April 2010 Archives

starbucksvegan.jpgAfter years of offering popular, ice-blended beverages filled with dairy products, Starbucks is finally adding soy-based, vegan-friendly Frappuccinos to their menu! While the old Frappuccinos consisted of a standard base blended with ice, the new line starts with an empty blender, which allows the barista to fill it up with soymilk. The coffee Frappuccino bases are vegan -- and all the other inclusions and toppings are vegan except for the whip and the caramel drizzle.

With the national announcement coming on May 5th, the dairy-free, soy-based confections are already available in select locations.

Now on your next trip to Starbucks, you can wash down your vegan Lucy's Cookies with a delicious, ice-blended, soy Frappuccino!

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Following the advice of talk show host and cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, and under the tutelage of Austin, Texas-based firefighter Rip Esselstyn, three Chicago firefighters went vegan for 60 days in order to lose weight and improve their health. Almost two months after taking the plunge, one firefighter is now off his cholesterol lowering medication, another is excited by his lower grocery bill and newfound ability to outcompete his meat-eating compadres, and each is between 20 to 30 pounds lighter.

According to Esselstyn, once a professional triathlete and author of The Engine 2 Diet, the "macho" eating habits of many firefighters is a liability at a fire, especially when they are less able to pull hundreds of pounds of hose or run up a ladder or staircase without getting winded. But after only two months of plant-based eating, these Chicago-based firefighters are seeing major improvements in their health and stamina. "The headaches went away, I feel lighter on my feet and I can eat all the salad and beans that I want and still have all the energy for a fire," says Mauricio "Mo" Tirado from Engine 14.

In a show of support, Mercy For Animals has dispatched copies of its Vegetarian Starter Kits and The Vegetarian Guide to Chicago to these firefighters to help them stay the course. For more information on transitioning to a healthy, vegan lifestyle click here. To order copies or to view online pdf versions of either of these publications, click here.

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GirlWVeggies.jpgWhether it's your first year away from home or you're a seasoned grad student, there's no better way to start the summer than with fresh fruits and vegetables that mark the season. Who doesn't love a slice of watermelon before hopping in the pool? Better yet, make a splash with the Students for Animal Rights by pledging to commit to a vegan diet for the month of May with the 2010 College VegPledge

As we wrap up our Earth Day celebrations, we encourage you to take what you've learned about the positive impact of a vegetarian diet by joining with thousands of others to spread the word about making a commitment to helping animals and the planet.

Get everyone involved in the action! Encourage your friends to make the transition to a vegan lifestyle by voicing your pledge on Twitter and Facebook. 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.

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2199789733_24e40c5cb0.jpgThe ecological benefits of vegetarian foods gained some mainstream exposure recently when Sodexo, one of the world's leading food service providers, encouraged its 10 million U.S. customers to eat plant-based meals for Earth Day.

Partnering with the PB&J Campaign, a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, a group working to combat environmental destruction by reducing the amount of animal products people eat, Sodexo gave all of its customers at college campuses, corporate caf├ęs, hospitals, and senior residences across the country a vegetarian meal option for Earth Day in the form of creative peanut-butter and jelly cuisine. Options included Fluffer Nutter Club Sandwich, Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana with Chocolate Chips, Toasted Peanut Butter Baguettes with Jelly Dipping Sauce and Peanut Butter Pancakes with Jelly Syrup. 

"Choosing just one all plant-based meal on April 22 could make a big difference to the planet." says Sodexo, Inc., adding that 1.3 billion gallons of water, 12,400 tons of carbon emissions and about 5,500 acres of land could be saved if all of its customers choose just one plant-based meal.

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Through Mercy For Animals' pro-active, education-focused Library Outreach Campaign, community centers nationwide have been welcome hosts of our attention-grabbing and thought-provoking pro-vegetarian displays. Comprised of multiple panels and accompanying materials, the displays powerfully illustrate the disturbing reality of factory farming, countered with inspiring tips on preventing farmed animal abuse and information on moving toward a healthy and humane diet.

Seeking to make facts, ideas and data regarding vegetarianism, compassionate cooking, factory farming, and animal ethics and advocacy more accessible and visible, a second tier to MFA's Library Outreach Campaign consists of donating books, resources and documentary films on such issues to libraries nationwide.

