Vegan feed-ins are a great way to show people how easy and delicious vegan eating can be. With the help of organizations like VegFund, which provides funding and support for vegan feed-ins and outreach events, animal advocates across the country can easily host their own vegan feed-ins and show their communities how simple it is to adopt a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.
Interested in showing the delicious side of veganism to your community? Click here to find out how to get started.
Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. With plenty of delicious and healthy meat-free options readily available, everyone can enjoy their favorite flavors on the big game day.
Looking for some winning vegan snacks to serve at your Super Bowl party? Here are some helpful tips to get started:
You'll want to get supplies to make several vegan foot-long sandwiches. Tofurky or Lightlife brands offer tasty meat-free alternatives that are amazing. They deliver options that are flowing over with flavor. Add some creamy Vegenaise brand sandwich spread and Daiya vegan cheese and your guests will be doing the touchdown dance in your living room!
It's always good to have plenty of hummus, raw veggies, and homemade baked pita chips on hand.
Don't forget the vegan hotdogs - they're a must for all ball games!
Looking for finger-licking good food fare? Try serving Gardein classic-style buffalo wings.
To round out the savory snacks, make sugar cookie cutouts in the shape of footballs and helmets.
If you'll be serving alcoholic drinks, check out the beverage guide Barnivore for a complete listing of vegan-friendly beers and wines.
At the end of the day, what's important is not whose team won or lost, it's knowing that you noshed with your friends and no animals suffered as a result.
For more menu ideas, cooking tips, streaming video of cooking demonstrations and hundreds of vegan recipes, visit ChooseVeg.com.
This Valentine's Day, MFA is offering our animal-friendly supporters a chance to enter to win a decadent basket overflowing with vegan treats from the premiere, and award-winning, online vegan bakery, Allison's Gourmet.
Just fill out the form here and be entered to win a Sweet Desires Gift Basket, packed with Baker's Choice of Cookies, Roast Coffees, Chocolate Peanut Brittle, Classic Almond Toffee, Peanut Butter Cups, Chipotle Cinnamon Fudge, Salted Vanilla Caramels, and Salted Chocolate Caramels.
Allison's Gourmet uses only the finest organic, fair-trade, minimally processed and vegan ingredients with post-consumer recycled paper and packaging whenever possible, making it the perfect Valentine's gift for that special, conscientious someone in your life!
Contest ends on midnight February 6th. The lucky winner will be notified on February 7th. Basket will be delivered to recipient's home on February 11th.
There has been a lot of media attention this week over the recent lawsuit against Taco Bell, alleging the company's "meat mixture" contains only 36 percent meat instead of the 40 percent required to fit the definition of beef. But Mercy For Animals has a solution to Taco Bell's problem that could be a win-win for everyone, especially the animals who are cruelly slaughtered for meat.
In an open letter sent to Greg Creed, President of Taco Bell, Mercy For Animals' Executive Director, Nathan Runkle, asks:
Why not "Think Outside the Bun" and switch to a healthy and delicious vegan meat substitute and cash in on the growing demand for meatless meal options?
The letter continues:
Taco Bell customers would lose their appetites if they saw how cows raised for beef are inflicted with third degree burns (hot-iron branding), have their testicles ripped from their scrotums and their horns burned out of their skulls - all without any painkillers. Undercover investigations have revealed sick and injured animals routinely entering the human food supply. At slaughter, improper stunning condemns many animals to being skinned and dismembered while still alive, conscious and suffering.
Cruelty to animals aside, the United Nations is calling for a global shift toward a vegan diet, saying that this is crucial to saving the world population from hunger, fuel shortages and the worst impacts of climate change. And according to the American Dietetic Association, vegan diets provide powerful protection against many deadly diseases, including the three biggest killers in the United States: heart disease, many types of cancer, and strokes.
The letter concludes:
Human health, environmental degradation, cruelty to animals and false advertising allegations are all very serious issues, but Taco Bell can tackle these problems, and more, by adopting and promoting a healthy and humane vegan menu. There is simply no better time than right now to salvage your company's reputation and tap into a growing market for vegan foods. In fact, the National Restaurant Association says that vegan menu options are a "hot trend" for 2011. And with Taco Bell's 12 authentic (and vegan) seasonings and spices, your customers can get the same tastes and textures they know and love with plant-based meat substitutes without all the saturated fat, cholesterol and cruelty associated with animal flesh.
Mercy For Animals is ready and willing to assist Taco Bell in making the socially responsible switch to a healthy, humane and honest vegan menu. We look forward to your response.
