degrades the planet, from destruction of natural habitats and loss of biodiversity, to requiring massive amounts of water for very low returns and widespread contamination of water sources, to dangerous methane emissions from the vast quantities of poop.

Nor do the carnivorous adherents prioritize the purchase of higher-quality meat (or at least meat from animals raised in conditions considered more natural or ethical), despite the fact that it comprises their entire diet. The Guardian article cites a software engineer from New York City who “will sometimes eat four to six quarter-pounder burger patties from McDonald’s for lunch.” Goldstein references the grocery store, where most meat sold is produced in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and says he spends $400 per month on steak. Based on my limited knowledge of grass-fed steak prices, $400 would not go far at his consumption rate of 2-2.5 pounds per day — perhaps a week at best.

Excessive red meat consumption has been linked to heart disease, inflammation in the gut, diabetes, and even cancer. But even if fears of pending illness are not sufficient to deter the new carnivores, the environmental argument should. It begs the question, what responsibility do we have to ourselves, to fellow humans, and to the planet to make dietary choices that sustain, or, better yet, regenerate our world?

Everything we do on a daily basis has an effect, and our choices add up. Animal agriculture is estimated to be on par with transportation when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions (some say it’s more), and we have a responsibility as conscientious citizens to do our best to reduce our individual footprints. Eating a carnivorous diet has no place in a world that strives to distribute food more evenly, alleviate hunger, and slow climate change.

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White Castle goes highbrow? Now famous slider can come with fake beef

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The new wave of plant-based “meat” is going mainstream — and straight into one of America’s most iconic fast-food burgers, the White Castle slider.

White Castle is announcing it is introducing a vegetarian fake-meat version of its famous mini-burgers. The burger uses a patty made by a California-based start-up, Impossible Foods, which is one of several scientifically engineered products made to make plant-based ingredients taste uncannily like juicy ground beef.

Called the Impossible Slider, it will be initially sold at 140 White Castle eateries in the New York, New Jersey and greater Chicago areas with the potential for a nationwide rollout.

The White Castle Impossible Slider — made with smoked cheddar cheese, pickles, onions and a bun — features a 2-ounce patty and costs $1.99. That compares to the chain’s traditional 0.9-ounce mini-cheeseburger at about 94 cents, depending on the store location.

The new choice might come as a surprise to White Castle devotees, especially since the fake-beef burgers have largely been confined to more highbrow burger chains and restaurants until now. But White Castle executives figured it was time to give fake beef a try.

“Plant-based proteins are growing. We felt it was a good opportunity to test it with our customers,” CEO Lisa Ingram said. “We think it will appeal to a broad range of customers — those that are meat eaters who want to try something different and non-meat eaters who want this.”

She also said the new sliders might bring in new customers, too.

This isn’t White Castle’s first foray into meatless. It has been selling a Veggie Slider since 2015.

The new Slider is bigger, because “the new taste comes through more fully” when that size patty is on the regular 2-inch-squared bun, according to the company.

Until now, Impossible Foods’ faux meat was served in more upscale chains, such as Fatburger, Umami and actor Mark Wahlberg’s Wahlburger restaurant.

Competitor Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burgers joined the TGI Friday’s menu in January and can be found on shelves of large stores such as Kroger and Target.

Animal-protein titan Tyson Foods, which acquired a 5% ownership stake in Bill Gates-backed Beyond Meat in 2016, increased its investment in December to an undisclosed amount. Last fall, Nestle announced plans to acquire Sweet Earth, a plant-based foods manufacturer.

The Impossible Slider represents what few in the traditional beef industry thought possible — that cowless meat would be a hit in a country known for its meat-and-potatoes diet and love of burgers.

Plant-based meat alternatives are growing at rate of about 11% a year, according to the research firm Acosta. The market isn’t just vegetarians: Some 71% of people who buy plant-based meat also eat the real thing.

The meat imitators present enough of a threat that in February, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, asking that the terms “meat” and “beef” be applied only to food made directly from animals. Impossible Foods’ burger is made of water, wheat protein, potato protein, coconut oil and heme, an iron-heavy molecule that gives it its meaty taste.

“Interest in meat alternatives seems to be driven by consumers at large, not just those looking for vegetarian lifestyles, but looking for diversification of tastes and health benefits,” said Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst at the global market research firm Mintel.

More: Where’s the beef? Not in these new plant-based burgers

More: Burgers now outselling classic jambon-beurre baguette sandwiches in France

More: Lego bricks will soon be plant-based, but don’t eat them

“Our business is a growth business. There’ll be increased demands for products like the Impossible Burger,” Impossible Foods Chief Operating Officer David Lee said. “People are increasingly asking about what impact food has on the environment and our health.”

His company recently expanded its manufacturing facility in Oakland and can produce 1 million pounds of its meat alternatives a month. That’s what will enable Impossible Foods to produce all the patties White Castle needs, though the privately-held Columbus, Ohio-based 376-unit chain declined to say how many it needs to sell to say the new product is a success.

50 Shades of Veganism Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

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by Captain Paul Watson

I have seen the steady evolution of veganism in my lifetime. In the Seventies we had vegetarians but practically no one had ever heard of a vegan.

As a vegetarian in 1979, I was hard pressed to find a decent meal and at dinners I would find myself ordering an omelette for lunch or dinner which actually was considered somewhat unusual. Finding a vegetarian meal was possible but almost always restricted. Finding a vegetarian restaurant was more of a challenge but there was always Indian and Japanese vegetable sushi.

But I have seen the movement grow and although it began slowly, in recent years it has accelerated rapidly to the point where traditional meat venues like MacDonald’s and others have seen the writing on the wall and now are offering vegan burgers and the dairy industry is totally freaking out over coconut, soy, almond, hemp, oat and pea milk.