MFA's professional displays include mouthwatering images of vegetarian foods that encourage healthy food choices, with additional tips and resources on how to transition toward a vegetarian diet; facts, figures and quotes from newspaper reports, government studies and animal welfare experts, detailing the inherent flaws in industrial agricultural systems - which treat sentient, feeling farmed animals as little more than production units; eye-catching photographs illustrating the treatment of animals used in food production, including images that vividly convey the cruel realities of factory farming; related material, such as vegetarian cookbooks and books on animal advocacy, supplied by the library from their own collection; and brochures and leaflets for patrons to take with them for more information and links to on-line resources.

Click here for downloadable display panels and eight easy steps to establishing an MFA library display in your community.

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As part of the national campaign to encourage Dunkin' Donuts to add milk alternatives and vegan donuts to its menus nationwide, Mercy For Animals advocates hit the streets in Chicago this past weekend.

Armed with scrumptious egg-free, non-dairy donuts, served with a side of soymilk and literature on the "Dunkin' Cruelty" campaign, MFA's members spoke with hundreds of patrons about the importance of the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain adding cruelty-free options.

Sadly, Dunkin' Donuts continues to use eggs from hens confined in tiny battery cages so small the birds can't spread their wings, walk, perch or engage in other basic natural behaviors. Milk served at the chain's stores comes from cows confined on filthy factory farms, where their babies are dragged from their sides moments after birth. Despite the growing demand by consumers for vegan fare, Dunkin' Donuts has yet to add a single vegan donut option, or milk alternative, to the menus of its over 6,000 locations.

Click here to urge Dunkin' Donuts to help reduce animal cruelty, and satisfy the cravings of conscious consumers, by offering soymilk and vegan donuts at it's stores nationwide.

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Mercy For Animals advocates were out in full force in cities across the country to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and to encourage conscious consumers to go green by adopting an eco-friendly vegan diet.

In Texas, MFA made quite a splash at Dallas' Oak Cliff Earth Day celebration - educating dozens of people on the ethical, health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.
Visitors to MFA's educational exhibit also received mouthwatering samples of delicious meat alternatives, including cuts of Tofurky's Italian, Peppered and Hickory Smoked deli slices.
Nearly a thousand miles away, visitors to the Cincinnati Earth Festival were also greeted by members of MFA. Toting free Vegetarian Starter Kits and literature revealing "Another Inconvenient Truth" (that, according to the United Nations, animal agriculture generates more greenhouse gases than all the world's cars, trucks, trains and planes, combined), the advocates inspired droves of Ohioans to explore a meatless diet.

MFA also carried out Earth Day events in New York, Chicago, Columbus, Dayton and Asheville.

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earthblog.jpgWith Earth Day fast approaching, many people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and minimize their impact on the planet. Recycling, taking shorter showers, using energy-efficient light bulbs and riding public transportation are all great steps, but the single best thing each of us can do to help save Mother Earth is to switch to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.

According to the United Nations, animal agriculture is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." Meat, dairy and eggs are responsible for more deadly greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, planes, trains, ships and other forms of transportation in the world combined. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, ditching meat in favor of plant-based alternatives is more effective at staving off climate change than switching from a gas guzzling SUV to a fuel-efficient hybrid.

That's why Mercy For Animals' volunteers and supporters will be out in force promoting eco-friendly eating at Earth Day festivals and events in Chicago, New York City, Ohio, Dallas and Asheville, North Carolina. If you are in the area and you haven't already done so, sign up to help spread the word at one of these events. It is a fun and effective way to help animals and the planet!

If you don't live near an official MFA Earth Day event, you can still educate your community about the power our food choices have to save the world. Check out MFA's Campaign page for more information on holding your own leafleting event or feed-in, hosting a tabling event, or creating a library display. Order "Another Inconvenient Truth" brochures and raise awareness about the many environmental benefits of a plant-based diet in your community.

For more information on transitioning to an eco-friendly, vegan lifestyle click here to receive your free Vegetarian Start Kit.

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Join Mercy For Animals for a fun and exciting summer at the country's most talked-about animal rights conferences!

Their Lives, Our Voices - June 11 - 13, Minneapolis, MN

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Hosted by Compassionate Action for Animals, Their Lives, Our Voices is the Midwest's premier animal advocacy conference. The three-day event will take place in Minneapolis, and will showcase a diverse range of topics prevalent in our movement. Noteworthy speakers will include internationally-known author Carol Adams (The Sexual Politics of Meat), Mercy For Animals' Nathan Runkle, Paul Shapiro (Humane Society of the United States), Mary Britton Clouse (Chicken Run Rescue), Christine Coughlin (Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection), Erica Meier (Compassion Over Killing), Jack Norris (Vegan Outreach), and authors Norm Phelps (The Dominion of Love) and Hillary Rettig (The Lifelong Activist).

