In an email notification, YouTube stated: "It's not okay to post gross-out videos of accidents, dead bodies or similar things intended to be shocking, sensational, or disrespectful. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional educational or documentary context and information."
In response, MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle has posted an open letter to YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar writing:
"MFA strongly agrees that videos of cruelty to animals are shocking and disturbing, but in the context of helping to expose and eliminate animal abuse they are extremely important. Consumers have a right to know how their food is being produced, especially when the production methods are shocking or disturbing, so that they can make informed choices. MFA's "No Mercy" video opens a critical dialogue about animal use and abuse in our society as well as pressing social and consumer issues. Without open dialogue in a free society, broken systems remain unchallenged and unchanged."
The letter continues:
"It seems an obvious contradiction that YouTube censors MFA's efforts to expose and eliminate cruelty to animals while continuing to allow highly sanitized meat, dairy and egg industry propaganda videos that promote killing animals for profit and countless sensationalized pro-hunting videos that glamorize gleeful hunters mercilessly maiming and killing animals for "sport". YouTube was awarded a 2008 Peabody Award and cited for being "a 'Speakers' Corner' that both embodies and promotes democracy." Silencing one side of the debate over how farmed animals should be treated flies in the face of democracy. YouTube seems to be sending a message that hurting animals for fun or profit is acceptable but speaking out against such abuses is not."
After pointing out that MFA's investigations have a long history of leading to successful criminal prosecutions of animal abusers, raids of factory farms, corporate animal welfare policy reforms and increased legal protection for animals - all testament to the crucial role these videos play in preventing cruelty and educating consumers - Runkle concludes with:
"The "No Mercy" video posted on YouTube is part of MFA's important mission to educate consumers and bring justice to animals who are routinely tortured and killed in factory farms and slaughterhouses. It is vital to our efforts to hold the E6 Cattle Company and its owner accountable for egregious cruelty to animals that the public be able to access and disseminate this video. We respectfully request that the "No Mercy" video be reinstated on YouTube as soon as possible."
To help MFA continue its vital mission to expose consumers to the reality of modern animal agriculture, please MercyForAnimals.org/Calves and share the E6 investigation video (now hosted by Vimeo) with your friends, family and coworkers.
In response to the efforts by pro-factory farm legislators in some states to keep consumers in the dark about the routine cruelties involved in raising and killing animals for food, The New York Times has churned out a series of articles denouncing the unconstitutional anti-whistleblower bills, and highlighting Mercy For Animals' latest undercover investigation at E6 Cattle Company in Texas.
In an article titled "Who Protects the Animals?" celebrated food columnist Mark Bittman points to the utter lack of legal protection for farmed animals and states that "organizations like the Humane Society and Mercy For Animals need to be allowed to do the work that the federal and state governments are not: documenting the behavior most of us abhor." Bittman goes on to say, "The biggest problem is that we've created a system in which standard factory-farming practices are inhumane, and the kinds of abuses documented at E6 are really just reminders of that."
The next day, The New York Times columnist Jennifer Mascia posted an article under Bittman's blog titled "Animals, Cruelty and Videotape," with a state-by-state look at the proposed bills and some of the Big Ag companies like Monsanto that are coordinating these legislative efforts.
The cruelties exposed at E6 Cattle Company, where calves had their skulls bashed in with pickaxes and hammers and were left to slowly suffer and die, are shocking and horrifying to most Americans - which is exactly why Big Ag hopes to keep them secret. But consumers have a right to know how animals are treated on modern farms so they can make informed choices. One of the most effective ways to help end the routine abuses of farmed animals is to withdraw our financial support from the meat, dairy and egg industries by adopting a healthy and humane vegan diet. Learn more at ChooseVeg.com.
When compassionate consumers learn about the suffering routinely inflicted on farmed animals, many decide to withdraw their support of the abusive meat, egg, and dairy industries. Now, a recent news article shows that MFA's groundbreaking investigations and effective outreach efforts may be playing an important role in reducing egg consumption in the United States.
