Firm & Fresh

Don’t act like you’ve never been in the vegetable aisle and said to your self, that gourd looks really… long.  In honor of World Vegan Day, Peta UK erected this spicy video that gives a wink to the sexual health benefits of going vegan by showcasing men enthusiastically and proudly showing off some healthy protrusions from their trousers. When you go vegan, there are no dancing skills not required.

A recent study concluded that eating lots of celery is like “Vegetable Viagra“. It contains androstenone, a natural steroid that increases pheromone secretion, sex drive, and ups the amount of ejaculatory fluids, making climax stronger. Of course, this is not news to you guys who already know that diets heavy in meat and dairy have been linked to poor sperm quality, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction*. Contrary to popular belief, the male hormone testosterone that determines sexual development and interest has been found to be 13 % higher in vegans than in meat-eaters.

What do you think? Funny and poignant? Or offensive and silly? Weigh in below.

* From Eat Yourself Impotent by Dr. McDougall
1) Ma RC, So WY, Yang X, Yu LW, Kong AP, Ko GT, Chow CC, Cockram CS, Chan JC, Tong PC.  Erectile dysfunction predicts coronary heart disease in type 2 diabetes. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 May 27;51(21):2045-50.
2) Kloner RA.  Erectile dysfunction: the new harbinger for major adverse cardiac events in the diabetic patient. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 May 27;51(21):2051-2.

Year of the Rabbit

2011 is the year of the rabbit, according to the Chinese Zodiac. Peace, harmony, and education are associated with the Rabbit. If you’re like me, someone who is skeptical of most things astrological, supernatural, spiritual or otherwise other-worldly, the Zodiac is simply a fun offering of interesting advice and useful ethical navigation to be taken with a grain of salt and informed by whatever is going on in your personal life. I am not convinced that there are only 12 types of people in this world – yet I still find myself reading astrology now and then. I guess it’s just fun to think something in the newspaper is about me.

China’s animal-inspired zodiac showcases a curious affection for animals – infusing them with meaning and symbology… curious because the country itself has no animal welfare regulations and is notorious for brutalizing many of the same animals they elevate with so much cultural importance. From the rabbit fur trade, to bear-bile farms, to zoos where the endangered animals’ bones are served as soup, China is the last place any animal would want to be.

I made the painting above, titled “Unlucky” to symbolize a dichotomy in our relationship to rabbits, to call attention to the silliness of superstition, and to recognize animals that are killed for their skins. A fur coat has just as much superstitious meaning behind it as a rabbit’s foot. The bearer believes the coat to be a form of protection; a talisman that transforms them into an elegant fashion icon, and at a very base level, a symbol of power over those weaker than ourselves.

It is the year of the Rabbit – not of the rabbit jacket or ear-muffs or hat. Not year of the skinned-alive rabbit, nor year of the screaming rabbits (and they do scream), and certainly not year of the powerless rabbit. Why is it then, that most of the worlds rabbit fur comes from China? Why is it that designers are using faux-spirituality like the über-Zen Donna Karan, instead of faux-rabbit fur?

My New Year’s Resolution is to make the year of the rabbit one that a rabbit would want. Please join me by getting involved in the PINNACLE Initiative.

Some other helpful links for animals in China:

Matt & Nat for Autumn, Undercover Animal Lover

Matt & Nat’s autumn “Faithless” bag in  green and brown plaid, and “Braun” in coated khaki are both very warm and fetching accessories for any gentle-man. Also new is the “Mingus” backpack and the “Teller” and “Moller” in plaid.

Mingus GreenTeller GreenMoller Green

• PETA’s recent undercover investigation into the sick experiments at Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc. (PLRS) has resulted in a major victory for animals. PLRS is surrendering nearly 200 dogs and dozens of cats and shutting its doors for good! Vivisection is inherently cruel and needs to be stopped. Learn more here.

Meat Is (Still) Murder

 BLODIG: Dyreverne pakket inn i sellofan og smurt inn i kunstig blod under en demstrasjon i New York. FOTO: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP PHOTO/SCANPIX

Yesterday, I participated in a bloody spectacle in Times Square. I undressed, lay down in a giant meat tray, got drenched in stage-blood and then wrapped in plastic. Finally, a supermarket-style sticker was placed on my man-parts that read “FLESH: Billions of animals are abused and violently killed because you eat meat. Get Help. Visit“. There was a media frenzy, and a crowd of onlookers stood by, quietly absorbing the visuals. I kept hearing people murmur,”I’ve lost my appetite“, or “Now what are we going to have for lunch?”.

In addition to the New York Post video above, the event got coverage in New York Magazine, CNN, on Howard Stern, IFP, The Calgary Sun, Toronto Sun,, and various other places, and made headline news in Norway, the Netherlands, and China.

Gallery Image

It’s no surprise that PETA takes criticism from both sides for their attention-grabbing tactics. Some argue that their spectacles compromise the seriousness of the message, while others complain about not having these ideas “pushed” on them (as if the visual and emotional assault the meat and dairy industry pays billions for each year isn’t pushing a specific, and untrue, idea about milk and meat)  – but you can’t argue with a crowd of hundreds who mostly took pamphlets, pictures, and asked questions. It was an effective and stimulating demonstration.

The religious couple at the end of the video who have a “live and let live” philosophy about veganism miss the point; the animals are very much alive. What they are really asking is for activists to” live and let kill“.

One critic, on the CNN website, wrote that she’ll never take PETA seriously (or any animal activists) so long as they throw paint at people and wish cancer upon meat eaters.

I love this myth, that animal activists throw paint at people (aside from themselves). I don’t think that’s happened since 1980, yet everyone who questions animal activists’ tactics seems to believe that they’ve had, or will have, paint thrown at them, or in this case, diseases “wished” upon them – and that justifies  “not taking them seriously”.

Let’s reiterate: This CNN writer is unwilling to take the side of the (supposed) paint-throwers, because throwing paint negates what…. facts? Validity? But this same writer is willing to take the side of the throat slitters, the skull crushers, the limb grinders, the life-takers, the mother-child-bond-breakers, the mothers’ milk thieves… because that industry does not throw paint at people. And instead of wishing cancer on people, they very physically give cancer to people. This activist-cancer-wisher, paint-thrower is a straw man!

Most animal advocates are animal advocates because they are compassionate. Most of the animal advocates I know are the same people who are the environmentalists and human rights activists. I can’t imagine any one of my friends wishing cancer upon someone .

From the animals’ perspective this issue really isn’t very gray. Most of us don’t need to eat them to thrive, and it hurts them, us, and the planet. What’s so difficult?

Bear Hats, Covered Feet

Terra Plana’s new vegan range includes some sharp, organic canvas and eco-PU footwear. Thanks to reader Tyson for the tip!

Dark Brown ClaudiusBlack Claudius

Stella McCartney defends bears! Bearskin hats have been worn since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 where they were taken as a badge of honour by the Grenadier Guards when they defeated Napoleon’s bearskin-wearing Imperial Guard – but not for long is PETA and Stella McCartney have their say. A Hint Magazine Article today covered Stella’s “relentless crusade for critter-friendly fashion.”

PETA's faux-fur version of the bearskin.

The dashing, discerning, Dan Matthews showcases the Faux-Bearskin that PETA and Stella are pitching to the Palace to save bears’ lives. Why the synthetic version, you ask? Because it often takes a whole bear to make one hat! Royally gross. There’s no good excuse.

“McCartney is partnering with PETA to give those vigilant palace guards a fur-conscious makeover, swapping their bear fur hats with synthetic versions. (Going naked instead of wearing fur is not an option, apparently).”

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