Posts Tagged ‘meat’

DawnWatch: Oprah and staff take the vegan challenge, Tuesday 2-1-11

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 by

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch
Date: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Oprah and staff take the vegan challenge, Tuesday 2/1/11

null

Many of you have already heard the news: we are all setting our DVRs because on Tuesday, February 1, Oprah and 378 of her staffers are taking a one-week vegan challenge. Guests on the show will include the terrific vegan advocate Kathy Freston and anti factory farming author Michael Pollan. Reporter Lisa Ling will give us an inside view of a “beef processing plant” i.e. slaughterhouse.

You can watch a trailer for the upcoming show at http://tinyurl.com/6fa4azh

You can leave comments on that page in advance or after you have seen it.

The more enthusiastic support Oprah gets the better, so please join the discussion.

And please send the Oprah show a separate note of support where the show take comments (some of which are read on air) at https://www.oprah.com/ownshow/plug_form.html?plug_id=220

Go to http://www.oprah.com/tows_listings.html to see when Oprah airs on your local station:

I send thanks to Kathy Freston and about a dozen other wonderful subscribers for making sure we all knew about tomorrow’s show.

Yours and the animals’,
Karen Dawn

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Sexy hot dogs, killer cats and Crappy Meals: Catching up with The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.

Thursday, January 6th, 2011 by

During my three-month absence from POP!, I have been tragically neglectful in sharing with you all things bestial on two of my favorite faux news shows: The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. (Mostly The Colbert Report. The student has surpassed his teacher my many a comedic mile!)

Case in point: back in September, Stephen brought in some “pretty beer girls” to serve the troops during a special, week-long military appreciation edition of The Colbert Report, culminating in a guest appearance by Vice President Joe Biden as a hot dog vendor:

This was followed the next day by a sexy dude dressed in a hot dog suit, “for the lady troops”:

Naturally, PETA was not pleased:

[Neither was I – that is, when I watched the show many a month later (it aired when I was on vacation in NY) – but I didn’t see fit to write a press release about it. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that the general public will view this as so much opportunistic bandwagon-jumping and/or an “attack” on the troops. YOU MUST SUPPORT THE TROOPS AT ALL COSTS! BY WHICH I MEAN NEVER EVER NEVER QUESTION A MOVE MADE BY THE U.S. MILITARY! Like duh.]

Anyhow, I promise to be better in keeping up with this stuff in the New Year. In this vein, I come bearing two more recent clips:

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“Changing nature to get the food we eat”: Karen Davis on the Speciesist Indoctrination of Children

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 by

2011-01-01 - 3-2-1 Contact Mags - 0010

A pile of 3-2-1 Contact magazines that I found in my filled-to-overflowing library.
Have a problem, who me?
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In Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An inside look at the modern poultry industry (1996; revised 2009) animal advocate Karen Davis offers an exhaustive and heart-wrenching examination of the “poultry” industry, which is responsible for the exploitation and slaughter of an astounding 10 billion chickens annually (in the U.S. alone; worldwide, 40 billion chickens are raised and killed for their meat and eggs ever year). During her journey from the wild to the farm – and from conception to death – Davis touches upon some of the social and psychological mechanisms that pave the way for these atrocities.

Humans are taught from an early age that the earth’s resources – including other sentient beings – were “put here for our use.” We create a false divide between “us” and “them” by denying our own animal nature: there are “humans” and there are “animals.” We deny our similarities – the ability to feel pain, experience emotions such as love and joy (and sadness and fear), form and nurture fulfilling relationships – while simultaneously looking to our relatively minor but wonderfully diverse differences as an excuse to objectify, enslave and exploit the “other.” Nonhuman animals are largely considered property – “its” – more akin to a tree or tomato plant than a human being. Simply put, we exist in a supremely speciesist and anthropocentric culture – and we indoctrinate each successive generation into accepting this skewed and oppressive worldview.

Pop culture, including books, television, and movies, are central to this indoctrination. For example, Davis singles out two children’s shows for criticism – both of which were staples in my own childhood: Reading Rainbow (1983-2005?) and 3-2-1 Contact (1980–1992) – to demonstrate this process:

Chick hatching projects teach children and teachers that bringing a life into the world is not a grave responsibility with ultimate consequences for the life created. Children’s public television has contributed to this desensitization and to the fallacy that chickens have no natural origin or need for a family life. The Reading Rainbow public television program “Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones,” based on a book by Ruth Heller, shows that other kinds of animals besides chickens lay eggs. However, chickens are the only ones represented in barren surroundings. One heartless scene shows a baby chick struggling out of its egg alone on a bare table, while ugly, insensitive music blares, “I’m breaking out.”

