A new undercover investigation inside a Land O'Lakes supplier facility in Pennsylvania has revealed routine neglect and cruelty to cows who are milked for the company's products.
Over the course of several months, an undercover investigator documented deplorable, filthy conditions for cows on the farm, such as pens that were filled with deep excrement, and cows who suffered from ailments and conditions so severe that they collapsed and became "downers" but were not put out of their misery or given veterinary care in a timely manner, if at all.
Sadly, the cruelty documented during this investigation is not isolated. Dairy cows from coast-to-coast endure lives of fear and pain - consisting of confinement, painful mutilations, stressful transport, and cruel slaughter.
As a civilized society it is our moral obligation to protect all animal from needless cruelty. Compassionate consumers can put our ethics on the table by rejecting the inherent cruelty of milk production by ditching dairy and adopting a healthy and humane vegan diet. Click here for hundreds of cruelty-free recipes.
Vegetarianism is reaching new heights in Denver, Colorado this week with the launch of 15 new Mercy For Animals billboards.
Scattered throughout the greater Denver area along bustling highway routes, on college campuses, and nested on busy street corners, the pro-vegetarian billboards are giving millions of local residents some serious food for thought.
The ambitious campaign, sponsored by local MFA supporters, features three designs. The first ad spotlights an adorable puppy and a loveable piglet sitting side-by-side and asks, "Why love one but eat the other?" Motorists are encouraged to "Choose Vegetarian" and visit ChooseVeg.com for additional information.
The other two billboards give commuters an eye-opening look inside factory farms, and dares to ask, "How much cruelty can you swallow?" The ads are putting Denver residents face-to-face with the animals abused and slaughtered for meat, dairy and eggs. Guaranteed to provoke thought and discussion, the billboards feature images of egg-laying hens crowded inside a battery cage, and another featuring a heart-wrenching image of a sow locked in a tiny gestation crate.
Running for the next month, these important ads aim to open the hearts and minds of local residents to the nightmarish plight of farmed animals - hopefully inspiring compassionate citizens to choose kindness over cruelty at each meal by adopting a vegetarian diet.
To help MFA expand its advertising efforts, please click here to make a tax-deductible donation.
The message was simple: celebrate diversity and honor compassion. Over 60 local animal advocates joined Mercy For Animals last weekend to march in the annual Texas Freedom Parade. The impressive turnout of energetic volunteers at MFA's premier Dallas event illustrated that Texans are eager to promote kindness and reject cruelty to animals.
Bearing MFA logo t-shirts in an assortment of colors, the advocates formed a human rainbow and marched behind a banner declaring, "No one is free when others are oppressed." The vegan parade block was met with loud cheers, applause, thumbs-up, and high-fives. Over 4,000 pieces of pro-vegetarian literature were distributed during this pro-active and positive outreach event, including thousands of MFA's new "Why love one but eat the other?" brochure.
A special thanks to DallasVegan.com blogger, Eddie Garza, for coordinating this incredible event. Click here to read an uplifting article highlighting Eddie's inspiring work planning the MFA parade march and his efforts to promote cruelty-free food choices. Click here to learn how you can take action to help animals within your community.
This past Saturday, advocates with Mercy For Animals made a special visit to northern New York to participate in the New York Capital Region Vegetarian Expo, a day-long convention celebrating vegetarianism, hosted by the Albany Vegetarian Network. The Expo is the first in the Capital Region area to bring together and promote the global health benefits of green sustainable living, environmental awareness, and compassion for animals.
MFA was one of dozens of vegetarian-friendly organizations and businesses exhibiting at this popular event, which included nationally renowned speakers and attracted visitors from throughout New York State and beyond.
The next day, MFA representatives were back in Manhattan hosting an important outreach event, which armed consumers with helpful information on making healthy and humane food choices. More than 80 people attended an educational and entertaining talk on vegan nutrition hosted by Dr. Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Dr. Greger engaged the audience with an innovative quiz-show format; the audience enjoyed healthy vegan snacks while learning about the latest news in cutting-edge nutrition research.
If you live in the New York City area and would like to get involved with MFA, click here to browse listings of up coming events.
In August 2009, a Compassion Over Killing investigator worked inside an egg factory farm in Minnesota owned by Michael Foods, one of the nation's largest egg producers. While employed there, the investigator used a hidden camera to document horrific animal abuse. The below video reveals the findings of this investigation.
Minnesota-based Michael Foods supplies eggs to several national restaurant chains, including Dunkin' Donuts. Compassion Over Killing has reached out to Dunkin Donuts numerous times to inquire about the treatment of hens in its supply chain and to encourage the company to make meaningful changes for hens--and consumers--by making vegan donuts.
