August 2009 Archives

Today's issue of Time magazine carries a compelling article titled "America's Food Crisis and How to Fix It." The in-depth piece paints a sobering picture of the cruel, unhealthy, and unsustainable practices used on factory farms nationwide. Here are some particularly powerful quotes from the feature:

"Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon -- circa 2009."

Readers also learn:

"In CAFOs, large numbers of animals -- 1,000 or more in the case of cattle and tens of thousands for chicken and pigs -- are kept in close, concentrated conditions and fattened up for slaughter as fast as possible, contributing to efficiencies of scale and thus lower prices. But animals aren't widgets with legs. They're living creatures, and there are consequences to packing them in prison-like conditions."

It's encouraging to see mainstream media giving such pressing and important issues such coverage. Hopefully Time readers will reconsider their next burger or pork chop, and opt for the healthy, humane, and sustainable vegetarian option instead.

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The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos, is a deeply moving documentary hitting theaters nationwide. Described as a cross between "Oceans 11" and "Flipper," the film takes viewers on an unforgettable journey to the shallow waters off the coast of Taiji, Japan where every fall thousands of dolphins are chased, cornered, terrorized, separated from their families, bludgeoned, and stabbed to death. Driven both by the financial incentive of the captive dolphin entertainment industry and the dolphin meat-trade, the brutal killings of these majestic creatures is enough to make any conscious person pause for reflection.


The film spotlights Richard O'Barry, former star of the popular television series, "Flipper," whose change in consciousness and perception lead him to dedicate his life to freeing dolphins from captivity and protecting them from slaughter. Viewers are given an eye-opening glimpse into the complex emotional and intellectual lives of dolphins - one of the smartest, most self-aware, animals on Earth.

Viewers are exposed to the chilling truth behind the seafood industry. We hear about the dangerously high levels of mercury in seafood, how and why mercury poisoning occurs in humans who eat fish, and the human health consequences of consuming mercury-contaminated sea life. The film also reveals how over-fishing is rapidly depleting wild fish populations - quickly driving some species to the brink of collapse.

The Cove also illustrates the lengths to which animal abusers will go to hide their abuses, acknowledging that the general public would be outraged if they knew the cruel details of the dolphin slaughter.

This sobering truth can also certainly be said about factory farming and slaughterhouses in the United States. This powerful film gives vegan advocates an opportunity to help Americans bridge the gap between their concern for dolphins, whom the film convincingly portrays as intelligent and sentient creatures, with empathy and compassion for pigs, cows, and chickens - also intelligent individuals who are self-aware and in dire need of protection.

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peter_singer.jpgThe Philadelphia Inquirer carries a thought-provoking article today about Michael Vick's dog fighting case, featuring an interview with Peter Singer - Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and author of the book Animal Liberation.

In the article, Singer puts Vick's situation into perspective, encouraging readers to consider how their own actions could be contributing to needless animal suffering.

Here are some highlights from Singer's interview:

"What he did was certainly awful. But many people do or participate in things regarding animals that are awful. To some extent, I think people may have rushed to judgment because he did something awful to dogs."...

"For example," he went on, "the kinds of things that are done to pigs to turn them into ham or bacon are awful, but we don't care as much about pigs as we do dogs. And I think there's every reason to believe that pigs are as sensitive and intelligent as dogs."...

"What I'm saying," he went on, "is that the people who are very quick to jump on Michael Vick maybe could spend some time thinking about how they participate in the cruelty to animals just by walking into the supermarket, spend some time thinking about what happened to that animal before it was turned into meat."...

"There are pigs, probably millions, on factory farms," he said, "who are having a worse time than Michael Vick's dogs. That's what I find a little incongruous about the response to what he did."

Singer's comments, though potentially hard to hear for individuals who care deeply about dogs, yet ignore the cruel plight of farmed animals, get to the core of our society's inconsistent views on animal cruelty.

Hopefully Singer's statements will open the hearts and minds of the millions of compassionate Americans, who were outraged over Vick's inexcusable abuse of dogs, to the suffering of animals killed for their dinner tables. Along the way, MFA will continue to work on inspiring consumers to widen their circle of compassion to include all animals by expanding our "Why love one but eat the other?" campaign.

