March 2010 Archives


PFACA.jpgWe friends of farmed animals have a wonderful opportunity right now to help greatly improve the lives of the billions of cows, pigs and chickens confined each year on U.S. factory farms.

There are two federal bills currently pending in Congress - the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act and the Healthy School Meals Act - that would go a long way toward reducing their suffering and fostering a healthier, more compassionate and socially conscious society.

The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act (HR 4733) would prohibit the government from using taxpayer dollars to purchase animal products from animals raised in veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages - three cruel factory farm confinement systems that deny animals enough room to turn around, lie down comfortably or fully extend their limbs or even one wing.

Unfortunately, while most members of the public oppose the use of these cruel crates and cages, the federal government spends roughly $1 billion dollars each year to purchase animal products for various programs like the National School Lunch Program without any regard for conditions in which the animals were raised.

HSLP.jpgThe Healthy School Meals Act (HR 4870) would provide financial incentives to school districts that offer plant-based food and non-dairy beverage options to their students. This law would have a tremendous impact on the lives of animals, the environment and human health by educating students on the sweeping benefits of a plant-based diet.

HR 4870 would provide America's youth, who are struggling with epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related illnesses, with access to the healthful food they require. Additionally, students who observe diets free of certain or all animal products for ethical or religious reasons will find a wider array of options available to them.

Please take action now by calling, writing or emailing your legislators and asking them to support both of these important bills!

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Dallas/Fort Worth Mercy For Animals supporters came out in full force last weekend to rock out for the animals and celebrate MFA's new Dallas chapter (more details coming soon!).

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023-copy.jpgThe benefit concert took place at The Cavern, one of Dallas' hippest music venues, and featured local veg-powered rockers Saboteur, Museum Creatures, Soft Environmental Collapse, Division of Power and The Shortest Distance.

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266-copy.jpgWith such an impressive bill, Rock Out for the Animals raised loads of cash for MFA and the show was named a "top pick" by several media outlets.

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For more updates on all the veggie happenings in Dallas, check out the popular DallasVegan blog.

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Harnessing the power of advertising, Mercy For Animals has successfully launched numerous advertisement campaigns to educate consumers about the abuse animals endure on factory farms. Using billboards, public-transit, Internet and television ads, MFA is teaching people across the U.S. about how their food choices affect farmed animals.

MFA is helping to open the hearts and minds of consumers, informing and inspiring them with powerful images and punchy, one-line captions.



Hundreds of ads have aired, touching millions of people. Coupling images of animal cruelty acquired through undercover investigations with provocative questions, such as "How much cruelty can you swallow?" the advertisements expose the truth that has been kept from the public for too long. Internet ads direct people to websites that automatically begin airing undercover footage from factory farms and slaughterhouses.

The campaigns have hit major cities including New York, Boston, Chicago and Toronto, enticing individuals to visit ChooseVeg.com and its Canadian counterpart, ChooseVeg.ca, where they can acquire more detailed information on the impact and benefits of their diets, while finding easy ways, including hundreds of recipes, to make the switch from an omnivorous to vegetarian lifestyle.

Thumbnail image for MIWhyLoveButEatBillboard.jpgSupport MFA's advertisement campaigns by sponsoring an ad, donating, bringing an ad campaign to your community, or posting a free online ad on your website, blog or social networking page. Thousands have contacted MFA stating that they have changed their diets because of these advertisements, thus proving their effectiveness and making it all the more necessary to continue this important work.

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The wait is almost over! Daiya vegan cheese, a true breakthrough in the dairy-free market arena, will be hitting the shelves at Whole Foods Market nationwide on April 1st!

What's all the excitement about? Daiya cheese shreds, stretches, melts and tastes delicious! Available in Italian Blend and Cheddar Style, this tapioca-based cheese is the perfect addition to vegan pizzas, nachos, pastas, sandwiches and so much more. Use it in a recipe as you would any cheese - no special handling required!

24942_366481934097_107417074097_3467097_6728805_n.jpgDaiya's instant success got the attention of VegNews magazine voters, winning "Product of the Year" in the 2009 Veggie Awards, and it's spreading to grocery stores and restaurants around the world.