Vegan scarcity has evolved into a cornucopia of vegan alternatives. The movement has exploded and due to many considerations like animal rights, health, the environment etc, the movement is becoming stronger with each passing day.

My prediction is that by 2030, western society will be predominantly vegetarian and veganism will be the norm and not the exception.

Being a vegan sometimes appears to be a complicated affair. People seem to be vegans for different reasons and there does seem to be a bit of bickering amongst vegans on just how vegan one should be.

The only negative aspect of veganism is intolerance. And it’s not just intolerance by vegans towards meat eaters and vegetarians but intolerance of other vegans.

Sea Shepherd ships have been vegan since 2000 and we have had thousands of crew participate in campaigns so we have had plenty of opportunity to see the various factions of veganism in relationship to each other.

People do not have to be vegan to be crewmembers but they must be vegan on the ship as crewmembers. Because of this over the years we have introduced hundreds of meat eaters to veganism and as a result many have made the decision to adopt veganism as a life style.

Given the opportunity to eat real vegan meals by excellent vegan cooks it is amazing how many people have discovered veganism as a real option – healthy, delicious and easy to do.

But we have also discovered a major obstacle to people embracing veganism and that obstacle is vegans with hostile, holier than thou, angry and judgemental proselytizing attitudes.

I tend to look at this from the point of view of both the animals and eco-systems which really means I do not give a damn why anyone is vegan. The motivations to me are irrelevant. Anyone who is vegan is good for animals and for the environment. Vegetarians are also good for animals and the environment and even people who refrain from eating meat once or twice a week or who cut down on their meat consumption are good for animals and the environment.

Abstaining 100% is wonderful. Abstaining 50% is good. Abstaining 25% is helpful.

Most vegans were once vegetarian and/or meat eaters. People can change but they change best by seeing examples from others. Those who lead by example are helping to recruit more people to a vegan life style than those who try to recruit though shaming, anger and ridicule.

Every vegan meal consumed is a bonus for animals and for the environment.

It’s easy to tell when someone is a vegan because they will damn well tell you but it is somewhat more difficult to determine what kind of vegan a person might be.

Just for fun, I thought I would prepare my 50 Shades of Veganism to illustrate the wide diversity within this thing we call veganism.

VEGANISM

“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” Definition of veganism by the Vegan Society in 1979.

1. True vegan – Absolutely no animal products used in any manner without the need for any justification, explanation, defensiveness or offensiveness.
2. Level 5 Vegan. … A Level 5 Vegan was defined as someone who never eats anything that casts a shadow. While this definition is nonsensical the Level 5 term as it’s used today is a mostly tongue-in-cheek reference to someone who refuses to make any compromises at all in their vegan lifestyle.
3. Paleo-vegan – The Paleo diet without the meat – unprocessed foods.
4. Compassionate vegan – does not consume animal products out of a deep love for animals.
5. Compassionate Ethical vegan – does not consume animal products out of a deep love for animals and a deep concern for the lives and welfare of animals.
6. Compassionate Ethical Health vegan – does not consume animal products out of a deep love for animals and a deep concern for the lives and welfare of animals and sees veganism as a healthy life style.
7. Compassionate Ethical, Health, Environmentalist vegan – does not consume animal products out of a deep love for animals and a deep concern for the lives and welfare of animals, sees veganism as a healthy life styleand is concerned about the impact of the meat and fishing industry on the environment and climate change.
8. Activist vegan – a vegan who is an actual activist for animals. An on-the-ground-gets-things-done-in the-face-of-the-enemy-vegan.
9. Enemy Identification Confused vegan. A vegan who is unable to actually identify the real enemy i.e. the animal abusers, meat producers, hunters, and abusers and instead sends time and energy attacking vegetarians and other vegans.
10. Ethical Environmentalist vegan – does not consume animal products out of concern for the lives and welfare of animals and because they are concerned about climate change and the environment.
11. Ethical Environmentalist Health vegan – does not consume animal products out of concern for the lives and welfare of animals and because they are concerned about climate change and the environment and they also want to have a healthy lifestyle.
12. Raw vegan – A vegan who only consumes raw fruits, nuts and vegetables.
13. Raw till 4 vegan – Raw until 4 and cooked vegan after.
14. Raw Ethical vegan – A raw vegan who adopts a raw vegan diet out of concern for animals,
15. Fruitarian – Vegans who eat only fruits and nuts.
16. Raw Environmental vegan – a raw vegan who adopts a raw vegan diet out of concern for ecology and climate change.
17. Raw health vegan – a raw vegan who adopts a raw vegan diet for health reasons.
18. Organic vegans – only organic vegan foods
19. Organic Raw vegans – only raw organic fruits and vegetables.
20. Home Grown Vegans – Vegans who only eat food locally grown and preferably organic.
21. Competitive Purist Vegan – An ethical vegan who is constantly comparing themselves to other vegans and pointing out how they are better vegans than other vegans.
22. Veggie Jesuit – An ethical competitive purist vegan whose mission is to convert all of humanity to veganism through intimidation, shaming and bullying.
23. Proselytizing vegan – They just really have to preach – all the damn time.
24. Angry vegan – Constantly angry with anyone who is not a vegan.
25. Health Vegan – A vegan because it is healthier but could not give a damn about the environment or animal rights or welfare.
26. Annoying vegan – a person whose advocacy is just damn annoying.
27. Celebrity vegan – Promotes veganism in an attempt to be cool.
28. Compassionate celebrity vegan – Promotes veganism because they are actually cool.
29. Athletic vegan – A vegan who sees veganism as providing their body with more endurance, stamina and overall health.
30. Ethical Athletic vegan – An athlete who embraces veganism and promotes it because of concern for the lives and welfare of animals.
31. Environmental vegan – A vegan who is vegan because they are concerned about the impact of the meat industry and fishing on the environment and climate change.
32. Trendy vegan – A vegan who is a vegan because it’s like – well, trendy to be vegan.
33. Straight Edge vegan – A vegan who does not smoke or drinks alcohol but loves coffee.
34. Plant based vegans – These are vegans who do not like to be called vegans primarily because they are environment or health motivated vegans. Like it or not they are still vegans.
35. HCLF vegans – High Carb low fat vegans.
36. Honey eating vegan – A vegan who for different reasons justifies the consumption of honey. One reason put forward is that there is a need to support bee colonies for pollination.
37. Non-Face Eating vegans – People who view themselves as vegans but will eat animals without faces like oysters, clams and scallops for example and will insist it is still a vegan lifestyle.
38. Leather wearing vegans – People who refrain from eating animals but continue to wear leather clothing like belts and shoes.
39. Flexitarian – A person who is a vegan sometimes but not always depending upon circumstances.
40. A Freegan vegan – A person who views themselves as vegan but eats anything as long as it is free.
41. Fall off the Wagon vegan – a vegan who decides to no longer be a vegan but intends to become vegan again. ]
42. Revengeful ex-vegan – a vegan who now eats meat and passionately embraces carnism.
43. Goth vegans – Goths who practise veganism. It’s kind of their thing.
44. Nazi vegans – Yes there are indeed vegan Nazi cults because they claim Hitler was a vegan.
45. Hindu vegans – Not all Hindu’s are vegan but there is a movement to embrace veganism in Hinduism.
46. Krishna vegans – Hari Krishna, hare veganism.
47. Infiltrating vegan – someone who nefariously pretends to be a vegan for the purpose of infiltrating vegan activist groups.
48. Pervy vegans – Males who pretend to be vegan in order to pick up vegan females.
49. Norvegans – not real vegans just Nor vegans.
50. VEGANS – aliens from the star system Vega.

