Animal Rights Activists Endanger Chickens in Massive ‘Rescue’

Animal rights activists forcibly broke into a farm supplying Whole Foods with eggs and stole chickens in broad daylight last week. Local farmers worry that in their zeal to save chickens the activists actually endangered them.

The Direct Action Everywhere “rescue,” which involved hundreds of activists transported to Petaluma, California, on seven buses on May 29, comes as the latest action targeting Whole Foods or businesses connected with the supermarket giant.

“They were bused in,” Toni Brooks, a neighbor of the targeted Sunrise Farms property, told The American Spectator of the estimated 300 to 400 activists descending on the city about an hour north of San Francisco. “They marched up the street with signs saying, ‘Funeral Procession.’”

Brooks’s husband Phil, also a local farmer, found the rhetoric confusing given that the poultry on the targeted farm produce eggs and not meat.

“All of them are for eggs,” Brooks told The American Spectator. “There are no meat birds here. They were yelling at us that we were ‘baby eaters’ because we eat eggs.”

The protesters came from Animal Liberation Conference 2018, an event hosted by the Save Movement and Direct Action Everywhere at the University of California, Berkeley. Wayne Hsiung, the cofounder of Direct Action Everywhere, laid out the group’s purpose to activists immediately before the event, cryptically labeled “Action #4” on the conference schedule. He told them that they traveled to Petaluma to rescue sick birds before leading a march up a road. The action resulted in 40 arrests.

“They got down into the chickens before the police got there,” Phil Brooks, who confronted the activists, explained to The American Spectator. “They pried the door open using crowbars. This is a steel building — brand new, million-dollar building. The employees inside tried to hold the doors closed.

“They barged their way in and there were women who were employees — they were grabbing the women and throwing them down, out of the way. The women tried to hold them back but they just kept pushing the women out of the way and they went right on in.”

In another building, the activists absconded with a dozen to several dozen chickens. They draped white cloths around the chickens they labeled sick or injured and black cloths around dead ones.

The farm houses several hundred thousand chickens. By entering the farm without a foot bath or other standard precautions, the activists, critics say, threatened with sickness the very birds they claimed to save from sickness.

“All farms in today’s world are very high biosecurity,” fifth-generation farmer Trent Loos explains to The American Spectator. “You cannot afford to let anybody to come on your farm. People can put the entire population of chickens in jeopardy.”

As they ignored farm-specific customs to protect animals, the activists dismissed civilizational ones to protect people, as well.

“The women and the guys were going in between these vans and using it as a bathroom,” Phil Brooks explains of the makeshift, open-air bathroom on the farmer’s property. “Oh, yeah. One guy, I yelled at him. I said, ‘Hey, what are you wiping yourself with?’ It was totally unsanitary and uncalled for. There was garbage all over, plastic bottles from water, and whatever they were eating.”

Brooks concedes that, after prodding from him and other locals, the protesters thoroughly policed their trash. But they drew a line, and flashed a “peace” sign, when asked to remove their excrement.

Apart from livestreaming the event, the protesters invited the local media and dispatched drones to document from the skies. But farmers say that, despite the extensive preparations to chronicle the action, the demonstrators never bothered to educate themselves on the proper hygienic protocols for close encounters with farm animals.

“In the United States and in California, cows, hogs, and chickens have received viruses from immigrants, where the people passed a virus to the animals,” Loos points out. “H1N1, for instance, was passed from the people to the animals.”

Local farmers find out in the coming weeks that if an action taken to save animals results instead in widespread animal deaths.

The post Animal Rights Activists Endanger Chickens in Massive ‘Rescue’ appeared first on The American Spectator.

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It’s Time To Put Our Federal Meat Inspection Law Out To Pasture: New at Reason

Last week, Sens. Mike Rounds , John Thune , and Angus King introduced a bill that would allow meat processed in many state-inspected slaughterhouses and other state-inspected facilities to be sold across state lines. The sensible bill, dubbed the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act, could be a real boon to livestock farmers who want to sell their meat and meat products in neighboring states, and to the consumers who want their products.

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It’s Time To Put Our Federal Meat Inspection Law Out To Pasture

Last week, Sens. Mike Rounds (R-N.D.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced a bill that would allow meat processed in many state-inspected slaughterhouses and other state-inspected facilities to be sold across state lines.

The sensible bill, dubbed the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act, could be a real boon to livestock farmers who want to sell their meat and meat products in neighboring states, and to the consumers who want their products.

Before you get your hopes up, though, consider that this under-the-radar, bipartisan bill has been around in some form or other for more than fifteen years. Then-Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) introduced similar legislation in 2000. Then-U.S. Representative (now Senator) Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) sponsored a version of the bill in 2006. A year later, then-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) introduced the bill.