While we wait for Taco Bell's response, concerned consumers can ensure they aren't being served a side of "mystery meat" by switching to a plant-based diet. Click here to order a FREE Vegetarian Starter Kit and begin your journey toward meatless living.
"The Foresight study shows that the food system is already failing in at least two ways. Firstly, it is unsustainable, with resources being used faster than they can be naturally replenished. Secondly, a billion people are going hungry with another billion people suffering from 'hidden hunger', whilst a billion people are over-consuming," says Professor Sir John Beddington, the British Government's Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Foresight research program.
The researchers indicate that grain-fed meat (particularly pigs and poultry) have "serious implications for competition for land, water and other inputs" and that "a reduction in the amount of meat consumed in high- and middle-income countries would have multiple benefits: a reduced demand for grain, leading to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and a positive effect on health." According to the study, "Dietary changes are very significant for the future food system because, per calorie, some food items (such as grain-fed meat) require considerably more resources to produce than others."
With the global population expected to grow from 6.8 billion to more than 9 billion and annual per capita meat consumption expected to rise from nearly 82 pounds today to 115 pounds by 2050, scientists say the increase in demand on food crops to feed farmed animals will lead to higher overall food costs, increased deforestation to provide land to grow farmed animal feed crops and elevated levels of greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising animals for food. Additionally, the researchers conclude that a global shift to organic food production may only meet future food demands if combined with a "major shift in consumer diets," a tax on livestock production and other "proactive measures" to reduce global meat consumption.
In his new book, Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change, activist and author Nick Cooney fuses psychology studies and marketing research to help advocates of any cause be as effective as possible in spreading social change.
Citing over 80 years of research, Cooney explains how most people adopt their beliefs, react to new information, and change (or maintain) their behaviors. By understanding the psychology of the average person, activists can be more effective in everyday advocacy work and influencing the public's behaviors, and thus creating a more compassionate world.
Cooney, a longtime activist and director of The Humane League, sat down with MFA to talk about his new book and animal advocacy.
What inspired you to write Change of Heart?
I've always been interested in psychology, and as someone running a non-profit I've wondered day in and day out for years how I could make my advocacy work more effective. Change Of Heart combines these two areas of interest, and was written to answer a very fundamental question: how can we more effectively persuade people to change their behavior (to go vegan, boycott fur, or make other compassionate choices)?
We each have our own opinions and gut instincts about what motivates people to change, but no one in the advocacy world had ever taken a thorough look at what the science says.
How has your approach to animal advocacy changed since you began researching and writing Change of Heart?
Since writing Change of Heart, there are a lot of small but very important changes I've made in my advocacy work: using stories rather than statistics when trying to persuade; remembering to always make our cause look like a mainstream one; encouraging people to make small or mid-sized changes rather than large ones; and countless other tweaks.
If someone wanted to spread social change, what advice would you give them before they got started?
First, take an honest look at what your motivation is for wanting to spread social change. Is it so you can live out aspects of your own self-identity (sharing your opinion through t-shirts, tattoos, protest slogans and hanging around with like-minded people)? Is it so you can feel like your life has meaning, or that you are a good person? Or, is your goal to decrease as much suffering and increase as much joy as you can in this world?
These are all valid motivations, but once we decide that the latter is by far the most important we will immediately become much more effective at spreading social change. For those of us working to help animals, the question becomes this: "I have a limited amount of time and money to devote to helping animals. What advocacy work will help the greatest number of animals and reduce the greatest amount of suffering?" Ask this question every day, and always keep your eye on what other advocates and non-profits are doing. When you see a person or a group doing something that helps more animals more quickly, start doing that!
If animal advocates took away one idea from reading this book, what would you want it to be?
Treat your advocacy work with the same rigor and the same focus on results as a CEO. Corporations have a "bottom line" of making as much money as they can, and every decision they make is carefully planned around what will bring the biggest financial payoff. Our "bottom line" as animal advocates is helping as many animals and reducing as much animal suffering as possible. Every decision we advocates make - from what project to work on, to what we wear, to what message we use when communicating with the public - should be based on what will have the best results for our bottom line of helping the most animals. By learning what the research can teach us about human psychology and behavior change, we will have much better results and help many more animals.
MFA staff members have found Change Of Heart to be an engaging and useful tool. We highly recommend it for those new to animal advocacy and seasoned activists alike. For a limited time only, the book is available on Amazon at a special 35% discount!