Boasting great taste and healthy ingredients with 33% less fat than traditional dairy cheese, Daiya is free of the cruelty, cholesterol, hormones and antibiotics found in cow's milk. Compassionate consumers can savor Daiya knowing that it's also free of common allergens, such as gluten and soy, with no artificial anything.

In addition to the upcoming national rollout at Whole Foods Market, Daiya lovers can also get their fix at Zpizza restaurants, online retailers, and in products made by vegan-friendly brands, such as Gardein and Amy's.

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A fire that ripped through the egg packaging warehouses of Ohio Fresh Eggs, the state's largest egg factory farm, has resulted in the reported deaths of 250,000 hens. The fire started late Tuesday night at the egg farm's Wyandot County facility. In an attempt to contain the blaze, firefighters shut off electricity to the buildings and ripped away walkways that led from the warehouse to nine chicken barns. The lack of electricity appears to have caused nearly a quarter million chickens to die.

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Sadly, this fire is just the most recent disaster at Ohio Fresh Eggs that has caused mass death and suffering for animals. Back in 2000, when the farm was known as Buckeye Egg Farm, a tornado destroyed nearly a dozen sheds at the farm's Croton, Ohio site - leaving nearly a million hens mangled in their cages, left to suffer from dehydration, starvation, and exposure to the elements. Farm workers killed hens by bulldozing them alive in their cages into a mass grave, or gassing them in giant trash bins.

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Yesterday's fire is yet another reminder of the inherent dangers farmed animals face when subjected to intensive confinement on factory farms - where they are confined to tiny cages and unable to flee from fires, floods, tornados, or other disasters.

In 2004, Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation at Ohio Fresh Eggs - revealing that cruelty to animals runs rampant inside the company's egg barns. Investigators documented up to six hens crowded into each file-drawer-sized wire cage, hens suffering from untreated infections, dead hens left to rot in cages with hens still producing eggs for human consumption, birds trapped in the wire of their cages without access to food or water, and live hens thrown away in trash cans.

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The best action consumers can take to protect hens from the dangerous and cruel conditions inherent in factory farming systems is to adopt a healthy and compassionate vegan diet. Ohioans can also take a powerful stand against the intensive confinement of hens, and other farmed animals, by supporting the current effort to place a modest, yet meaningful, farmed animal protection initiative on the state's November ballot.

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This week's campaign spotlight is on MFA's Humane Education program. Teaching students to have empathy for animals is perhaps the most effective, long-lasting and substantial way to build a more compassionate world. With flexible programs that can be tailored to fit the specific curricular or topical needs and interests of any audience, MFA's humane educators have been cultivating kindness for animals at high schools and college classrooms, conferences, community organizations and other venues around the country for years.



In addition to helping to stimulate the moral development of our nation's youth, MFA's highly acclaimed humane education presentations encourage critical thinking about social justice issues and inspire students of all ages to make more humane, sustainable and healthy food choices. Focusing on topics ranging from how a plant-based diet can help prevent disease to the progress and future of creating legal protections for farmed animals, MFA's humane education presentations empower students to make a positive difference in their own lives, their local communities and the world around them.

Learn more about MFA's Humane Education program and the wide variety of thought-provoking presentations available.

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Last week, I visited my home state of Ohio to help launch a historic signature-gathering effort that aims to place a modest, yet meaningful, farm animal protection initiative on Ohio's November 2nd ballot. If approved by voters, the initiative will eliminate some of the cruelest factory farming practices in the state - reducing the suffering of over 27 million cows, pigs and chickens in Ohio each year.

Group Shot in Cleveland.JPGMercy For Animals' advocates joined forces with The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and Ohioans For Humane Farms, traveling to Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus to rally Ohioans in support of the signature drive. Hundreds of Ohioans pledged to dive into the campaign by committing to gather 1,000 signatures each. The coalition must gather 403,000 valid signatures by June 30th to place the initiative on the 2010 ballot.



I spoke at each event about my firsthand knowledge of the plight of farm animals at factory farms across Ohio, showing images and sharing stories from my time investigating conditions at the four largest egg-laying facilities in the state. I shared images I documented inside Ohio mega farms where chickens were confined to the point that they could barely move, were denied veterinary care and mutilated without painkillers.