Thousands visited the 2009 DC VegFest, a day-long outdoor festival celebrating the very best of everything vegetarian. Located in the heart of DC at the George Washington University campus, the festival attracted impressive numbers of visitors from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. MFA's table offered the information and basic tools for switching to cruelty-free diets to a steady stream of people. Visitors of all ages received our Vegetarian Starter Kit as well as our popular Why Love One But Eat the Other? pamphlet.
The participation of more than ten area restaurants, additional advocacy groups, and celebrity speakers on nutrition and fitness underscored MFA's successful day of reaching the public with our information on the advantages and ease of adopting a compassionate lifestyle.
Mercy For Animals advocates also recently hosted a fun public outreach booth at this year's Chicago Pagan Pride 2009 in Oak Park, Illinois. Pagan Pride features many artisans and merchants from around the Illinois area, as well as hosts countless educational workshops and seminars. MFA volunteers spread the peaceful message of compassionate choices and cruelty-free eating options. With the recent release of MFA' egg hatchery investigation, several people came to our table asking more about the investigation and what they can do to help. Quite a few Vegetarian Starter Kits and Vegetarian Guide to Chicago leaflets were passed out and well-received.
For more than 30 years, Schaumburg's Septemberfest has entertained area residents with its popular and well-attended Labor Day event. The Fest included over 250 arts and crafts exhibitors, a carnival, parade and local entertainment. Mercy For Animals set up a booth, selling t-shirts and bags to raise funds for the animals and handing out over 600 Compassionate Choices booklets, as well as hundreds of our other vegan educational resources. Families and children particularly loved our table and often couldn't wait to share with us their love of animals
Like many, probably, Emma Burdett was upset by last week's Tribune story depicting baby chicks being tossed into a grinder for disposal.
Unlike many, the 10-year-old Cassopolis girl decided to do something about it. She launched a petition drive protesting the practice, shortly after making telephone calls to The Tribune announcing her intentions.
But the calls to The Tribune weren't her first reaction, said her mother, Tracy Burdett.
"When I showed her the story, she burst into tears. I didn't realize she'd react that way," she said.
For animal lovers like the Burdetts and perhaps even non-animal lovers, the story was disturbing. It likely was made more so by the image from a video shot by Chicago-based Mercy for Animals that showed a male chick sorted from a conveyor belt being flipped into a chute for channeling into the grinder.
We hear about Emma's quest to protect animals, which has led her to a petition drive:
Emma said she already has accumulated more than 50 signatures from shoppers at Rite Aid and Harding's Market, some of whom told her that disposing of chicks in such a manner should be considered animal cruelty.
This young animal advocate clearly sees the connection between the cruel disposal of male chicks and the need for consumers to move toward a vegan diet:
According to Nathan Runkle, the executive director of Mercy for Animals, the organization's ultimate goal in releasing the undercover video was to get people to stop eating eggs. Emma said she doesn't like eggs much anyway and she doesn't intend to eat any more.
We can all take the lead from Emma's compassionate example by removing eggs from our diet. To get started, click here to view a short video outlining quick and easy tips for baking without eggs.
Yesterday, Hy-Line North America, the world's largest egg industry hatchery, where an undercover MFA investigator recently documented chicks being thrown, dropped, hung, mutilated without painkillers, and dumped into a grinding machine while still alive, issued a media statement regarding the case.
After forking over cash to hire a national public relations firm specializing in "reputation management" (other clients of the firm include Smithfield, the world's largest pork producer), the best Hy-Line could offer was a watered down, nicely worded statement which said a whole lot of nothing - yet another example of a company caught red-handed abusing animals, and attempting to sanitize its cruel practices. But frankly, no one was buying it. The Associated Press saw through Hy-Line's smoke and mirrors with this article that ran in hundreds of papers nationwide.
Hy-Line's statement said some practices depicted in the video didn't reflect the company's standard procedures. If you viewed the video, the practices seemed very practiced. The quick and efficient 'sexing' of chicks with the males flicked onto a conveyor looked as standard as you can get, unlike the video taken at Aviagen's turkey breeding facility last winter which showed out-of-control employees clearly crossing the line. Hy-Line's statement said "corrective measures have been taken," but company officials won't elaborate. Another red flag just popped up. What measures?
We also hear how damaging the investigation has been to the entire poultry industry:
Time to be transparent, to come clean with what went wrong and exactly what's being done to right that wrong. It's not Hy-Line's problem; when the tape went viral, it became the industries' problem.
Cattle Network also offered some wise words to the entire industry, stating:
Bottom Line: If you're in the chicken, egg, beef, pork, turkey, veal or emu business and you don't immediately conduct a complete animal welfare audit and immediately make any changes that are necessary and proper, you're inviting Mercy for Animals or some similar group to do the job for you.
When confronted with images of the cruel and violent nature inherent in industrial egg production, most consumers find standard egg industry practices hard to swallow. In the wake of the release of MFA's newest undercover investigation - exposing live male chicks being dropped into a grinder at the world's largest egg industry hatchery - comment boards, Twitter accounts, and blogs around the world have been filled with words of outrage from consumers.
