The Kentucky Livestock Commission recently issued a rule that will prohibit the practice of confining calves in crates so small they are unable to turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives. The new regulation, which takes effect in 2018, will make Kentucky the eighth state to ban cruel veal crates, following Arizona, Colorado, California, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Veal crates have also been banned in the entire European Union.
Numerous undercover investigations, like MFA's investigation at Buckeye Veal in Ohio
, have exposed the unrelenting misery that calves in veal crates are forced to endure. Chained by the neck inside a tiny box, these intelligent and social animals are unable to walk, run, play, breathe fresh air, see sunlight, clean themselves or bond with their mothers. They are deprived of everything that makes life even remotely worth living.
See for yourself how calves raised for veal are treated:
While this marks a modest but meaningful step forward for calves raised for veal in Kentucky, the Livestock Commission has not yet extended this same modest consideration to pigs or chickens who are typically crammed into tiny gestation crates
or battery cages
respectively. The new regulations in Kentucky also stop short of prohibiting tail docking
- the inherently cruel practice of cutting through the sensitive skin, nerves and tailbone of cows without any painkillers.
The veal crate ban is progress, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The best way for individuals to help end the needless suffering of farmed animals is simply not to eat them. Adopting a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle is the single most powerful choice one can make to withdraw one's support from a system that treats animals like commodities. Visit ChooseVeg.com
to learn more.
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Mercy For Animals supporter and animal activist Liz Dee lives the sweet life ... literally. Her family created the American classic and insanely delicious Smarties candies over 60 years ago!
Now at the helm of the Smarties communications department, Liz proudly lets fans know that her family's candies are 100 percent vegan. A fantastic page
on the company's website refers to the sugary, yet tart, confections as "cruelty-free" and declares, "We are delighted to offer a compassionate candy to satisfy the vegan sweet tooth!"
We recently sat down with Liz to find out more about her secret to success and her inspiring activism.
1. Tell us the story of how you went vegan.
Like so many people, I grew up a devoted omnivore. I loved eating meat, dairy and eggs, and never questioned where these "products" came from. I wasn't aware of the suffering required for those items to be on my plate, nor did I want to open myself up to face that inconvenient truth. At dinner parties, I would (inwardly) roll my eyes at vegetarians. I knew one vegan, and I thought she was extreme.
One day in August, 2011, everything changed: I went from a die-hard omnivore to vegan in a matter of minutes. I had no intention of becoming vegan. I was just doing research for work. Because consumers were regularly contacting Smarties Candy Company asking if Smarties were vegan, we decided to add a page to our website explaining that our candy was indeed vegan.
I had to do research to write about Smarties being vegan because the only thing I knew about veganism at the time was that I thought it sounded terrible and I wanted nothing to do with it. As I was researching veganism and figuring out how to write about it, I experienced a complete change of heart. The information was so compelling, the evidence so concrete, and the suffering so abominable, that I became convinced to go vegan myself.
Undercover videos from factory farms and slaughterhouses, such as those produced by Mercy For Animals, played a huge role in my awakening. Once I saw the horrific practices required to produce meat, dairy and eggs, I could not in good conscience continue to support them. In short, animal products are cruel and unnecessary, and I feel much better off without them!
2. What made your family consider promoting Smarties as a vegan product?
We saw promoting Smarties as a vegan product as an extension of our customer service. Our website is designed to be fun but also informative. We constantly receive emails and calls from customers asking us all sorts of things about our products. If we are getting enough contact from customers about a specific issue, we will consider adding new information to our website. In this case, we heard from concerned vegans so frequently that we decided it made sense to add the vegan landing page to Smarties.com.3. Outside of work, what are some ways you like to get active for farmed animals?
I am always finding new ways to be active on behalf of farmed animals. Where to begin?! Of course, three (or more!) meals a day, I eat exclusively vegan. I also avoid purchasing, wearing, or using non-vegan clothes or products. When I go out to eat to a non-vegan restaurant, I try to always call in advance. I actually wrote an article
about restaurant advocacy for Our Hen House. I encourage people to never doubt their power as a consumer to advocate non-violence. Businesses listen. After all, it's because of consumers speaking up that I went vegan!
I love participating in animal advocacy; it fills me with hope. Last year, I overcame my fear of leafleting and now leaflet regularly. It is an incredibly empowering way to advocate for animals (I wrote an article
about that too!).
I also volunteer with local vegan student groups and help out at paid-per-view
events with Mercy For Animals, where we pay people a dollar to watch the four-minute version of "Farm to Fridge." Because watching videos of how animals are raised and slaughtered had such a profound impact on me, I am dedicated to sharing this life-altering footage with people who are ready to see where meat, dairy and eggs come from. The feedback we get from paid-per-views is phenomenal. Many people start out skeptical and then go vegan on the spot.
Last but not least, I am the associate producer for the Our Hen House podcast. Our Hen House is a multi-media powerhouse non-profit that empowers people to change the world for animals, and the podcast is its most popular program. In addition to the podcast, it produces an online magazine, a brand new eBook Publishing Arm called "Hen Press," and - launching later this month - a TV show hosted by the fabulous co-founders, Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan. I highly encourage anyone looking for new ideas on how to advocate for animals to visit OurHenHouse.org
and check out our resources. 4. What is your advice for vegan entrepreneurs just getting started?