Check out Their Lives, Our Voices for more details.

Let Live Conference - June 25 - 27, Portland, OR

let_live.jpgLet Live Conference 2010 is sure to be a hit, as the focus will be on creative activism and expanding our activist skills to reach people beyond the animal rights community! We'll hear from powerful voices in the movement such as Gene Baur (Farm Sanctuary), MFA's Daniel Hauff, celebrated cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Stephanie Boston (Portland Animal Defense League), Lauren Ornelas (Food Empowerment Project), Peter Spandelow (Northwest Veg), Justin Goodman (PETA), Jasmin Singer (Our Hen House), and Glenn Gaetz (Liberation BC), among others.

More information can be found at Let Live Conference.

Animal Rights National Conference - July 15 - 19, Washington, D.C.

HDR(800x120).jpgAs the world's largest and oldest animal rights gathering, Animal Rights National Conference is a great forum for networking, strategizing and sharing knowledge with like-minded individuals. Animal Rights 2010 will feature talks from a number of acclaimed speakers like Peter Young (Voice of the Voiceless), Erica Meier (Compassion Over Killing), filmmaker Shannon Keith (Skin Trade), Karen Davis (United Poultry Concern), Keith McHenry (Food Not Bombs!), Peter Muller (League of Humane Voters), Heidi Boghosian (National Laywyers Guild), Michael Budkie (Stop Animal Exploitation), Saurabh Dalal (International Vegetarian Union), Tom Divine (Government Accountability Project), Debra Erenberg (Rainforest Action Network), Camille Hankins (Win Animal Rights), Alex Hershaft (FARM), Lorri Houston (Animal Acres), Anthony Marr (HOPE-CARE Foundation), Lauren Ornelas (Food Empowerment Project), Alex Pacheco (600 Million Stray Dogs), Becky Robinson (Alley Cat Allies), and our own Nathan Runkle.

For more information, go to Animal Rights National Conference.

Taking Action For Animals - July 23 - 26, Washington, D.C.

If you want to learn how to plan effective campaigns and lobby Congress on animal protection issues, don't miss this year's Taking Action For Animals. The conference will include training workshops, cooking demos, rallies and a special Lobby Day on Capitoal Hill.

Get all the details at Taking Action For Animals.

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PriceFixingBlogPic1.jpgThe Humane Society of the United States is seeking a criminal investigation of an alleged price-fixing scheme uncovered during a class-action lawsuit against United Egg Producers -- the nation's largest egg trade association -- and 13 of the nation's leading egg factory-farming corporations.

According to the Associated Press, Sparboe Farms, the nation's fifth-largest egg producer, has turned over documents and internal memos that reveal the U.S. egg industry orchestrated a massive hen kill-off to increase the price of eggs. Included in the documents is a statement from the United Egg Producers' research economist pointing out that the egg industry could earn more money by reducing the supply of eggs.

All but one of the factory-farming companies named in the case -- including Cal-Maine Foods, Golden Oval Eggs, Michael Foods, Midwest Poultry Services, Moark, National Food Corporation, Norco Ranch, NuCal Foods, Pilgrim's Pride, Rose Acre Farms and R.W. Sauder -- donated huge sums of money to the campaign to defeat Proposition 2, a popular anti-cruelty measure in California that ensures modest welfare standards for egg-laying hens by allowing them enough room to turn around and spread their wings.

In an effort to defeat Prop 2, the egg industry insisted that it could not afford a penny more per egg to give hens enough space to spread their wings, yet egg producers have been reaping record profits by conspiring to inflate egg prices nationwide by as much as 45 percent. Obviously, the egg industry can afford to do better.

Adding to the company's woes, Rose Acre Farms, one of the defendants in the case, was the subject of a recent undercover investigation that revealed egregious cruelty to animals at one of the company's Iowa facilities.

Luckily, each of us has the power to end the egg industry's abuses of hens and unsuspecting customers by simply removing eggs from our diets and replacing them with cruelty-free vegan alternatives.

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Yesterday's edition of "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell" spotlighted the signature gathering effort underway in Ohio to place a modest, yet meaningful, farmed animal protection initiative on the November 2010 ballot.

Visit OhioHumane.com for information on how you can support this important campaign - which would reduce the suffering of nearly 27 million cows, pigs, and chickens on Ohio factory farms each year.

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Toledo, Ohio drivers are being met with five newly erected pro-vegetarian Mercy For Animals billboards, featuring a puppy sitting next to a piglet, posing the question, "Why love one but eat the other?"

