Tag Archives: vegan

Investigating China’s Infamous Dog Meat Trade

Pau at Chinese dog meat farm. He was rescued and brought back to the U.S. this year.
Pau at Chinese dog meat farm. He was rescued and brought back to the U.S. this year.

[On Tuesday night (Sept. 20, 2016) the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution in solidarity with Chinese activists condemning the killing of dogs for food in China, and asking China to end the dog meat trade there. I thought this would be a good time to publish my recent article about activists who went to China earlier this year and rescued three dog meat dogs. This article originally appeared at The Daily Pitchfork.]

By Michael Goldberg

There was no sink, no bed, no toilet. The walls of the Chinese jail cell, in which US animal rights activist Wayne Hsiung found himself, were painted a bright blue. The lights were never turned off.

“I thought I could be held indefinitely, particularly when they claimed we were spies from the US government,” Hsiung said during an interview.

In early May of this year, six Chinese interrogators took turns going at him for 15 hours. He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t sleep. Hsiung, co-founder of the international animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), faced questions about why he had planted hidden cameras at a slaughterhouse in Yulin, China, now infamous for its annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

Meanwhile, his activist colleague, Julianne Perry, an MBA student at Dartmouth, faced her own interrogation in the same jail.

“I thought of the suffragettes jailed dozens of times, freedom riders sending dozens of students to be jailed,” Perry said. “I took comfort that I would be in good company if I was kept in jail for speaking out against social injustice.”

Hsiung, a lawyer who had taught at Northwestern School of Law, was worried about what would happen not only to Perry, but the third member of his investigatory team, Chris Van Breen, a deeply compassionate activist from San Jose whose day job is working as a plumber and who was waiting for Hsiung and Perry at their rented apartment in downtown Yulin. Just as pressing on Hsiung’s mind was the fate of the three dogs they’d rescued a week earlier from a Yulin dog meat farm.

“My main concern was the safety of the dogs,” Hsiung said.

A week earlier, on April 25, 2016, Hsiung and the other two DxE members had arrived in China to investigate the dog meat trade.

“It was partly redemption,” Hsiung said, explaining one of his reasons for the investigation. “I remember seeing dogs suffering [in China] when I was 9 years old. I wanted to save some because I couldn’t when I was a child.”

Julianne Perry at dog meat farm in China.
Julianne Perry at dog meat farm in China.

The dog meat farm turned out to be a former pig farm. For Hsiung, it was ironic because DxE had recently investigated one of Hormel’s Farmer John farms and documented the horrific conditions.

The owner told Hsiung he had to switch to dogs after he was essentially driven out of the pork business by huge multi-national companies like Smithfield and Hormel. But the owner also told Hsuing that whether he raised pigs or dogs made no difference, to him they were all the same. As Hsiung later said, this was one thing they could both agree on.

While Hsuing said that farms in the US are much worse that the dog meat farm he saw; but it was still a hellhole of a place: filthy and dilapidated with piles of old wood and other garbage scattered about and a rusty gate leading inside, where Hsiung’s found seven dogs confined in cement-walled pens.

Hsiung returned to the farm with Perry and Van Breen the next day to rescue three dogs, who are brothers and who they later named Pao, Lao and Xiao. “This was death row,” Van Breen said. “Every animal there was born to be murdered.”

The three dogs were covered with fleas and ticks, their skin was red, they were losing their fur and their bellies were distended. The DxE team took the dogs to a vet where they were de-fleaed and de-ticked. With Van Breen and Perry caring for the dogs at the apartment, Hsiung began part two of the investigation at a slaughterhouse in Yulin.

Read the rest of this story at the Huffington Post.

– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

Animal Rights Protestors Block San Francisco Street

Animal rights protestors in the street outside Macy’s.

This past Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I was one of over 100 activists from around the world who were in the Bay Area for an animal rights conference held by Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and to protest against the abuse and killing of animals for food and clothing.

On Saturday May 23 we held three protests, the last of which was on Geary Street outside Macy’s.

Check out this excellent news coverage by Indymedia:

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And check out this Vicious Vegan post about the protest.

– A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post –

Video: Watch Footage Of Entire BOAA, DXE Goat Festival Protest

Dead goat cooking demo protest. Photo by Michael Goldberg

The entire BOAA, DXE protest at the Goat Festival in San Francisco this past Saturday, also known as Goatchella, was videotaped and all the video was uploaded to YouTube.

Clearly calling the festival Goatchella was an attempt by the festival organizers to give this sick event some kind of hipness. They failed.

The protest was quite remarkable. I was there as a participant, but I also took photos, some of which are part of this post.

As you’ll see if you watch the first video clip, which documents the fifteen minute protest that effectively disrupted a cooking demo during which sausage made from dead goat flesh was served, a young woman stood up as soon as the protest began and delivered a moving speech about the rights of goats to a decent life that does not include being murdered so that humans can snack on their dead flesh.

For the second and third videos, the protesters walked through the festival, occasionally stopping to talk about the injustices.

