Letter published by WaPo in re: Whole Foods rating system expose article

Nice to get one like this out there in the public eye.

Rating degrees of animal cruelty is the wrong metric

November 29

The Nov. 27 Economy & Business article “Whole Foods turkeys treated inhumanely, animal activists say,” focused on “humane” use of animals as an empirical matter (i.e., can we, practically speaking, provide humane treatment to animal property?), as do many articles on the plight of animals used for human pleasure and convenience. But it failed to question the underlying assumption that it is acceptable to use animals at all. All animals are sentient beings, self-aware and sensate, and so we are obligated to not cause them unnecessary harm. This is the opposite of exploiting them for food, clothing and entertainment, for which any number of harms are routinely inflicted for the sake of “proper” use of the animal, even in the most “humane” operations.

Once we understand that we have no moral justification for putting animals into situations in which the harms we cause them can be graded on a level of severity, we may finally begin to regard animals as members of the moral community and accord them the respect they deserve not to be used as our things in the first place. That starts by going vegan, not by purchasing animal parts highly rated by Whole Foods.

Eric Prescott, Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Airline transportation can be fatal for your pets

I’ve traveled with one of my cats before, and made sure I could take her into the plane’s cabin with me. As long as I had the right-size carrying bag for Krava, and booked her (with a fee) before anyone else did (I think they allowed up to two animals per flight), I was able to fly her to New York from Los Angeles and back with a minimal amount of concern for me and my wife. Of course, Krava didn’t love the experience, but it went a lot better than I ever expected, and she had us nearby the entire time. She enjoyed meeting my in-laws and getting to run around a real, live house for once, so I’m glad we brought her with us. The following press release sent to me earlier in the week by Brian Vincent gave me chills:

Puppy Dies Because American Airlines Denied Animal Emergency Care
San Francisco, California – For one San Francisco pet, the seemingly safe trip across the country on American Airlines proved to be fatal. “Willie,” a two-year-old English bulldog died after arrival from a cross-country flight. Terrence Ing, the owner of Willie, placed his dog under the care of American Airlines to safely transport his pet on a New York to San Francisco flight. Ing never expected Willie was not going to make the trip alive. According to Ing, an American Airlines baggage manager denied him access to Willie and had the dog relocated pending instructions from airline superiors. It was only after Ing contacted several area veterinarians that animal paramedics arrived five hours after the flight landed. By then, Willie had died. An animal paramedic who examined Willie’s body at the airport believes the dog may have survived had American Airlines provided adequate medical care. Now, Ing is taking American Airlines to court.
“I was expecting Willie’s arrival day to be one of the most joyful days of my life, since we were going to start a new life together in San Francisco. Instead, that day was one of the most traumatic and devastating days that will haunt me forever. I trusted American Airlines to take care of my baby. The airline was not prepared to handle an animal emergency and was callous, unresponsive, and insensitive throughout the ordeal,” said Ing.
According to the Air Transport Association, over 500,000 animals are transported by air each year, of which only one percent experience complications. Complications range from minor issues including unapproved kennels, lack of health certificates, and missed connections to more serious problems, such as loss, injury, or death of the animal. Most injuries to animals in transit result from mishandling by baggage personnel, severe temperature fluctuations, insufficient oxygen in cargo holds, or damage to kennels. For devoted pet lovers, even one percent is a risk worth preventing when trusting an airline to transport their pets safely.
“The Animal Welfare Act requires airlines to provide prompt veterinary care to animals they transport when the animals become sick. Since American Airlines clearly could not provide this care, it was illegal and immoral to prevent Mr. Ing from taking his dog to a vet,” said Corey Evans, an attorney with Evans & Page, who represents Mr. Ing in the lawsuit against American Airlines.
Ing says he hopes the lawsuit will make American Airlines, as well as other airlines, more responsible in transporting dearly loved pets safely. American Airlines and Continental have contributed to more than half of all pet deaths on airplanes.
Digital pics of Willie the dog, as well as media stories about pet deaths related to air transport, are available at:
To read the US Department of Transportation’s report on Willie’s death, go to the following link, then scroll down to August, 2005, then to the second report:
Ing is represented by the San Francisco law office of Evans & Page with the support of Lewis & Clark Law School’s Animal Law Clinic located in Portland, Oregon.
Terrence Ing, Plaintiff, 415-517-7551
Corey Evans, Evans & Page, 415-293-8592, 415-637-2354,

Laura Ireland Moore, National Center for Animal Law, 503-768-6849

Please do what you can to minimize the chance of injury or death for your companion animal, perhaps considering alternate arrangements for travel. Maybe a road trip would be better for you and your dog.

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A push for animal-friendly roads

It’s a few days old, but I just came across this interesting Christian Science Monitor story on the subject of road ecology:

The practice brings together transportation planners, scientists, and wildlife activists who plan new road projects to minimize impacts on animals. By using a variety of strategies – from lowered speed limits in wildlife areas to high-tech, vegetated overpasses where cameras monitor animal use – they hope to reduce the number of animals killed and improve road safety for drivers. 

Increased roadkill in national parks and on America’s roads is a serious issue. About 275,000 animal-related crashes occur each year in the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An estimated 1 million animals are killed on America’s roads each day.

Scientists and transportation planners are seeking to reverse the trend. For instance, the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University is a leader in road ecology. Tony Clevenger, who is a biologist there, recently helped design 24 vegetated wildlife crossings over 30 miles on the Transcanada Highway, which bisects Alaska’s Banff National Park. Those structures helped to cut wildlife mortality by 95 percent since the mid-1980s.

RECIPE: Sweet Polenta Pie

This recipe is from one of my favorite plant-based cookbooks, How It All Vegan, by Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer:


Roasted Veggie Topping:


  • 1 med carrot, chopped
  • 1 sm zucchini, chopped
  • 4 mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 sm green pepper, sliced
  • 1 sm red pepper, sliced
  • 1 sm red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • .5c water
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • In a lg bowl, combine carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and garlic
  • Drizzle lightly with olive oil and mix well
  • Lay veggies out on a cookie sheet or lasagna pan and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned
  • Place .5c of the roasted veggies into a blender or food processor and blend with the water, tomato paste, vinegar, maple syrup, oil, basil, and tomatoes
  • Transfer this sauce and remaining roasted veggies to a medium saucepan and cook on med-high heat for 10 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Simmer on low heat

Pie crust:


  • 1c Coarse cornmeal
  • 3.5c Water
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)


  • In a med bowl, whisk together the cornmeal with 1c of cold water, then set aside
  • In a med pot, bring the remaining 2.5c water to a boil
  • Once boiling, add cornmeal mixture and turn heat down to med-low
  • Add oil, salt, and pepper
  • Continuously stir mixture for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture sticks together and becomes very stiff
  • Pour into a lightly oiled pie shell or a casserole dish
  • Let set for 5-10 minutes
  • Pour veggie topping into pie crust
  • Cut into slices

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My Native Foods Thanksgiving (in pictures)

I remembered to bring my camera with me to the Costa Mesa Native Foods. Everything was made fresh that day by chef Tanya, who was on hand to serve up her popular Native Wellington, which was very good.

Tanya Serves a Guest

The Thanksgiving Buffet

The Native Wellington
(incl. failed attempt to color-correct for the heat lamp)

Dessert: Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Dessert: Vegan Cheesecake

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