June 2009 Archives

One of the biggest misconceptions about a vegan diet is that it is too expensive to maintain, and that is simply (soy) baloney! MFA's much-loved vegan registered and licensed dietitian, Anya Todd, dishes up some tips for eating a healthy vegan diet while staying on a budget.

1) Cook For Yourself
Relying on pre-packaged items, such as expensive frozen meals, or dining at pricey restaurants can send your weekly food budget through the roof. If you are scared of venturing into the kitchen, help is on the way. There are so many wonderful cookbooks, websites and podcasts that teach everything from properly cutting an onion to assembling a three-layer cake. For free recipes and cooking videos, check out ChooseVeg.com.

2) Stick With the Basics
Beans, grains and produce are low-cost and should be the backbone of any healthy vegan diet. A two-pound bag of dried beans costs around $1 at my local grocer and will easily feed me and my husband for a few meals when used in dishes like chili and soups. Even canned beans are affordable and require zero preparation. Full of protein and fiber, beans should be used often. Rice, pasta, and nontraditional grains, like millet and quinoa, are very easy to prepare and have a variety of uses. Fresh and frozen produce are essential to have on hand. Local farmers' markets are wonderful for providing inexpensive local fruits and veggies which in turn supports your local economy.

3) Make A List
Taking the time to create a shopping list for a week's worth of meals can be daunting at first, but you will get the hang of it. Just remember, you are saving money!

4) Think Ethnic
When omnivores ask me, "Well, what do you eat?" as if I am dramatically limiting my options by choosing to go cruelty-free, I take pleasure in naming foods of which they have never heard. The plethora of international cuisine, whether it is Indian, Asian, Mexican or Middle Eastern, is not only tasty but really inexpensive.

5) Plan a Potluck
If you are watching your budget, chances are your friends are too. Planning a potluck in which everyone brings a vegan dish is a great way to enjoy a yummy meal, while only investing the time and money for the one dish you prepared.

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It's well documented that meat consumption is not only the leading cause of worldwide animal suffering, but also the biggest contributor to global warming. In fact, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization has concluded that the livestock sector is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."

Thankfully, Sir Paul McCartney, perhaps the world's most famous and outspoken vegetarian and animal advocate, has teamed up with international celebrities, environmentalists, animal advocates, and human health organizations to launch a gentile, easy to swallow message for consumers: go meat free on Monday.  Check out this video on the campaign's launch:


Certainly the best action we can all take to prevent animal cruelty and environmental pollution is to go meat-free all seven days a week. Yet, the reality is that if everyone was to ditch meat just one day a week, literally billions of animals would be spared from factory farms and slaughterhouses. The "Support Meat Free Monday" campaign is guaranteed to awaken consumers worldwide to the plethora of delicious, healthy, humane, and eco-friendly vegan foods available to them. And once people see that giving up meat doesn't mean you have to abandon your favorite flavors, many are bound to move quickly toward vegetarianism.

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This past weekend MFA activists in Ohio, Chicago and Minneapolis gave a whole new meaning to "vegging out" on the weekend. Far from throwing up their feet and relaxing on their summer weekend, dedicated MFA members hit the streets to hold an impressive number of animal advocacy events - inspiring countless festival, concert and conference attendees to explore veganism. Here are the highlights:

MFA's Cincinnati, Ohio chapter was out in full force at the annual Gay Pride Festival and Parade - distributing over 2,000 pro-vegetarian brochures. At the festival, their educational exhibit was complete with free vegan food samples, the powerful Meet Your Meat video, and Vegetarian Starter Kits.

Thomas Barnett, vegan frontman of the popular punk rock band, Strike Anywhere, invited our Cincinnati chapter to table at his concert Sunday evening following the parade.  Thomas is a proud supporter of MFA - even giving us a shout out on stage during his energetic performance. Check out this photo of our volunteer, Kyle Becker, rubbing elbows with Thomas at the show.

A powerhouse team of 17 MFA activists in Chicago erected an eye-catching educational booth at the Andersonville Midsommarfest on Saturday and Sunday.  According to Mikael Nielsen, our Chicago Outreach Coordinator, "The positive reactions were overwhelming and people took everything from a ton of VSK's, restaurant guides, Meet Your Meat DVDs and Compassionate Living magazines to stickers and MFA tri-folds on 'humane' meat and the environmental impacts of eating meat."

Finally, to cap off the weekend, MFA's Executive Director, Nathan Runkle, delivered the opening keynote address at the "Their Lives, Our Voices" Midwest Animal Advocacy Conference in Minneapolis. Titled, "Inspiring Compassion: Putting Our Ethics on the Table," Nathan encouraged attendees to take a stand on behalf of abused and neglected animals by promoting cruelty-free food choices.

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books.jpgRory Freedman, the outspoken best-selling author of Skinny Bitch, the tough-love, no-nonsense vegan guide to looking and feeling great, has a challenge for you:

Make a donation to Mercy For Animals before Father's Day on June 21st and Rory will match your contribution, dollar-for-dollar - totaling up to $5,000!