These videos are very powerful and should be an inspiration to anyone who cares about animals.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

– A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post –


Security guard stands by during protest at the goat cooking demonstration. Photos by Michael Goldberg

Today I joined a group of animal activists in protesting a grotesque annual event held at the Ferry Building in San Francisco called the Goat Festival.

You can read an excellent report about the event by my wife Leslie Goldberg at her Vicious Vegan blog.

Here’s the beginning of her post:


By Leslie Goldberg

We were at the annual Goat Festival in San Francisco to cause a disruption Saturday. Yup, this morning I wasn’t pecking at my keyboard spouting off about animal rights or about the environment disaster caused by animal food consumption, but rather I took it to the streets with the animal rights groups DXE (Direct Action Everywhere) and BOAA (Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy).

The disruption was successful: By chanting (loudly) and holding up signs we managed to make it almost impossible to give a cooking goat sausage demonstration.

A small group of foodies had gathered under a tent in front of the Ferry Building to watch John Stewart-Streit show how to fry up the flesh of a goat and to also have some samples. Stewart-Streit owns a restaurant in Oakland that serves “house-butchered porcine delights.” The onlookers sat on folding chairs apparently unaware they were about to experience an animal rights protest up close and personal.

Security, on the other hand, was aware there was to be a disruption. There were about eight San Francisco police officers and private security guards standing around. The cops kept talking into their radios. The security officers seemed annoyed.

As the goat cooking demo got started and the chef started talking about the “pleasures” of goat consumption, one activist who had been sitting in the audience stood up, and holding a poster of a dog kissing a goat, faced the audience and explained (loudly) about how goats feel, suffer, experience joy and love their families just like us.

Read the entire post here.

– A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post –

Dig This! California’s Water Is Going To China & The Middle East

It’s not exactly a media blackout, but the true cause of California’s water shortage is not getting much play in the media.

Today my wife wrote another excellent post on California’s drought at her equally excellent blog, Vicious Vegan.

Here’s how it begins:


By Leslie Goldberg

Since Gov. Jerry Brown has announced that the little people now should cut back their water consumption by 25 percent, the folks in the animal food industry must be popping the champagne corks. Not only has Brown declined to ask agriculture, including animal agriculture, to cut back, it looks to me like none of the major American media outlets are focusing on livestock and calling it out for the mega-sponge it is.

Instead, the press recently has managed to suggest the idea it’s fruits and vegetables that are the culprits and if we want to do right we should not only turn off the sprinklers but ditch the almond milk and maybe skip the salad. Ok, ok, we should definitely turn off the sprinklers and phase out those oversized spa bathtubs, I agree. But there has been scarcely a hiccup about animal ag with a few exceptions and that’s a serious bummer.

Animal agriculture deserves more than a hiccup! And hamburgers are costing us way more than $1 a piece. Forty-seven percent of California’s water is used for meat and dairy products, according to a study by the Pacific Institute.

California’s biggest crop happens to be not almonds, tomatoes or lettuce. It’s alfalfa. Michael Pollan said during an interview with phys.org, that about 25 percent of our water is going to raise alfalfa, which is primarily for animal feed – not avocado sandwiches. …

Read the whole post here.

– A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post –

The Environment: The True Cause Of California’s Drought (And It’s Not Almonds)

Drawing by Leslie Goldberg

Note: Although this blog is primarily about art (music, film, literature, etc.), I have been concerned about the environment since I was a kid, and given that we have reached a point where climate change is seriously impacting the lives of humans and other animals (and fish and birds and insects)– in other words, it’s the biggest problem the world faces today and we can’t ignore it — I will be including articles related to climate change in the mix of my posts going forward.

My wife writes a great blog called “Vicious Vegan” that includes her humerous/serious essays along with her drawings.

Yesterday she posted an important piece about the true cause of California’s drought.

Here’s the first few graphs. (You can read the whole thing here.):


By Leslie Goldberg

Wouldn’t you know it? It’s the health food freaks, the almond milk guzzlers who are fueling California’s water shortage. Did you know that it takes a whole gallon of water to raise one almond?

A whole gallon.

Those self-righteous vegans who think they know something!

Since I happened to have a pound of almonds in the refrigerator I decided to count up those little water suckers and see how much water it takes to produce a pound of almonds. It was bad. Four hundred and thirty-three gallons of water.

Four hundred and thirty-three? Wait a minute. How about a pound of beef? (I dare say it’s a lot easier to eat a pound of beef than it is to eat a pound of almonds.) According to the folks at waterfootprint.org it takes between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.

“More than half the entire US water supply goes to livestock,” says the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

“It takes a lot of water to grow grain, forage, and roughage to feed a cow, as well as water to drink and to service the cow,” says the US Geological Survey Water Science School.

“Meat processing, especially chicken, also uses large amounts of water,” says the Environmental Working Group…

Read the rest here.