The 3-2-1 Contact show “Pignews: Chickens and Pigs” has aired frequently on children’s public television. Promoting the agribusiness theme of “changing nature to get the food we eat,” it shows hatchery footage of newborn chicks being hurled down stainless steel conveyors, tumbling in revolving sexing carousels, flung down dark holes, and brutally handled by chicken sexers who grab them, toss them, and hold them by one wing while asserting that none of this hurts them at all. These scenes alternate with rapid sequence images of mass-produced fruits and vegetables. Children are brightly told that “farmers are changing how we grow 100 million baby chicks a week, 3 million pounds of tomatoes, 36 billion pounds of potatoes.” Chickens are described against a background of upbeat music as a “monocrop” suited to the “conveyor belt and assembly line, as in a factory.”

Is it any wonder that many people regard chickens as some sort of weird chimerical concoction comprising a vegetable and a machine? (p. 21)

[A full discussion of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs is well beyond the scope of this blog, but you can read a rather lengthy review I published on V for Vegan.

If the psychology of animal exploitation is a topic that piques your interest, check out Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism (2009), which I reviewed here.

Finally, parents in search of animal-friendly entertainment to enjoy with their children will find a friend in VegBooks.]

George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead answers with an emphatic “Hells, no!”

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 by

George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead (2009)

Spoiler warning!

Earlier this year, I wrote a brief piece about George A. Romero’s 2007 zombie horror flick Diary of the Dead. While the film did not explicitly address our treatment of nonhuman animals, the ending depicted two hunters tormenting a female zombie for “sport,” her “death” (if, indeed, one can kill the undead) becoming for them a form of entertainment, as opposed to a matter of survival. The narrator’s final words posed a question that I oftentimes ask myself, particularly during monster movies in which the future of humanity’s existence is called into question:

Are we worth saving?

You tell me.

Survival of the Dead is Romero’s 2009 follow-up to Diary of the Dead. While similar in style and tone, I found its ending and implications to be far more disturbing than those of its predecessor.

Without going too much into plot detail – it’s mostly incidental – Survival of the Dead follows a band of ex-military mercenaries (seen briefly in Diary of the Dead) as they escape a U.S. mainland riddled with zombies for a seeming island oasis. Located off the coast of Delaware, Plum Island is controlled by two feuding Irish families: the O’Flynns and the Muldoons. While the O’Flynn clan and its allies work to save the island and its remaining human residents from an infestation of the undead by finding and slaying all of those infected, the Muldoon camp believes that it’s their familial duty to keep their zombie kin alive – but chained up and under control – until a cure can be found. Naturally, these two philosophies cause a further rift between the competing families; ultimately, the Muldoons prevail, and Patrick O’Flynn – family patriarch and head of the zombie-hunting posse – is banished from the island.

After some time, O’Flynn returns in the company of the mercenaries, only to find the zombies “chained up […] in imitation of their previous lives – a mailman puts mail in a mailbox, a logger wields an axe on some wood, and so on,” as Wiki so aptly describes it. The remaining inhabitants have started to lose hope that a cure is forthcoming; instead, they’ve shifted goals, aiming to train the zombies to at least “act” human – and, more importantly, to crave and consume the flesh of nonhuman animals over that of their human kin.

Ultimately, a show-down between the two clans hinges upon Seamus Muldoon’s success in this endeavor. One of Patrick Muldoon’s daughters, the zombie Jane, is placed in a small corral with a horse, in whom she shows little interest. Instead, she bites the hand of her twin sister Janet, thus infecting her as well. A gunfight breaks out between the two warring factions, and in the chaos, a group of gathered zombies is set loose on the participants, most of whom are devoured by their undead relatives.

After the battle ends and the group disperses, Jane does attack the horse, biting a chunk of flesh from his body. Alas, the only witnesses to this “victory” are Janet and her father. As Janet rushes off to inform the departing group, Patrick shoots his infected daughter in the head; the secret now belongs to the ever-proud Patrick, and Patrick alone.

The Muldoons, it turns out, were right: zombies can be retrained to eat nonhuman animals. In the context of the film, this shift in consumptive preferences is presented as a “good” thing – progress, success, a triumph. But is it?