Your donation, regardless of size, will go twice as far if you take this challenge to help raise funds to further MFA's life-saving work.

Donate $100 or more and you will receive an autographed copy of Skinny Bitch, or Rory's latest book, Skinny Bastard - a guide for macho men on eating well and getting in shape the healthy and cruelty-free way!

Rory is a longtime activist working to build a kinder tomorrow for the most abused and neglected animals - those raised and killed in food production. She has been a strong supporter of ours and believes that, "MFA is one of the most passionate, effective and outspoken voices in the movement. I'm a proud member and supporter; you should be, too." 

Don't miss this unique opportunity to honor your father, have your donation doubled, and support MFA's vital work to protect animals from needless suffering.

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3036239.47.jpgA powerful Op-Ed by Bob Herbert in Monday's edition of The New York Times paints a disturbing picture of the harsh exploitation of both animals and workers at one of the nation's largest foie gras producers - Hudson Valley Foie Gras in upstate New York.

Foie gras, French for "fatty liver," is produced by force-feeding ducks by jamming a metal pipe down the animal's throat multiple times per day, for weeks on end.  This stressful and abusive process induces disease in the bird, which results in a swollen liver. Snooty chefs and foodies nationwide have allowed their bizarre palate preference for the liver to overshadow their empathy or compassion for animals, resulting in hundreds of thousands of birds slaughtered for the product annually.

Though animal activists have been successful in bringing to light the inhumane conditions animals endure in foie gras production, little has been written about the treatment of the factory farm workers. As is the case with most factory farms and slaughterhouses, the backbreaking, dirty, and emotionally and physically dangerous work involved in foie gras production often falls upon undocumented workers - who have few advocates and little legal protection.

The NYT Op-Ed States:

(I)'ve been looking at the plight of the underpaid, overworked and often gruesomely exploited farmworkers who feed and otherwise care for the ducks. Their lives are hard.

Each feeder, for example, is responsible for feeding 200 to 300 (or more) ducks -- individually -- three times a day. The feeder holds a duck between his or her knees, inserts a tube down the duck's throat, and uses a motorized funnel to force the feed into the bird. Then on to the next duck, hour after hour, day after day, week after week.

The routine is brutal and not very sanitary...

Not only do the feeders get no days off during that long stretch, and no overtime for any of the long hours, but they get very little time even to sleep each day...

As is often the case, companies that abuse and exploit animals often endanger, overwork, and disrespect their own workers.

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Mercy For Animals has teamed up with concerned Toronto, Canada citizens to launch a series of provocative new pro-vegetarian advertisements on the city's subway system. The campaign, which was launched yesterday, consists of over 200 ads, which draw attention to the similarities between the animals we call "family" and the animals we call "dinner." The ads run throughout June and will be viewed over 470,000 times per day - exposing millions of riders to the shocking cruelty faced by animals raised for food in Canada.

One of the three ads features an inquisitive puppy and a cheerful piglet side-by-side and asks, "Why love one but eat the other?" The other two ads feature a fluffy kitten and an equally fluffy baby chick, and an alert Labrador Retriever beside a curious cow. In each case, these heart-warming images are juxtaposed with graphic photographs of the horrific conditions on factory farms where animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy windowless sheds, battery cages, gestation crates, and other cruel confinement systems.

Farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than the dogs and cats we cherish as companions. Yet cruelty, such as intense confinement, staggering neglect, mutilation, genetic manipulation, transport through all weather extremes, and gruesome and violent slaughter, is commonplace in Canadian agribusiness.

As part of the campaign launch, MFA has created ChooseVeg.ca, which features information, photos, and video footage of conditions inside Canadian factory farms. Visitors can also download a Vegetarian Starter Kit and browse hundreds of vegan recipes and cooking videos.

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Intellectually inclined students and community members gather at community libraries to share and exchange ideas and information.  Mercy For Animals has long reached out this is audience through our pro-vegetarian library displays - featuring thought-provoking panels detailing the suffering cows, pigs, chickens, and fish endure on factory farms. The exhibit also arms viewers with step-by-step tips on making the transition to a healthy plant-based diet.

Check out these photos from some of the display's most recent appearances in Chicago.

Thumbnail image for IMG_2626.JPGThumbnail image for IMG_2058.JPGMFA's vegetarian library display campaign has impacted thousands of individuals, making frequent appearances at libraries throughout Ohio, Chicago, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Vegetarian Starter Kits typically accompany the display, providing take-home information on the health, ethical, and environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet, as well as mouth-watering recipes.

