October 2010 Archives

ASIANS~2.jpgVeganism is more popular than ever and restaurants that offer vegan, vegetarian or "vegetable-focused" dishes are reaping the benefits. More and more chefs are realizing that offering vegan options is a great way to attract more customers. Indeed, we are starting to see a significant culinary shift, as a growing number of restaurants edge meat to the side in favor of fresh, locally grown produce, heirloom variety vegetables and on-site restaurant vegetable gardens.

According to a recent article in The Globe and Mail, John Fraser of the NYC-based Dovetail restaurant, who earned a prestigious Michelin Star award this month, is one of the leaders in this veg-heavy trend. Fraser recently launched the "Monday-night veg menu" concept and is currently considering opening a restaurant based on the idea. In fact, Meatless Mondays are becoming increasingly popular at restaurants, school cafeterias and college dining halls around the world.

In an effort to continue this trend, MFA's Vegetarian Dining Campaign not only promotes restaurants that already cater to vegans, but also works with food providers to expand their meatless offerings. By engaging college dining services, local restaurants and food manufacturers, MFA has been successful in increasing the number of establishments catering to the vegan community.

In celebration of World Go Vegan Week, October 24 through October 31, MFA has reached out to restaurants across the country, asking them to add vegan options to their menus. If you live in the Chicago, Dallas, New York City or Columbus, Ohio area, show your support for MFA and a plant-based diet by visiting one of the many restaurants that have worked with MFA to add vegan options to their menus. By showing your support, restaurants are more likely to keep vegan options on their menus for good!

Interested in reaching out to restaurants in your area about offering healthy and humane vegan options? Check out MFA's Vegetarian Dining Campaign for tips on how you can help make vegan dining more accessible in your community. For a list of already veg-friendly restaurant in your area, please visit VegGuide.org.

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Thousands of New Yorkers were given a taste of veganism at the 2nd annual NYC VegFest at Union Square on Saturday, October 23. Neighboring the extremely popular Union Square Farmers Market, which normally attracts throngs of conscientious consumers, NYC VegFest was perfectly poised to reach countless people with its message of compassionate and sustainable plant-based living.

In addition to an array of vegan food and merchandise vendors, as well as several non-profit exhibitors, including Mercy For Animals, Latin chef and Veganomicon author Terry Hope Romero and many other informative guest speakers outlined the numerous health and ethical benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle. Attendees also enjoyed live music, yoga and Tai Chi classes and, of course, great vegan food - like to-die-for chocolate brownies from Bhakti Café.

Thanks to the hard work of dedicated MFA volunteers, hundreds of VegFest-goers eagerly picked up free copies of MFA's Vegetarian Starter Kit, Compassionate Living magazine and other brochures. Volunteers also spoke with countless attendees about how they could get started on their path toward a more compassionate, eco-friendly lifestyle.

Click here to see upcoming MFA events you can be a part of.

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Set among the brilliant autumn trees in Loveland, Ohio is the Grailville retreat center, the site of this year's World Peace & Yoga Jubilee. From October 21 through 24, more than 200 yoga enthusiasts, animal lovers, environmentalists and peace activists from around the world descended on the Grailville center for workshops on topics such as yoga and veganism. The event was created to inspire and encourage people to make connections between food, the environment and the economy.

Several notable guests speakers included Alexandra Jamieson, the vegan chef featured in Super Size Me, Melanie Joy, author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, Chloe Jo Davis, founder of Girlie Girl Army, and Dr. Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet.


In addition to yoga sessions, music, inspiring lectures and a compassionate exhibitors' hall, guests were treated to vegan meals prepared by Culinary Olympic award-winning vegan chef and co-creator of World Peace & Yoga Jubilee, Mark Stroud.

Mercy For Animals was among the exhibitors and distributed countless free Vegetarian Starter Kits, and Vegetarian Eating and Another Inconvenient Truth brochures and spoke with attendees about how to continue to advocate for animals long after the conference ended.