Yet the ban on interstate sales persists. That’s despite the fact it’s got broad support.

“The New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act of 2018 will strengthen local economies by allowing meat and poultry products inspected under State meat inspection programs to be sold across state lines,” said Kenny Graner, president of the United States Cattlemen’s Association, earlier this month. “This opens access to new markets that were previously unavailable due to outdated federal regulations.”

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association also supports the bill. State agriculture departments have long been on board. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is, too. A 2001 study by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, which attempted to identify differences between states that operate their own inspection regimes and those states that do not, noted the USDA “officially endorses legislation to permit interstate commerce for state-inspected meat.”

So just what is the holdup? The status quo appears to be largely the result of a powerful, lousy law colliding with lazy lawmakers in Washington.

Since the late 1960s, as I’ve lamented several times here and in my recent book, Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable, the USDA has required any animals and their meat that will be sold commercially to be slaughtered and processed in USDA-inspected facilities or in state facilities that are “at least equal to” the USDA facilities (a requirement known, artfully, as the “‘equal to’ requirement”).

That requirement is part of the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, which applies both to interstate and intrastate sales. Practically, it means that if a local farmer wants to sell you (or a local restaurant) a pound of ground beef, he or she must have the beef processed in a facility that complies with the federal law.

The law, as it applies to wholly intrastate sales—as in the burger example—is unconstitutional. As I’ve noted before, by passing the Wholesome Meat Act, Congress delegated to the USDA a power Congress itself does not possess: to regulate wholly intrastate commerce.

On the other hand, as I noted in an op-ed in The Hill last week, Congress clearly has the power under the U.S. Constitution to regulate interstate commerce. But the fact a law is constitutional doesn’t make it smart policy. For example, under the Wholesome Meat Act, a steak from a cow that was inspected in a state facility (operated in more than half of U.S. states) that follows regulations at least as stringent as those required under federal law in, say, South Dakota, can be sold anywhere in the state but can’t be sold just across the border in Minnesota.

A program created under the 2008 Farm Bill, known as Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program, was supposed to alleviate the problem. But CIS has been unpopular for a variety of reasons.

First, it took years to implement. And once it was implemented, problems were immediately apparent. “The Cooperative Inspection Program is cumbersome, requires the entire state to apply to participate before individual plants that meet certain conditions can apply, and contains other provisions that appear to have dissuaded both states and plants from signing up,” reads a 2013 article in the Vermont Law Review.

According to Sen. Rounds, the bill co-sponsor, only four states so far have embraced the CIS model.

“It really is past time to just say that people can sell anywhere in the country under state inspection,” says Judith McGeary, executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, in an email to me this week. “[E]ither that, or stop requiring that state inspection be equal to federal. Either it is equal or it’s not!”

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How I learned to stop worrying and love the sous vide machine



The Machine sits at an odd angle, dorm room microwave sized, almost obscured from view in our small converted closet of a pantry. It is openly laughing at me through its greasy front plate, a pile of tea towels wreathing its flat metal head like a badly wrapped turban. It’s on the second shelf, back right, nestled against a collection of “it seemed a good idea at the time” purchases and well-meaning gifts for a solid home cook — a brown and yellow terracotta “sombrero” style conical chicken roaster, a poultry trussing kit and cradle, a bag full of gaudily colored and impractically large “traditional” dried pasta from an un-ironically named gourmet food shop in northern New Jersey, a probably-now-rancid container of olive oil from a country that doesn’t really make olive oil.

Over the years, The Machine has been shellacked with a thin crust of mop dust, pulverized breakfast cereal flakes and dog kibble debris, all centrifuged and eventually aerosolized by the carefree footsteps of a hyperkinetic wrecking ball of an eight-year old. The difference between The Machine and the rest of the occupants of the closet is that it, The Machine, a first rate sous vide (“under vacuum”) unit and vacuum bag sealer, is itself, actually a good idea. I am terrified of and embarrassed by The Machine.

Every couple of months I’ll grab a roasting pan or similar tool from off of one of the build-in kitchenwire shelves and I’ll make eye contact with it — I swear, after a few glasses of wine, I’ve seen it raise a chrome eyebrow at me. The message is clear: “don’t really have the chops you think you do, huh, kid?” — I usually pull one of the towels down to cover its mocking face. I threw an ice cube at it once.

Now, I understand that I should be able to just watch a couple of Youtube videos and learn how to use it like Brooklyn’s answer to Eric Ripert, but for some reason the haughty presupposing instructions and sleek Germanic modernist casings provoked a primal fear of kitchen inadequacy and culinary performance anxiety. Luckily, there’s Shortychef — a one man kitchen-mounted Viagra dispenser, come to lay a smackdown on any paralytic panimpotence.