Writing for The Wall Street Journal, reporter Ian Berry covered the woes currently facing the egg industry. He noted the demand for eggs is steadily declining and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture says egg consumption has dropped every year since 2006. Egg farms are now even losing money around Easter, which is typically the third-busiest time of the year for the industry. What's more, USDA economist David Harvey predicts the usual post-Easter curtailment in egg production will be even greater this year - sparing countless hens from suffering in battery cages.
While no one factor can explain the egg industry's predicament, MFA's investigations into factory egg farms and hatcheries have certainly helped to shine a spotlight on inhumane practices, such as searing off chicks' beaks, cramming hens into tiny wire cages, and grinding unwanted male chicks alive. Our eye-catching egg recall demonstrations and extensive coverage of last summer's salmonella scare at Iowa egg farms also alerted consumers to the public health risks of factory egg farms.
More and more people are choosing to forgo eggs for health and ethical reasons, so now is the perfect time to replace the eggs in our diets with humane vegan alternatives. Be sure to check out ChooseVeg.com for hundreds of mouth-watering, egg-free recipes and watch this cooking video with helpful tips for baking without eggs. Bon appétit!
On Monday, April 25, Oregonians for Humane Farms - a coalition of family farming, food safety, environmental, and animal protection groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and Mercy For Animals - filed a petition in Oregon State for the November 2012 ballot to ban the use of battery cages for egg production. If approved, the measure would take effect in 2019 - giving cage producers ample time to transition to less cruel housing systems.
The Oregon Legislature had been considering Senate Bill 805 to phase out battery cages for egg-laying hens, but unfortunately SB 805 has been modified and weakened by animal agribusiness interests to give the illusion of reform, while codifying the cruel confinement of egg-laying hens. The corrupted version of SB 805 would grant just a slight increase of cage space for hens and wouldn't take effect until 2026.
However, the new ballot measure put forth by Oregonians for Humane Farms would provide meaningful reform for egg-laying hens, giving the birds adequate space to fully extend their wings and engage in their natural behaviors. This measure would not only prohibit egg producers in the state from raising egg-laying hens in cruel battery cages, but would also prohibit the sale of eggs from hens raised in battery cages in the state, including liquid eggs.
Each year, approximately 2.5 million egg-laying hens in Oregon spend their lives inside battery cages, with less living space than a sheet of notebook-sized paper and unable to spread their wings. These animals are reduced to mere egg-producing machines, whose lives are filled with unimaginable suffering. While all egg-laying hens might not be spared from suffering, we can significantly reduce the suffering they are forced to endure at the hands of the egg industry.
If you are an Oregon resident and want to help collect signatures to get this measure on the 2012 ballot, please sign up here. If you are not an Oregon resident, please visit the Oregonians for Humane Farms website to find out how you can get involved and help spread the word about this impactful campaign.
While this modest and meaningful farmed animal protection initiative will help reduce the suffering of millions of birds each year, individual consumers can help prevent needless cruelty to animals by adopting a healthy and humane plant-based lifestyle.
Factory farms have long boosted profits by using antibiotics to promote faster growth in farmed animals and suppress the spread of disease in unsanitary conditions. This practice is receiving considerable criticism from scientists, who say that misusing antibiotics can create new strains of dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria. A 2010 report by CBS Evening News noted that antibiotic-resistant infections are on the upswing and killed an estimated 70,000 Americans in 2009 alone.
Now, a new study has shed light on the ways in which factory farmers are putting human health at risk. Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute tested 137 packages of chicken, turkey, and other meat bought at twenty-six grocery stores in five cities across the country. Nearly half - forty-seven percent - of the tested samples were infected with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which are known to cause staph infections and a host of other serious illnesses.
As if that weren't enough cause for concern, half of the bacteria found in the study were resistant to at least three antibiotics. Dr. Lance Price, microbiologist and senior author of the study, strongly condemned the practice of feeding farmed animals low doses of drugs. He cautioned: "We're barreling toward a post-antibiotic era. All of these bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, and we're powerless against them."