Still No Life of Pie

 

Film Review and commentary by Jim Robertson

Life-of-Pi-Richard-Parker

Spoiler Alert:

If you haven’t seen the movie, Life of Pi, and you plan to, don’t read this post yet. In discussing what I feel is the story’s theme I will end up revealing some of its major plot points, and I don’t want to spoil the experience just to make a point about ethical veganism…

Still here? Ok, assuming you’ve seen the film (or read the book on which it’s based), you’ll recall that there are essentially three parts to the story, ending with what many critics felt was a disappointing and even unnecessary “alternate” account of events to explain how Pi survived such a long ordeal at sea. Personally, I didn’t find the ending a disappointment, perhaps because I may have been one of the few people who got the message the movie was trying to make. After reading dozens of reviews fawning over the special effects (the computer generated middle act was indeed amazing) and decrying the ending, I found only one review that saw it the way I did: the “alternate” story (told by Pi to a pair of Japanese Ministry of Transport officials) was really what happened.

Now, you might be thinking, why does it matter; why ruin a fun thing (especially when it looked so astounding through 3-D glasses, so I hear)? To answer that, I’m going to try to make a long story short and hit its key points (many of which were completely missed by most mainstream film critics, and movie-goers).

The film starts off with an introductory act in which we learn about the early life of the main character, Pi, through a series of flashbacks as told to a visiting writer who wants to write his biography. We are told that Pi spent his childhood trying many of the world’s religions on for size, hoping to get to know God (his atheist father tells him, “You only need to convert to three more religions, Pi, and you’ll spend your life on holiday.”) At one point he jokes that as a Catholic Hindu, “We get to feel guilty before hundreds of gods, instead of just one.”

Of note is the fact that Pi is an ethical vegetarian. He’s also fascinated by a tiger (named Richard Parker, after its captor) stuck in a zoo owned by his father. When Pi is caught trying to befriend the captive tiger, his father decides to teach him a lesson by making him watch Richard Parker kill a goat, thus instilling a morbid fear of tigers in the curious boy.

The movie’s second act begins after it’s revealed that the zoo must close and the father decides to move the animals, and his family, by ocean-going freighter across the Pacific from India to Canada. En-route, the ship is swallowed up in a massive typhoon and Pi—according to the version of the story he is telling the writer, as we witness it—is the only human to make it onto a life raft. Somehow some of the zoo animals  must have escaped their pens in the ship’s hold, and he finds himself adrift with only an injured zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and Richard Parker—the 500 pound Bengal tiger—for company.

It’s during this portion of the movie that viewers are drawn in by its startling special effects; and it’s also when the main character learns that sometimes the world is no life of pie (my interpretation of the title, as a play on the expression “easy as Pie”).

Driven  by hunger, the hyena soon feeds on the zebra and, as it turns on the orangutan, Richard Parker rushes out from under the lifeboat’s only cover (where he has stayed out of sight until now) and quickly dispatches the hyena. This chain of events is essential to the plot since, skipping ahead to the third act, it mirrors Pi’s “alternate” story: substitute the zebra for a deckhand, the orangutan for his mother, the hyena for the cook and Richard Parker for Pi’s alter-ego.

The symbolism here is that after witnessing the cook kill his mother, Pi summons his tiger-inner-self to kill the cook. And eat him. That’s right, to survive his 227 days at sea, Pi had to turn to cannibalism. Incredibly, though it’s critical to the story’s theme, nearly none of the film reviews I read even mentioned cannibalism, since most critics didn’t realize that the second “alternative” version of Pi’s plight was what must have actually happened. I thought it was pretty obvious when an adult Pi asked the writer, “So which story do you prefer?” to which the writer answered: “The one with the tiger. That’s the better story.”And so it goes with God” was Pi’s reply, meaning that, people believe what they want to believe. In order to cope with the sometimes harsh realities of life and death, in this case, resorting to cannibalism for sustenance—and still retain one’s sanity—people often cling to a fantasy world and make up stories which are easier to stomach.