Dr. Will Tuttle will also be speaking in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by Mercy For Animals, on Tuesday, October 26. For more information, contact Ohio Campaign Coordinator, Corey Roscoe.

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caldwell esselstyn.jpegChicagoans were fortunate enough to catch a sneak-peek screening of the up-and-coming documentary film, Forks Over Knives, which "...examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods."

Forks Over Knives recounts the journeys of Dr. Colin T. Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, leaders in the clinical and scientific fields, who both grew up on dairy and cattle farms but now advocate for a plant-based, vegan diet.

Author of The China Study, "the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted," Dr. Campbell estimates that eliminating refined, processed and animal-based foods could save our country 70-80% of our healthcare costs and asserts that the USDA, which creates America's institutional guidelines for nutrition, is putting farmers' interests before public health.

After a 12-year trial, Dr. Esselstyn successfully reversed or halted coronary heart disease in all of his 24 patients and went on to write Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

Forks Over Knives also follows the success stories of patients. In 2007, SanDera Nation was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, and had struggled with different diet programs over the years. After following a plant-based diet with Dr. Esselstyn's help, Nation was able to reverse her diabetes and high blood pressure.

Joey Aucoin had similar problems. He was taking nine pills and two shots a day to treat his diabetes and dangerously high cholesterol levels, but after 6 months on a plant-based diet guided by doctors Matthew Lederman and Alona Pulde, Aucoin was able to control his diabetes and cholesterol levels without the use of medication.

The film also features several "plant-strong" athletes - Rip Esselstyn, Dr. Esselstyn's son and former professional triathlete; Mac Danzig, professional UFC fighter; and Ruth Heidrich, a six-time Ironman Triathlon finisher, who reversed breast cancer with a plant-based diet.

Forks Over Knives not only covers the health motivations for adopting a vegan diet, but also the ethical and environmental motivations - to prevent animal cruelty and lighten one's carbon footprint.

With advanced screenings all over the country, and a theatrical release on March 11, 2011, this is a film you can't afford to miss.

For free recipes and information on adopting a cruelty-free, healthy vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.

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SubwayVeggieSandwich.jpgOur friends at Compassion Over Killing have launched a new campaign to encourage Subway restaurants to add tasty mock meats to their already vegan-friendly menus. In addition to words of encouragement from Subway fans, the friendly We Love Subway campaign serves up a wide variety of reasons why adding vegan meats to Subway's menu just makes good business sense.

Major restaurant chains, such as Denny's, Ruby Tuesday and Chipotle, already offer plant-based meat options, the Nation's Restaurant News has encouraged restaurants to include vegan options on their menus and three vegan cookbooks this year made The New York Times bestsellers list. There is just no denying that veganism is on the rise - and popular restaurant chains like Subway should take notice.

With more than 30,000 locations worldwide, nearly beating out McDonald's as the largest fast food franchise, Subway could literally revolutionize the way the world eats by offering great tasting vegan meat alternatives like Tofurky Deli Slices or Yves Veggie Cuisine. Visit the We Love Subway website to leave your words of encouragement for Subway to expand its menu to include plant-based meat alternatives. And the next time you eat at Subway tell the manager that you and your friends would eat there more often if they offered veggie meats.

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Public libraries are vital community spaces for learning and intellectual engagement, making them ideal settings for Mercy For Animals to share ideas and resources on compassionate eating. Our education-focused Library Outreach Campaign therefore works to bring MFA's informative and compelling pro-vegetarian exhibits to as many library branches across the country as possible.

The Grauwyler Park Branch Library in Dallas, Texas is the latest location to host a Mercy For Animals display. Installed by Lisa Lipton - MFA's Special Projects Coordinator in Dallas - this large panel exhibit reveals the harsh cruelties of factory farming. Boxes of popular vegan products, such as Tofurky Deli Slices and Boca Chik'n Patties, help to illustrate the availability of humane food alternatives, while nearby shelves offer MFA's Vegetarian Starter Kit and other free literature on the benefits of plant-based diets.

