Sexy vegetarians challenge meat magnates

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1998:

Animal Rights International/Coalition for NonViolent
Food founder Henry Spira offers his Coordinator’s
Report ‘98 free for the asking. Featured articles: Activists
shift focus to factory farming, McDonald’s initiates farm ani –
mal humane program, USDA issues farm animal well-being
report, ARI comments to the USDA, and Campaigns and how
you can help the farm animals. Write to POB 214,
Planetarium Station, New York, NY 10024.
Hot Dinner, a new 50-second Vegetarian Society
ad shown in 250 British cinemas starting in mid-June, “begins
with a melon being stroked,” according to Ruaridh Nicoll of
The Guardian. “A woman’s fingers then roll dough, a pea is
gently tickled in its pod, hot chillis sizzle, a saucepan lets off
steam before rice shoots across a pink plate, a peach is covered
in creme fraiche, and asparagus drips oil.” Said Vegetarian
Society spokesperson Chris Dessent, “It’s definitely a bit
rude, but we want to show that vegetarians are sexy.”

Tyson Foods Inc. lobbyist Jack Williams was convicted
on two counts of lying to investigators and corporate
spokesperson Archie Schaffer III was convicted of two counts
of giving illegal gifts on June 26 in Washington D.C. The two
were accused of attempting improperly to influence former
Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and his girlfirend, Patricia
D e m p s e y , as Espy moved in 1994 to implement more stringent
poultry safety regulations. The prosecution said Williams
and Schaffer, along with other Tyson personnel, spent an estimated
$12,000 on Espy and Dempsey. Williams and Schaffer
are to be sentenced on September 10. Both men pledged to
appeal. Espy himself is to go to trial in October. Company
chair Don Tyson and his son, John Tyson, have been named
as unindicted co-conspirators. U.S. District Judge James
Robertson earlier threw out many other charges that were filed
against Williams and Schaffer, among them alleged conspiracy,
mail fraud, and wire fraud.
Citing “gross irregularities,” including a ballot box
that vanished before a recount could be conducted, the North
Carolina Board of Elections on June 15 invalidated the
results of the May 5 Republican primary election in state
House District 10, where challenger Johnny Manning b e a t
incumbent Cindy Watson by just 18 out of 1,556 votes cast.
Pork producers organized in 1996 as Farmers for Fairness
reportedly spent $10,000 a week on advertisements attacking
Watson, a strong advocate of stricter regulation of hog waste
disposal, during the several months preceding the primary.
On June 24, the Board of Elections also ordered Farmers for
Fairness to file disclosure statements, reinforcing an April
finding that the organization had operated illegally as an unregistered
political action committee. Earlier, on May 29, the
Board of Elections ruled that despite allegations from a
Farmers for Fairness consultant, there was no credible evidence
that State House speaker Harold Brubaker and other
Republican leaders improperly pressured hog producers for
campaign contributions and then legislatively retaliated against
them for purportedly not giving enough.
Patricia Mark on June 18 was acquitted of allegedly
trespassing on May 9 at the Happy Hens Egg World facility
near Meredith, Australia, under a new law which admits a
defense of necessity if trespassing is necessary to relieve animal
suffering. Mark, previously convicted of trespassing at
Happy Hens after calling the police herself on three different
occasions, made a video during her May incursion which documented
overcrowding, disease, and starvation among the
180,000-hen flock.
The May 11 edition of the National Public Radio
p r o g r a m All Things Considered reopened a rift between
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the
American SPCA over the failure of the latter to prosecute
upstate New York foie gras producers in 1994 and 1995 for
alleged animal abuse in connection with force-feeding ducks a
pressurized mash by means of a tube thrust down their throats,
documented in PETA undercover videos. The force-feeding
causes unnatural expansion of the ducks’ livers, which after
slaughter are processed into p a t e. On the May 11 broadcast,
according to the NPR transcript, ASPCA inspector T h o m a s
Somerville said, “We didn’t find any cruelty in the way that
the animals were kept. We didn’t find any cruelty in the way
that the animals were force-fed.” Replied PETA senior writer
Carla Bennett in an open letter to NPR executive producer
Ellen Weiss, “The ASPCA is not the authority on this issue,”
though it does have rarely exercised prosecutorial authority in
cruelty cases throughout the state of New York. Whether the
exchange embarrassed the ASPCA board, and whether the
board is capable of embarrassment, may both be open questions:
ASPCA staff told ANIMAL PEOPLE in March that
New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report C E O
Fred Drasner had left the board after massacring sitting ducks
at an upstate New York canned hunt in December 1997, but
Richard Johnson of the New York Post reported in May that
Drasner remains on the board, and recently bought two pet
camels for his upstate New York hobby farm.

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