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Broadway’s Green Girl
Oct31

Broadway’s Green Girl

Have you seen the musical Wicked yet? The story of Elphaba, Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West, has some surprising twists: turns out, the green girl was trying to save animals (remember the winged monkeys?) from captivity and experimentation. Definitely a Broadway Cruelty-Free Fave! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g4ekwTd6Ig&w=600]   Happy Halloween!...

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The Social Vegan: “Vegan Drinks” events
Oct18

The Social Vegan: “Vegan Drinks” events

A simple idea that is SO great! Although Vegan Drinks just started a few years ago in New York, now there are similar events in at least twenty-four different cities. Over happy-hour drinks, happy vegans swap business cards as well as flyers and brochures about their own projects. Not only do these gathering give people a chance to connect with other like-minded people around town, but they also have become a way to raise money for various efforts: part of the bar proceeds usually are donated to a worthwhile cause. If there isn’t a Vegan Drinks happening where you live, why not be the toast of the town by hosting an event? You also can join Vegan Drinks on Facebook and follow on Twitter. Cities with a Vegan Drinks group include: Atlanta Austin Baltimore Boston Boulder Burlington, VT Cleveland Dallas Fort Lauderdale Las Vegas Los Angeles Nashville New Orleans Philadelphia Salt Lake City San Diego San Francisco Seattle Minneapolis-St. Paul Washington, D.C. New York  Cheers!...

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Foie Gras & Faux Gras
Sep28

Foie Gras & Faux Gras

If you’re already aware of where  foie gras comes from, feel free to skip the next paragraph. OK… so for those of you still reading, here’s the lowdown: foie gras is actually a diseased (!) liver, about 80% fat. UGH. However, even more repulsive than the idea of eating a diseased organ is the fact that these diseased livers do not happen by accident.  Geese and ducks are force fed, either by a farm worker or by a mechanical device. Necropsy reports of the birds show injuries to the esophagus, from the tubes and funnels used to force feed them; reports also describe many of the dead birds with food still coming out of their throats, which indicates that the birds are dying while in the midst of being force fed. Production of foie gras is a horrible, torturous process that causes the unnecessary suffering of up to 500,000 birds in the United States each year. The treatment of birds that end up on people’s plates in one form or another is outside the realm of any established laws — birds are not covered by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. However, The Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) is a federal law that requires the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to inspect the products once the birds have been slaughtered. The emphasis is on human health rather than animal welfare. In 2007, the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, Animal Legal Defense Fund, New York University’s chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and three New York residents petitioned the USDA to prohibit the introduction of foie gras into the human food supply. Based on the PPIA , the petition claimed that foie gras, diseased liver, was essentially an “adulterated” food product and therefore in violation of the Act. Unfortunately, two years later, the USDA officially denied the petition for a rulemaking. For a more in-depth look at foie gras in the United States and what the legal system has to say about it, see Lovenheim v. Iroquois Brands (1985) and Illinois Restaurant Association v. City of Chicago (2007). California passed legislation banning the production and sale of foie gras (goes into effect in July 2012), and other state legislatures are considering similar bans. While foie gras production is still legal in European countries, Israel banned the production of foie gras back in 2003, and the production of foie gras also is illegal in Argentina. Faux Gras — Cruelty-Free Alternatives! There are countless vegan pate recipes available on the web, like this Vegan Walnut Mushroom Pate. I’ve had creative pate dishes at restaurants in cities like New York, San Francisco, and...

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Efforts to Ban NYC Horse-Drawn Carriages
Sep23

Efforts to Ban NYC Horse-Drawn Carriages

Just last month, there was a rally outside City Hall for individuals to speak out against NYC’s carriage-horse industry. From its inception during the time of World War II until the 1980s, the horse-drawn carriage industry in NYC went virtually unregulated, a classic example of politics at play. But as automobile traffic increased and accidents started happening in the streets, people started taking notice and advocating for a ban on horse-drawn carriages. Other cities already have done so – including London and Paris. The New York City Bar Association has been among the ban’s supporters. In New York, approximately 200 horses are subject to walking the asphalt up to nine hours a day, seven days a week, even in extreme temperatures. Helplessly mixed in with cars and trucks, they are exposed to fumes all day long (“nose to tailpipe”) and can become spooked by the city’s noises and general chaos. Even if the carriages were limited to Central Park, as they have been in the past, the horses still have to navigate the traffic-heavy streets while getting to and from work. And, when a carriage and a car collide — as they have numerous times — the result is never anything short of heart-wrenching. Beyond the working conditions and safety issues while the horses are in the public eye, at the end of the workday, the conditions these horses have at “home” are just as dire: the multi-storied stables of Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues are not the happy pastoral settings we tend to envision. Furthermore, when the horses have become too old to be of use to the industry, they are sold for slaughter. The industry’s response has been to suggest that, rather than a ban, all that’s needed is more effective regulation. The latest legislation regarding the industry in New York was Law 35-A, enacted in April 2010. The law, on its surface, looks promising from an animal welfare perspective, offering the horses five weeks each year outside of the city, fewer working hours, better living conditions, and restrictions in terms of acceptable “working” outside temperatures. Unfortunately, the purpose of Law 35-A was mainly to placate the public and take the media’s focus off the industry following a series of accidents and negative publicity. Not only are the regulations not enough, but they also are not well enforced. For a comprehensive look at the history of New York’s horse-drawn carriage industry, see Katherine Hutchinson’s “Should They Go the Way of the Horse and Buggy?” in Animal Law, volume 17 (2010). Also, a news report by HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell that aired this summer highlights the most recent efforts by citizens and legislators...