International food services provider Sodexo, which serves more than 10 million meals a day, has announced its nationwide participation in the Meatless Monday health campaign designed to promote social and environmental change through vegetarianism, one day a week. The company started with more than 900 hospital clients across the United States in January, and plans to extend Meatless Monday to all Sodexo-served schools and universities this fall.
According to a statement on the Meatless Monday website, "Sodexo is truly leading the way by lending their large-scale support to the movement. Not only will their Meatless Monday meals reach hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, their use of the campaign to fulfill health and environmental commitments shows other companies large and small that Meatless Monday is a simple way to make a big impact."
Meatless Monday began as an effort to reduce consumption of key food staples during World War I and was then recreated in 2003 as a public health awareness program in association with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future. With the goal of helping Americans reduce their risk of preventable disease by cutting back saturated fat, the Meatless Monday campaign has been endorsed by over 20 schools of public health and a growing number of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, including Sir Paul McCartney, former Vice President Al Gore and actress and sexiest vegan of 2010 Olivia Wilde.
Meatless Monday is a great way to get people thinking seriously about the impact their food choices have on their health, the environment and on animals. Why not use this good news to encourage your friends and loved ones to start transitioning toward a healthier meatless lifestyle? Visit ChooseVeg.com for helpful tips and recipes.
Texans recently got a taste of animal-friendly fare when MFA volunteers distributed free vegan cookies outside a McDonald's restaurant in downtown Dallas. People of all ages enjoyed sampling the delicious dairy-free and egg-free desserts, and many gladly accepted copies of MFA's colorful Vegetarian Starter Kit stuffed with our Dallas/Fort Worth vegetarian dining guide.
Feed-ins are friendly events that break down barriers to vegetarian eating by showing others just how easily they can choose cruelty-free versions of their favorite foods. In Dallas, we could barely keep our tray stocked as two hundred passersby eagerly tried our chocolate chip, peanut butter, and lemon cookies made by the Sun Flour Baking Company. Dozens of Dallasites also chatted with our volunteers about the great-tasting treats and the benefits of plant-based eating.
Thanks to feed-in events held in Texas and across the nation, consumers are realizing that they can satisfy their taste buds while making compassionate food choices. Ready to get involved? Consider applying for a VegFund grant to conduct an exciting feed-in event on a busy street corner, college campus, or other location in your own community!
On Wednesday, Washingtonians for Humane Farms - a broad coalition of family farming, food safety, environmental, and animal protection groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary and Mercy For Animals - filed a petition in Washington State to ban the use of battery cages for egg production. If passed, this measure would take effect in 2018 and would prohibit the cruel confinement of egg-laying hens in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, or fully extend their wings. The Act also stipulates that eggs sold in Washington State must not come from battery-caged hens.
Right now in Washington State, approximately 6 million hens are crammed inside cages so small they can't even spread their wings or engage in any natural behaviors. With less space than a single sheet of notebook paper to live out almost their entire lives, these animals are reduced to mere egg-producing machines, whose lives are filled with unimaginable suffering. We may not be able to completely spare all egg-laying hens from suffering in the near future, but we can significantly reduce the suffering they are forced to endure at the hands of the egg industry.
With fewer than six months to gather more than 300,000 signatures from Washington voters, we need all the help we can get. If you are a Washington resident and want to help, please sign up here. If you are not a Washington resident, please visit the Washingtonians for Humane Farms website to find out how you can get involved and help spread the word about this important effort.
Of course, while this modest, but meaningful, farmed animal protection initiative will help reduce the suffering of millions of birds each year, the best thing that individual consumers can do to help prevent needless cruelty to animals is to adopt a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.
Vegan dining and shopping options are on the rise in the land of beef and barbecue. We recently learned of a vegan movie theater coming to Fort Worth, and now a cruelty-free convenience store named "Vegan Freak" has just opened its doors at 301 S. Elm St. in the thriving college town of Denton, just north of Dallas!
Co-owners Abbey Autry and Brendan Carroll created Vegan Freak to make hard-to-find vegan items more readily accessible for everyone. Located on a former used car lot, the 400-square-foot shop offers packaged food and sweets sourced from completely vegan companies. Customers can also find a variety of specialty goods, including cosmetics and body care products, jewelry made by vegan artists, eco-friendly cleaning products, and even non-leather sports balls.
Ultimately, Abbey hopes Vegan Freak will provide "a truly guilt-free shopping experience," while serving as a convenient place for those curious about compassionate living. Mercy For Animals applauds Abbey and Brendan for their efforts to make vegan eating even easier. Please check out Vegan Freak on Facebook for store details and visit VegGuide.org to find more veg-friendly businesses near you.
