News for August 24, 2011

News Today includes stories about Cirque de Legume, Pet Plastic Surgery, Madonna of the Mills, sheep deaths, NYC’s Homeless Animals, Off The Grid, Child Labor, Alice Waters, Gardein App, SF Gardens, Myq Kaplan, Cheesy Kale Chips, Airport beekeeping, Rustic Getaway, Food Waste, Psychology of Factory Farming, Koch Industries, Beat High Cholesterol, Tormented with Fire, Lettuce Ladies, glue traps, and Tailgate Pet Shops.

‘The Cirque de Legume’ Does Strange Things With Vegetables

The Cirque de Legume is a 50-minute show of “pure mayhem as two idiots put on a Cirque de Soleil-type circus show using only a chair and a box of vegetables.” In fact, the show website explains that the performance aims to find hidden beauty in cast-off vegetables. “It is a love story between two clowns, their vegetables, and us.”

Pet Plastic Surgery Gains Popularity

Ever consider putting your pet under the knife? From silicone testicles to nose jobs, cosmetic surgery for pets is on the rise in some regions of the world, reports The Telegraph.

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Madonna of the Mills

“Madonna of the Mills is a powerful, important documentary film that can help blow the lid off of the horrendous practice of puppy mills. Everyone should see this film.

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Concern about sheep deaths on broken-down ship at Port Adelaide

HUNDREDS of sheep aboard a broken-down Kuwaiti ship stranded at Port Adelaide are believed to have died, as they wait to be unloaded temporarily and sent to feedlots from this afternoon.

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Progress in the Fight to Save NYC’s Homeless Animals

When I became the president and chief executive officer of the ASPCA in 2003, New York City’s homeless animals had little chance of making it out of the public animal shelters alive. At that time, only 26 percent of dogs and cats in the city’s shelter system were adopted. The rest were euthanized.

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Homesteading Quantified: How Much Land You Need To Go Off The Grid

The original homesteaders, the pioneers who went West, were following the American dream as it was understood in the 19th century — they wanted a house, and land, and a farm, of their own. Those who become homesteaders today aren’t necessarily aspirational in the same way; instead, they’re looking to escape mainstream America. They want to do so for many reasons: privacy, radicalism, a philosophical belief in self-sufficiency.

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A Very Different Kind of Child Labor

I really wanted to make an episode called “Portlandia”, but it just didn’t happen. Although we had plenty of those moments — for instance, we got free valet parking because we were driving a hybrid. But instead of capturing the ultra-hipster side of Portland, we visited an ultra practical and amazing farm/project. It had kids farming (really farming), working all day and selling their produce. And these teenagers got paid — it’s about time! Kids are often exploited in farm work, or family farms have the help of a large number of kids to keep things going. But Janus Food Works just employs youth from Portland. After filming with the kids, we created a dinner with the Plate and Pitchfork farm dinner series to showcase their work and also invited the kids to enjoy the fruits of their labor… with these young farmers in attendance, a good time was had by all.

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Alice Waters and Jake Gyllenhaal On ‘Today’ Show For Edible Schoolyard

On Tuesday morning, in celebration of Chez Panisse’s 40th anniversary, the Today show’s Jenna Bush Hager — yes, that Jenna Bush — paid a visit to The Hunters Point Boys & Girls Club Edible Schoolyard to talk shop with Alice Waters and a special guest: Hollywood heartthrob Jake Gyllenhaal.

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Gardein Releases App

Vegan meat company Gardein released a new app yesterday to supply users with a constant crop of fresh veg recipes. The app will feature seasonal meals, shopping lists, and a Gardein product guide. Users can download the app for free from the iTunes store, as it’s only currently available for Apple products. In light of the recent launch, The company is also hosting a contest; participants must submit a creative photo of the app, a Gardein product in their kitchens, or their favorite Gardein meal to the website.

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San Francisco Permaculture Garden Grows Thousands of Pounds of Food

From an awesome tour of an urban permaculture allotment through wild permaculture forest gardening on the BBC to greening the deserts of Jordan, we’ve seen plenty of great footage of how permaculture design can help grow healthy, productive food systems that need minimal inputs or management. Here we see another example growing in the heart of San Francisco, and I am reminded yet again why permaculture is so ideally suited to collective, community gardening.

