What are Humane Standards for Urban Goats?


Urban goat

The draft of the Denver “Food Producing Animals” ordinance states: “There must be at least one hundred and thirty (130) square feet of permeable land area available for each dwarf goat, plus adequate shelter space for each dwarf goat.”

Is this amount of permeable land area per goat enough to be humane?  If not, what would be enough? Continue reading “What are Humane Standards for Urban Goats?”

Next Door to Livestock — One Denver resident’s experience


If the ordinance currently before the Denver City Council to allow virtually anyone to keep chickens and goats passes, what would this mean for Denver?

Denver currently allows chickens and goats in residential areas but only under highly restrictive conditions, and probably fewer than a dozen households have the permits to do so.  Roseanne Jelacic is therefore one of the few people in Denver to live next door to someone legally keeping chickens and goats.  Last Monday she sent an e-mail letter to all the members of the Denver City Council concerning her experiences.  After receiving her permission, I have reprinted it below (deleting only contact information). Continue reading “Next Door to Livestock — One Denver resident’s experience”

Is the Weston Price Foundation an Astroturf Site?

Easter Island status symbol
Easter Island status symbol

Is the Weston Price Foundation an astroturf site? I can’t prove it, but I suspect that it may be, and here’s why.

I recently came across an alarming series of articles by George Monbiot on “astroturf” campaigns on the internet.  “Astroturf” is a name for the synthetic grass that football games are often played on; but it is also a derisive term referring to organized support for a government or corporation which mimics a spontaneous grassroots movement. Continue reading “Is the Weston Price Foundation an Astroturf Site?”

Things that Bother Me about Denver’s Proposed Livestock Ordinance


Denver is poised to pass an ordinance allowing livestock in people’s backyards, specifically, up to eight chickens and two goats. Keeping backyard chickens as pets isn’t necessarily a bad idea, if you did it right, and I wouldn’t have a fundamental problem with that. We have even toyed with the idea of adopting chickens ourselves. But this is something very different.  It would create a new class of backyard animals, animals that are valued for their meat, milk, or eggs. Continue reading “Things that Bother Me about Denver’s Proposed Livestock Ordinance”

“The Vegetarian Myth” (review)

Review of “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith

This is an anti-vegan book which will be a difficult book for vegans to read. The text resembles more a stream-of-consciousness monologue than an organized discussion. The author is an ex-vegan, after having been a vegan for 20 years, and blames most of her numerous health problems (skeletal problems of some sort, evidently) and mental problems (depression, anger) on her vegan diet.

But this is an indictment not just of veganism, but of agriculture in general, and indeed our entire civilization, and needs to be read in that context. Obviously as a vegan I don’t go along with the anti-vegan part, but there are also several significant things she has stated accurately.  Continue reading ““The Vegetarian Myth” (review)”

Religion and Vegetarianism — Some Surprising Results

Jesus in the temple (Greco)

Rachel MacNair, Ph.D., who has done some pioneering research on the psychology of vegetarianism, recently gave a talk on religion and vegetarianism at the International Peace Research Association conference in Australia. O. K., I wasn’t there, but I did have a chance to talk to Rachel about her research (which I hope will be published soon), and several conclusions about religion and vegetarianism stand out. (You can visit Rachel’s web site at http://www.rachelmacnair.com/.) Continue reading “Religion and Vegetarianism — Some Surprising Results”

Priestly Pedophilia: A Systemic Evil

By Clem De Wall

Except for the Catholic hierarchy, few have been satisfied with Vatican excuses for priestly pedophilia. Instead, there are outcries for reparations, admissions of guilt and swift punishment. Some advocate reforming the celibacy rule. I would go further, judging clerical pedophilia to be a systemic evil, curable only by abolishing the system.

Illnesses are not cured by masking symptoms, but by attacking their cause. What is it about priesthood that allows, or even encourages pedophilia? Let’s look at the belief system supporting it. Continue reading “Priestly Pedophilia: A Systemic Evil”

Bill McKibben on Grass-Fed Beef

A key cause of climate change
A key cause of climate change

It hardly seems fair to attack an article in which Bill McKibben, a tireless and effective advocate for much needed action on climate change, issues “a call for America to divest its heart and stomach from feedlot beef.” McKibben, like Michael Pollan, is attempting to define grass-fed beef as good, and factory farmed (corn-fed) beef as bad. From a political and ethical point of view, this isn’t a bad approach. In Colorado some years ago a ballot initiative restricting hog farms found the vegetarians and the cattle ranchers on the same side.

But does this make sense scientifically?  Continue reading “Bill McKibben on Grass-Fed Beef”

Why was Jesus killed?

Just before his death, Jesus went into the temple and disrupted the business supporting the temple operations, by driving out all those who were buying and selling the sacrificial animals. It was this act which led to his arrest and crucifixion.

Jesus was killed because he was a palpable and physical threat to public order. That public order was embodied in the temple in Jerusalem, where animals were constantly sacrificed to appease the desires of a bloodthirsty God — or to appease the priests, depending on your point of view. But why did Jesus do this? Continue reading “Why was Jesus killed?”