Life of Pi is more than just a happy little special-effects film about a vegetarian boy and a computer-generated, 3-D tiger surviving on computer-generated, 3-D tuna and flying fish. It’s about the kind of anguish any sane person would go through when forced to eat the flesh of another human being. Perhaps the reason I could more easily relate to the story’s deeper meaning (that so many carnivorous critics failed to see) is because, having eaten only plant-based food for the past decade and a half, I feel that same sick revulsion every time I pass the meat isle in the neighborhood grocery store and imagine people actually consuming the flesh so brazenly displayed there.

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Animal Rights: Remedy to Trumpism

By David Cantor

The Trump presidency is proving as destructive, troubling, and demoralizing as anticipated by anyone respectful of the Constitution, of human beings and other animals, and of the living world.  Increasing animal abuse is the overarching trend: intensifying injustice and assaults on human beings, reversing constraints on our species’ destruction of the living world (the Biocaust), and reinvigorating the animal-abuse and disease-spreading industries driving climate breakdown, toxic pollution, and other sources of misery.

So the needed response is not just protesting and resisting Trump, voting for candidates who oppose Trumpism, and urging people to act “humanely” at the personal level.  Our opposition must advance the total paradigm shift needed to reduce animal abuse by undermining the full range of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice.  One easy thing to do: Read and share with your officials and potential candidates Responsible Policies for Animals’ two-page political background paper “Governing for Life: How Officials Can End Animal-Abuse Policy, Annihilation of Nature, and Resulting Human Misery by Upholding the Constitution and Its Stated Values.”

Animal abuse has never been reduced in more than 50,000 years.  The Animal-Abuse Revolution generated, thousands of years ago, tyrannical governance such as the American Revolution has only begun to eradicate.  That ongoing Enlightenment-, justice-, and equality-based Revolution is widely faltering due to infiltration and cooptation by consumer-capitalism, its global mind-management endeavor (public relations), and the ascendance of the weapons industry.  Ubiquitous access to powerful weapons enables dangerous human enemies to appear the most pressing problem.  But the Animal-Abuse Revolution is the root of weapons manufacturing as well as most human misery.

Regulation of capitalism irks the most aggressively dominant, the greediest, and the most conscience-challenged tycoons even while many of their peers accept or even praise it.  Deregulation, the centerpiece so-called 2017 “accomplishments” the Trump administration boasts of, sounds abstract and legalistic.  But it means removing the already-mild restraints on what nonfeeling, amoral, nonliving corporations and industries and their dependents can do to human beings and other animals.

The primary endeavor of the radical right is to permanently free capitalism from democracy – as Nancy MacLean puts it in Democracy in Chains.  So the people won’t be able to decide what corporations and industries can do to the living world, including “us” and Earth’s other beings.  As Joel Kovel shows in The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World, capitalism is primarily a war on the living world.  Trump brazenly bullies the human world toward tyranny to overcome human self-interest, our innate affinity for nonhuman animals and the living world (biophilia), and the values stated in the Constitution: liberty, justice equality, defense, tranquility, and the general welfare.

A problem with treating even the best Democratic candidates and their platforms as the solution to the Trumpian project is that the Democratic Party, too, is an engine of capitalism and the Biocaust.  It’s not just that Democratic candidates and officeholders, too, receive donations from big money; it’s that they accept the basic humanist-extremist premises that only human beings are innately entitled to a chance at a fulfilling life; our pursuit of fulfillment needn’t take other beings’ experience or ecological value into account; our species’ population explosion, its rampage over Earth, and its impacts on other animals and the living world are self-justified; and dividing “the pie” among humans is their only responsibility.  Democrats need coaching such as RPA’s above-mentioned background paper provides.

The first Earth Day, in 1970, taught us that our species must reduce its “footprint.”  Since then, both major parties have failed to lead humanity toward the needed change, succumbing with little resistance to capitalism’s war on the environmental movement and animal advocacy – as Sharon Beder shows in Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism.

Many Democrats rail against the gross inequality among humans that steadily grows, undermines democracy, increases human misery, and generates protest and rebellion.  But none publicly acknowledges that animal abuse in its full scope, dating back more than 50,000 years – all that humans do to each other, and to and with other animals and their natural homes – is the root of the pre-Constitutional tyranny Trump labors to restore and the misery from war, disease, poverty, and demagoguery which the Constitution enables us to overcome if we exercise vigilance and perpetually and fully exercise our rights as policymaking citizens.

Creating needed lasting change entails thinking independently, not following politicians’ framing of the agenda, their public-relations campaigns, or the news industry’s reflexive rehashing of them.  We must assess policy through experience and books, educating our representatives and candidates.  Most politicians, though well-meaning, are not particularly well educated or informed beyond conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is generated by an industry-government-university-media complex in service to humanist extremism that omits other animals’ interests and thus the living world we all depend on, which unfortunately rapidly collapsing.

With three plant or animal species going extinct per hour, human health and wellbeing steadily worsening, violence and transportation and infrastructure disasters frighteningly constant and ubiquitous, sea levels rising, hurricanes and wildfires intensifying, ocean life nearly gone, and human industry abusing all animals on Earth, including humans – obviously a new paradigm is needed.  Tweaking the old one won’t work.  In his 2017 manual On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder urges us to avoid screen-based media versions of reality, informing ourselves through books in order to assess the validity of what special interests and opinion-mongers foist on us electronically.

As long as only human beings are deemed persons – beings worthy of respect, equal treatment, and a chance at fulfillment – they will continue to suffer needlessly along with all of Earth’s other animals.  Because the abuse humans rationalize inflicting on nonhuman animals by denying their personhood and their worthiness of consideration generates nearly all human misery.  That counterintuitive reality is explained in many items at this website.  But how do we get the public and its officials to act based on reality?  I’ve spent my three decades as a full-time animal advocate – when I wasn’t investigating and protesting atrocities and being arrested for civil disobedience – learning the origins, causes, and nature of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice and implementing campaigns to strike at their roots.  Results and recommendations for action pervade this website.