First of all, to any vegan entrepreneur: You are incredible! Thank you so much for your bravery and commitment to dedicate your professional life to changing the world for animals. I send you a great big virtual high five!!!
To answer your question, as a businessperson, I would say that the most important thing to focus on is offering the best overall product or service, not the best vegan product or service. In other words, vegan businesses should strive to be better than their non-vegan rivals in every way. Through appealing to omnivores and vegans alike, you hugely expand your target market. This allows for the possibility of greater success and a larger impact for farmed animals.
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One Green Planet recently blogged
about a farmed animal sanctuary in Victoria, Australia called Edgar's Mission
, which organizes regular therapy visits to nursing homes with a goat, a sheep, and a chicken.
While it's common to bring dogs or cats into hospitals and hospices to help lift spirits, bringing farmed animals is a new and lovely twist.
"Fostering kindness for all beings can never be understated," said sanctuary founder and director, Pam Ahern. "Every day I see how the sanctuary residents grow more confident when treated with kindness and I see here today how the elderly respond so positively to the animals. Timmy Sheep causes many to smile and relive stories of the past. Gentle hands outstretch to offer Miss Chief the cheeky goat a leaf to eat and dear little Ginger Chicken just delights one and all as she loves to talk."
Just check out these photos from a recent visit to Dianella Aged Care Facility. If they don't warm your heart you might want to check if you still have a pulse.
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Eating meat may be as bad as smoking tobacco, a new study finds. Published in "Cell Metabolism
" and highlighted on CBS News
, the study demonstrates the serious health implications associated with eating meat and dairy.
According to CBSNews.com, people who eat lots of meat and dairy are "more likely to die at an earlier age," and "middle-aged people who eat a diet high in animal proteins from milk, meat and cheese are more likely to die of cancer than someone who eats a low-protein diet."
In fact, the study found that the participants who consumed the largest quantity of animal proteins were four times more likely to die of cancer than participants on a low-protein diet and that this increased likelihood was "similar to the cancer risk between smokers and non-smokers."
Want to safeguard your health while also protecting farmed animals from horrific abuse and neglect? Check out ChooseVeg.com
for tips on making the transition to a healthy and humane vegan diet.
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A recent study, featured on PBS's "Nova
," offers insight into how cows learn and highlights the improved learning of calves when they are socialized with each other. As explained on the network's website, "Dairy farmers typically house calves separately, but a new study shows that there are cognitive benefits to allowing them more social interaction."
The study, conducted by the University of British Columbia, examines the differences in learning among calves with varying levels of socialization, and finds that "social species, including cows, need interaction to grow and flourish."
Further, "animals can have rich social lives, and their well-being depends on how able they are to interact with others and engage with their environment."
Today's factory farms deny animals nearly everything that comes naturally to them, and MFA investigations at dairy suppliers across the country have repeatedly documented a system of cruelty and neglect.
With all the amazing and compassionate dairy alternatives, there's no reason to put cows through such lives of misery and despair. For even more dairy-free inspiration, visit ChooseVeg.com
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A fantastic piece by Univision's news program "Primer Impacto" has been honored with a Genesis Award for its superb coverage of two MFA undercover investigations
at Butterball turkey processing plants.
"Primer Impacto" doesn't shy away from the truth, featuring graphic footage of animal abuse and a candid interview with MFA's director of investigations, Matt Rice. The powerful program also drives home MFA's success in holding animal abusers accountable, highlighting the criminal animal cruelty charges filed against Butterball workers and the resulting first-ever felony conviction for cruelty to factory farmed poultry.
Watch the full segment below:
MFA would like to congratulate Univision on this prestigious award. And remember, the best thing you can do to help stop farmed animal abuse is to leave meat, dairy and eggs off your plate. Visit ChooseVeg.com
to learn more.
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A recent article published by "Time
" details seven different ways in which vegetarians are poised for longer, healthier lives than their meat-eating counterparts.
Results of various studies reveal that vegetarians are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure
, heart disease
, and diabetes
. They are also less likely to be overweight
, and have a lower overall risk of death
. To top it off, vegetarians have even proven to have better moods
In fact, according to the article, "A 2012 study
randomly split participants into three diets: all-meat allowed, fish-only, and vegetarian no-meat. The researchers found that after two weeks, the people on the vegetarian diet reported more mood improvements than those on the other two diets."
The science is clear. A healthy, vegetarian diet not only prevents some of the most common chronic diseases, but also leads to an overall improved quality of life.
For free recipes and more information on transitioning to a healthy and humane vegetarian diet, visit ChooseVeg.com
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Rob Bigwood is one tough vegan. A professional arm wrestler who bucks all the stereotypes, this plant-based powerhouse also happens to be one of the stars of a new show on AMC entitled "Game of Arms."
Debuting this month, this edgy series aims to give us a "look inside the raw and highly competitive world of American arm wrestling," says AMC.
MFA was lucky enough to sit down with Rob and discuss arm wrestling, his transition to a vegan lifestyle, and what he hopes to accomplish with his newfound fame.