Ms. Lipton's exhibit has already drawn the attention and praise of visitors, librarians and the branch manager. Lisa explains: "I was stopped by both library patrons and employees who wanted to talk about changing their diets and ask about some of the products I was arranging in the display case." MFA's professional exhibits are certainly empowering library patrons to make healthier and more humane food choices. To create an exhibit like Lisa's at your own neighborhood library, check out our tips on effective library outreach!

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On October 16, hundreds of Texans gathered at The Phoenix Project for food, music, and family-friendly entertainment at the inaugural Texas State Veggie Fair. This first-ever event celebrated the thriving vegan scene in Dallas, while offering a kinder alternative to another Texas fair taking place at the same time. Mercy For Animals distributed pro-veg literature and merchandise to countless people as one of several non-profit exhibitors in attendance.

An exciting vegan fried foods competition featured a star-studded panel of judges, including Lisa Petty and Kellyn Curtis (editors of NBC's The Feast), Teresa Gubbins (Dining Editor for Pegasus News), Matt McCallister (executive chef of Stephan Pyles Restaurant), and guest judge Eric Vaughan, who won a judge slot by entering an animal rights trivia contest. A fried Texas-style dip was named "Most Creative" and a fried vegan Reuben sandwich won the ultimate "Best Tasting" prize.

Meanwhile, eateries like Spiral Diner, Tough Cookie Bakery, and the soon-to-open V-Spot Veggie Cafe added to the fried food goodness by dishing out vegan corn dogs, nachos, funnel cake, and other cruelty-free versions of carnival food. Fair-goers also enjoyed carnival games, a raffle of vegan products, fire dancers, and acoustic musical performances from the likes of Saboteur and other veg-friendly musicians. Children of all ages especially delighted in balloon-twisting clowns and a bounce house.

All in all, the Texas State Veggie Fair was an incredible combination of compassion for animals, delicious vegan food, and a fun-filled fair environment for everyone!

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October 20, 2010

Meat-Eating Kills People Too

Meat224.jpegAccording to an article in The Independent, a recent Oxford University health study determined that excessive meat consumption causes more than 45,000 premature deaths each year in the United Kingdom. That's approximately 31,000 deaths due to heart disease, 9,000 cancer-related deaths and 5,000 deaths from strokes. Dr. Mike Rayner of Oxford University's Department of Public Health said that the study clearly and comprehensively demonstrates the health benefits of reducing meat and dairy consumption in the UK.

Earlier this year, British scientists reported that heart disease will kill around 400,000 Americans in 2010 and that many of these lives could be saved "if people ate healthier food and stopped smoking." In fact, heart disease is the number one health problem in the United States today, and is linked to diets high in animal products.

William Castelli, M.D., director of the Framingham Heart Study, the longest running clinical study in medical history, says of the heart disease epidemic, "If Americans adopted a vegetarian diet, the whole thing would disappear." According to the American Dietetic Association, a comprehensive, evidence-based review shows that well-planned vegan and vegetarian diets are not only associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease, but also lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer. The evidence is overwhelming. Eating meat greatly increases the risk of heart disease and death, while reducing or eliminating meat from our diets can prevent and even reverse heart disease.

Even former President Bill Clinton seems to have taken notice. In a recent interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Clinton said he has adopted a nearly vegan diet for health reasons. Clinton cited the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute and Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the The China Study, the most comprehensive human health study ever done, to explain how a healthy plant-based diet can help reverse heart disease.

Luckily for us, adopting a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle is not only good for the heart, but it's also good for animals and the planet. For more information, delicious vegan recipes and tips on transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, please visit ChooseVeg.com.