I’ve known Shortychef — aka Josh Eden — since the 1990s. He’s a study in the unity of opposites. On the one hand he’s the chilliest dude you’ve ever met. He’s really funny and unfailingly polite, he likes to watch the Mets, plays fantasy sports, doesn’t drink but likes the chronic, listens to jam bandy classic rock, goes to the track, enjoys a round of golf, is a big time dog lover, generally quiet in a crowd and always seems to be smiling.

On the other hand, he’s a shaved-head assassin of a kitchen boss. He made his bones when we still thought Patrick Ewing was going to win this city an NBA championship. He’s been one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s main guys on and off for years, but he’s also worked with and for some of the biggest names in New York and global gastronomy (although he’s too modest to tell you that unless you asked him straight up) and has run a number of his own spots, including the successful Shorty’s .32 in SoHo which served the best braised short ribs that I have ever eaten.

When Vongerichten opens a new resto in some exotic locale where the food has to be Fed-Exed in every morning, more often than not, Shorty is on a plane to get it up and running. He’s a cook, chef and go-to problem solver. He’s a calm, pleasant professional and proven kitchen hit man in a world once full of unstable pirates and knife throwing, abusive misanthropes. He’s the Victor the Cleaner of the Vongerichten food empire. He’s also one of the hardest working human beings I’ve ever met — when he had Shorty’s .32 he didn’t take a night off for months in a row. The guy is no joke.

But, because he’s also tender-hearted and generous, there he was ammenably in my kitchen on a rare day off, smiling tolerantly as my undertrained and oversized spastic lovemush of a rescue dog, Frankie slobbered all over him, drinking ginger beer out of a take-out one pint soup container and eyeing my pre-prepared third-rate mise en place skeptically. “Need anything, bro?”, I asked, my voice cracking with gleeful anticipation and some back notes of nervousness.

“Blades? Salt?” he gently asked. A rush of relief and self-importance. On that score, I had him covered. Like most wannabes, I emphasize the tools of the trade to over-compensate for a lack of skill in actually using them (real soldiers don’t fetishize their gear). So my knives are frigging beautiful. I have a bunch of gorgeous cutlery, including a custom CutBrooklyn 10” chef’s blade that’s so slick it looks like it was made in Wakanda. Before Shorty arrived, I honed the knives to razor sharpness and laid them out, ready to rock and roll.

Shorty looked all seven of my knoves over quickly and for a fleeting second, a pained expression flitted across his face. His eyes lit up as they settled on a stained, ground down and battered old boning knife, half the size of my trophies. My mom had acquired the knife in the 1960s. He grabbed it. I presented him with several containers of fancy “for the foodie in your life!” varieties of salt (think “organic Portuguese tidal sea salt infused with cork tree pollen”). The slightest hint of a gentle and tolerant crinkly-eyed smile before he reached past the individually-curated-flakes-of-artisanal-hand-harvested-Brittany-truffle-salt and grabbed the jar of Diamond Brand Kosher. “Yeah, we’re good,” said Shorty. And we were off.

Our small group gathered around the kitchen island as Shorty got to work. We were doing three separate proteins with sides, all done in The Machine. An improbably expensive piece of wild salmon from Fish Tales on Court Street, from Staubitz in Cobble Hill two beautiful bone-in ribeyes and one pork shoulder, also bone in. After an initial round of asking annoying and intemperate questions designed to telegraph my "massive” knowledge of cookery and generally getting in the way, a novel and uncharacteristically bright idea occurred to me: Just shut up, be helpful and get out of the way.

We chopped, we cleaned and cleared; we listened as Shorty broke down the process and the proteins. The shoulder got deboned in about a minute, the glorious chunk of pig was split in half, one side chopped and seasoned for chili tacos, the other scored, trussed and rolled as a roast, with us all taking a turn at screwing up the really simple cross stitching which Shorty patiently undid and fixed. The steaks went into the seal bags with garlic, seasoning and olive oil; the fish was cut into perfect five-ounce chunks and bagged with Provençal herbs and butter. We cranked up the soundtrack, leaning heavily on what I hoped were Shorty’s favorites: the Allman Brothers, the Black Crows and Government Mule. Bottles of cold cava, North Fork Cab Franc and  mid-range rosé Minervois were popped and sucked down, everything got turned up to 11.

Well, everything but Shorty.

As we got louder, jollier and more inexact, Shorty went in exactly the opposite direction — his station somehow always immaculate despite the chaos, his movements precise, controlled, directed. He showed us how to use the prep sealer to lock in a fat (olive oil or butter), a protein and flavoring agents; told us how we could economize by slicing one of the vacuum bags in half with a shears and sealing the ragged side, demonstrated how to set the temperature on the bath, and explained generally why this was worth all the fuss.