Thankfully, we can safeguard our health by choosing to leave meat off our plates. Adopting a plant-based diet is one of the easiest and most powerful choices consumers can make to protect their health and prevent animal suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. For recipes and helpful tips on getting started, please visit ChooseVeg.com.
Earlier this year, Sodexo, one of the world's largest food service providers, feeding 10 million people a day, announced its participation in the rapidly growing Meatless Monday campaign by introducing vegetarian meals at 900 hospitals. Now, the company is expanding its Meatless Monday program to an additional 2,000 corporate and governmental clients, offering vegetarian meals to tens of thousands of people every week.
Will Nicklas, Corporate Manager of Toyota Motor Sales, Inc., a Sodexo client, says Meatless Monday "... is a simple way for us to address the dietary concerns of our customers and in part advance our own environmental objectives."
But Sodexo isn't stopping there. In the fall, the company plans to extend the campaign to its college and school cafeteria clients and to begin pilot programs in senior living facilities in 2011.
Sodexo isn't the only one joining in on the popular Meatless Monday trend. Since 2003, dozens of colleges, high schools, cities, restaurants, chefs, celebrities, and magazines have adopted Meatless Monday to reduce animal suffering, combat global warming, and to promote healthy eating. The list includes, but is not limited to: Baltimore City Public Schools, Sir Paul McCartney, PUMA, AARP, Chef Mario Batali, the city of San Francisco, and John Hopkins University. Read the full list here.
This rapid expansion of meatless meals is undoubtedly sparing countless animals from a lifetime of suffering on factory farms, helping to ease the strain animal agriculture has on the environment, and improving the health of millions of people.
Have you encouraged your friends and family to start Meatless Monday yet? It's an easy and fun way to transition to a healthy and compassionate vegan diet. Visit ChooseVeg.com for free recipes, nutritional information and more.
On her Headline News Network show, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell held an excellent interview with MFA Executive Director Nathan Runkle, and the undercover investigator who risked his safety to expose the illegal violence, cruelty and neglect of calves at E6 Cattle Company in Texas. Describing the abuse at E6 as so horrific she couldn't even show very much of the investigative footage, Velez-Mitchell encouraged her audience to stay tuned and learn the truth about how animals are treated on factory farms.
Stating that "the American people deserve to know what's really happening," Velez-Mitchell also discussed the growing number of pro-factory farming legislators in some states, backed by agribusiness giants, including Monsanto and DuPont, who are trying to shield animal abusers from public scrutiny by outlawing undercover investigations on farms.
Sadly, cruelty to animals runs rampant on factory farms and the industry knows it. In an effort to minimize costs and maximize profits, farmed animals are treated as disposable commodities rather than sentient beings, who feel pain and rightly deserve protection from abuse.
As MFA continues to expose the unconscionable cruelties of animal agriculture, and to diligently pursue justice by aiding prosecutions of animal abusers, consumers hold the greatest power of all to end the needless suffering of all farmed animals by adopting a healthy and compassionate vegan lifestyle. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.
With the Easter and Passover holidays fast approaching, people around the world are looking forward to celebrating religious traditions and reconnecting with loved ones. This time of atonement, renewal and redemption is a wonderful opportunity to show compassion for animals - especially those who are subjected to intensive confinement, painful mutilations, and merciless deaths in factory farms, hatcheries and slaughterhouses.
Although many people look forward to brightly colored eggs and baskets filled with sweets, Easter is no treat for egg-laying hens who have the ends of their beaks painfully seared off and are crammed into tiny wire "battery" cages to produce eggs for human consumption. As exposed by MFA's investigation of Hy-Line Hatchery, the largest hatchery for egg-laying breed chickens in the United States, male chicks are considered worthless by the industry since they can't produce eggs and don't grow large or quickly enough to be raised profitably for meat. Consequently, the egg industry routinely kills hundreds of millions of unwanted male chicks each year by tossing them into grinding machines while they are still alive and sensible to pain.