Passionate, dedicated, and skillful pursuit of solutions to superficial problems without addressing roots of the problems describes most animal, environmental, public-health, and vegetarian advocacy of recent decades.  Good work that doesn’t address root causes explains why misery and threats to life itself continue increasing and intensifying: The roots continue generating the problems we wish to solve; they keep reappearing the way grass grows tall after mowing.  Responsible Policies for Animals’ website, literature, and lectures focus the roots of the big problems Trump intensifies but by no means causes.  RPA’s campaigns ask us to act with long-term persistence rather than briefly express ourselves and lament the lack of results.

In 2018, make the vision of equal rights of all animals the basis of your mainstream political activities.  I’m glad to assist you.  By educating authorities, we not only can undermine Trump’s effort to intensify the Biocaust; we can put our species on the new trajectory all living beings desperately need us to embrace.

Turkeys – Who Are They?

*Karen Davis Talks “Turkey” at UVA Nov. 15*

*Turkeys – Who Are They?
<https://www.facebook.com/events/185118602045200/>, University of Virginia,
Charlottesville, VA. *
*A presentation by Karen Davis in Brooks Hall Nov. 15 at 6pm. Sponsored by
Animal*
*Justice Advocates. All are welcome!*

Sanctuary workers such as myself know that turkeys are intelligent,
emotional,
keenly alert birds with highly developed senses and sensibilities. Turkey
mothers are superb parents who will fight to the death to protect their
young.
The idea that wild turkeys are “smart” and domesticated turkeys are “dumb”
facilitates a view that turkey hunting is a benign collaboration between a
stalker and a “savvy” partner, and that turkeys bred for food are
brainlessly
“adapted” to factory farms.

In my talk, I draw attention to the moral miasma surrounding the
“Thanksgiving”
turkey, the ritual taunting by the media each year and ask – what if this
mean-spirited foreplay and blood sacrifice were taken away? What elements of
Thanksgiving remain? Karen Davis, PhD, is president of United Poultry
Concerns
and the author of *More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual,
and*
*Reality* published by Lantern Books and available from UPC
<http://www.upc-online.org/more_than_a_meal.html>.


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/videos/171112_turkeys-who_are_they.html>

Maneka Gandhi warns against neglecting animals’ plight

http://www.canindia.com/maneka-gandhi-warns-against-neglecting-animals-plight/

Lucknow, Oct 28 (IANS) Union Child and Women Development Minister Maneka
Gandhi, who is a strong votary of animal rights, on Saturday said that the
time had come for the people to understand that they are ignoring the
plight of the animals at their own peril.

Here to attend an event on animals, their rights and the need to do
something for them, organized by Connect Lucknow, Gandhi said that there
were innumerable experiences, most for them sad, to explicitly warn the
people that even a speck in the animal world, if ignored or slighted, will
return to haunt and hurt mankind in a big way.

“Many a times if a stray dog bites someone, people would shout on ‘why
haven’t I died’ as if I have given birth to these dogs,” she said while
championing the cause of stray dogs, and urging people to be more sensitive
towards them, feed them and even give them shelter after sterilization.

Stressing how the animal kingdom and the human race are interlinked,
Gandhi, citing the example of cockroaches, rats, snakes and stray dogs,
said they were crucial to the eco system as they got rid of dirt, small
insects and mice.

“There is no city that can survive for a day if these dogs are killed…see
what happened in Surat (Gujarat) many years back. The municipal
commissioner got the stray dogs killed and thereafter there was outbreak of
plague,” she said.

Asking people to give up non-vegetarian food, plant more trees, be
compassionate to animals, provide funds to NGOs for animal shelters, she
also urged people to think of the bigger picture on how neglect of animal
rights could lead to a huge imbalance in life of everyone.

Hollywood actress Maggie Q on how becoming vegan can help save the planet

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2116303/hollywood-actress-maggie-q-how-becoming-vegan-can

The Mission: Impossible star tells City Weekend of her passion for animal welfare and why she became a vegan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 2:54pm

 

The Mission: Impossible III star views her acting career as a stepping stone to pursuing her true passion – environmentalism.

From supermodel Gisele Bundchen’s eco-friendly flip-flop line to a Leonardo DiCaprio film on global warming, those in the limelight are leveraging their celebrity status to push causes close to their heart.

For Q, promoting veganism is her way of doing her bit to build a sustainable future. She says carbon emissions from animal farming are “the real issue driving climate change”.

“Once you’ve done the research you can’t unlearn what you know,” says Q, who became a vegan 20 years ago.

A report by the United Nations in 2010 said a global shift towards a vegan diet would be vital to save the world from hunger and the worst effects of climate change.

One lesser known cause of climate change is raising animals for food consumption, which requires huge amounts of land, food, energy and water.

Over half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture, according to a report by research organisation the Worldwatch Institute, and more than 90 per cent of the Amazon rainforest land cleared since 1970 has been used to raise livestock.

Q tells City Weekend that kicking our meat habit will be the most important building block towards preserving our planet for future generations.

How do animals relate to environmental sustainability?

We are seeing climate change right in front of our eyes. One of the things that is missing from political discourse, from policy, from government, is the fact that the leading cause of carbon emissions in the world is animal agriculture and no one is talking about it. This is the real issue that is driving climate change.

Ninety per cent of rainforest destruction is caused by animal agriculture. We raise 70 billion animals for food annually – this is using up 45 per cent of the world’s land mass and most of our water. In the United States, 5 per cent of our fresh water is used in homes and 55 per cent goes to animals so that we can eat richer foods.

About 18 per cent of emissions are from animal agriculture, and 13 per cent are from transportation. That 18 per cent is from the methane, the ammonia, the nitric oxide which is being put into the air by animal waste.