The most salient point for me is that the method is largely idiot-proof. You cook your food to an exact predetermined temperature that The Machine maintains for you for a precise amount of time. You set that time when you start. You can’t overcook anything as it holds the temperature for you no matter how easily distracted you are in the kitchen and rather than shrinking and drying out, the longer you cook in sous vide, the more tender your food gets — things are just getting good an hour into the process when your cooking at about 100 degrees. We did the pork and the steak at the same time, fish and veggies next. Once the proteins come out of the bath, you slice the bag open and either just serve or use a secondary cooking technique to add texture.

The steaks got finished on the stove top, sparkling luxuriously in herb butter; the pork roast went in the oven on high heat for a bit; the taco meat took a quick turn in a sauté pan with some more chili and garlic powder before meeting diced raw onion, cotija cheese and lime in pre-heated corn tortillas; the potatoes crisped up with olive oil and oregano under a broiler. The fish we served as is.

We ate standing in the kitchen, dog crashed out and snoring under the table, early spring lavender twilight visible through the kitchen windows, chatting excitedly, sharing plates and passing them around as Shortychef finished each dish. All of us ate more than we would normally eat in an entire day. For me, the steaks were the star of the show — the combo of the perfect internal rare-medium-rare temperature, amazingly juicy interior and a buttercrispalicious salt and pepper shell was killer. The pork roast was remarkably tender and flavorful, the tacos the same, the fish delicate and subtle. More wine, more laughing, stories about the time Shorty cut off his thumb mid-dinner rush and didn’t want to go to the hospital because the kitchen was “really slammed and in the weeds,” about the time we ran out on the check at a fancy restaurant by accident (“wait, I thought YOU paid?!?!”), just joyful tales of life in front and behind the scenes at the dinner table. It was an absolute feast, and I can’t remember ever enjoying a standing meal as much in my life.

Throughout it all, Shorty’s kind demeanor and patient smile never wavered. I guess if you’ve cooked on the line at full rush Saturday night dinner service with Jean-Georges Vongerichten breathing down your neck, teaching a few eager but clumsy ham-and-eggers how to use an ultimately fairly simple machine isn’t that much of a challenge. But asking a chef to cook for fun on his day off is a big lift. Shorty made it look easy and did it with grace and humor. Like Chef Auguste Gusteau says “anyone can cook,” but not everyone can cook well. Shortychef delivered a masterclass.

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If Your Hair Is Starting To Turn Gray, Eat These 7 Foods To Stop It From Getting Worse

Graying hair is a normal part of aging. But it can make people feel old and unattractive. Although nothing about gray hair need be considered unattractive, society has strict and unbending standards of beauty that are unrealistic and nearly impossible to reach. Even when we take care of ourselves and do our best to be healthy and fit, we might not have been born with the body type that society would raise to the upper echelons of beauty.

Fortunately, this is changing. Companies are fighting back against the relentless editing of photos and the portrayal of unrealistic standards of beauty. Nevertheless, we want to fit in and feel good about the way we look. If your hair is starting to gray, you could take action by eating seven foods.

Your food can have a positive impact on your hair color. When you eat a diet rich in nutrients and minerals, you can help change the color of your hair – or at least slow its move toward gray. Add the following seven items to your grocery list if you want to help your hair color.


Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a hair superfood. Not only does the fat content help keep your hair healthy, but salmon also has selenium, which is a requirement for optimal hair health. You probably didn’t know, but selenium helps regulate your hormones and can aid in the fight against premature aging and the graying of your hair.


If your diet focuses almost exclusively on red meat and pork, you could benefit from expanding your palate. Chicken can help keep the hair on your head colorful. Because it’s loaded with protein and vitamin B-12, chicken keeps your strands of hair filled with color. Select studies indicate that vitamin B-12 can halt graying. You’ll get this gray-hair stopper in your chicken, eggs, and other poultry products.


Because these fungi contain copper, you can keep your hair pigment factory operating. Along with the metal, mushrooms also contain selenium and vitamin D. Both help reduce the effects of premature aging. Opt for reishi and shitake mushrooms for the most anti-gray power.


Besides how great they are for your overall health, lentils can also help sustain your natural hair color. You’ll get your share of Vitamin B-12 and B-9 when you chow down on this legume. You can get the benefit from any color lentil. Just make sure to eat a cup of them with your meal.


Dark, leafy greens and other green vegetables are a must for hair health. They have tons of nutrients like copper and vitamin B-12. Eat more of these and enjoy your natural hair color longer.


Go for almonds and walnuts to promote hair health. They have the omega fats your hair loves. But they also contain copper which boosts melanin production in your hair.


While you might push back against trying this one, liver can make or break your hair color. And if you want to stop the gray, eat liver and absorb the iron, B-12, and copper that it is filled with.

What will you eat for hair health?

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