Thankfully, celebrating a humane holiday is as easy as vegan Easter pie. Consider cutting ties with the cruel egg industry this year by adopting kind and creative alternatives to using eggs for your Easter celebration.
Offer an animal-friendly Easter egg hunt that kids will love by filling colorful plastic eggs with goodies like little toys and non-dairy chocolates.
Instead of dyeing eggs, try painting wooden or ceramic eggs, making paper-mâché eggs with balloons, or decorating oval-shaped sugar cookies. The possibilities are endless!
We can also help farmed animals simply by leaving them off our plates. Often the centerpiece of Easter meals, pigs are intelligent and sensitive animals who are denied everything that is natural to them on pig factory farms. Pregnant pigs are commonly confined to metal stalls too small for them to lie down comfortably or even turn around. Mercy For Animals' investigation into Country View Family Farms revealed the common industry practice of workers castrating piglets by ripping out their testicles with their bare hands, cutting off piglets' tails with dull pliers, and tattooing pigs by repeatedly hitting them with metal-spiked mallets.
Be sure to sample meat alternatives (like holiday Tofurky roasts) and visit ChooseVeg.com for hundreds of recipes to make your Easter meal meatless and delicious. If your family observes Passover, take a look at these Passover menus and tips on creating a vegan Sedar plate. Thank you for giving farmed animals hope by making mercy for all animals a vital part of your feasts and festivities this year!
With Earth Day just around the corner, many people are resolving to reduce their carbon footprint and minimize their impact on the planet. Recycling, taking shorter showers, using energy-efficient appliances, and riding public transportation are all great steps, but switching to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle is the single most important thing we can do to help save the planet.
Scientists have recently taken on a tone of urgency in discussing the environmental impact of the meat, egg, and dairy industries. In June 2010, a United Nations report affirmed the need for a "substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products" in order to shield the world from the most devastating impacts of climate change. Similarly, researchers at Canada's Dalhousie University found that attempts to make the meat industry more efficient won't be enough to prevent widespread environmental destruction. According to their estimates, just keeping agriculture-related environmental damage at its current levels will require a 42% reduction in meat consumption by 2050.
For these reasons and more, Mercy For Animals' volunteers and supporters will be out in full force advocating for sustainable diets at Earth Day festivals and events in Chicago, New York City, Ohio, and Dallas this year. If you are in the area, please sign up to help promote the benefits of eco-friendly eating at one of these events. It's a positive and effective way of helping both animals and the Earth.
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 protect the Earth's limited resources. 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 plant-based eating in your community.
Nathan Runkle, MFA's Executive Director and Founder, was recently interviewed on Jacksonville, Florida's FOX 30 News about a bill in Florida, stating that "this bill is a blatant violation of free speech and freedom of press. It keeps consumers in the dark, threatens public health and it hurts animals by shielding animal abusers from public scrutiny." Watch the full story and interview here:
The silver lining on this dark bill is the widespread exposure it is generating of the cruel realities faced by animals on modern farms. Dozens of print and television stories on the proposed legislation have highlighted undercover investigations into factory farms, slaughterhouses, and hatcheries, revealing to consumers how animals are treated before reaching their plates.
In addition to garnering widespread media exposure, MFA has been taking its message to the streets. The Farm to Fridge Tour has been rolling through Florida for over a week now, exposing the masses to the plight of farmed animals. The Tour's last Florida stop is in Jacksonville on Wednesday, April 13. Volunteers are encouraged to help us speak up for animals by holding signs and handing out literature to passersby.
The tour will continue throughout the U.S. until June 11. Click here to see when the Farm to Fridge Tour will be coming to your city.
Ohio Fresh Eggs, the largest egg producer in Ohio, has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of $635,000 to settle 71 allegations of violations of Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency laws, regulations and permit restrictions.
No stranger to bad publicity, Ohio Fresh Eggs, formally known as Buckeye Egg Farm, has a sordid history of violating environmental standards, sexual harassment of workers, and cruelty to animals. The facility even has ties with Austin "Jack" DeCoster, the infamous businessman behind Quality Egg of New England - the facility that was raided by state officials following an MFA undercover investigation in Maine.