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An encouraging article in the Philadelphia Inquirer says that Bon Appétit Management Co., a company that manages more than 4,000 corporate, college and university dining services, has reported a dramatic increase in the number of vegan and vegetarian students in recent years. In a 2005-2006 survey, 8 percent of college students said they were vegetarian and less than 1 percent identified as vegan. But the company's follow up 2009-2010 survey indicates that 12 percent of college students are vegetarian and 2 percent follow a vegan lifestyle. That's a 50% increase in the number of vegetarians and twice as many vegan college students compared to just 4 years ago!

As students become aware of the devastating impact that modern animal agriculture has on animals, the environment and human health, many are choosing to put their ethics on the table by choosing healthy and humane plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs. And many student dining centers are responding to this growing demand by offering more vegan meal options.

If you're a high school or college student and your school is lacking in quality plant-based meal options, consider organizing a campaign to get more vegan options in your school cafeterias. Check out this helpful Guide to Veganizing Your University's Cafeteria and corresponding video for tips on how to get started. If you're not in school, consider approaching local restaurants about carrying more vegan options. MFA's Vegetarian Resource Guide for Restaurants is loaded with information and tips to help restaurant owners and managers capitalize on the growing demand for vegan foods.

Not vegan yet? Don't get left behind. Check out ChooseVeg.com for delicious recipes and helpful tips on how to transition to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.

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10-10-10 was an inspiring, fulfilling and exhausting day for MFA supporter, co-founder of DallasVegan.com, and vegan fitness enthusiast, Jamey Scott. Donning a white MFA logo athletic shirt, Jamey crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon - completing an impressive 26-mile run.

And while completing the Chicago marathon, one of the nation's largest, is testament to Jamey's personal strength, and incredible vegan-powered endurance, it also raked in major support for MFA. During training for the event, Jamey had his eye on the prize - raise $1,000 for MFA. He exceeded his goal, thanks to the outpouring of support from members around the country. All of the money Jamey raised will benefit MFA's lifesaving work.

After his race, he enjoyed a yummy vegan meal at The Chicago Dinner with the MFA staff - a perfect ending to such a great weekend for Jamey and the animals.

Congrats Jamey Scott!

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IMG_8787_250.jpgThe fifth annual World Go Vegan Week is taking place from October 24 through 31 this year! Vegan Week is an international campaign to promote a vegan diet as a compassionate, sustainable and healthy way of eating and living.

In celebration of Vegan Week, Mercy For Animals is working with restaurants to offer delicious new vegan options during the weeklong celebration. Participating restaurants span the four cities in which Mercy For Animals' offices are located: Chicago, Illinois; New York City, New York; Columbus, Ohio; and Dallas, Texas.

If you live in one of the participating cities, be sure to stop by one of the restaurants for an incredible, cruelty-free lunch or dinner. Also, join friends from Mercy For Animals at special dine-out events taking place at each restaurant during Vegan Week! Please see below for details.

  • Chicago- Enjoy mouthwatering, classic Chicago sandwiches, pizzas and dogs - vegan style - at four classic restaurants: Drew's Eatery, New York Deli, Clark St Dog and Ian's Pizza. Click here for information on what the restaurants will be dishing out, dine-out events, locations and more.

  • New York City - Get ready to experience Latin-inspired, 100% organic vegan fare. GustOrganics, New York's premiere organic restaurant, has teamed up with Mercy For Animals and vegan chef and Super Size Me co-star Alexandra Jamieson to feature an exclusive vegan menu during World Go Vegan Week in October. Click here for information on what the restaurants will be dishing out, dine-out events, locations and more.

  • Dallas- Featuring upscale vegan culinary creations, ranging from Southwestern American to French cuisine by Dallas' most celebrated chefs at Salum (Executive Chef: Abraham Salum & Sous Chef: Al Haven), The Second Floor (Executive Chef: J Chastain), Tillman's Roadhouse (Executive Chef: Dan Landsberg), Bijoux (Executive Chef: Scott Gottlich) and Stephan Pyles (Executive Chef: Matt McCallister). Click here for information on what the restaurants will be dishing out, dine-out events, locations and more.

