Oxymoron? Assuming you can get past all the stereotypes in the first sentence of Diana Peña’s vegan manifesto – “I am a yoga-loving, bicycle-riding, palm oil-avoiding, environmentalist, ingredient list-reading vegan” – you’ll be interested to know she also supports GMOs. Say what!?

Yep, but Peña is not your garden-variety vegan. She says such sensible things about GMOs, like, “yield-preserving traits like Bt and Roundup-Ready allow for crops to beat pests like insects and weeds in a safe, effective way, and there are hundreds of independent studies to prove it. This means less land for agriculture being needed, allowing for more habitats for animals around the world.” Ah, yes, the animals. Peña believes advances in biotechnology may soon eliminate the need for cows in making cheese or meat through the proliferation of synthetic products, which would stop the deaths of food animals. Let’s just say we’re skeptical that the Petrie dish meat and cheese industry is soon to put you out of business. But, we can’t argue with Peña when she says, “Imagine what more could be done if we stopped hampering this amazing technology with burdensome regulations.”

 

America’s Official Mammal

It’s heartening to know that in a time of extreme political gridlock, Congress can work together in a bipartisan way to do something meaningful. Sarcasm, aside, both houses of Congress have passed The National Bison Legacy Act, which designates the bison as the official mammal of the United States. 

A coalition of conservationists, ranchers and tribal groups lobbied for the official mammal designation. Once numbering in the millions, the American bison was hunted nearly to extinction by 1900. Today, an estimated 20,000 bison live on public lands, and more than 162,000 live on private farms and ranches.

Lawmakers called the bison the embodiment of American strength and resilience and said it reflects the nation's pioneer spirit.

 

Irish Oppose Beef Trade

Farmers took to the streets outside the EU Commission offices last week to highlight the potential "sellout" of the multi-billion-euro beef industry in trade talks with South American countries.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association said they opposedthe trade deal with Mercosur which it said could result in tariff free beef flooding the EU market which would have 'devastating' impacts on Irish beef exports. ICSA President Patrick Kent said the Mercosur proposal would be utterly disastrous for the beef sector.

"Irish beef cannot be expected to compete on European markets with South American beef which is produced to a very different standard, where environmental damage is ignored and where labour standards and pay conditions are totally different,” Kent said.

 

Paint It Forward

In an extreme case of house-egging, Jason Kozan was arrested and charged with felony vandalism. The case rises to the felony level since the house, in Euclid, Ohio, was hit with eggs more than 100 times in the span of a year.

In an interview with Cleveland’s Newsnet5.com, Kozan says he didn’t do it. "I guess for some reason, they couldn't get a suspect so they had to do something to calm the media," Kozan said. "Let the jury decide.” Meanwhile, Neubert Painting has offered to paint the house for free as part of their "Paint it Forward" program.