Even before fitness guru Bob Harper and actress Olivia Wilde were named the Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities of 2010 by VegNews Magazine, we veggie-lovers knew that compassionate, plant-based living is sexy. But now, recent research has shown that eating more fruits and vegetables actually does make people more attractive.
According to an article by the BBC, Dr. Ian Stephen of the University of Nottingham has demonstrated that carotenoids, a type of antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables, soak up damaging compounds and make skin appear healthier and more attractive.
"Eating five or more portions [of fruit and vegetables] ups your carotenoid levels giving your skin golden tones," explained Dr. Stephen. "In humans, the more red and yellow tones found in the skin, the more attractive the people were found to be."
Ready to feel and look your best, inside and out? Skip the makeover and just go vegan! Visit ChooseVeg.com for more information about making the switch to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, what better way to show the vegans in your life that you love them than with this handmade, limited edition, sterling silver "VEGAN" necklace by Michelle Rubin. This stunning and stylish necklace is a perfect way to show support for animal rights and makes a wonderful gift for your friend, your partner, or yourself!
This beautiful necklace is only available until February 8th. To be sure you have plenty of time to get the necklace to your loved ones before Valentine's Day, don't delay - order yours today!
The sterling silver necklace has "VEGAN" hand-stamped on a 9/16" pendant, which hangs with a hematite stone, on a 16" chain. Click here to order a necklace for that special someone today.
In an effort to control the country's worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in history, South Korea has ordered the killing of 1.23 million pigs and hundreds of thousands of cattle, goats and deer in the past 40 days. Sparking international outrage, photos of pigs being buried alive by the truckload have been appearing in news reports around the world.
According to the AFP, South Korea has lost about seven percent of its cattle and pigs at an estimated cost of $890 million. Shockingly, this tragedy could have been averted by a relatively inexpensive vaccine at only a fraction of the cost of the current slaughter efforts - but at the risk of a longer export ban by overseas buyers.
It is believed that the South Korean government began inoculating pigs against the disease on December 25, nearly a month after the start of the outbreak, but only in some areas of the country. In the meantime, the cruel slaughter and live burial of pigs continues in clear violation of the World Organization for Animal Health Guidelines, which South Korea endorsed five years ago.
Please help end this atrocity. Send a polite message to Han Duk-soo, the ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States, and tell him that you want the South Korean government to immediately stop burying pigs alive and to start using humane methods of controlling foot-and-mouth disease.
Feed-ins work because rather than telling someone what they can't have, they showcase foods that are available. Even police officers were pleasantly surprised when volunteers brought them steaming cups of hot chocolate and were amazed to learn about the vegan marshmallows from Sweet & Sara that taste just as good, if not better, than their gelatin-based counterparts.
With the help of organizations like VegFund, which provides funding and support for vegan feed-ins and outreach events, animal advocates across the country can easily host their own vegan feed-ins and show their communities how simple it is to adopt a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.
Need some help getting started? Click here for a complete guide to organizing your own successful feed-in.
Thanks to former Austin firefighter Rip Esselstyn's bestselling book The Engine 2 Diet, veganism has been sprouting up in firehouses across the country. Last year, three Chicago firefighters went vegan to improve their health and now VegSource.com reports on programs in two different states designed to get firefighters in fire-fighting shape using low fat, plant-based diets.
In Bethesda, Maryland a firehouse crew is using "healthy, peer pressure" to stick to a healthy vegan diet with some very encouraging results:
And in Detroit, Michigan three different fire-fighting teams have been eating plant-based foods for several weeks, resulting in lower total cholesterol levels and body mass indices and more overall energy. One firefighter was even able to reverse his colitis symptoms and another managed to get off his diabetes medications:
Eager to ignite more interest in healthy vegan living? Why not donate a copy of The Engine 2 Diet and some Vegetarian Starter Kits to your local fire department to encourage them to get in shape and be plant-strong?
The Aramark Corporation, one of the world's leading food service providers, has announced that it will no longer distribute "foie gras" - French for "fatty liver." The announcement came after executives at ARAMARK were shown undercover video footage of ducks and geese having metal pipes shoved down their throats and their stomachs pumped full of grains and fat in order to produce the diseased, fatty livers.
Investigations into foie gras facilities in the United States have revealed routine cruelty and abuse, including birds being crammed into tiny wire cages or packed into feces-filled sheds and suffering from kidney necrosis, spleen damage, bruised and broken bills, torn esophagi and ruptured organs from overfeeding.
An investigation at Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York discovered that duck mortality due to force-feeding was so common that workers who managed to kill fewer than 50 birds per month were given a bonus.