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It is with great excitement that we announce to you that Mercy For Animals is expanding its vital campaigns on behalf of farmed animals to the largest metropolis in the nation - New York City!

We're bringing our vital work for animals to millions of New Yorkers. Through grassroots activism, education and advertising campaigns, research and undercover investigations, and work with news media, MFA will broaden our efforts to open consumers' hearts and minds to the plight of farmed animals and empower them to make humane food choices.

It is also with great honor that we introduce you to Lydia Chaudhry, MFA's New York Campaign Coordinator. Lydia will be leading MFA's efforts in all of these areas. She is a veteran of over a decade of outreach work focused on promoting ethical veganism, as well as a graduate of the chef's training program of The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York. In addition to her activism on behalf of numerous animal advocacy groups, she has also taught vegan cooking.

With this expansion we are also opening a New York Advocacy Center, centrally located in Manhattan. Now, with our new Advocacy Center, we'll be able to do more than ever to involve more activists in our groundbreaking work to protect animals. Check out these photos of the Advocacy Center (computers and office chairs coming soon).

NYAdvocacyCenter1.jpgOur new center is so much more than an office; it will serve as a vital resource and clearinghouse of opportunities, information, and support for activists interested in protecting farmed animals! We will offer:

  • Volunteer and Internship opportunities - learn how to expand our grassroots efforts in leafleting, feed-ins, and tabling, as well as contribute to office and administrative support;
  • Access to MFA vegan outreach literature and other activist materials;
  • Information and the latest news on the current state of factory farming and the best ways to fight it;
  • Cooking classes and workshops providing the tools to effectively promote cruelty-free eating
Please consider attending one of our upcoming Volunteer Orientation Sessions. For your convenience, we already have two sessions planned; pick a date that works with your schedule. Click here for all the details.

For more information on the center, and to get active with MFA in New York, please email Lydia at

Thank you for all of your continued support - which has allowed MFA to broaden its vital campaigns to New York, one of the most influential and dynamic cities in the nation. Your involvement and dedication have enabled us to move closer to the day when all animals are treated with the respect and compassion they deserve.

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A crowd of over 16,000 converged over the weekend in Naperville, IL for Veggie Fest, a spectacular two-day festival of vegetarian food, education, and veg living.

Mercy For Animals was out to greet the crowds, handing out hundreds of free Vegetarian Starter Kits to help these interested individuals learn how important it is to go vegan for the animals, the environment, and their health.  As the only animal protection organization at the Fest, MFA's table was a huge hit, keeping our team of volunteers busy day and night.

Veggie Fest--Alexis.jpgMany people picked up a list of Veg-Friendly restaurants in Chicago, and also were excited to learn about our popular website which lists vegan-friendly restaurants, groceries, and organizations across the state:  People traveled from states near and far and even foreign countries for this annual event, and we can see why.

Volunteers at Veggie fest 09.jpgNot only was the Fest a great place to sample Indian, Caribbean and Japanese vegan and vegetarian fare, and to check out cooking demos and inspirational speakers, but it also goes to show that vegetarianism is more popular than ever!  More and more people are realizing every day that a compassionate lifestyle, free from animal products, is not only good for the animals, but is a lot of fun, too.

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gregerblue.jpgA membership to Mercy For Animals has always been great for animals - but now it could also be good for your health!

In fact, it's exactly what the Dr. ordered: Dr. Michael Greger, to be exact - internationally renowned author, speaker, and vegan nutrition expert.

You see, Dr. Greger has a special challenge for you: Join MFA's Monthly Giving Club, by setting up a recurring donation of $10 or more, and receive a free, 4-disc set, consisting of his popular 2007, 2008 and 2009 Clinical Nutrition DVDs!

But don't delay, as this offer only runs through the month of August. Click here to set up your monthly contribution today.

Every year, Dr. Greger scours the world's scholarly literature on clinical nutrition so you don't have to. This 4-disc set brings together the most interesting, practical, and groundbreaking science published over the last three years on how best to feed ourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic disease.

