Open letter to the Governor of Idaho: “Do you feel lucky, Butch?”

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Open letter to the Governor of Idaho: “Do you feel lucky, Butch?”

For the last couple of days, I have been posting numerous comments on the Facebook page of Idaho State University about trophy hunter Sabrina Corgatelli. Like many others I am lobbying for the dismissal of this employee, who spends her free time killing wildlife in Africa and bragging about the slaughter of these animals.

I am just as enraged about the actions of American dentist Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil, the Lion, but somehow the circumstances surrounding Ms. Corgatelli’s behavior seem worse, compounded by the reaction of Idaho State University’s officials to her killing spree.

Sabrina Corgatelli works for a university – a state university no less – a place where young people come to learn about life, and love, and ethics. They arrive as teenagers, and leave university as adults. Much of what they will believe in for the rest of their lives is influenced by their experiences at school, and by the people they meet during those years away from home. The parents of these young people entrust the president of a university with their children’s lives, hearts, and minds.

At Idaho State University, these students suddenly find themselves in a rather peculiar situation. Not only engages one of the school’s staff members in activities, which many students consider highly unethical, the university seems completely gob-smacked and paralyzed by the sudden Social Media attack of its own students on the school. Ms. Corgatelli’s actions are “private” and “do not reflect” on the university, so say the school’s officials.

What should the students think of the university’s president, Arthur C. Vailas, who acts so clumsily when faced with such a worldwide public relations disaster for his school? His actions set an example for his staff and his students. Are these the leadership skills Idaho State University wants to teach its students? Halfway around the world, I am scratching my head in disbelief at how badly this public relations nightmare is being handled by the university.

Interestingly enough, the university’s phase of inactivity seems to be over. The students at Idaho State University have started to complain online that school officials are now deleting critical comments about the school on the university’s Facebook site. So now that they’re taking action…they’re killing free speech? Isn’t that a right guaranteed by the Constitution in your country? Other people complain about being blocked from commenting or replying to comments. Do these school officials really not know that you cannot silence the Internet?

I am particularly concerned about the potential for violence on the campus of Idaho State University. One of the other people who left a comment on the university’s Facebook page mentioned that students are allowed to carry licensed and concealed weapons on campus. I don’t know if that is indeed true, but in America many people carry weapons, even if they are not licensed. How many times have we all turned on the news, and learned about yet another shooting at a school or a university, a movie theater, or at a sports event? Americans, raised in a gun culture, have a tendency to vent their frustration in public – by killing other people. How many innocent people have died this way, and how many of those deaths could have been prevented?

Walter Palmer, the American dentist who killed Cecil, the Lion, recently had to go into hiding because he received so many death threats over the Internet. I am not one of the people who threatened him, and I am not threatening Ms. Corgatelli. As a writer, I fight with letters, and words, and sentences. Guns scare me. The closest I’ve ever been to a gun was when I stood in line behind a female police officer at a supermarket check-out, and suddenly noticed her (holstered and secured) gun. I almost dropped my groceries, so startled was I to find myself in the presence of a real-life gun. I do not condone violence, and ask everyone at Idaho State University to remain calm.

But I do recognize the potential for violence, and it’s easy to see that this situation could get out of hand very quickly. The students at Idaho State University are enraged about the actions of Sabrina Corgatelli, and quite a few of the students’ comments are somewhere along the line of “an eye for an eye.”

By now, the Governor of Idaho must be wondering what all this has to do with him. After all, this is an open letter to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. Here’s where you come into play, Governor:

Somebody has to take charge of this situation, and because university officials are handling this situation so badly, that “somebody” is you. By writing this open letter to you all the way from Vienna, Austria, I kindly ask you to concern yourself with this matter.

Imagine the worst-case scenario – what happens, if the situation at Idaho State University gets out of hand? A peaceful protest escalates into a shuffle, then a fight breaks out, someone slips, hits his head on the pavement, gets hurt or killed. Let’s not even think about licensed or unlicensed guns, because I find it just too painful to follow that train of thought to its bitter end. Do you think your political career would survive the death of a student or a staff member, if you knew about the potential for violence beforehand? You do know now – can you risk not getting involved?

In the movie “Dirty Harry”, Harry Callahan holds a gun to a bad guy’s head. Is the gun empty or not? Ask yourself, Callahan says, “Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

Is the (hopefully metaphorical) gun at Idaho State University empty or not? Will everybody be lucky, or not? Is this situation on campus going to escalate, or not? Can the university risk not firing Sabrina Corgatelli, or not? Will everybody’s safety be endangered by her presence on campus, or not? Will the voters of Idaho blame you for not taking action, if someone gets hurt, or not?