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Marshmallow Heaven
Sep14

Marshmallow Heaven

Last winter I wrote about non-dairy alternatives to Hot Chocolate, and I included the revelation I had that most marshmallows are not vegan. The idea of fish gelatin (!) in my marshmallows almost blew my mind. Luckily, I discovered Dandies at my local Whole Foods, and I’ve since noticed these fantastic marshmallows in other places, such as Back to Eden Bakery in Portland, Oregon. In addition to Dandies, Sweet & Sara gets top honors for its super-creative fluffy stuff: Toasted Coconut Marshmallows Strawberry Marshmallows Cinnamon Pecan Marshmallows Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows (just saw on Twitter this week that these are coming soon!) Classic Vanilla Marshmallows Sweet & Sara also offers Smores (marshmallow and chocolate smooshed between two graham crackers) in both Original and Peanut Butter flavors. Another traditional favorite, made here with S & S vegan marshmallows: Rice Krispies Treats, made with organic brown rice.  And for the chocolate lovers (you know who you are), Sweet & Sara makes Rocky Road Bark, a blend of marshmallows, organic Belgian dark chocolate, and roasted almonds. All these products are widely available, most notably in Whole Foods Markets nationwide. But you can use the web site’s store locator to find the place closest to home, and you also can purchase through the online store. New York friends, this is yet another excuse (not that we need one) to get to Lula’s Sweet Apothecary sometime soon. No surprise, it’s on the list of dozens of NYC places that carry Sweet & Sara. Bonus Tip! If you’re looking for a vegan version of marshmallow “Fluff” topping for cakes and desserts, check out Suzanne’s Ricemellow Creme. Our pup Galileo has the nickname “Fluffer Nutter” — he’s all white, with lots of peanut butter-colored freckles. So he’ll be getting a cake with Ricemellow Creme and peanut butter chips for his next birthday.  ...

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Gourmet Burgers for the Grill
Jun30

Gourmet Burgers for the Grill

With Fourth of July coming up, many of us will be enjoying holiday barbecues. Our own family will spend the day poolside before heading to the park for some fireworks. Instead of the usual beef burgers, here are a couple of options that ensure all the usual BBQ fun while making cruelty-free choices. Grilled Portobello Mushroom This has become a tradition at all our outdoor grilling festivities, and people LOVE them! You can buy Portobello caps just about anywhere, and a simple marinade makes them as easy to prepare as they are tasty! Marinate them either the night before, or for just a few hours on the morning of your event. Also easy enough to bring along with you in a container if you’re heading to a friends’ barbecue. marinade: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar (I prefer White balsamic) 2 cloves of garlic 1/4 onion chopped (or onion powder) fresh basil Marinated mushroom caps go on the grill for about 15 minutes. I usually top mine off with some lettuce and tomato. My husband likes a little Vegenaise spread on the bun. To dress it up a bit, try serving with some grilled onions and peppers. Yum! ************************** Tempeh Chipotle Burger with Grilled Pineapple (with mango ketchup) This recipe comes straight out of The Candle Cafe Cookbook. (Candle Cafe is one of my favorite places in NYC, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.) ingredients: 3 dried chipotle chiles, or 2 tsp. chili powder 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 1/2 cups tomato paste 1 cup apple cider vinegar (we use white-wine vinegar instead) 1/2 cup molasses 1 cup agave nectar 1/4 cup dijon mustard 1 tsp. dried basil 1 tsp. salt freshly ground pepper 1 8-oz. bag of tempeh, cut into 6 circles 6  half-inch pineapple rounds (go for the fresh pineapple if available!) 6 whole grain buns directions: Soak the chipotle chilis in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and place in a blender with the garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, molasses, agave nectar, mustard, basil, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Place the tempeh circles in a bowl and pour the chipotle mixture over them. Cover tightly and let them marinate overnight. Grill time! Remove the tempeh from the marinade with a slotted spoon. Grill the tempeh and the pineapple rounds over a medium-high heat, about 4-5 minutes per side, basting the tempeh with the marinade. Serve on toasted buns, with Mango Ketchup. Mango Ketchup Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy: 3 tomatoes, diced 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (soaked for 20 minutes and drained) 1...

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