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Art of the Animal: Myq Kaplan

Myq Kaplan is insanely hilarious. And he’s vegan. And no, that is not a typo. Not only was he a finalist for NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” but Myq’s CD — Vegan Mind Meld — was one of iTunes’ top 10 bestselling comedy CDs of 2010, and received massive critical acclaim. If you listen closely to Myq’s jokes — when you’re not choking on your tofu from laughing — you’ll find that Myq is a passionate vegan and do-gooder whose humor is surprisingly, and apparently effortlessly, thought-provoking. And he’s provoking thoughts in some crazy mainstream venues like, say, The Conan O’Brien Show. We had the pleasure of interviewing him recently for our podcast, and we only had to pay him in hummus and hugs (at the same time — weird).

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RECIPE: Cheesy Kale Chips

These are the alternatives to chips you’ve been dreaming of your whole life! Packed with nutriton and gluten-free/ dairy-free, these little bastardos are better for you than a romp in holy water. This recipe is so incredibly easy and takes no time to prepare – all good when we want to spend more time doing fun things outdoors – before winter hits us in the tuchus.

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Airport beekeeping project is a win-win-win

I’m jaded, but sometimes an idea is so good that it breaks through my cynical shell and gives me hope. The Chicago O’Hare Airport apiary is one of those ideas: The project addresses three problems at once and should be immediately replicated by the rest of the airports in the world.

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A Hands-On Rustic Getaway With a Delicious Payoff

Think “farm stay” and you might picture yourself skipping through meadows with lambs or lying in fields of wildflowers counting butterflies. But that’s not the reality for a dedicated bunch of people known as WWOOFers, who put some serious elbow grease into their rustic getaways.

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Perspective: Jonathan Bloom on Food Waste

A sustainable food culture values food from farm to table and back to the soil. In this new Nourish perspective, journalist Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) and the blog Wasted Food, explains how food waste squanders ecological resources and money. He also shares how families and food producers can reduce, recycle, and reuse that waste to feed more people and give back to the environment.

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The Dangerous Psychology of Factory Farming

I know a factory farmer named Bill. His Texas ranch raises upwards of 4,000 head of cattle in a way that typifies industrial animal agriculture. Cows are numbered, not named. Animals don’t eat food, they convert feed. The ultimate goal couldn’t be more straightforward: raise cows as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible; transform them into well-marbled cuts of beef; and, throughout the process, minimize inputs while maximizing outputs.

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Koch Industries Lobbying Puts Over 100 Million Americans in Danger

Recent Greenpeace analysis of lobbying disclosure records reveals that since 2005, Koch Industries has hired more lobbyists than Dow and Dupont to fight legislation that could protect over 100 million Americans from what national security experts say is a catastrophic risk from the bulk storage of poison gasses at dangerous chemical facilities such as oil refineries, chemical manufacturing facilities, and water treatment plants. Koch lobbyists even outnumber those at trade associations including the Chamber of Commerce and American Petroleum Institute. Only the American Chemistry Council deployed more.

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Eating More Nuts And Soy May Help Beat High Cholesterol

If you’ve got high cholesterol, you know the diet advice: Go easy on foods high in saturated fat like red meat and cheese, and eat lots of fiber and whole grains.

The message still holds up, but researchers say it’s time to tweak the message.

A new study finds there’s extra benefit in adding plenty of soy, nuts and plant sterols. Plant sterols occur naturally in soybean oil, and are also found in butter substitutes like Take Control and Benecol.

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Baby Elephants Tormented with Fire

Before making plans to go trekking in Nepal, please look at the video footage and photographs taken during an undercover investigation commissioned by PETA India. The footage shows how baby elephants in this South Asian tourist destination are taken from their mothers and “broken” by being chained, struck, and burned so that they can be used to give rides.

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Lettuce Ladies Light Up Light Rail

PETA is helping mass-transit passengers go even greener. When Norfolk, Virginia’s new light-rail train made its maiden voyage past our headquarters, the Lettuce Ladies were on hand—and on the balcony—to make the inaugural run memorable.

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Saved From a Sticky Situation

Exciting news out of Chennai, where the Animal Welfare Board of India has banned the use of glue traps to snare and (miserably) kill mice and rats, declaring, “Available evidence clearly suggests that the use of glue traps causes unnecessary pain and suffering to the rodents and is against the spirit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act ….”

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California Bans Tailgate ‘Pet Shops’

Lawmakers in California are taking a big step to protect animals from greedy breeders. Landmark two-part legislation bans the sale of animals in any public venue, which includes attempts by breeders to meet buyers they have contacted over the Internet in a neutral location.

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