Ask yourself this, Governor: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, Butch?

Sincerely,
Mag. Ingrid Haunold, MBA
Vienna, Austria

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Book Review: Vegan Recipes

It’s been a while since I last wrote my last book review, so I thought I’d pull one of my favorite cookbooks off the shelf and let you know why I like this book so much.

Vegan Recipes is barely a book – the 96 pages are stapled together. The book is out of print, but (some) new and used copies are still available through Amazon.

  Here’s why I like it so much:

1) All quantities are given in both imperial and metric measures. Measures are also given in standard cups and spoons, and there’s information about the difference between Australian and American tablespoon measurements.

2) The book contains information about vegan ethics, there’s a glossary of common animal by-products, and there are tips on how to avoid animal products. (Did you know that poppadums are often coated with shellac or that dried banana chips are often glazed with honey? Me neither.) There’s also a chapter on vegan nutrition, vegan sources of nutrients, and information about how to replace dairy products and eggs in recipes. The book contains a shopping list for vegan staples, which you’ll need for a variety of recipes, and there’s a chapter on vegan nutrition for pregnant women and children. Tips for eating out and entertaining at home are also given.

3) The book contains 56 recipes, for soups and starters, main meals, salads and side dishes, desserts, and breads and baking. There are numerous photographs that’ll make your mouth water and show you how to prepare the dishes.

4) Best of all – and that’s why I really love this cookbook – for each recipe nutrition notes are listed. Many cookbooks give information about protein, fat, carbs, etc. That’s standard. But Vegan Recipes also gives information about the iron and calcium content of each recipe. For vegans, that is very useful information indeed. I don’t know any other vegan cookbook that lists this kind of information.

As a vegan, I pay special attention to nutrition. I never worry about lack of protein – but I do worry about getting enough of all the essential amino acids. Cookbooks – even vegan cookbooks – never supply this kind of information. I also need to prepare dishes which contain Omega 3 fat, something that’s also never mentioned in the nutritional notes for recipes in cookbooks. And of course I watch out for iron and calcium. A slice of Caramelized Red Onion and Thyme Tart contains 1.8 mg iron and a whopping 170 mg of calcium. A portion of Byesar – an Arab dish similar to hummus, but made with broad beans – contains 2.7 mg of iron and 44 mg of calcium. Recipes like the ones included in Vegan Recipes help me plan my diet and ensure that I get all the nutrients I need. Unfortunately, information about nutrients like iron, calcium, essential amino acids and Omega 3 fat is not standard in vegan cookbooks, and that’s a shame. Vegans do have special nutritional needs, and vegan cookbooks should acknowledge that.

Here’s hoping that in the future more and more vegan cookbooks will provide additional nutritional information about their recipes. It’ll make it easier for vegans to stay fit and healthy.

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Veganmania 2015: A mini-vacation

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

Veganmania just keeps getting bigger and better. Each year, the Veganmania summer festival tour stops in a number of cities in Austria and her neighboring countries. This year, Veganmania has tour dates in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Croatia.

In 2015, the Viennese and visiting tourists got to enjoy the Veganmania festival for four whole days, from June 3 – 6, and I managed to make it to the festival site on three separate days. It’s always fun to catch up with friends and family, but even more enjoyable, if I’m surrounded by food stalls that sell vegan food. All the drinks are vegan, too.

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

At Veganmania, I can eat and drink anything I like, and don’t have to worry about (hidden) ingredients, additives, the food preparation process, or cross-contamination. I only have to decide which of the many delicious foods on offer I would like to taste first.

Veganmania is like a mini-vacation, and every year I look forward to this summer festival.

Of course, Veganmania isn’t all about food. Live bands and DJs perform on a stage, you can buy vegan shoes and clothing, purses and cosmetics, books, specialty food items, and more at the vendors’ market stalls. Several animal welfare organizations also have stalls at the festival, where you can collect information materials about their work, and educate yourself about animal welfare issues.

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

By the way, the 2015 Veganmania festival tour has just started. Throughout the summer, until early September, there are nine additional Veganmania festivals scheduled this year. All the tour dates are listed on the website, so check it out. Veganmania is organised by The Vegan Society Austria.

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“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

This post was updated on August 1, 2015

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Samuel Beckett, “Worstward Ho” (1983)

For the last six months, I’ve been neglecting this website. I was stunned to notice that I hadn’t posted anything on this site since the beginning of this year except information about upcoming vegan events in Vienna.