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Millions of New Yorkers are getting some serious food for thought thanks to an eye-opening new anti-meat ad campaign sponsored by the national animal advocacy organization Mercy For Animals. The "How Much Cruelty Can You Swallow?" and "Why Love One But Eat the Other?" themes invite viewers to consider the horrific cruelties suffered by factory farmed animals and to compare their plight with that of beloved family pets. The campaign consists of over 200 posters on Manhattan-area buses throughout June and July - amassing a total of 14.7 million viewings.

whyloveNYCBusSite.jpgchickenNYCBusSite.jpgpigNYCBusSite.jpgTwo of the ads point out the cruelties embedded in production of meat, poultry, dairy and eggs, noting the typical practices of overcrowding, mutilation, and inhumane handling throughout the factory farming system. A third version notes the typical American's inconsistent treatment of animals, reminding us that we cherish our companion cats and dogs while condemning chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs to harsh lives of suffering and deprivation.

The campaign is a reminder that a farm life with green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past is a distant memory. On today's factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates, and other cruel confinement systems. These animals will never root in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural to them. They won't even feel the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter. Across the country, billions of animals are denied virtually any legal protection. For example, birds - which alone comprise 95% of all animals slaughtered each year - receive no legal protection under the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Thankfully, compassionate consumers can remove their support from this violent industry by adopting a vegetarian diet.

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Hernando.jpg"Chenoa" is a Native American term meaning "white dove," a figure of peace, which perfectly symbolizes the work done at Chenoa Manor animal sanctuary. Chenoa's 25 acres in Chester County, Pennsylvania are home to over 200 animals, including those rescued from factory farms, cruel laboratory experiments, the exotic pet trade or while en route to slaughter.

Chenoa Manor is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, which not only serves as a safe haven for animals, but as a youth-assistance facility. Chenoa fosters the development of positive relationships between at-risk teenagers and animals, in order to instill in these youth compassion and respect toward others. Chenoa also promotes non-violence toward all sentient creatures by advocating a humane, vegetarian diet.

Dr. Robert Teti, Chenoa Manor's Executive Director, founded the organization in 2003. As a licensed veterinarian, Dr. Teti also provides the animal residents' veterinary care and attends to their daily needs. Additionally, he holds a degree in Animal Science and has lent his expertise to MFA in reviewing our investigative footage and providing written statements attesting to the pain and suffering of the animals depicted in the videos.

Rob_w_Students.jpgSince Chenoa Manor's inception, dedicated contributors and volunteers have enabled Chenoa to erect fencing, maintain pastures and renovate several barns. Last year volunteers constructed a rabbit warren, offering a spacious enclosure for Chenoa's rabbit residents, as well as a small pond for their waterfowl residents.

This year Chenoa Manor plans for the exciting renovation of a 200-year-old, three-story barn. Renovation of this barn will not only provide Chenoa with isolation areas for new or ill animals, but with an area for youth-animal interaction regardless of weather conditions, as well as space for farm-inspired murals and other youth-created artwork.

To learn more about Chenoa Manor and to meet Chenoa's animals, please visit www.chenoamanor.org.

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Members of Mercy For Animals handed out hundreds of free vegan food samples to passersby on the bustling Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago last Saturday.  A colorful banner invited shoppers and tourists to "Enjoy a Free Vegan Sample"  - exposing many of them to their fist taste of the mouthwatering alternatives to meat. The tofurky sandwiches, veg chicken nuggets, BBQ, and veggie hot dogs distributed during the event proved that adopting a healthy and humane vegan diet doesn't mean you have to abandon your favorite flavors.

ChicagoFeedIn1Small.jpgChicagoFeedIn2Small.jpgFeed-ins are fun, proactive, and a positive outreach tools that can be used to effectively show the public how delicious vegan food can be.  After having a taste of a delicious vegan tidbit, most people are eager to receive a pamphlet detailing the heath, ethical, and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.  Our leafleters handed out thousands of Why Vegetarian? booklets, The Vegetarian Guide to Chicago, and Vegetarian Starter Kits!

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This summer is packed full of exciting events and opportunities to get active on behalf of animals. One such must-attend event is the second annual "Their Lives, Our Voices" conference. Hosted by the powerhouse grassroots animal advocacy organization, Compassionate Action for Animals, the conference promises to be an inspiring and informative event for veteran activists and newcomers alike.

The conference starts in the evening of Friday, June 12, and continues through Sunday, June 14. The conference venue is the Hubert H. Humphrey Conference Center in Minneapolis, MN. The rate is $30 for students and low-income individuals, $45 for everyone else.

Mercy For Animals is a proud sponsor of this important event. Be sure to stop by our booth in the exhibit hall and grab a seat for MFA's Nathan Runkle's lectures "The Rotten Truth: Animal Cruelty in the Egg Industry," and "Effective Grassroots Activism." Other presenters include Lorri Bauston (Animal Acres), Mark Hawthorne (author of Striking at the Roots), pattrice jones (author of Aftershock), Stephen Kaufman (Christian Vegetarian Association), Erica Meier (Compassion Over Killing), and Tom Regan (Philosopher and author of The Case for Animal Rights).

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2009 is the previous archive.

July 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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