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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rabbit Meat is the New Horse Meat

If you haven't seen the news lately, you've missed out on the ruckus Whole Foods Market is causing by selling rabbit meat in select locations in North Carolina and the D.C. metro area. Obviously, close-minded American up in arms. I forgot that if a food product isn't widely consumed in the U.S. it must be wrong to eat it elsewhere in the world. Silly me. Does this sound vaguely familiar?

Rabbit carcasses arranged in a butcher shop
Rabbit carcasses in a butcher shop
photo source
Hmm -  that's right. This sounds like the horse meat argument all over again. The vast majority of Americans are against the consumption of horse meat as well. Something to do with companion animals - nevermind the fact that both rabbit meat and horse meat are widely available and consumed in other countries like Germany, France and China.

According to FOX News, several activist organizations banded together for a day of action where participants were encouraged to reach out to shoppers of Whole Foods and explain "... what wonderful animals rabbits are and remind them how popular rabbits are as pets." Guess what else is a popular pet that we eat? Fish. Sorry, Goldie.

This whole issue boils down to one small group of very vocal people striving to take control of society's consumption patterns. Nevermind the fact that Whole Foods Market developed a slaughter system that is in line with the high animal welfare standards they already in place for beef, pork and chicken. Nevermind the fact that, apparently, customers of the high end grocery chain have been asking for rabbit meat for years. Nevermind the fact that if you don't want to eat it, don't buy it.

While I was in France for a study abroad trip in 2009, I saw rabbit carcasses in the window of many butcher shops. It was perfectly normal - there were no animal rights groups staging sit-ins or attempting to sway consumers away from their purchases. Alternative meats are the norm outside of the U.S. - when are we going to start being more civilized and catch up with the rest of the world?

What's your take - would you eat rabbit meat? Do you think rabbits should be for pets only?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Turning Over a New Leaf -- 101 in 1001 Update

Hey there - ho there! I am trying to do a better job of periodic updates on my 101 in 1001 list so I'm doing just that today.

You'll recall this list started on January 30, 2014 so I'm about 6.5 months into this current challenge and I'm already very pleased with the goals I've reached; not necessarily because there have been so many of them but because there have been some major lifestyle changes!

Without further ado, here are 12 of the 15 goals I have completed thus far:

  • Workout 3x/week for 3 months
  • Workout 3x/week for 6 months
  • Give up soda for a month
  • Try 5 new foods (reindeer, elk, red snapper, edamame, okra) - the first three were good, the fourth was ok and the last one sucked.
  • Make homemade bread without a bread maker - it was SO GOOD!
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Go rock climbing, hiking etc - Did a whole heap of this while in Alaska (which was the trip of a lifetime, btw) 

  • Hiking up a mountain to climb a glacier - such a cool experience!

  • Get a RT/mention from someone famous on Twitter- Peta doesn't count

  • Do you see that BOB FREAKIN' SEGER mentioned me?!
     
  • Meet 5 social media friends IRL - Troy and Stacy Hadrick, Chuck Jolley, Janeal Yancey, Danielle (Beard) Hayden, Daniel Hayden, Stacy Bettinghouse
  • Check off some more concerts on my old soul music bucket list
  • Speak on behalf of agriculture 3x (1 - Women Managing the Farm Conference; 2 - Sigma Alpha at KSU; 3 - Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow at KSU)
  • Prepare one new recipe per week for 8 weeks (chicken stir-fry, beer drenched pork chops, crockpot potato soup, lasagna soup, new flank steak marinade, stuffed burgers, fruit pizza, fiesta goulash)
    • Most of those eight recipes are available on the recipe page - my favorite of those listed is a tie between the lasagna soup and the flank steak marinade (which both include beef)!
    That was some DELISH flank steak!
    You'll notice that a lot of those goals are about living a more active, healthy lifestyle and trying new things, building relationships and growing as a person. Think I'm kidding? Look at some of these goals that I have started but not yet finished:
    • Run 10 short distance races -- 5 and 10Ks (1 - Manhattan St Patrick's Day 10K; 2 - Color Run 5/31/14; 3 - The Amazing Grace 5K 7/5/14;
    • Run 3 - half marathons (yes, you read that correctly) (1 - Glass City Half Marathon 4/27/14;
    • Read the Bible from front to back (Old and New Testament) - Sharita showed me this great guide
    • Triple the amount of $$ in my 401(k)
    • Have zero credit card debt
    • Cut my student loan debt in 1/2
    • Make a 'Recipes' section on the blog and post 50 recipes
    • Blog at least once per week for an entire year
    • Fill a journal
    • Read one book per month - revise and update book list to reflect what I've read
    • Add 10 more books to our library (an actual printed copy) (1 - Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die by Willie Nelson; 2 - Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer; 3 - Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin; 4 - Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin;
    Yes, I am apparently a "runner" again, although I really don't like calling myself that. I haven't used that phrase to describe myself since I graduated high school and stopped running cross country and track. But man, do I like being able to fit into jeans from my junior college years! I've also really enjoyed getting back into reading, something I haven't been able to do "for fun" for about six years.