  • Columbus - Eat up mouthwatering, healthy wraps, classic sloppy joe sandwiches, chili, dogs and more - vegan style - from eight local restaurants, including Phat Wraps, Columbus Brewing Company, Knead, Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace, Surly Girl Saloon, Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails and Betty's Fine Food & Spirits. Click here for information on what the restaurants will be dishing out, dine-out events, locations and more.

Thanks to the prominent restaurants that are serving up enticing vegan options during the last week of October, Vegan Week is sure to be a delicious celebration of compassionate eating. We hope to see you at a participating restaurant between October 24 and October 31!

Don't live in one of the participating cities? Don't worry, you can still celebrate Vegan Week in your community by hosting a feed-in, setting up an educational display or exhibit, distributing literature, hosting a speaker, working with local restaurants to carry more vegan meals, or organizing a video screening. Click here to get started.

Click here for more information on adopting a vegan diet.

Click here to order a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.

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On October 9, thousands of folks gathered from around the Windy City and country for the 2nd annual Chicago VeganMania, celebrating the city's veggie commerce, community, couture, cuisine and culture.

Thumbnail image for vm_8.jpgvm_7.jpgGuest speakers included MFA's Nathan Runkle, Dr. Greger of The Humane Society of the United States, acclaimed vegan chef Isa Chandra-Moskowitz and more. The all-vegan food court featured some of Chicago's best eats - Upton's Naturals, Soul Vegetarian, Delicious Cafe and Raw Creations - just to name a few. If that weren't enough, festival-goers also enjoyed live music, an art lounge, cooking demonstrations and various vendors and non-profit organizations.

Thumbnail image for vm_1.jpgThumbnail image for vm_9.jpgAt the Mercy For Animals booth, volunteers screened undercover investigative footage and distributed hundreds of pieces of pro-vegan literature on the benefits of a plant-based diet to the crowd.

After Chicago VeganMania, there was a packed house at the Funky Buddha Lounge for The Official VeganMania After-Party to benefit Mercy For Animals' lifesaving work. Guests enjoyed food from Chicago's tastiest vegan eateries, live spinning by DJ DAAN, and a silent auction and raffle featuring the latest in vegan products and services.

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Slaugherstill.jpgFor nearly two years, UK-based Animal Aid used hidden cameras to secretly record extreme cruelty and illegal slaughter practices in six slaughterhouses in Britain. The investigations revealed workers kicking, slapping and stomping on pigs, cows and sheep, picking them up by their ears and throwing them into stunning pens, improperly stunning them and slitting their throats while still conscious. According to Animal Aid, as a result of the investigations, one slaughterhouse has already lost its supermarket contract and another has closed permanently.

Legal action was initially underway against nine slaughterhouse workers and four slaughterhouse operators following the release of the investigative footage, but the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has now dropped all attempts to prosecute because the footage was allegedly not obtained legally. But, according to an article in The Guardian, that may not be an issue much longer as the British government is now calling on nearly 370 slaughterhouses to install video surveillance cameras to help enforce anti-cruelty legislation.

A similar effort to monitor slaughterhouses was made in the United States, albeit unsuccessfully, when, following a 2008 undercover investigation at a slaughterhouse in California, some members of Congress called for video cameras to be installed in U.S. slaughterhouses. During a hearing before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, Rep. Elijah Cummings said, "The time is long overdue to strengthen the practices at the USDA and to explore new methods of oversight, such as video surveillance."

Mercy For Animals has long believed that the public has a right to know how animals are raised and slaughtered for food and has sent teams of investigators behind the closed doors of our nation's factory farms, slaughterhouses and hatcheries to expose what the animal agriculture industry works so hard to conceal. Wired with hidden cameras, MFA's undercover investigators have diligently documented the harsh realities of industrial animal agriculture and exposed millions of Americans to the plights of farmed animals.