In 2009, Ohio Fresh Eggs pled guilty in court and was fined $300,000 for clean water violations and just last year the company was back in the spotlight after more than a quarter million salmonella-contaminated eggs were recalled from its central Ohio facility. Ohio Fresh Eggs was also the subject of a 2004 MFA undercover investigation, which revealed hundreds of thousands of egg-laying hens with broken, damaged, and feces-covered feathers packed into battery cages so small they couldn't spread their wings, and chicken corpses left to rot in cages with birds still producing eggs for human consumption.
Sadly, Ohio Fresh Eggs' dirty practices are just par for the course in the egg industry. The best action caring consumers can take to safeguard their own health and the environment and to help prevent needless cruelty to millions of animals is to adopt a compassionate vegan lifestyle. For egg-free recipes and tips on cooking without eggs, click here.
Students at Westchester Community College received an alternative educational experience, thanks to animal advocates Ann Parkin and Jane Shakman, who coordinated a "Paid-Per-View" screening of Farm to Fridge on campus. Emotions stirred as more than 100 students viewed the heart-wrenching video depicting the routine cruelty animals raised for food are forced to endure.
"Most of the students were visibly moved by the film," says Parkin, "And there was a lot of ongoing discussion about animals, food and diet in the room."
"I feel really sorry I just ate that chicken sandwich," said one viewer. Another took it a step further and declared, "I'm not eating chicken anymore."
"Paid-Per-View" screenings are a great way to expose consumers to the realities of modern animal agriculture and a powerful way to inspire change. By inviting people to watch a 4-minute segment of the 12-minute eye-opening MFA documentary Farm to Fridge, with the incentive of receiving a dollar, animal advocates are able to reach thousands of people with a message of compassion and help give farmed animals the respect and consideration they deserve.
Inspired to host a Paid-Per-View event at your college campus? It's easier than you might think! And best of all, you don't even have to cough up the cash yourself. VegFund, a vegan outreach non-profit, can fund your Paid-Per-View events so you don't have to use your own money to pay participants. Check out our helpful step-by-step instructions to learn more.
Thanks to the unwavering efforts of thousands of compassionate Ohioans, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to follow the recommendation of a carefully crafted animal welfare agreement reached last June to allow calves raised for veal the simple freedom to turn around and stretch their limbs.
In March, the Livestock Board voted 6-5 to continue to allow calves raised for veal to be chained by their necks in tiny crates so small they are unable to turn around for more than half of their lives before slaughter. But after receiving approximately 4,700 public comments as part of a tightly coordinated campaign, heavily supported by MFA, and in front of nearly 300 attendees proudly wearing t-shirts with a picture of a calf and the message, "Let Them Turn Around," the Board decided to reverse its previous decision.
The cruel crate-and-tether method of veal production is slated to be phased out by 2017. This phase-out was one of eight planks in an agreement between animal protection advocates, former Governor Ted Strickland and the Ohio agribusiness lobby. The agreement also recommends that the Ohio Livestock Board, the Legislature, and the Governor adopt the following provisions:
A ban on new gestation crates in the state after Dec. 31, 2010. Existing facilities are grandfathered, but must cease use of these crates within 15 years.
A moratorium on permits for new battery-cage confinement facilities for laying hens.
Regulations regarding the manner in which sick and injured farmed animals can be killed, including a ban on strangulation.
A ban on the transport of downer cows for slaughter.
Enactment of legislation establishing felony-level penalties for cockfighters.
Enactment of legislation cracking down on puppy mills.
A ban on the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets, such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles and alligators.
The Livestock Board has scheduled a meeting for April 19 to finalize all farmed animal-related care standards before sending recommendations to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review for finalization.
While this marks a modest but meaningful step forward for farmed animals in Ohio, there is still a lot of work to be done. The best way for individuals to help end the needless suffering of farmed animals is simply not to eat them. Adopting a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle is the single most powerful choice one can make to withdraw one's support from a system that treats animals like commodities. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn more.
