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January 31, 2008

California slaughterhouse caught torturing cows

California plant accused of torturing unfit cows | U.S. | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Humane Society of the United States said on Wednesday a California slaughterhouse was using a range of torture including "waterboarding" to prod unfit animals into the slaughterhouse so they could be processed into food that may have ended up in school lunch programs.

The Humane Society displayed a video from its own undercover, six-week investigation that it said showed abuse by workers at the Hallmark Meat Packing Co of Chino, California. However, the name of the plant was not visible in the video.

The video showed workers kicking cows, ramming them with forklift blades, applying electric shocks and even using a hose to simulate the feeling of drowning so the animals would revive long enough to pass federal inspection.

"The attempt was to make them so distressed and to cause them so much suffering that these animals would get up and walk into the slaughterhouse," Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told reporters . . .

January 30, 2008

Holocaust-themed Rio Carnival float causes strain

via | Holocaust-themed Rio Carnival float causes strainRIO DE...

San Francisco to ban trans fats

S.F. targets artery-clogging trans fats

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to begin a City Hall push to get artery-clogging trans fats out of the food served in San Francisco restaurants.

With the approval of the city's leading restaurateurs' association, the board voted unanimously to institute a voluntary program in which restaurants that pledge to cook without trans fats will receive a decal that can be displayed to let customers know their food is being prepared without partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

The legislation's author, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, said the next step is to make the ban mandatory.

"San Francisco is known for its restaurants and I think it's important that our restaurants are healthy," Maxwell said. "We're first going to try a volunteer program. People will get used to it and then we'll go for the other," she said.

Copy a CD, owe $1.5 million under "gluttonous" PRO-IP Act

Copy a CD, owe $1.5 million under "gluttonous" PRO-IP Act

Not content with the current (and already massive) statutory damages allowed under copyright law, the RIAA is pushing to expand the provision. The issue is compilations, which now are treated as a single work. In the RIAA's perfect world, each copied track would count as a separate act of infringement, meaning that a copying a ten-song CD even one time could end up costing a defendant $1.5 million if done willfully. Sound fair? Proportional? Necessary? Not really, but that doesn't mean it won't become law.

Guess which driver's facing 21 years in prison — the drunk , rich, white one or the sober, poor, black one?

Phoenix - News - Guess which driver's facing 21 years in prison — the drunk , rich, white one or the sober, poor, black one?

Considering the date, you might assume that at least one of the drivers was drunk — and you'd be right. Laura Varker was 17 years old, and she'd been tubing down the Salt River all day with her eight best girlfriends. Their T-shirts all read "Cinco de Drinko." Even an hour after the accident, Varker's blood-alcohol level was 0.09, over the legal limit for adults. And, as an underage driver, she was in violation of the law by having any amount of alcohol in her system.

One of Varker's girlfriends, 15-year-old Felicia Edwards, didn't drink a drop. But it was Edwards who died when Varker's Yukon Denali hit another car and flipped over and over like a tumbleweed before coming to a horrifying stop on the Bush Highway north of Mesa. Edwards was thrown from the SUV and pronounced dead at the scene.

When sheriff's deputies called Felicia's mother that terrible day, her first question was, "Was she wearing a seat belt?" She wasn't. Instead, Felicia had been in the back of the SUV holding down the tubes — a decision she paid for with her life.

That's a tragedy.

But only in its aftermath did the collision become a travesty.

(via Mighty God King Chris Byrd)

January 29, 2008

Starving Haitians eat dirt to quell hunger

Poor Haitians resort to eating dirt - Yahoo! News

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

"When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day," Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the slim 6 pounds 3 ounces he weighed at birth.