The thought-provoking ads are inspiring many residents to ditch meat, and even inspired one Toledo radio host to publically declare she is going vegetarian after the thought of "puppy bacon" made her realize the hypocrisy in calling some animals companions and others dinner.

Similar MFA ad campaigns have hit Chicago, New York City, Denver, Michigan, Boston, Las Vegas and Toronto.

A special "thank you" to Heather Gillen, MFA's Toledo Regional Coordinator, and local supporters, who worked to secure the ad space and raise the vital funds needed to support the billboard campaign.

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A new undercover investigation by The Humane Society of the United States exposes shocking cruelty to millions of hens confined in battery cages at the second and third largest egg producers in the nation - Rose Acre Farms and Rembrandt Enterprises, Inc.

Hidden camera video recorded at the Iowa facilities reveals:

  • Broken bones: Workers roughly yanking young hens (pullets) from their cages in the growing sheds and loading them into mobile cages for transport to battery cages, resulting in a mass of twisted bodies.
  • Extremely rough handling: Workers pulling young hens from the mobile cages and stuffing them into battery cages.
  • Cruel depopulation methods: Workers grabbing hens by their legs, then cramming them into gassing carts where they were killed with carbon dioxide.
  • Prolapsed uteruses: Hens suffering from "blow-outs" that went unnoticed and untreated due to the cage crowding.
  • Trapped birds unable to reach food and water: Battery cages can trap hens by their wings, necks, legs and feet in the wire, causing other birds to trample them, usually resulting in slow, painful deaths.
  • High mortality in layer and pullet sheds: Dead young hens, some of them mummified (meaning they'd rotted, dried-up and shriveled), were discovered in cages.
  • Failure to maintain manure pits: According to one worker, the manure pit under a pullet shed had not been cleaned in two years. Rose Acre workers claimed that some hens are blinded because of excessive ammonia levels.
  • Abandoned hens: Some hens manage to escape from their cages and fall into the manure pits below.
  • Injuries from overcrowding: Rembrandt confines six to seven hens in each battery cage. Smaller or weaker hens are often trampled by others.
  • Broken bones: Workers sometimes slam shut battery-cage doors on birds' wings, legs and necks, causing broken bones.
  • Lengthy transport: Rembrandt does not kill "spent" hens on site but rather trucks them to a Minnesota slaughter plant. As a result, the birds are violently yanked from their battery cages, confined in mobile cages and trucked to the plant.

This is not a matter of a couple rotten eggs of the industry, but rather standard industry practices that are simply rotten. As investigation after investigation has shown, this cruelty is pervasive throughout the entire battery-cage egg industry. It's time for an end to cage confinement of laying hens.

4012117633_1c3d8d0582.jpgOhioans have a special opportunity this year to outlaw the cruel confinement of hens in battery cages. Ohioans for Humane Farms is currently collecting the 403,000 valid signatures needed to place a modest initiative on this November's ballot, which, among other things, would require that hens used for egg production be given enough space to stand up, turn around, lie down and extend their limbs and wings. If passed, this important initiative would reduce the suffering of over 26 million hens in the state each year.

Consumers nationwide can also take immediate action to prevent the suffering of egg-laying hens by removing eggs from their diets and replacing them with cruelty-free vegan alternatives.

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Though a seemingly simple approach, leafleting - distributing free literature detailing the plight of farmed animals and encouraging readers to boycott cruelty by going vegan - holds incredible power in building a kinder future for all creatures.

The power of leafleting to effect meaningful, long-term change is incredible. Leafleting is effective on a variety of fronts, making it one of MFA's core strategies for promoting cruelty-free food choices.

It's a simple numbers game.

An individual can often hand out anywhere from 200 to 300 leaflets in an hour. If you spend only two or three hours a month on leafleting, you can easily hand out as many as 500 or more leaflets. If you conservatively estimate that one in every 100 people you leaflet is eventually compelled to go vegan, you've inspired five new vegans in that month alone. Over the course of a year, one dedicated leafleter can motivate more than 50 people to go vegan and spare more than 10,000 animals from a lifetime of suffering! Leafleting is also a cost-effective form of advocacy - positively impacting lives and creating real societal change for mere pennies per person reached.

LeslieLeafleting.jpgMuch of MFA's pro-vegetarian leafleting events take place on college campuses, outside high schools, at humane society functions, Earth Day events and other community venues where young, or otherwise open-minded individuals converge. Through professional and positive leafleting events, our interactions with the public, as brief as they may be, put a friendly face on animal advocacy, while building a deeper and broader understanding and awareness of the problems of factory farming.