Last week, the Martha Stewart Show joined the growing ranks of popular television programs that are showcasing healthy and humane vegan living - further proof that veganism is becoming more mainstream.
On the show, Martha brought on Biz Stone, Twitter cofounder and ethical vegan, to make a hearty seitan bourguignon stew and healthy parsley-leaf salad. One interested audience member asked if it was difficult to become vegan, to which Mr. Stone replied, "It wasn't difficult [for my wife and me] at all. It was actually something that was really simple ... It was an instantaneous decision that was based mostly on compassion."
Kathy Freston, the New York Times' best-selling author of the new book Veganist, who also recently appeared on Oprah and Ellen, showed Martha Stewart fans how to make protein-packed vegan snack bars and talked about quick and easy vegan cooking. The show concluded with an interview of Gene Baur, the cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, and the story of Persia, a rescued sheep whom Martha Stewart fosters through the sanctuary.
For great tasting vegan recipes and to learn more about the many reasons vegan living is gaining in popularity, please visit ChooseVeg.com.
The highly anticipated NYC Vegetarian Food Festival was a smash hit, as thousands of vegans, vegetarians and veg-curious folks packed the house! Even more spectacular were the several hundred festival-goers, who were wrapped around the block for hours, just hoping to get a glimpse of the action. Clearly, the popularity of veg-food is exploding, as evidenced by the hoards of people wanting a taste of the future.
The inaugural event featured veg delights from local food vendors, such as V-Spot, Dun-Well Doughnuts and The Loving Hut, and presentations by some of NYC's most notable speakers, including PCRM's Neal Barnard, Our Hen House's Jasmin Singer and Chloe Jo Davis of Girlie Girl Army. Several local and national animal protection organizations also hosted tables at the festival.
Mercy For Animals volunteers were thrilled to have been placed at the front and center of the hall, attracting droves of people and inspiring curious visitors to adopt a cruelty-free diet. Congratulations to the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival planners for a super successful event!
For more information about getting active with Mercy For Animals, click here.
MFA Chicago activists coordinated eight successful MeatOut events, offering egg-free and dairy-free cookies, vegan sausage dogs, and savory BBQ seitan strips from the Vegan Food Truck of Chicago. Volunteers distributed over 1,000 food samples and about 1,700 leaflets to college students, concert-goers, political protestors, St. Patrick's Day parade-goers, and passersby on bustling street corners.
On the East Coast, New Yorkers enjoyed incredibly delicious food outside two local vegan businesses. Volunteers in Manhattan distributed vegan cheesecake samples and sizzling vegan pizza slices made with Daiya cheese, courtesy of Whole Earth Bakery and Kitchen. In Brooklyn, The V Spot restaurant generously provided tasty black bean empanadas. Hundreds of people gladly accepted copies of MFA's Vegetarian Starter Kit and Vegetarian Eating brochures.
Meanwhile, in cities across Ohio, college students eagerly sampled the likes of chicken-less vegan chicken salad from the Flaming Ice Cube, mini-veggie burgers, and vegan egg rolls from Loving Hut. As Central Ohio's newest vegan restaurant, the Loving Hut formally opened its doors on March 20th in honor of the Great American MeatOut. Many MFA supporters flocked to the eatery for its special grand opening ceremony and vegan buffet!
Last but not least, Texans had a chance to try cruelty-free food when MFA volunteers distributed peanut butter, lemon, and chocolate chip vegan cookies made by the Sun Flour Baking Company. Over 600 people feasted on the free cookies outside high schools, a fast food restaurant, and at a public plaza in Dallas. In addition, health-conscious health fair attendees were treated to Hail Merry's delicious orange-cranberry vegan "grawnola."
A special "thank you" to everyone who helped to make this year's MeatOut a smashing success for farmed animals! Interested in highlighting healthy and humane food choices in your own community? Please visit VegFund.com for funding and other resources, and click here for a complete guide to organizing a successful event.