As a vegan, my answer is obvious. But one need not be an animal advocate to see the horrific moral calculations embodied in this message. As popularly imagined – and certainly, as presented in Romero’s films – zombies are…undead. Unfeeling. Immune to pain, of either the physical or psychological sort. Lacking in emotions. Incapable of anything but the most rudimentary, instinctive thought. Unable to bond with or even recognize friends and family members. But most of all, they are dead! They had and lived their one life and, while it may have ended prematurely, it is over.

And yet, we’re supposed to see the sacrifice of countless other lives in sustenance of the undead as a “win”? As compared to zombies, nonhuman animals are sentient; they are capable of feeling pain, and suffer immensely while consumed alive, piece by agonizing piece, whether by zombies or humans. They can think, fall in love, experience joy and sadness, and feel fear and longing. They have friends and families, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers. Their will to live is no less than our own.

Going far beyond the fucked up, speciesist morals and practices of existing human societies, Survival of the Dead imagines a world in which nonhumans animals aren’t just “less than” humans – but are also “less than” dead humans. Has-been humans. Once-were humans. Are no more-humans. At best, terminally ill and in need of swift, humane euthanasia. At worst, just this side of a rock.

Nonhuman animals < zombies = a world I don't want to live in. Is there a reason our undead families should snack on the flesh of nonhuman animals over that of humans? (After all, it is we who cannot accept their deaths.) Would we willingly offer our own bodies up to aid zombie dogs or undead polar bears in their own survival? (I think not.) And what happens, exactly, when the undead eat through all the nonhuman animal life forms on the planet? Humans are already devouring the planet’s resources at an alarming rate; earth simply would not survive an undead army of consumers for long. Ultimately, the Survival of the Dead would mean the demise of all – humans and nonhumans alike.

So.

Are we worth saving?

You tell me.

DawnWatch: Meatless Mondays on ABC’s 10 Things I Hate About You, 4-19-10

Monday, May 3rd, 2010 by

Kay eyes Patrick’s burger from over the top of her book, Meat Is Not Green.
Image from “Meat is Murder.” Original air date April 19, 2010. Copyright ABC Family.
——————————

Sorry for my absence, folks. I’ve been otherwise preoccupied in the “real world,” and – while I wish I could say that I’ll soon return to regular blogging – this may or may not be the case. In the meantime, check out the following alert from DawnWatch, wherein Karen provides an overview of a recent veg-friendly episode of ABC Family’s 10 Things I Hate About You (“Meat Is Murder,” Season 1, Episode 14). Sadly, last week it was announced that the show will not be picked up for a second season; however, I still urge you to send some feedback ABC’s way, whether positive or negative (or a little bit of both!), in order to encourage similar (or new and improved!) plot lines in the future.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 8:46 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Meatless Mondays on ABC’s 10 Things I Hate About You 4/19/10

Last Monday’s episode, April 19, of the hit primetime ABC series “10 Things I Hate About You” was titled “Meat is Murder.” It centered on Kat’s efforts to get Meatless Monday’s introduced at her school.

You can watch the episode on line [here].

I urge you to check it out, at least for a minute — stations take note of what shows and episodes get the most online hits.

I will give you some highlights:

It opens with Kat sitting at lunch, reading a book titled, “Meat is Not Green.” When her boyfriend sits down with a burger and asks about the book in a teasing manner, Kat says: “Did you know that 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture?”

He admits that it’s fascinating and she says, “If everybody at this school ate vegetables instead of processed animal flesh just one day a week it would make a huge environmental impact.”

He asks if he could do a walkathon instead, and she says, “If you don’t want to do it for the earth, do it for you colon.”

Then she gets up and says, “Enjoy your carbon footprint. I am going to go do something about this.”

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DawnWatch: Meat expose on Law and Order SVU this Wednesday, 4/21/10

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 by

Update, 6/2/10: Just thought I’d share this little tidbit from Carol Adams; it’s one of her Twenty facts about the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Sexual Politics of Meat:

9. Law and Order SVU used ideas from The Sexual Politics of Meat (and its slide show) in a recent episode on “Beef.” Of course! Because as the fictional me says on their show, “Meat eating and patriarchy go hand in hand.”

I think I’m now legally required to watch that particular episode (and report back to y’all, natch!), which is currently languishing away on my DVR, where it patiently waited out the end of May sweeps. Possibly I’ll need a few more weeks to recover from the loss of Lost, though. Fair warning.

—————-

Just a reminder: tonight’s episode of Law & Order: SVU will include a subplot of animal rights activism inside a slaughterhouse. The show airs at 10 Eastern / 9 Central; you can find additional details on the show’s website.