It’s not a sustainable way to live. First world countries are very spoiled: we can eat richer foods because we have the money to attain them. You have to remember there is a cost, it doesn’t come for nothing: 80 to 90 per cent of the fresh water in the US goes to agriculture.

I understand it’s a topic that makes people uncomfortable. Food is a comfort thing and we associate it with being cared for. But the truth of the global impact cannot be denied any more. The science is there.

What is the main thing we can do in everyday life to pass on the Earth in a sustainable way to future generations?

I can’t tell anyone else what to do, but I don’t eat animals: that is my daily solution. As a vegan I save 1,100 gallons of water a day. It takes 440 gallons of water to produce a pound of eggs, 1,000 gallons to produce a gallon of milk, 900 gallons to produce a pound of cheese, and 2,500 to produce beef. If we are talking about a sustainability message, you cannot leave out the animal message – absolutely impossible.

I don’t have the power to make the change I want to. I can only wake up every day and look in the mirror and say I am making the best decision. I worry about the world I am leaving. We are looking at a world that is facing ultimate destruction if we don’t make better, smarter choices, and that starts with you. Every dollar you spend goes to feed a corporation that is either responsible or not responsible. I have felt in life very underpowered in moments because it can be a very overwhelming issue. In the absence of my power in some areas, I know that every single day my dollar is a vote. And I don’t want to contribute to anyone who is not responsible. That is the power I have. Know that every day when you wake up you have those choices, and those choices can become very powerful for the future of our environment.

What is the main issue China, or Hong Kong, needs to address when it comes to the environment?

With China being the leading population in the world, when you talk about carbon emissions from food, this is the largest footprint in the world. Meat consumption in China has gone way up because of the influence of the Western diet. The No 1 restaurant in China is KFC, which I find completely disgusting, but they are being influenced by our fast food. So there is no country in the world that has a bigger carbon footprint than China.

What are your thoughts on China’s Yulin dog meat festival?

Any kind of cruelty for me is off the table. I understand that culturally certain people do certain things, but when I speak to my Chinese friends they say that this is not cultural, this is new. This is not something that is ancient, that they have done forever. A lot of times these practices spring up because they make money. If you’re just collecting animals off the street or stealing people’s dogs, that is not a lot of overheads.

What does it mean to use your platform to speak out, and do you feel pressured to do so?

Passion – that’s all I feel. Our rainforest, the lungs of the planet, are disappearing because we need to feed our cows. That’s not worth it, a steak is not worth that.

I sort of feel like my career is a stepping stone to talk about the things I really want to talk about. I enjoy my career – I’m an artist, a creative person and obviously that fulfils a certain part of me – but at the same time we have a social responsibility as people in the public eye to speak of the things we are passionate about, the things we believe can make a difference. And if we are not doing that, why do we even have a public platform?

How do you influence people around you to lead a green life?

With the facts. The thing is, now we have statistics that are undeniable. I used to try to influence people to be more compassionate in their lifestyle and their diets, but you can’t always influence people to be compassionate the way you are. We are different people for different reasons, but now with the environmental impact and footprint that a meat diet has, you really can’t look at the facts and not care what is being done to our planet.

A meat diet is the No 1 destroyer of our planet. No 2 is transportation, and even 25 per cent of that transportation is meat transport, so now we are talking about the No 1 and No 2 killers of our planet. This is unacceptable. We know the facts, and if we are not doing anything about it, not making individual decisions to be better, we are guilty of destroying our planet.

It is difficult to eat cheaply as a vegan. How do we get companies to supply more options?

There is a way to eat sustainably that is not super fancy, where you don’t have to shop in Central. I was talking to someone the other day about his rice and beans supply: US$20 a month feeds him all the beans and protein he needs. He buys vegetables at the farmers’ market – grains in bulk. That’s really how you bring the price down. If we don’t demand it, the price is not going to come down.

There is a fear in the business world – no one wants to be on the outside of what people want. You guys in Hong Kong had the massive protest a few years ago that was so impressive, I started crying when I saw. The Hong Kong people so impressed me, because it was something they truly believed in. They took to the streets and they said, this is not something we can accept. That is what you do with your dollar; silently, in your homes, on your credit card, at the ATM – you can protest daily through your decisions, or you can do it en masse as you did, but again, the power is in our hands.

Do you have any future plans for movies in China, or about the environment?

If the script is good, I’ll work anywhere. I am talking to different movie companies in China and Hong Kong all the time, but it’s hard because of the timing. When you’re on a television show, you work nine or 10 months of the year, so it’s hard to find the time.

There are three things I want to make movies about: environmental problems, animals and human rights. Those are the three things I look out for all the time.

You were selected by Jackie Chan in Hong Kong as a future action star. How does it feel to be back in the city?

For me it’s very personal because I’ve met some of my best friends in the world here. I have people here who are like family, so coming back is important to me. It’s been a long time.

MAKING SENSE OF MAGGIE

Maggie Q was born in Honolulu in Hawaii to an Irish and Polish father and a Vietnamese mother.

The 38 year old left the islands as a youngster after her family were unable to support her through her course studying veterinary science at university, and so she started modelling in Tokyo aged 17.

She later undertook modelling work in Hong Kong where she began going by the surname Q after finding Asian audiences had trouble pronouncing her actual surname, Quigley.

She was spotted by Jackie Chan as a potential action movie star and later worked alongside him in Rush Hour 2. Next came a role in spy thriller Mission: Impossible III, in which she starred opposite Tom Cruise. Since last year she has been seen in the drama series Designated Survivor as FBI agent Hannah Wells.

Q was named by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) as 2008’s Asia-Pacific person of the year. Last year she appeared on a billboard for the NGO to promote diet change in aid of climate change.

