Saturday, April 25, 2009

Battery/Cage Dilemma Resolved

So ever since I read the two articles in favor of the battery-caged hens, I have been haunted with uncertainty and self-doubt. I finally emailed Kath Rogers, a fellow environmentalist on the UCSD campus, about the whole matter, and here is the email I got back:

"Hey Steph!

SO good to hear from you!

I'm so glad you asked that question - I saw that article too and here’s my response to it (sorry it’s lengthy!!!).

The farm described in that article is called Armstrong Egg Farms, and they are not objective in this debate. Armstrong contributed $65,000 into the "No on Prop 2" campaign in California. The owner, Mr. Armstrong, was the guy flying around the state to defend battery cages during the Prop 2 campaign. He was the sole person who showed up in opposition to us when lots of us testified in support of Prop 2 at the San Diego city council meeting (the council ended up supporting Prop 2!). He regularly speaks out against cage-free egg production and was a spokesperson for the agribusiness coalition that unsuccessfully fought against Prop 2.

Armstrong Farms is a huge egg farm which uses lots of battery cages. He created a (very) small portion of his farm which produces "cage free" eggs. His "cage-free" hens are crowded, dirty, old and many are losing feathers--and he wants to keep it that way for his public tours, so that he can "prove" that battery cages are good. He offers "comparative tours" of very young (ie, white and fluffy) hens in battery cages and then a tour of older (missing some feathers) cage-free hens, and then say: "See -- hens are better off confined in battery cages."

In reality, scientific analyses of the various systems all come to a far different conclusion from that of Mr. Armstrong. The definitive review of the science on this topic is at , and concludes: "Regardless of how a battery-cage confinement system is managed, all caged hens are permanently denied the opportunity to express most of their basic behavior within their natural repertoire. The science is clear that this deprivation represents a serious inherent welfare disadvantage compared to any cage-free production system." A much shorter summary is available from the Humane Society at:

This is not to say that cage-free is totally cruelty-free because I still have problems with the fact that all farms destroy the male baby chicks because there is no use for them, etc. However, battery cages are one of the worst forms of animal cruelty - caging animals so that they can barely move for their entire lives. This is why all of the animal welfare and environmental organizations pushed so hard to pass Prop 2 to ban battery cages, including The Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, Center For Food Safety, California Veterinary Medical Association, Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Center for Science and the Public Interest.

Let me know if that answers your question. We should definitely stay and touch and work together on for animals and the environment on campus - I transferred in the fall, and am now officially a senior, so I'll be here for another year! Thanks for all of the AMAZING work you guys are doing with VEG - I'd like to get more involved with it!

Talk soon!


I can finally sleep again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dude. It's a free online organic lifestyle magazine.

Dude. How cool is a paper-free, money-free online organic lifestyle magazine?

Pretty fantabulously cool, that's f'sho.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Organizations at Balboa Park's Earth Fair

Halloo all,

Today I went to the Earth Fair in Balboa park and discovered a bunch of neat new organizations.

Non-GMO Project:

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers.

Our shared belief is that everyone deserves an informed choice about whether or not to consume genetically modified products, and our common mission is to ensure the sustained availability of non-GMO options.

San Diego Friends of Fair Trade:

We aim to increase the understanding and use of Fair Trade throughout San Diego through education, policy change, and a shift in economic paradigm.

Heifer International: (Okay, not exactly vegetarian, but poor people have to eat too.)
This organization raises money to donate cows, goats, bees, etc. to poor people so they have a source of eggs, milk, etc to consume/sell and help get them out of extreme poverty.


Whenever California Supreme Court is going to make the decision on Prop 8, this website is going to announce and call us to mobilize to be present at the decision, to (maybe) help influence it.


Raising awareness of environmental issues through trips to Africa (and elsewhere,) plus part of the money goes to conseration efforts


Website dedicated to getting out the REAL news, the stuff mainstream tv doesn't want to tell you. (EG: the bad side of GMOS, Monsanto, etc.)


You can recycle old outdoor gear!


Peace Resource Center of Sand Diego is a membership organization working for peace, social justice and a sustainable environment.


Water is a precious resource--too many people don't clean water and die from infected water. We can make a difference!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Two (short) articles on the controversy behind various types of eggs.

That's a thinker.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

tee hee

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Halloo all,

Saw this ad on my facebook page about helping PETA pressure McDonald's about their US suppliers' chicken abuse.

If it were any org other than PETA I would help, but since it is anti-feminist PETA, I can't support them.

If anyone is interested in supporting them though, there is more information here:

Recipe Update: Mozarella and Tomato Pizza

Halloo All!

A while ago I made this pizza, tweaked ingredients and ate it. It was delish!

Thought I'd share the recipe (along with the changes I made)


A crisp-crusted pizza holiding a filling of herb-flavored tomatos with a topping of sliced black (I used green) olives, peppers, and golden, melting mozarella--yum! To save time, prepare the filling while the dough is rising. makes one 25-cm (10 inch) pizza.

3 tablespoons fresh yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1.5 cups plain (white) flour. (*I used 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and it turned out fine--using all wheat flour doesn't work very well though, as I learned the previous week when I tried this recipe and failed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder (asafetida is basically something akin to garlic and onion powder put together. I like lots of these ingredients, so I used way more than 1/4 teaspoon)
1 400g (14oz) can whole Italian Tomatoes, chopped and undrained, or 1.5 cups fresh tomato puree.
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese (Personally I'm not a mozarella fan--I used feta and goat cheese, and way more than just 1//4 cup. Vegan cheese should work perfectly fine as a substitute as well).
2 tablespoons grated parmesean (or grana padano) cheese
1 cup thin strips of eggplant, deep-friend until dark golden-brown, then salted (honestly I'm not a HUGE fan of eggplant..and there was asparagus in my refrigerator. Tastes AWESOME).
1 small red (green, yellow, orange) pepper, diced
1/4 cup black (green) olives, pitted and halved.

Cream the yeast with the sugar in a bowl, add lukewarm water, and let stand for 10 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface.

Sift flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the center, and add oil and yeast mixture. Mix to a firm dough. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough with your fist and knead into a small ball. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and roll into a circular sheet of pastry that will just fit a 25-cm (10 inch) pizza pan (or, in my case, cookie sheet). Place dough carefully on the pan.

Prepare your filling: Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. When hot, add the asafetida and saute momentarily. Add the undrained canned tomatoes or tomato puree, tomato paste, oregano, basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat, and stirring occasionally, simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Allow the filling to cool somewhat.

Spread cooled filling over pizza base, leaving a little border uncovered. Combine half the grated mozzarella cheese with the parmesean and sprinkle over the tomato filling. Top with the eggplant strips, chopped peppers, and olives. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven (220C/430F) for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Serve hot.