Sweet dreams 🦉💤

Super Bowl Adding Vegan Options After Talks with Mercy For Animals


The Super Bowl just got a lot more vegan-friendly! This year, the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off in Tampa, Florida. After talks with Mercy For Animals, the local Tampa Bay Super Bowl host committee has decided to serve plant-based meals at hospitality events!

In June, Mercy For Animals’ government affairs and public policy team began meeting with Tampa and Pinellas county policymakers to explore opportunities to increase plant-based offerings in the community. When the chance to influence Super Bowl menus arose, we lobbied the city commission and informed them about the positive impacts of plant-based eating—for animals, the environment, and human health—and the benefits to local economies of offering plant-based options at the event.

This news comes as more and more football players make the switch to vegan eating. In fact, vegan food is becoming more common at sports stadiums in general. Sports fans are making it clear that they care about farmed animals—and are finally being heard. 

Planning on safely watching the Super Bowl from the comfort of your home? Here are five vegan Super Bowl recipes to elevate your game day experience.

Crispy Breaded Cauliflower Wings

These delicious breaded cauliflower wings have only 10 ingredients and are grain-free. Crispy and smothered in a sweet and spicy glaze, these will be gobbled up before half time!

Cheddar and Bacon Potato Skins

These hearty classic potato skins are perfect on the grill. Topped with classic cheddar cheese and bacon, these appetizers will satisfy the whole family.

Macho Mac and Cheese Nachos

This recipe is a touchdown all on its own! These incredible nachos are made with blue corn chips and creamy cheese sauce peppered with black beans, corn, red peppers, green onion, avocado, salsa, and sour cream.

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

Whip up these tasty baked vegan jalapeño poppers by filling jalapeños with cheesy dip, rolling them in breadcrumbs, and baking them until soft.

Sliders with Portobello and Caramelized Onions

Made with smoky marinated portobello steaks, caramelized onion, and basil aioli on ciabatta slider buns, these vegan sliders will steal the show.

While the local Tampa Bay Super Bowl host committee pledged to offer plant-based fare at hospitality events, our work is not done! Our hope is that this commitment will be a springboard for future opportunities to increase plant-based offerings in Tampa, the NFL, and beyond. 

Does your sports stadium offer plant-based dishes? Consider contacting your local government and advocating that your stadium carry vegan options! And click here for more delicious game day recipes.


Why Do Elephants Rarely Get Cancer?


The Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare [FIREPAW] is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit research and education foundation

The rules of nature tell us that large, long-lived animals should have the highest risk of cancer. The calculation is simple: Tumors grow when genetic mutations cause individual cells to reproduce too quickly. A long life creates more opportunities for those cancerous mutations to arise. So, too, does a massive body: Big creatures — which have many more cells — should develop tumors more frequently. Why, then, does cancer rarely afflict elephants, with their long lifespans and gargantuan bodies? Scientists went looking for the answer…

The first discovery was that elephants possess extra copies of a wide variety of genes associated with tumor suppression.  But this phenomenon is not unique to elephants, so they pressed on for more information…

“One of the expectations is that as you get a really big body, your burden of cancer should increase because things with big bodies have more cells.  The fact that this isn’t true across species — a long-standing paradox in evolutionary medicine and cancer biology — indicates that evolution found a way to reduce cancer risk.”

-Vincent Lynch, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences

The research concluded that duplication of tumor suppressor genes is quite common among elephants’ living and extinct relatives, including in small ones like Cape golden moles (a burrowing animal) and elephant shrews (a long-nosed insectivore). The data suggest that tumor suppression capabilities preceded or coincided with the evolution of exceptionally big bodies, facilitating this development.

“We found that: Elephants have lots and lots and lots of extra copies of tumor suppressor genes, and they all contribute probably a little bit to cancer resistance.”

-Vincent Lynch, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences

The final analysis:  Elephants do have enhanced cancer protections, compared with relatives.  Though many elephant relatives harbor extra copies of tumor suppressor genes, the scientists found that elephant genomes possess some unique duplications that may contribute to tumor suppression through genes involved in DNA repair; resistance to oxidative stress; and cellular growth, aging and death.

Journal Reference:  Juan M Vazquez, Vincent J Lynch. Pervasive duplication of tumor suppressors in Afrotherians during the evolution of large bodies and reduced cancer risk. eLife, 2021; 10 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.65041

Elephants evolved to have enhanced protections against cancer