will animal-cruelty laws get weaker in arizona? help stop HB 2150

It disgusts me to report to you that the Arizona Legislature has just passed House Bill 2150, so it has landed on Governor Doug Ducey's desk, and animal advocates are asking for a veto. HB 2150 denies farm animals–namely cows, pigs, and chickens–protection under animal cruelty laws by labeling them as "livestock" instead of "animals." This new "livestock" category would have weaker protections, including a reduction in the penalties for cruelty to farm animals and ending the current felony status of abandoning or medically neglecting farm animals. 

Farm animals feel the same emotional and physical pain as dogs and cats, but since they are allowed to be used for meat, they are often thought of as less-advanced, and it can be difficult to ensure they receive the same protection as "pets."

It is difficult to see any benefit in this bill being allowed to pass and only raises questions about what the agricultural industry might be hiding. If farmers are treating their animals well, which they should be, then why would they advocate for weaker animal-cruelty laws? Smells fishy to me. Matthew Hendley in an article for Phoenix New Times, states that Republican Senator John Kavanagh, who opposes the bill says "(HB) 2150 requires police officers who are investigating livestock abuse to notify civilians in the Department of Agriculture, thereby potentially compromising ongoing investigations–or should I say, investigations that never get started...no other area of law enforcement requires such an outside notification."

I find this appalling, so I have signed a petition targeted at Arizona State Senators to help stop HB 2150. Will you join me? Click the button, below, to sign the petition, and please share this post to help spread the word.

cow's milk or almond milk?

I grew up drinking and loving cow's milk. After breast feeding Porter and Campbell for eighteen and sixteen months, respectively, I happily transitioned them into a morning routine of cow's milk. My eldest (16), B, has long-loved a tall glass of the stuff with desert every evening. It has been in our lives, and it's a hard habit to shake. When my daughter, Campbell, now 4 1/2, first began breast feeding, the doctors suggested I supplement with formula because she wasn't thriving and she, in fact, was throwing up most of what I put in her. We determined that she had a dairy allergy, so any dairy I consumed was rejected by her body. Without passing judgement on those who choose formula for a variety of reasons, I was personally determined that no formula would enter the lips of my babies. And I knew I could make the sacrifices necessary to make that happen.

So I quit all dairy cold turkey, and I considered it an adventure. It was easy to give up dairy for my child, and it was fun to explore new options. I learned a lot, Campbell did better, and I discovered soy. I thought it a delicious miracle, and considered myself healthier for it. Soy has it's own issues, which I won't go into here, but suffice it to say that when I discovered those issues, I decided to take the next step in my journey. Enter almond milk.

Most of the milk I drink is part of my morning coffee. Soy in place of cow's milk was a creamy, delicious trade, and I felt healthier for it. Soy milk was sweeter than cow's milk, so I gave up sugar in my coffee. I stuck with it, even after Campbell gave up the breast. I just didn't enjoy cow's milk anymore, and it made my coffee taste rancid. The switch to almond milk was a harder sell for me. It just didn't seem as, well...milky. I tried rice milk and coconut milk and flax seed milk, which were even less satisfying. I finally settled on almond milk about a year ago, and I have since fallen in LOVE.

I have successfully converted my husband to enjoy almond milk in his morning coffee. On his cereal, he uses cow's milk and almond milk in equal proportion. With desert (taking it straight), he still succumbs to the cow.

B will drink whatever I put in front of him, but, as a teenager, he pretty much fends for himself most of the time. So when I pour him a glass, he'll happily drink almond milk. If left to his own devices, either because his brain cells have been sucked up by video games or because he likes it better or because he wants to spite me, or because his biological mother tells him I'm a hippy health freak, he'll pour himself an overflowing glass of cow's milk. Rebel.

The littles are now consistently drinking a 50/50 blend of almond milk and cow's milk. I gradually blended their cow's milk to reach that proportion, and they don't seem to notice it. But if I go a hair over 50% with the almond milk, it is promptly rejected, and fits are thrown. I'm struggling with just abolishing cow's milk altogether, or attempting to keep up the transition. They love their milk so. And I love beer. Best not to go cold turkey on either, for now. There might be fits.

I only purchase organic whole (less processed) cow's milk, so we're using the best of the worst, and I bake and cook with almond milk when milk is required. There we are.

So the ongoing saga of mind over matter and ethics and the spell of dairy in our lives continues...

This graphic that Allison's Gourmet posted is a fantastic summary of why almond milk is a much better choice for animals, the environment, and health:Image

I'd love to hear why you choose the milk you do.

i broke down: Shamrock Farms'® new flavored sour cream

A couple of months ago, I was invited to tour Shamrock Farms, a leading local dairy farm. The farm is fairly large, and, as I expressed when I toured, I think that, while at the facility, the dairy cows are treated very well, considering the production volume. ImageWhen I visited, I was invited to try Shamrock Farms' newest product, then in development, their flavored sour cream. The three exciting flavors were released into stores this week (I saw them at my local grocery store, so it's for reals), but my family and I had the privilege of sampling them a couple of weeks ago ('cause we're just cool like that).

As you may know, I've been working toward living a vegan lifestyle, so, yes, I was a bit conflicted about consuming sour cream, not something I frequently do, but in the name of product research and deliciousness, I caved.

The flavored sour cream comes in three varieties: Creamy Ranch, French Onion, and my absolute favorite, Zesty Jalapeño. I thought about making something fancy and complex, but reconsidered. I wanted to taste this new product for what it really was, especially if I was falling off the wagon in it's honor. So I made tacos.

ImageWe frequently make vegan tacos, but this time, we went vegetarian. I use a "meat-ish" base of tempeh, onion, and taco seasoning, and even our meat-eating friends think it's delish. They don't just say that. They actually have seconds. We put on all the trimmings, then topped each taco with a large dollop of zesty jalapeño sour cream.

YUM. I loved this flavor best because it is so flavorful, with real bits of jalapeño, and, well, zesty, as described, but just when you think it's going to be too spicy, the creaminess mellows it all out. Even our littles loved it!

Shamrock Farms' new flavored sour creams are currently prominently displayed on a front end-cap in my local grocery store, and I noticed when I was there yesterday that each one had a nice little coupon attached. You can also print a coupon from the Shamrock Farms Web Site. If you visit the site, you can also check out serving suggestions. And if you're so inclined, enter the "Dip. Mix. Top." contest.

Enjoy! And if you're falling off the wagon like I did, don't feel too guilty. Sometimes it's worth it!

Disclaimer: Shamrock Farms provided me with sour cream samples in exchange for my honest opinion.