– A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post –

Video: Chrissie Hynde Says You Can’t Be An Environmentalist If You Eat Meat

Great clip of Chrissie Hynde talking about why she doesn’t eat animals.

This was shown on Swedish and Norwegian television the 28-29th of October 2014.

She brings up the fact that you can’t be an environmentalist if you’re a meat eater.

If you doubt that, here’s a report from the respected Worldwatch Institute, written by environmental specialists Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang of the World Bank Group, a United Nations agency, in which they estimate that at least 51% of green house gas is caused by animal agriculture.

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Morrissey: ‘I see no difference between eating animals and paedophilia. They are both rape, violence, murder’

Photo via Morrissey’s Facebook page.

In a Q&A on his fan site, True To You, Morrissey goes after meat eaters:

If you have access to You Tube, you should click on to what is called The video the meat industry doesn’t want you to see. If this doesn’t affect you in a moral sense then you’re probably granite. I see no difference between eating animals and paedophilia. They are both rape, violence, murder. If I’m introduced to anyone who eats beings, I walk away. Imagine, for example, if you were in a nightclub and someone said to you “Hello, I enjoy bloodshed, throat-slitting and the destruction of life,” well, I doubt if you’d want to exchange phone numbers…

I would like all governments to be forced to engage an Animal Protectionist MP. I would like a complete zoo and circus ban. I would like every television commercial that promotes ‘flesh-food’ to be followed by a commercial showing how the living pig and the living cow become the supermarket commodity, step by step. I would like the Queen of England to be asked why she wears an electrocuted bear-cub on her head. I would like to ask all so-called celebrity chefs why they believe that animals should have no right to live. If Jamie ‘Orrible is so certain that flesh-food is tasty then why doesn’t he stick one of his children in a microwave? It would taste the same as cooked lamb. The singer Cilla Black recently appeared on television telling us how she was preparing leg of lamb for dinner, and since a lamb is a baby, I wondered what kind of mind Cilla Black could possibly have that would convince her that eating a baby is OK. On another TV program an actor called Jeremy Edwards explained how excited he was at the discovery in Siberia of preserved Woolly Mammoths with enough DNA (flowing blood) to resurrect the animals – which have obviously been extinct for thousands of years. Edwards was excited by this because he said “I’d really like to try a Mammoth burger.” This, alas, is typical of the human idiot. Although the meat industry alone is destroying the planet, I would like to ask President Obama why he says nothing on the subject. Although the meat industry puts an intolerable strain on the medical profession I would like to ask world leaders why they say nothing on the subject. Although meat products are killing off half the human race very speedily, I would like to ask world leaders why they do not care in the least. Money, and only money, makes the world go around. I would also like to ask meat-eaters why they are so certain that animals deserve such barbaric and horrific treatment. I would like to ask meat-eaters why they believe that animals should not have any rights to live their own lives, whilst humans fiercely demand a god-given right to live as they wish simply by reason of their birth alone.

Read the entire Q&A here.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Jay-Z Goes Vegan, Starts 22-Day Plant-Based Diet

Jay-Z is going on a 22-day vegan diet, according to the rapper’s LIfe + Times blog.

Jay-Z writes:

Psychologists have said it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. On the 22nd day, you’ve found the way.

On December 3rd, one day before my 44th birthday I will embark on a 22 Days challenge to go completely vegan, or as I prefer to call it, plant-based!! This all began a few months back when a good friend and vegan challenged me to embrace a “plant-based breakfast” every day. It was surprisingly easier on me than I thought…

Why now? There’s something spiritual to me about it being my 44th birthday and the serendipity behind the number of days in this challenge; 22 (2+2=4) coupled with the fact that the challenge ends on Christmas day…It just feels right!

So you can call it a spiritual and physical cleanse. I will post my progress… Any professional vegans out there that have any great food spots please help out! Please ha. I don’t know what happens after Christmas. A semi-vegan, a full plant-based diet? Or just a spiritual and physical challenge? We’ll see…

Best of luck and health!

P.S. B is also joining me.

— A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post —

PETA Offers Postage Stamps Featuring Joan Jett, Paul McCartney, Morrissey & More

This is cool. In time for all your holiday mail, PETA has released postage stamps featuring famous vegetarians.

Featured on the stamps: Sarah Silverman, Bob Barker, Paul McCartney, Ricky Martin, Russell Simmons, Mayim Bialik, Edie Falco, Casey Affleck, Belinda Carlisle, Pamela Anderson, Alan Cumming, John Salley, Vivienne Westwood, Sara Gilbert, Morrissey, Joaquin Phoenix, Marco Antonio Regil, Sam Simon, Stella McCartney, and Joan Jett.

Over at Brooklyn Vegan they found some choice quotes from vegetarian celebrities:

Morrissey says,

I think animals look to humans for protection, and of course humans lead them into slaughterhouses, which to me is just like an image of leading children into a slaughterhouse. There’s no difference.

And some words of wisdom from Sir Paul McCartney:

If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.

Buy the stamps here.