Click here to learn more about MFA's pro-vegetarian leafleting campaign, and how you can get involved.

Click here to read Compassionate Choices, a key piece of literature distributed during MFA leafleting events.

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ArathiHeadshotSite.jpgMeet Arathi Jayaram, Mercy For Animals' new Director of Operations.

A passionate and skilled leader, Arathi is helping lead the organization's charge - working closely with our grassroots coordinators to create, implement and evaluate local, state and national campaigns that promote veganism and the protection of farmed animals.

And while Arathi is a new member to the MFA team, her work to protect animals from cruelty is nothing new. It was her innate affinity for animals as a young child in Mansfield, Ohio that led Arathi to rescue and rehabilitate creatures big and small, both wild and domestic. A vegetarian for over two decades, Arathi first learned of the cruel reality behind meat production at the age of 10 - a discovery that quickly prompted her to adopt a meatless diet and begin advocating on behalf of farmed animals.

A graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, where she received a degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Communications and Sociology, Arathi was a vocal activist on her college campus - working on behalf of social equality, peace and animal advocacy issues. As a contributing journalist to her college newspaper, and through political art shows, lectures and other grassroots activities, Arathi helped shape her campus and local community into a more socially conscious and responsible environment.

It was her passion for justice and commitment to building a kinder society that led Arathi toward full-time animal protection work.

As a communications specialist with various national non-profit organizations, Arathi landed stories with nearly every major media outlet in the country on a wide variety of important animal issues - opening countless hearts and minds to the plight of farmed animals along the way.

Arathi has been an outspoken advocate for farmed animal protection for over two decades - working to pass vital legislation in various states, to expand and promote vegan-friendly businesses, and pressure the nation's largest fast food restaurants to adopt their first-ever animal welfare standards.

Click here to read Arathi's full bio.

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In a ruling on Wednesday that many hailed as a major victory for animals and consumers, a federal appeals court judge in San Francisco upheld a California law banning the sale of pork products made from "downed" pigs - those too sick or injured to walk or stand on their own before slaughter.

California legislators passed the law in 2008 after the release of a video that revealed heinous abuse of downed cows at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, including kicking, dragging by chains, electric-prodding and ramming cows with forklifts in order to move them onto the kill floor, and upon testimony that meat from such animals is more likely to be diseased. The California law not only prohibits the sale of meat from downed cows, but downed pigs, goats and sheep.

DownerPigsInHoldingPenlg.jpgA lower court in Fresno had sided with the National Meat Association, which had sued to bar enforcement of the new law at pig slaughterhouses. The suit cited federal regulations that prohibit the sale of meat from downed cattle, whose immobility could be an indicator of mad cow disease, but not from other downed animals. The regulations cited also prohibit states from imposing requirements on slaughterhouse operations.

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski dubbed the lower court's ruling "Hogwash," instead finding that California's restriction on the type of animals that could be slaughtered and sold for human consumption did not amount to regulation of slaughterhouse operations.

Of course, the best way to prevent farmed animals abuse is to ditch pork (and beef, poultry, and fish) by adopting a healthy and humane vegan diet.

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By working with restaurant owners to broaden their meatless offerings, and creating online and print resources that map out listings of vegetarian-friendly establishments by region, MFA is transforming the way Americans eat.

MFA's Vegetarian Dining Campaign includes VegGuide.org - a worldwide resource with listings of vegan-friendly businesses by country, state, and city. The interactive website is complete with over 10,000 listings of restaurants and health food stores - featuring establishment locations, sample menus, pricing details and business hours.

veggiepizza01.jpgThe campaign not only promotes restaurants that already cater to vegans, but works with food providers to expand their meatless offerings. By engaging college dining services, local restaurants, and other food providers, MFA has been successful in increasing the number of establishments catering to the vegetarian community. Our Vegetarian Resource Guide for Restaurants has assisted food providers nationwide in their journey toward expanding their plant-based cuisine.

The Vegetarian Dining Campaign also extends into the food manufacturing industries - working with companies to "veganize" their products. In early 2009, Mercy For Animals teamed up with Compassion Over Killing and the Animal Protection and Rescue League to urge mock meat powerhouse, BOCA Foods, to remove eggs from its product line. Within weeks of launching the campaign, which included the site BocaEggFacts.com, BOCA issued a statement declaring, "BOCA brand will be eliminating eggs in all of its products by the end of this year. We anticipate all BOCA products will be egg free in 2010."

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About this Archive

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

March 2010 is the previous archive.

May 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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