Of course, each of us can immediately withdraw our financial support of the violent meat industry simply by adopting a compassionate vegan diet.

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Ohio State University college students got to taste convenient, delicious and cruelty-free food on campus when MFA volunteers distributed free vegan hotdog samples to Buckeyes on their way to classes. MFA advocates appealed to hungry college students with an easily accessible vegan lunch alternative made with Yves meatless hot dogs. Besides being cruelty-free, MFA advocates were quick to point out that the meatless hotdogs are widely available in local supermarkets and are healthier than the fatty meat-based version.

Enthusiastic volunteers distributed over 100 samples of the meatless dogs, along with Compassionate Choices literature. MFA advocates also used the lunch hour to hand out leaflets to spread the message that vegan food is accessible and people can still have their favorite tastes and textures without contributing to needless cruelty.

Feed-ins on college campus are a perfect outreach tool for introducing students to tasty vegan food. Click here to learn more about this effective outreach tool and to find out how you can organize your own feed-in event.

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956cattle.jpgIn a 2006 report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, the United Nations condemned animal agriculture as "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global," stating that raising animals for food contributes more to global climate change than all of the cars, trucks, ships, planes and other forms of transportation combined.

In June 2010, the United Nations declared that a global shift toward a vegan diet is vital to save the world from the most devastating impacts of climate change. Two years earlier, the Pew Charitable Trust's report, Putting Meat on The Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America, found that industrial animal agriculture "is not sustainable and presents an unacceptable level of risk to public health and damage to the environment, as well as unnecessary harm to the animals we raise for food."

And now, researchers at Canada's Dalhousie University have concluded that, based on current trends, raising animals for food will push the world near danger levels for global climate change and habitat destruction by the year 2050. The article entitled "Forecasting potential global environmental costs of livestock production 2000-2050" found that, due to population expansion, per capita meat consumption will have to be reduced by as much as 42% by 2050 just to keep environmental damage caused by animal agriculture at current levels.

Animal agriculture is an extremely inefficient and resource-intensive way to produce food for the growing human population. It pollutes our environment, while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs. But, according to this new report, attempts to make animal agriculture more efficient will not be enough to stave off widespread environmental destruction. "Across the board reductions in per capita consumption of livestock products should ... be a policy priority," the report says.

According to a study released in April 2008, if per capita meat consumption were reduced to mid-20th century levels, the costs of climate change could be reduced by 50%. If simply reducing our meat consumption can have such a dramatic and positive effect on the environment, imagine how much more impact we can have by adopting a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.

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KidVegetable.jpgWith the rates of childhood obesity, diabetes and other serious diet-related illnesses soaring, giving children access to healthy, plant-based school meals is vital to addressing our country's growing health crisis.

Thankfully, Congress is poised to vote on the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act, H.R. 5504, which could finally give kids the healthy food options they need. However, the House version of this new bill may be rejected for a much weaker Senate version that may actually make it more difficult for children to access healthy, plant-based foods. Please act now and urge Congress to pass the superior House bill, H.R. 5504, and reject the Senate's bill, S. 3307.

House bill H.R. 5504 would incorporate provisions of the Healthy School Meals Act and include an innovative pilot program to introduce more plant-based foods into the school lunch program. The House bill would also provide more funding for farm-to-school programs, nutrition education and wellness promotion activities. Additionally, H.R. 5504 would extend nutrition standards to all food sold in schools and give children from low-income households greater access to nutritious meals beyond regular school hours.

By inspiring kids to eat more plant-based meals the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act, H.R. 5504, not only has the potential to help nurture healthy eating habits for our nation's youth, but could also help reduce the devastating impact that animal agriculture has on the environment and on animal welfare. So, please take a moment to contact Congress and ask them to pass the superior House bill, H.R. 5504, and reject the weaker Senate bill, S. 3307.

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About this Archive

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

September 2010 is the previous archive.

November 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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