4012242540_1bc09a65fb.jpgWhat is the ballot initiative?: Ohioans for Humane Farms is spearheading a new, citizen-backed ballot measure that would allow Ohio voters to provide guidance to the newly enacted Ohio Livestock Care Board and set certain minimum humane standards that will prevent cruel factory farming practices in Ohio, including:

  • Extreme confinement in tiny cages for months on end: Tens of thousands of veal calves, 170,000 breeding pigs and approximately 27 million egg-laying hens in Ohio are confined in cages and crates so restrictive the animals can barely move for virtually their whole lives. Many don't even have enough room to stretch their limbs or turn around.
  • Allowing "downer cows" to enter the human food chain: Allowing sick and injured animals into the food supply threatens public health and food safety. Cows too sick or injured to stand or walk on their own to slaughter should be humanely euthanized, not inhumanely dragged or pushed while being shocked and beaten onto the kill floor to be used for human consumption.
  • Inhumane methods of euthanasia for sick and injured animals: In Ohio, a factory farmer was videotaped killing sick pigs by hanging them execution-style from a tractor, leaving them to writhe in the air for minutes on end. He was acquitted of cruelty for the hangings, a verdict Ohio's agribusiness community hailed as a "huge victory," because Ohio has no law specifically requiring humane farm animal euthanasia methods.

Ohio has some of the weakest animal protection laws in the nation. MFA has worked on improving the lives of farm animals in Ohio for over a decade and this modest initiative is an important opportunity to reduce the suffering of millions of animals condemned to lives on factory farms.

If you are interested in helping to gather signatures, please visit Ohiohumane.com for more information.

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On (or around) March 20th - the first day of Spring - thousands of caring people all over the world host events to educate their communities and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to "kick the meat habit" (at least for a day) and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

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Mercy For Animals, an official sponsor of the Great American Meatout, will be joining advocates worldwide by hosting educational outreach events in Illinois, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, and more, to celebrate this historic anniversary.

What will you be doing to educate your community on March 20th? Check out MFA's Campaign page for more info on holding your own leafleting event or feed-in, hosting a tabling event, or creating a library display. Click here for support materials and resources to inform consumers of the health, ethical, and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.

Help MFA make this year's Meatout the biggest yet, by committing to encourage at least one person to reject animal cruelty and adopt a plant-based diet! The average person eats about 35 farmed animals per year, adding up to thousands in a lifetime.

For more information on transitioning to a vegetarian diet click here to receive your free Vegetarian Start Kit.

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Each week, for the next eight weeks, we will be profiling a different Mercy For Animals campaign, highlighting the mission, focus, and some of the people working on them behind the scenes. This weeks campaign spotlight is on MFA's undercover investigations.

Every year, Mercy For Animals' undercover investigators blow the lid off some of modern animal agriculture's cruelest practices, revealing time and again, that animal abuse is the norm in meat, dairy and egg production. Wired with hidden cameras, MFA's team of undercover investigators documents the harsh realities for billions of cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys who are forced to endure intensive confinement, abusive handling, painful mutilations, careless neglect, and merciless slaughter.


But what animal abusers work so hard to conceal from public view, Mercy For Animals works diligently to expose. Through the power of video documentation, MFA investigators act as the eyes and ears for the public, who are kept largely in the dark about factory farm conditions. Undercover investigations are a vital part of our grassroots activism, education and advertising efforts aimed at opening consumers' hearts and minds to the plights of farmed animals and empowering people with the accurate information they need to make humane food choices.

In addition to raising international awareness of the cruel, but common, practices of the meat, dairy and egg industries and enlightening countless consumers through thousands of television, newspaper and radio stories, MFA's investigations have achieved major, measurable successes, including helping to pass landmark farmed animal protection legislation; prompting one of the country's largest egg producers to move away from battery cages; leading law enforcement to raid an investigated facility; and encouraging major restaurants, grocery chains and food wholesalers to end their supplier relationships with facilities caught abusing animals.

Learn more about how MFA's undercover investigations are exposing the dark underbellies of the meat, dairy and egg industries.