I spent the last few months translating my book The Vegan Tourist: Vienna into German, but I keep getting side-tracked with various projects (that actually pay the rent), and the German-language version of the book is almost – but not quite – finished. So I keep pushing back the publishing date….. Every day I look at the manuscript on my desk and feel guilty for not having finished it yet.

Time to start over!

As a first step, I’ve deleted all my postings on this website from the last six months about upcoming vegan events in Vienna. I’ll still publish information about upcoming events in my events calendar, but that’s it. I want to get back to writing about issues I care about. And clearly, I need to come up with some sort of blogging schedule to ensure that I won’t neglect this site again.

I am also going to push back the publishing date for the German-language version of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna once again. It’ll be published when it’s ready, I am not making any more promises about publishing dates! I didn’t expect it to be so much work, researching a restaurant guide book. I swear, my next book will be a work of fiction.

So there you have it. Failures, good intentions, and determined to try again…better.

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German Edition: “The Vegan Tourist: Wien” coming soon

This post was last updated on August 1, 2015

It’s a lot more work to translate “The Vegan Tourist: Vienna” into German than I thought it would be. I had hoped to publish the German version sometime at the end of November 2014,  then pushed back the publishing date several times, finally aimed for July 31, 2015,…and failed. It will be published when it’s ready. I am making no more promises about publishing dates!

Amazingly, in the short period of time since the English edition was published (early November 2014), a new vegan shoe store opened its doors, and there are also several new vegan restaurants in Vienna, which will be included in the German edition. There are a few other changes as well (opening hours, etc.), so the guide book will be very much up-to-date.

You’ll find updates to the 1st edition of the English version of the book here.

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Updates to the First Edition of “The Vegan Tourist: Vienna” (English version)

I just posted the first updates to the 1st edition of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna in the Updates section on this website (English edition, printed version and Kindle eBook).

A few restaurants changed opening hours, but there are also two new restaurants and a new vegan shoes store in Vienna. Sadly, one restaurant closed its doors at the end of October 2014.

The updates will be included in the book’s 2nd edition.

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The Vegan Tourist: Vienna – Kindle edition

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

The English-language Kindle-eBook edition of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna is now available (November 20, 2014).

I’ve updated my original blog post about the publication of this book. Instead of adding additional lengthy blog entries about each new development, I’ll only write very short posts, and refer you to the original blog entry, which contains all relevant information about the book. I’ll update this entry frequently, so it’ll be always up-to-date.

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The Vegan Tourist: Vienna

It’s taken me a while, but I finally managed to publish my first book, a vegan restaurant guide to the city of Vienna, Austria. The English-language version of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna is now available on Amazon (amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.es, amazon.it). Books ordered through the site in the UK will be printed in the UK. Books ordered through the German site will be printed in Germany – and mailed without additional costs for postage.

The book is also available worldwide through other resellers and bookstores.

If you like this book and want to buy it, please consider ordering it through my eStore, which is made available to all authors who have self-published a book through “Create Space.” Books ordered through this eStore are printed in the US and shipped from the US. https://www.createspace.com/4955524

Amazon has enabled the “Look Inside”-feature. This means that you are able to take a look inside the book, and see if you like it, before you decide to order it. 20% of the book’s pages will be made available, and chosen randomly by Amazon.

The Kindle version (also in English) is now available (November 20, 2014), and I am working on the German edition of the book.

Product Details
Paperback: 150 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (November 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1502900092
ISBN-13: 978-1502900098
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

The Vegan Tourist: Vienna is a guide book for vegan and vegetarian tourists to the city of Vienna, Austria. It is also a valuable resource for local vegans. The book provides information about vegetarian restaurants, vegan festivals and other events, and tells tourists how to connect with local vegans in Vienna. I also provide tips for tourists traveling with their dogs. Information about vegan drinks, sugar, bread, ice cream, mock meat/fish, and other products will assist vegans with their restaurant choices and shopping decisions. This book will help vegetarians and vegans from all over the world plan their visit to Vienna, and allow them to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

Updated August 1, 2015

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And Teddy Makes Three…

A year ago, I adopted a puppy from Paws Paleohora in Crete, who’s now one year old and still wants nothing more than to play all day.

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

Daisy gets to play with other dogs in the dog park every day, but clearly that’s not enough! So I decided to adopt another puppy from Paws Paleohora. This organisation does great work rescuing abandoned and stray dogs on the Greek island of Crete.

Daisy needed a friend to play with at home!