1. Tell us about your new show, "Game of Arms."
The series follows five regional arm wrestling teams as we hit the road and wager our reputations. The show not only focuses on the technique and skill, but also our families, careers, and personal struggles.
2. What was your motive for adopting a completely plant-based diet?
I love all animals and feel it's extremely hypocritical calling oneself an animal lover while eating a cheeseburger or drinking a glass of milk. All animals have the same feelings and emotions and should have equal rights.3. How has leaving animals off your plate impacted your life?
My diet is cruelty-free now and that feels gratifying. I'm healthier, lighter, and have better endurance during my workouts. A vegan lifestyle is also beneficial for our environment, the less fortunate, and especially the millions of innocent animals murdered each year.
4. How have others on the show reacted to your veganism?
I think they would react negatively if I wasn't as successful. Most people are just curious about my diet, which I'm always willing to share. I think being vegan was a big part of why I was selected to represent the NYC team on "Game of Arms."5. Do you have any advice for people making the transition to a plant-based diet?
It might be discouraging to just completely change everything you know about your diet so start slow and do some research. Replace regular milk with almond or hemp milk, try cooking up some seitan or tempeh instead of meat. They both taste amazing and are high in protein with zero cholesterol.
6. What is next for you?
My ultimate goal is to help animals and spread veganism. With that being said, who knows?!
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From ultra-runners to powerlifters, plant-based eating is now found in every corner of the athletic world. The latest book by plant-based health and fitness professional Scott Shetler
, "Plant-Based Performance: A Compassionate Approach to Health & Fitness," features articles from some of the top vegan athletes, trainers, and health and fitness professionals in the industry.
Although they followed different paths to a vegan lifestyle, all contributors highlighted in this book are at the top of their game thanks to their plant-based diets.
Some, like arm wrestler/motivational speaker Big Bald Mike
, explain how they became vegan (spoiler alert: Sabina Skala did it on a dare). Others provide tips about specific aspects of veganism, such as juice fasting, phytonutrients, and nutrition. From recipes to protein calculators, there's something for everyone in this book.
Perhaps one of the most inspirational stories is from Dr. Ruth Heidrich, a 31-year vegan who survived metastatic breast cancer and went on to win nearly 1,000 racing trophies (and she's still going!). Dr. Heidrich has run 67 marathons (including one at the Great Wall of China) and competed in triathlons, biathlons, and the pentathlon.
From bodybuilding to endurance running, this book shows that not only can you experience excellent health with a plant-based lifestyle, you can enjoy exceptional levels of fitness and athletic performance as well.
Mercy For Animals will receive 100 percent of the proceeds
from "Plant-Based Performance." The book is available in both print and an e-version. Order your copy today
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and widespread opposition
, moments ago Idaho governor C.L. "Butch" Otter signed into law a dangerous ag-gag bill that aims to prevent whistleblowers from taking photographs or video inside factory farms that abuse animals. The bill was backed by the state's corrupt dairy industry
, which desperately seeks to hide evidence of the horrific animal abuse
that runs rampant on factory farms throughout Idaho. Mercy For Animals founder and executive director, Nathan Runkle, had this to say about today's ag-gag bill becoming law:
Governor Otter has failed Idaho and the American people. By signing this bill into law, he has sided with those who seek to keep Idaho's corrupt factory farming practices hidden from public view and created a safe haven for animal abuse and other criminal activity in the state. Mercy For Animals is exploring all legal avenues to overturn this dangerous, unconstitutional, and un-American law.
Not only will this ag-gag law perpetuate animal abuse, it endangers workers' rights, consumer health and safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees, and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply. This law is bad for consumers, who want more, not less, transparency in food production.
Bowing to pressure from the corporate factory farming interests in Idaho, Governor Otter betrayed the will of his constituents and the majority of Americans who strongly oppose efforts to criminalize whistleblowers who dare to expose cruelty and corruption on Idaho's farms. Clearly Governor Otter knows that Idaho's factory farmers have a lot to hide from the American people if he is willing to go to such despicable lengths to conceal their cruel and abusive practices.
Although similar ag-gag bills have been proposed in states all across the country at the behest of the multibillion-dollar meat, dairy, and egg industries
, the majority of those bills have been defeated. Unfortunately, Idaho's flawed and misdirected new law will now throw shut the doors to industrial factory farms and allow animal abuse, environmental violations, and food contamination to flourish undetected, unchallenged, and unaddressed.
Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced and how animals on factory farms are abused so they can make informed choices. But now, due to this misguided law, consumers would be wise to assume that food produced on Idaho farms is the product of systematic cruelty and corruption.
by Mercy For Animals and other groups have led to landmark corporate animal welfare policy reforms, new and improved laws to protect farmed animals and the environment, felony convictions of animal abusers
, increased consumer protection and food safety initiatives, and the closure of particularly corrupt facilities. Without undercover investigations, there are oftentimes no effective watchdogs protecting animals from egregious cruelty in these facilities or the public from serious health violations.
Why was Idaho's corrupt dairy industry so determined to silence undercover investigators? See for yourself:
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