    I'd like to do another update in three months or so, but if I haven't accomplished more than a handful of goals by then, I may push it back. I really love lists and goals - this challenge keeps me accountable and gets me to try new things, step outside my comfort zone and do some exciting things!

    So how are your lists coming? Have you achieved some of your goals? Weigh in below!

    Until next time,
    ~ Buzzard ~

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    Sneaky Zucchini

    It's National Zucchini Day - and that apparently means that it's customary to sneakily leave extra zucchinis on your neighbors' porch. So to all my neighbors, BEWARE! I have one very prolific zucchini plant that produces a lot more than the Ninja can eat!


    Source: Fix.com

    I got this great infographic from Fix.com! Do you have zucchinis in your garden - are you going to try to get rid of them?!

    Until next time,
    ~ Buzzard ~

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

    Muck Up to Their Necks: The Rest of the Story

    Earlier this week farmers, ranchers, hunters and agriculture enthusiasts took to social media to enlighten The Original Muck Boots Company about the true intentions of HSUS and express their displeasure with the 'charity' of choice. You can read the original post here. After many upset voices were heard, some light was shown on the actual situation. The events of the entire debacle are outlined below in summary.
    • Muck Boots posted a picture announcing a fundraiser for the Humane Society of the United States and that a donation had been made to the 'charity.'
    • Farmers and ranchers are upset and react by sharing their thoughts about the donation on Facebook, Twitter and many blog posts.

    • Realizing an error has been made and that they're in trouble, Muck Boots issues the following statement:
    • This adds a completely different rationale to the issue. A donation to HSUS, however misguided, may have been the wishes of a recently passed employee. I want my wishes carried out after I am gone but how does a social media manager confuse HSUS and the HANRI - they aren't similar to type (other than the word 'humane'). I think someone is in deep trouble at Muck Boots. 
    • But wait! The Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island made the following statement on their page a few hours later (page has since been taken down so no screenshot).
      • "Okay folks to clear things up -- WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED A DONATION FROM MUCK BOOTS! WE ARE NOT AFILIATED [sic] WITH THE HSUS. Although a $2000 donation would be very nice. But please stop calling us to ask, we have enough to do caring for the animals in our shelter and taking care of out [sic] patients."
    • At this point, the waters are very muddy. It appeared that Muck Boots, seeing that they were in hot water for supporting HSUS, has changed their story to make amends. But that seemed to be a lie!
    • Towards the end of the debacle, HANRI issued another Facebook post (again, no screenshot):
      • "Okay everybody, let's clear the air here... Not sure what all the controversy was about today but I do not want our organization to be misrepresented. I got a call from Muck Boots and they are donating to our organization in honor of one of their employees who recently passed away. And while we're not affiliated with the HSUS we do NOT condemn them and actually share many of their values, (only I don't make $200,000 a year). I just found it interesting that this donation caused so much controversy when there are so many other issues to be concerned with. I also wonder why so many people who are obviously partake in activities that are contrary to our beliefs "liked" our page."
    As you can see, these past few days have been quite heated. So to tie this all up with a bow, here are the takeaways and, of course, my opinion.
    • A memorial is a private, bittersweet, yet beautiful act meant to honor the deceased. I would not deny someone their last wishes or a memorial donation, even to HSUS. Had the memorial donation been clear from the very start, I don't think such a reaction would have occurred and, if so, I would not have endorsed it. I would have been disappointed at the choice but I would not have been so vocal and I think it's important to reflect on that piece of information.
    • Muck Boots needs to conduct some extensive training with their social media managers about what is and isn't appropriate for corporate social media updates. Not only did the manager mistakenly say the donation was made to HSUS, I believe they lessened the brevity of the memorial donation by posting it on a very visible social media outlet. Thoroughly investigate the details of posts before updating a page - the outcomes could be disastrous if this simple rule isn't followed closely.
    • There have been quite a few people in the agriculture community who are not proud of the reaction that took place but I have to say that I disagree. Four years ago, a community of farmers and ranchers voiced their disdain at Yellow Tail's decision to donate to HSUS and the wine company sat up and took notice. While they are still in business, I know that I have not purchased their wine in four years and I would dare to bet that they never consider donating to HSUS again. The goal of speaking up is not necessarily to run a business into the ground but to bring to light the grotesque nature of HSUS' business practices and expose them for the lobbyist organization they truly are. In both the case of Yellow Tail and Muck Boots, exposure was achieved and if nothing else, that is a great accomplishment.
    • Do I think the ag community did the right thing? Absolutely. Advocates and the collective agriculture community have grown larger, stronger and more vocal over the past few years. To expect a very public donation to HSUS [in the beginning] not to induce a response from farmers and ranchers is absurd, at best. If tomorrow I were to see another company, who is very largely supported by farmers, ranchers and agriculture customers in general, donate to HSUS I would react the same way. I am a consumer and I have a right to voice my opinion and expect to see change. We have worked long and hard to have a voice in the game and to see these kind of results, and I'm proud of my contemporaries and colleagues for speaking up.
     To wind this all up: social media training is needed, transparency is warranted and the consideration of the type and kind of reaction are strenuously necessary. Also, if HSUS weren't a bunch of colossal jerks, this wouldn't have happened!