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

 

 

On August 25, 2014, Daisy and I waited patiently for the arrival of our new puppy.

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

6:30 PM: Phoebe – who I’ve renamed Teddy, because she reminds me of a Teddy Bear – arrives in Vienna, thirsty and hungry after a long flight.

According to the vet, she’s a “mixed breed.” Not sure which kinds, but I don’t care. She’s lovely and very shy in the beginning.

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

Getting to know each other…

Bedtime…still keeping the distance.

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

3:30 AM: Let’s Play!

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

6:00 AM: First walk on a leash. Daisy leads the way, and Teddy faithfully follows her.

They do like to eat, and pee and poop ( a lot), and they also sleep quite a bit. But mostly they just play…

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

 

…and play…

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

…and play…

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© http://www.vegantourist.com

 

 

 

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Market Research: What Vegetarians and Vegans Want (Part 6 – Reading Labels)

Note: All the market research articles are published in the category “What Vegans Want.”

In this article of my series on vegetarian and vegan market research I want to take you back to the year 1994. This was the year when I became aware that gelatine is an animal by-product. It is derived from collagen, a protein of various connective tissues in animals. It was also the year when I started to read labels and when I extended my boycott to processed foods.

From mid-1992 to mid-1993, I lived for a year as an Au Pair in Connecticut, where I spent all my free time at the movies. I remember buying massive amounts of Gummy Bears and other kinds of candy at the theater’s concession stand, many of which contained gelatine. I was blithely unaware of gelatine’s origins back then. More importantly, I had not yet begun to read labels.

copyright Margaret Norton/NBC

copyright Margaret Norton/NBC

All this changed when I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 1994, where I’d enrolled in an MBA-programme at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA. The following year, I started an Internship at NBC Entertainment Press & Publicity in Burbank, CA, where I continued to work until my graduation in June 1996 and all through early 1997, when I decided to return to Austria.

At that point in my life I’d already progressed as a consumer: I bought organic dairy, eggs, yoghurt, and cheese – but not exclusively so. All that changed when I moved to California. I was unfamiliar with the food items at the supermarket, and therefore started to read labels straight away. I remember my shock when I read the ingredients list on a tub of yoghurt: it contained gelatine (and many more ingredients). Sometime before the fall of 1994 – when I started food shopping in Los Angeles – I had learned where gelatine came from and stopped buying it.

I read labels religiously during my time in California and stopped buying non-organic dairy, eggs, and cheese, and processed items that contained non-organic animal-derived ingredients. I was appalled and outright disgusted by what I read on many of the labels. Many of the ingredients on those labels where unrecognizable – and outright unpronounceable – to me. They did not exist in nature. I did not want to eat that kind of crap – which I simply didn’t consider “food.”

To this day, I read the labels of all new food items I buy, and occasionally re-read labels of items I have been buying for years. One never knows – the ingredients list might change. This is very time-consuming. As a result, I now buy very few processed foods, and cook most of my lunches & dinners from scratch. I only buy processed food items, if I recognize the ingredients and know where they come from.

My time in California marked another step in my evolution as a consumer. I made a decision to only buy organic dairy, eggs, and cheese (and not to buy gelatine) – and that decision now included processed foods.  I started to “make do without.”

I also bought more and more food at organic supermarkets, like Whole Foods, which in the mid-1990s already owned & operated several branches in the Los Angeles area. I had shopped at organic grocery stores in Vienna before I moved to Los Angeles, but the stores where all tiny compared to the Whole Foods markets, which were proper supermarkets. I could buy everything I needed there in organic quality, and I did: I now bought more and more organic fruits and vegetables, which had nothing to do with animal welfare reasons (my primary motivator for all shopping decisions). But I’d become aware of the issue of pesticides, and wanted to avoid them. In addition to animal welfare reasons, I now also cared about health issues. I rapidly evolved as a consumer.

What do my decisions at that time mean for vegetarian and vegan market researchers? When I started reading labels, all of a sudden literally thousands of food items ended up on my “boycott” list.

Also, when I started to shop more and more at organic supermarkets, and considerably less at the large well-known supermarket chains, many products stopped existing in my mind, as they were not available at Whole Foods supermarkets. I developed “tunnel vision,” only mentally registering those kinds of products that I would consider buying and which were available at organic supermarkets, and blocked out advertisement for products which didn’t meet my standards or which I didn’t see on the shelves at the supermarkets of my choice. I became immune to many food products which are advertised on television, in newspapers, and in magazines. I was well on my way of becoming a very selective consumer.

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