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MFA's undercover investigation at New York's largest dairy farm, which revealed shocking animal cruelty, continues to make waves. On Friday, "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell" featured a powerful spotlight report on the investigation, which included an interview with New York State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who was proposed a ban on the cruel and unnecessary practice of tail docking dairy cattle.

 

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3801840598_a30282b836_o.jpgIn an eye-opening testimony given to the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday, March 4, Dr. Dean Wyatt, a supervisory veterinarian at the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, accused senior USDA officials of attempting to cover up reports of cruel and illegal slaughterhouse practices.

Describing numerous incidents of egregious cruelty to animals at multiple slaughterhouses, including workers butchering pigs while they are still conscious and able to feel pain and repeatedly shocking and beating calves who were too weak to even stand, Wyatt testified that he and other inspectors who cited slaughterhouses for unsafe and illegal practices were often overruled and threatened with transfer or demotion.

After citing an Oklahoma slaughterhouse when workers were caught stabbing conscious pigs, Wyatt said the plant appealed his decisions to district supervisors based hundreds of miles away in Arkansas. In 2008 and early 2009, Wyatt ordered Bushway Packing in Vermont to suspend operations three times for the cruel mishandling of animals, but USDA officials allowed the plant to reopen each time. Following the release of undercover video taken at Bushway last fall, which uncovered extreme cruelty to animals, including a worker attempting to skin a calf alive, the USDA suspended operations at the facility pending further investigation.
 


Calling for reform, Wyatt told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, "I truly believe that the USDA inspector is the only advocate animals have in slaughter plants. When we turn our backs on the helpless, when we fail to speak on behalf of the voiceless, when we tolerate animal abuse and suffering, then the moral compass of a just and compassionate society is gone."

Fortunately, each one of us has the power to help end this abuse by simply choosing to adopt a vegan diet. Find out more at ChooseVeg.com.

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runoff_650.jpgAs The Washington Post reported on Monday, since the first Earth Day 40 years ago, the United States has significantly reduced the amount of manmade pollutants known to cause acid rain, global warming and dead zones (areas in lakes, rivers and oceans that are too oxygen-depleted to sustain most forms of life); however, the amount of "natural" pollutants generated by the United States has increased dramatically, in the form of animal manure from modern mega-factory farms.

Because animals are so densely packed on today's industrial farms, they produce more manure than can be absorbed by the land as fertilizer. This excess manure emanates methane, and is the fastest-growing source of this greenhouse gas. It also generates manure run-off that travels into our nation's waterways, resulting in the 230 dead zones along the U.S. coast (up from 16 dead zones in the 1950s).

While the Obama administration, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are taking steps to address the threat of mounting manure from a rampant factory farming system, they are already being met with fierce resistance by big animal agribusiness.

Click here to read The Washington Post article in its entirety.

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A new Mercy For Animals' anti-meat billboard campaign is turning heads in Sin City. Spread across the greater Las Vegas area along bustling highway routes and nestled on busy street corners, are nine newly erected pro-vegetarian billboards that are giving residents and visitors to the entertainment capital of the world some serious food for thought.

LasVegasBillboard1.jpgThe provocative campaign features an adorable puppy and a lovable piglet sitting side-by-side and asks, "Why love one but eat the other?" Another design features a kitten and chick, posing the same question. Motorists are encouraged to "Choose Vegetarian" and visit ChooseVeg.com and VegasVeg.com for additional information. The ads, sponsored by local members of Vegas Veg, will be viewed over 10 million times in the next month.

LasVegasBillboard2.jpgWhile the billboards feature heartwarming images, their message strikes at the heart of a disturbing issue.

While all 50 states have laws protecting dogs and cats from abuse, animals on factory farms have little to no legal protection in most states. Cruelty that would be punishable by law, if it were inflicted on dogs or cats, such as neglect, mutilation, transport through all weather extremes, and gruesome and violent slaughter, is commonplace in animal agribusiness. Yet farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than are the dogs and cats we cherish as companions.

Thankfully compassionate consumers can widen their circle of compassion to include all animals, not just those widely viewed as companions, by adopting a vegan diet.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2010 is the previous archive.

April 2010 is the next archive.

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

 
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