Karen Dawn recently sent out an action alert about the episode, featuring opportunities for you to provide NBC with feedback. Please thank them for addressing “meat” production, and also let them know how you think they handled the subject matter after you’ve seen the episode in question!

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
Date: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 2:55 PM
Subject: DawnWatch: Meat expose on Law and Order SVU this Wednesday, 4/21/10

Many of you have been asking what has happened to DawnWatch. After ten years of regular coverage DawnWatch alerts were indeed sparse during the second half of last year, when I was losing Buster Dawn and focused on little else. Then the excitement around The Cove, culminating in the Oscar going to that extraordinary film about the horrors behind dolphin abusement parks (to coin Ric O’Barry’s perfect phrase) took all of my attention for a while early this year. Now I am writing a new book, and am also working on rearranging Dawnwatch to make the site more interactive, so that other people can post. But I have missed working on it, and have appreciated hearing from those of you who have missed getting it, so I am going to get back to it on a more regular basis.

Promotional artwork for Law & Order: SVU

And boy to have a great excuse to come back: This week a hit prime time dram, Law & Order SVU, will be airing an episode that focuses on the meat industry. There is no newspaper that has as many readers, or news show that has as many viewers, as this drama, so its power to educate the public is terrific. I happened to catch a preview last week, and went to the show’s site to learn more. You can see the preview of the episode [here].

According to the promo blurb, Detective Olivia Benson goes undercover at a meat plant to solve the murder of a woman who “was filming an unflinching expose of meat.” We hear, on the promo clip:

“She was going to call her film, inside the slaughterhouse… Except she’s the one who got slaughtered.”

The show will air on NBC this Wednesday, April 21, at 10pm (9 central) so set your DVRs and TIVOs and tell your friends!

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link love, 2010-04-17

Saturday, April 17th, 2010 by
  • Add your voice to Biz Markie’s Earth Day remix of “Just a Friend”!

    In honor of Earth Day, Biz Markie and the Climate Protection Action Fund want you to rap (or lip sync) along to a “clean energy” version of his ’80s classic “Just a Friend.” Repower America will provide the lyrics and instructions; you just need a web cam and an internet connection. Here are the details:

    What do Earth Day, YouTube’s home page and a rap classic have in common?

    You.

    On April 22, we’ll be releasing a remix of the top-ten-hit song “Just a Friend” performed by Biz Markie and Repower America supporters from across the country. It’s going to be featured all day on YouTube’s home page — and you can be part of the fun!

    You don’t need a perfect singing voice to get involved — and for that matter, you don’t even need to know the song. In fact, the chorus to Biz Markie’s song is famous for being beautifully off-key. If you’re still not convinced that you’re ready to bust out rapping on tape, just lip-sync or dance in your video. (Or get your kids to.) The only thing that matters is that you participate — in whatever way works for you.

    We’ve got everything else you need to sing along — lyrics, music and a video showing you how to record your own version.

    Check it out and add your voice to the Biz Markie Earth Day remix right now: http://cpaf.RepowerAmerica.org/Remix

    Naturally, the “eco-friendly” lyrics ignore the role of meat, egg and dairy production in climate change – which is well in keeping with environmental organizations’ unwillingness to address human privilege and its many attendant ills. That said, perhaps some of you more creative types can work a reference or two to veganism into your own video? If you’re interested, you have to move fast – the deadline for submissions is midnight tomorrow night, April 18th. Eastern time, I presume?

  • In an upcoming episode, the long-running NBC procedural crime drama Law & Order: SVU will feature an animal rights plotline:

    After a young woman is sexually assaulted and murdered, Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Eliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) track down the woman’s boyfriend – their first suspect – but learn that he is a devout vegan who wouldn’t hurt a fly. They soon find that the victim had been deeply involved in the fight to expose questionable practices in the meat-packing industry, even going undercover at a large company to find out the truth. Benson goes undercover herself to retrace the woman’s footsteps and to identify who the victim might have angered along the way.

    “Beef” will air this Wednesday, April 21, on NBC at 10PM EDT.

    (Many thanks to Vegan Burnout and POP! guest-blogger Shannon for the heads-up!)

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    (mini) link love, 2010-03-14

    Sunday, March 14th, 2010 by
  • This Thursday, March 18 and Friday, March 19, tune into Planet Green to watch Coal Country – then enter to win a copy of Plundering Appalachia from Earthjustice! Contest rules and details here.
  • Thursday, April 22 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of the occasion, the No Impact Project is helping citizens host screenings of No Impact Man throughout the country (world?).