Facts about Q:

At one stage she took care of eight rescue dogs, and now has two

She has three tattoos: one on each arm, and a phoenix on her left hip

She won an athletics scholarship to university

She got engaged to her fiancé, American actor Dylan McDermott, after four months dating

Yoga is her main form of exercise

She has been trained in sword fighting

Vegan Demographics 2017 – USA, and the world

http://veganbits.com/vegan-demographics-2017/

vegan demographics

 It’s been a long time since I’ve written about vegan demographics. Do we care? Should we care? Probably not, but since Jane and I are coming up on ten years as vegans in a few months, I figured now was a good time to look at the vegan demographic statistics. As you might suspect, it’s not easy to determine how many vegans there are. It’s not like you enter that information on your census report. There are all sorts of polls on vegetarians and vegans. I like getting my data from faunalytics.org. Most, but not all of the following information is from their site.

We are the one (half) percent

So how many vegans are there in the USA? Based on a sampling of 11,000 adults, aged 17 and over, only two percent of Americans are vegetarian. Only one-in-four vegetarians — or 0.5% of the USA adult population — is vegan. Only half of one percent of the USA population — or 1.62 million of us — is vegan.

(Is 11,000 a reasonable sampling? Perhaps you are think that this sampling is too small and is therefore skewing the results. I suspect otherwise. This sampling is, by far, the largest such sampling that I’ve found. Most other such polls are usually only looking at about 2,000 people.)

There are many former vegans than there are current vegans; there are more than five times as many former vegetarians/vegans than there are current vegetarians/vegans. Said differently, 84% of vegetarians/vegans abandon their diet. Extrapolated out, that means that there are 8 million lapsed vegans as opposed to the 1.6 million current vegans.

Only about one-in-eight Americans has ever considered themselves vegetarian/vegan. Roughly 88 percent of Americans have always considered themselves omnivorous/carnivorous.

Vegan Demographics

So who are the 1.6 million vegans? You might be surprised to find that the average age of a vegan today is 42. I suspect that many people think that most vegans are in their 20’s and 30’s. According to this research, those young adults only account for about half of all vegans.

What is less surprising is that 74% — almost three-in-four vegans — are female. Most vegans are left leaning politically and are not religious.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that the typical vegan is female, left learning, non-religious. Let’s look at longevity. As we have seen, there are many more former vegetarians/vegans than people who currently eat this way. The survey suggests that for many, it’s fleeting. Only about one-third (34%) maintained the diet for three months or less, and more than half (53%) of former vegetarians/vegans adhered to the diet for less than one year. So it appears that people try this lifestyle on for size and for one reason or another, half of them go back to their normal, traditional diet after a year or less.

If you are thinking that the current vegetarians/vegans might return to their former omni eating ways, only 12% of the current vegetarians/vegans in the survey have been eating this way for less than a year. Therefore, 88% of those who claim to be vegetarian/vegan have been so for over a year, presumably many have been eating this way for several years.

Income

While this might come as a surprise to some, there are more vegans in the lower end of the income range. The average American earns $54,000. The largest concentration of vegans is in the sub $50,000 income range.

This, according to data gathered by VRG as reported by the Huffington Post.

Why the discrepancy? It’s probably age related; there are more vegans in their 20’s and 30’s than there are in their 50’s and older. Older adults are more likely to have higher incomes than younger adults.

The Huffington Post article suggest that younger people are more likely to be vegan and tend to have lower incomes than older people:

Six percent of survey respondents between 18 and 34 were vegetarians compared to only two percent who were over 55. Young people are also more likely to make less money than older adults as more of them are students or are starting their careers.

(The information reported above from Faunalytics indicated that the average age was 42. This survey from VRG suggests that there are far fewer vegans in their 50’s than in their 20’s. The VRG survey which sampled 2,000 adults also found a closer ratio of vegans based on gender than the Faunalytics survey of 11,000 found. The VRG survey suggests that women make up only 55% of vegans. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that Faunalytics determination that women account for 74% of vegans seems more accurate to me.)

Why are you vegan?

Participants in the study were asked about their motivations for eating a vegetarian/vegan diet. A great many people indicated that they are vegan for health, taste, and humanitarian reasons.

The same questions were asked of former vegetarians/vegans. There is a statistically significant association between nearly all of the motivations tested and whether an individual is a current or former vegetarian/ vegan, with the exception of cost, social influence, and wanting to follow a food trend.

Most Vegan Friendly Cities in America

According to PETA, the most vegan friendly cities in America are:

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. New York City, New York
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Nashville, Tennessee
  6. San Diego, California
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii
  8. Austin, Texas
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Richmond, Virginia

There are many websites which have their own way of determining which cities are most vegan-friendly. Having never been to Detroit or Richmond, I have to say that those locations come as a surprise to me. Several of the other large cities appear on everyone’s list.

Vegan Demographics: Largest Concentration of Vegans (by country)

The following two tables are derived from data gathered by Wikipedia

  1. United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. Poland
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Israel
  7. Italy
  8. Sweden
  9. Spain
  10. Finland

These are the only ten countries that they have listed for vegans. It comes as a surprise to me that there are so many vegans in Japan. Maybe it’s just the volume of people that skews this data somewhat. According to this table, there more than 3 million of the 127 million residents of Japan are vegans.

Vegan Demographics: Largest Percentage of Vegans (by country)

As you can see, Israel has the largest concentration of vegans, with five percent of the population indicated to be vegan. The USA only ranks fifth on this list.

Please not that the data from Wikipedia suggests that 1.5% of the USA population is vegan, whereas the data from Faunalytics indicates that only 0.5% of the USA population is vegan; just one-third as many.