Here are just a few of the over 150 topics covered in the DVD set:

* Superfood Bargains
* The One Supplement Every Healthy Eater Needs
* Meat and Arthritis
* New Antioxidant Superstars
* Preventing Cancer - Which Foods to Eat
* Foods for Weight Loss
* New Studies on Vegans and Vegetarians
* Which Teas Are Helpful and Which Can Be Harmful
* Raw vs. Cooked Vegetables

You must hurry - take advantage of this special opportunity today. Please join MFA's Monthly Giving Club now, and you will receive the complete 4-disc Clinical Nutrition DVD set!

And remember, not only does your gift come with this great incentive, but it also supports MFA's life-saving work on behalf of abused and neglected farmed animals.

Join MFA's Monthly Giving Club today - do it for the animals, and your health.

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Outreach efforts at this weekend's Northalsted Market Days festival were a huge success. Chicagoans responded positively to MFA's colorful display of Vegetarian Starter Kits, vibrant, veg-themed banners, the latest edition of Compassionate Living, and a variety of trifold brochures - all of which encouraged passersby to reconsider their dietary habits.  As the literature sparked conversation, volunteers were ready with thought-provoking responses that created a constructive dialogue regarding the power of our food choices.

NorthalstedMarketBooth2.jpgOur "Not Cool" t-shirt also made our booth stand out, causing pedestrians to do double-takes with its eye-catching and cute design.  A majority of those who stopped by signed up for our weekly email newsletter, The Voice, and donated towards our efforts to end the suffering of animals in today's massive and mechanized factory farms.

NorthalstedMarketBooth1.jpgAreas surrounding the booth were also hopping with activity because of our enthusiastic leafleters who passed out our newly released, Compassionate Choices pamphlet.  Thanks to our volunteer, Willie, our table had a cute little Chihuahua to attract people to our table and also to spark the question, "Why love one but eat the other?"  Leafleters also heard success stories from new vegetarians who expressed their thankfulness for receiving a leaflet months ago that inspired them to go vegetarian.  Thanks to all of the volunteers, whose compelling dialogue concerning our food choices successfully spread MFA's message of compassion across the streets of one of Chicago's favorite festivals.

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Over 50,000 daily commuters traveling on Michigan's Southfield Freeway just south of I-96 are getting some serious food for thought thanks to MFA's new pro-vegetarian billboard. The eye-catching advertisement, featuring a lovable puppy sitting next to an adorable piglet, asks travelers, "Why love one but eat the other?"

Drivers are urged to widen their circle of compassion to include all animals by choosing vegetarianism.

This latest ad is part of MFA's growing campaign, which also includes leaflets and bus ads, aimed at getting consumers nationwide to make the connection between animals we call pets and those we label food.

The campaign spotlights the simple reality that farmed animals experience joy, loneliness, fear, frustration, and pain in the very same way as our beloved dog and cat companions. Yet, in our nation's factory farms and slaughterhouses pigs, cows, and chickens are confined in cages so small they can hardly move, are mutilated without painkillers, cruelly handled, and mercilessly slaughtered - often while fully conscious. In fact, factory farms could face felony-level cruelty-to-animal charges in most states if they subjected dogs or cats to the abusive conditions farmed animals endure daily.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help us sponsor more billboards.

Click here to order your free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

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CL4C.jpgThe new Spring/Summer '09 issue of MFA's Compassionate Living magazine is packed full of inspiring information and resources - tasty veg recipes, a lighthearted interview with the author of the popular book, Thanking the Monkey, a sneak preview of MFA's award-winning documentary, Fowl Play, health tips from the always candid Anya "The Vegan Dietitian" Todd, an unforgettable coast-to-coast egg industry expose, practical tips on getting active for animals, and much more.

Click here to download the latest issue of CL.

Click here to read past issues of the magazine.

Click here to become an official member of MFA and receive future issues of the magazine by mail.

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About this Archive

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

July 2009 is the previous archive.

September 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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