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Animals in Tort Law: property status & noneconomic damages
Jan27

Animals in Tort Law: property status & noneconomic damages

A Texas appellate court recently ruled that owners of a wrongfully euthanized dog may recover “sentimental” or “intrinsic” damages. While this interpretation of state law might result in an award greater than an animal’s “fair market value” (which, in many cases, can be next to nothing), it still puts companion animals in a category closer to a family heirloom than a living, sentient being. The property status of animals remains a hot topic, so thanks to Jennie for her guest-blog today! When choosing a topic for my Law Review note, I was asked to consider a legal concept I had learned during my 1L year that I found strange or inconsistent with reality. I came up with a topic rather quickly: I wanted to write about animals as property—and why they ought to have a higher legal classification than that. I remember writing “WTF?” in the margins of my torts book next to the case that explained why animals are considered property in the eyes of the law. I remember wondering if the judge who wrote the opinion could honestly sit there and analogize animals to inanimate possessions like cars or furniture with a straight face.  It doesn’t take studies and statistics to show that people regard their animals more as family members and less as mere property (though statistics do support that point time and time again). I grew up in a family that gave our pets Christmas and birthday gifts, spent thousands of dollars on our pets’ medical care when necessary, and took more pictures of our pets than the rest of the family combined.  Low and behold, we didn’t do this with our cars or our furniture. And I had a feeling my family was more of the rule than the exception.  In my note, I decided to focus on why the law is so stagnant in this area and what can be done to give animals a higher legal status. I started by examining case law. Soon, I found a pattern—judges and juries really were sympathetic to pet owners whose pets had been injured or killed due to the tortuous conduct of another, but were almost always unwilling to award anything but economic damages, reflective of animals’ property status.  When they did award noneconomic damages, they were often very small and the court was careful to limit the award to the facts of that specific case. One involved an old lady whose dog was killed and whose house was subsequently burgled—the court awarded damages for the worth of the dog as a guard against intruders, but made sure to limit the award to the facts...

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Vegan Beauty Market online
Jan25

Vegan Beauty Market online

I’ve written in the past about vegan megastores that make it easy for anyone anywhere in the country to practice cruelty-free living. I’m excited to share with you today an online hub for skincare products and cosmetics, Vegan Beauty Market. This one-stop shop is like walking into a huge cosmetics department or a store like Sephora that’s home to multiple brands, with the added assurance that every single product for purchase is cruelty-free. Verifying that cosmetics and skincare products are, in fact, cruelty-free sometimes can be tricky business. Cosmetic companies often are fuzzy on the details when it comes to their animal testing policies. They also might be making “cruelty-free” claims that are misleading: they might be outsourcing any testing; or, they might be testing individual ingredients but not the product per se, and so they’re able to add the “not tested on animals” to their labels. For this reason, I’ll take any help I can get to ensure my purchase power is not supporting animal testing. It’s nice to have VBM bringing together the products that truly pass muster. Categories of products available: Face Body & Bath Hair Make-up Fragrance Kids Sun Gifts Free Samples! When it comes to skincare and cosmetics, I’m always on the lookout for new finds, but I always want to sample because I need to see how my skin is going to react. At a walk-in store, I’m drawn to the “tester” items, and I’ll accept any little packets of moisturizer, hand lotion, or shampoo that someone offers me (also great as a “travel-size” for the next overnight stay somewhere). Buying online from VBM, we don’t miss out on this aspect of the shopping experience: free samples come with every purchase. “Giving Back” Policy One more reason VBM is a fave: a percentage of profits are donated to nonprofits that support environmental, animal rights, and humane causes. Bonus Tip! For the lowdown on some of your usual cosmetic and skincare items, check out the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for details on companies and specific products. In addition to a company’s animal testing policy, the site provides information about the individual ingredients and an overall safety rating for each...

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Sushi on the Slopes
Jan19

Sushi on the Slopes

A favorite from our trip to Tahoe this year was Mamasake at the Village at Squaw. I have quite a few friends who are devoted to their sushi dinners — so much so, that they’ll often cite that as the reason they could never go vegan. However, just looking at some of our sushi delectables from Mamasake should convince even the greatest skeptics that, as a vegan, savoring sushi is still possible. And while I love cucumber and avocado rolls, I’ve found that an exploration of vegan sushi options unleashes all kinds of creativity in the kitchen.     Bonus Tip! At home, we like making our own rolls, improvising with a little sticky rice and roasted or grilled veggies. Tempura vegetable pieces will add a nice little crunch to a roll. But an all-time favorite in our home is the Spicy Tempeh Rolls recipe we got from Isa Moskowitz’s Veganomicon. Easy and fun to make, and SO delicious. If you’re a spicy-tuna-roll person, this recipe will totally fit the bill without hurting any of our friends in the...