Here is what some (former egg) consumers are saying:
"Kudos to these folks for going out there and fighting the good fight! I'm not eating eggs anymore, that's for certain."
"This is very difficult to watch. On the road to vegan."
"I actually watched some of it. Cheap eggs are not worth it."
"That is beyond gruesome. Another argument for making damn sure you know where your food is coming from... How anyone can be so dismissive of grinding up live baby chicks is unimaginable to me. That this is an industry-wide practice is just sickening."
"I will never eat eggs again. How someone can view this video and support this in any way is beyond me."
"I am done eating animal products. Period. Ever. I'm going to the bookstore tomorrow to find out how to eat only veggies, beans, etc., and stay healthy, without meat or dairy products." "The thing that disturbs me even more than the destruction of these chicks is that they are DELIBERATELY being created/bred by humans for our own purposes. In other words, it's not accidental; they are being created with the foreknowledge that half of the chicks will be killed. Talk about abuse of power."
"This is a disgrace! It makes me feel sick in my stomach! How can people do this for a living, grinding up chicks? What has happened to our society? This is such an eye-opener, I'm officially turning to vegetarianism as of now!"
"Seems like the best solution is to not eat chicken or eggs. Supply and demand. Take away the demand and the supply will have to dry up. We the people have more power in our hands than we think. It doesn't take brute force or weapons, just using our minds and hearts to make the right choices with how our hard earned dollars are spent. Of course we can't do anything about the tax dollars used to support the cattle industry but maybe if no one buys beef even the government will run away from a losing proposition and turn that money over to sustainable energy instead."
"Hy-line North America execs should be tried and serve jail time comparable to Vick's."
"God bless you for exposing the unspeakable horrors going on toward baby chicks. I will never eat an egg again..."
"I had no idea what cruelty I was supporting by eating eggs and meat. I sit here in tears, thank you for the wake-up call."
"Thank you for your difficult and emotional work. I don't want to be in the dark when it comes to the treatment of animals, and I had no idea about the egg hatcheries. I'm a lacto/ovo/pesco organic vegetarian and a terrible cook, but I think I just became a vegan..."
"Thank you for informing about the baby chicks. I was shocked! My family will no longer use eggs as of today...Thank you for your work."
"I saw the chick grinding video and I wanted to vomit. I did try the veg lifestyle about 25 years ago and felt better by doing it. I think I will go back to it again after seeing the video."
"I've been eating in a way that I thought was very healthy for a few years, but I just watched a few of the animal videos... I think that I am ready to go Vegan!"
Ditching eggs is simple. Click here to watch a cooking video highlighting numerous healthy and delicious egg alternatives. Cooking cruelty-free has never been easier.
On Tuesday, MFA broke its most recent undercover investigation - exposing chicks being thrown, dropped, hung, mutilated without painkillers, and ground-up alive at the world's largest egg industry hatchery.
Following the release of the undercover footage to the Associated Press, and three news conferences in Iowa, the shocking video depicting male chicks being torn apart in a massive grinder has made headlines around the world. From Cleveland to China, Australia to Austin, consumers worldwide have been given an eye-opening look into the cruel and violent truth behind the modern egg industry. Over a million people have logged onto YouTube to view the heart- wrenching hidden camera footage - making it yesterday's #2 most "viral" video on the entire Internet.
Here is a quick round-up of some of the over 500 news stories on MFA's investigation - which has put farmed animal cruelty on center stage and brought the discussion of the egg industry's best kept secret - that over 200 million "useless" male chicks are killed each year - into the public consciousness.
Such far-reaching outrage over the standard and acceptable egg industry practice of grinding up fully conscious chicks, shows how important farmed animal protection issues are to the vast majority of Americans. Hopefully this investigation will serve as a wake-up call to compassionate consumers nationwide, prompting many to ditch eggs and enjoy the many delicious vegan alternatives instead.
Chicago's Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, is famous for its ballpark franks. But this past Sunday all the buzz from the hungry fans centered around MFA's free vegan burger give-away. Over 600 lucky Cubs fans enjoyed a mouthwatering veggie burger and samples of other delicious vegan meat alternatives, including hot dogs and cheeseburgers. The always-vegan-haven restaurant, Veggie Bite, generously donated the delicious fare.
Not only did ball game fans and passersby have the opportunity to try out compassionate versions of their favorite food classics, but they also learned more about vegetarian options within Wrigley Field. Our enthusiastic leafleters gave away 750 Why Vegetarians? booklets and numerous Vegetarian Starter Kits and Vegetarian Guides to Chicago.
Vegan feed-ins are positive and fun outreach events that showcase how easy and delicious a plant-based diet can be.