    Here are the details, via New American Dream:

    It’s the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Let’s do something about it! Turn off your TV. Stop shopping. Eat a carrot. Get on a bike. Put a moratorium on litter. And join our friends the No Impact Project, Slow Food USA and 1Sky for an action-oriented screening of No Impact Man. During the week of Earth Day 2010, you are invited to bring your community together to watch, discuss and act. The theme of this event is the impact of food production on climate change and what your community can do to take action. Check out the No Impact Man trailer and contact Lindsay to learn how you can become a host. To find a screening in your neighborhood, click here.

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to attend (or host!) a local screening, boxes of vegan baked goods and vegan starter kits in tow!

  • Saturday, April 24, Vancouver-based animal advocacy group Liberation BC will be screening Meat the Truth; doors open at 3:30 PM. For additional details, see their latest newsletter or events page – or shoot ’em an email at info [at] liberationbc.org.
  • Did I miss something? Promote your local event, tell us all about your favorite new release, and share other animal-friendly pop culture goodies in the comments!

    CSI on Spike: Vegetarians who consume “meat.”

    Thursday, February 25th, 2010 by

    Jorja Fox for PETA - Investigate Vegetarianism

    One of the reasons I started POP! is because I felt a little odd discussing every little mention of vegetarianism, veganism and animal advocacy issues over at my main place. There are just so many examples that to address each one would quickly overwhelm a space with pop culture minutiae.

    Seriously, once you get into the habit of actively engaging in media – viewing it with a critical eye, rather than passively taking it in – you start to notice animal-friendly (and, on the downside, animal-unfriendly) themes everywhere: vegetarianism is discussed in passing; characters talk about their “pets”; animal “evidence” is discovered at a crime scene; monsters and aliens act as stand-ins for free-living predators and conventionally intelligent nonhuman species; cyborgs and AI challenge our notions of what it means to be “human”; etc., etc., etc.

    Anyhow, while watching a rerun of CSI on Spike this morning, I caught an unexpected – and insightful – example of the former: a short-lived character who just so happened to be a vegetarian. His vegetarianism – which seemed to extend beyond his diet, to his ethical beliefs – was incidental to the plot line; he could have just as easily been an omnivore. But his rejection of “meat” (as well as cheese – perhaps he might have better been described as a vegan?) provided the writers an excellent opportunity to slip in a sly piece of commentary on the intersectionality of oppressions.

    Season 6, Episode 19, “Spellbound” – here’s the setup. A psychic was found murdered in her storefront. The fingerprints of one Reese Bringham – the self-described vegetarian – were discovered on her cash register, suggesting a murder committed during the course of a robbery. Warrick Brown and Captain Brass have brought Reese in for questioning:

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    Stephen Colbert schools Jonathan Safran Foer on happy meat animals.

    Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 by

    Stephen Colbert of THE COLBERT REPORT

    Admittedly, this is rather old news, but Jonathan Safran Foer appeared on The Colbert Report last Monday in order to discuss – what else? – Eating Animals.

    [Initially, I was going to group Foer’s interview with those of Claire Danes and John Durant in one big “(happy) meat peddlers” video roundup, but the Foer and Danes interviews proved a pleasant surprise – and not because of the guests! – so a dedicated post for everyone! Except for you, Durant. You’re kind of a douche, and you make this galactosemic lady feel a bit like one, too. (It’s not the same as lactose intolerance, but it’s close enough.) But anyway, that’s the backstory behind my procrastination. End: digression.]

    The interview was about as frustrating as I expected on Foer’s end, e.g.,

    * “I wouldn’t necessarily say you should become a vegetarian […] I would say you should eat less meat.”

    * [When asked if he would eat a hot dog] “Maybe the hot dogs they made 50 years ago.” (as opposed to those produced today)

    To his credit, Foer does manage to stay on message and squeeze in a number of pertinent facts re: animal agriculture, however, in downplaying the need for vegetarianism, he negates whatever points he may have scored with the audience. (i.e., if animal cruelty is wrong, and even “happy meat” products are cruel…go vegetarian on Mondays after 6 PM? Say what now?)

    And veganism? Fuhgeddaboudit! The word “vegan” was not uttered once during the entire 5+ minute interview.

    Luckily, in his quest to be the most ridiculous caricature of a self-delusional meat-eater he could be, Colbert provided some of the more trenchant quips in the exchange. To wit:

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