Not In My Backyard: The Day My Quiet Cul-De-Sac Turned Into a Bloodbath

By Hope Bohanec, Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns

I live in a rural area of Sonoma County, California in the small town of
Penngrove. It’s farm country and there isn’t much more in the tiny downtown
block than a burger joint and bars. But it’s a beautiful, peaceful area. The
golden hills glimmer in the distance, and mature, majestic oak trees shade
the
wild turkeys and deer in our neighborhood. My husband and I have been in
this
area for over a decade, and while a miniature horse or a goat in a field is
a
common sight, chickens were not, up until a few years ago. The popularity of
having chickens at home has grown, and now we see flocks of chickens
everywhere.
Across the street, there is a chicken “tractor” (a mobile chicken coop) in a
sprawling field. We often see a colorful collection of chickens here and
there,
wandering and scratching around front yards as we take our evening walk.

So when our new neighbors built a chicken coop in their backyard, I wasn’t
surprised, but I was concerned. Our four duplexes share a laundry, and I
walk
directly in front of this neighbor’s house on a regular basis. He is often
outside in a cloud of cigarette smoke. When the chickens first came, I
braved
inhaling a haze of second-hand smoke to inquire about the birds. He said he
got
them for eggs. I said, “You’re not going to kill them, are you?” He said no,
that he had them just for the eggs. I reminded him that coops need to be
cleaned
daily and that he should adopt chickens if he was going to get any more, but
doubted that he would care one way or the other about something like this
as he
blew smoke away from my direction.

A few months later, I was walking some laundry out to the machines. As I
glanced
in this neighbor’s front yard, he and two other men were standing around a
tall,
green, plastic garbage can. There was a scuffle and I couldn’t quite figure
out
what was happening at first, until I saw his arms spotted in blood and a big
black bird flapping her wings furiously as she was being held upside down by
both men in the garbage can. Her large ebony wings beat desperately against
his
arms. The third man was skinning the sandy colored feathers off another
chicken
and there was a third little body, colorless, headless, featherless, with
her
feet cut off, balanced on the top of the garbage can. I dropped my laundry
basket and screamed, “What are you doing!?!?!” The neighbor was immediately
uncomfortable. He said, “Oh, sorry Hope.” One of the other men looked at me
and
said, “We’re gonna BBQ!”

I ran back to my apartment and grabbed my cell phone and then back to the
scene
of the horror and with trembling hands started taking pictures while I
pleaded
with him to stop. There wasn’t another bird out there, just the three now
still
and silent. The neighbor said these three were the “old ass chickens.” I
assume
he meant they were not laying eggs as frequently as the others in his
backyard.

Through my tears, I reminded him that he had promised he wasn’t going to
kill
the chickens. He didn’t say much, just apologized again. He knows my
feelings as
he sees my vegan bumper stickers every day, and we have talked on a couple
of
occasions about veganism and not killing animals. It seemed to me like he
felt
“caught in the act.” I can only hope that he does feel a degree of guilt
and not
just embarrassment about doing something his neighbor disapproves of.

I was so upset I forgot my laundry basket which sat out in the driveway for
hours and I cried my eyes out. It was sickening to witness. My neighbor
literally had blood on his hands from taking a precious life not fifty feet
from
my front door, and there was nothing I could do about it. The fact that
these
men were executing this repulsive act in a garbage can felt terribly
symbolic of
how they seemed to feel about these birds. They treated them like garbage
and
left their heads, feet, feathers, and other parts of their little bodies to
be
thrown away with the trash.

I called our mutual landlord to complain. He sympathized with me but said
only
that he would tell the murdering neighbor that he should do his killing in a
more private and secluded area of his backyard in the future. I know that
it is
legal to kill animals who are your “property” as long as you do it
“humanely.”
But what can be humane about taking a sentient being’s life? And although
throat
cutting and beheading are considered “humane” methods of killing, they
certainly
are not. Throat slashing is a painful, traumatic way to die, and it can take
agonizing, frightening minutes for someone to bleed out. Killing an animal
who
wants to live can never be humane. This idea that we can “humanely” take the
life of another animal is an outrage. And I am outraged that it is
happening in
my backyard . . . in anyone’s backyard.

The idea that it is somehow better to “kill your own” baffles me. One
argument
my neighbor might use is that his bird had a good life and this was her
“one bad
day.” But what about all the other days of life you are depriving her of?
What
about all the days of sunshine, eating, dustbathing, playing with friends,
and
loving being alive? It’s not just one bad day; it’s denying someone a
lifetime
of experience, robbing them of the full knowledge of life. If we don’t want
our
human life cut short, how can we justify taking the life of another sentient
being who wants to live when it is completely unnecessary and we live
healthier
as vegans?

Another position that people who kill animals themselves take is that the
person
is now aware of the process and “knows where their food comes from.” But
this is
useful only to that person. The animal receives no benefit from this
concept. If
they took care of the animal, fed and cleaned and provided for this animal,
then
a bond of trust was formed between the caregiver and the dependent. To turn
on
someone you care for, and then mercilessly kill them, is a terrible
betrayal of
trust. In fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal. This phrase is the title of my
book
on the subject of small scale animal agriculture, *The Ultimate Betrayal*.
For a
broader, in depth analysis of this issue, I encourage you to read my book
<https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Betrayal-There-Happy-Meat/dp/1475990936/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1372963043&sr=8-1>
.

I haven’t seen my neighbor since that horrible day, which is unusual as he
is
typically out in his haze of smoke several times a day. I think he has
moved his
habit to the backyard so he doesn’t have to look me in the eye. I hope that
my
reaction made him think deeply about what he did. There is a different
energy
now when I walk past his place and out to the laundry. It feels somber and
sad
knowing what occurred there. It’s horrible to live with but only
strengthens my
resolve to fight for these beautiful birds and help bring about the day when
they no longer suffer at the hands of our neighbors.

__________

Hope Bohanec is the Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns and author
of
*The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?*
<http://www.the-ultimate-betrayal.com>


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/alerts/170901_not_in_my_backyard.html