    Ok - here is where YOU chime in!

    Until next time,
    ~ Buzzard ~

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    Wordless Wednesday: Champions

     
    Some pig  
    Here comes the champion

    Once in a lifetime

    Kroger purchased the Grand Champion Market Hog for $42,000. Kroger representatives pose with the purchase and the Frobose family after the Sale of Champions
    
    At the buyer's meal after the Sale of Champions
    Until next time,
    ~ Buzzard ~
    

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    What the Muck [Boots] Were They Thinking?

    UPDATE: A total summary of the events that transpired of the past few days can be seen here.
    -----------

    I am nothing if not loyal. Once I find a brand I like, I will purchase that brand until I am no longer able. For example, I've been wearing Nike sneakers for 20 years, and nothing else. I will always be a Dr. Pepper enthusiast, never Mr. Pibb and I cannot bring myself to purchase any calf rope that isn't made by Rattler. As you can see, I take loyalty very seriously.

    So it saddens me to say that I will no longer be a loyal customer of The Original Muck Boot Company. Yesterday, The Original Muck Boot Company posted a photo describing a fundraiser for the Humane Society of the United States. Yes, that HSUS. Why is this appalling?
    
    Original Muck Boots Company donates to Humane Society of United States
    Donating any amount of money to HSUS is funding a campaign against animal agriculture.
    Because H$U$ is the organization that strives to abolish animal agriculture and is a rather large opponent of hunting and fishing. I find it asinine that a company who markets to rural Americans - hunters, farmers, ranchers, fisherman, etc - would engage in relations with a charity lobbyist organization who is out to abolish those very industries and hobbies.

    So what can you do? Visit the Muck Boots Facebook page and tell them how you feel about their decision. I did, as have many other farmers, ranchers, hunters and advocates.

    
    Farmers, ranchers, hunters and agriculture enthusiasts are disappointed with the Original Muck Boots decision.
    Click to read my comment - countless other agriculture enthusiasts,
     farmers and ranchers have chimed in as well.
    You can vow to not purchase their products anymore. You could visit a store to return a pair and make sure the manager of that store knows why you're returning the awesome boots. You could submit a comment to the parent company of Muck Boots, Honeywell. You could start purchasing boots from Bogs, a company that doesn't donate to HSUS (thanks for the comment, Terryn).

    What are your thoughts? Do you agree with a boycott of Muck Boots? Do you think an outcry from the agriculture community will open their eyes in a similar fashion to the #YellowFail events of 2010?

    Shout out your comments!

    Until next time,
    ~ Buzzard ~

    Friday, August 1, 2014

    While I'm Away

    Enjoy a picture of my picturesque surroundings... Evergreen, CO is GORGEOUS place to get married!



    Until next time,
    ~ Buzzard ~