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Tastes of Tahoe
Jan17

Tastes of Tahoe

It may not be the best season for snow this year (yet), but even when the slopes are more “mashed and gravy,” playtime on skis is always a great time. During our post-holiday getaway to Tahoe, we had as much fun exploring the surrounding area as we did skiing. Here are some wonderful dining options for those of you who will be visiting the Tahoe area sometime soon: Thai Kitchen (Tahoe City) We stopped here for lunch on our way into town from Reno Airport. Seth had the Pad Thai with vegetables and tofu, asking that it be made without egg; I had the Pad Pam Rum Mit, mixed vegetables with brown rice. Mamasake (Village at Squaw) Miso soup to warm you up after a day on the slopes. Vegetable Bowls of  julienne vegetables with a yuzu-soy sauce served over red beans and rice. Later this week, I’ll tell you all about the sushi rolls that rocked our world! Pianeta (Truckee) Located in the heart of Truckee’s historic downtown, about ten minutes from the slopes. This bustling dining spot is, at the same time, intimate and festive. And I love the upstairs area with its mix of farmhouse tables that allow small groups as well as larger crowds to enjoy a meal together. Seth started with a tomato bisque, while I opted for the insalata special of the day, a wonderful combination of arugula and belgian endive with mandarin slices, roasted red peppers, and cucumbers with a balsamic vinaigrette. We both enjoyed this pasta dish for our main course: Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique (Tahoe City) For a romantic, inspired dinner, this is a winner. The Zen Plate comes with vegetables, lentils, tofu, and butternut mashed potatoes. Or, for something a little more casual, there’s also the Portabello mushroom burger that you can order with truffle fries. Fireside Pizza Company (Village at Squaw) Seth and I split a Thai Red Curry pizza topped with bell peppers, red onion, fresh tomato, basil, and a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. Instead of the chicken and marscapone cheese the Thai Pizza usually comes with, the kitchen loaded up our pie with mushroom slices and arugula. We also got adventurous, trying out the gluten-free crust. Awesome! Six Peaks Grille (Resort at Squaw Creek) Located at a resort that is quite the idyllic winter wonderland, Six Peaks may not seem particularly veg-friendly at first glance. However, the menu offers a host of “extras” that makes it easy to request a vegan plate from the chef: forest mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, and roasted potatoes. Simple and simply divine. Another option: the Pappardelle Pasta with peppers, white asparagus, and tomatoes (senza panacetta, per piacere!) Soupa (Village at...

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Gobble Green: Healthy Meals, Planned and Delivered!
Jan13

Gobble Green: Healthy Meals, Planned and Delivered!

Whether you’re wanting to shed a few holiday pounds, interested in going vegan and not sure where to start, or just looking for the convenience of delivered meals, the all-vegan Gobble Green is a great service to know about. The goods will arrive at your door in a packaged cooler, each meal individually vacuum-packed and clearly labeled. Be forewarned: not all the meals are low calorie and low fat, but there is an option to sign up for the GG weight-loss program, where Gobble Green puts together a diet of three meals a day for you, for seven days a week. For the program, there’s a minimum sign up of twelve weeks at $699 per month. The long-term commitment was a little beyond the scope of my blog post exploration; however, I purchased several meals a la carte — choosing the ones with the lowest calorie and fat content — so that I could sample and report to you: Dinner: Chili Beans & “Chicken” (352 calories; 4 grams of fat) Seitan & Bean Stew (444 calories; 4.5 grams of fat) “Meat” Loaf w/ steamed vegetables (342 calories; 8.8 grams of fat) Sweet Potato Croquettes w/spinach 354 calories; 3 grams of fat) Sweet Moroccan Fusion, with cous cous (559 calories; 3 grams of fat) Cashew Pesto Pasta (341 calories; 5 grams of fat) Lunch: Lentil & Cauliflower Curry (331 calories; 1.5 grams of fat) Festive Seitan Stir Fry (406.5 calories; 3 grams of fat) Ocean Medley – “seafood” stew (293 calories; 5 grams of fat) Southwestern Salad (164 calories; 4 grams of fat) Breakfast: Lemon Poppy Muffin (233 calories; 7 grams of fat) Chickpea Scramble (212 calories; 4 grams of fat) Dessert: Sweet Carrot & Coconut Scramble (180 calories; 9 grams of fat) Vegan Beignets (nutritional data not available, but I was curious) Including the $25.00 for shipping, all these meals for two came to $200. Not too bad! My favorite was the curry; my husband Seth’s fave was the Festive Seitan, which was just the right amount of “spicy” for him. We both really like the Ocean Medley — the vegetable protein reminded us of bits of clam. And the chickpea scramble is a nice treat for breakfast. One more thing to love… The message that comes with the confirmation of your order: By purchasing your meals from Gobble Green, you are enabling our company to continue sponsorship of shelter animals and are demonstrating your support for eco-friendly industry. Your patronage makes a...

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