The production of foie gras is considered so cruel it has been banned in the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and Israel. Starting in July of 2012 foie gras production will also be banned in California. Distributing more than 2 billion meals a year in 22 countries, ARAMARK's decision to stop selling foie gras is yet another major blow to this extremely cruel industry and a decisive victory for animals!
According to a recent article by the Associated Press, "Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream," which has been republished by major news outlets around the country, "more than half the 1,500 chefs polled by the National Restaurant Association for its new 'What's Hot in 2011' list included vegan entrées as a hot trend."
Citing health, environment and food safety concerns to explain veganism's unprecedented rise in popularity, the article notes that vegan foods are becoming easier to find at supermarkets across the country and that many chain restaurants are now proudly promoting their vegan fare.
But growing celebrity support, including heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, President Bill Clinton, Emily Deschanel of "Bones" and Lea Michelle of "Glee," as well as best-selling vegan cookbooks like Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, has also helped veganism grow in popularity, especially among urban hipsters, suburban moms, college students and even professional athletes.
Why not join the growing trend toward healthy and humane vegan living? It's better for your health. It's better for the environment. And it's better for the animals. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.
In 2002, Amy McNutt elevated the vegan dining scene in Texas by opening the Spiral Diner and Bakery - an all-vegan restaurant in Fort Worth that soon expanded to Dallas. Amy is now poised to make history again by opening the world's first vegan movie theater with her filmmaker husband, James Johnston.
Slated for construction this year, The Citizen Theater will be a twin-screen art house featuring completely cruelty-free concessions. Amy and James aim to select first-run independent and foreign films that movie-goers can enjoy while snacking on the likes of vegan nachos, veggie dogs, and gourmet popcorn. As if that weren't enough, the couple is planning to offer delicious vegan baked goodies and soft-serve, dairy-free ice cream to satisfy sugar cravings!
Amy McNutt and James Johnston deserve two paws up for their efforts to bring culture and a compassionate cinema experience to the heart of Cowtown. Be sure to follow the Citizen Theater for updates, and check out MFA's Vegetarian Dining Campaign for useful tips on making vegan fare available at the movie theaters and restaurants in your own community.
Thousands of daily commuters traveling in Michigan on I75, just south of I-696, are getting some serious food for thought thanks to MFA's newly erected pro-vegetarian billboard. The eye-catching advertisement, featuring a lovable puppy sitting next to an adorable piglet, asks travelers, "Why love one but eat the other?"
Drivers are urged to widen their circle of compassion to include all animals by choosing vegetarianism.
This latest ad is part of MFA's growing campaign,
which also includes leaflets and bus ads, aimed at getting consumers
nationwide to make the connection between animals we call pets and
those we label food.
The campaign spotlights the simple reality that farmed animals experience joy, loneliness, fear, frustration and pain in the very same way as our beloved dog and cat companions. Yet, in our nation's factory farms and slaughterhouses, pigs, cows and chickens are confined in cages so small they can hardly move, are mutilated without painkillers, cruelly handled, and mercilessly slaughtered - often while fully conscious. In fact, factory farms could face felony-level cruelty to animals charges in most states if they subjected dogs or cats to the abusive conditions farmed animals endure daily.
Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help us sponsor more billboards.
Click here to order your free Vegetarian Starter Kit.
Earlier this month, hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and spoke about his reasons for being vegan. Elaborating on his reasons, Simmons wrote an insightful piece for Ellen's website entitled "Russell Simmons: Why I'm Vegan" in which he explains, "The more I learned about factory farming and the cruelty animals raised for food must endure before they are led (or dragged) to slaughter, the more I realized that I could not, in good conscience, be a contributor to such violence."
Crediting his teachers at Jivamukti Yoga in New York City for inspiring him to change his eating habits, Simmons goes on to talk about his efforts to bring healthier food options to inner-city communities and schools where the most accessible food is fast food and where diet-related illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are common.
"Being a thoughtful vegan makes our time on this Earth more peaceful and joyous, because you get to have a hand in promoting and increasing the happiness, good health and well-being of others - both animal and human - rather than being an instrument of their suffering and death," says Simmons.
In conclusion, Simmons acknowledges that there is still a lot of work to be done "before everyone's consciousness is open to making these changes" and he encourages people to help spread the word about the plights of animals by sharing videos with their friends and family and by switching to a healthy vegetarian diet.
With New Year's fast approaching, there is no better time to resolve to go vegan. Visit ChooseVeg.com for tips and recipes to help you get started.